Slung Rifle too Slow to Stop Grizzly Attack in Montana

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- On 11 November 2018, on Sunday morning, Anders Broste was hunting with a friend. He had already harvested his deer, weeks earlier. He had an elk tag, so he had his rifle along in case he was fortunate enough to encounter an elk. He knew there were plenty of deer in the area.

Broste was using two hands to move through heavy brush and alders. His friend was about a hundred and fifty yards away. It is a common and successful hunting technique.

Broste saw the bear as it lifted its head from its bed. Then, the bear charged. Broste had his rifle slung. It was not in his hands and at the ready. He tried to get the rifle off of his shoulder. He was only able to interpose it partly between the bear and his body before the bear was on him.

Broste said he did not have a plan for a bear attack. He said it was mere seconds from the time he saw the bear until it was on him.

A practiced rifle shot, with a rifle in his hands, can hit a close, moving target in less than a second and a half, if he is ready.

Anders Broste
Anders Broste

Once Broste was down, He might have been able to use a handgun or bear spray, if they had been holstered for easy access. He is not clear if he kicked the bear. He remembers shouting. After mauling Broste in both arms and legs, the bear ran off.

From greatfallstribune.com:

Broste, 36, said he was trying to get his gun off his shoulder and was backpedaling when he fell. “It was on me in seconds,” he said Monday.

The bear bit Broste's arm, breaking a bone, before turning to Broste's ankle.

Broste said he thinks he kicked the bear a couple of times and the bear ran off. He's 99.9 percent sure it was a grizzly.

Broste, in an interview with the Daily Interlake, said he was glad to see other people with guns.

As the medics worked on Broste at the scene others stood guard.

“I’ve never been so thankful to see high-powered rifles and shotguns,” he said.

His voice broke.

“I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful for all the people who helped me.”

As the medics worked on Broste at the scene others stood guard.
As the medics worked on Broste at the scene others stood guard.

Broste gave a 15 minute interview with some details here. He correctly mentions that every activity carries risk with it.

This late in the season, with considerable snow on the ground, most bears have denned up for the winter.  Bear behavior is highly individual and unpredictable. There have been several bear attacks in the middle of winter, but it is unusual.

People who have hunted in thick cover know you can move through it while keeping a rifle at the ready. It will take a little more time, but you want to move through cover slowly and quietly if you are to see game. A common practice is to move a short distance, slowly. Then, with rifle or shotgun at the ready, scan the area to locate game.

Bear attack expert Dave Smith has noted you cannot carry a rifle at the ready and handle bear spray or a handgun at the same time. If you are hunting, it is better to have your rifle or shotgun at the ready. From Ammoland:

There are 6 field carries for rifles, and Boddington is using the “sling” carry. In a 1983 Forest Service paper (Safety in Bear Country: Protective Measures and Bullet Performance at Short Range) Meehan and Thilenius wrote, “Because there is almost no possibility of a slung rifle being brought into action during a short-distance confrontation, rifles carried in bear country should not be permanently equipped with slings. The sling should be mounted on detachable swivels, and should be removed when conditions exist for a possible confrontation.”

In Broste's defense, he did not expect to encounter a bear. He had already harvested a deer, and while he had an elk tag, it does not seem he expected to encounter an elk in the area.

In a surprise grizzly attack, there may not be time to unsling a rifle.


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.

  • 29 thoughts on “Slung Rifle too Slow to Stop Grizzly Attack in Montana

    1. Guy in Wyoming killed the other day after using bear spray on a grizzly. Bear attack data shows that bear spray only works on curious grizzlies, not angry, charging ones. People that care more about preserving the bear than other people are behind the agenda claiming that bear spray is effective against a determined bear.

    2. In lots of cases you will have one shot maybe, how you carry, locked and loaded in your hands safety off it does not matter. A surprised or adrenalized grizzly bear (momma with cubs) can run over 35 miles per hour over level ground. A hunter by nature is stealthily and when you are in grizzly bear country you must have your situational awareness on point at a high level at all times. It is wise to have another hunter stand locked and loaded while field dressing a kill, its even wiser to back out and let the bear have it if he will let you. These are magnificent dangerous creatures and deserve the utmost respect. When I see grizz tracks I turn around and leave the area. I live in the interior of northern British Columbia and there are grizz a plenty everywhere.

    3. Nothing new here folks. A grizzle bear can move at roughly 35 miles per hour over level ground with his heart exploded and his lungs full of blood. When enraged, or his adrenaline is up from surprise or what ever and the bear is close your survival may be an iffy thing no matter how big your caliber is. Hunters by nature try to be stealthily and if you are in grizz country ya better have your situational awareness on point at all times. Still shit happens.So if you happen to be in MR Grumpy s living room be aware at all times, especially when skinning out your kill. It is wise to have one stand guard locked and loaded. So many hunters up here in the northern interior of British Columbia have been mauled because they could not get to their rifle or were alone when field dressing or got between mamma and her babies or happened on a grizz kill or———————.

    4. I suspect you’d have to spring for a Ruger .460 or other large-caliber revolver to cover your bases a little better.

    5. I seem to be the only reader familiar with the Boonie Sling carry as used with M16s and shotguns in Nam. I still use that carry with all of my long guns today.One or both hands on rifle…or both hands free with rifle weight born on off hand shoulder……hands on rifle ready to shoot from hip or instantaneously bring up to normal shoulder shooting position. Never have to unsling rifle to be able to bring into action against VC or grizzly with one or both hands.. Can be at strong side freeing both hands for handling other objects or managing stability on steep, slippery terrain but still in shooting position. Can draw sling up tight to close carry rifle tight under arm pit protecting scope and controlling rifle via clamping between inner upper arm and arm pit/side of chest. in heavy thickets. Can adjust rifle level for tilted muzzle up or down as appropriate. Can adjust rifle position pointing straight ahead or horizontally angled toward strong or weak side. Also, tighten sling slightly and move rifle around to rear to lay against my back or across front for various needs. As with any gun carry method, muzzle discipline is always on one’s mind…..becomes instinct.

    6. A slung rifle when going through brush is likely proper. Not expecting a bear attack is normal also but not being prepared is/was not wise. A good, powerful, accurate and quickly accessible handgun is ALWAYS a good idea no matter what the tree huggers or commiecrats say. Would it have stopped the attack? Maybe, probably, but the idea of being chewed up while alive is good enough reason to at least give yourself the choice of fighting back instead of relying on the clemency of a ticked off grizzly or even urban predators. This man was lucky to live. He and his family, friends should be reminded of just how thankful they should be.

    7. So, I guess we Montanans must carry a rifle in a ready position at all times while we’re in the woods, rather we are hiking, huckleberrying, picnicking, etc.? I’m sorry, but Griz attacks can occur at any time, not just while hunting. There isn’t really any way to ensure 100% that you won’t run into a Grizzly/Brown Bear. Even expensive bear spray isn’t that great. A griz can move 40 yards in about 2 seconds. All of the previous discussion means nothing. Carry a .44 Magnum pistol in a quickdraw holster and wear depends. Rid must be a Montanan. Anders, get well soon

      A Montanan

    8. My only comment relates to Mr. Broste saying he did not expect a bear attack. When in Bear country one should always expect to confront a bear. It is their playground and their rules. Man is not at the top of the food chain in their territory. Thus being prepared is essential to one’s survival. Any tool that one expects to use as defense is worthless if it is in an unusable position.

      1. Nobody ever says going into the woods “I do/don’t expect to be attacked by a bear”, including myself. I choose however to accept that by going into bear habitat that I could encounter one and I accept the potential consequences that could/did come with that. I don’t blame the bear. The over analysis of what could have been or done does nothing to add to the fact that there are things totally out of ones control. Accepting that is the only real way to be prepared or to simply not go out into the world.

        Gun, bear spray, or karate, it don’t matter. I’ve heard it all and I can tell you in that moment at that range you are not in control, you’re along for an evolutionary ride of fight or flight and at the mercy of the bear.

        That being said the best advice I can give is to be prepared to handle the aftermath of any situation that turns south. Give yourself the tools to get help ASAP. Respect nature too, they got it a lot harder than we do and have a lot fewer places to go and call home.

    9. Thanks for submitting this. It is a good reminder for all of us. I refuse to comment on slung or unslung as some “expert” will tell me why I am wrong. Suffice it to say that the unexpected can happen to any of us and we should attempt to evaluate all scenarios when outddors and prepare accordingly.

    10. Having just complete a successful elk hunt in Colorado, I can attest to the difficulty connected to traversing terrain with an unslung rifle. The steepness of the area, the thickness of the trees and brush makes it extremely tough to maintain balance safely with other hunters accompanying. We had absolutely no contact, found zero sign of bears nor fear of encounters (black bears are the only species I think inhabit southwestern Colorado, though I could be mistaken). Even knowing this, we were careful while dressing/quartering and approaching the elk for retrieval. I am not certain how I would react to a surprise attack. I would like to think I might be ready, but not having ever experienced this scenario I cannot actually state one way or the other. We did have a lion come close to camp a couple of times, but other than one confirmed contact with a lion being illuminated by flashlight (it then retreated), there were no safety issues associated with our hunt.
      Grizzly country would definitely cause me to be concerned with encounters and how I might prepare myself for possible unplanned run-ins with bruins! Large predators have been known to attack/protect kill sites even when more than one hunter was present, as was the incident recorded this year in Wyoming with hunter and guide being attacked/mauled. The brown bears I have encountered on Kodiak did not appear to have a great fear of anything, especially a larger fishing party. All of that stated, the surprise attack on Mr. Broste is not a scenario I would want to have to prove any point of readiness or otherwise! What happened is definitely unfortunate and he is blessed to have survived such a frightening encounter. I pray for his recovery and return to hunting in this great environment we have available.
      -Doc

    11. Unless the terrain makes it inadviseable, I use what I think is called a “Yaeger carry”, that is the sling on your off-shoulder (left if you’re shooting right-handed), muzzle down. With my left hand close to the forearm, I can have the gun in battery in much less than a second.

      1. I think muzzle-up, in front of the left shoulder is even quicker. Your left hand goes to the forearm and pushes the rifle forward while the right grasps the wrist of the stock & brings it to the shoulder.
        Finger on trigger, release safety, shoot. Also, the sling comes up behind the left upper arm and provides a ‘hasty sling’ to steady the gun, and the muzzle is up out of the mud & snow.

        1. @rl diehl
          What pete says is correct, and is common practice for many guides to carry this way muzzle down. What Pete was trying to relate is difficulty with terrain, which may make maintaining both hands on a firearm for a short period of time unsafe. The difference between these two styles of carry is that muzzle up frontal carry places the rifle in the way of bending legs, or carried across body again requiring the use of both hands defeating the purpose.

          Furthermore, another guide trick is to fold a single piece of electrical tape over the muzzle regardless of carry position. Remember, muzzle up can still get debris from tree limbs and higher elevations down the barrel.

    12. The article is not a smear it just states the fact that a slung rifle is slower than one in your hands.

      A very true statement.
      There have been several cases where bear mauling victims were not able to get their rifles off their shoulders in time to prevent a mauling.
      Having hunted for over 50 years having shot numerous bears and a couple hundred head of big game.
      The slowest carry method is a slung rifle with a empty chamber and safer on.
      Having hunted with Dean on many occasions I can attest to his knowledge of using a rifle or shotgun on flushing and running game.
      The fastest is a loaded rifle in your hands.

    13. This entire article is one big victim smear, as if the old fart couch commandos who read this dreck think of themselves as invulnerable and infallible from their tree stands or during their Wal-Mart runs. We’ve moved on from blaming mass shooting victims for not being armed while in church, while in school, while doing yoga to essentially blaming victims of bear attacks for not having fast enough relaxes and not treating deer hunting as if it was a LRRP patrol in ‘nam. Rural OFWG seem to be now just fully entrenched in a fantasy world of guns, role play and superman complexes. Where are the articles calling out all you guys for eating poorly and not exercising cause that’s whats gonna kill you not a bear.

        1. @Pete, Rid’s entire article is one big readership smear, and a non sequitur. The only part that fit was when he wrote that he had moved on. Thank God. Only a youth would not realize that our “exercising” is spending our days making his whole world function, and one can not do that on lettuce.

      1. I seldom use disparaging remarks when replying to someone but, in your case I’ll make the rare exception; you’re an ignorant, uninformed, ideological buffoon. That said, I expected nothing more from just another liberal troll.

      2. @Ridiculous.

        You chose a good name, since it seems to fit you perfectly regardless of whether or not you understand the irony.

        The idea that anyone is safe when they step out their door in the morning, or lock themselves within their house 24/7 is asinine and foolish. What you seem to think of as victim shaming is simply calling to reality that safety is an illusion and that individuals must take responsibility for protecting and ensuring their own well being. Does this include health, sure. Does it include mental preparedness which you seem to scoff at? absolutely.

        Of course though, since you seem to think referring to most of us as Old F*ing White Guys, or OFWG, its pretty clear that you will ignore anything else I have to say since reality just isn’t your bag. You’re never going to change our opinions about guns or politics, about the way you think we should feel, so if you want to find a couch commando there is one living in your clothing right now since that commando seems to be online commenting on a website he pretty obviously doesn’t agree with. Happy holidays, and good luck getting your cranium extracted from your rectal cavity.

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