Bears and Guns

posted Apr 21, 2016, 11:03 AM by Paul Wagner
Sometimes we meet someone who suggests that the best way to defend yourself against bear attacks is to carry a firearm. 

If you think bears are a significant danger in the Sierra, first read our website about dangers in the Sierra.  Bears are not on the list.

On the other could always read this great story from the Lewis and Clark expedition.  They ran into a grizzly bear (there are no grizzlies in California):

Lewis described the encounter as follows:
…they took the advantage of a small eminence which concealed them and got within 40 paces of him unperceived, two of them reserved their fires as had been previously conscerted, the four others fired nearly at the same time and put each his bullet through him, two of the balls passed through the bulk of both lobes of his lungs, in an instant this monster ran at them with open mouth, the two who had reserved their fires discharged their pieces at him as he came towards them, boath of them struck him, one only slightly and the other fortunately broke his shoulder, this however only retarded his motion for a moment only, the men unable to reload their guns took to flight, the bear pursued and had very nearly overtaken them before they reached the river; two of the party betook themselves to a canoe and the others seperated an concealed themselves among the willows, reloaded their pieces, each discharged his piece at him as they had an opportunity they struck him several times again but the guns served only to direct the bear to them, in this manner he pursued two of them seperately so close that they were obliged to throw aside their guns and pouches and throw themselves into the river altho’ the bank was nearly twenty feet perpendicular; so enraged was this anamal that he plunged into the river only a few feet behind the second man he had compelled take refuge in the water, when one of those who still remained on shore shot him through the head and finally killed him; they then took him on shore and butchered him when they found eight balls had passed through him in different directions.

Lewis and Clark subsequently forbade any of their men to shoot at grizzlies for the rest of the expedition.