Previous Post
Next Post

 A 16-year-old was killed by a black bear on a organized race in Alaska yesterday. The runner had plenty of time to use a defensive firearm. From

The runner had apparently made it to the halfway point turnaround and was on his way down when he used his phone to text a family member at 12:37 p.m. that he was being chased by a bear, Precosky said. The family member approached Precosky, who was then in the middle of handing out awards.

“I went off and talked to him about it, trying to get a straight story,” Precosky said. “He was very shaken and had received this communication.”

A search was launched immediately, Precosky said. The family member had GPS coordinates from the missing runner’s phone that helped guide searchers to the area where his phone was. But the searchers, including runners that were part of the race, couldn’t get closer.

The runner was able and willing to carry a cell phone. He could easily have carried a Ruger LCP II, which weighs about as much. Whether or not that would have been “enough gun” for a black bear is not entirely germane. It would have given him a chance.

After the runner was killed, the bear stayed near the body and would not allow rescuers near it. The bear was finally driven off when a park ranger shot it in the face with a shotgun slug, wounding it.

Black bears usually break off an attack when serious resistance is encountered. Black bears in predatory mode do not want to risk a serious wound. For a wild animal, a serious wound is often fatal.

There was a time when most people in Alaska knew that wild places had risks associated with them.  It should have been a defensive gun use. From

“This young man didn’t do anything wrong. He was just in the wrong place,” Crockett said. “You can’t predict which bear is going to be predatory.”

Exactly so. Which is why prudent people carry arms. A hiker killed a charging brown bear on the same trail in 2013, with an AK74.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Not every moment, task, event, or visit to the shit can requires a gun. This was a race, in what part of the normal, developed world does a participant in a race (competitive, fun run, or otherwise) need a gun. Perhaps if he wasn’t so determined to use the cell phone he might have gotten away, but still. Come on…not everything negative in this world should be a defensive gun use. Crap like this is what makes us gun nuts look like, well, nuts.

      • Well I have lived in Alaska and have killed a few bears and I would not consider carrying a gun on a fun run. That’s just stupid. You must live your life in total fear.

        • I live in Phoenix, and I go into the Hieroglyph Mountains for photography.
          I carry a shotgun, with a mixed load of 00 and slugs, because there are bears and wildcats up well as snakes.
          I have met one bear (and a few snakes); the bear left when I started shouting. Had it advanced close to me, I would have been within my rights to shoot it.
          Yes, I live in fear of nature. That you seem to feel that’s abnormal means you don’t know nature very well.

        • Yeah, right I don’t know nature. I only made my living off of nature. I know risks too doing one of the riskiest jobs in the world all my life. and worrying about bears and “wildcats” out of Phoenix proves you know nothing about it. Tell me, there are all sorts of you “experts” telling everyone how they know nothing about bears, etc. So how many bears have you killed? How many cougars have you killed? I have killed many bears and I have a life-size mount of a 180 pound cougar in my living room and a 7′ bear rug in my den. You have nothing. Yeah, I know nothing about nature. I certainly know more than you. You know nothing about me yet you say I know nothing about nature! Typical poster on here.

        • “Well I have lived in Alaska and have killed a few bears and I would not consider carrying a gun on a fun run.”

          Then you’re either a liar or stupid.

        • What is really stupid is to think that a bunch of teenage runners should be carrying guns at fun run. Yes, I did live half my life and work in Alaska. I am not a liar despite what you say. I guess that is why I don’t comment much on this site. There are people like you that think they know everything and anyone that disagrees with them, well is a liar or stupid. Of course you would never say that to anyone’s face. Why are people like you so rude over the internet? Or are you going to tell me that is how you talk to people normally? If you say that it is you that is a liar.

        • JimB is correct, and I do live in AK (born and raised) and am very familiar with the environs and encounters with bears and other dangerous beings of hill, dale and mountain. In context (Bird Ridge, a very popular and populated trail, in middle of day, during a race) nobody would think to carry. Up until a week ago, YOU would have been looked at as odd for thinking you needed to carry there, maybe even thought a bit of a lunatic. I don’t know how to relate this to you other than to say that, relative to Alaska, it would be like having your kid mauled by a bear at the grocery store. Yeah, maybe it would happen, but it’s such a distant possibility that you don’t take it seriously. It’s nothing like walking into the AZ mtns alone. I get your analogy, we have the equivalent scenario here, but trust me when I say this area/trail in this context was nothing like that scenario.
          This was a very strange thing to have happen, completely contrary to people’s experiences who know the area and have no barrier (mental or legal) to carrying when they feel it’s valuable.
          Like Jim, I don’t think the answer is to have every kid in a mountain race carrying. Weight is at a premium, a cell phone is statistically far more likely to be needed. My sense is that the race probably needs a better sweep to herd in the stragglers. Leaving a young pup alone, away from his herd, was probably the failure point here, not the kid missing a 9mm in a bear fight.

        • I learned recently that high school cross country races around here now have electric golf carts bringing up the rear to be sure stragglers are okay, not collapsed from heat exhaustion or anything. It would only make sense to have something like that for any race in something resembling wilderness.

      • No sh!t! When I went fishing on POW Island, we counted 13 bears within visual distance on little “may-be-so” creek. You couldn’t walk more than 3-4 steps without dodging bear scat. Needless to say, when we fished, all four of us had .44 mags on us.

      • Grew up in the country and studied wildlife/ecology as well as lived several years in Beirut and worked with refugee children and families. Not every moment is a DGU, I stand by what I said. Don’t assume.

    • The kid could not have outrun the bear whether he used his phone or not. Bears can run more than 60 kilometers an hour, and they can do it up hills, down hills or along a slope. To put that in perspective, that’s 15 m/sec or 50 ft/sec – more than twice as fast as we can run. In fact, a bear can outrun a racehorse over short distances but has little endurance. You can’t outrun a bear so don’t even try. Despite rumors to the contrary, black and grizzly bears can outrun a human on ANY terrain, uphill or down. People will tell you that you should run downhill when chased by a grizzly. And those who depend on “bear spray” (a stronger version of MACE/Pepper Spray) would have quickly learned that once a bear begins a charge that stuff has little deterrence. Also, bear’s skull is very hard and can deflect bullets without the bear sustaining serious or life threatening injury.

      The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America. Males weigh an average of 150-300 lbs, females are smaller, and they span 4-7 ft from nose to tip of the tail. Exceptionally large males have been known to weigh 500-600 lbs Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability. They are mostly solitary, except for females with cubs, and shy. If you make noise as you go, they will usually move away and you will never know they were there. If no cubs are “threatened” they will ignore humans who back off. If a standing bear is encountered, it is not normally a threat. Bears stand in order to gather more information about the human.

      My thinking in this case is that this is a known bear area. Naturally, you can’t know which bear may attack, however, there is no reason why those conducting the race could not have prepared for such an eventuality. For example, having armed police, rangers, or even hunters positioned along the route. It was negligent of the race promoters to not be prepared.

      • Yes, that is all traditional advice. The thing is that northern black bears tend to be more carnivorous and thus more aggressive towards humans seeing them as prey. Google Liard Hot Springs Bear Attack. There are plenty of more example some very sad such as the woman in Alaska that had both her arms eaten off by a black bear. All of these people saying that black bears are not dangerous because of their anecdotal experience with bears in California and such don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Black bears generally are not as dangerous as grizzly bears. No one doubts that. However, they can be dangerous especially in certain areas. Is it something to be unduly worried about? No, not at all. You can’t protect for every single thing that could happen. Things happen and some simply cannot be prevented unless one stays home all the time.

    • Kahlil, yeah, because gunz. If that same young man had been in a motorcycle race and had been thrown off and killed from a head injury, due to not wearing a helmet, you would be outraged that the race organizers and the boys parents had been so irresponsible in allowing him to participate in such a dangerous sport with out such basic protective equipment.

      We are talking about ALASKA. The land of very dangerous predators that have a record of attacking and eating human beings. The carrying of a firearm while out by oneself in the back woods should be as accepted as basic safety equipment as wearing a seat belt while driving a vehicle or a wearing a life vest while out on a boat.

      • Helmet laws vary state by state and is a person chose not to wear a helmet against law or recommendations is something entirely different. This was a 16 yo in a foot race. While in beard country there should have been other standards of protections as mentioned elsewhere in the comments – guards stationed every hundred yards, carrying can of bear spray, etc. I am not talking about the merits of a teenager carrying a gun, it wasn’t needed or appropriate for the specific person at the specific task. Everyone acting as armchair rangers and cowboys are missing the point when talking about the amount of steel and gunpowder he should have been carrying. If this was indeed a DGU it would have been a DGU for anyone BUT the runner.

        • I disagree Kahlil. This is exactly the discussion of what type of protective equipment is appropriate for running in the back country with known predators that have and do attack and killed human beings. And so just as wearing a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle is appropriate, so is carrying a firearm while running in the woods, (which causes a chase reflex for many predators).

    • Dude, every year, somebody or somebodies gets mauled to death by someone’s dog who gets loose or by stray dogs in this city. I wouldn’t run so much as a 5K in this town without a self defense sidearm.

      I’m on the outskirts of town here, and there are wild animals all over the place. Negative encounters with those are admittedly rare, despite their prevalence. Still, there are risks associated with coyotes, alligators, armadillos, skunks, and all manner of snakes. And this is Houston, the fourth, soon-to-be-third, largest city in the country. If I were going running on the side of a mountain in bear country Alaska, you can believe I’m going to be armed.

    • ….what part of the normal, developed world does a participant in a race (competitive, fun run, or otherwise) need a gun. …

      The parts where fu^&ing bears eat you!

    • It’s never wise to run in the woods. Predators like mountain lions and bears instinctively chase after anything they see running. And black bears are not the harmless creatures some folks who never encountered one seem to think. I’ve had 5 tense stand-offs with black bears. In every case I had either a 9mm or a 12 gauge and was damn glad I did.

    • I totally agree. I’m a Canadian living on Vancouver Island. We are surrounded by bears, cougars and wolves. We hike regularly. We have off road running races probably 20+ times per year. It’s tough to go mountain biking without seeing a bear. No body even thinks about carrying a weapon. I obviously like guns, that’s why I’m on this site, but it never crosses my mind. You guys just need to enjoy nature more. Lighten up!!

    • Under properly controlled scientific circumstances we have determined that under ideal conditions a bear will do every the hell it wants. Be it a ‘soft and cuddly’ black bear or a DiCaprio raping Grizzly.

      Not that I support just shooting any bear you see. But just relying on natural spaces to be safe is just retarded. It is flat out retarded and counter to the very natural of life on this planet.

    • ” in what part of the normal, developed world does a participant in a race (competitive, fun run, or otherwise) need a gun. ”

      ITS ALASKA, not ” the normal, developed world’.

      oh yeah, I could have been THE BOSTON MARATHON.

    • To avoid being killed by a bear – Isn’t that pretty obvious?

      Still, most bear worthy handguns aren’t that great for running races with.

    • Yeah, Wyatt, I wondered about the 16-year-old with a handgun angle too… but this was bear country after all, so some context is needed. Dunno how Alaska law is about such things. Makes me wonder if next years race will see more youngsters packing because Mom made them do it.
      I recommend a Ruger LCR in .357 magnum with the feistiest stuff you can find in it.

      • At least for brown bear, but presumably for black too, that would probably be Bufflo Bore solid cast, giving you a chance of piercing the bear’s thick skull.

        • It’s not the greatest choice for black bears, mind you, but Buffalo Bore actually makes hard cast bullets for 380.

          Also, there was a guide who used 9mm hard cast to kill a brown bear. Buffalo Bore has the testimonial and pictures posted on their website. The bullets went through the vitals and stopped just below the skin on the opposite side of the bear.

    • Well Wyatt, at eleven years old, I was driving tractors and other farm equipment on the public roads, and I had. a 22lr lever action rifle that I could take out to shoot in the woods without the need of parental supervision..

      At sixteen, I was six foot tall, two hundred pounds and I had been driving a car for over a year to school and to my part time job. and I had a 12 guage shot gun and a semi auto 30.06 rifle as part of my gun collection.

      Sixteen is when a boy can enlist in the military to carry implements of war on the battle field for ones country.

      So yes, advising that a sixteen year old boy should have had a gun to defend oneself from being eaten by a bear is perfectly appropriate.

  2. The runner must have done something to attract or antagonize the bear. Black bears are not aggressive and are easily scared off. The runner has a higher chance of an ND than needing to use the pistol on a bear. Maybe bear spray would work, but it is still unnecessary

    • Okay “Timmy Treadwell,” whatever you say……since you weren’t the one attacked and killed, and you weren’t present during the attack.

      • If lived in California black bear country and had at least a handful of bear encounters, you would understand

        • Ha ha whatever dude, I’m from ak. Bears are all good until they are not, you only need to get it wrong once with the wrong bear…..but hey you live in California so tell me more about how you know everything…..

      • Google the number of black bear incidents in Yosemite and see if you don’t find many. Then go look up Lone Pine or Tahoe and see how many black bears there are.
        You might know grizzlies in Alaska but I’ve been hiking and camping the Sierras since my parents got tired of carrying me in their pack – and those mountains are full of black bears.

        • Sorry but black bears in California are not the same as black bears in Alaska. I am not advocating carrying a gun just because there are black bears about and carrying a gun on a fun run borders on insanity but the bears are indeed different.

    • When a black bear attacks it’s almost always for food. This bear killed the runner and then stood his ground when rescuers arrived. The bear was protecting his meal.

      Too many people get their wildlife beliefs from watching Disney style lovable buffoon animals on the screen. These folks need to stay out of the narrative and the woods.

      • You are correct, jwm. I’d also guess that the bear in particular was a male and a bigger one, as well. Many bears can be dealt with as easily as a mischievous puppy.(If they don’t just run away.) Other ones should definitely be taken as a threat. Body language is everything with many of us wild beasts.

        • I live in CA also. Mountain lions rarely attack people. But it happens. My 2yo granddaughter was rushed by a coyote on a bay area hiking trail. Her daddy scooped her up and kicked at the yote til he gave up.

          SurfGW, like a lot of folks has been lucky. He thinks that his experience is the norm. Which it has been. Until its not. If his luck holds, he will survive the moment that reveals the truth to him.

          The moment you step out your front door you become part of the food chain.

    • I can’t tell if you are being serious or trolling. Not a bear expert what would be the way to scare a bear away without a gun or spray?

    • Boy you had me going there for a second. In my head I literally said, “This mother fucker right here…” then I re read it. Sadly the level of ignorance on this kind of stuff is that high, where sometimes it gets hard to tell what’s sarcasm and what’s not.

    • Disagree SurfGW. It should have been a Ruger GP100 use. That’s a good, affordable “take everywhere” starter gun for bear county.

      • Anything that shoots full strength .357 load would do. There are several options that are more runner friendly than a GP100.

        • Have a bunch of Rugers that handle full strength .357’s, including an LCR that only weighs around 17 oz. Call me a liar, but even full house .357’s from this are not uncomfortable. Any gun this light that easily handles 158 gr SJSP & JHP loads is hard to beat.

      • While there are grizzly bear horror stories from fishermen, this was a black bear, who very rarely attack. This would be like saying the woman who got bit by a shark at Churches in Orange County should carry a .357 from now on when she surfs. We all play chances when they are small probability but someone still gets hit by lightning

        • No, you carry a good dive knife when you play in the sharky sand box. Appropriate tools for specific parameters. Don’t be a derp and get yourself killed because you think “it won’t happen to me”.

        • “While there are grizzly bear horror stories from fishermen, this was a black bear, who very rarely attack.”
          While true, that’s like saying your house very rarely catches fire.
          In some areas (like Alaska, for example), ‘very rarely’ translates into much more likely than it does for, say, Kansas. The residents should plan accordingly.
          Your lack of knowledge about nature is frightening.

    • SurfGW is correct. The kid did two things wrong. He was there and he was edible. Neither of those “transgressions” should cost you your life. Bears are big and strong with teeth and claws. Humans make up for their disadvantage by making and using tools.

      • You forgot to mention the 3rd thing he did wrong. He, like pretty much all humans, couldn’t outrun the bear.

    • Bullshit. Another armchair “expert”. Black bears are USUALLY docile. But not always. The rangers will tell you that they are “easily scared off”, but if they didn’t, attendance would drop.

      • Heh. Wouldn’t that be the sales pitch. “Black bears are USUALLY docile. The rest of the time they try to eat you.”

  3. Most 16year kids cannot legally carry a gun. Probably bear spray…bizarre THAT wasn’t mentioned. RIP…

  4. A modern cell phone is much lighter than a Ruger LCP. The LCP loaded is gonna weigh over 13 oz. A modern cell phone weighs about 4 oz. Also, a cell phone is only about a 1/4 inch thick. An LCP is just under an inch thick.

  5. My condolences to the family. What a tragedy.

    It seems inexcusable that the race did not have chaperones with appropriate firearms stationed every 200 or so yards.

    • I was thinking that would be a good answer as well. Should be able to get volunteers in Alaska pretty easy. Just give them “Official Bear Guard” buttons, that they get to keep. Guaranteed to be a collector item in 10 years. Only give them to people who actually participate.

      • I know when long distance swimmers swim across the ocean, like across the English channel, it is common to do so in shark cages for safety. It seems prudent to have a safeguard like armed park rangers or volunteers close at hand if you are going to be racing through bear country.

    • My thoughts exactly, event needed better planning and structure. A light can of bear repellent would have been a good addition to the runners kit.

      • Unless the wind was in the wrong direction, getting a face full of bear spray would make you an even easier target, since you would be blinded and make it hard to run away. Plus, the pepper spray would just make you an even tastier snack for the bear.

        How can you tell if a camper was using bells and bear spray as a deterrent? When you found pepper smelling bells in the bear scat.

    • I agree. I don’t run races with guns. I run a little with pistols, but virtually all of them are uncomfortable to do so. I’m also no longer built like an anorexic ballerina cross country runner, and I don’t know any competitive runners who carry religiously.

      A couple guys on the sidelines packing Underwood Penetrator. 45-70 “+P”, or a number of stout rounds in the. 357 – .458 range, would have caused a much different ending.

      • The only runner I’ve known who carried regularly while running wore one of those backpack-like things with a water supply. I had an outer pouch, and since the territory around was habitat to bear, cougar, and coyote that outer pouch was where she carried her .45. It seemed awkward to me, but she could get her hands on it in under two seconds, diving to one side, rolling, and coming to a knee with gun in hands and aimed.

        But if you’re running and carrying, that’s probably the best place, nice and snug and balanced. I was a distance runner till I had to acquire artificial hips, and it’s the only way I can think of to carry that would be at all reasonable.

  6. Obviously, if all you have is a sub-compact pistol in .380 ACP during a bear attack, you use it and shoot until the bear disengages or you run out of ammunition, whichever comes first.

    I would never go in the woods with anything less than a full-size handgun in 9mm. And if black bears are in those woods, then I would recommend that you move up to a 10mm pistol with 5-inch barrel and stout 180 grain hardcast lead bullet cartridges … or a .357 Magnum revolver with 6-inch barrel and stout 180 grain hardcast lead bullet cartridges.

    Of course bigger is always better — especially when it comes to bears — which is why I take a .44 Magnum (with 6+ inch barrel) in the woods with me. If I only expect small to average black bears, then I am pretty comfortable with average loads and 240 grain jacketed softpoints. If I have any reason at all to be concerned about BIG critters (500+ pounds), then I would have decent loads with 300 grain hardcast lead bullets.

      • Yeah, that 1911 in 10mm is really nice and would be more than adequate for any black bear encounter that I can possibly imagine.

        And it seems basically optimized for the task:
        (a) 5-inch barrel
        (b) 8+1 capacity
        (c) 40 ounces (plus semi-auto) for recoil mitigation

        With that platform, I’ll bet an average person could reliably shoot four shots within two seconds and keep all shots within a pie-plate at 5 yards … which should be plenty to stop a black bear.

        If I could afford it, I would buy one.

    • I have a stash of Underwood Extreme Defender in 9mm, .40, and .357 specifically for that purpose. Lots of great ammo out there.

  7. I agree on the whole any gun is better than no gun 100%. Rather go down slinging lead and maybe you’d get lucky with an eye shot. But, if you’re in real bear country, you aught to have a real bear gun. Perhaps running events in these places should make it part of the aerobic experience to include having to lug around a decent sized gun while running. It’s not that uncalled for. I had to run with a rifle often while in the service.

      • Once again the retard speaks. What did I say about full military kit? I said decent sized firearm. Could be a rifle. Could be a full sized pistol. Get out of your basement.

        • Please, don’t insult the retards! This guy is clearly working on his prog-lib “Anti-2nd Amendment” merit badge…

        • Tired of feeding the trolls here, but here goes one last time. I love how anytime someone adds a dissenting opinion we’re automatically listed as liberal idiots. This is a great website with good comments most of the time. These posts are bringing out the gun crazies that feel if they see a cockroach on their egg salad sandwich it should’ve been a DGU. I have CC permit, pack often, and enjoy gun culture. I am not a leftist leaning radical but neither am I an alt-right cowboy whipping out my MSR every time I feel my 2A rights are threatened. I made a simple comment about a foot race not being the right time or place for a participant to be packing. Some people posting comments have added good ideas and dialogue, others have just wanted to stir the pot. Get over yourselves and self-righteousness. Really think before you post and the answer to every problem is not a gun.

    • This may sound strange, but I have had my doubts about shotgun slugs for stopping bears.

      Explanation: 12 gauge shotgun slugs are big hollow lead cups. When they hit their target, they flatten out and become a disk — very similar to a half-dollar (50-cent piece). A disk is a HORRIBLE projectile, especially on a tough bruiser of an animal like a bear, and I would not expect much penetration.

      Rather, a large diameter bullet with a MUCH higher sectional density will penetrate a LOT farther, even in tough animals.

      I dare say I would rather have your 10mm pistol with stout 180 grain hardcast lead bullet cartridges over a 12 shotgun shooting cheap slugs. Now, if that 12 gauge shotgun had something like Hornady sabot slugs (a 300 grain, 50 caliber bullet I believe), I would take that over any handgun in a heartbeat. But the those cheap hollow slugs against bears (especially headshots)? No thanks.

      • I’ve adopted Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrators as an all-around carry load for the G20. It rides in the truck, so it’s excellent for penetrating windshields, car doors, or fat people. I imagine it will do pretty well on carnivorous animals, for the same reasons you listed.

      • I agree with the solid cast 10 mm, but question your characterization of that as wide diameter. Two major reasons that 10 mm is considered superior to .45 ACP for bear. One is the higher velocity. The other is smaller diameter, allowing for better penetration of a bear’s thick skull (which is where the solid cast comes in)

      • There’s a readily available number that tells you all you need to know about penetration– the Sectional Density, or S.D. It’s trivial to calculate, and printed in every bullet catalog and reloading manual. Higher number– more penetration, more or less linearly. Velocity is essentially irrelevant, all other things being kept equal. For example, you can quickly see that the .45 ACP isn’t any better at penetration than a 147 gr. 9mm… though I can hear the howls now from the armchair experts. Who are wrong. But I digress.

        And a 12-gauge Forster slug is .70″ diameter, and about 420 grains. A .45-70 bullet is 420 gr., and .45″ in diameter. It will penetrate at least twice as deeply.

        With a shotgun, you must run the saboted sub-diameter slugs to get any real penetration, for the exact reasons you mentioned. You’d be better off with a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun, but it’ll probably be heavier (and more costly) than a cheap pump loaded with appropriate slugs.

      • Muzzle energy (granted, not terminal energy, but…)
        10mm = 3000 ft/lb

        Which, if it doesn’t penetrate (ever seen a bear skull? There’s no guarantee a 10 mm will penetrate), is going to produce the greater deterrence for the bear?
        We can discuss terminal ballistics all day, but what counts is the actual effect on the target. When you’re being approached by a bear, which would you really rather have? 10mm or 12 ga? Personally, I’d choose the 12 gauge.

    • It does but maybe your G20 would at least be enough to make him change his mind about making a meal out of you.

      • The G20 shoots 10 mm, which is considered by many to be the best bear round for semiautomatic handguns. There are those who routinely hunt Grizzlies with G40s, which is the long slide version of the G20.

    • “‘Tis only a flesh wound…”

      My thinking is it wasn’t a clean head wound, but some kind of flesh wound on the face. Maybe.

      • A bears skull is sort of like armor on a modern tank – sloped.
        Difficult to penetrate, with a bullet or a mouth full of very large teeth.
        A 12 ga slug may not penetrate, but it will leave a more lasting impression than a 10mm that bounces off.
        I would imagine that those who champion the 10mm (and don’t get me wrong, for a handgun, they are formidable) are thinking body shot, not head shot. In that situation, they are better than even the mighty .45. But they still don’t stack up well with a long gun in proper caliber. Even a 12 ga with slugs.

    • G20 with the Federal JSP round would be a reasonable carry weapon. Certainly my go-to in that environment

      • G20 yes. JHP not so much. I would instead suggest Buffalo Bore solid cast, which does a much better job penetrating a bear’s thick skull.

  8. I’m not sure about the pistol suggestion here. Sure, it’s a black bear but bears of most types are tough motherfuckers.

    I’m no big fan of wheel guns for EDC but when I’m visiting friends or family in AK I borrow a big bore revolver and I do that for a damn good reason.

    • In bear country, all things being equal, a rifle is the tool for the job. From my “small arsenal” I think I’d go with the .50 Beowulf with the 340gr brass spitzers. I keep it just in case mini-vans start turning feral.

  9. The race was three miles uphill. Juniors under 17 do a halfway up and back. Somehow, returning, he got off the course. All runners had to sign a release as wilderness runs can be dangerous. However:
    “Races actually can be said to cut down on the risk of a bear encounter because so many people are there, making noise and making their presence known, Precosky said. “There’s no safer time to be on a mountain than on a race,” he said.”
    As for the race there was a 250 runner limit:
    “The starting gun for the juniors race sounded at 10:11 a.m. sharp, according to the Dispatch News. Cooper hit the turnaround point for his age group about 40 minutes later, with eight other juniors trailing him. A trail “sweeper” was reportedly following the last runner in the group.”
    Somehow, he strayed off course.
    Is anyone else surprised that more people weren’t involved? I’d be expecting other racers or officials would have been around. It’s Alaska, didn’t someone have a gun?

    • Maybe having a bear chasing him had something to do with his getting off course?

      Early accounts were unclear if he strayed off course or if the bear dragged him downhill. I recall he was found 500 yards from the trail.

  10. This is a tragic story. But stories like this gives me the perspective, of no matter how much I could complain about how bad my day was..I didn’t run across a bear so I will just stfu.

  11. Maybe having a foot race in bear country isn’t such a hot idea? All those people running may look like a herd of meals to an apex predator.

  12. This “it should have been a dgu” is getting kind of stupid. A competitive runner just isn’t going to carry a gun that’s powerful enough to put down an angry bear. I’m honestly surprised he was carrying a cellphone.

    • that was the point of my initial post but some armchair cowboys here feel the need to list the merits of carrying a gun everywhere by everyone. There are some instances, some places where a gun is no appropriate or feasible. Trampoline park? should’ve been a DGU. Swimming English Channel? DGU. I stand by my original comment, the approach of many here is what makes gun owners look silly.

  13. I have a feeling there are a lot of fatbodies here who are far more likely to die early of diabetes or heart disease, than anything that could be prevented with a gun.

      • Hahaha, I carry most everywhere, including when I run. When I run, I carry in a Hill People Gear Runners Kit Bag. I rarely if ever carry when I race though. I also work on my fight game regularly, eat a balanced diet, and pay attention to my health. I’m guessing you go 300 lbs, and couldn’t beat my wife in a street fight.

  14. Once in high school cross country we had a course in bear country. Some parents of the host team ran around the course with motorcycles for a half hour up until fifteen minutes before the start. When they stopped they parked here and there along the course.

    Which is to illustrate that there are simple measures that can seriously reduce the risk of bears.

  15. Anyone younger than 16 years of age can possess a firearm with parental permission. Open carrying a rifle or shotgun with proper ammo type would be best.

  16. “…He could easily have carried a Ruger LCP II, which weighs about as much. Whether or not that would have been “enough gun” for a black bear is not entirely germane. It would have given him a chance…The bear was finally driven off when a park ranger shot it in the face with a shotgun slug, WOUNDING it.”

    I think it’s germane to wonder whether an LCP would be enough gun given the fact that the bear was only finally driven off by a shotgun slug. This is a case where, in the absence of more gun, I’d rather have bear mace than a pocket pistol.

    • Bears, like most predators, will guard their kill.
      This doesn’t preclude a gunshot from scaring a bear off before it makes a kill. Like most predators, how persistent a bear goes after a meal depends on several factors, including how hungry it is, and how much fight the meal puts up. A very loud noise can scare a bear off, even a hungry one.
      The fact that it took a shotgun blast to the face to make it leave its kill doesn’t mean a 9mm blast wouldn’t have scared it off before it killed the runner.

  17. While a .380 isn’t the greatest pistol in the world “most likely ” the noise of a shot would have deterred.

    Sure the bear was only wounded by the 12 gauge, but at that point it was already guarding it’s kill.

    As for the objections to “it should have been a DGU”. Well it should have. In a philosophical sense. Better a DGU and a dead bear then a dead young human with most of his life in front of him.

  18. I know it is hard for us gun guys to understand, but anybody seriously competing in a trail run probably isn’t going to carry a firearm with sufficient power to stop an angry or hungry bear. Unless everybody in the race is carrying also. I have my doubts about a .357 LCR being very effective in this situation.

    It is a completely different mindset, and a risk they are willing to take. Is it foolish? Perhaps. But we as humans do lots of foolish things because we are willing to take the risk for what we want. That’s just the way it is.

    • Anchorage is not the world’s most conservative, gun friendly city. I should know, as I live here – the type of folks that generally organize and run these events are NPR kool-aid swigging, granola munching hipsters. There may have been a clause against weaponry in the race rules. I hike on Turnagain Arm (where Bird Creek is) and the upper Kenai Peninsula a LOT, and you’d be amazed at how few people are carrying despite a high number of bear incidents there.

      Additionally, this is about the stupidest time of year for this kind of event, as lots of things that bears love to eat are growing. The fish are running, the dandelions are plentiful, and there are lots of cow moose with new calves in the area. Stupid as hell to have a run near an active ursine fishing hole.

      As to the Glock 20 thing, if yours works 100 percent of the time with heavy loads, when potentially limp wristing under extreme stress, more power to ya. Mine had three ftf’s using Buffalo Bore loads in a situation where I needed it. We lived, nobody got eaten, but damned if I didn’t bring the Redhawk out of retirement real quicklike.

  19. 1. Should have been a defensive firearms use.

    2. The organizations responsible for this disastrous backwoods run through dangerous bear country SHOULD be held legally culpable for the death of this ypung runner…For NOT providing proper security, and medical support for the event…

    3. Create a new sport forcing LibTard Pro-Aggressive Shills, SJWs, Cupcakes, Fruitcakes, Snowflakes, etc…To run through bear country with Pork chop tied around their neck…This way they can prove that Disney was right about docile wild animals, and that they are one with nature…”Good Luck….;

    • You don’t know much about racing. There may or may not be a settlement, but if there is, it will be less than the projected cost of defending the suit.

  20. I’d rather gamble on bear spray than a mouse gun. Running it unarmed doesn’t seem like an egregiously dangerous thing to do even if I wouldn’t.

  21. It’s a simple fact of life. The moment you leave your house you enter the food chain. Doesn’t matter if you live in New York City or back of nowhere Alaska.

    It’s up to the individual to decide what, if any steps they take to lessen the degree of danger we’re all in every minute of every day.

    It’s sad that a 16yo had to die by being clawed and bitten to death.

    I’ve told the story here before about being cornered by a dog pack when I was 16. I was in the woods. I had a tree to my back and dogs all around. 1 shot from a .22 rifle at just about contact range killed the largest and most aggressive dog. The rest left.

    We all have to make our choices. I made mine.

  22. So maybe I am wrong, but understanding of Federal law tells me it is illegal to transfer a handgun to a minor unless they are engaged in certain activities, namely:

    (i) in the course of employment, in the course of ranching or farming related to activities at the residence of the juvenile (or on property used for ranching or farming at which the juvenile, with the permission of the property owner or lessee, is performing activities related to the operation of the farm or ranch), target practice, hunting, or a course of instruction in the safe and lawful use of a handgun;

    18 U.S.C. 922

    • Wow — a lot of disarmament crap has been put in place since I used to take the youth group out shooting. A lot of times we were eliminating prairie dogs for ranchers, which apparently would qualify, and other times we were hunting rabbits, but unless just plinking counts as “target practice”, we spent a lot of time in violation of this if it had been in effect back then. So these days it would be easier to just stick to long guns.

  23. Would I have brought a gun on a fun run, even in an area where bears were known to be, probably not. I guess I would have assumed that all the people would have been enough to keep bears away. I guess I would have assumed there would be adequate protection for the people involved. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking would have gotten me killed in this guys place. No you don’t need to carry all the time and you can’t lived scared all the time. However, perhaps it’s not so crazy or paranoid to carry when the chances of encountering a bear are higher than those when you’re sitting at home watching cartoons. You can bet your butt that a lot of people who previously would never have considered carrying on a fun run through the bear woods, for all the reasons mentioned in these comments, will do so in the next run.

    It’s a choice. You can choose to take a stand and not be afraid while running through the bear woods and 9 times out of 10 you’re going to be fine. Or, you can choose to prepare yourself all the time for that 1 out 10 times when being armed is the only method for possible survival. The difference between the two is the first one doesn’t walk around being concerned about possible danger all the time and potentially pays for it when that 1 out 10 comes around. The other accepts the fact that they are carrying most of the time when it’s not necessary but when that 1 out of 10 situation comes around they are prepared. It’s a choice.

  24. This really is not firearms related so I apologize if this gets off topic but seriously hope someone who is close to the case or has more knowledge can explain. If the course of action happened exactly as being reported I do not know how this individual would be able to send a text message while being chased by a bear. If in fact this did take place i think I would of been more focused or used that time differently and perhaps had a better chance of surviving. I’ve been to Alaska numerous times and every time I have been in the parts we visited everyone and I do mean everyone had a firearm on them or within reaching distance. I understand for a runner it would typically be difficult to do but given the area and danger if I was running I would of had a fanny pack with a light weight revolver. It may look weird or add a little more gear but at least I would of had a chance. But with all this being said a young person lost there life and I’m sure the family and other loved ones are having a difficult time so I hope he rests in peace and the family can heal and get through this.

    • Many predatory black bear attacks are tentative, “testing the waters” so to speak. The bear approaches, backs off, approaches, backs off, studies the prey to see if it is dangerous, then finally attacks. That could be what happened here. It is unlikely this bear had attacked humans before.

      • I’ve been approached by a black bear when hiking. It’s one of the reasons I like my 7′ tall hiking staff; lifted and held out to the side, it makes me look a lot bigger. Add to that holding my 2-quart canteen out to the other side, it’s been enough that every bear I’ve encountered has turned away.

        Except the grizzlies in northern Washington, but we had retreated to the top of a monstrous glacial boulder at the first sign of them. They couldn’t reach us even standing, so we soaked up rays until they got bored and left.

  25. A 2011 study by Stephen Herrero showed that between 1900-2006, black bears deemed predatory killed 63 people during 59 incidents. Predatory black bears are incredibly determined; the best tool for stopping them is a firearm. Bear spray zealots would argue otherwise, but Herrero’s 1998 bear spray study describes the outcome of using bear spray on 4 aggressive/predatory black bears: In all of the 4 incidents the bear spray apparently changed the behavior of the bear; however, in no cases did the bear leave the area after being sprayed. In 1 case the bear was shot and killed after being sprayed. In another case, the bear left after a shotgun was fired. In the other 2 cases the person left. I 1 the bear didn’t follow, but in the other the bear spray followed and the person was finally able to make it to camp, but only after firing a bear banger.

  26. You are so awesome! I don’t think I’ve truly read anything like this before.
    So good to discover another person with unique thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that
    is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

  27. If I’m going anywhere that predators known for attacking humans are present (cities, suburbs, the mountains), I’m carrying.

    I always have, at minimum, my S&W 649. I would hope that with 5 shots of Buffalo Bore, I could stop any predator smaller than a grizzly.

    If I we’re going into grizzly territory, the .44 Magnums (revolver, rifle, and pistol) are coming along.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here