Polar Bear Attack Stopped with Three Shots from .44 Magnum Revolver

On Thursday, 19 March, 2015, a woman with a .44 magnum stopped a polar bear from attacking Jakub Moravec, 37, in the Svalbard archipelago. Polar bear attacks are expected there, and tourists are not allowed unless they carry a high powered firearm. In this case . . .

the rifles were left outside the tents, but inside the protective alarm wire. The armed woman, mother of Zuzanna Hakova, shot the bear three times with the revolver. From telegraph.co.uk:

They were lucky to be alive after a polar bear broke into their tent on a remote Norwegian island and tried to maul them.

But tourists who shot the animal three times with a revolver have now been fined nearly £800 by the local government – because they failed to put a member of their group on “polar bear watch.”

The group, from the Czech Republic, were travelling in the Svalbard archipelago when they were attacked by the bear during the night.

Jakub Moravec, 37, said he awoke to find it “standing over him” in his tent.

“It went straight to my head. Luckily my colleague shot it,” he told local radio NRK shortly after the incident in March.

Zuzanna Hakova, who was part of the same tour group, said her mother then shot the bear three times with a revolver and it fled.

An earlier account mentioned gunfire, but did not mention that a revolver was the firearm used.

The Czech Republic is one of the most gun friendly countries in Europe. The local publication in Svalbard did a better job on reporting details. From svalbardposten.no:

The Governor of Svalbard is continuing to keep some details under wraps about the confrontation between a group of six Czech tourists and a two-year-old polar bear last Thursday. One man suffered slight injures after the animal, which later had to be euthanized, entered the tent camp at Fredheim early in the morning.

What is known:
• 5:30 a.m. (approx.): The bear entered the campsite without triggering the flare alarm system set up around the two tents. It appears the group did not have a guard watching for polar bears at the time. Jakub Moravec, 37, the injured man, said he was dragged out of the tent and another person in the group fired three shots with a .44 Magnum at the animal. The bear subsequently fled.

The local account mentions that local authorities had to euthanize the wounded bear.The polar bear was wounded in the neck and body by the revolver shots and was leaving a blood trail when the authorities dispatched it.

The attack appears to have been a predatory one. Predatory attacks are often slower and the bears more willing to flee than territorial or sow with cub attacks.

If bears suffered significant harm each time they predated on other large animals, they would not survive long. Bears often test unfamiliar prey to determine if the prey is a significant danger.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch


  1. avatar Carl says:

    This time of the year the moms are known to be really dangerous , specially when they fear their children are about to be harmed.
    Some of them even carry .44 magnums.

  2. avatar Stereodude says:

    Did anyone get the polar bear’s opinion on bump fire stocks, AR-15’s, or even gun control before it was assaulted and murdered by an irresponsible gun owner? This is a key missing detail from the story!

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    I’d throw that on the grill. (Not eating the liver though – poisonous stuff)

    1. avatar johnny go lightly says:

      Polar bear liver is not poisonous. It has extremely high vitamin A content. Just eat small portion.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Nope! One bite could send me to a the hospital. No thanks!

  4. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

    Yes, .44 mag is good bear medicine. Wonder what type of bullets were used and where the three shots connected with the bear.

    This one knew that the Scandinavians were backwards this day and age, but fining someone for shooting a “white” assailant seems to be beyond the pale.

    1. avatar Carl says:

      Old Ben Franklin was right about them.
      Now they lead the world in stupid policies that please the ego through virtue signaling

      1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

        Carl, a Scandinavian name of the freeman, in Nordic legend along with his older brother Jarl and younger Thrall, they were symbolic of society at the time. Sadly now, what once were carls are now mostly thralls, and the jarls are traitors amongst their kin. This one’s ancestor’s homeland has been sold out to barbaric invaders, and the populace are complicit in their oppression and looming extirpation.

        Esoteric Inanity weeps for the lost honor and culture of his kinsmen. There are very few left that can make a legitimate claim to the once proud viking heritage. They have shamed their ancestors, and may the Einherjar disown them.

        1. avatar BJI says:

          “once proud viking heritage”
          YYYUUUPPP!!! Vikings PROUDLY slaughtered unarmed monks, Christian priests, unarmed peasants and etc. in their marauding forays!!!

        2. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          Name a culture that doesn’t have its own historical vices.

          The pride comes from not letting others walk all over one or their countrymen.

        3. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          Also, Vikings were cool.

          As someone whose Viking heritage is so far back that it probably doesn’t count. (Like, over a 1,000 years ago, and a bunch of rape victims all over Northern Europe before that).

        4. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          “Also, Vikings were cool.

          As someone whose Viking heritage is so far back that it probably doesn’t count. (Like, over a 1,000 years ago, and a bunch of rape victims all over Northern Europe before that).”

          Esoteric Inanity’s bro Skinner is an avowed descendant of Scottish ancestry with a touch of French and a dash of Native-American thrown in. His sister always made the claim of some Danish blood in them. Skinner vehemently denied such a thing.

          After some provocation, he was coerced into taking one of those ancestry DNA tests. Results came back as something to the effect of 40% Gaelic, 12% French, 4% Indiginous American and 38% Scandinavian. Guess that makes him the bastard son of a Viking, or something to that effect. Then again, Skinner has never quite been “all there”.

        5. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          “Ha ha. The Mormon’s now own Skinner’s genetic code!”

          Oh, now that is interesting. Esoteric Inanity hadn’t heard about this. Personally, while finding many mormons to be quite pleasant and appealing individuals(especially the svelt blondes of the female variety), this one denounces the upper echelons of the LDS leadership to be especially abhorrent. Said “church” has been established and run as a theocratic capitalistic enterprise. No doubt that there is some scheme in the works to profit from this DNA database.

          (In full disclosure, Esoteric Inanity is the great, great grandson of a Swedish polygamist bastard that was kicked in the stomach by a mule and insanguinated in 1886.)

          Skinner proudly self identifies as a Jack Mormon, so it’s doubtful that such a revelation would concern him. If nothing else, he would probably be honored that the LDS leadership would take such an interest in his genetic code, especially after his excommunication lol.

          Esoteric Inanity recalls reading an article years ago about the nuances involved(legal and moral) should a hypothetical drug company attempt to patent an individuals DNA when said individual had a natural genetic resistance to some undefined malady. This one doesn’t recall the specifics, but likely such ownership only extends to documentation uses and isn’t tantamount to a patent and unlimited usage(god willing). God forbid that they should clone Skinner though………

    2. avatar jy says:

      Read the article again, they were not fined for shooting the bear they were fined for not placing a person on bear watch. If a bear watch had been in place it is probable that the bear could have been scared off long before attack became an issue.

      1. avatar Rich M says:

        …the bear “Watcher” would probably either a) fallen asleep and become a meal for the bear, b) fallen asleep and frozen to death and become a peoplecicle for the bear. I’d accept the fine and hit the bar to get euthanized.

  5. avatar Joe R. says:

    So, does that mean the .44 Mag was sufficient? Or still just luck?

    1. avatar Stereodude says:

      Well, the 3 shots didn’t kill it according to the story, so you tell us…

      1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:



        Captain Obvious

        1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

          Agreed. Bullet type is also a major factor when faced with a very large and very hungry predator.

        2. avatar SurfGW says:

          Very much so. Lucky man. Lack of accurate shot placement is why most park rangers recommend bear spray because it is easier to aim with its wide funnel effect

        3. avatar Baldwin says:

          Ok SurfGW, a polar bear is about to eat you…head first. There’s a .44 magnum and bear spray at hand. Choose one. (If you choose bear spray, just save the bear time and spray yourself. It’ll make you tastier.)

        4. avatar Hunter427 says:

          SURF GW
          Park rangers are like gods of the national Forrest, with their liberal college education and a ticket book for every special moment they catch you in violation of the endless government regulations. Their anti use of public land agenda is in full force. So if thats the people I can rely on for sound advice in a life and death moment. Three words no fin way

        5. avatar Joe R. says:

          Ok, good.

          So there’s consensus then.

          : 0

  6. avatar Supermike says:

    Trying to sort this one out… so “Polar bear attacks are expected there, and tourists are not allowed unless they carry a high powered firearm.” … yet you get fined if one sneaks past you, gets in your tent, and you have to shoot it? Is it because, had someone been on watch, the attack would’ve been less likely? Are you supposed to bang pots and pans together or something? Or was the fine because the .44 was not considered ‘high powered” enough to kill it, so it suffered until it was euthanized? Lots of questions…

    1. avatar Mystickal says:

      The fine was not for shooting the bear – the fine was for failing to “take precautions” against the possibility of a bear attack.

      “They had not put in place the necessary safeguards. There was only one tripwire that was set too high and the bear went under it. Nor did they have a polar bear watch at the time,” Svalbard’s Assistant Governor Jens Olav Sæter told local newspaper Svalbardposten.

      1. avatar Supermike says:

        Gotcha… just seems to be a strange thing to be fined for. Like waking up with a polar bear breathing down your neck and ready to eat your face isn’t a crap-your-pants fine in and of itself. Just feels like there was more to it, but maybe not. “Play stupid games…”, right?

        1. avatar SurfGW says:

          Rangers assume you did something to bait the bear if you were attacked. A bear stole my friend backpack out of the bed of his truck while my friend was helping other hikers coming off Whitney. My friend lost his pack and $200 for the fine because he had his food in his pack, not a bear box

        2. avatar Joe R. says:

          If the thing ‘got past the safety wire’ what is the sacrificial ‘bear watch’ dude for? Scream alarm?

        3. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          They had rifles, Joe. Maybe the bear watch could have had one of those at hand so he could avoid becoming bear shit?

    2. avatar Bloving says:

      I must be reading while distracted.
      “One man suffered slight injures after the animal, which later had to be euthanized, entered the tent camp at Fredheim early in the morning.”
      So help me I went over that three times wondering if the man had been euthanized.

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        “[W]hich had to be euthanized” is an appositive phrase modifying the noun “animal,” which precedes the phrase.

        Is it wrong that I used an appositive phrase in my description of an appositive phrase?

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          Nope, I checked, yer good.

          I think everyone got euthanized at the bar after the attack.

  7. avatar sound awake says:


    they worship the creation and not the Creator

    it will be their undoing

  8. avatar The Rookie says:

    3 shots of 44 Mag, delivered point-blank, inside a tent?

    I’m wondering if there is going to be some permanent hearing loss for the woman and her tent mates?

    (Far preferable to being eaten by a bear, of course. Just thinking out loud here).

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      people over estimate the effect of sound. i’ve been next to many people firing weapons sans ear pro, only an AR-10 actually even hurt.

      Hearing protection is for the long haul to protect hearing, not for a, “HOLY CRAP THAT BEAR IS IN MY FACE” moment.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        Anecdotal evidence is…
        I’ve been next to many firings of .308s (from M-14s), as well as many 5.56s (from M-16s), and, in my experience, the 5.56 is louder.
        At the range, with proper hearing protection, the .308 is louder, but the 5.56/.223 is much sharper, and feels worse.
        Anecdotal evidence again.

  9. avatar Mas Cool Arrow says:

    Paws up. Don’t shoot.

    1. avatar DesertDave says:


      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Are you referring to white bears, or black bears? (sarc.)

        1. avatar tiger says:

          The Bear was just offering them a Coke….

  10. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    You’re inside a tent with 2 people and a polar bear. You’re wrapped in cold weather gear and a sleeping bag. And now your tent mate and a large predator.

    Do you want a revolver or a semi?

    1. avatar Rich M says:

      I go with the revolver .44 Magnum. You can’t get a higher powered round in a semi-auto. From what I have read I would want that round to be FMJ for penetration. Bears like the Polar have VERY thick skulls and huge center mass.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        For big bears you want heavy hard cast lead bullets. They penetrate DEEP even through tough muscle and bone.

    2. avatar Patrick says:

      Any news on loads used and/or shot placement (other than head and neck)?

    3. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      There is a reason we killed all the large land based predators around here. So we don’t have to make those decisions.

  11. avatar Hank says:

    3 slugs from a .44, no les no more.

  12. avatar AndyinMA says:

    I would have used .9mm that stuff is deadly

    1. avatar BJI says:

      .9mm Andy???!!! 9mm is .355, .9mm is .0355.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        He knows, but he forgot the sarc tag.

        1. avatar AndyinMA says:

          Thanks Ralph I was trying to throw some gas on the “what round for Bear protection” debate. Clearly it’s .45 cal but I’m sure everyone knows that by now.

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        But the .09MM is king!

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    Why kill the polar bear when you can just throw him a bottle of Coca Cola?

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      How about a whale bone wrapped around a chunk of meat, as in the movie, “The Savage Innocents”

  14. avatar John Galt says:

    No hearing loss because in an emergency self defense moment phsyco-tachia takes over. Adrenaline and blood rush, time slows, hearing closes down.

    Seems the 44 was only effective in scaring it off. Any comments on what would have been better?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      It really depends mostly on bullet construction. Heavy hardcast lead bullets are far and away the most effective dangerous game stoppers. Conventional wisdom is that .454 Casul is barely minimum for BIG polar bears, and .460 S&W Magnum is better.

      Personally, I would be pretty comfortable with .44 Magnum and full power 305 grain hardcast lead bullets for stopping a BIG polar bear at contact range. Assuming at least a 4 inch barrel, I think two good shots (placement) would shut down that bear in a few seconds. (Two such shots constitute dumping 2,200 foot-pounds energy into that bear and each bullet should penetrate something like 48 inches of muscle and bone.)

  15. avatar : says:

    Sounds like they set up a pretty good perimeter, but the watch went to sleep. You sleep you die

  16. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

    White Bear Iives Matter
    I hate to see these cool animals disappear, but warming temp and melting ice has made their long term survival less likely….very sad.

    1. The polar bear population is not down, it is up. Most polar bear populations are stable or rising. The overall population is probably 3 times larger than it was in 1973.

      1. avatar DesertDave says:


    2. avatar Aaron says:

      who said?

      apparently polar bears are adaptable. they aren’t dying out. algore is disappointed.

  17. avatar Richard says:

    The regulations are there for a reason. Break them at your own peril. Shot placement is the major determinant of a fatal shot regardless of other factors. A .22LR will take down a bear with the right shot. Any surprise attack by a large predator is extremely dangerous and most bets are out the window but the Monday morning quarterbacks will have lots of time for the “should haves” and “what ifs.”

  18. avatar Aaron says:

    In related news, Algore is secretly fuming, “why don’t those damn polar bears just DIE already?! their continuing existence is making me look bad!”

  19. avatar Aaron says:

    a 2-year old polar bear isn’t even full size.

    according to the interwebz: “The polar bear is the largest meat eating land dweller in the world. Male polar bears reach their full size when they are 8 to 10 years old. Then they measure 8 to 11 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. The necks, skulls, and bodies of polar bears are longer than brown bears.”

    So, I’m thinking 3 shots from a .44 magnum and the juvenile polar bear still walked away means .44 mag probably ain’t enough gun.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      “I’m thinking 3 shots from a .44 magnum and the juvenile polar bear still walked away means .44 mag probably ain’t enough gun.”

      From my post above:

      Personally, I would be pretty comfortable with .44 Magnum and full power 305 grain hardcast lead bullets for stopping a BIG polar bear at contact range. Assuming at least a 4 inch barrel, I think two good shots (placement) would shut down that bear in a few seconds. (Two such shots constitute dumping 2,200 foot-pounds energy into that bear and each bullet should penetrate something like 48 inches of muscle and bone.)

      The next step up is .454 Casull which takes you from a 305 grain bullet to a 360 grain bullet with pretty much the same muzzle velocity and diameter.

      As long as you are shooting heavy-for-caliber hardcast lead bullets, I don’t think it will matter very much whether you shoot .44 Magnum or .454 Casull as long as you are shooting stout loads.

  20. avatar Gunr says:

    For you striker fired aficionados.
    Hell of a time for a FTF, FTE, stovepipe, etc.
    Carry what you must, but a heavy caliber wheel gun is king in bear country!

  21. avatar Wally1 says:

    I agree, in bear country a revolver just works. never had a revolver malfunction. Even so, animals don’t know they are supposed to die. How many times have you had to track a deer that had a fatal placed round and it still ran a few hundred yards before bleeding out. . I cannot imagine a pissed polar bear in a tent. It’s not the movies, animals don’t just fall down unless it is a central nervous system/spine or severe brain trauma shot.

  22. avatar tiger says:

    Speaking as representative of the Bear family; we have another side to the story.
    Our Dad, BJ Bear was a good bear. He was never in any gang and was simply trying to offer these humans a bottle of Coca Cola! Everybody knows we bears love Coke! BJ used to do many ads for the Coca Cola corporation. Now he sees some thirsty strangers and goes to offer them free 2 litters of Cherry Coke. Next thing, we hear shooting & Bj is dead.

    We will demand justice!! Stop slandering BJ Bear’s good name. Bear lives matter!!!!

  23. avatar cisco kid says:

    I think this incident shows once again how weak and anemic pistol rounds really are. Any bear shot in the neck with a high power rifle bullet would have died instantly.

  24. avatar ProfessorManque says:

    You’re the most ignorant human being that’s ever posted here.

    We should take your advice, why?

    Meant for cisco.

    1. avatar cisco kid says:

      Its easy to see you have never hunted anything with a high power rifle in your life. Well genius I have with pistol and rifle and shotgun and I am laughing at your moronic post.

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