In an unorthodox move, bowhunter Don Nash flipped the tables on an Alaska black bear by charging it when the animal came too close. According to the Chilkat Valley News, the 61-year-old man from Haines was hunting moose on September 20 when he was approached by the black bear. At the time Nash was 200 yards away from his camp on the Kersall landing, his feet still wet after crossing a small river.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘small bear,’” Nash said.
The animal appeared to be only 300 pounds but the experienced hunter knew better than to discount the danger. Even small bears can be a threat and at 300 pounds, the animal was more than powerful enough to cause Nash grave bodily harm. Earlier this year a Minnesota black bear mauled a 72-year-old in Aitkin County, landing the woman in the hospital. That bear was only 190 pounds.
The appearance of the bruin surprised Nash, giving the hunter little time to react. It climbed down a log and began charging at the hunter, who did the last thing the bear expected him to do.
Black bears, unlike their larger brown cousins, are known for their false charges. Although actual black bear attacks are rare, the animals will not hesitate to charge if they are alarmed or feel threatened. These charges usually stop well short of their targets. Wildlife experts advise speaking loudly in a calm manner while waving your arms over your head when spotted by a black bear. Nash followed these instructions, but he also ran towards the charging animal.
The bear and hunter stopped 15 feet from one another, at which point the bruin turned tail and scurried off. Relieved, Nash said the experience was a “huge rush.” After all, how often does a bear get to be on the receiving end of a charge?
Image courtesy Alaska Department of Game and Fish