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E-Mail Story of Surprise Bear Attack

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 12:09
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Got this e-mail from a friend today.

------------------------------------------------------------ -------------

 

THE LONGEST MINUTE
Doug White
September 16, 2006

We all have read about or seen movies entitled, 'The Longest Day', 'The Longest Yard', or 'The Longest Mile'. Well, I am going to tell you about "The Longest Minute" of my life.

Reed Thompson and I had been hunting hard for five days. The day was Thursday, September 7, 2006. The weather had turned from beautiful sunny skies to gale force winds and the blasting rain that comes with fall storms. Never has the weather dictated hunting time to us, so out we ventured into the Alaska bush. Not seeing a single bull for several days, we decided to hunt an area downstream that had always produced one.

Late in the evening, we were walking down a raised half mile long finger of ground that was full of grass and alders. This turf was slightly higher than the swampy tundra on either side of it. We had slogged across the swamp as quickly as possible, during a sudden deluge, to get to the downwind point. Our hope was that our passage would not be observed with the sudden increased wind and rain. About halfway down the finger, Reed turned to me and said, "I think there is a moose up ahead. It looks like two white sticks in the grass. It would surprise me if it was not a moose." I glassed the area about one hundred yards ahead and to the left. With Reed's help, I zeroed in on the two white sticks and watched them for several minutes. With the slightest movement, the two sticks transformed into a white paddle and then back to the two sticks. The bull had moved his head ever so slightly.

I moved my scope out to ten-power and focused in on the two white sticks as Reed moved about ten yards further down the high ground. Then as Reed focused on the white points, I moved to his location for a better shot. Reed began moving toward our quarry as I watched for movement though the scope. With nothing solid or high enough to rest my rifle on, I was forced to aim free-hand. When Reed had taken a few steps, I saw the horns rock to the right and then back to the left. The big boy then stood up and was looking directly our way. Even with the forty mile an hour winds blowing directly at us, he sensed our presence. I squeezed off a round from my Browning .338 and felt good about the shot, but the bull took two or three steps to my right and disappeared out of sight behind some alders. Reed could still see him and shouted, "Do you want me to shoot him?" I yelled back at him to go ahead because I did not want the bull running too far. I heard his shot as I was scrambling forward to get a better look. After a thirty yard hustle, I was able to see the huge fellow still standing. I put another shot into him and watched him drop. We both hesitantly, but with great excitement, approached this giant and realized that he was dead. This was a mature bull with a beautiful rack and the biggest body mass I had ever seen. The fun was definitely over; now, the real work was ready to begin. After consulting the GPS, we noted that we were a half mile from the slough and boat. It was decided that both of us should return to the boat to discard unnecessary items and return with the gear needed to prepare and pack out the meat. We placed red and blue handkerchiefs high in an alder bush so that the sight could be located from the adjacent high ground. This was the easiest half mile hike of the day. I was pumped up and excited beyond explanation.

At the boat, we left our heavy rifles. We gathered our pack frames, game bags, ropes, and knives. After Reed repositioned the boat, to compensate for the upcoming low tide, I asked him, with hand signals, if he remembered to get the handguns. He did not understand my award winning charade performance, but I let it pass after observing his revolver strapped to his chest.

Upon returning to the moose, we were hot, sweaty, and wet. The rain had abated for awhile, so we removed our rain gear and hung them in a small tree about five yards perpendicular to the moose's belly. Reed removed his revolver, hung it on a branch opposite his jacket, and brought to my attention that it was hanging there.

With darkness approaching, we decided on removing the top front and rear quarters, tie them to our pack frames, gut him out, and then roll the behemoth over to cool through the night. We would return in the morning

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 13:10
lucznik View Drop Down
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Wow! That's quite a story.  These guys were VERY lucky (as I'm sure they will both attest.)  There are a few things they did that were not very smart choices.  For any of you thinking of venturing into bear country, let me point out a few...

 

Originally posted by Chris Chris wrote:

At the boat, we left our heavy rifles. 
  When in bear country, you should never leave your rifle anywhere that you can't instantly reach it, even if you have a handgun. Furthermore, when field-dressing, someone should have rifle in-hand standing watch while the other(s) works on the animal. If there are only two of you and one is too tired to perform this duty, work on the animal should cease.

 

 

Originally posted by Chris Chris wrote:

I asked him... if he remembered to get the handguns. ...[ I observed ] his revolver strapped to his chest.
You must take your own safety more seriously. You should always have your own handgun and it should be with you at all times. You should always have the ability to reload the weapon at least once.  If you can't (for whatever reason) carry a handgun, you should at least have bear spray. Actually, you might consider having bear spray anyway.  In Wyoming at least, you pretty much need to have obvious bite marks to prove you were in danger before you shoot a charging bear.  The bear spray can help avoid this possibility.

Originally posted by Chris Chris wrote:

Reed removed his revolver, hung it on a branch opposite his jacket, and brought to my attention that it was hanging there.
A handgun is designed to be kept on your person.  It is not a decoration for hanging on trees.  A little blood/gore won't hurt it.

Originally posted by Chris Chris wrote:

I grabbed the holster but was unable to remove the revolver, regardless of how hard I tugged. 
You should never trust your safety to equipment with which you are not personally familiar.  Getting a weapon into action should be an instictive, fluid, action. This problem would have been easily resolved if (as mentioned before,) the author had been carrying his own handgun or perhaps his neglected rifle.

 

These are just a few but, had any/all of them been followed, this wouldn't have been such a "long minute." These guys definately used up their quota for luck on this one.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 14:03
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Exactly why I posted it.

 

It reads like a story of what not to do.  As I was first reading it, I cringed when reading the parts you pointed out.  I was thinking in my head, "you left your rifles!!", "you hung the pistol where!","you couldn't get the pistol out!!".

 

Obviously not his pistol or holster.

 

Very very lucky indeed. A rifle shot is like a dinner bell to a hungry griz.

 

Easy to be a Monday morning QB on any given scenario but these guys really messed up.

 

Look at the expression on the guys face in the third picture.  Looks like he is still in shock (I know I would be).

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 15:48
Brady View Drop Down
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Note to self.... don't ever go moose hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 16:14
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Holy Christmas!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2006 at 16:21
Stephanie View Drop Down
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Give them a break!  At least they had a pair Swarovski binoculars with them, not that it mattered at the time!

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/27/2006 at 01:11
koshkin View Drop Down
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Saw a couple of different bears out in the wild.

In Siberia and in the Arctic.

Not going into bear country unless I am riding in a main battle tank.

ILya
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