You never know when a black bear is going to chase you up a tree and chew on your leg.
Washington State bow hunter Jerry Hause found himself in the unenviable position of being on a black bear’s dinner menu when he was out hunting on Labor Day. House, 60, was out with his 26 year old son in a remote section of forest near Abernathy Creek, about 8 miles west of Longview WA.
After a hike of about 3 miles into the wood, Jerry took a rest against a tree before starting to flush game towards his son. He set his pack and bow beside him as he leaned against the tree and that is when he saw it. A black head about 80-100 yards away that he figured was a bear. At that point, Hause decided it was time to move on.
“I stood up and in one motion that bear jumped out of the creek it was in and was on level ground with me. And as soon as it was on level ground it was on a dead run after me.”
Hause stated that he didn’t have time to pick up his bow, notch an arrow, and shoot it true with the speed on which the bear was coming at him so he turned and climbed up the tree.
“I knew the tree was right there, so I headed up that to get far enough up the tree that the bear couldn’t get me.”
Hause didn’t make it far enough up that tree before the 300 lb black bear chomped down on his leg and started clawing at him, trying to get him out of that tree.
“It totally amazes me how fast that bear got on me. In three seconds it was on me.”
Black bears can run up to 35 miles an hour and can climb 100 feet up into a tree in about 30 seconds. Hause didn’t do himself any favors by turning his back and trying to climb away up that tree as it only helped to foster the bear’s natural chase instinct. Fortunately for Hause, in this situation he was able to pull himself up enough to get some leverage and plated a well placed kick with his good leg square on the bears nose.
The bear released him and eventually moved on but Hause understood what was at stake.
“I was thinking, ‘If it gets me out of this tree I’m a dead man.’ It was mad, it was growling. It was serious about what it was going to do.”
After the bear left, Hause waited for 10 minutes before climbing out of the tree, hiked/hobbled the three miles back to his truck to where he had cell service and called his son, who was still hunting, and wife. The latter taking him to St. John’s Medical Center where he is expected to make a full recovery from the scratch marks and puncture wounds.
Suffice it to say that Jerry Hause got off lucky. And he knows it.
He plans on carrying a pistol with him from now on when he goes hunting just in case something like this were ever to happen again. While one may not get an arrow shot off with enough accuracy in hardly any time, a few rounds from a handgun come quick and LOUD. The second may be the only aspect that is really needed in detering a bear attack. Yet having the ability to put a few rounds into a charging animal is not to be discounted.
Of course, a handgun that shoots .44, .357 magnum or .45 is a better choice to discourage animal attacks than tickler rounds like .22 and 9 mm.
If you think about it, we carry sidearms with us all the time, not expecting to need it but always ready in case we do. Why should going out into the remote woods with wild animals change our mindset? Take a large caliber handgun just in case you find yourself in the same situation as Jerry Hause. Then your life doesn’t solely depend on your climbing ability and a lucky kick.
For Jerry’s part, when wildlife officials initially planned to track down and euthanize the bear, Hause said he talked them out of it because it’s in a remote area and may have just been protecting its young.
“It either had cubs out there or I was threatening its food. It’s bear country. They live in the woods. I don’t.”
Good for you Jerry. I’m glad you got out of it with light wounds, that you will carry a sidearm from now on just in case and that you’re story may protect others in the future.
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