Brown Bear Attack (very Real)


Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2008
Kodiak, Ak
Over the years I have watched any number of threads on the various forums regarding peoples opinions or people seeking opinions of what is enough gun for Brown Bear Protection. SOme even think the guns I hunt with are a little over powered. When I post on these threads I have a hard and fast rule since I have lived this gentlemans story myself. Big heavy bullets- you are practiced so you can hit a paper plate at 7 yards without thinking. Two second rule. One has two seconds or less to hit your mark from the time there is danger until you end the danger.


This guy lives just outside of Soldotna.

Have I got a story for you guys!
King season is over, and since I had a day off before silvers start, I thought I would go for a walk! This occurred at 11:16 am this morning (Sunday), just 2/10 of a mile from my house, ON OUR ROAD while walking my dogs (trying to get in shape for hunting season, ironically!). For the record, this is in a residential area末not back in the woods, no bow hunting, no stealth occurring... I heard a twig snap, and looked back...full on charge-a huge brownie, ears back, head low and motorin' full speed! Came with zero warning; no woof, no popping of the teeth, no standing up, nothing like what you think or see on TV! It charged from less than 20 yards and was on me in
About one-second! Totally surreal-I just started shooting in the general
direction, and praise God that my second shot (or was it my third?) rolled him at 5 feet and he skidded to a stop 10 feet BEYOND where I was shooting from-I actually sidestepped him and fell over backwards on the last shot, and his momentum carried him to a stop past where I fired my first shot! It was a prehistoric old boar末no teeth, no fat末weighing between 900-1000 lbs and took five men to DRAG it onto a tilt-bed trailer! Big bear-its paw measured out at about a 9 1/2 footer!

Never-ever-thought "it" would happen to me! It's always some other smuck, Right? Well, no bull- I am still high on adrenaline, with my gut in a Knot. Feels like I did 10000 crunches without stopping! Almost puked for an hour after, had the burps and couldn't even stand up as the troopers
Conducted their investigation! Totally wiped me out-cant even put that
feeling into words, by far the most emotion I have ever felt at once! No doubt that God was with me, as I brought my Ruger .454 Casull (and some "hot" 350 grain solids) just for the heck of it, and managed to draw and snap shoot (pointed, never even aimed!) from the hip! Total
Luck shot!
All I can say is Praise God for my safety and for choosing to leave the wife and kids at home on this walk! Got a charter tomorrow, so gonna TRY to get some sleep now!
Talk to ya soon, -Greg


Neal, cool story, that bear looks huge!!!
How do troopers behave about this things. I imagine they are very understanding, arent they? Did your friend got to keep it?
Somebody at work knew this guy or is a relative (can't remember which co-worker it was now...) and told me about this last spring/summer not too long after it happened. Think I mentioned it in the recent 'black bear self-defense' thread. The picture really brings it home. Practice, practice, practice. Thanks for the post. Jon
WOW !!!!!!!

That's the reason I like the Very Large Revolver for this kind of emergency.

Although I have and hope to never have something like this happen to me
I would still chose the revolver for the final backup because of speed of follow
up shots,Not having to work or cock an action, If a round fails another will be
there with just another pull of the trigger,ease of handling with one hand(You
may need the other to clime or hold your self off with the other hand.

I would like to hear from the near victim if he would have had the time for anything
else and wishes he had something else other than the pistol at the time.

Obviously there are weapons with more killing power but if you cant bring it to bare
it would do you no good.

What a story. He should have gone out and bought a lotto ticket as soon as he could
because it was definitely his lucky day.

Also I would be interested in how he was treated by the officials.

That's one heck of a residential area, 2/10 of a mile from the house...Are big bears like that common in this area...I'd be worried about wife, kids, neighbors. Everyone, I don't think would carry a large caliber pistols and have the skills, so how have they coped with this?
This guy lives about 6 miles from me. I'll add a few additional details and thoughts of my own.

His revolver jammed after his 4th and final shot, which happened to hit the CNS in the neck, just forward of the bears shoulders. The double action revolver couldn't fire the 5th or 6th rounds in the cylinder because one of the remaining bullets in the rounds remaining in the cylinder jumped the crimp and extended out past the face of the cylinder, preventing the cylinder from rotating for the 5th and 6th rounds - normally available in the Ruger Alaskan 454 Casull revolver. Mr. Brush has since switched do a different brand of ammo in the effort to prevent another jam due to bullets jumping their crimp.

I've lived in the area for 31 years. We have more brown bears showing up in residential areas then ever. Brown bear hunting seasons were eliminated and/or largely restricted about 10 years ago. Ever since then, more and more bears learn that they can hang out in residential areas and feed on goats, chickens, pigs, and other human placed food sources without consequence until they get shot in defense of life or property. I'm a firm believer that hunting keeps wild bears wild, and the cessation of hunting results in the development of "problem bears" and problematic human/bear encounters. When sows rear their cubs in the close proximity of human habitation, those cubs are essentially trained by their mother that humans do not need to be avoided. Quite to the contrary, they are trained that there is some pretty good eating to be had in the close proximity to people. Bad training for the cubs and a recipe for increased bear killings in defense of life or property. The most common age of a brown bear killed in residential areas in defense of life & property around here is ~ 3-year olds - when they are out on their own for their first summer season. They've learned to feed in the proximity of people and their developed properties, and not learned to run like heck at the first sight or smell of humans.

I think F&G understands this as they are now issuing a few brown bear hunting permits in this area, and encouraging permit holders to hunt and kill problematic bears in residentially or otherwise developed areas. 12 years ago, a bear that made a nuisance of itself probably wouldn't survive the annual spring and/or fall hunting seasons. Now they do.

Two springs ago a brown bear came into my back yard, ransacked my pheasant coupe and runs and killed two adult tom wild turkeys, 13 ringneck pheasants, and 7 chukar. This spring I was troubleshooting the cruise control in my Ford Explorer in my driveway. I was in the vehicle - doors closed - using a volt-ohm meter on the circuitry/wiring. I opened the driver's door at midnight and the door buzzer sounded. Next I heard the sound of hooves or paws or whatever on the go. I looked up and saw a brown bear taking off from 21 feet away, adjacent to my garage. Bear ran the other way. I don't know if he was watching me in the vehicle or if it was just poor timing that he happened to be walking by when I opened the car door. For those that don't know, it's still light out at 12:00 midnight where I live at the end of May, so I was able to see this bear and watch it trot off down the driveway. Too many brown bears for comfort.

Another tid-bit. There was a brown bear mauling in the same neighborhood that Mr. Brush lives in the prior spring. A sow charged and mauled a local resident that was out jogging down a trail. It had cubs with it. There was another brown bear mauling in this same area a couple of years prior to that. So brown bear maulings are also occuring with more frequency, and not everyone carries fire power with them. In fact, brown bears have been attacking joggers and even bicyclist on a much more common basis in the southcentral area of Alaska the past 5-10 years.

Of all of the bear attacks and maulings I've read about, this attack by an adult boar in a residentially developed area is fairly unique. Adult boars don't survive as many years as this one did by hanging out around people. Sows attacking in defense of their cubs are by far the most common bear maulings/attacks in residentially developed or high human-use areas. And the sows usually abandon the attack once their victim has been disabled. The older boars can live up to 30 years in the wild, and these boars do generally learn over time to avoid humans. Otherwise they don't grow old. If you look at this photo, you'll notice this bear's rib bones are visibly raising ridges on the side of the bear's chest. This bear charged and was killed on August 2nd, and the bear should have been well fattened up by the first part of August. You won't see rib-ridges on a healthy adult brown bear at this time of the year. This old boar's teeth were largely broken and worn away. He was in very poor physical condition for the time of year, and obviously not consuming enough food to survive the winter's hibernation. It's entirely plausible that this bear attacked because it was starving to death. F&G and Mr. Brush both believe this to be the most likely explanation for this charge.

Raises the hairs on the back of my neck when I think about it. This bear, whether or not he mis-identified his prey, was probably charging to kill and consume this man. Again, this is a rather rare cause of brown bear attacks in residential areas in my experience. Good thing too. Since most Alaskans don't pack firepower when walking their dogs through their subdivisions.

But one more Alaskan is now packing firepower in the aftermath of Mr. Brush's bear charge incident. Me. I too now own a Ruger Alaskan 454 Casull and a handy holster. It's a very packable firearm, yet still packs a pretty good punch. First thing I did was load up some maximum-load 335 grain hard cast lead bullets and measure the overall length of six rounds placed in the cylinder. After each shot, I unloaded and measured the remaining rounds for bullet jump. I put a heavy crimp on these bullets. None of them jumped more than 0.011". Think I'm good to go with respect to bullet jump caused jams.
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Phorwath, probably don't need to mention this but, get the practice in. Nice writeup and thanks for sharing.
Wow - what an incredible story. I'm glad that he was able to defend himself against that attack.

Maybe this is a dumb question, but since they aren't an endangered species, is he able to keep the bear? Seems like it would be quite the trophy. Maybe it wouldn't be a memory that anyone would want but man what a trophy that is.
Don't get to keep any part of the animal taken in Defense of Life or Property. Acronym up here is DLP.

With the exceptions that if the hunting season happens to be open, and if the person happens to have a valid hunting license and tag for brown/grizzly bears. Hunting season was not open when this old boar was killed. So the bear gets turned over to the State of Alaska in almost all DLP kills that get reported to State officials - except where hunting season is open and the shooter was properly licensed. gun) gun)
What does the state of Alaska do with them...some sort of study or cremate it or what?
Some brown bear hides get sold at auction. The skull and hide are required to be salvaged and turned over to the State with DLP kills. Don't know what they do with the skulls. They'd probably give them to non-profits, museums, university, if they wanted them. They don't give them away to private individuals. It's illegal to sell any part of a bear under Alaska law. Ever. Even if you have the hide tanned and made into rugs, they can not legally be sold by individuals. One of those examples where the law doesn't apply to the State itself. Only the residents of the State. They sell the hides at auction. Guess that's better than completely wasting them.
phorwath, amazing the stuff I learn here thanks to folks like yourself. Thanks for responding I appreciate it.
A one year old sized black bear hide sold for $350. at the state auction some years back _(3-4 years.)

Brown bear depending on size went from $6000.-$8500. All the large Brown Bear hides sold to a taxidermist from Canada.

Not sure which forum the discussion initiated from. However, if one does not practice with the tool of his choice the tool is pretty much irrelevant. If one can not draw and fire the first round and hit a paper plate every shot at 7 feet in two seconds plan on feeling pain.

I have been in this situation enough times and friends sharing their similar experiences, I have a TWO (2) SECOND rule. Besides the actual physical training, one must know the equipment as second nature. If you have forgotten which holster and which firarm you are carrying that day you may very well not have time to find it. I have only ever been attacked at 30 yards or less. Takes a bear 2 seonds to cross thirty yards.

We here on Kodiak have very limited drawing tags> That has made for wonderful success rates for the guides but it makes for dangerous times.
Last summer we took 3 bear in defense in the city limits. All three were within one block or less of where I live with one of those taken at a school playground 100 yards away. Our first ever road kill bear was killed by a truck 12 miles out of town.