Alaska Man Uses AK-74 to Defend Himself from Charging Bear

July 30 2013
by GSL Staff
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Incident at a Glance
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While we usually report on defensive gun uses by law abiding citizens against criminals, sometimes people have to defend themselves from nature.

An unidentified Alaska resident was on a hike on a trail outside of Anchorage when a brown bear charged him according to Fox.

Fearing for his safety, the man fired thirteen shots from a semi-automatic, civilian version of the AK-74 rifle.

The bear was hit, ran off, and died a short distance away.

The bear has been skinned and its head has been taken for testing. However, much of the bear’s carcass remains on the trail. Officials fear the bear carcass may attract other bears and have closed the trail for the time being.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game,

Alaska has an estimated 30,000 brown bears statewide. In 2007, about 1,900 brown bears were harvested in Alaska. Of that figure, about 700 were taken by Alaska residents and roughly 1,200 (or 67 percent) were taken by nonresidents. Bear hunting seasons are held in both spring and fall in some areas but only in fall in other areas. It is illegal to kill cubs and females with offspring. Nonresident brown bear hunters are required to have a guide or be accompanied by an Alaska resident who is a relative.

Brown and grizzly bears are classified as the same species, Ursus arctos. Brown bears on Kodiak Island are classified as a distinct subspecies from those on the mainland because they are genetically and physically isolated. The term “brown bear” commonly refers to animals found in coastal areas, and brown bears found inland and in northern habitats are often called “grizzlies. Like black bears, brown bears vary widely in color. Brown bears can range from dark brown through light blond.

Brown bears are larger than black bears and have a more prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, and longer, straighter claws. Both the shoulder hump and the long claws are adaptations related to feeding. The long claws are useful in digging for roots or excavating burrows of small mammals. The musculature and bone structure of the hump are adaptations for digging and for sprinting to capture moose or caribou for food. Despite their bulk, bears are surprisingly fast and agile.

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