The Armed Citizen® Bears

posted on April 14, 2016

On this site, the word “bear” is typically followed by the word “arms.” But it turns out that in many parts of the country, the other kind of bear—generally found in forests, but sometimes as close as your back yard—can be as good a reason as any to exercise your Second Amendment rights. 

Brandy Taylor and her husband were watching a movie at home in St. Regis, Mont., when they heard a suspicious noise near their garbage. Taylor’s husband went outside to investigate and came upon a black bear. The bear charged him and then turned its attention to Taylor, who was near an open window. Taylor responded by retrieving a .22-250 rifle and felling the bear with one shot. (The Missoulian, Missoula, Mont., 5/21/2015) 

A bear repeatedly broke into a house in Edwards, Colo., and had to be scared off twice by the homeowner. The bear then broke into the house a third time at which point the homeowner shot and killed it. The Colorado Division of Wildlife conducted an investigation and supported the homeowner’s actions, with DOW employee Randy Hampton stating, “We’ve determined it was a justified situation … If a homeowner is defending themselves and they feel threatened, they have every right to shoot an aggressive animal, bear or otherwise.” (The Vail Daily, Vail, Colo., 7/18/2010) 

A homeowner in Parksville, N.Y., was at home with her four children, when a black bear attempted to enter the house through a bedroom window and tried to attack the pet dog. The homeowner called the State Police and her nearby father for assistance. The father arrived on the scene armed with a gun and fired a warning shot at the bear. When the bear did not leave the area, he shot and killed it. (The Mid-Hudson News, Hudson Valley, N.Y., 4/5/2010) 

When his wife woke him to report that their two dogs were barking at something on a hill near their ranch outside Loomis, Wash., Lamoyne Wahl grabbed his rifle and went to investigate. He found the dogs fighting with a bear. “So I shot the bear once, and he turned around and charged me,” said Wahl. “Then I shot him again. I knew I wasn’t going to get a third shot off, so I turned and ran.” Wahl took about 10 steps and the bear bit him in the calf. He put the barrel to the bear’s neck and pulled the trigger, dropping the animal in its tracks. Wahl was treated at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket and released. (Seattle Times, Seattle, Wash., 6/19/2005) 

When a companion startled a grizzly bear while hunting near Jackson, Wyo., Aaron Hughes knew trouble was coming. After the bear mauled his companion, it charged the Indiana man. Hughes fired twice from about 12 feet away and killed the animal. An official with the Fish and Wildlife Service said the shooting appeared to be self-defense. (Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind., 10/15/2004)

As John Tietbohl attempted to get into his car parked outside his Bachelor Gulch, Colo., home, he was charged by a bear. Tietbohl retrieved his 9 mm pistol and fired, wounding the bear and causing it to flee. (Vail Daily News, Vail, Colo., 8/18/2004) 

Washougal, Wash., resident Gloria McCourt was working in her garden one evening as her 5-year-old daughter played nearby. Suddenly, a 250-lb. bear emerged from the woods and fixed its gaze on the little girl. “I looked at that bear as it was looking at my baby, and something happened. I turned into the mamma bear,” said McCourt. She was convinced the bruin posed an immediate threat and resolved to protect her family. Grabbing a .357 Mag. handgun, McCourt “got a bead on [the bear] and hit him in the neck.” Then, with the assistance of two workers from a local fish hatchery, she trailed the animal into the woods. The posse soon found the beast expired. Capt. Murray Schlenker of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife later explained that, like most ‘nuisance’ bears, the one McCourt dispatched was probably nosing around because it “had become addicted to garbage.” (The Seattle Times, Seattle, Wash., 5/4/2000) 

Apparently unsatisfied with wilder fare, a male black bear decided one night to look for more appealing cuisine in the dining room of Brien Boggs’ Cumberland, Wash., house. Boggs awoke to the loud noise of the bear opening a sliding-glass door. He quickly armed himself with a shotgun and made his way toward the animal. When he let fly a blast from about 10 feet away, the potentially dangerous, 80-lb. animal fell dead. “As habitat is lost and the bear population grows, people need to be careful,” said state Fish and Wildlife Officer Mike Frame. (The Seattle Times, Seattle, Wash., 10/19/1998) 

After having a black bear leave claw marks on his doors and walls and even enter his secluded Charlemont, Mass., home, Edward Root kept his 16-gauge shotgun handy just in case it returned. Root had spoken to the Massachusetts Environmental Police about the bear—which had been ransacking Root’s home and yard for about three weeks—and the agency advised him to “protect himself.” His concern was well founded, as the bear returned and made for the house—and Root—as he was standing at his front door. Root said, “He was not scared of me at all. He had absolutely no fear.” The bear was approaching the front door when the homeowner shot twice, killing it. (The Recorder, Greenfield, Mass., 6/30/1997) 

Searching for love or food, a black bear found neither after entering a Clarington, Ohio, home—not once, but twice. The first time the tagged bear entered Margaret Speece’s house, she and a friend, Jerry Allen, were able to push the large bruin outside using an ottoman in her living room. When the beast later returned, aggressively tearing a screen from a kitchen window, Allen used a .45 auto to dispatch the animal. (The Intelligencer, Wheeling, W.Va., 6/13/1995)


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