Sitka Gear
Grizzly charge Northwest Wyoming
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
t-roy 13-Oct-21
BOHNTR 13-Oct-21
Huntcell 13-Oct-21
BOHNTR 13-Oct-21
Shiloh 13-Oct-21
Hancock West 13-Oct-21
elkmtngear 13-Oct-21
midwest 13-Oct-21
HUNT MAN 13-Oct-21
tobywon 13-Oct-21
keepemsharp 13-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
Inshart 13-Oct-21
Ermine 13-Oct-21
darktimber 13-Oct-21
Bowfreak 13-Oct-21
KSflatlander 13-Oct-21
SBH 13-Oct-21
Shug 13-Oct-21
Scoot 13-Oct-21
tkjwonta 13-Oct-21
Old School 13-Oct-21
Bowboy 13-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
Rgiesey 13-Oct-21
Aubs8 13-Oct-21
c3 13-Oct-21
dakotaduner 13-Oct-21
Zackman 13-Oct-21
Footshooter 13-Oct-21
Birdman 13-Oct-21
Birdman 13-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
Willieboat 13-Oct-21
bigswivle 13-Oct-21
Kydeer1 13-Oct-21
Birdman 13-Oct-21
drycreek 13-Oct-21
ND String Puller 13-Oct-21
cnelk 13-Oct-21
hdaman 13-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 13-Oct-21
AZ8 13-Oct-21
lewis 14-Oct-21
RK 14-Oct-21
Treeline 14-Oct-21
IdyllwildArcher 14-Oct-21
LC Archer 14-Oct-21
Darrell 14-Oct-21
drycreek 14-Oct-21
ELKMAN 14-Oct-21
Ron Niziolek 14-Oct-21
Darrell 15-Oct-21
[email protected] 15-Oct-21
wildwilderness 19-Oct-21
BULELK1 19-Oct-21
DanaC 20-Oct-21
Chief 419 20-Oct-21
From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21

Ron Niziolek's Link
Language Warning

This is what elk hunting northwest Wyoming is like.

A couple quick notes: I carry a Glock 10 mm in a holster on my pack. I also carry bear spray and wear it on my belt if I drop my pack I still have a form of protection. After this I will be experimenting with other options to keep the pistol with me 100% of the time.

On September 25, while closing the final distance on a bull, I dropped my pack, and nephew, Sam, and I continued on. We crossed a creek and while climbing to a clearing, spotted a grizzly in the creek we just crossed. We kept an eye on it, and were finishing the stalk when all of a sudden the bear spooked, crashing away through down timber. When we reached the clearing, the elk were already leaving. We guessed it was from the commotion the bear made. We moved into the clearing and while standing there discussing our next move, Sam noticed another griz 55 yards away in the same clearing. The large bear was digging and grubbing and we were unable to get his attention. As the video shows, when Sam finally threw a log towards the bear at 40 yards, he finally heard it, and us, but immediately charged.

The video briefly shows the beginning and end of the charge. I wish it showed it all. Bear sprays were already in our hands. The video goes wonky at the start because I dropped that hand to make sure my safety came off. Usually I do it with one hand but I had a little time and wanted to be damn sure it came off. We waited as he quickly closed the distance. It was not a bluff charge like they sometimes do. It was serious. When you’ve experienced some, you just know the difference!

As he quickly got to around 15 yards, Sam stepped up maybe a half step so we were even with each other. Maybe that’s the reason the griz changed direction or maybe it’s because we were yelling at him but that’s when he angled slightly to the side and passed us at about 8 yards. We never sprayed but both were putting pressure on the trigger. Don’t quite know why other than the breeze was swirling and I knew we’d take some spray as well. For me, even though his momentum might have mowed us down, I wanted him to really take the majority of it in the face!

So the final analysis is: although the encounter resolved itself, had my pistol been available, the bear would have been shot. No question. Unless killed outright, he then would have focused on us more intently, possibly causing us injury or death.

I’m not looking for any advice but realize I’ll get it anyway. Lol. I’m content with how it played out. I just wanted to share the story and lousy video so it might possibly help others think in advance about what they’d do. Think about different scenarios and practice getting pistol, rifle or spray into action. Most encounters happen way closer and faster than this one from 40 yards.

We’ve been asked why we didn’t just leave instead of trying so hard to get his attention. Valid question! At the time we thought getting his attention was our best bet. There was a huge mess of blowdown at our back and either leaving or proceeding after the elk would require us to turn our backs on him. Not an option for us. It’s nasty there and you really have to pay attention where you’re stepping. I’ve also had decent luck getting other bears attention and having them leave, either spooked or just walking off.

Edit: One more thing. Fight or Flight - Make sure you have a hunting partner without a "flight" instinct. You want the "fight" instinct. Discuss it ahead of time. An encounter or charge like this is not the time to find out your buddy doesn't have your back. Sam and I have been through these scenarios before and know without doubt that we have each others back.

From: t-roy
13-Oct-21
Major pucker factor, Ron! Glad everything worked out for you guys! Could have gone south very quickly. Thanks for sharing the video as well as your thoughts about this encounter, as well.

From: BOHNTR
13-Oct-21
That’s becoming all too common for you, my friend. As I’ve always told you……you’re crazy! ??

From: Huntcell
13-Oct-21
Oh! Boy! he was a big-un. That was to close. Pucker Factor indeed!

Thanks for sharing.

From: BOHNTR
13-Oct-21
That’s becoming all too common for you, my friend. As I’ve always told you……you’re crazy! ??

From: Shiloh
13-Oct-21
I had to clean my britches after watching that!!!

From: Hancock West
13-Oct-21
Sounded like someone tried to scare him away with the "duck call".

From: elkmtngear
13-Oct-21
Saw that on FB Ron, really makes you realize how fast it can go down!

IF I ever hunt Griz Country...I plan on spending the better part of the Year preparing myself for such an encounter.

From: midwest
13-Oct-21
"shall I cow call?" LOL! Someone else mentioned that on your fb post and it made me laugh, too.

Don't know how you hunt around those bastards solo all the time! Glad you guys came away unscathed!

From: HUNT MAN
13-Oct-21
Glad it all worked out. Scary how fast it happened. Thanks for posting . Some great info in your post. Hunter

13-Oct-21
Happy it wasn’t another attack story.

From: tobywon
13-Oct-21
As soon as that bear realized you guys were there, It got tense watching it. Now if you were bear hunting, I'm sure it would have spooked at the slightest noise...lol.

From: keepemsharp
13-Oct-21
Tried to watch, too many hurdles to jump through or over.

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21
If this link doesn't work well and someone with more tech savy can make another one and share it here, it'd be appreciated.

From: Inshart
13-Oct-21
Unable to open, on you tube by chance?

From: Ermine
13-Oct-21
Crazy stuff. Glad your alright

From: darktimber
13-Oct-21
Damn Ron! That is exactly why I don’t elk hunt up that neck of the woods! You guys got bigger cojones than me for sure! I did buy a thigh holster for my goat hunt so pistol would stay on you when drop your pack. Can show you if interested.

From: Bowfreak
13-Oct-21
Not going to give advice but I am going to take notice in case I ever hunt serious grizz country. Take extra pair of underwear.

Glad you guys were both unscathed.

From: KSflatlander
13-Oct-21
Wow. I don't know how you all kept your cool and continued to think through your actions during the charge. I probably would have emptied my spray too early then proceeded to get mauled.

Thanks for sharing.

From: SBH
13-Oct-21
Good post Ron. Glad you're ok and it ended well.

From: Shug
13-Oct-21
Crazy stuff!! Glad it all turned out good

From: Scoot
13-Oct-21
Eesh! Alls well that ends well, but dang! Not sure I could have gotten asleep that night (at least without a sundowner or three to calm my nerves).

From: tkjwonta
13-Oct-21
Crazy! Glad you guys came out unscathed.

From: Old School
13-Oct-21
Glad it turned out as it did.

We need a Griz season that’s for sure.

From: Bowboy
13-Oct-21
I'm glad no one got mauled. These grizzlies are out of control anymore IMO.

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21
Laughing at Scoot. Some fireball may have been consumed when we got back to camp that night!

From: Rgiesey
13-Oct-21
Ron had already fired warning shots at a bear to try to keep it from taking an elk quarter from Sam. The bear took 4 quarters. Maybe the most dangerous encounter Ron had was having the two jacked up SD hunters mistaking Ron for a grizzly. They had killed a Sow the day before with their 10mm and their comfort in that country was done. Luckily they said hey bear to Ron before pulling any triggers

From: Aubs8
13-Oct-21
Thanks for sharing...glad you boys are ok.

From: c3
13-Oct-21
Dang Ron, that's a pretty crazy one !!!

I like to talk a pretty big game, but filming it and being preppered like that I'm not so sure I could do. The only charge I've had, I thought about filming, but pulled the pistol. Jacking in a round stopped him dead in his tracks and he bolted. I carry with hard cast in the pipe at all times now-a-days. Definitely going to be practicing my quick draw techniques more often after seeing that one.

My hats off to you for holding it together with him getting that close !!!

Cheers, Pete

From: dakotaduner
13-Oct-21
Thank you for sharing.

From: Zackman
13-Oct-21
crazy!

From: Footshooter
13-Oct-21
I think the fact that Ron was videotaping this earns him the new handle “Ron Balls of Steel Niziolek”, feel like the moderator should go ahead with that change…

Not sure if you are wearing a bino harness on your final stalk or not but the Razco holster was really good on my recent hunt. Would keep that 10mm on you and out of the way.

From: Birdman
13-Oct-21
Why didn't you just leave the area without letting bear know you were there???

From: Birdman
13-Oct-21

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21
Birdman, read the second to last paragraph in my opening text

From: Willieboat
13-Oct-21
That’s a adrenaline rush!

From: bigswivle
13-Oct-21
Just pooped in my recliner

From: Kydeer1
13-Oct-21
Man, I don't hunt out west much but I'll be the first to say that if a bear is running at me something is getting thrown at it. Likely a round or two out of a pistol. My life is way to valuable to me.

From: Birdman
13-Oct-21
Opp's i'm sorry guess i should of read the whole story , i totally understand. good think you had a tight grip on that cell phone.

From: drycreek
13-Oct-21
I don’t think I’m quite ready for that kind of adventure ! Maybe when I grow up………

13-Oct-21

ND String Puller's embedded Photo
ND String Puller's embedded Photo
Good lord you guys like living on the edge. Darn things need to be hunted soon. At least be shot at in the meantime to put some fear into them.

Just read on Archery Talk, (not a confirmed news story) some guys shot one with a 9mm in Montana. They tried spray but it didn’t do the job. The bear came into cow calls while hunting the Flint Range.

From: cnelk
13-Oct-21
Ron pisses ice cubes because ice runs through his veins!!

Glad it turned out well. Not for the faint of heart!

From: hdaman
13-Oct-21
You guys were calm under pressure! How many times have you been in that situation?

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Oct-21
Hadn’t heard that yet but hopefully they’re ok.

Hearst, no situation is ever the same, but we’ve probably had a dozen or two similar encounters, 4 just this fall, not counting the one at 30 yards in the headlamps one night my son and I were hiking out. That bear just turned and left..

So besides this encounter, did fire my pistol a couple times when another griz stole Sam’s elk from us.. That was a longer, more tense situation.

And since ND mentioned it, a third pucker situation that involved pulling my pistol but not firing was during a calling setup with Sam and my son. A griz suck in behind us coming to the calls. It’s happening more each year.

Freakin Sam is bad luck! Nah, love the guy.

From: AZ8
13-Oct-21
Wow! Tense moment for sure! Not ashamed to admit it, but I’m glad those phuckers don’t live and roam in Arizona! :)

From: lewis
14-Oct-21
That was an eye opener it can happen sooo fast glad it ended well Good luck and stay safe Lewis

From: RK
14-Oct-21
That bear will eventually maul someone. Close one for sure

From: Treeline
14-Oct-21
Great video, Ron! Glad he turned off at the last second!

Last time I was up there hunting elk, the bear numbers were pretty surprising. We were south of where you were hunting. Bumped into bears about every day and the most in one day was 5. A dang sow with 3 cubs was living right where we were hunting. Then found an elk carcass in the timber that was probably what they were working on, along with some big berry patches.

Wyoming needs to start thinning them down! Crazy thick in that NW corner!

14-Oct-21
Glad you're ok Ron. I miss hunting NW WY, but not that much :) All the areas west of Cody and Dubois are just swarming with grizz.

Hindsight is 20/20. Generally yelling at them as early as possible is the way to go, but I also had a really scary charge after yelling at a bear that was 200 yards away that my raft was probably going to intercept - you just never know beforehand.

From: LC Archer
14-Oct-21
No thanks.

From: Darrell
14-Oct-21

Darrell's Link
Well, that makes my bear encounter video (though I will arrogantly say my filming quality is far superior, though for obviously good reasons) look rather tame. :) Guess that's the difference between a young black bear and a full grown grizzly.

From: drycreek
14-Oct-21
Ron, I hope y’all don’t wind up in bear scat. A dozen times is pushing the envelope.

From: ELKMAN
14-Oct-21
They are trouble every year at this point...

From: Ron Niziolek
14-Oct-21
Awesome video Darrel. Way better video quality! I hadn’t seen that but then I wasn’t around in September at all.

Don, I hope so as well. Thing is, changing hunt areas probably wouldn’t help. They are quite literally everywhere around here.

From: Darrell
15-Oct-21
Yeah, I don't think I would have calmly held my phone if my bear had been a full grown grizzly. I wish you would have gotten the video cleanly but certainly understand and appreciate what you got!

15-Oct-21
Interesting all around. Thanks for the post.

19-Oct-21
I know the feeling! Was sitting on a game trail on my Dalls sheep hunt with a full pack of meat and camp. My rifle strapped to it for ease of carry, and my partner had the chest holster 10mm-

My buddy finished eating first and stared down the rock slide to get onto the glacier. I was waiting for him to clear so as to not kick rocks on home when I hear huffing and running to my right. I see A mature Grizzly runnning right towards me coming from down wind!

I thought I was going to be mauled for sure. I try to unstrap my rifle but the buckle catches under the scope. I brace for impact but the bear veers past me at the last second and crosses the slide knocking rocks toward my buddy who turns to see the bear.

Though shaking I finally free the rifle and send a couple shots it’s way in spite, though ineffective.

I learned my lesson not to be caught unprepared. I will have spray on my harness if packing a rifle, and a chest holster 10mm when bowhunting. Happens so fast you only have seconds to react.

If I had my pistol on that would have been unloaded on the bear for sure. No worries in AK since it was open season, no tag required.

From: BULELK1
19-Oct-21
If that is what hunting ' Back Yard Bulls' is like, Year in~~Year Out then it becomes pretty Normal....

So glad ya got years of experience for these type of normal encounters Ron.

Nothing wrong with always believing in your knowledge and experiences

So glad it played out well,

Robb

From: DanaC
20-Oct-21
Crazy!

From: Chief 419
20-Oct-21
It past time for those bears to be hunted. Nothing good will come from keeping them protected.

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