Report: Fatal polar bear attack in Norway

10:32 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Just heard (on radio int'l news) a report that one member of a UK expeditionary group was fatally mauled by a polar bear.   Others in the group may have been injured.   Apparently (? not sure, as I did not hear the entire report) ... this occurred above the Arctic Circle.

                                                    ~r2~

12:21 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Here is a bit more on it R2:

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/boy-17-mauled-to-death-by-polar-bear-in-norway-2841189.html 

Polar bear... Now that is something I would not want to cross paths with.

12:55 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks, Rick ~~

The last line in that report .... " ... the challenge of living ... (etc.) ... ".

Indeed.   Sad.

Is there a ultra-lightweight AK-47 available ?   Sawed-off dbl-barrel 10-gauge ?

                                          ~r2~

1:21 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes there are conversions available. I personally wouldn't venture into this area w/o some kind of sidearm. I own a S & W .500 but would opt up for something like the Nitro Express .600. This would be an area where bigger is better.

10:11 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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AK-47 against a Polar Bear? May as well go at him with a knife.

 

6:18 a.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah ... I guess you're right.

Better results with a "riot gun"  ( a sawed-off, 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, loaded with slugs).

                                                 ~r2~

3:34 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Very simply, packing a gun in bear country, UNLESS you are both a very knowledgeable person where bear behaviour and defence techniques are concerned AND a REAL expert with an appropriate firearm, is a waste of energy.

The huge "X-Frame" Smiths are ridiculous and the Super Redhawks and all the other huge, unwieldy handcannons are as bad; they are too heavy and slow to get into action and revoil too much for quick repeat shots. I got rid of my lighter Redhawk .44M. because IT was too heavy and slow to carry when backpacking, so, these others are simply silly.

The .600 Nitro Express is a 14-16 lb. double rifle, is extremely costly and the ammo is also priced as though it were made of 18K gold. I have shot double rifles, own and carry a Merkel custom drilliing in 12-12-9.3x74R and am not a fan of such guns for bear defence purposes. They COST too much and are relatively fragile under field conditions.

I have built and carried several "riot" guns, too heavy and marginally effective, not, really best for backpackers and TS IS a backpacking forum..... Learn some REAL techniques from Gary Shelton's book and, except in rare circumstances, forget about packing a bear gun when backpacking. I seldom do and I have lived in Grizzly country all of my 65 years, except for three months.

People always seem to want a "quick fix" where this issue is concerned, well, there ain't one and learning practical experience-based defence-avoidance techniques from working bush pros is the best means of ensuring one's safety.

3:43 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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The .600 Nitro is a pistol as well. (Pfeifer-Zeliska .600 Nitro Express Handgun)

Yes it is heavy but that helps tremendously with the recoil generated from the firearm. 
nitro-6.jpg
As far as the cost of the round I completely agree that is it expensive. So are the rounds for my .500. 

At the same time I am not talking about busting boxes off at your local range. So a box should last you quite awhile. 

I personally would not care about how much a box of ammo is. To me that is the same as putting a price on my life. 

I am not trying to turn this into a firearm debate. I just wanted to reference what I meant by .600 NE.

I wouldn't want to try to fire it. The .600 is a monster.

The price for the firearm is astronomical so the way I look at it is if you can afford the to buy the firearm the ammo is an after thought.

3:47 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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A 50-yr old hiker was mauled today, by a Grizzly, in West Glacier, Montana.

Survived, from what I understand.   No details, other than he may have had bear-repellent spray.

                                                  ~r2~

11:20 a.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Their has been a lot of bear activity this summer!  Very sorry to hear about the boy killed by the Polar Bear.   But that said, I think who ever set up this expedition should have their head examened! 

I would be very scared of any camping in Polar Bear country.  They see us as a food source, not our food but us, humans!  Just another tasty meal to the big Whites!   As for self defense against a 2000 lb creature that is intent on eating you?  I would say don't put yourself in that situation!  Additionally, given the recent problems with ice caps (Polar Bear hunting grounds) it should not surprise anyone that their are weak hungry bears out there that would just as soon eat a few humans as to swim many miles through open ocean to get to their traditional hunting grounds. 

On a side note; 

Besides humans getting between a mother bear and her cubs, I think (Just personal opinion) that most of the Black Bear attacks are from bears that are not in their prime.  For example, young bears, starving bears, old bears, hurt bears, etc.  I think that if a black bear is in good health and is finding natural food, then they will try to stay away from humans. 

As for the Big Browns (Grizzlies and the likes) I have no real ideas, but I think the same holds true.  Humans are much more to be attacked by bears that are not in their prime. 

Wolfman

12:00 p.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

The .600 Nitro is a pistol as well. (Pfeifer-Zeliska .600 Nitro Express Handgun)

Yes it is heavy but that helps tremendously with the recoil generated from the firearm. 
nitro-6.jpg
As far as the cost of the round I completely agree that is it expensive. So are the rounds for my .500. 

At the same time I am not talking about busting boxes off at your local range. So a box should last you quite awhile. 

I personally would not care about how much a box of ammo is. To me that is the same as putting a price on my life. 

I am not trying to turn this into a firearm debate. I just wanted to reference what I meant by .600 NE.

I wouldn't want to try to fire it. The .600 is a monster.

The price for the firearm is astronomical so the way I look at it is if you can afford the to buy the firearm the ammo is an after thought.

 I see, the traditional British name for a specific cartridge has been used for a proprietory "wildcat" in a specific firearm, got it, now.

The point is that UNLESS you shoot CONSTANTLY and WITH YOUR DEFENCE GUN, you WILL NOT be sufficiently capable with it to justify the weight of carrying it. This, to me, is what is relevant in a backpacking forum.

BTW, I have had my sights on several Grizzlies, instantly, when alone working in remote parts of BC. I make my comments here based on a LOT of personal experience and am simply trying to suggest options that WORK and I have done in person.

The crucial aspect of this is HUMAN behaviour as you can control that, but, not the behaviour of bears. So, if you carry, make your gun something that is an extension of yourself and even then, avoid bears.

1:51 p.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey, I 100% agree with ya. You're thoughts and responses that you post here are ones that I take very seriously. Lets face it this is a very serious subject. I appreciate every bit of advice you put out here and it has all been quite informative to me. Thankyou. 

I don't like to really get into the whole firearm subject but the best alternative imho would be a 12 guage firing slugs/00 buck in mag form. I don't know if you have ever seen the .600 fired but needless to say from the recoil I would think one would be lucky to hit something with it.

Here is a vid to show ya what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea_Q8C_67jY

This one is funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCInkw3641w

Maybe a 4 Bore?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7lhTqWOS5Y

I think the AA 12 is perfect and would be my number 1 choice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4ebtj1jR7c

Anywho, enough on the whole gun thing for me.



2:08 p.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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When I was younger, my peers had an awesome arsenal.   We did our own amateur "ballistic testing".

The only weapon that out-did the "riot-gun" (12-gauge with slugs) was an old dbl-barrel 10-gauge I had.   Had to cock-back the hammers to ready it for firing.

On a dare  (don't forget, I was younger) I fired the thing, both barrels at once.

Walloped me in the shoulder like a mule's kick, and it broke the stock (and nearly my right hand ... had to ice it down for a couple days to reduce the swelling).

It "won" the 'ballistic test'.   Blew a hole in an old 55-gal oil drum the size of a large pizza.  Looked like a bazooka had done the damage.

                                                    ~r2~

2:58 p.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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1:27 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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I thought global warming killed all those darn things.

This is the second canned "Adventure Outing" trip to get hurt recently.  Well, they wanted adventure...

I like the tripwire idea from the article.  Here it might turn into a forest/range fire though.  Nothing like a wildfire to scare off bears.

Oh yes, the gun debate.  They are better than a sternly written forum post for stopping animal attacks.

4:30 p.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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All please note that this occurred on Spitsbergen, one of the islands in Svalbard, Norway's high arctic archipelago. There are no polar bears anywhere near mainland Norway. Also no poisonous snakes, poison ivy etc. After a month of locking food in bear safes in various national parks I'm kind of looking forward to leaving my spoilables out on the porch of some hut without worrying about them...

9:56 a.m. on August 9, 2011 (EDT)
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SHHH! Don't let out the secret!

Let everyone think Norway is full of mean and hungry beasts.  And wild animals too. And don't forget the trolls and vikings.  Those gnomes scare me too.

My company is Norwegian-owned.  I hope to go there and hunt elk (moose to us here) some time.  I'm afraid though because I ski so badly I might be the butt of a few jokes, even if I can't understand them.

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