Alaska: Hiker Kills Bear with AK-74

The bear truth about AK-47 (courtesy

Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. Failing that caliber. Failing that lots of shots on target. To wit: “The hiker, who has not been identified by Alaska State Troopers, had set out from the Rainbow trail head at Milepost 108 of the highway Sunday morning, said Tom Crockett, a park ranger. He was near the first Turnagain Arm viewpoint, about a half-mile up the trail toward McHugh Creek, when he spotted the bear . . . The man called, “Hey, bear,” hoping not to startle the animal, he said.  The bear turned and charged, the hiker later told rangers. The man fired the AK-74 he was carrying . . .

The bear stopped after the first volley of shots, and then charged again. The man fired once more. That time the bear folded into a ball, rolling and running downhill and thudding to a stop in a clump of birch trees about 100 yards from the trail. reckons the hiker needed 13 shots to take down the 500 – 600 pound bear. Like I said.


  1. avatar William Burke says:

    DGU of the month! WHY? AK in AK, that’s why!!

    1. avatar SelousX says:


    2. avatar Cameron S. says:

      This guy gets it.

    3. I have always thought that modern sporting rifles with standard capacity (30) round magazines would be good protection from bears. Easy to use, accurate, low recoil, are all attributes that make them good defensive choices.

      With FMJ ammunition, they have plenty of penetration.

      1. avatar AnonymousOne says:

        Not to mention that most of the 5.45 ammo is steel core…

  2. avatar Pwrserge says:

    Ha… In continental US we argue about the right to bear arms… In Alaska (or soviet Russia) you have right to whole bear.

    1. avatar EagleScout87 says:


    2. avatar oopsdidisaythatoutloud says:

      right to HOLE bear.

      1. avatar Derrick says:

        I’m gonna “grin and bear it” on that one!

        1. avatar Max says:

          7 shots would have “bearly” done anything….

        2. avatar Bear says:

          I mean 7 shots is better than nothing with one BEAERING down on you. I’m sure there’s a wildlife CLAWS in the self defense doctrine of AK.

    3. avatar phoenixNFA says:


      alaska wins today.


  3. avatar eric says:

    Does that fall under stand your ground? Better have Obama look into it

    1. avatar Cameron says:

      The hiker acted stupidly

      1. avatar The Original Brad says:

        He should have called the police and let them respond to the suspicious bear. They would have responded within a few hours. There was no need to confront call to the bear. Barring that, seven rounds should have been more than sufficient for a civilian to take down the bear. Thirteen is criminal.

        1. avatar EATENG says:

          I bet he wouldn’t have shot the bear if it was a polar bear.

      2. avatar Brian says:

        He should have just stayed in his car…

        1. avatar Rocky L says:

          The hiker was profiling. He saw a brown bear and thought it was up to no good. The bear was just trying to get home.
          If Obama had a pet bear…

        2. avatar Pat says:

          You are correct Rocky, if the bear was white (Polar), he would have never noticed and shot it.

        3. avatar Brian says:

          He was probably wearing a hoodie also…

      3. avatar APBTFan says:

        You forgot to say why he supposedly acted stupidly.

    2. avatar sean says:

      Did the bear have previous liver damage from drug abuse?

    3. avatar Karim says:

      Has anyone spoken to the Bear’s girlfriend yet? Has she written a letter to the Bear’s mother?

      1. avatar Agitator says:

        Don’t be ridiculous, bear’s girlfriend can’t read or write.

    4. avatar Chris says:

      Only if it was a black or brown bear. If it was then the DOJ will be looking into this as a hate crime.

    5. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      If Obama had a pet bear, it’d have looked like this one.

  4. avatar JimD says:

    Holy shit am I sick of seeing “to wit” in every friggin article on this blog!

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      To wit

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      Okay, then. No more “to wit.” From now on, it’s “half wit.”

    3. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Yes, but ‘to wit’ appears repeatedly. Still. That’s as likely to change as Miss Universe is likely to call you for a date. I agree that variety in one’s rhetorical tropes is a value as much as variety in one’s bedroom. Just sayin’. Laugh.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        That’s as likely to change as Miss Universe is likely to call you for a date.

        Which puts Miss Universe into one of the least exclusive clubs in, well, the universe.

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          He said it, JimD, not me!

        2. avatar JimD says:

          Well that’s just mean………..but probably true….

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Speaking of Miss Universe calling for a date – the policy of the bloggers as of recently is not to link to any more Isreali supermodels. Is there any rule against persons resonding to a post adding a link from time to time?

    4. avatar ThomasR says:

      How about “No wit”?

    5. avatar seren says:

      Not to put too fine a point on it…

  5. avatar DrVino says:

    Well, the 30 caliber round of the ’47 can be a lot to handle for some….

    1. avatar Pwrserge says:

      74, so 5.45×39 not 7.62 🙁

      1. avatar JoeThePimpernel says:

        That was his point.

      2. avatar Me says:

        The Hungarian AK 74 came in a 7.62×39… At least the military versions I fired while I was over there during a “cultural exchange” were.

        1. avatar DrVino says:

          That might actually an AKM. The definitive change in the 74 was the 5.45×39 chambering.
          Many Soviet block satellites carried the ’47/AKM well into the late 70s/early80s.

  6. avatar Jerry R says:

    When Jesse and Al find out that this was a black bear, we will never hear the end of this…..

    1. avatar justin says:

      Hopefully, they’ll go to Alaska to meet with the grieving parents.

      1. avatar Bruce B. says:

        Oh, I’d pay good money to watch that!

  7. avatar Will says:

    If a 600lb bear was “bearing” down on me, I’d probably dump a whole mag on him

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I’d probably dump a whole something else . . . .

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Would you really have a choice?

      2. avatar John Fritz says:

        Oh, Ralph…! 🙂

      3. avatar James St. John says:

        First you say it, then you do it.

        1. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          So my mom asked if I had clean underwear, and the park ranger said “yes.. they were in his backpack!”

      4. avatar Will says:

        +1 LOL I wasn’t gonna go there, so I left it open for someone else.

  8. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Head shot head shot head shot. Should have solved the problem. No? 🙂

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      not that easy not that easy. aiming canter mass in chest area makes you far more likely to at least hit something. the hiker might have missed the first 10 shots if he was only aiming at the head.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Might ricochet off a thick skull like that of a bear.

      Sounds like murder to me. Guy invites the bear over “hey, bear!” and then shoots him?!?

      1. avatar The Original Brad says:

        Right Hannibal, second degree at least.

    3. avatar Roadrunner says:

      Bears can run close to the speed of a horse, and the head would not be cooperating in your front sight. Who knows, though? After all those shots, it might have been one in the head that finally sent him rolling.

    4. avatar watchmenlewis says:

      bears have thick skulls not the wises of shot placements

    5. avatar T-DOG says:

      Saw a video demonstrations of just this around 20+ years ago with an actual bears skull. Don’t remember what type of bear it was though. The point was that the skull was so thick that the only round test that didn’t ricochet off was a 12ga slug. The point they stressed was don’t take a .44 mag revolver with you and think you are going to stop a bear running at you with it’s head down. You needed to hit it in softer areas avoiding head shoots. They went on to say even mortal wounded bears won’t turn tail to get away. They will continue to come at you and attack. Then die while on top of you while mauling you. What I remember taking from the show was you were pretty much F’d if you used any thing other then a 12ga slug.
      This account of what happen sound exactly like what the show said would with the guy firing the first rounds and stopping the bear. Then the bear continuing the attack till enough well placed rounds stopped the attack. The biggest advantage the hiker had was distance between him and the bear.

    6. avatar nDjinn says:

      With a brown bear it’ll bounce right off the outside of the skull. No enough mass in the round to get though.

      1. avatar GERMANICUS 12 says:


  9. avatar Ropingdown says:

    The hiker might have been IN Alaska, but he isn’t likely to be from Alaska. A very light bolt action .30-06 with 200 grain bullets is a more usual local “light carry” item for big bear. The hiker shot to no avail, however, for he’s still going to die…of shame when his friends find out he was baby-talking to a large bear. Who the hvll calls out “hey, bear” to a bear in the wilderness? Obviously the bear thought he wanted to feed the bear. He almost did.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Who the hvll calls out “hey, bear” to a bear in the wilderness?

      He would have called out “hey, horse,” but he didn’t think that the bear would respond.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Kinda the same reason I named my dog ‘Twice”.
        The mutt never would come if I called him once…

      2. avatar Ropingdown says:


    2. avatar Grasshopper says:

      Except that when you miss that first shot with your bolt-action (’cause you’re crapping yourself), you’ll be chambering that next cartridge just about the time the bear tears your head off. Semi-auto ftw here.

    3. avatar Jim says:

      Loudly saying ‘Hey Bear’ is a common tactic while hiking in bear country to alert bears that are close to the trail. The bear is more likely to vacate the area which can help keep hikers from coming around corners and startling it.

      This guy probably surprised the bear and reflexively tried to shoo it away by saying ‘Hey Bear’. Sometimes aggressive males will charge no matter what you do as well as mothers with cubs.

  10. avatar Bob Wall says:

    Next up on “TTAB” (The Truth About Bears) – “What Joke Have You Played On Hikers That’s Backfired on You,” followed by, “Scat – It’s more than Jingle Bell Accents with a Hint of Pepper Spray, Ya Know”.

    1. avatar Sid says:

      I love when you get a new group of listeners and they really buy into the narrative and then BAM… punch line.

  11. avatar Gyufygy says:

    If at first you don’t succeed, shoot, shoot, shoot again.

  12. avatar Ben Eli says:

    Why was a hiker carrying an AK?Anybody else thinks that sounds weird?

    1. avatar Mick says:

      Probably couldn’t afford a .460 Weatherby???

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      Even more strange that it was an AK74

      1. avatar The Original Brad says:

        They’ve been on sale from Classic Firearms for months. Plus you could still find ammo for them during the “Late Unpleasantness”.

    3. avatar Chris75 says:

      Apparently for bear attacks.

    4. avatar Craig says:

      I’ve heard weirder suggestions. This is on one of my gun forums, and a guy suggested a “7.62 NATO autoloader.” So he’s suggesting carrying around a FAL, M1A, etc. in the woods.

      I think the AK-74, although not something I personally would carry, has its appeal because its light and can deal with most animals. Apparently including bears, as long as you don’t want to eat them after.

      1. avatar Alex says:

        Personally, if I were in that situation, I would be very happy to have a SCAR 17s slung across my shoulder.

    5. avatar Mamba says:

      Since I’ve done the same when in bear country around here…..nope, not weird at all.
      My 47 has a folding stock and sling; a compact carry package.

  13. avatar imrambi says:

    Another instance were 10 rounds were….. errrr… never mind.

    The bear was upset about the Zimmerman verdict and was going to beat the crazy white cracker.

  14. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    He should had just used his 45 ACP pistol. I heard that stops everything in one shot.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Last year at Denali a hiker took down a Kodiak with a 1911.

      1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

        I think there is always one story like that a year. Better hope you get to be the exception.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          It was actually May 31, 2010. Time get away from when you get old.

    2. avatar sean says:

      My step father told me a story about a farmer that stampeded his water buffalo against him and his patrol in Vietnam. They fired everything at onrushing buffalo. Their M-16s, shotguns, and even a grenade from a M79.Most if it didn’t work. One older Sgt. pulled out his .45, aimed and shot them slowly, and carefully. All head shots. The buffalo all dropped.

      1. avatar wolfpack 46 says:

        some of the guys that I served with back in the 70’s refered to that happening. :)))

    3. avatar tdiinva says:

      Look, I know the 45 ACP is not a magic bullet but it is more lethal than 9mm and 40 cal. It takes a +p 9mm just to match the lethality of 45 ball. I have read what the FBI has to say and I have read what Army has to say with 100 years of combat data. I’ll go with the combat data. I do carry 9mm when that is the best alternative for the situation but my go to gun is my 1911 with my XD 45 as a second choice.

      And FYI, if you only have a handgun and encounter bear or other tough hided animal you better have ball loaded because JHP won’t penetrate sufficiently to stop a hard target like a bear. When I go into bear country I carry a 1911 but I usually have a 12 gauge, 308 or 30-06 with me as my primary weapon.

  15. avatar rhampton says:


    Dealing with a ‘defensive’ encounter

    Sometimes a bear that feels threatened will ‘act’ aggressively to defend against a perceived threat. This is often the case with a mother bear with cubs, a bear defending a food source, or a surprise encounter. The closer you are to the bear when it becomes aware of you, the more likely it is to react defensively: it may pop its jaws or swat the ground with its front paw while blowing and snorting, and/or it may lunge or “bluff charge” toward you in an attempt to get you to leave.

    In this situation, the bear doesn’t want to fight any more that you do. It is simply trying to communicate that you are too close. Try to appear non-threatening by remaining still and calm. Ready your bear spray by removing the safety lock. Speak in an appeasing voice and back away, increasing your distance from the bear. Leave the area immediately…

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Leave the area immediately … and change your drawers in the garage.

    2. avatar doesky2 says:

      ….”ready your bear spray”….. Riiight….. so this is leftist bear prevention? LOL

      The spray would just be a condiment as he ripped you shreds.

      1. avatar The Original Brad says:

        But it makes the lefties feel better and they don’t have to carry a gun, which might go off by itself and kill a child. Think of the children!

      2. avatar Grasshopper says:

        Surprisingly, most of the higher CRC bear sprays are amazingly effective at deterring the attacks.

      3. avatar Brian says:

        And if none of those things work try shitting/pissing your pants and as a last resort tell it you are on your period or pregnant.

    3. avatar slow says:

      Bears are capable of running 35 mph.

    4. avatar ChuckN says:

      “…the bear doesn’t want to fight any more that you do”

      An unarmed human can fight off a bear about as well
      as as a tub of ice cream holds off Rosie O’Donnel.

      After quickly reading through the sit it’s obvious that
      it’s written by people who have either never actually
      seen a bear or are suicidal.

    5. avatar Model 31 says:

      Sounds like the recipe for spicy bear poop.

    6. avatar Sertorius says:

      At the risk of asking the obvious, how does one know if it’s a “bluff charge” or an “I’m going to eat you” charge? Waiting to find out seems like flipping a coin where if you lose, you die.

    7. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:


  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Hiker kills bear with AK-74. What the bear was doing with an AK-74 I’ll never know.

    1. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

      Used it as a tooth pick after munching another hiker that was carrying said ’74?

    2. avatar uppity serf says:

      Apparently alaska believes in the right to arm bears.

      1. avatar Brian says:

        Maybe he was a Syrian bear?

        1. avatar ChuckN says:

          Can’t be, ’cause then the administration
          would have given it military-restricted

    3. avatar karlb says:

      Sort of like yesterday’s post: “A gun carrying George Zimmerman has been pulled over for speeding in Texas . . . ” (the mistake was not made by DZ but by the original author). One wonders why a gun was carrying George Zimmerman. Amazing the difference a hyphen makes.

  17. avatar Lance says:

    Must have unloaded all 30 light 5.45mm ammo to kill a bear with one.

    1. avatar Tyler says:

      Article says he fired 13 times. Unclear how many of those rounds actually hit the bear. There is vid on youtube that shows 5.45X39 rounds doing a better job of penetrating trees than a 308. I was impressed. Military arms channel.

  18. avatar Clay says:

    Why did he have to go for the kill shot? Couldn’t he just shoot in the leg or something?

    1. avatar Jake_in_AK says:

      You are being sarcastic right?
      I hope you are…

  19. avatar warriorshonor says:


    None the less good shooting

    PS: Bears dont speak English “hey bear” not a good idea…

    1. avatar Lolinski says:

      You call out to the bear so as to not surprise it by accidentaly sneaking up on it.

      1. avatar CA.Ben says:

        Which is why you should sing, whistle, or talk to yourself when hiking in bear country. Or wear a bell or two on your clothing.

        1. avatar Chuck in IL says:

          Out west they say you can easily tell the “good” bears from the “bad” bears. The bad bears have bells in their scat.

    2. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Should’a tried “hey, horse!”

  20. avatar Trogdor says:

    It was about time someone took out that damn bear at Jellystone Park that keeps stealing pick-i-nic baskets.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Not the same bear. Peter Griffin got the basket stealer and he did it with a knife. Real men don’t need no AK74.

  21. avatar KY1911 says:

    That surplus ammo is hell on steel targets, but seems to work fine on bear!

  22. avatar Jeh says:

    13 shots? Where did he hit it the legs? I watched my uncle kill a full grown brown bear with two shots to the chest using a 9mm. It doesn’t take that much.

    1. The deal is that a “bear in motion tends to stay in motion”. …presumably until he stops for lunch (you).

      I would say that 2 rounds of 9mm would probably easily kill a bear if shot while standing or just goofing around, but once they decide to charge, they are very big, very powerful and very fast. I’m guessing that if his first couple of shots from this AK74 hit their marks, that is what killed the bear but who wants to take that chance?

      The very last thing I want the bear to hear is the empty mag hitting the ground and then the bolt dropping on a fresh one as he’s slipping into a coma.

  23. avatar Zack says:

    Comrades, please, iz only weak American capitalist pig-bear, of course glorious AK-74 can defeat it, iz a glorious weapon of soviet worker!!!

    1. avatar Derrick says:

      …in Soviet Russia Ak 74 you.

  24. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Most 5.45×39 ammo is Soviet-surplus 7N6 with a 53 grain steel-core bullet. Penetration is very good for such a small bullet, and extreme tissue disruption is caused by the yawing and tumbling of the bullet once it enters a resistant medium.

    Afghan Mujahedeen called the 7N6 the ‘poison bullet’ because of the exceptionally high mortality rate among those who were struck by the Soviet bullets.

    I don’t think any expert would recommend an AK-74 for Alaskan bear defense, but this demonstrates that the round has *just* enough penetration and wounding capacity to get the job done with repeated hits. The noise and pain caused by even non-critical hits clearly slowed the bear down, giving the shooter extra time to fire more shots and eventually bring the bruin down.

    Even the best shooter can’t guarantee a critical hit the first time, every time. Resilient targets often need multiple hits, and a high-capacity modern firearm is much more forgiving of poor accuracy than a single-shot .458 Winchester Magnum.

  25. avatar watchmenlewis says:

    i guess 13’s his lucky number

  26. avatar Lucas D. says:

    Grizzly Man 2 is pretty hardcore, yo.

  27. avatar Sarcasm says:

    If Obama had a son who were a bear, it would have looked like that bear.

  28. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I was wondering if the bear choked on the AK74.

    1. Next Headline:


  29. We all joke about this, in fun, but, crap! Can you imagine? I’ve been attacked by dogs, bulls and men and it was pretty hairy but, the “Hey Bear Hiker” was just damned lucky he had that gun and mag. Of course, it could have just been the first shot (or the 7th or the 12th) that killed the bear and the rest missed. I’ve done a lot of hunting, ker dogs, deer, feral cats, etc, and a lot of times you shoot once and the animal takes off a lives for several minutes.

    I would like to know how many shots and where they hit just for the sake of knowing. Certainly, if it had been me, I would have checked to see which shot got him and how many times I missed.

    Hiker advice: Make sure you have your gun in the firing position before you say, “Hey Bear…”

    1. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

      “Certainly, if it had been me, I would have checked to see which shot got him and how many times I missed.”

      Be kind of tough to spot a 5.45 mm hole in a bear. And rolling it over to look for more holes would be a real bear.

  30. avatar Ardent says:

    It’s sort of been said but not with finality. What happened here is that the heavy bullets only for bear defense myth was shattered. Predictably, a volley of high velocity steel core bullets killed the bear. Perhaps a couple of 9mm can kill a bear but it’s nearly suicidal attempting to replicate such a stunt, and the 12ga slug is still great bear medicine but is anyone actually surprised that a hosing with an AK-74 proved fatal? Despite the size and power of the animal it too has a cardiovascular system that behind it’s bone and dense muscle takes damage like anything else, with the same result.
    Something else to consider: While the AK-74 may or may not penetrate a large bears skull, repetitive hits from it even though deflected have to be something like the experience of having a heavy weight fighter give you his best punch, over and over, rapidly.
    Bears may be tough but they are flesh and blood.

  31. avatar Grumpy in Kali says:

    He saved the pick-a-nic basket!

  32. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

    And how many times has some liberal Congress critter told us all;
    while holding up an AK-47 or AR-15 as an example, that these kinds
    of “assault weapons” have absolutely no use for hunters or hunting?
    Granted, this guy wasn’t hunting bears, but judging by the outcome,
    they seem more than capable of bring down a large predator. If this
    guy had only a 10 round mag. like the anti-gun people are asking
    for, this guy could have been the one who died. Which one of those
    13 shots made the difference in this story? Shots 1-10 or one of the
    last 3? Try this on for a title. Man shoots charging bear 10 times,
    but dies trying to change out another 10 round capacity magazine?

    Do we need a DAWUOTD (Defensive Assault Weapon Use OTD?)

  33. avatar Buster says:

    Why didn’t he just fire 2 blast from his double-barreled shotgun rather than taunt the bear…? WTH?

  34. avatar Puyallup Devil_Doc says:

    Ak in 7.62×39 will drop a black bear in one shot. All things being equal, nothing is equal. To wit, shot placement…

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  36. avatar AKindeed says:

    Not the same place – Rainbow is a different mountain, more isolated and far, far less traveled than Bird Ridge where this race was taking place. Put it this way – Bird has large parking lots at its base, outhouses about a mile in on the trail, interpretive signs, and you rise out of the tree line quickly. Rainbow is a dirt turn-out, walking right into the trees and staying there for a while before making any serious elevation. On Rainbow, we all regularly carry. On Bird, I literally can’t remember the last time I saw anyone carry. Probably will see more now though.

    Bear took a 12 ga. slug to the face. Ran, but was still living long enough to elude people that day. Not sure how it would have felt about an LCP. Couldn’t have hurt to have in hindsight but based on experience the kid was far more likely to need a cell phone (for injury) than a gun for bear in this location at this time.

    I recognize a lot of you probably think, “but.. but.. it’s Alaska. Bears. AlWaYs carry”. Demonstrably, for this poor soul at least, you’re correct. But even we get too comfortable with the environment sometimes. Bird Ridge is a very well-traveled trail on any given day, and especially on a race day. It shocks all of us that a black bear was even hanging out there with that many people, much less had the balls to attack and kill. It’s so strange, that nobody here thinks twice about the fact that this kid wasn’t carrying anything but a cell phone (again, based on location and context). Statistically he was far more likely to fall down an embankment and break a leg and need to call for help than to need self-defense against a bear on a race day. My sense is the bear took a human calf that was being left by its herd (easy prey). Not sure if the lesson here is that all kids carry all the time, or the race should have paid more attention to trail monitoring and having a good person in sweep to follow the stragglers in.

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