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Jeff Cooper RIP (courtesy

“Toutle native Jeff Cooper [above] had hunted all his life, but there was one game prize that had eluded him: a grizzly bear,” reports. “Sunday night, at a remote location in Northern British Columbia, he came close to realizing the dream when he shot and wounded a grizzly. The next morning, he and two hunting guides tracked the animal down.” A quick word before the reveal. I realize that some of these Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day posts are borderline fair. But they are all cautionary. OK, so . . .

The angry bear charged out of the brush. Cooper and the two guides, reacting instantly, all fired and dropped the bear. Cooper was standing in front of one of the guides, and a bullet struck and killed him, according to his family.

Both tragic and ironic. One of the four rules of gun safety (as established by another Jeff Cooper): “Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.” Granted, that’s not easy when a wounded grizzly bear is charging you. But it’s not an unexpected problem when you’re hunting a wounded grizzly bear. Or if you’re a grizzly bear hunter, generally.

Clint Eastwood famously opined that “a man’s gotta know his limitations.” When guns are involved, the lack of that self-knowledge can be lethal. So, while I understand that any of us could have been that guy, I’m still bestowing the IGOTD on the grizzly guide. Not because he’ll need a reminder of what can happen when you fail to be responsible with your gun under pressure. Because we do.

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  1. Poor guy! I’m sorry for him and his family. Charging bear or not, the guide should have known better. They were tracking a wounded animal, so they should have been expecting a very dangerous bear.

  2. I feel for the bear bleeding out all night because some shithead took a bad shot. I’m not against hunting, but it if you can’t take it down don’t shoot it

    • Not much of a hunter are you because if you were you would know
      not every shot made is always a kill shot and any animal including a human
      if able to run after being injured will do so.

      You assume a lot about a man you do not even know even resorting to name calling.
      No wonder the antis- have it so easy…

    • William,
      Bears are tough. They can take a lot of lead.
      One I shot took 11 rounds from a .300 win mag and a .264 win mag.
      The first two shots were right in the boiler room.
      One of the reasons bear are my favorite. They can turn the tables on you very fast.

        • You don’t need to when you can run 35 mph, kill with one blow, and soak up enough damage to destroy an engine block.

        • So, what’s your point? Are you any less dead because he mauled you rather than shot you?

          You pipe up in every single thread that has to do with hunting with this nonsense. Since they are pretty much the only threads you post in, well…maybe advocating The Truth About Guns is not your real point in being here?

    • Rarely, on a night hunt, when you still have a little bit of light left, you will shoot something. Ive had deer and pigs run off on a good hit, and then some stop and do the dirt dance right there on a hit I might have questioned. Animals like humans are very unpredictable, but it is ALWAYS important to make sure you are harvesting humanely.

      Usually, if that something at night runs off and you dont find it then, the meat will probably be bad by the time you do. But I cant argue not wanting to search for a wounded bear in the dark, I dont enjoy doing it for deer or pigs.

      Then again I dont hunt for trophies period which is what this sounded like from the get go…not that I dont want to go on a bear hunt(OH HELL YEA), but killing something because youve never got one before isnt enough of a reason for me.

      • It’s important to manage the Griz population properly, and the hunting is a big deal for the local economy in depressed areas of BC. If it’s edible and the hunter doesn’t want it, it will still get et by someone.

      • Listen, its a dangerous sport some times you get hurt or even killed when blasting totally defensive bears. And gut wounding them so they can SUFFER ALL NIGHT !!! is very…..sad. Why do you want to kill bears you probably do not eat them and the rugs are totally tacky …. it is a very selfish act that needs to stop. These bears are a huge reason why people come to these areas to see these magnificant bears …. take a pictue

  3. Not a good idea to be between anybody with a gun an a chargin grizzly…..sorry

  4. If I’d hired two guides, and we were going for the first shot, sure put me up front to (hopefully) take the shot I’d paid them to get. Tracking a wounded grizzly? I’d be sure the guides were leading the way in that situation.

    Of course you’d have thought the guides would have insisted it play out that way. But then maybe they didn’t want to get shot in the back by an over eager hunting customer…

    • When stalking IMHO, you’re always in a group and a firing line is HUGE, everyone knows where everyone is and can see each other. Then again I dont hunt with people I dont actually trust.

    • I think it was Capstick who had a rule that no client with a loaded gun was behind him. Too many close calls.

  5. Well that’s what happens when you’re Canadian.

    Sorry, sorry… I’ve had more than a few problems out of people up there. 😛

    • And I have had problems with a few Americans, but I don’t think that they deserve to be shot in the back. On the whole, we Canadians are good people living under some very unjust laws. BTW, I still like Americans, the A-holes notwithstanding.

  6. In this instance, it would be “be aware of who or what is in front of you”. Not behind.

  7. I remember reading about the guy who ran magnaporting in the 80’s he shot the 2nd largest Grizzly with one shot of a 44 magnum. A few days later while they were packing up the camp a old ratty grizzly broke into the cabin looking for food it took 11 rounds from 3 guys to get it to leave the cabin where it later died outside from blood loss. So you can never tell.

    As for the hunter I’m sorry for his loss but unless there was video its hard to judge what happened. It does not sound like the classic “I heard a sound so I fired that we unfortunately read too often in the new when a hunter gets shot or killed.

  8. RIP, Jeff Cooper. Finally got your Grizzly.

    If I read it correctly, it was Mr. Cooper who was shot & killed by one of the other guides, so Irresponsible Gun Owner of the day belongs to the other guy, not Jeff Cooper. Although it is up to everyone in a hurnting party to know where other shooters are and stay out of line of fire. Point is well taken, when tracking an injured bear, need a plan in advance. Sure seems like result of a panic shot. Something to take into consideration in a SD situation. My sympathy to his family.

  9. Interesting rumor: I heard that the guides were breaking the law if they allowed the customer to accompany them on the tracking/stalking of a wounded bear.

    Pro hunting tip: when hunting in a group, decide who shoots where ahead of time to avoid exactly what happened in this incident.

  10. I am disappointed at those who would mock or criticize this poor man. He could have done everything right and one of the guides just panicked. Let’s not assign moral failure to a dead man who is likely blameless. We can observe and discuss ways to prevent such tragedies, but there’s no need to brainlessly act superior.

  11. None of us were there. Mr. Cooper may have taken a step or stumbled last second into the guides pre-briefed line of fire. He knew the risks and died taking on a lifetime challenge. His family misses him but is also honoring that, and the police cleared the guides, too. One will live with regret for the rest of his life, and on this one, RF, imho, its not fair to call him an idiot.

  12. If you want disgusting, check out the comment sections in the local Seattle media.
    The commie-leftist- PETA loving- anti hunting hippies around here are heaping disdain on this guy because they all believe he had it coming for being a bear hunter.

  13. I’m not a hunter, so I’d defer to the comments of guys like Tom and Taylor, who are and who regularly come across as informed and level-headed. It definitely sounds like mistakes were made on this hunt; not just of the freak accident sort, but of overeagerness or possibly professional negligence. It’d be interesting to see what the investigation concludes.

  14. this is why I never let someone walk behind or in front of me when hunting, and Im not even hunting things that might try and kill me… well feral hogs I guess could rough you up pretty good so yeah everyone walks a staggered line shoulder to shoulder or their gun is slung and no round chambered.

  15. “I’m still bestowing the IGOTD on the grizzly guide. Not because he’ll need a reminder of what can happen when you fail to be responsible with your gun under pressure. Because *we* do.”

    Asterisks are my emphasis since I don’t know how to put in italics.

    Posts like this are educational reminders. Here’s hoping we don’t become that guy– whether it’s the guide, or shooting victim.

  16. A bear charges you, and you shoot the guy in front of you? I know adrenaline and all but you don’t shoot the guy right in front of you.

    Condolences to the deceased guy’s family.

  17. That’s unfortunate.

    Too soon joke ahead…

    So now we know where Dick Cheney is working.

  18. My thoughts on this after many Bear Hunts is, There’s way to many folks making comments that are completely clueless as to the dangers of hunting “Dangerous Game” !!!
    When tracking this type of game everything about the prey is unknown other than You may become that “prey”!
    These Animals can move side to side, up or down and coward and back in less than a blink of an eye. Add hunters, terrain, recoil and inanimate objects and You now have the most dangerous situation a hunter can get himself into and a Guides are hunters in this also. This could have been prevented had the guides made the hunter stay at camp but in most cases on this type hunt normally the hunter is more than Insistant that they atleast get to try and finish there hunt right or wrong if I am taking game to be my game animal I will take it start to finish and believe most Dangerous Game Hunters Feel The Same, Excluding PH of Africa on Dangerous Game and in that case most times once the trigger is pulled at the PH’s discretion all or most Professional Shooters in group follow a plan of action that if the game turns in any direction other than the one desired the shooting quits when the PH calls it and generally one more is added in to be sure. Myself I cannot pass any judgement on the Guides or The Hunter and as for a reminder there’s more than enough already!!! You all were not there and neither was I and that I’m thankful for!!! To me this is one time that the IGOTD AWARD SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN SENT OUT TO THE RESIPIENT!!!! To The Family and Friends So Sorry for Your Loss!

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