WY: Fish Creek Bear Attack 2010: Savage 99 .308 and Taurus Tracker .41

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- As part of AmmoLand’s investigative journalism, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed this bear attack which happened in Wyoming, in 2010.

On 14 August 2010, in the Union Pass area, on Forest Service Road 693 near Fish Creek in west-central  Wyoming, a family group was camping. One of the children reported they had seen a dead calf near the creek.

Two members of the group armed themselves to investigate. The creek was about 300 yards from the campsite. They were unsure if the calf were dead or merely sleeping. If the calf were dead, they would need to keep the children, who wanted to go fishing, away from the creek, because of the danger of bears in the area. They approached the creek about 8:15 a.m.

As the two people walked down the road toward the creek, there appeared a slight gap in the trees on their right as they approached the creek. One of them said that “looked like a good place for bears”, just before a grizzly erupted from the woods, coming at them at “90 miles an hour”.

The person in the lead shouldered his Savage 99, chambered in .308, loaded with five rounds of reloads with 150-grain Game King bullets. The bear appeared only 15 feet from them. At 8-10 feet, he fired. The bear stumbled and went down, slightly to his right, at the edge of the road. As the bear started to get up, he fired a second shot and his partner opened up with the .41 magnum. The .41 magnum was loaded with reloads and lead bullets. Both people emptied their firearms at the bear, which managed to crawl a few feet away and collapse next to a pine tree.

FOIA image. Red arrow enhanced to show the position of a dead bear. X indicates the positions of shooters. The blue line shows the approximate path of the bear charge.

The shooters did not have any extra ammunition with them. The bear was still moving when they left. They went back to their camp. About 45 minutes later, they returned in a pickup truck to make sure the bear was dead.

The bear appeared dead. They got out of the truck to investigate. They saw a dead calf beyond the dead bear, near the creek. Nearby was a cow, presumably the mother of the calf.

Then more bears appeared, a sow with two cubs. The owner of the Taurus revolver had exchanged it for a camera. The one with the Savage rifle yelled and raised his rifle, and the bears retreated. When the bears appeared, the cow took off running.

The shooters got back into the truck. They traveled to the Forest Service guard station and reported the incident.

When the field necropsy was done on the bear, it was discovered the bear was hit three times with .308 caliber bullets. The bear was a boar, approximately 18 years old, and had an unreadable lip tattoo. Ear tags had been attached, but had been torn out long before the shooting. The history of the bear could not be determined.

The investigation determined the calf had been killed by wolves,  then fed on by grizzly bears. The information was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s office for Wyoming.

On 6 December 2010, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Wyoming, declined prosecution.

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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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It’s hard to understand that at about feet approx, that the pistol shooter completely missed the bear! Wow if we can’t hit what we are shooting at , let’s stay out of the woods!!

It may also show what stress will do! Take a shooting course that places you in stress so that we learn!


These guys were extremely lucky. These days, most United States Attorney’s Offices will prosecute anything with a pulse regardless of guilt or innocence, just to “make their bones” and chalk up a win to impress their bosses and get a promotion. When that happens a bear attack is preferable.


Having shot bears with both a .308 and a Taurus 41 tracker. I can say they both are very capable of killing them.


3 hits of 5 tries from the .308 and none from the .41? Armed with a camera going back? No mention of actions taken to protect the kids or others? This raises a lot of questions for me, and it sounds like there was a good deal of luck involved too.


I was thinking the same, that somebody needed to practice.

Old Vet

Practice yes, but when you are in an adrenaline situation like this, you may lose concentration on your skill set. Life and death are different than shooting paper, as you might know. As a former LEO, I found that training and more training is tantamount to survival.


I agree with you, 10,000% . i found that when on an adrenaline ‘high’, my shots were about on top of ea. other & placed where i wanted, almost. i remember thinking, i wanted to space them a bit,so 1 was about 1/2 ” away from other 2.(range about 4′ ) it all happens so fast,not much time for reflection on shot placement,or using the sights. just end the threat. Yup, i practice at & sometimes, over 1000 rds / week.


Shooter very lucky to have another chance to practice.


It pays to practice , I have been charged by 3 whitetail bucks during the rut . One I killed at 15 feet with a scoped 30-06 , the second I killed at 20 feet with a 870 with a slug . The third buck I killed at 7 feet with my Ruger Blackhawk 44 mag . They meant to kill me but I turned the table on them with accurate shooting . Always be prepared when in the field for the unexpected.


I just read this story and my thoughts are after reading such articles is why the rangers and the authorities always say to carry Bear Spray. This garbage has been proven ineffective against bears.
Also in the story it says that the children involved did the right thing by not going up to the carcass but told the adults who then investigated.
As a war vet I understand the adrenaline effect. You never know just how you will react and take action when threatened.


I wonder how in the hell did that camera fit into that holster?