A mountain goat hunter and his hunting party were nearly mauled by a brown bear on Alaska’s Baranof Island. With his rifle out of reach, the hunter turned to the only available weapon: an ice axe, which he buried in the bear’s skull all the way to the handle.
It was an early fall morning and Clint Adams, his friend, his girlfriend, and their guide were hiking through the island on the first day of their hunt. As they crested a ridge, Adams and his companions suddenly heard their panicked guide scream, “Run!”
The guide streaked past the group back down the hill, reaching for his rifle as he went. Staring up at the ominous ridge, Adams knew he couldn’t reach his own rifle in time, as he would have to take off his pack to do it. He had only seconds to react before an enraged grizzly appeared above them, charging toward their guide with lethal intent.
Knowing it was their life or the brown bear’s, Adams looked down at the ice axe he’d used to pull himself up the mountain. Before he could second guess what he was about to do, the hunter raised the axe above his head and swung downward with all his might just as the bear crossed his path.
To the shock of the entire party, the axe not only made contact but sunk into the animal’s skull to the handle, the pointed end buried out of sight behind its ear. For a split second, Adams felt relief. Surely, he had slowed the bear down or even scared it away with his vicious attack. Instead, the enraged bear kept going, entirely unfazed by the weapon lodged in its head.
Hunter Gets His Ice Axe Back After Using It to Skewer a Brown Bear
With the axe still hanging from its skull, the brown bear continued charging toward the terrified guide, launching itself at his backpack and sending both tumbling down the mountain. When the two finally came to a halt at the bottom of the hill, the bear reared back, giving the guide just enough time to shoulder his rifle.
Rather than shooting the bear, however, the guide fired directly into the air. This finally caused the bear to hesitate, the massive mammal stepping back from its prey. At this point, Adams’ friend was able to draw his revolver, firing three shots at the bear through the brush. Unfortunately, it only angered the animal further and the brown bear charged the guide once again.
As near-death experiences didn’t seem to faze the bear in the least, the party began making as much noise as possible. Guns fired, people shouted, and eventually, the bear ran off into the woods. They never saw the bear again and have no idea if it’s alive or dead to this day. Adams did, however, retrieve his ice axe.
“After that second shot [from the guide], the bear looped down and got level with me about 30 yards away,” Adams told Outdoor Life. “We’re making a ton of noise at that point, and it bluff charged once or twice. It took two steps forward, two steps back, and as it turned and ran the ice axe fell out of his head.”