Although it is known that you should not mess with a mama bear’s cubs, it is unwise to mess with a human mother’s child, as well. Recently, the roles reversed during a scary encounter in Alaska between a mother, her sixth-grade son, and a huge grizzly bear.
The Alaskan mom, Shannon Caton, defended her son, Walther Jim, from an aggressive bear. In fact, Caton says she stared the beast “right in the eyes” and growled at it after it tried to attack her son outside their home.
Caton’s family lives in Haines, in the northern area of Alaska’s Panhandle. Ironically, the mother sent her son outside to lock their car – in case a bear tried to break in.
However, Jim did not make it to the car. Instead, as soon as he got outside, he came face-to-face with the huge grizzly that stood only 10 feet away.
“I jumped, and I tried to open the door,” Jim told local media outlet KTOO. “And then it started to run after me.”
Jim managed to open the door and get inside before the bear attacked. He immediately told his mom there was a bear “right there.”
“Literally like, you know, nibbling his fingertips,” Caton explained. “I was like, ‘no way.’ I opened the door and then he was trying to come in.”
As the grizzly tried to enter their home, the animal swung at Caton with its powerful arms. Caton went into full protective mother mode and “stared him right in the eyes and maniac growled and screamed.” She succeeded in getting it to back up enough so she could quickly shut the door. Then, she promptly went to grab her shotgun.
“My dog chased him a little bit but he wasn’t backing down,” Caton said. “I just unloaded four rounds of the 12-gauge buckshot.”
Bear Encounters in the Area Have Been Prominent Recently
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game would agree with Caton’s actions. They suggest that people scream and get inside to safety, if possible when they encounter a grizzly.
Alaska’s residents are often used to sharing their surroundings with bears. Yet, Caton stated that in her six years of living in the area, this particular bear is the most aggressive she had ever seen. The mother thinks that the bears are struggling to find enough food before going into hibernation over winter. As a preventative measure, Caton said she will send her dog outside first before anyone else can leave their home.
In addition to Caton and her son’s encounter, many other Haines residents have dealt with similar issues. From Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 alone, Haines Borough Police Department dealt with 17 emergency calls involving the large animals. The encounters are so prominent, that Haines Borough officials requested that residents report to them whenever a bear damages their property. Therefore, officials can begin to prepare for next year’s encounters right away.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, non-hunters killed 23 brown bears in Haines and nearby Skagway. Additionally, non-hunters killed 12 more in Juneau, which is about 100 miles south of Haines.