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According to Yellowstone National Park officials, the grizzly bear that mauled Brian Matayoshi to death acted in defense. “The female grizzly attacked a hiker and his wife around 11 a.m. Wednesday after the couple surprised the mother with her cubs,” CNN dutifully reports. Which means the Park rangers have no plans to track and kill the bear. Be that as it may, I am amazed at the number of people who go into the wild without a sidearm. After watching the latest episode of I Survived, you won’t catch me outside my door without my Glock. Not that you would . . .

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    • You know that’s right.

      Saying that, the bear that ripped the poor bastard’s face off (chronicled in the biography channel doc) was “only” 110 pounds.

      Personally, I’d rather take my chances shooting a pissed off bear busy ripping my face off than let her rip my face off and hope she’s happy with the Picasso effect.

      • Completely right, maybe the gun deters the bear and maybe it doesn’t. But at least you stand a fighting chance with your personal defense sidearm.

        Same applies in the urban jungle by the way.

      • Wild animal weight doesn’t equate well against human weight. Bears are built a bit tougher than we are, regardless of how much they weigh. If the fight was a 200 pound bear against a 500 pound sumo wrestler, I’d still put my money on the bear.

        Maybe the noise would deter it, maybe pain of being shot would make it change its mind, maybe not. Adrenaline does amazing things to humans, think what it does to bears. I wouldn’t trust anything less powerful than a .357 magnum against one of those. Fortunately, I believe from reading this website that you are in possession of such a weapon.

      • One of my colleagues has a place in NW Idaho near Yellowstone, pretty much surrounded by national forest — and right in the middle of grizzly bear territory . . . .

        He keeps holsters loaded with cans of of industrial-strength bear spray just inside the front door, and guests are advised to take one if they are going to go more than a few steps from the house.

        Of interest, none of the fishing guides I’ve met up there pack heat in the field — all of them carry bear spray. And these guys are not anti-gun by any means — they just say that bear spray is generally more effective than a handgun.

    • Don’t forget the guy who defended against the bear at Denali Park in Alaska last year. He used a .45 ACP. Of course, I’d rather have my trusty rifle.

  1. What the story doesn’t say is that these ppl were woefully unprepared to be in the Yellowstone backcountry. If you go into that park to hike and carry anything less than bear spray than you are an idiot. Since CCW became legal in national parks you can be sure you won’t find me trekking around YNP without bear spray and my glock.

    • Not only that, they ran from the bear. The wife got lucky when she simply gave up and stayed still. Only then the bear left her alone.

    • What the story doesn’t say is that these ppl were woefully unprepared to be in the Yellowstone backcountry.

      Understatement. Its a National Park so the animals are thought by some to be ‘domesticated.’ People who think camping equates to a motel or RV living.

      A few years ago while my wife and I were in Yellowstone, we watched a grown man lean over the hood of his car to take a picture of a buffalo 10 feet away. Behind him by another 10 feet was a rather large Elk. Elk could have easily rushed the man and crushed him. Zero common sense.

      Last year we visited the Everglades National Park. Along one of the scenic walkways to ‘view’ alligators, we saw a man trying to get his kids to pose on either side of an alligator that had come out of the river and was sunning itself on the bank (mouth open). I warned the man this wasn’t a bright idea as the gator could just grab a kid and drop right back into the river. He dismissed me with a wave. We figured we would just stand back with my camera, ready for the big moment. Never came, but people really have no clue.

      So I think its safe to say that a lot of more urban dwellers without the benefit of a lot of outdoor experience underestimate what ‘wild’ animals can do.

  2. Also, not only were they not prepared to be in bear country, a lot of the advice out there are just plain wrong or inaccurate. After I read the story I recalled seeing bear bells being marketed and sold at REI. I did a Google search and found a ton of pages claiming these things are a must-have, which got me wondering if they actually work. Another search turned up a research project being conducted in Alaska that, so far, have shown that bears pay absolutely no attention to these bells. Instead, they react to abrupt sounds like clapping or anything that sounds like branches or twigs snapping. It even mentioned that locals referred to the bells as “dinner bell [for bears]”.

    • Here in interior Alaska we ask, “How can you tell bear scat in the woods?” The answer of course being, “It is full of bells and smells like hot peppers.”

  3. At the Naval Weapons Station, a few black bear arrived a few years ago during the Georgia wildfires. I am in the same town, so to speak. There were some close encounters. Now there are Georgia fires again-the smoke’s been all the way over here for a week or so. I decided to order some Corbon Hardcast rounds for the .357 and the .44 magnums.

  4. I’m with RF, shoot the bear during the attack and hope for the best. I was at the DEM range recently and our range officer informed us about a bear and her cubs wandering in the area. He told us not to worry because the bear won’t bother us (I don’t know how he came up with that idea), I told him that I was worried cuz I had my three 500’s with me and plenty of ammo. He then asked me to please not shoot the bear. I wasn’t planning on taking out the bear, but if it came near me I had the BONE COLLECTOR ready to go.

  5. I saw a video once of taken from a helicopter which showed a grizzly chasing down and pouncing on a deer. I could not believe how quick it was for an animal that size. If you are defending against a grizzly attack, that first shot better be perfect. In bear country avoidance is your best bet. Make lots of noise … don’t walk up by surprise and trigger its fight/flight response.

  6. Folks,
    Gotta say it! My company is search and social media based and I’m constantly reading blogs and Facebook. There is a reason that TTAG is at the top of my page. The posts are engaging (about a subject I really like) but the comments are consistently the most intelligent, useful, and freaken funniest comments of any feed I read…thanks!

    BTW am anxiously awaiting delivery of my new DT SRS!

  7. In bear country, I always hike with a buddy who’s unarmed and slower than I am. The problem is, I’m running out of buddies.

  8. I’m pretty sure that it’s flat out illegal to discharge a firearm in Yellowstone Nat’l. Ya ya ya, you or the bear, got it. Just saying that other options may be better.

    Also, be prepared to be killed by general public is you shoot something inside Yellowstone. Pretty pervasive attitude is that within Yellowstone, it’s just your bad luck if you get mauled.

    Don’t shoot the messenger, I’d be carrying myself.

  9. What if I traipse around yellowstone in a bear suit…does that mean I have carte blanche to decapitate anyone I want?


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