Hunter Faces Off with Charging Grizzly Bear Armed with Just an Ice Axe

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)

An Alaskan hunter got the fright of his life when he was forced to face off with a large charging grizzly bear—armed with nothing but an ice axe. Fortunately, his crude method of defense worked in deterring the bear‘s attack. However, it wasn’t until after he and his guide got in a couple of gunshots that the bear ceased its attack.

Outdoor Life reports Clint Adams was hunting in Baranof Island, Alaska in October when the incident occurred. He and his party had nearly reached their destination when they came face to face with the large grizzly. Before the bear’s attack, Adams’ biggest concern had been making the long trek through the wilderness of the Last Frontier. However, after spotting the large brown bruin, survival instinctively became his first concern.

The terrifying incident began when the hunter’s tour guide yelled, “Oh, f—k. Run!” That’s when he saw the grizzly bear emerging from some nearby brush. Recalling the encounter, Adams said, “After he said ‘run’ I heard the bear’s deep, bone-chilling roar. Then the guide turns and runs by me, and I look up and see the bear coming out of the brush.”

With the hunting guide fleeing the bear’s attack, Adams was certain he’d become the wild animal’s target. Suddenly, though, he realized the grizzly had no interest in him at all.

Quick Thinking Saves Hunting Party From Grizzly Bear Attack

“I see the bear and its eyes are completely locked on the guide,” Adams recounted. “And I’m like, ‘He’s not gonna hit me, he’s going after the guide.'”

Because his rifle was out of reach and the bear was charging, the only weapon Adams had was his axe.

“I have this ice axe,” he continued, “and I instantly realize that I have one swing to try to slow this bear down. He runs right past me, probably a foot by me, so I just swung that ice axe as hard as I could, and I just felt it sink in all the way to the handle.”

While the ice axe was certainly a deterrent, the grizzly bear kept going after the guide. Adams recalled seeing the man as the bear tackled him from behind. The two of them then rolled down a hill to a flat spot. At that point, the bear, eight or nine feet tall, reared up. In doing so, the hunter could see that his axe was still embedded in the animal’s skull.

Finally, both Adams and his guide managed to unholster their firearms and get a couple of shots off. Although neither one of the hunters was certain the bear had been hit, it was enough to discourage its attack. Finally, the creature ran off, and although Adams is uncertain about when and where it died, he was able to recover his axe.

“After that second shot [from the guide], the bear looped down and got level with me about 30 yards away,” the hunter continued. “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.”