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?”