Thursday, August 23, 2007

Washington Woman Mauled by Black Bear...

...but she may have had it coming. By that I mean she kind of brought in on herself.

Here’s a link to the story in the Kitsap Reporter. It’s an unintentionally hilarious story, really, about a couple in Kitsap, Washington who had trouble with a 300 pound black bear and handled it, um, badly.

In an attempt to try and scare the more than 300-pound black bear after spotting it on her property last Wednesday morning, the woman, a retired Navy doctor and volunteer Search and Rescue worker who wishes to remain unnamed, shot off her .30-06-caliber rifle, hitting the bear.

Okay, let me get this straight. She tried to scare the bear by shooting her rifle and hit the bear when she did. I assume, since she only wanted to scare the bear, she was aiming to miss it. And she missed. By hitting the bear.

I’m sorry, but my B.S. meter is blaring.

I can believe this woman is a bad shot. I just can’t believe she’s that bad. If you’re aiming to miss a dangerous creature like a 300 pound black bear, aim for someplace other than the bear, for crying out loud. No wonder she "wishes to remain unnamed".

I guess frightened people can do incredible things. And in this case, I do mean incredible! I’m not normally a suspicious-natured person. But this story, um, smells funny.

If she actually tried to kill the bear and didn’t get it done with the first shot, that’s much more plausible. Many hunters have botched one-shot kills, including myself. It’s not something to be proud of, but it happens. Maybe it’s illegal to kill a marauding black bear on your property in Washington state. I don’t know.

But okay, let’s take her at her word and agree that she’s a dangerously inaccurate shooter. I still have some questions.

Why didn’t the husband take the shot?

Why did he let her go first when they went looking for the now clearly dangerous wounded bear? Did he know something she didn’t? I love this quote from the story: "The bear was taller than I was," her husband said. "He was hiding in the brush ... then I heard movement and started walking behind her." Clearly a very clever man. Not necessarily a brave man, but a smart man, nonetheless.

Why did he wait until the bear had his wife’s head in its mouth before shooting it? The story says "[n]ot missing a beat, her husband shot five rounds into the bear." From a .460 Magnum handgun. But obviously, he missed a beat or two.

And the recoil of the gun was so violent it nearly severed his thumb? That’s way too much recoil. The .460 Magnum is an elephant-rifle cartridge, fully capable of taking down a 300 lb. black bear. But apparently, it’s fully capable of taking down the shooter, too. Somebody needs to rethink their choice of handgun caliber. I think some gun merchant motivated by cash flow rather than scruples saw this couple coming when they came into the gun store and sold them some very expensive guns and ammo when they had no idea what they were buying. The .30-06 is probably the most common hunting rifle in North America, but it's not a cheap gun. The .460 Magnum is exotic and expensive. Ammo for the .460 Magnum is $4.50 to $6.00 per cartridge.

Clearly this couple is a pair of babes in the woods and they have no business living in black bear country. But I don’t know. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But does it make you smarter, too?

Have a nice day.