What Gun Do You Use When You Find a Black Bear in Your Living Room at 3 a.m.?

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Montana black bear
(Seeley Oblander via AP)

“’At least nobody got hurt,’ [Rocky Oblander] said. ‘It’s just too sad because it was a beautiful bear.’ The warden determined the shooting was justified in self-defense, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Chrissy Webb.”

The shooting of a black bear weighing 250 to 300 pounds took place in Thomas Bolkcom’s living room at 3:00 a.m. yesterday. Bolkcom was awakened by his barking dog.

Bolkcom, 27, a commercial painter and elk hunter, went to investigate and tried to coax the lab-pit bull mix downstairs when he turned around “and there’s this black bear standing in the living room five feet away,” [his fiance Seeley] Oblander said.

The bear had gotten into the house through an open window covered only by a screen. Dressed in nothing but his skivvies, Bolkcom quickly retrieved a handgun and shot the four-legged intruder. A number of times.

The deceased bear was likely after food.

Black bears frequent the area and in recent weeks one had been prowling the neighborhood, getting food from unsecured garbage cans and other sources, Webb said. Although the house that was broken into did not have unsecured food or garbage, Webb said the bear likely became habituated to associate humans with food, creating a dangerous situation for local residents and the animal.

“This is pretty abnormal behavior to have a bear entering a home,” Webb said. “This large male black bear ended up dying because of improperly stored attractants in the community.”

What’s the biggest critter you’ve found in your house?


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  1. My former brother-in-law. Scientific name is assholeius maximus. I believe it’s rooted in Latin.

    • Gadsden,

      We may have a relative in common. No one thinks more highly of my brother-in-law than I do…and I think he is a dirty little beast, foul and perverse.

    • My current brother-in-law. Real asshole. He used to raise hell with my wife and mother-in-law, until we put him on speaker phone without his knowledge and let his mom listen in.

      We got on a first name basis with all the Elder Care folks that had to come investigate EVERY time ‘someone’ called them to imply elder abuse…

      Had one sheriff come to the house, talk to MIL, and he called BIL back and basically said ‘Leave her alone. She doesn’t want to talk to you.’

      She finally disowned him.

      Then, when MIL passed away, he called a bunch of people and tried to screw up the funeral service! We actually had undercover sheriff officers at the funeral just in case.
      (Along with several other people, me included, that were ‘packing.’)

      Not sure if he’s alive or dead at this point. We cut off all communication years ago.

    • Wasn’t me. Been accussed of being the worlds biggest A**hole several times. Usually after calling someone on the carpet for not being able to do the job they claimed they could.

    • Beat me it, I was gonna say “My (former) stepson” who is almost as much hassle and like a bear is a powerful mooch not easily gotten rid of…
      Oh and for our local bears, rubber-buck and ball, or OO buck in a pinch. RIght now it is “Garbage bear season”, they hit our neighborhood trash nightly.. in spite of tying down our trash lid they try and try. Even get into dumpsters…

      • That said, they are powerful but (usually NOT always), somewhat timid around humans. It used to be said that they won’t attack people, but that has changed due to several documented cases of attacking and eating people in the last few years.

  2. Mossberg 500 12 Gauge if I had enough time. A 16″ 6.8 SPC would be ready to go much faster. I’d like to know what handgun caliber he used.

    • Dude,

      I may or may not have one (or two or three or more?) 20 gauge pump-action shotguns loaded with 5/8-ounce slugs at wise locations within my home. That would probably be my first choice.

      If I lived in black bear territory, then I might also keep my large .44 Magnum revolver (with 6-inch barrel) at the ready with 240 grain semi-jacketed softpoint bullets–and I might even keep it loaded with 305 grain hardcast “bear loads”.

    • Well documented encounters with bear of all species have shown (to my surprise) that 9mm is an amazingly effective bear-stopper.

        • Stuck you and Tim run with that if you want to. I’m sure bears have been killed with .22 LR. That doesn’t make it a good choice. Bigger, deeper holes.

      • Good choice on the Mossie. Mine is the 8-rounder- two rubber buck-an-ball, then 6 rounds of 00 and slugs.

      • An Indian woman shot a bear dead with a .22 to the eye. That doesnt make the .22 a “bear-stopper” round. The 9mm Parabellum, doubt that would penetrate the skull or very deeply anywhere. Those mofo are strong and big-boned and don’t die easily- and an injured bear is a big angry bomb set to explode into fury. You might want to up your game a bit, we’re not talkin koalas here… 😉

      • Tim,

        A few caveats and provisos are in order:

        A full-size semi-auto pistol chambered in 9mm Luger and loaded with 124 grain (or heavier) bonded hollowpoints is probably a very good bear stopper–when you are talking about black bears weighing about 150 pounds or less.

        Once you start getting into 300+ pound black bears, grizzlies, and Kodiak bears, that handgun chambered in 9mm Luger is an unreliable bear stopper. Having said that, I remember reading a source (which seemed to be credible) who reported that 9mm was better than larger calibers on black bears and they did not know why. Their best guess was that the 9mm had a lot of “sting” or “burning” sensation which captured the bear’s attention much more so than the “impact” of a heavy .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum.

        That last comment seems plausible to me. Animals routinely seem to be able to ignore “impact” (e.g. punching them or hitting them with a stick) while attacking you whereas I cannot imagine them ignoring a massive “stinging” or “burning” sensation. So, even though the 9mm platform does not provide the massive physical incapacitation which a .44 Magnum platform would deliver, it may very well provide a much more immediate psychological incapacitation which gives time for the much less significant wounding to ultimately incapacitate the attacking bear physically.

        (Remember, even with outstanding wounding from a .44 Magnum, it could easily take 10 seconds for the wound to ultimately shut down the bear and that is ample time for an angry bear on top of you to really mess you up. And even if takes 60 seconds for wounds from a 9mm to ultimately shut down the bear, if the pain sensation causes the bear to immediately cease their attack and commands their attention until the wounds shut-down the bear, that is obviously a better outcome and the exact mechanism is unimportant.)

  3. “This large male black bear ended up dying because of improperly stored attractants in the community.”

    Soooo, it’s the homeowners fault for “improperly stored attractants” in his home?

    Sorry Mr. Bear, but Darwin is alive and well – and you lost.

    • Any adult broad going by “Chrissy” is obviously a moron and/or a striper anyhow. Send “Chrissy”/Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks the bill to replace the carpet that their damn bear made a mess on.

    • Darwin rules. But you are responsible for storing your food properly when you live in bear country. The Bear could have easily killed someone before they got a chance to get a gun.

      • A fed (by humans) bear is a dead bear.

        I don’t sweat black bears probably because I grew up around them. Alligators are a different story. Those things are terrifying.

        • Awww, gators aren’t so bad. I’ve reached an understanding with them. I stay away from the water, and they stay away from my house.

          Now, if I unexpectedly find myself in gator infested water, I’m right with you – TERRIFIED!

        • Gators are like Democrats, they’re really good at making “deals”, not so hot on keeping up their end… Opportunity arises and gator is hungry, you’ll be gator shit at the bottom of some lake…

        • Gators ain’t that bad. Every body of fresh water I swam in growing up, except a swimming pool, had them in it. Like any wildlife they usually only become dangerous when humans make them comfortable around us.

        • Or during mating season, of when there are young present or the gator is hungry, I live in Central FL a few miles from Lakes Harney and Jessup (two of the most gator infested bodies of water in Central FL) and there are contacts reported daily in this area (dogs killed, chickens eaten, people attacked), you don’t go swimming in either one of those lakes…

        • I think they should be shot on sight. Trying to coexist with them seems like a bad idea. I actually woke up this morning dreaming about shooting one LOL. We were in a vacation house rental. (Sometimes we get one at Rosemary.) Someone called for me saying a gator was coming onto the porch. I walked out there and drew. I thought this is going to be loud without ear pro. I shot. Malfunction. I cleared it and shot again. Click. I pulled out the magazine (gator is still walking toward me). The magazine was empty. I was thinking how is it possible that I only had one round? Then I woke up.

        • Yes, black bears do attack (and sometimes eat) people, something the U.S. media mostly ignores (Wikipedia has a list). Regarding alligators, here’s what the good ol’ boys in the southeastern U.S. say: “Let’s let a large prehistoric child-eating monster swim around in all our rivers and lakes.” “OK Bubba, sounds good.”

          IMO hunting of alligators (for meat and leather) should be unrestricted and year-round, until the numbers are reduced drastically and they are afraid of humans. How many times do we need to hear about some kid or frail old lady getting killed by one and dragged into the water? There is a reason we killed off most of the wolves, mountain lions, and grizzly bears in the 1800s – they attacked and ate people. The moron leftists “reintroducing” those predators in the West has been a disaster for mountain-state ranchers (and several dead adults and children, mostly ignored by the media.) I know from experience. BTW, if you want to read what wolves are actually capable of (again ignored by the the US media), Google: wolves Russia attacks.

    • @TO

      Re-read the article. The homeowner who had the bear in his house was NOT the problem…his careless neighbors were.

      Many of the high-dollar idiot residents in Whitefish, MT feed the bears cause they think is is cool and quaint….same for Bozeman, Missoula and the other, mostly Liberal, bastions of Montana. The rest of us secure our dog food, garbage cans and other odoriferous attractants and let the bears do bear things in peace.

      We joke that there are two classes of people who move to Montana: the Missionary and the Immigrant. The Missionary usually moves from a Blue shithole and immediately starts trying to re-create the conditions they left…the Immigrant moves here with the idea of trying out what is working for us and generally assimilates into local culture seamlessly.

      • On those “missionaries”, I have to agree. There are a lot of liberal/leftists atheist missionaries moving into conservative areas. And then they turned around and try to turn their new home, into the sh!tholes that they left.

      • AMEN… same was once true in Colorado, now long since Colo-fornia complete with transplant gay gov who thinks he’s a woman.
        I’m gettin too old for this sh!t. The Everglades be lookin better and better…

        • Yes, Colorado is now gone, due to a huge influx of dope smokers after it was legalized years ago. The Front Range (Pueblo to Fort Collins) is now most taken over by looney leftists, with just a few conserservative outposts remaining. The conservatives in the larger rest of the state (mountains, Western Slope, eastern high desert) are just vastly outnumbered. The corrupt democrat Secretary of State and legislature have implemented procedures to make it easier for the Dems to steal votes (vote by mail, ballot harvesting, same day registration, flimsy ID requirements). Illegal aliens are all over the larger cities. Large rat-infested homeless camps are in Denver (spreading to other cities now). Denver DA’s are letting criminals loose. Housing prices are way too high for the average person due to building and zoning restrictions, and just lack of water supply (needed reservoir projects were killed by leftists.) New restrictive gun control laws passed by cities (no state preemption anymore). Abortion of any baby legal up to the moment of birth (yes, really). Men who simply say they are women can go into women’s locker rooms (displaying their genitals). Regular “drag queen story hours” by pedophiles for little children in libraries. So Colorado is gone now, and the stats show people are leaving the state for more conservative southeast and midwest states (more rain and humidity than Colorado, but normal, rational people there).

          Some are moving to Wyoming, but the winter weather there and annoying constant wind in much of the eastern half of the state is brutal. Housing prices are also high now in Wyoming, and decent medical care is lacking in most of the state. There is also a huge income disparity in Wyoming, with a large number of very rich people having their “primary” resisidence there for low-tax purposes and flying out on private jets to do weekly business elsewhere (there are many wealthy leftists in the northwest Teton country and some around Sheridan). The Biden policies are also killing the coal and oil businesses in Wyoming, which the state depends on for tax revenue.

          New Mexico has also lost to the leftists and the Santa Fe-type elitists. Illegals also flooding in there. But get ready you guys in Montana, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho. The recent stats indicate you’ve got an influx of the same people from California, New York, Illinois, etc. It’s just a numbers game and they will eventually take you over unless there is a sigficiant effort against their agenda right now in the state legislatures. That didn’t happen when they had the chance years ago in Colorado, and conservatives have now been crushed.

    • Actually it said homeowner didn’t have any unsecured foodstuffs out. The comment was about homes in the community generally

    • The comment wasnt directed at the homeowner, but at the neighborhood generally.
      “…Although the house that was broken into did not have unsecured food or garbage, Webb said the bear likely became habituated to associate humans with food, creating a dangerous situation for local residents and the animal”.

    • Debbie, anyplace can be bear country, outside of a city center.. Most folks don’t have barred windows (Maybe we should nowadays!)… Where I’m at bears are almost a nightly occurrence even with trash secured in bins, we’ve moved into their territory and we can’t hunt them like we used to thanks to the californicators- (no dogs, no spring hunts) in Coloradofornia.
      Some years ago a cat got into my fenced yard and made off with one of my Keeshonden.. A large female cat was spotted behind the altar in one of the local Catholic churches. Awaiting Mass I suppose.

  4. This bear came into a house. A man was just mauled in his garage by a bear and a man in Arizona was killed while drinking his morning coffee by a bear. Black bears seem to have made a hell of a comeback.

    I watch a site called Scary Bear Attacks.

    • And I got moderated again. So no more comments until tomorrow.

      If you want to drive folks away from this site you are doing a good job of it, Dan.

      • I got hit yesterday and it never got posted, nothing personal, no profanity just “moderated” into the ether… Don’t read as many articles as I used to because of this fucked up moderation policy, post even less… Too bad…

  5. I keep a recording of “Yummy,Yummy, Yummy, I’ve Got Love in My Tummy” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company on hand for such occasions. Just put on some ear protection, crank up the music and watch the critters evacuate to escape the horrific pain.

    Tiptoe Through the Tulips works just as well, but borders on cruelty.

        • oldsht…The only thing you show is your behind…You know the way you sit around imagining ways to denigrate and berate women because you are incapable of responding to the truth text that cornered you.

          If the gutless wonders on this forum were not so gutless they would see the filth you said numerous times about women not only applies to me but to their daughters, mothers and grandmothers. Should other women corner you about, “anything” the evidence shows they are guaranteed to get from you the toilet mouth treatment.

          You and the forum’s pathetic gutless wonders can take the aforementioned to the bank.

        • “…you sit around imagining ways to denigrate and berate women…”

          Lies, I put women on a pedestal.

          (It makes it easier to look up their skirt… 😉 )

          You don’t qualify as a lady, the nasty way you treat others who disagree with you. You have the personal appeal of week-old roadkill.

          Hence, since you’re no lady, just a foul-mouthed quasi-female, I will simply treat you, the same way you treat others, like LKB.

          If you want the attacks to stop, stop attacking others.

          That should be simple enough for someone with a limited intellect like yourself to understand… 😉

      • 1910 Fruitgum Company did do it as well, and they are who I think of when I hear it, but the Ohio Express is the version I’m used to hearing, and not sure I even knew it was them.🤷‍♀️

  6. 3rd attempt. 2 comments moderated. I will give it a break for a while.

    I do not enjoy watching this site self implode itself.

      • Who has Roberts contact info? He needs to repurchase this thing. Worth about 20% of what it was when he sold it.

      • It’s not just TTAG. It’s part of what we used to think of as the first amendment being lost nationally.
        These large multi-billion dollar communication Tech companies have become politically correct. They are happy to edit you. Since it’s illegal for the government to do so.

        Many people say these are “just private businesses” who are doing what they want to do. Soooo, ok, you’re being edited by a private multi billion dollar company instead of the government.

        I hope that makes people feel comfortable that it’s a private company. But it does not make me feel comfortable at all.

        • It’s not a private company censoring you if the .gov puts them up to it.

  7. I am just glad the guy was able to stop the bear. I am sure though that the Game Warden “investigated” a poaching claim.

    • The game warden says it’s alright to poach critters in your living room. It was a clear case of breaking and entering. The same laws that apply to two-legged creatures breaking and entering an occupied domicile.

    • Awake, you must be mistaken. Lots of people on this site will tell you .40 S&W is next to useless. The homeowner would have been much better off with another caliber when facing a 300 lb animal with a thick hide, dense muscle mass and heavy bone structure. Say a compact 9mm loaded with 90 gr HP.

    • If you’re shooting .40S&W at a black bear (outside of dire need) you got major cojones, man. Just sayin, heh heh

  8. 3am Mexican all you can eat taco dinner night fart.
    Hey, if it can wake me from a dead sleep and bring tears to my eyes, that bear does not stand a chance.

  9. Biggest animal?

    That would have to be last week’s bat. I know deb wants me, but she didn’t need to flap her way down here and fly down my chimney. The resident dog sure flipped-out.

    Lesson learned, pull the fireplace screen…

      • neiowa…Better yet busy body, you two get a room and you can plug that anus below oldsht’s nose.

    • oldshtazz…All I want from you are the details surrrouding the car hood you said you hit hard of the woman who hit you. Please advise.

        • oldshthead…You left the cliffhanger. So I ask you again, please provide the details? This time try to man up little man.

        • Try being nice to others for awhile, and I’ll consider it…

        • But, Debbie Dimwit, we all thought getting your behind kissed was what you were all about???? Oh, you mean some OTHER pervert. Cool. Well, you do you (and you don’t even do that very well).

          We know you can’t help it that you’re fat, ugly, stupid, ignorant, your mother dresses you funny, and a you’re a boring loudmouth, but don’t take your anger out on us, we didn’t make you this way – God, your mother, Darwin, and nature did all that for us. Blame them.

    • I used to have an overpriced apartment in Cleveland that had a problem with bats, moths, and carpenter ants. I couldn’t get the management to do anything about the pest problems.
      There was a hole in the “sealed-up” old fireplace and four bats got in over two summers. I had to knock them out of the air with a hockey stick, and that broke their poor little wings, so I took them to the parking lot and blew their brains out with a pellet gun to put them out of their misery. I know they’re a necessary part of the ecosystem, but they’re basically a flying rat, and I couldn’t get anyone else to get them out of there safely.

      • more like a flying mouse…but they are ugly little fukkers when you see them up close…remember them coming at me down a partially lit hallway in the convent I was patrolling…getting closer…and closer…and finally brushing past my face…creepy!

    • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD, figures you would come up with something so stupid. I guess you don’t know it’s illegal to feed wildlife. But then a dunce like you thinks that laws don’t apply to you Lefties.

      • To Walter the Beverly Hillbilly

        Your reading comprehension does not even allow you to even recognize humor when you read it. It does not surprise me given your level of education.

        • Not that one does not recognize humor, but no one recognizes when YOU attempt humor… Kind of like a blonde telling a blonde joke…

        • No, we ALL recognize humor, dacian the demented – which is what enables us to recognize that you are bereft of it, as you are of education, intellect, logic, talent, and common sense. But continue being “a legend in your own mind”. It’s amusing to those of us who watch your pathetic efforts at actual humanity.

        • dacina, the DUNDERHEAD, there is not a darn thing wrong with my reading comprehension. But there sure is with yours. You were not educated, you were indoctinated. Everyone knows you have no respect for the Constitution or the law.

      • No, MyName, dacian the demented would need to buy/beg/borrow a couple dozen IQ points to even approach being an idiot. He is at the level of competing with planaria . . . and failing that.

  10. Living in eastern bear country where I occasionally see tracks and some of my far away neighbors have told me they feed the bears this is a real possibility for me. A bear taking up residence under my front porch is also possible. The spring before last we had a late season snow and I tracked a yearling black bear across my front lawn. I put my garbage out at 6:00 am on pickup day so as not to attract bears and have to take certain bird feeders at night.

    When the Mossberg Shockwave and the green Crimson trace laser was adapted I combined the two and stocked up on buck shot and rifled slugs. My wife has a similarly euipped 20 gauge. These unlike most of my collection live in the master bedroom. A human burglar might view this as overkill, but we have limited space and bears are a real possibility. I have some experience confronting black bears in the wild and the yearlings just kicked out if the den are generally more afraid of you. Shooting one of these can probably get you on the wrong side of your local wildlife law enforcement officials.

  11. probably my ithaca 37 with buck. my lr243 has too high power of a scope. 30rds of 5.56 would probably be a second, my 357 with 180s as a backup.

  12. Biggest animal? Me.

    What gun? Odds are it would be my Ruger 5-1/2″ Vaquero loaded with 158gr JHP handloads that average 740 ft/lbs at 12′. Same load I use on home invaders. Probably adequate for a 300 pound bear.

    • You want penetration, not expansion on something as big-boned and thick as a black bear. I know of one documented case where the guy emptied his .357 into the bear just prior to being eaten.. Even the .30-30 has been known to be ineffective at times, with bad results for the shooter. Like humans, sometimes a bear can just be “on the prod”.
      Nope, due to my own experience with bears in my capacity as park ranger (ret), it’s 12ga and Redhawk .44 as back-up. Sometimes, old goat that I am, I miss my drug of choice, adrenaline.

    • Bring a little salt and some pepper spray, the bears like spice on their food.. 😉

  13. at that range, not being charged by the bear, my pocket 9mm would suffice. I’d just carefully fire at his brain. If i went to get anything, it would be my electronic ear muffs.

    • Bear skulls are THICK and have been known to deflect off angle frontal head shots. Pick your point of aim carefully…

    • That 9 would bounce off his skull with minimal damage. The 9 is not a bear gun. Just sayin, YMMV

  14. I’d go for my Chinese nugget because it’s got a nice, long bayonet and I’ve got a couple boxes of Brown Bear softpoints for it.

  15. Did anyone notice the dead fish on the floor in the background? Did the bear bring it with him?

  16. Evidently, someone in the neighborhood was leaving pet food, or human garbage where the bear could get at it. Doesn’t take long for a bear to associate humans with food. Then cross the line and begin to look at humans as food. Shame some people will intentionally put food out for the bears. Unfortunately, the humans caused the problem, but the bear paid the price.
    My dogs would have been raising holy hell if a bear showed up in the yard, let alone tried to or succeeded in getting in the house.
    Generally, I have both a shotgun and a heavy caliber revolver within reach of the bed at night. Come down the stairs and right on the wall is the rack with the every day use guns near the back door. If you are man enough to kick in the heavy oak door, a firearm isn’t going to stop you. Front door is also oak planks. Windows are impact resistant for hurricanes. Take one hell of a bear to force them open.
    Largest critter to ever get into my house was a horse. Silly critter figured out how to get the door open and was eating the basket of apples my sister had brought in. Happened to see his backside in the door way and checked things out. Little mustang was an escape artist and could figure out how to open barn door and stall latches as well.

    • My family owned rustic property in the Black Hills (BTW, one of two ” blacks” I feel necessary to capitalize) , where our pit toilet was frequented by Black bears (the other) occasionally, and once broke into the cabin to rummage around supposedly for food… don’t know what they liked about the shithouse. If I myself was to encounter one, I would leave the door open to whichever domicile that they found themselves in and wait for their polite and uninterrupted egress. Shooting one would lower me to some form of sub-species approaching a democrat
      ( no capitalization expected)

      • reminds of the standing joke in our camp…it had a two-hole outdoor shitter…”if that guy sitting next to you is wearing a fur coat…you might want to finish up quick and get out of there”…….

  17. I was at a thing once that had an “ice-breaker” and one of the questions you were supposed to find an answer to was, “What is the difference between a black bear and and a brown bear?” I answered, .357 Magnum vs. .44 Magnum.

    Oh, biggest critter I’ve found in my home? My cousin Tom, dude is huge.

  18. Glock .40 at bedside, Mossberg 500 12 GA with #7 1/2 birdshot at the side of the bed. This is significantly better than when I was 12 and came over a hill in Dutch hills, Alaska (near Mt. Mickinley) and came face to face with a Grizzly Bear at about 20 feet. I had my single shot 20 ga Sears shotgun and I froze. The bear stood up and was sniffing the air. I think he was attempting to determine where the poop smell was coming from. It was coming from me. He then calmly walked away. I can only suspect he did not want to eat poop. I know I am making light of this, but it is true. (No, I did not poop myself, but it was terrifying).

    • scary…you were lucky there..remember walking down a mountain trail in the springtime with nothing more than a hi-standard sentinel… for snakes…(Cubs?…yeah, I saw “The Revenent”)…then turning back and encountering a huge, fresh bear track right in the middle of the trail over which we had just passed…time to go!….

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