Photographs and an accompanying story of a guy who had just killed a massive world record bear in 2001. The story claimed a guy who worked for the forest service came across a huge grizzly bear that ended up charging him from 50 yards away.
He ended up emptying his gun on the bear, which dropped 10 yards from him. Claims were made that the bear had also been responsible for the deaths of a couple of people.
When all was said and done, the bear was claimed to be 12’6″ and weigh over 1600lbs.
The pictures are completely legitimate, but the story has several discrepancies. The hunter was actually 22-year-old airman, Ted Winnen, stationed at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska.
Winnen and his friends actually spotted the massive bear in a creek while out hunting for deer.
Here’s the actual account of their story:
Winnen and three hunting buddies were dropped off on Hinchinbrook Island in the heart of Prince William Sound by an air taxi on a cool, rainy Oct. 14 morning.
Hinchinbrook is a 165-square-mile island near Cordova with an estimated population of about 100 brown bears, giving it the distinction of harboring the highest density of bears of any island in the Sound, according to Dave Crowley, Cordova area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Four to six bears are killed by hunters on the island every year, though rarely one of more than 400 pounds.
there to hunt bear. Instead, he and his hunting buddies packed for a week of hunting for Sitka blacktail deer on the remote, wooded island. Winnen did, however, pick up a permit to shoot a bear just in case.
On day two of the group’s hunt, the skies cleared at 8:30 a.m. Winnen and Eielson Staff Sgt. Jim Urban set out to follow a creek bed upstream looking for deer. Urban was carrying a .300-caliber Winchester Magnum. Winnen was carrying his significantly more powerful .338-caliber Winchester Magnum in case a bear crossed their path.
In the creek, they spotted a deep pool with 20 salmon circling.
”By this time, the … run was over and the salmon were looking pretty nasty,” Winnen said. ”We started thinking that we were looking at a bear’s dinner plate.”
That got Winnen in what he calls ”bear mode.”
The two men continued following the creek upstream until they came to a small island ringed with thick brush. Some end-of-season blueberries clung to the surrounding brush. In the middle of the island was a spruce tree larger than what Winnen could fit his arms around. At the base of the tree were signs that an animal had tried to dig a hole.
About 9:30 a.m., Winnen glanced upstream.
Forty yards away was a big brown bear with all four paws in the creek, flipping over logs looking for salmon.
“He’s a shooter,” Urban said under his breath.
“So I started getting in the zone,” Winnen said. “When I am going to take an animal, I am really concentrating. We racked shells into our guns and took off our packs and left them by the tree.”
The hunters moved a few feet upstream. About halfway between them and the bear was a large fallen tree.
“I said, ‘When the bear crawls over that log, he will present his vital areas and we’ll take him,'” Winnen recalled. “I brought the rifle up to take a shot, but the bear moved over the log like it wasn’t there.
“I thought, ‘Oh crap.’ I didn’t have a chance to get a shot off.”
As the bear kept coming along the creek, the two hunters momentarily lost sight of him in a thicket, so they retreated back to the big spruce.
“We were sitting there concentrating when, a few seconds later, he pops up right in front of us, about 10 yards away and he was coming toward us,” Winnen said. “I don’t know if the wind was in our favor or what. We were dressed in camouflage. He might not have seen us.”
“I put the scope on him. I wanted to hit him in the chest, but all I seen was nothing but head.
“My partner said, ‘Shoot! Shoot!'” Winnen said. “I aimed for his left eye, but the bullet takes an arc and I hit about two inches low in the side of his muzzle and into his brain.
“He buckled backwards and raised his head like he was going to howl at the moon, but nothing came out,” Winnen said. ”I put two more rounds in the vital area, then three more after that. Six total.”
“It was amazing”
“We watched for a few minutes, I reloaded and Jim brought his gun up on him,” Winnen said. “I approached from the rear and poked him in the butt to see if he was going to jump, but he didn’t move. He was dead.”
“It was amazing when I got close to him,” Winnen said.
“I picked up the paw and it was like, ‘good God.’ The thing was as wide as my chest.”
After the kill, Winnen and Urban spent six hours skinning the bear — and trying to drag its hide and skull back to the Forest Service cabin they had rented.
It turns out the bear probably didn’t even realize they were there, as it appeared preoccupied with dinner, so it wasn’t actually charging them. The bear was incredibly massive at 10 feet, 6 inches and weighing between 1,000 – 1,200 pounds, but that’s nowhere near the supposed monster that floated around the internet that had it beat by 2 feet and 400 to 600 pounds.
Outdoors 360 take:
As in many cases, a story on the internet was taken and changed around with exaggerated details. A 1,200 pound grizzly is nothing I’d ever want to have come “charging” (walking in my general direction) at me, but these guys had it handled and never appeared to be in a life or death situation.