Loaded for Bear

By Lisa Metheny published on in Hunting

If you hunt any type of game in bear country, and especially if you are hunting bear, you should realize the dangers and risks you face by walking around their backyard. Regardless of whether the risk is low or elevated, the fact is you are still at risk of an encounter with a bear. It should go without saying that bears are unpredictable and can charge without any provocation.

Bear Attack

Although I have never been a “more is better” type of person, I throw that line of thinking out the window when bear hunting.  Why? Two close encounters with angry territorial bears and an unforgettable tracking expedition for a dangerously hostile, wounded bear; that’s why.

What type of firearm would you carry if there is a good chance of coming in close proximity with one or more of these unpredictable carnivores?  The words hunting and defense come into play because you may experience both. Here are three great loaded for bear firearm options.

If you are rifle hunting for bear, you will want a dependable, accurate, high-powered rifle capable of taking down a bear. Although the black bear is smaller than the brown bear, both have thick, fatty tissue, tough hides and strong bones. You will want a rifle capable of penetrating the thick hide, shattering through bones and penetrating through inches of fat to reach vital organs. If you prefer a bolt-action, the Ruger .357 Magnum with synthetic stock weighs less than six pounds and has the hard-hitting punch you will need. It has a proven track record to make it a preferred choice by many seasoned bear hunters.

Ruger 77/357 Bolt-Action Rifle

The Ruger 77/.357 Mag. Bolt-Action Rifle

When the expedition turns to defense and you need a gun perfect for short-range shots on a fast-moving angry target it is hard to beat a semiautomatic shotgun.  Reliable, quick and devastating describe the Remington 870 12 gauge. This shotgun makes a great defense and back up option for the guide in bear country.

Remington Model 870 Express Pump Shotgun

Remington Model 870 Express Pump Shotgun

You would be hard pressed to find a seasoned bear guide who does not carry a side arm. Carrying a handgun may very well be the best option—especially when you are in thick cover or in other situations where a long gun may simply be too bulky. However, is the handgun’s caliber big enough to stop a charging bear?  Is the handgun too big and bulky to comfortably carry and accurately shoot in a heated situation? These are just a few questions to think about when choosing a handgun for bear county. Because it is sized just right to carry and shoot comfortably and can handle heavy recoil the Glock 20 semiautomatic 10mm is a great choice for bear hunting.

GLOCK 20 Gen 4 Semiautomatic Pistol

Glock 20 Gen 4 Semiautomatic Pistol

Before you head out into bear country practice close range shots as well as long-distance shooting. Practice quick response shooting as well as precision shooting.  Regardless of your selection of firearm it is important to note, it is hard to stop a bear if you cannot hit. So, be sure you are comfortable with your firearm selection. If you can not accurately shoot and control your firearm under normal circumstances, chances are during an adrenaline filled moment you will not be able to either. And finally, do not skimp on the ammunition for your guns. Bear country is not the time for bargain basement, discount ammo. Instead, opt for premium, predictable ammunition.

Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than DirtWhat tips do you have for hunting bear or being prepared in case of a bear attack? Share them with us in the comment section.

SLRule

Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.

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Comments (77)

  • Secundius

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    @ Martin Pierce.

    Remember that .455 Caseless we talked about several month’s ago, guess what it wasn’t a “caseless” round after all. It was a experimental Gauss Pistol, “Linear Accelerator/ Mass Driver” pistol with a .455-caliber (11.557mm) sabot projectile with a muzzle velocity of ~3,402.9-m/s or ~Mach 10. The problem is the technology required tb build it, doesn’t exist yet. So, I don’t think you local gun store owner is going to be stocking them for at least the next 100 or so years.

    Reply

  • martin pierce

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    I used to have a Bearskin Rug but our Dogs gave it fleas and it scratched during all hours of the night. I mounted the Head on my then ’55 Chevy Hood and threw the rug away.

    Reply

  • martin pierce

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    A Hip Holstered Laws Rocket with Tubes Extended & a Safety Strap.

    Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ Martin Pierce.

      Hey Martin, give you wife a 93R “Raffica” instead. Nothing say Love and that special Twinkle-In-Her-Eye, like a cyclic rate of 1,100rpm’s or a Micro UZI on fixed full auto, too.

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ Martin Pierce.

      You know, why don’y you make a 21st century upgrade to a 18th century idea. Take an 18th century seven-barrel .46-caliber “Volley Gun” and produce a seven-barrel 12.7x42mm/Beowulf, Bruin Volley Gun instead. nothing says Bruin Evisceration better, than “point-blank” discharging of all 7×12.7x42mm/Beowulf than all barrels going off at the same time. Be the envy of your neighborhood as you casually walk down the sidewalk with your 7-barrel Cannon and your loving wife and her 93R at the ready. Just think about for awhile, don’t make any quick and rash decisions. You might have a rival to that other mystery wonder weapon, the DP-12 shotgun. That seems to be going nowhere.

      Reply

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