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Thread: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    My father and I are planning a backpack hunting trip into northern BC this summer/fall. It is my understanding that shooting a grizzly (for example) if it is threatening your life is legal, however I want to ask the more experienced guys on here at what point would you actually kill a grizzly in self defense? What kind of run ins with these bears are common, and at what point does it become really threatening? If you are close to a bear, how do you stay safe? Personal stories are welcome! I just want to have a good gameplan for what to do when you encounter a bear, and at what point other hunters would be forced to protect themselves. I have a feeling with the exploding grizzly populations and no population management (Thanks Premier Horgan!) these encounters will only become more and more common, so let me know what you guys think.

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  3. #2
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    Oct 2009
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    skeena river valley
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    You'll know when the time comes, there won't be any doubt in your mind! Normally you can run them off...if they try to run you off, BANG!

  4. #3
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk-i View Post
    You'll know when the time comes, there won't be any doubt in your mind! Normally you can run them off...if they try to run you off, BANG!
    I think this accurate. You will just know.

    Bears aren't very good at hiding their intent. Predatory attacks are pretty obvious. If a bear is following you or getting closer to you in a round-a-bout way, that's an obvious one.

    Defensive attacks will come with less warning. You might have 10 seconds or you might have 1 second. I'm not going to "wait" to see if it is a bluff charge.

    In the case of the predatory attack coming a long way out I would still try my best to scare it off or just leave the area. If it continued my threshold would be around 40-50 yards (that's only a couple seconds if it goes from stalking to running) I would also make the effort to shoot it head on. I would like for the CO's job to be easy and for me not to be under any suspicion or scrutiny. If I can show it was following me, that it was facing me, that it was within 50 yards it's a done deal. If I can demonstrate those 3 things, I don't think there would be any scrutiny. If one of those 3 things was off (further than 50 yards, double lung shot, no evidence of following) then I would expect more scrutiny.

    Out of all our bear encounters so far, I have only been charged once. It was dry out, so the snapping and cracking gave me advanced warning. I only had bear spray. I did not actually have to use it (the bear stopped wear I was standing when the charge started and he was huffing and stomping and the wind was in my face) If I had a rifle I probably would have shot him that day. There was enough fear and reason to shoot as a precaution.

    And only ever had a couple bears act creepy/stalky (one was the above mentioned bear on a couple other occasions... ended up cutting a tag on it after a couple years of BS) and the others just seemed to check me out, size me up and walk away.

    I really think "you will know when the time comes" is the best answer. That is my experience with black bears. I don't know anything about grizzlies but figure the same rule applies.

    As for cougars, any amount of following I would shoot. I always have a tag and they are open most of the year.
    Last edited by caddisguy; 05-24-2020 at 05:24 PM.

  5. #4
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Most I have come upon have run off. But they didn't have cubs or a freshly killed animal there. A charge inside 20 yards it dies. They can cover 13 yards in 3 seconds. And your gun better be loaded and safety on when the charge is happening. You do not have time to put one in the chamber during the 3 seconds and shoot it accurately. I live amongst 7 or 8 grizzly. A sow just had 2 cubs and is walking down the road with them. Be bear prepared don't hesitate.
    The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money.
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  6. #5
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    Jan 2010
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    prince george
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Its my understanding that when a bear bluff charges it stomps its front feet. If the bear plans to engage you its rear feet pass its front feet as it charges. Now, trying to figure that out during a close encounter while your adrenaline is running is another matter!! Every grizz I have ever encountered close up has run as fast as it can the other way once it sees who I am. I think many people have a large fear of the big bears and may react a bit too quickly. Guys who ask questions like "what caliber rifle should I carry when hunting in grizz country" are the kind of guys who may be a bit freaked out when in the bush.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    81

    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Like others have mentioned''you will know''.In my opinion,50 yards is not a threat,yet.
    Best beware of your surroundings and sign.When camped keep your food in a sack or meat hanging from a rope up a tree down wind of your camp and mark out your territory on any possible entry route or trail by pissing on the bushes and around your food cache.If a bear shows up it has been warned you are there so be ready.
    Best to avoid a situation if there is a lot of sign in the area and find another place to camp so you don't have a confrontation.
    I have dealt with a LOT of bears and had bluff charges to deal with.It comes down to making choices and your past experience.
    If you don't have a tag or there is no season and you have to kill a predator you will be investigated like you are guilty.Maybe it is better to shoot shovel and shut up.Just saying...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    699

    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    When it is serious you will know it.

  9. #8
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    Jun 2007
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    Northern BC
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigrr View Post
    A charge inside 20 yards it dies. They can cover 13 yards in 3 seconds. And your gun better be loaded and safety on when the charge is happening. You do not have time to put one in the chamber during the 3 seconds and shoot it accurately. I live amongst 7 or 8 grizzly.

    I’m gonna go ahead and point out that typo. It doesn’t take 3 seconds for any bear to cover 13 yards.



    Personally, any grizz inside 50 yards is taking its life in its paws. Make an aggressive movement and close to 30 and thats my max comfort zone for an aggressive bear.


  10. #9
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    Jul 2005
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    Eve & I had a close encounter with a large grizz-see post#32.
    We made plenty of noise preparing the camp a short distance from Gaspard.
    The grizz was obviously stalking us(GS's conclusion)

    Some points from my experience when in grizz country.

    -NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN when in bear country & always be prepared for a possible attack.


    -be proficient with your gun by practicing shooting quickly & accurately at a close range


    -if the bear decides to charge I would aim at its middle from 40 yards or less.

    -carry a gun that is capable of penetrating deeply through all that fur, fat, tough muscle & bone.


    -buckshot may or may not stop it


    -slugs are ok but there are better options


    -DON’T COUNT ON BEAR SPRAY-it may or may not work on a curious bear


    -when retrieving game make sure the area is flagged & be aware if you hear ravens, squirrels & make your presence known.


    -when field dressing have 1 hunter on guard.

    http://www.huntingbc.ca/forum/showth...attack+gaspard
    “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.” -Otto von Bismarck
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.-Albert Einstein


  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Re: At what point would you shoot a grizzly/other predator in self defense?

    It is an interesting question from the OP. Every situation is different. If it ever comes to shooting one you won,t get any love from the CO,s if that bear was a long way out when you shot it. I believe they like to see powder burns on the bear or claw marks on your back.

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