Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Alaska hiker fired 13 rounds from AK-74 into charging brown bear to survive attack

Written By: Bob - Jul• 30•13
Not today, Yogi.

Not today, Yogi.


A man hiking on a popular Turnagain Arm trail near the Seward Highway killed a charging brown bear with a semi-automatic AK-74 rifle Sunday, prompting Chugach State Park rangers to close a section of the popular trail.

The hiker, who has not been identified by Alaska State Troopers, had set out from the Rainbow trail head at Milepost 108 of the highway Sunday morning, said Tom Crockett, a park ranger. He was near the first inlet viewpoint, about a half-mile up the trail toward McHugh Creek, when he spotted the bear. It was on the edge of a birch and spruce forest with abundant blueberries and serviceberries.

Crockett and an Alaska State Trooper who responded found the man in the same spot on the trail where he encountered the bear. He wasn’t willing to walk out alone.

“He told me he’s never been so scared in his life,” he said.

Crockett estimated the bear weighed 500 to 600 pounds. The animal bore marks of an eventful life: He had a “big hulking” scar running over the top of his head, likely from a tussle with another bear.

No laundry detergent exists that would be powerful enough save my pants after such an encounter. This guy is extremely lucky that the 5.45mm bullets penetrated deeply enough to kill such a monster before it killed him.

I’d prefer take a full-auto .50 Beowulf on such a hike, thank you very much.

Note: I always think my voice sounds more Southern than it really is when recorded, but I may be wrong.

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  1. eddd7 says:

    Uuh oh! Was the hiker a white hispanic……shooting to save his own life, and all…..?

  2. Treker says:

    It was a AK74 ? Why go into the woods un-armed ?

    • noodle says:

      Good thing he had an AK, if he had an AR he prob would be dead right now from it jamming.

      • Chuck says:

        Yup, ’cause nobody has ever successfully killed anything with those pesky finicky ARs. I hear you can bury an AK in Alaskan perma-frost and then dig it up a decade later and drop a brownie in its tracks. Plus, bears are big enough that you don’t need an accurate rifle to hit them anyway!

      • Steve Skubinna says:

        Sure. I hear they’ve been finding entire company sized units of Marines and GIs dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, their jammed M-16s clutched in their cold hands.

  3. louielouie says:

    the hiker defended himself.
    he’s obviously racist.

    • louielouie says:

      Woman Stops Grizzly Bear Attack With .25 Caliber Pistol

      This is a story of self-control and marksmanship with an itsy-bitsy shooter by a woman against a fierce predator. What is the smallest caliber you trust to protect yourself?

      The Beretta Jetfire .25 caliber is the weapon of choice for this woman.

      In her own words: “My story:

      “While out hiking in Alberta Canada with my boyfriend, we were surprised by a huge grizzly bear charging at us from out of nowhere. She must have been protecting her cubs because she was extremely aggressive. If I had not had my little Beretta Jetfire .25 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today!

      “Just one shot to my boyfriend’s kneecap was all it took. The bear got him and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.

      “It’s one of the best pistols in my collection.”

      • Tom Denham says:

        That my friend, made me spit soda all over my keyboard. Thanks… Just what I needed for a tough morning.

      • Steve Skubinna says:

        Right. You don’t need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun your hiking partner.

  4. Phelps says:

    If he had been armed with a Colorado legal magazine, he would likely be dead.

  5. JTwig says:

    The last time I took my sons hiking it was spring in Michigan, and was the time that the bears awake hungry starting to become active after their winter naps. At the time all I had to choose from was a 12g with buckshot or my AR. I chose the AR with FMJ 5.56mm rounds hoping that if we ran into a bear the rounds would at least have a chance to make it to a bear’s vitals (or at the very least make me its focus and allow my sons to escape). Luckily we never saw any bears, though we did find some trees that were obviously rubbed against with some fur stuck in the bark. How long it had been there, I had no clue.

    I was so on edge the entire weekend and had no fun what so ever. Normally I feel perfectly fine keeping the AR as my camp gun, since the only real concern is coyotes and maybe raccoons, but not that weekend. When we got home I swore to my wife that I would never go camping or hiking in the deep woods so early in the season again, even with my a .30-06 (was on lone to my father) or my father-in-law’s .45-70.

  6. Grendel says:

    I’ve shot a bunch of bears, and missed some. Bears are hard to penetrate and darn hard to hit when they’re running. An AK-74 is a lot better choice than something with a ton of recoil that would make your followup shots slower.

  7. Orion says:

    Having spent 5 hours in a spirited and on-going discussion with a VERY large black bear in Algonquin Canada – who was NOT charging at me (well one short one) – over who got to keep my campsite and hanging food bag*, I can assure you that had I been in this man’s situation, the pile of excrement would have been so large that said bear would simply have gone on past, wondering where I had gone.

    * He won the discussion. Stupid bear. And I’d still like to collect the skin I left going up the tree.


  8. Chuck says:

    I’m stunned not to have seen the phrase “poodle-shooter” yet. I will chalk that up to general ignorance regarding the caliber of the AK-74 clone (5.45×39) or confusion/dyslexia that may have led some readers to conflate it with an AK-47 clone chambered in 7.62×39.

    Considering that many seem to (foolishly) believe a big f’in revolver such as a .44 Magnum or larger is the answer for brown bears I’d say this guy was at least smart enough to bring a rifle to a bear fight.

    When you consider that no matter what you intend to shoot a charging bear with, it will require several rounds to do the trick (if you’re lucky and skilled and/or calm enough to actually hit the bear where it counts) he could have done worse than to fire a semi-auto rifle with a large magazine capacity and recoil light enough to allow quick, accurate follow up shots.

    Keep shooting until the target changes shape or catches fire indeed.

    Many who spend time in bear country recommend carrying both a big enough firearm AND bear spray. I’d suggest that list might be expanded to include a third item: Depends.

  9. DanP_from_AZ says:

    Enough gun. I live near, 4wd, and hike in wilderness areas.
    No grizzies or big browns. Big blacks, mountain lions.
    Some rabid lions have been known to attack humans recently.

    I carry a Ruger SuperRedhawk Alaskan “snubby” in .454 Casull.

    Can I be sure I can do “followup shots”.
    Don’t know, don’t want to find out. Bring enough gun.
    If “IT” is chewing on my left arm, maybe I can hit it for sure. Maybe.

    • Orion says:

      .454 Casull? I’ve seen one of those fired.

      Does yours come with a battery commander, cassion, and plotting table too?