How he managed to stay so calm, I can’t imagine . . .

Either this guy has great big brass ones, or he has better emotional control than almost anyone I know!  Wimp reports:

Drew Hamilton is an employee of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who was camping at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge. He was watching other bears fish in the river below when a huge Alaskan brown bear walks up to his campsite and sits down right next to him.

Thankfully, Hamilton kept his composure.

. . .

McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge is the home of the world’s highest concentration of wild brown bears thanks to the area’s abundant salmon population. According to their website, at least 144 individual bears can be spotted on the river over the course of the summer and up to 74 bears have been spotted in a single encounter. In order to protect humans and the bears, visitors receive permits to access the viewing area via a lottery system.

There’s more at the link.

Watch the video in full-screen mode to see just how close it got.

I can only assume that bear was really, really well-fed by this late stage of the Alaskan summer!  As an old African hand, if I found an example of the local apex predator that close to me, I’d have been shooting . . . and, so close, I’d probably have been badly hurt or killed anyway.



  1. I wouldn't have been shooting, but I'd have definitely been bringing my rifle to bear, so to speak. As long as it's not paying any notice to me, I'd be keeping the peace, but any eye contact over a second or so, and I'd have been shooting…

  2. He would have been in trouble if he had to shoot. I think that was a stainless 12-gauge on the ground just in front of the other chair. He may have been wearing a handgun, but his long gun was a wee bit too close to the bear to grab in a hurry. At that range, I wouldn't like my odds even with a 454 or some similar hand cannon.

    I wonder if he let his guard down a little bit to far and got complacent. Fortunately, he ended up fine. Honestly, with his shotgun where it was, his best bet was to play it cool and hope the bear ambled off.

  3. Fortunately, the vision of Brown Bears isn't really great. As long as the guy made no sudden moves he was probably going to be alright.

    OTOH, brown Bears can be unpredictable.

    At that range, a shotgun with Breneke Slugs would be a nice thing to have. It's about the only thing that would have any hope of deterring the Bear from advancing further.

  4. It looks like a stiff wind coming from his back – so the bear may never have gotten scent of the guy. With the rifle out of reach – guess sitting still was the only option. WOW…


  5. Oh the bear knows he's there. Mr. Bruin was likely full of salmon, sleepy, and just not feeling like a battle with a biped at that moment. Lucky guy indeed. Had that bear decided to take him out there would have been nothing really to do but play dead.

  6. If memory serves, that was last summer. He was used to the bears, and they were used to him. Still, I'd have had the rifle trained … he's an amazingly calm guy.

  7. I lived in Alaska 25 yrs, never got to go to McNeil River. State Fish and Game has a lottery to allow a set number of tourists to go observe the grizzlies feeding on salmon at the falls. you cook in one spot, about a kilometer from where you sleep. fish and game troopers are armed to protect the tourists, who get on viewing platforms. the huge amount of salmon allows a dense gathering of bears to get close togther without fights, and it presumably protects the tourists as well. I don't recall a visitor ever being attacked there. google McNeil River ktrip for details, I had some buddies who visited there, pretty awesome.

  8. Hoo-ley Shee-ite!

    Only explanation I can come up with is that a) the bear wasn't hungry enough to think the dude was chow, and b) the dude wasn't irritating enough to make the bear think of him as a challenger.

    Whichever, the dude better never play the ponies again – he's used up all the luck he's ever going to get!

  9. It seemed all good until the bear moved too close to this guys beer. Next time keep that shotgun a little closer, and have on open brew for visitors.

  10. You get used to the buggers – when they want to fish where I'm at, I move. I'm partial to .460 Rowland if they want to argue, but that hasn't happened yet (not complaining). Have had them far closer than I'd like a couple times (within their reach) before I noticed, both while fishing. I moved along, they fished. I'm more worried about the tourists than griz. Last incident was a tourist who, after having been informed of the blackie happily munching on rosehips, decided to try to get closer to see. The bear was within 20 feet, and very calm. The site was closed to public access shortly thereafter due to bear issues. Wife noted situation and took her sister down the trail as I explained to the tourist that I'd be very happy if she would move along as making loud noises (of the .460 Rowland variety) and filling out the resulting paperwork was less than desirable.

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