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Man mauled by grizzly bear, fires in self-defense


Regular Member
May 26, 2006
Alaska, USA
imported post


Bear mauling victim admits he shot the bear dead[/b]

By SCOTT McMILLION, Chronicle Staff Writer

LIVINGSTON - Bob Johnson, the mountain man mauled by a grizzly bear last week, has decided to tell the rest of the story.

He shot the bear dead, he said Wednesday, plugging it with a .41-caliber Magnum pistol after it had mauled him once and was returning for a second attack.

Johnson, 55, maintained last week that the details of the attack were hazy. On Wednesday, he said he had been reluctant to tell the whole story because of legal concerns.

He was convicted of a federal poaching charge in the early 1980s and was unsure if carrying a handgun would land him in trouble.

"I was scared of going to jail," he said Wednesday.

After conferring with a lawyer and his doctor, he said he decided to tell the Chronicle the whole story.

The incident began last Wednesday as Johnson was walking quietly in the Soldier Creek drainage of the Gallatin Range, in Tom Miner Basin north of Yellowstone National Park.

He said he was walking slowly, looking for petrified wood specimens.

"I smelled bear," he said. "But that ain't nothing new. Then I took about five steps and got hit somehow."

He said he probably awakened the bear from its daybed.

He said he fought hard with the bear and grabbed its nose with both hands, trying to protect his eyes.

During the battle, the grizzly ripped off a big chunk of Johnson's scalp, scraped a wide groove of meat from beneath his right arm, and battered and scratched his torso. A small backpack probably helped him avoid further injury.

"I really fought," he said. "I fought hard."

After a while, the bear left him and moved some distance away. Johnson said he isn't sure how far the bear went.

"I'm mauled. What am I supposed to do? Get out a tape measure?"

He said last week there might have been a cub present, but now he isn't so sure.

"I don't know," he said. "I might have hallucinated it."

Then the bear attacked again, he said, moving incredibly fast, and that's when Johnson, still on his back, reached for the pistol he wore in a holster on his belt.

"I had my hand by my side," he said. "I pulled the gun and went boom. Tell me how fast that is."

The bullet struck the bear just below the snout and it collapsed immediately and almost landed on him, he said. Then he rose to his feet and put three more 240-grain slugs in it.

Johnson wrapped some of his wounds, then had what he estimated to be a 3- to 5-mile hike back to his truck, then a drive to the B-Bar Ranch, where he got help.

Doctors in Livingston needed 75 staples to reattach his scalp to his skull and lots of stitches to close his other wounds.

Still, Johnson insisted on leaving the hospital Friday. The staples were removed Wednesday.

Game Warden Randy Wuertz said Wednesday he will have to investigate the scene. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service likely will investigate as well.

"I'm sure they're not going to do anything to him for carrying a handgun," he said.

Killing a grizzly bear, which is protected as a threatened species, is illegal unless it is in self defense.

"I should've been paying more attention," said Johnson, a burly man with an oversize beard, who often spends weeks at a time alone in the mountains. "I usually do."

But he doesn't regret defending himself.

"He wasn't feeling too sorry for me, either," he said of the grizzly. "I like some of them. But that one I didn't like. That one was trying to kill me."


New member
Jun 15, 2008
Kalispell, Montana, USA
imported post

I was very glad to see that he made it thru this.

BTW the staff writer of the paper SCOTT McMILLIONhas several books out on the subject, as I met him one year while in Yellowstone as we watched 3 griz out in this meadow some 400 yrds off.