Grizzly Flees, Leaves Claw Behind : Hunter Shoots Bear in Mouth--Escapes

Associated Press

A moose hunter fighting for his life during a grizzly bear attack saved himself by jamming his pistol into the animal’s mouth and firing, Alaska state troopers said today.

Ben Moore, a 51-year-old carpenter, was in fair condition Sunday after four hours of surgery at a Fairbanks hospital, troopers said. A piece of a bear claw was removed from one of his hands.

“He’s doing real well,” said his wife, Marlene. “He looks good, compared to what might have happened.”

The attack occurred near Healy, about 250 miles north of Anchorage.

Moore’s wife said he was in a four-wheel-drive vehicle searching for a clearing to spot moose when he stopped to look around early Saturday. His son and another man in the hunting party were in another vehicle about 500 yards away.


Moore walked, with only a pistol, into a clearing at the top of a ridge and was attacked by a medium-sized grizzly that burst from the brush, troopers said.

“He ran directly into the grizzly,” his wife said. “He shot him twice.”

She said the bear was on its hind legs, but the shots did not knock it down. The animal bit one of Moore’s legs, breaking the bone, and tossed him six or eight feet.

The animal then put Moore’s head in his mouth and mauled his face.

Moore somehow managed to free himself and stuck his pistol in the bear’s mouth, firing again, and the bear retreated. Moore’s companions heard the gunfire and said at first they thought he had shot a moose. The bear was gone when they found Moore.