Monday, March 12, 2018

AR-15 Used to Defend Against Charging Polar Bear (2008)

 Zeb Cadzow and Paul Herbert are experienced hunters who live north of the Arctic Circle in Fort Yukon, Alaska. 

In late March of 2008, residents of Fort Yukon, Alaska become concerned because a bear was not exhibiting any fear of humans near their town. Peter John originally saw the bear eating lynx carcasses near a cabin on the edge of town.

People did not believe the white bear was a polar bear. Polar bears had never been seen in the area. They thought it was an albino grizzly or a grizzly bear covered with frost. 

The hunters, who depend for their lives on their rifles, did not carry .375 magnums or .30-06 model Winchester Model 70s. They carried AR-15s, or clones. 

Many hunters who depend on rifles for survival in the far north carry high-velocity, small caliber rifles. They can carry much more ammunition, they are easy to shoot, and are flat shooting. They offer excellent accuracy. The magazine capacity is a plus. 

The two experienced hunters, on tracking a large bear that showed no fear of people, choose the AR-15 in .223. From

“There’s usually grizzly around this time of year,” he said. “You want to get rid of it because it’s hungry.” 
The men tracked the bear three miles out of town to the Porcupine River, where it moved onto a river island. 
At that point, most of the hunters returned to Fort Yukon for a sled dog race, leaving Cadzow, 30, and Paul Herbert, 60, to continue the hunt.
“We assumed we were chasing a grizzly bear,” Herbert said.
Cadzow concurred, thinking the white description meant it was an albino bear or a grizzly covered in frost. 
While Herbert waited at one end of the island, Cadzow, on foot, went into the brush tracking the bear. 
Suddenly, the bear came out from under a brush pile about 10 yards away. It charged straight at Cadzow, who was carrying an AR-15, a rifle similar to the U.S. Army’s M-16.

National Geographic Wild included the incident in a 2015 video. Not surprisingly, they mis-characterized the rifle.  They said the rifle was an M-16. Then they dubbed in a shot of automatic rifle fire to make it seem the bear was stopped with a burst from the rifle.  The incident is recounted at about 19:00 to 21:30 in the video.

The .223 is more capable than many realize. One .223 round has more energy than most .44 magnum rounds.  From
According to a story in the Fairbanks News-Miner, the polar bear charged straight at Cadzow who didn't have time to lift and sight his rifle.

"I shot from the hip, seven or eight times," he said. "If I had gotten it to my shoulder, it (bear) would have been on top of me. It happened so quick, by the time it was down, it was about 10 feet from my feet," according to the News-Miner.
The bear was in good condition. It was not starving.

When facing dangerous opponents, be they men or bears, there is much to be said for rapid, controllable fire at close range. The AR-15 offers those characteristics and 30 round magazines.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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