So, you are sneaking along in dense timber chasing elk. You can smell them; the wind is in your favor. A couple chirps on the cow call and you can hear sticks breaking and something is getting closer. Your arrow is nocked and ready.
“GRIZZLY”, your partner yells. Suddenly everything changes. A mean bear is charging, and you are standing there holding a bow and arrow. What are you supposed to do?
If you have never been in this situation, constructive advice is hard to come by. You probably have a bear spray container. Have you ever live fired it? Have you practiced a bear spray quick draw? Most hunters that I talk with have never fired their Bear Spray cannister. “It is too expensive to waste!” We practice shooting, work out to get into shape, but fail to practice what to do when a bear comes onto us.
Before you enter the woods, buy a can of spray and have all your hunting buddies get together for a Field Test. Put a big bear target on the fence and spray away. Have each hunter unsnap the holster, draw and fire. In this way they can discover if they should carry the spray on the right or left side. Understanding how the pin is pulled, aimed and know the range are essential. For a real thrill, get a buddy, with a gas mask, to dress up in a bear suit and surprise them.
Bear Assaults happen fast. You may not see the bear until it is at full speed and closing in fast. A handgun in 10mm, 357magnum, or 45 calibers, are commonly carried. Some are semi autos, others are revolvers. My choice is a 357-mag revolver. They are quick to draw, easy to aim, and will not jam. The caliber is fast and strong enough to put down a bear.
If you try to shoot a bear, accuracy is vital. The gun will jump upon recoil. The bigger the caliber, the more the recoil and the longer it will take to reacquire the target. At this point, you should have dropped the bow, and looked for trees and cover, as you un-holster your weapon.
HANG ONTO YOUR WEAPON! Some hunters attach their pistols to a cord, like the British Officers did with their Webley revolvers back in the Great War. This will keep the pistol handy, even if you fumble. If the bear is on top of you, your kill shot is under the chin/throat of the bear. You are probably bleeding at this point but… Practice before you go into the bears dining room!
There is no sure outcome. You may be killed by the bear, you may kill the bear, the bear may just make a false charge, the bear may run through the spray… This is big game hunting in Grizzly country. Hunters are in the living rooms of wolves, bears, cats, and nature. You need to be prepared and practiced surviving or,
be wearing faster shoes than your buddy!
For more Montana Grant, charge him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.