AK: Hiker Stops Charging Brown Bear at 6 Feet with 10mm Pistol
The 10mm is becoming increasingly popular as a wilderness defense gun in Alaska. Fully loaded it is as light, and a bit more powerful than a loaded, small frame .357 magnum.
The Glock 20 holds 15 rounds versus five or six for a .44 or .41 magnum revolver. In this case near Homer, Alaska, on the Kenai peninsula, it did the job in stopping a charging brown bear sow. It happened on 29 July, 2016, a Monday afternoon about 4 p.m.
A Homer man shot and killed a charging sow brown bear at Humpy Creek last Friday. Kim Woodman, 57, shot the bear five times with a 10mm handgun before the bear fell about 6 feet from him. While backing away from the sow, Woodman fell and accidentally shot himself in the left foot.
Blackwell said Woodman surprised a brown bear with two cubs while hiking about 4 p.m. July 29 off the trail along the southwest fork of Humpy Creek in Kachemak Bay State Park. The bears were probably feeding on pink salmon in the creek. Woodman filled out a defense of life and property report, and Park Ranger Jason Okuly and Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Jason Herreman went to the scene and found the dead sow bear. They reported the sow had two gunshot wounds, one below the right eye and one in the chest.
Woodman had another defensive bear shooting 24 years ago, in 1992. In that case he was hunting moose. In 1992 he fired his rifle at close range when the bear was stalking him.
Falling down while backing away from the danger you are shooting at is a significant problem. Backing away from an attacking animal or person is natural and can be effective. But without eyes in the back of your head, falling down is a serious danger.
It is possible the bullet that struck his foot stopped the bear. We may never know for certain. Woodman is shunning publicity. Maybe we will see an official report after it is published. The superintendent of State Parks for the area said “it was fairly close”. The investigating officers confirmed the six foot distance.
The recent video of the well trained Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy shooting his armed adversary shows him backing away while doing so.
To clarify, consider this. You are backing away as an 800 lb bear is charging you at close range. You are firing your 10mm handgun. You trip, but you stay focused on the threat, firing as you go down. As you press the trigger, you foot flies up into the line of fire as your back goes down to the ground. The bear is 10 feet away. It is easy for me to see how it could happen. It is not uncommon for people involved in self defense situations to inadvertently wound themselves or others. The action is often fast and chaotic.