U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- On 25 June 2019, a black bear charged a man, chased his dog, then pursued him up a tree until he shot and killed it with a pistol. The attack occurred in Pend Oreille County, Washington State, near Petit lake. The defender fired a shot in an attempt to scare the bear away, but that did not work. From krem.com:
According to Sgt. Tony Leonetti, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the man was walking his dog when he spotted a black bear about 20 feet ahead of him. The man told authorities the bear charged at him and his dog.
He says he fired a warning shot, but the bear continued to charge at him. Authorities say the man climbed a tree to escape and the bear followed. The man shot and killed the bear from the tree.
“He tried to make himself known – raising his arms, shouting at the bear – the bear stood up, it charged him. He immediately climbed a tree to get out of the path of the bear,” Leonetti said. “The bear was going in the direction of the dog, he fired a round to discourage or distract the bear from going after his dog. The bear came back towards his direction, and attempted to climb the tree that he had climbed. At that point the gentleman euthanized the bear in self-defense.”
I contacted Sgt. Tony Leonetti of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The sow was a cinnamon color phase black bear, about 150 lbs. The defender had climbed about 12 feet into the tree when the sow came back and came at him. The defender climbed further up the tree and was about 20 feet up the tree when the sow had reached 12 feet above the ground, in the same tree. Sgt. Leonetti said the claw marks on the tree were clearly visible. At that point, the defender fired three shots from his Glock model 21, chambered in .45 ACP. All of the shots hit the bear in the chest, killing it.
Sgt. Leonetti, who investigated the incident, said: “There was no doubt in my mind it was legitimate self-defense.” Sgt. Leonetti did not know if the bear killed near Petit lake could have been the same bear that attacked a woman two years earlier.
On 4 July 2017 a bear attacked a woman with two dogs at Priest Lake, about 10 miles away. From spokesman.com:
“The bear came from behind, bit one dog, then attacked her, then attacked the other dog and then turned on her again after she’d gone down on the ground and tried to play dead.”
Most of the damage was done in the initial strike when she was still standing and the bear went for her head, he said. “The second time around she had her hands up on her head and the bear bit her on the back and side.”
That woman required 97 stitches. It wasn’t until the woman’s brother and his daughter arrived that the bear eventually left. If any of the three of them had a firearm, they could easily have killed the bear. The authorities said the bear had a cub with it. It appears that because of the cub, they did not pursue or kill the bear. Two years would be enough time for the sow to have another cub or cubs.
Also in 2017, a black bear injured a man in the same area. From spokeman.com:
A black bear charged a man jogging along Priest Lake on Monday, inflicting minor injuries to his leg before running off, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials say.
In the second case, which occurred on 1 August 2017, if the man had been armed, there is a good chance he could have killed the offending bear. In that case, authorities would have killed the bear but were unable to locate it.
We will never know if the sow that was killed in 2019, as it pursued a man up a tree, was one of the bears that attacked people two years earlier, in the same area.
Black bears who attack people are rare. Most black bears, when they encounter people, run away.
One of the advantages of defending against bear attack with firearms is the bear is usually killed. Authorities do not have to track down and kill the bear. The bear is no longer a threat to other humans it may encounter.
Black bears are thriving. Their populations are increasing. Killing the few bears that aggressively approach people is not a threat to bear populations. It selects out aggressive bears that are unafraid of people.
About 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.