Wyoming Hunters Barely Survive Grizzly Attack

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear Attacks Moose Hunters Near Pinedale, Wy

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- This is one of a series of detailed accounts of bear attacks found with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by AmmoLand. On September 7, 2010, a pair of archery hunters were stalking moose in a remote part of Wyoming near Pinedale. A large boar grizzly bear attacked them. Fortunately, they were able to shoot the bear and stop the attack.

In the morning, one of their guides had been scouting the area. He had seen two bull moose and what he thought was a large black bear. When he told the hunters about the moose and the bear, the guide mentioned he had a black bear tag. He asked the archery hunters if they would mind him taking a gun along in case they saw a black bear. The gun belonged to the lead guide.

The gun was a Marlin lever action rifle chambered in .450 Marlin, sporting iron sights. The guide loaded the rifle with four rounds of ammunition. It is not clear if the guide carried any additional rounds. The lead guide reportedly took the rifle from a saddle scabbard and handed it to the guide.

The hunters were able to spot two moose, one of which was a bull. They proceeded to stalk the bull. They stalked to within 60 yards of the moose. The wind changed and the bull walked away through the burned-out timber. They decided to go back to the horses to see if they could get downwind of the moose for another try. It was about 2 p.m.

As they worked their way through the dense cover, they passed near where the guide had seen the bear. They did not see the bear. The guide heard a roar and turned to see a bear charging from his left, very fast and very close. From the report:

I hear a big roar. As I looked I saw a bear charging, he was coming very fast and was very close. I acted all on instinct and knew I only had 1 chance. I shouldered my rifle and shot at the bear which was way close, probably 10 feet. My bullet hit him and he sorta rolled but was still clearly alive and moving so I shot again. I had backed up 3 to 4 steps and he was still wanting to get up so I placed my shot in the neck.

The lead guide reported he was shouting “Hit him again!” after the first shot, then “Hit him again!” after the second shot. The attack stopped.

Grizzly bear shot while attacking moose hunters in Wyoming

The adrenaline aftermath set in. The guide who shot had kept his calm as the attack occurred. Shortly after, he felt nauseous; his legs started to shake so much, he had to sit down.

Many hunters have experienced variations of this. In Wisconsin, they call it “buck fever”. I can recall similar reactions after shooting my first buck.

When they saw the dead bear, they discovered it was a grizzly. This immediately changed their plans. The lead guide, who owned the rifle, told everyone not to touch anything. He told them not to even take a picture. They left the area to return to where they had cell phone coverage. They reported the incident to the Wyoming Game and Fish office in Pinedale, Wyoming. The Game and Fish officer was able to receive the report less than two hours after the attack.

The next day two wardens came out to investigate the incident. They accompanied the lead guide back to the location of the attack. The wardens investigated the area, took pictures, and performed a field assessment of the gunshot wounds. They found two bear daybeds 45 feet from where the attack took place.

They found two bear daybeds 45 feet from where the attack took place.

Two cartridge cases were later recovered. It wasn’t clear if the third case was ejected from the rifle. All three shots hit the bear. The first shot hit the bear in the back over the top of the head, about two inches right side of the spine. The second shot hit the bear in the middle, about six inches down from the spine. The third shot hit the bear in the neck, from the side. The bear was in good condition with about three inches of fat over the rump.

The wardens interviewed the hunters separately. One of the hunters had bear spray in a fanny pack. The fanny pack was with the horses. Given the speed of the encounter, it is unlikely a hunter would have been able to drop a bow and access bear spray from a fanny pack.

The hunters agreed to give written statements to the wardens for their investigation. The physical evidence and the written statements were consistent with the verbal account. The wardens secured the bear head and four paws as evidence.

US Fish and Wildlife Service received a report of the incident. On September 27, 2010, Assistant US Attorney, Darrell L. Fun, sent a letter declining to prosecute. The hunters had not committed a crime. Fish & Wildlife Service in Wyoming received the letter. It is not clear when, if ever, the hunters and guides knew of the decision.

Both guides noted it was fortunate they had decided to take the rifle with them.

This points out the advantage of a pistol over a rifle. A pistol you have with you is far superior to a rifle left in a scabbard.

Pistols can be very effective in such scenarios as this. It is a very similar attack to what happened in Alaska in 2018 when Jimmy Cox stopped a charging grizzly with a 10mm Glock at 10 feet.


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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Ram
Ram
15 days ago

In a high stress event the human body produces adrenaline.
In the aftermath there is a reaction known as an “epinephrine dump”,
which causes nausea, and the shakes. It has nothing to do with the
pre-event “Buck fever”. The aftermath reaction is never a measure of
courage, or resolve. Some people doubt themselves when they have
a reaction not seen in movies (that were scripted, directed, and
selected as the best of five takes).

Stugotz
Stugotz
15 days ago

I curious why the guide told the hunters that they could not take any pictures after the bear was dispatched?

Ram
Ram
15 days ago
Reply to  Stugotz

I suspect he didn’t want to collect evidence that might be misread.
Let government do the government’s work.

Russn8r
Russn8r
14 days ago
Reply to  Stugotz

That really doesn’t make no sense at all.” -WillTEX

swmft
swmft
15 days ago

you may com across one from montana late 80s 44 desert eagle that would be me

Igor
Igor
15 days ago

I believe you accept the wrong definition of how midwesterners use “Buck Fever”. It is not as you describe the nervous aftermath of a stressful event, but instead the immediate lack of control when you have a trophy buck in your sights and you’re unable to get it done due to being enveloped with nerves. Someone who was afflicted with that temporary condition is made light of after the event. Somebody stressed out as was the case in this story is not or should not be “made light of”, and they weren’t because it was not “Buck Fever”.

Duane
Duane
15 days ago

There are many who travel and live in areas that have far more bears and other 4 legged predators then criminals.

The anti-firearm and anti-hunting crowd love to discount the use of firearms for protection against animals.

As just one more reason not to own a firearm for self-defense.

The large predator population is increasing across the country.

Passing along information that firearms are useful tools for self-defense is a good thing.

Any firearm the will work against a 4 legged predator well work against any other predator.

Ideal maybe, maybe not.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief
Admin

Not True! AmmoLand News only received the FOIA response in the last few months and we have been reporting each attack as we comb through the large document cache.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
16 days ago

F Riehl,

Just curious, why the fascination with bears?

Good* firearm owners are much more likely to be bothered by armed non-civilians.

*Good firearm owners are those who don’t murder, rape, rob, commit arson, steal, etc.

Last edited 16 days ago by JSNMGC
Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
15 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

You say you live on the west side of Wyoming I believe, in the Star Valley specifically, so I find it incomprehensible why you would bother asking why bear encounters are such a Hot topic with Ammoland. The fact of the matter is there are literally millions of people who go out during summer time, sans Wuhan virus problems, and spend time all throughout the Rocky mountain states, and in Bear country throughout the Midwest. There are also folks who spend a lot of time on the West Coast, including in the Democratic People’s Republic of California: they outlawed both… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
14 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

LOL, Neanderthug wrote 1000 words to deflect. Or the issue really did go right over his head.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
14 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

Not only did Neanderthal75 miss my point, the point he was making was way off. Regarding my point, the average person in the U.S. faces a far higher risk of having their life ruined or ended by enforcers than bears. Regarding his point, I live in western WY. There are millions of people who come here who are not armed and will never be armed no matter how many articles Dean writes about bears. Of all the risks those people face, bear attacks is a minor risk. Those people typically read the information that is available to them that mitigates… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
14 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

The threat of enforcers is far worse than bears, but due to a bad time with a cow-size black bear I still pack packed.

In re “Regarding his comment about me being anti-cop, are the other posters here (who post every day about politicians) anti-politician?”

LOL example over their heads:

“You’re a NeverTrumper if you criticize any politicians.”

Last edited 14 days ago by Russn8r
JSNMGC
JSNMGC
14 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

I carry too, most of the time, in “bear country.” That other thread on the topic went sideways. The reason I carry (whether in “bear country” or anywhere else) is to mitigate the risk of my life (and those I’m with) being ruined or ended. There was a guy on here (not you) who unequivocally stated that everyone should always carry in “bear country.” I don’t care what other people do and would never tell someone they should carry in “bear country” – it’s their choice. The fact is, most of the people who visit “bear country” in western WY… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
14 days ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Good points. I know packed packing may not be a good trade off even ignoring weight considerations, but I swore I’d never let Smokey push me around again.

Anyway, don’t bash any politicians or you’ll be accused of hating Rand, Trump or some other sacred cow. Better say nice things about Chipman too.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
14 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

The majority of times I carry because I normally hike with one other person and we normally hike in areas that are less traveled. I have a day hike pack that rides high and I carry on my belt. If I’m using a bigger pack, I carry on my chest.

The family from NJ who visit the Tetons in August and hike around Jenny Lake (“bear country”) with a couple dozen other tourists from around the world have almost zero risk of being attacked by a bear.