While you hear brown bears can be aggressive, some are much more so than others. In a particularly brutal case lately, a brown bear went on a post-hibernation rampage and killed 38 reindeer calves, as well as 18 moose.
Live Science shared the story, saying the “highly predatory” bear committed its killing spree within the span of a month. The 13-year-old female is one of 15 brown bears Sweden researchers are tracking. They wish to understand how bears use their landscape and found in spring, the animals change habitats to target reindeer and moose calves. It also appears female bears kill more calves compared to males.
Co-author of the study, Antonio Uzal Fernandez, told Live Science in an email about why some bears seem more predatory than others. “It must be a combination of different factors,” the email began. “Such as innate behaviour related to personality (for instance, some people are more aggressive than others).” Luckily, it seems these “highly predatory” bears don’t pose a larger threat to humans than other bears.
This study took place in Sweden and aimed to compare the tagged bears’ kills to the norm. Average kill rates among bears are 0.4 kills a day. If the bears went above that they were “highly predatory,” and “low predatory” if below that number.
Scientists found bears who ventured into forests to be more predatory than those in open fields. Further, they aren’t as effective at hunting adult prey, which is why they frequently target calves. Fernandez stated this information may help with stabilizing ecosystems since some individual bears are far more predatory than others.
19-Year-Old Defends Himself and Fresh Venison from a Charging Brown Bear
On the subject of aggressive brown bears, an Alaskan teenager found himself face-to-face with one late last year. After killing a deer, the 19-year-old found himself being targeted by a charging brown bear.
Armed with a .44 Mag. revolver, Trenton Hammock managed to kill a brown bear while it stalked him and his freshly-killed deer. Initially firing a warning shot to ward it off, the bear wasn’t even affected. “She didn’t care about me at all,” Hammock told MeatEater. “Rather than being scared by the shot I’d fired just 5 feet in front of her, she kinda perked up. It was like someone rang a dinner bell.”
“This whole time she’s weaving through trees trying to sneak up to me, and I’m standing next to my deer trying to move around and keep something between us while also staying where I can still see her,” Hammock said. “I get this log in between me and her, and she’s coming directly for me. When she was about 20 feet away, I yelled as loud as I could again and threw a rock in her direction. My spot was that log. I was like, if she reaches right here I’m gonna have to shoot her. And so once she put both front feet on that log, I shot her right in the heart.”
Luckily, Hammock walked away unscathed, though he admitted being shaken up for more than an hour afterward.