Here at LocaCarnivore, we recommend bear hunters use a proper dangerous game rifle. Yes, yes, we know you can kill a bear with almost any center-fire rifle cartridge fired from most any rifle, but stopping a bear charge is a whole other issue. If the first shot is ineffective, for any reason, you will have a big problem on your hands, as the hunter in this video demonstrates.
Let’s debrief what went wrong here.
While it’s hard to estimate the range the first shot occurred at (Go-Pro video is less than perfect), based on the subsequent stalk, between 75 and 125 yards is a fair guess. Hunters should avoid shots at dangerous game beyond 100 yards (50, or less, is preferred). Whenever possible, support the rifle on something solid such as a tree trunk, shooting sticks, etc. The hunter here takes an off-hand shot. The range and shooting position conspire to make the first shot wound, not kill, the bear. While the bear might have died not long afterward, it’s still quite active by the time the hunter reaches it.
Then things go from bad to worse, and as often happens with dangerous critters, it goes fast. While the hunter responds well and seems to hit the bear with a second round, the beast doesn’t stop its charge. It’s a close run thing, and he might have needed an underwear change.
- Bullet placement is the most important single factor when you shoot an animal–goes double for grumpy ones. So, take a steady, well-braced shot at a reasonable range.
- Use enough gun. We don’t know what cartridge this hunter used, but when it comes to dangerous game, there is no such thing as too much gun. You want a round which will tear a wide, deep hole in a dangerous animal. One which will break bones if it hits one, not glance off them.
- Prepare for the worst case situation. A charge by an angry, wounded bear is the worst case here, so take a gun which is suited to stopping big, dangerous beasts. LocaCarnivore’s short list includes: .45-70, 9.3×62, .35 Whelen, .375 H&H, and any .416 or .458. Your scope should have either a low power around two or less for up close and personal work, or quick-disconnect scope mounts and iron express sights.
Other helpful stories you’ll like:
Use Enough Gun: Why You Should Bring a Big Bore to a Bear Hunt