Wednesday, August 04, 2021

WY: Fish Creek Bear Attack 2010: Savage 99 .308 and Taurus Tracker .41


 Image of grizzly bear  by Troy Nemitz, used with permission.

As part of AmmoLand's investigative journalism, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed this bear attack which happened in Wyoming, in 2010.

On 14 August, 2010, in the Union Pass area, on Forest Service Road 693 near Fish Creek in  west central  Wyoming, a family group was camping. One of the children reported they had seen a dead calf near the creek.

Two members of the group armed themselves to investigate. The creek was about 200 yards from the campsite. They were unsure if the calf were dead or merely sleeping. If the calf were dead, they would need to keep the children, who wanted to go fishing, away from the creek, because of the danger of bears in the area. They approached the creek about 8:15 a.m.

As the two people walked down the road toward the creek, there appeared a slight gap in the trees on their right as they approached the creek. One of them said that "looked like a good place for bears", just before a grizzly erupted from the woods, coming at them at "90 miles an hour".

The person in the lead shouldered his Savage 99, chambered in .308, loaded with five rounds of  reloads with 150 grain Game King bullets. The bear appeared only 15 feet from them. At 8-10 feet, he fired.  The bear stumbled and went down, slightly to his right, at the edge of the road. As the bear started to get up, he fired a second shot and his partner opened up with the .41 magnum. The .41 magnum was loaded with reloads and lead bullets. Both people emptied their firearms at the bear, five shots with the Savage and five shots with the Taurus. The bear managed to crawl a few feet away, and collapse next to a pine tree.

FOID image. Red arrow enhanced to show position of dead bear. X indicates positions of shooters. Blue line shows approximate path of bear charge.

The shooters did not have any extra ammunition with them. The bear was still moving when they left. They went back to their camp. About 45 minutes later, they returned in a pickup truck to make sure the bear was dead. 

The bear appeared dead. They got out of the truck to investigate. They saw a dead calf beyond the dead bear, near the creek. Nearby was a cow, presumably the mother of the calf.  

Then more bears appeared, a sow with two cubs. The owner of the Taurus revolver had exchanged it for a camera. The one with the Savage rifle yelled and raised his rifle, and the bears retreated. When the bears appeared, the cow took off running.

The shooters got back into the truck. They traveled to the Forest Service guard station and reported the incident.

When the field necropsy was done on the bear, it was discovered the bear was hit three times with .308 caliber bullets.  The bear was a boar, approximately 18 years old, and had an unreadable lip tattoo. Ear tags had been attached, but had been torn out long before the shooting. The history of the bear could not be determined.

The investigation determined the calf had been killed by wolves, but then fed on by grizzly bears. The information was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's office for Wyoming.

On 6 December, 2010, the United States Attorney's office, District of Wyoming, declined prosecution.


©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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