Alaskan Hunter Becomes the Hunted, Kills Large Brown Bear That Had Stalked Him

Alaskan brown bear stalked hunter


To paraphrase The Stranger, sometime the you eat the bear and sometimes the bear almost eats you . . . Bear Meets Match After Stalking Sitka Hunter

For a few memorable moments, Ryan Wilson was both the hunter and the hunted.

“I was hunting deer; (the bear) was hunting me,” he said, telling about his confrontation with a full-grown brown bear in the woods north of Sitka last month.

Wilson had time for only one shot, but it was enough to stop the charging bear in its tracks.

And what round did Mr. Wilson use to drop that bear with a single shot?

The bear was only 20 yards away and closing fast when Wilson shot it in the head with his .300 Winchester Magnum rifle.

“A little heavy for deer, a little light for a bear,” Wilson said of his rifle.

Maybe, but Wilson had apparently mastered the three fundamentals of hunting; shot placement, shot placement and shot placement. And it wasn’t as if he didn’t give the big ursa fair warning. He was pretty clearly being stalked.

Wilson had the higher ground by about 10 feet, and was surprised to see the bear making its way toward him, walking stealthily and silently in cat-like fashion.

“It wasn’t making any vocalizations or noise,” he said.

Wilson figured the bear just didn’t know he was there. He had a round in the chamber of his rifle and flipped the safety off, just in case. He whistled to get the bear’s attention, and expected that once the bear was aware of his presence it would be on its way.

“It kept silently coming toward me; I yelled, loud,” Wilson said.

At a distance of about 30 yards, the bear went from walking stealthily to a full-speed charge.

All’s well that ends well. Wilson did his duty, informed the state Fish and Game deapartment and harvested the claws, hide and skull for them. Will he be venturing out into the Alaskan wilderness on his own again?

As for whether, as a result of the experience, he would hesitate to go back out in the woods, Wilson said he is just thinking about taking a bigger rifle, or carrying a backup pistol.

But in general, Wilson believes “probability” is on his side.

“I mean, what’s the chance of it happening again?”



  1. avatar Micah says:

    I would need to change my underpants after a run-in like that.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yep. 6 pounds of tootsie rolls tend to ruin a pair of shorts.

      1. avatar Micah says:

        Dropping a charging bear with a presumably scoped rifle at that range while soiling myself would be quite a shot though.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Something to brag about for years to come. I would have included the part where I was screaming like a 7 yo girl along with ruining my drawers. But that’s just me.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    I was on a quail hunt this morning. During my rambles I noticed a yote hanging back in the brush.

    A skinny yote looking to mooch a downed bird doesn’t have the same drama as a grizz stalking your ass.

  3. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Alaska would be less attractive if the bears didn’t win sometimes.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      I think you’re right. Some folks want to go to Hawaii, some go to Alaska, both types of people tend to be wildly different.

      “I mean, what’s the chance of it happening again?”
      With that particular bear? Zero.


      1. avatar SparkyInWI says:

        +1 for Alaska. Definitely preferred over Hawaii. And good preparation, awareness, shooting, and keeping his wits about for this hunter.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          My old man taught me to stop and look all around you, even behind, every so often when hunting. The value of looking over your shoulder when in the bush can be priceless.

        2. avatar Prudiikal says:

          As an Alaskan resident, it’s nice, hunting and fishing is nice. BUT WINTER FUCKING SUCKS.

  4. avatar ACP_arms says:

    A full charge starting at 30 yards out, Yikes!

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      I cannot imagine that it would have taken that bear much more than 2 seconds to cover that 30 yards. Talk about only having one chance to get it right.

  5. avatar Ralph says:


    Last week I shot a bear in my pajamas.

    1. avatar ironicatbest says:

      A bear in your pajama’s? I’ve had a beaver on my organ, but never a bear in my pajamas

    2. avatar ACP_arms says:

      Did you have to buy new pajamas or were they still good?

    3. avatar BLoving says:

      Bear had it coming. Should have gotten his own pajamas.

    4. avatar robby says:

      And how did a bear get in to your pajamas???

      1. avatar Felix says:

        Groucho never figured it out either.

    5. avatar Reef Blastbody says:

      How a bear got into my pajamas, I’ll never know….

  6. avatar epickett says:

    See, I have NO desire to be in an area where I’m not at the top of the food chain. I will NEVER be out in the wild with bears…

    1. avatar spartan357 says:

      so… you’re single then, right?

      1. avatar epickett says:

        What the hell does that have to do with bears?!?

      2. avatar Philthegardner says:

        Unlike the bear that got it right on the noggin, Mr Spartan’s round sailed right over the target this time. But thanks for that good laugh, gentlemen. Play again next time.

        1. avatar epickett says:

          Nah, I got it. But I should have asked if HIS wife was a bear…

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      And epickett is the sort that goes to Hawaii.

      1. avatar epickett says:

        Compared to dealing with bears? You’re damn right.

    3. avatar Scoutino says:

      Carwful, never is a really long time. Lots can happen during it.

      1. avatar epickett says:

        Ok, I’ll put it this way – I can’t imagine ANY situation where I’d be out in the Alaskan(or even Pacific Northwest) woods with bears around…not even for a woman. 🙂

  7. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Perhaps a warning shot with bullet impacting close to the bears forepaws? Before the bear got within 70 yards? 9-1-1, however in this instance our officers response time may have been too slow.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      Nah, he should have used bear spray. That would have worked. (I jest. This guy did the right thing, and he did it well.)

  8. avatar Texas Gun Gal says:

    I won’t even have Teddy Bear stuffed toy in my house, much less visit any place where they reside.

    I’m not a candy ass woman, I’ve gotten into a full on break the coffee table battle to avoid a rape. And I won because I fought dirty.

  9. I guess it is not a bad idea to hunt deer with a gun that is considered too much gun for deer.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      .300 Win Mag is about as big as you want to go for any kind of deer, but basically the minimum for bear. You could go with a .30-06 to even it out closer to the deer, but some people do hunt deer with (light) .338 Win Mags, which is what the Alaska DNR recommends for bear protection.

      1. avatar Jerrick says:

        Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game actually recommends a well-practiced 30-06 versus a new, shiny super magnum that has rarely been shot.

        Personally, I’d probably choose a super magnum and become VERY proficient with it if I was in an area with 1500 Kodiak bears!

        1. avatar Jerrick says:

          *1500 lbs

        2. avatar anonymoose says:

          You better get a .458 Win Mag then. :^)

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      I hunt deer with slugs. Not too many bears around me but three rounds of mag slugs from a beretta would do damage to a bear.

      1. avatar Philthegardner says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong but 30 yards with a full-on charging brown bear won’t give you time for 3 shots. As per comments above, maybe time for one shot, soiling your pants and screaming like a 7 year old girl. But probably not 3 shots.

        1. avatar anonymoose says:

          He said “Beretta” which makes me think semi-auto. You can magdump a semi-auto with slugs pretty quickly. Might bruise your shoulder, but you could do it if you had to.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Anybody that has experience with a pump gun can run one as fast as a semi. Faster with the right gun.

        3. avatar Twisted Swifter says:

          Don’t say that too loudly around my Benelli M2.

        4. avatar jwm says:

          TS, your Benelli is a fine shotgun. But a semi auto’s action is ‘regulated'(Not sure if this is the proper term) from the factory to cycle at a set ‘speed’. No matter how hard and fast you squeeze that trigger the action is only going to cycle so fast.

          The speed of a pump is only limited by the shooters abilities. In my youth I could run my old mans model 12 Winchester faster than he could mag dump a Browning A5.

          I’m in my 60’s now and use a mossberg 500. My Beretta Pintail is faster than me on my mossberg. But just barely.

          Where the semi auto wins in this event is keeping it on the target while going balls out.

    3. avatar jug says:

      Get a hunting partner with a bad knee.
      Wouldnt hurt, (you), if he had a bad hip as well!

  10. avatar BierceAmbrose says:

    Duty to retreat?

  11. avatar Ing says:

    .300 Win. Mag is light for bear? I’d like to know what anyone is likely to carry on a hunt that packs much more punch than that.

    1. avatar Mrpredictable says:

      In Alaska and Yukon it is common to find hunters with .338 and .375 caliber guns. Larger calibers are not unheard of either.

  12. avatar coagula says:

    “I mean, what’s the chance of it happening again?”

    Not wishing death on anyone… but that is the kind of phrase that rarely ends well…. he better go knock on wood somewhere.

    1. avatar Alan Esworthy says:

      “I mean, what’s the chance of it happening again?”

      Lady Luck has no memory. The chance of it happening a second time is the same as it was the first time, multiplied by (# bears in the the area now)/(# bears in the area before).

  13. avatar Alan E Atwood says:

    Friend-of-a-friend (I’ve met the guy) made 37 consecutive one-shot kills on deer with a .375 H&H. Doesn’t tear up much meat, either. Only CF rifle he owned.

  14. avatar Free Speech says:

    Kill moslems, not bears.

  15. avatar Iain Macallester says:

    Seems like a good argument for a semi-auto and at least a 10 round Mag.

  16. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Well, good thing the guy was a damn good shot with that bolt gun. Also, the “fight” part of his fight-flight response was dominant. Definitely not a time for a person who’s first impulse is “run”.

  17. avatar Mrpredictable says:

    Welcome to coastal hunting in Alaska. Almost everyone has a bear encounter, most aren’t quite so dramatic. Good work.

  18. avatar Matt says:

    I think I would have been more shaken if it was a confrontation with the Clintons knowing what I know of them 🙂

    1. avatar tmm says:

      Bear ain’t that stupid.

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