December 2, 2016

"In the back of my head, I can still hear my dad’s voice: 'Take your time, but hurry up.'"

The thoughts of a 29-year-old man, who, hunting for elk in Montana, "came upon a sleeping grizzly bear nestled in the dirt in the middle of the trail, all but concealed by foggy conditions and the animal’s muddy brown fur."
In the dim morning light, [Justin] Souza had strayed within 10 yards of the sleeping giant. The hunter’s presence did not go undetected, however. The grizzly stirred, lifting its head a little to get a glimpse of who had disturbed its slumber. Then, the bear put its head back down. Meanwhile, Souza backpedaled, putting distance and a tree between him and the grizzly. He flipped the safety off his rifle, just in case. The bear jumped up, but began lumbering away from the hunter, up the hillside. Souza relaxed. Figuring this was the final phase of the encounter, he took out his phone to capture a video clip of the retreating grizzly. But the bruin abruptly spun around, and barreled back down the hill, making a beeline toward the hunter.
In the video, the first second shows the great speed of the bear. The rest is only audio, but you can try to imagine where the bear is at the point when the first rifle shot is heard. Souza's breathing after the shots also fills out the story. The camera is shut off. He does not perform photography on the dead beast, but I bet you will go back to the beginning to see that second of live bear at least one more time.



"Souza said the bear huffed violently and lunged, blood pouring from its mouth in its final moments, still heaving as its inertia brought it sliding down the hill toward him until after the fourth and final shot."

38 comments:

MadisonMan said...

You can hear the adrenaline in the breathing.

Laslo Spatula said...

"He does not perform photography on the dead beast..."

The video of him fucking the dead bear will be on the Internet soon enough.

Because how many times in life do you get the chance to fuck a dead bear, while it is still warm?

The last question does not necessarily include the gay definition of 'bears', although I bet some of those have been fucked while they are dead and still warm. Kind of a reverse John Wayne Gacy.

There are a lot of freaks out there.

I am Laslo.

Amexpat said...

Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPVLyB0Yc6I

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill every bear you meet.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Knowing the story behind it makes the audio from the phone eloquent indeed. One of the most horrifying things I've heard is the recording from the Apollo 1 capsule fire. Sound only requires your imagination to fill in how the experience feels and looks. Visuals are less demanding for some reason. Maybe the image is sufficient for human curiosity.

Larry J said...

A bear can easily outrun the fastest human. Even Usain Bolt can't outrun a bear. That's the basis of the joke, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you."

Sydney said...

I would be dead, because even freezing the frame before the camera dropped, I can not see the bear.

Owen said...

I was chased by a grizzly. You cannot imagine the way the whole world shakes. Luckily the bear was distracted by my buddy who climbed a tree which gave me time (at about 20 yards' distance) to shed the geomagnetic survey gear I was wearing, then turn and run 2 miles to the highway and flag down the first car. I was so tweaked on adrenaline that I kept running into trees and bouncing off, picking myself up and continuing.

Short version? You. Have. No. Idea.

No wonder the First People assign religious power to these creatures.

Clyde said...

FFS, people, turn the camera sideways! Nothing worse than some idiot trying to shoot video in portrait with bars on the side, rather than landscape!

Humperdink said...

On the mountain behind my house, I walking one of my trails and stumbled onto an extremely large black bear resting comfortably in a mud puddle. Bear rolls over, stands up and looks me in eye from 15 yards. Then mercifully runs away. I did a 180 and walked briskly away. Heart pounding does not describe it.

320Busdriver said...


My guess is he'd seen this earlier. graphic

Sydney said...

Oh, now I see him. He's in the upper right. Looks like he is running down a path. Very fast. Scary. I know a guy who likes to ride his motorcycle and camp in the woods in western Canada and Alaska. Canada doesn't let you carry a gun. I always tell him he's taking a chance with bears doing that stuff, but he says he carries "bear spray." Somehow, I don't think bear spray would be much of a deterrent to an animal like that.

rehajm said...

Short version? You. Have. No. Idea.

Poo came out?

Sal said...

Wolves, crows, deer and any number of other animals know that we're deadly creatures. When are grizzlies going to get the message?

Owen said...

rehajm: no, opposite effect. The sphincter did not reopen for six months.

Original Mike said...

"There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don't see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it's vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear."

Original Mike said...

Thie is when you want a semi-automatic.

Owen said...

Original Mike: "...isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear?..."

Yes. My crew spent the rest of the summer running the survey with a .30-06 close at hand. But even so we knew the odds were not in our favor. A charging grizzly gives you time for only a few shots and presents the heavy bone of his forehead as the main sight image. It is like armor on the front of an Abrams tank, angled to deflect a shot. We kept wishing we had a bazooka or a flamethrower, but luckily needed nothing.

This happened 50 years ago. It seems like this morning.

Bad Lieutenant said...

That's when you want something in .50 BMG! Wonder what he was carrying. I bet it wasn't a .223 and I'm happy for him.

And people think they can stop that with a. 44 Magnum? Be my guest. Maybe if you jam it down its throat first while it's gnawing on you. Better than nothing, sure, but save the last round for yourself.

uffda said...

I bet the next time he takes a semi-auto into the woods. He was lucky to have placed those shots well enough into something charging that fast.

Roughcoat said...

Wow. Good on you, mate. And a prayer to the Great Spirit for the bear. A noble creature. He died well.

Original Mike said...

"We kept wishing we had a bazooka or a flamethrower, "

Tactical nuclear weapon.

Bruce Hayden said...

That's when you want something in .50 BMG! Wonder what he was carrying. I bet it wasn't a .223 and I'm happy for him.

Apparently .300 Win Mag. But, he wouldn't have been hunting elk with .223 either. Maybe the deer, who are like vermin there, but not elk, and esp. not moose or bear.

Bruce Hayden said...

I maybe misspoke about the deer there around Livingston. Likely they are under control, given the brown bear population (except in town itself). We are a bit over 250 miles NW of Livingston, and brown bears are just returning to the area (the Forest Service maintains a highway for them to the wilderness area just NW of us). And, at our end of MT, the deer are more likely to kill you than a grizzly (by jumping out into the 70 mph 2 lane highway that runs through the area). Still, two grizzlies were killed several years back 30 miles down river, and the Forest Service claims that they come within a couple miles of town. And, this is one of the reasons that much of MT is fairly heavily armed (esp. since, at least where we are, most everyone seems to hunt for some of their meat every year, and that typically means both deer and elk tags).

eric said...

Wow. Very scary.

You can hear how charged up he was from the breathing.

Dunno if I'd have survived that. I'm not a bad shot, but panicked?

Only if my family was with me. Then I wouldn't have been thinking of my own life, but theirs.

The Drill SGT said...

The best analysis of Man versus Bear is this old FS Guide. The title says it all

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf

"Safety in Bear Country: Protective Measures and Bullet Performance and Short Ranges"

best quotes:

"The brown bear is an extremely interesting
animal. Seeing a brown bear at
close range is one of the most exciting
outdoor experiences a person can
have. A mutual withdrawal is the
preferred outcome, but this may not
always be possible."


and


"The most important shot is the first
one. If not properly placed, it may also
be the last shot fired. If a bear goes
down on the first shot, continue to
shoot. Do not stop to observe the
effects of the shots but continue to aim
at vital areas and shoot until the bear
stays down and is still. When the bear
has stopped moving, reload, work your
way around behind the animal, staying
as far away as practical and possible,
and shoot again into the brain or spine.
Make sure the bear is dead. If the bear
is still active and the rifle is empty, try
to avoid the bear, reload, and continue
to try to kill it."

mikee said...

I wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio's PSA film on bear attacks, The Revenant, was influential in saving this man's life.

I've been faux-charged by a black bear whose cubs strayed too close to us on the trail for her comfort (Jenny Lake Trail, Grand Tetons), and the only thing useful I knew I could do was stay between the momma bear and my young daughter. I never want to feel that helpless again.

Trumpit said...

So, the life of the bear doesn't matter in the overall scheme of things? I vehemently disagree. We are all the poorer when we conclude Bear Lives Don't Matter.

Paul Snively said...

eric: Dunno if I'd have survived that. I'm not a bad shot, but panicked?

Key point: he didn't panic. He dropped to one knee, and heard his father's voice saying "Take your time, but hurry up." Listening to the audio, it seems pretty clear to me that he aimed that first shot very deliberately, and it hit, which is good news/bad news: good news, he seriously wounded the bear. Bad news, the bear's now in pain and angry. So the remaining three shots are just as deliberate. Then, of course, we hear the poor guy literally panting from the adrenaline that's been flooding his body for the last 10 seconds or so.

"I'm 29, and in the next few seconds I'll know whether I'll see 30 or not" is not a comfortable feeling.

mgarbowski said...

Timely article from Jonah Goldberg: "Don't Fall Prey To Bear Propaganda."
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442660/dog-polar-bear-video-showcases-media-lies-propaganda-animals

One of the hooks for the article is how his wife who was raised in Alaska has a very different view of bears than he did: "It’s been one of the staples of home life. If we’re watching a documentary about adorable bear cubs, she’ll explain that they’re just waiting to get big enough to eat our faces. Performing bears? Biding their time for the right moment to eat your face."

holdfast said...

@Sydney

You cannot have a handgun in the Canadian woods. With a permit (which can be issued to non-Canadians) you can have a rifle or shotgun. Shorty shotguns (the kind that would be SBS under the NFA) are very popular for bear defense and are "unrestricted", meaning they only require the easiest level of license to obtain and can be carried and shot on Crown lands (though not parks, I think).

Original Mike said...

"Shorty shotguns (the kind that would be SBS under the NFA) are very popular for bear defense and are "unrestricted", meaning they only require the easiest level of license to obtain and can be carried and shot on Crown lands (though not parks, I think)."

This data point is pretty old now, but in the early 80's my friend and I did a long backpack trip starting in Jasper National Park and ending in Mt. Robson Provincial Park. We were told to worry about grizzles in Jasper but not Mt. Robson because bears were hunted in Robson but protected in Jasper.

Big Mike said...

A charging grizzly gives you time for only a few shots and presents the heavy bone of his forehead as the main sight image. It is like armor on the front of an Abrams tank, angled to deflect a shot.

@Owen, you reminded me of something a hunter told me once when the two of us were in a barber shop and I was reading Outdoor Life or some other hunting magazine. There was a picture of a charging grizzly and the hunter told me if I was ever in the woods with a bear charging at me to shoot it in the shoulder, not the head. Try to stop its forward motion. He said the forehead is too thick and too angled -- as you wrote just now -- and there's a chance the first shot won't penetrate so you won't get a second. It was a long time ago -- had to have been before I was drafted in '68 because Mario closed his barber shop during the time I was in the service.

Rusty said...

Owen said...
Original Mike: "...isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear?..."

Yes. My crew spent the rest of the summer running the survey with a .30-06 close at hand. But even so we knew the odds were not in our favor. A charging grizzly gives you time for only a few shots and presents the heavy bone of his forehead as the main sight image. It is like armor on the front of an Abrams tank, angled to deflect a shot. We kept wishing we had a bazooka or a flamethrower, but luckily needed nothing.

This happened 50 years ago. It seems like this morning.


Alaskan guides carry a shotgun with one ounce rifled slugs Some carry a 45-70 lever gun. Bullet mass means more than bullet speed.

The Bear said...

Larry J said...
A bear can easily outrun the fastest human. Even Usain Bolt can't outrun a bear. That's the basis of the joke, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you."

12/2/16, 8:56 AM

I have an ex-girlfreind who was a apostle to that logic ... we got chased by a moose in Yellowstone Park and as we were approaching the car, with me just in front of her - keys in hand (ON HER SIDE OF THE CAR) she decides to apply said logic and suddenly shoves me from behind, knocking me into the grass and mud ... and runs around the car trying to hide behind the car.

Fortunately for me, the moose decided to chase off elsewhere - I guess it lost sight of us.

I got up out of the mud and grass, brushed most of the stuff off my suddenly descent had accumulated, and I walked around the car where she was hiding ... and I asked her what she exactly had she intended on accomplishing.

She told me that she figured if the moose saw me facedown in the dirt that it would stop to stomp on me long enough for her to get out of sight.

I explained to Einstein that not only did I understand where she saw me in the scheme of things, I also was inquiring as to know how she intended on dealing with the fact that I was the one with the keys ...

... AND that maybe she might have been a wee bit better off actually being inside the car. She could have at least waited until I'd gotten the door open before knocking me down to face the moose and THEN locked herself more safely inside while the stomping was accomplished.

Yes, she was from Wisconsin, too.

Heatshield said...

Got charged by a grizzly in Alaska. The speed is unbelievable. Very surprised to have not soiled myself. Just happens so fast. We did the "open your coat, get big and slowly back away" thing and she got to about ten yards, got up on her hind legs and roared while we yelled back. Then she dropped and ran off and we breathed again. Next time - big gun. I give this guy huge amount of credit to stay calm enough to make accurate shots at such a fast target.

Rusty said...

holdfast said...
@Sydney

You cannot have a handgun in the Canadian woods. With a permit (which can be issued to non-Canadians) you can have a rifle or shotgun. Shorty shotguns (the kind that would be SBS under the NFA) are very popular for bear defense and are "unrestricted", meaning they only require the easiest level of license to obtain and can be carried and shot on Crown lands (though not parks, I think).

It's OK. Unless you have a hugely powerful handgun it will only piss it off more. Or so the Alaska guides tell me.

David said...

"One of the most horrifying things I've heard is the recording from the Apollo 1 capsule fire."

Indeed. It was a brief recording in the listener's frame of reference but it must have seemed forever to Griffin, White and Chaffee.