Throwing Pistol and Running Fails to Stop Grizzly Bear Attack on Guide

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In a tragic story from Wyoming, Mark Uptain, a hunting guide, was killed by a grizzly bear on Friday.  His client fled the scene after throwing Mark a pistol. The two were retrieving an elk that had been wounded the previous day while they were bowhunting. The men were processing or packing out the elk when they were attacked by two large bears.

It is difficult to categorize this as a defensive use of a firearm when no attempt was made to fire the handgun. The handgun was reported to be in a pack when the attack started. It has not been recovered at the scene as of this time. From jhnewsandguide.com:

Chubon, a Florida resident, was injured and flown to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson on Friday, but was in good enough condition to have caught a flight out of the valley Saturday afternoon.

Chubon told investigators that he threw a pistol to Uptain before successfully fleeing and phoning authorities. Initial reports indicate that the second bear was present at the time of the attack, but did not engage either Chubon or Uptain.

(snip)

Chubon reportedly was able to toss a handgun to Uptain before he ran from the attack scene, but authorities have so far not been able to locate that firearm.

(snip)

“Chubon was able to run to his pack gear a few yards away and retrieve a pistol but was unable to safely fire a shot at the bear that first struck Uptain,” the release said. “The attacking bear then spun, charged Chubon, grabbed his foot, and dragged him to the ground. He sustained injuries to his leg, chest, and arm, but was able to throw the gun to Uptain and get loose before running from the scene to phone for help.

Some commenters indicated that throwing a pistol to someone who is being attacked by a bear might not be an effective strategy or tactic.

No information has been released on what model or caliber of pistol may have been involved. The incident will be added to the list of bear attacks where a pistol was involved, for informational purposes.

The most cited study about bear spray effectiveness does not count incidents where bear spray was at the scene but not used.

In the most cited study about the efficacy of firearms for bear deterrence in Alaska, incidents, where the firearm is not used, are not considered.

We excluded incidents from our analysis where firearms were available but no attempt to use them was made.

It does not appear that an attempt was made to use the handgun accessed in this incident. If the client had thrown a can of bear spray to the guide, that would not have been a use of bear spray.

For this reason, the incident does not qualify as a failure in a pistol defense against bears.

This is a tragic case. One man was killed by a grizzly bear. One man will be haunted for the rest of his life by wondering if he should have acted differently. The story illustrates the wisdom of having defensive tools on your person and ready to use, instead of in a pack.

Handguns, when used to stop an attack, do so fairly reliably.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 33 thoughts on “Throwing Pistol and Running Fails to Stop Grizzly Bear Attack on Guide

    1. I was always told that I only had to faster than the other guy when running from Bears
      Maybe he tripped or even shot the guide in order to get away from the rampaging Grizzly Bear

    2. I think there is far too little info out at this point to draw conclusions. I would be shocked if an elk guide in that area didn’t have both bear spray and a ready back up since bear encounters are multi-daily and several hunters get mauled every year but who knows. As far as throwing the pistol and running away…I guess I can just speculate that guiding hunters from Florida is a bad idea in Northwest Wyoming.

      Those who wonder about the wisdom of leaving a kill don’t know what they are talking about. Its getting dark and the smell from gutting it has spread. You mark it and come back careful the next day. Sounds like they were surprised while field dressing and the bear hadn’t claimed the kill when they went in.

      Just sad.

    3. I spent one of the best decades of my career as the Teton Wilderness Manager and Outfitter-Guide permit administrator. Much of that time was spent in the field. The comment about being prepared is spot on. To this day I carry pepper spray on my pack or fanny pack even when simply taking the dog for a walk or daily hike. Back then, I carried pepper spray when I walked the quarter mile to work from my dwelling to the ranger station every morning. I often needed to work alone in the TW and was quite thankful for the border collies that accompanied me as my extra eyes, ears, and bear deterrents. It is hard to imagine having a shotgun, rifle, or pistol at the ready when approaching a carcass after it was left out overnight. Very unfortunate situation. When will the government recognize WY’s and MT’s campaign to hunt griz and wolves is a prescient insight into game management. As a packer once commented to me “The bear will either be hunted or hated.”

    4. The sorry thing is that a man lost his life! The other thing is that they were BOW hunting and wounded the Elk the day before, This would mean that these men were not prepared to be out trying to find the Elk. My son lives in Alaska and has been there for several years and has given up Bow hunting as it is to risky with the number of large predator bears roaming up there, he said that when he went his pistol was a 44 but always felt he wanted his rifle instead of the Bow! There are times that Common Sense should take over!

    5. All I can say is that even a shot in the air might have distracted the bear enough to get a better shot. Seems fishy that the survivor, who reported all this, took off for home, in Florida, the very next day! Also an experienced guide, in bear country, probably would have kept a gun on their person, especially with an elk carcass laying there. Good for them to have tracked their kill, that’s hunting 101. Not remaining armed or with a dedicated armed lookout, seems to be the real failure.

    6. I am not second guessing anyone here, but if a bear is biting my leg and I have a gun, I will shoot the bastard ASAP. Then maybe I will try to shoot the other bear on my guide?? As a former LEO, I was trained to never give up your weapon, no matter what the circumstances!!

    7. You don’t leave a kill out overnight because a bear is likely to smell it and claim it then kill to defend it. But lets say something happened beyond your control that happened. Any guide worth his salt knows the risks and should be prepared and super alert when coming back to yesterdays kill. Both should have a gun and bear spray and be ready to use it so no gun tossing is required. Shoot the bear, if the bear got you don’t throw the gun to someone else shoot the bear.

    8. Good for the cruel bowhunter, now he knew what the tormented elk felt. Go ahead and comment, all you drunken sots are free to do so because lives were risked fighting tyranny to give you that right. You bowhunters on the other hand are blood thirsty killers. You don’t fight for anything, using instruments of cruelty. I hope I hear more stories like that. Seven billion tricky bastards versus thirty thousand grizzly bears minding their own business. Look for trouble in the big city fighting gangbangers (watch out they shoot back) and their enabler politicians, my bowhunter “heroes”.

      1. Allan Morrison, you poofter. Tell us: do you eat beef, mutton, poultry, seafood, pork or any other animal protein? If so, have you ever visited a slaughterhouse, or do you think animal flesh spontaneously appears shrink-wrapped in the frozen meat section of the grocery store? Try to iunbunch your panties, sir!

        1. I think his comment was more about bow hunting being unethical since it is not a quick and clean kill. I am a gun owner and supporter of the second, however I do not approve of bow hunting I think a person should use a rifle to hunt and if you are not good enough with it to kill something quick you should find a new hobby, or practice more.

          1. @dr, So because you don’t approve of something, all archers should change to something that you do approve of and the archery industry should vanish? You would substitute your judgement for ours; tell us what we need; what to think; and what to do?
            Anything else that you don’t approve of? I don’t want to be outside of your guidance.

      2. Gangbangers? Who cares about gangbangers? It is the pussy, libtard, metrosexuals that won’t pick up a weapon and constantly hide behind police protection that I bloodily thirst after. They wrongly use men’s names. They wrongly wear men’s clothing. And they wrongly speak in the company of men.

      3. @AM, so how do you think that men took game before gunpowder? Seven billion would be everyone on this planet. Gang bangers are less troublesome than libtards. And finally as to drunkenness, how would you know about anyone other than yourself?

    9. I was delighted to have a dream come true when in 2006 I successfully bagged a grizzly bear with a handgun in Alaska. Actually, I used two handguns. The first shot was with a single shot Thompson Contender chambered for the .375 JDJones cartridge. The following three shots were with a Freedom Arms .454 Casull. Because it was late in the evening when I shot my bear, we left it and returned to it in the morning for skinning etc. All of the while my guide was skinning the bear, I was standing “watch” for other bears. Of course, I was armed. Before we returned to camp with the hide and head my guide had to fire three shots between the legs of a sub adult bear that would not leave us alone. Very sad to hear of this avoidable tragedy in Wyoming.

    10. Lots of armchair quaterbacks today!Unless you are there or have had this happen to you lets not smart off.Teach people what to do,yes they should have known before hand,hindsight.Teach the next hunter.I have not been attacked or seen a Griz but have been close enough to smell him and the present he left me in the trail.My pistol for backup is the Ruger Alaskan 480.

      1. From the age of 10 to 17 my summer playgrounds were the Alaskan Nenana river and Savage River valleys and the area between them. I have the bonafides to speak to this topic. Sounds like you are the “armchair quarterback.”

      2. No we haven’t been there. I’ve nevet been in bear country with a day old kill with my firearm in my backpack and I never will be. Sounds like your armchair QBing the commentary knowing nothing of the people nor their qualifications.

    11. Wow, just wow. Where do I even start with this one? I’m sorry but to the so called “guide” was so flat-out STUPID and Arrogant. He without a doubt in the world should of been well armed with a rifle and a high-caliber handgun but instead he was used as a bear tooth-pick. And to the clown that supposedly threw a pistol to the idiot guide with nothing, yeah, that is equally ridiculous as well. I can’t imagine being in a situation like that but you don’t leave a man behind like that while you run away and call the clowns to clean up the mess of a human carcass. . .just Wow.

    12. I wonder which is heavier , the handgun that should have been strapped to your dumb ass or the guilt you will carry the rest of your life for running/saving oneself ? Einstein said 2 things are infinite , human stupidity and the universe and I,m not sure about the former 😉 , condolences to the family , listen kids , always carry a gun , there is dangerous vermin everywhere 2+4 legged , the boyscout motto better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    13. Not passing any judgement here, but I think the only one that knows what really happened that is still alive is the bear that was protecting his “found” dinner. Obviously the individual that fled the scene only knows what occurred before he left his guide to save his own hide. I sincerely doubt the pistol story … bears don’t collect firearms!

    14. Maybe he threw him the pistol so he could shoot himself. That woulda been a better option than the bear mauling.
      I agree with Darkman and Roy as well.

    15. Let me get this straight. Processing or packing an elk shot the previous day (In Bear Country). Left the only protection they had in a pack (In Bear Country). Obvious Darwin Award nominee. Stupid people doing stupid things resulting in DEATH !!!. Sympathy to the Family. None for the FOOL.

    16. This is what happens when city folk decide they want to play “mountain man” and someone takes their money to facilitate it. Incompetent or coward, the results were the same.

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