Remi Warren and Steve Rinella of MeatEater fame came out last year with a story about surviving a bear attack on Afognak Island—a small land mass about 20 miles long and 40 wide just off the coast of Alaska in the Kodiak Archipelago in October of 2017.
They were hunting some of the biggest elk in the world, which are sometimes preyed upon by some of the biggest brown bears in the world, who also call the area home.
While the whole story is harrowing, Warren told Joe Rogan something specific on his podcast about the handgun he was carrying on the hunt (go to the 8:00 mark in the vid above).
Warren and one other hunter in the six-person party were carrying handguns. Warren’s rode most of the time in a holster on the waist belt of his backpack.
He says he got in the habit on the hunt of unholstering his handgun when removing his pack and moving it to a holster on his belt, so that he wouldn’t be without it. He’d been to the island before and seen plenty of big bears while hunting, so he knew they were there.
But, as he says, the group grew perhaps a bit too relaxed as they hadn’t seen any bears at all while they were there.
This and the fact that the terrain on the island is so difficult (Warren says it can take up to five hours to travel a linear mile) led to a break in routine. Warren took of his pack when the group set down for lunch, but did not move his handgun from the holster. He was planning to remain sitting up against his pack with the pistol near his side, so he got a little lazy after a brutal morning of hiking and left it in his backpack holster.
Then he got up to collect water from everyone for coffee. When he got back to his seat, the group had shifted and he ended up sitting across from his pack and his gun.
That’s when the charging bear attacked the group, sandwiches in hand.
It charged the group at least six times, and though they suffered some injuries, everyone made it out whole and alive.
Listen to the story above. It’s a stark reminder that if you’re carrying a gun in self defense—whether from four-legged animals or the two-legged variety—you should never, ever take off your gun if there is the potential that you will have to defend yourself.