Bear Vs AK74 on Alaska Trail
Do bears go (well you know) in the woods? The inevitable answer is always yes. Moreover, sometimes, hikers cross paths with these animals, and that is when things can really go from bad to worse in no time at all. Just as one Alaskan hiker who carried just the right piece of insurance.
Since 2000, no less than 15 fatal attacks by brown bears, commonly called grizzlies, have occurred in North America. These bears can grow to mammoth sizes of up to 800-pounds and, if provoked, protecting a den or hungry enough, can be very deadly. No less than six of these attacks have occurred in Alaska. The most recent one, in August of last year, saw one Richard White, 49, killed by a large grizzly in the Denali National Park while backpacking.
Bringing a bear to a gunfight
The Turnagain trail in Alaska is a popular 9.4-mile section of wilderness through the spruce that dates back to 1778 and wildlife ranging from Dall Rams to lynx and coyotes are commonly seen. This majestic tract of picture postcard beauty also apparently has a few brown bear roaming its length.
The Alaskan Daily News reports that last week a man hiking the Turnagain along the Seward Highway near the Rainbow Creek Valley Trailhead encountered one of these irate bruins while enjoying the trail.
The unidentified hiker spotted the estimated 600-pound bear amongst the wild berries. No wanting to disturb the animal, the hiker left well enough alone until the bear turned and then charged. At that point, with no other choice, the man downed the animal with 13 rounds from his legal semi-auto AK-74 clone.
(Photo from Alaska Daily News)
According to the article, "The bear stopped after the first volley of shots, and then charged again. The man fired once more. That time the bear folded into a ball, rolling and running downhill and thudding to a stop in a clump of birch trees about 100 yards from the trail."
It's being treated by rangers and the Alaska Highway Patrol as a case of self-defense. Firearms are allowed on the trail for self-defense due to numerous bear sightings in the past.
Officially known in Russia as the "Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974," the AK-74 has been the standard Soviet/Russian battle rifle for the past 40 years. A development of Mikhail Kalashnikov's famous AK-47, it is chambered for 5.45-39mm (ballistically similar to .223) instead of the better-known 7.62-39mm that the SKS and standard AK shoot. Whereas the Russki-made 74 is a select fire assault rifle, the hiker's was a commercially available semi-auto sporting version. They make great guns for hunting small light-skinned game like feral hogs, coyotes, and white tail deer. Are great for target shooting and self-defense.
Oh yeah, and add bear-repellant to the list of uses.