Five Shots From .44 Needed to Stop Charging Brown Bear!

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

July 8, 2015

Five Shots From .44 Needed to Stop Charging Brown Bear
It took five close-range shots from a .44 cal. handgun to stop a charging 9-foot brown bear during an incident in a Kodiak, Alaska, neighborhood last month. You’ll also read about the devastating impact of the California drought on its breeding duck populations, and much more.

Alaska Man Kills Charging 9-Foot Bear in His Yard
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that Hamilton Long, 49, shot and killed a massive bruin after it tipped a nearby trash can, returned to the area and charged him one late night last month.

Absher's ONH 7-8-15According to The Alaska Dispatch News, around 11:45 p.m. Sunday, June 21, Long told Fish and Game biologist Nate Svoboda he was in bed when he heard a loud crash outside his window. He went outside and found a garbage container on its side and trash covering his yard.

“So the individual grabbed his (.44 cal.) pistol and started cleaning up the trash,” Svoboda said. “(Then) he went to go inside and out of the corner of his eye, saw a bear coming at him.”

Svoboda said the bear began its charge at about 20 yards, and Long shot it by the time it moved half that distance.

‘It all happened in really tight quarters,” the biologist said. “He shot at it five times before it finally stopped and then once it was on the ground, it was still moving. So he shot it one more time and then it died.”

Investigating Alaska state troopers determined the shooting was justified.

New Federal Stamps on Sale (at New Price)
The 82nd Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp debuted at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Memphis, Tenn. Partners from Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Postal Service also participated in the June 26 event.

After excise tax programs such as the Pittman-Robertson (Wildlife Restoration Act) and Wallop-Breaux (Federal Aid in Fisheries Act), the Federal Duck Stamp program is arguably among the nation’s most unique and successful conservation programs. Sales of the stamp have raised more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The effort has largely been fueled by waterfowl hunters, who are required to buy a Duck Stamp each year. Birders and other outdoors enthusiasts, artists and stamp collectors also contribute to conservation by buying Duck Stamps.

As a result of recent Congressional action, this year’s Federal Duck Stamp will cost $25 — up from $15 last year. It marks the first price increase for the stamp in 24 years — the longest single period without an increase in the program’s history. The increase was widely supported by hunting and non-hunting groups alike.

To the program’s credit, 98 percent of the proceeds from Duck Stamp sales goes to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports wetland acquisition and conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee.

More than 560 refuges offer unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.

Hunter’s Group Working to Reverse Airline Trophy Bans
Safari Club International (SCI) is working to reverse the recent action taken by several major airlines that have suddenly declared a ban on the transportation of all hunting trophies as cargo.

One airline cites a single incident of a mislabeled hunting trophy as its justification, while others appear to be reacting in knee-jerk fashion to an online petition campaign urging all airlines to adopt such a ban, SCI reports. The airlines appear to be unaware that the signatories of such petitions are not typically part of their customer base, while hunters represent a substantial market share of international travelers.

In recent weeks, SCI’s Washington, DC-based legal team has been in direct contact with the airlines, several of which appear to be on the verge of reconsidering their abrupt announcements.

In the interim, SCI thanked the leadership of Delta airlines, one of the airlines targeted by the anti-hunting campaign. In response, Delta issued the following simple statement:

“Delta accepts hunting trophies in accordance with all U.S. domestic and international regulations, which prohibits the possession of trophies or other items associated with protected species. Customers are required to produce detailed documentation of trophies to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials as their trophies undergo inspection.”

California Drought Results in Steep Declines in Waterfowl Breeding
In yet another sign of the devastating impact of the California’s drought, a new report from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife indicates that breeding waterfowl populations in The Golden State are down 30 percent from last year.

While this decline is being driven by a number of species, breeding mallards show the largest decline, falling 28 percent from last year, and 42 percent from 2013.

This year’s DFW aerial survey estimated the total number of breeding ducks at 315,580, compared to 448,750 last year, and 451,300 from 2013. This year’s total is about 40 percent below the long-term average. The declines in this population, according to the report, are being driven mostly be declines in mallards, but also Northern shovelers and gadwall.

The report estimates the 2015 breeding population of mallards at 173,865, down from 238,670 in 2014, and 298,600 in 2013 – a 42 percent drop in two years.

While the majority of California waterfowl migrate north during the spring and summer to breed, and return to the Central Valley in the fall and winter, a number remain in the Golden State for breeding. Surveying this group provides insight into habitat health and other environmental factors affecting the birds in California.

Quote of the Week
“Some feel there is virtue in arising with the chickens, rambling about while the dew soaks through still-tired feet, waiting in anticipation for the sun to wake and stretch and yawn its first golden rays toward a slumbering planet. This is dandy for some folks, mostly insomniacs and Amish tribesmen and tortured souls with either an obsessive Puritan work ethic or strong guilt complex, but not for me. Sunrises are beautiful, I’ll grant you that, and I would probably watch more of them if they didn’t happen before the sun came up.”

– Ron W. Mar,
“Coyote Songs,” 2000

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at



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