I will be the first to admit that there have been times when the truth has been stretched while recalling certain details about an animal I killed or a fish that I caught, especially true for the ones that got away. Many times the actual story is not very interesting or exciting enough so we tend to add fictitious facts to juice it up. These accounts grow in magnitude as it gets told from person to person.
Since the invention of the internet, the ease of sharing information with others has been incredible. The information super-highway has allowed us to reach thousands of people with a touch of a button, sharing both fact and fiction.
A prime example would be the large brown bear shot in the fall of 2001 in Alaska. The story and pictures have spread across the internet like a raging wildfire, just when it appears to be dying down, a new story appears and it becomes the hot topic. We have received many e-mails from our readers about this bear, the facts of the account are different each time and yet none are the truth. We have decided to share a few of those e-mails with you and then give the short, but true facts provided by the Alaska Fish and Game Department.
I just received these pictures about this monster bear. The bear was killed by an airman from Elmendorf on Hinchinbrook Island. The bear stood 12´ 6˝ and estimated over 1600 lbs. The airman was walking to a hunting area and the big bear stood up only 35 yards away. The bear dropped down and charged straight for the airman. He unloaded his gun and the bear fell 10 yards from him.
The attached pictures are of a guy that works for the forest service in Alaska. He was out deer hunting when a large….very large, world-class grizzly charged him from about 50 yards away. The guy unloaded a 7mm mag semi-auto into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. It was over 1600 pounds, 12´ 6˝ high at the shoulders. It’s a world record.
My geometry teacher told us a story today about a hunter who went to Alaska to deer hunt and was encountered by a bear ( I’m assuming a grizzly ) and shot it 13 times. It turns out it was the largest ever taken, 13 1/2 feet at the shoulders and 1700 pounds.
We called The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and spoke with Martha Krueger about the facts surrounding this story. The bear was a legally harvested animal that has peaked the interest of many people. She e-mailed us the short clip that they are using to field the flood of inquiries received, and here it is.
A lot people have inquired at this office concerning the large brown bear taken by a serviceman on Hinchinbrook Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It's amazing how hunting stories grow as they move rapidly around the internet. I responded to a lot of these e-mail inquiries either by relating what few facts I knew about the bear based on the department’s sealing record for the bear, or provided my own speculation about the bear and the circumstances based on personal experience or observation. An article appeared in the Anchorage Daily News (December 16, 2001) in which the writer interviewed the hunter as well as a professional brown bear guide. The truth is considerably different than what has being circulated in cyberspace. Based on that article, consider the following information as the truth (as best as I can assess it).
The hunter and a friend were deer hunting up a creek bottom when they saw the bear up ahead fishing in the creek, perhaps 40 yds. away. It didn't just stand up and charge the hunter whereby he emptied his gun and dropped it in the nick of time. One of them decided it was a “shooter” and he decided to take it. The bear meandered down the creek towards them and they momentarily lost sight of the bear. The bear appeared again about 10 yds. away but had not seen or smelled the hunters. He put a shot through the muzzle and into the bear’s brain. The bear fell backwards and couldn't get up. He shot it two more times in the vital area and then put three more rounds into it, a total of six shots. The hide measured 10´ 6˝, nose to tail. The skull measurement was correct at 28 8/16˝.
According to a master brown bear guide Joe Want (40 years as a brown bear guide on Kodiak) said the bear probably weighed 1,000-1,200 lbs. As guide Joe Want said, “I can guarantee you, in a year or two, someone will tell him (the hunter) how big the bear was and it will be up to 1800lbs. And when he tries to correct them, they will call him a liar. It's an exceptional bear (certainly for that area) and it's an understatement to say that it is a trophy of a lifetime.”