Thursday, November 16, 2017

WY: .45 Super Stops Grizzly Bear Attack



Tev Kelley, was accompanying a friend, hunting elk, in Wyoming on October 6th, 2017.  His friend, Scott Smith, shot a nice bull from 327 yards, in a strong wind. Preparing to dress out the bull, they put their rifles a short distance uphill, to keep them from getting bloody.  Then they started field dressing the animal.  Fortunately, Scott heard a twig snap.  He looked up, and saw the bear closing rapidly. He yelled "Bear, bear, bear!"

The hunters jumped up and separated. The bear momentarily halted. Kelley fired a warning shot from his .45 Super. The bear moved away a little, behind some fire killed trees and brush, then came in again, fast. Kelly fired again, and the bear went down, rolled down slope and came to a halt, motionless. From codyenterprise.com:
Under the extreme pressure of a charge with about two seconds to react, Kelley thought only of survival when he yanked out the .45 handgun he wore on his hip and pulled the trigger.

He did not even know where the shot hit the grizzly, in the head, face or neck, but it bled as it fell to the ground, rolled downhill and lay still.

About 10 seconds later, the bear climbed to its feet, staggered in a semi-circle as if a drunk after last call and fled the scene as the men exhaled.

This eye blink of an incident occurred midday on Oct. 6 in rugged hunting territory in the hills while Kelley and Scott Smith were field dressing the elk Smith shot.
Tev Kelley used a 1911 .45 Super carried in a Ringler Custom Leather company holster.  The .45 Super produces ballistics very close to the 10 mm magnum cartridge.  A Buffalo Bore 10 mm offering is a 180 grain bullet at 1350 F.P.S. (feet per second). You can see the .45 super is close, 5 grains heavier, and 50 fps slower for the 185 grain load.

Tev Kelley did not want to shoot the bear. He has been charged by grizzly bears several times before, and never had to shoot. This time was different. He asserts that bear spray would have been futile, as the wind was very strong and highly variable.  From Tev Kelley facebook post :
I debated long and hard if I should post the whole story of what happened October 6th on my buddy Scotts elk hunt. In the end I've decided I've done nothing wrong, have nothing to hide and can hopefully remind people of just how real the Grizzly danger is around here. While cutting up Scott's bull we had a grizzly charge in and I shot it at 20 yards! The bear retreated away wounded with a head or neck shot. We packed up as much meat as possible, ran the remaining front quarters and head up a tree and hurried out. We called game and fish as soon as we had service and planned to go get the rest of the meat and investigate the next morning. Upon arriving at the site there was another grizzly (different color) on the kill and 5 of us heavily armed, yelling, screaming and firing warning shots barely kept him back far enough to grab the meat and head and get out. As we backed out he came charging right back in. These bears under federal managment have learned that humans aren't a danger and in fact are a source of easy food. I really hope now that they are delisted and under state mangement something will be done. The grizzlys are a serious problem and I don't see an easy answer out of it. Please be very bear aware in the hills, don't go alone, carry a gun, and be as safe as possible! (pepper spray never would have worked in either case due to the high wind whipping in all directions!)
Below is a picture of the second bear the group of five, Tev Kelly, his father Ned, Scott Smith,  Travis Crane (game warden) and Luke Ellsbury (biologist) had to hold at bay the next day, October 7th, 2017.   Ellsbury was the one to fire warning shots this time. Fortunately, the second bear was deterred.



Picture from Ned Kelley facebook link 

Game and fish personnel searched for the bear that was shot. They followed the blood trail for some distance, but did not discover the bear. Kelley described it as "very fat". The hunters had not shot the bear a second time, because they believed they could be charged (pun intended) if they used more force than was necessary to stop the immediate, deadly threat.

That may be true. It is the standard used in defense against humans. But a wounded bear is a threat to others. The law should be clarified. If a bear is wounded in a self - defense situation, it should be put down decisively. In African hunting of dangerous game, this is called "paying the insurance".

Bears that  are wounded in self defense cases, when found by officials later, are put down. It is too risky to allow a wounded bear to wander about. Game officials are well aware of this. A lawsuit was settled in Arizona, for 2.5 million dollars, after state game officials released a problem bear that  attacked a teenage girl only hours later.  The attack on Mount Lemon was stopped when a counselor with a .44 Magnum shot the bear twice.

Kelley's point about delisting the grizzly bears in Wyoming deserves consideration. They bears have expanded their range far beyond the boundaries of Yellowstone Park.  There are increasing interactions with humans.  The bears should be placed under the  management of state game officials, just as other major game species are.

This case makes an even dozen documented cases I have found where pistols were used to successfully defend against bear attacks.

I have been asking for documented cases where defense with a pistol failed.  There are cases where people first used bear spray, which failed, and then were unable to access or use their pistols because the bear was on top of them. Those are not pistol failures.


©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Down right incompetent to leave a dangerous wild animal just wounded.

Anonymous said...

Now, every hunter want's a .45 as their side arm. Very effective indeed.

Anonymous said...

Definitely not a bear round. It very luckily stopped the attack on those two hunters but left a pissed off grizzly looking to even the score.