This is a long story for a format like this but without many of the details the content will be lost. So I hope it will not screw up this format
Oh one other thing, The most common age for a problem bear comes from males between the age of 2 and 4 years old. These males have no dominant home range, no girl friends, and get beat up by every bear that comes along. They are always in a fighting mood and have to try and show how tough they are to every other bear they bump into. I know bears always appear much bigger then they are when they are close, attacking, or very angry because they raise the hair on their body. When I was hound hunting more then one guy would made the comment "who let the air out of this bear" when they were fighting the dogs they were all hyped up and hair on end. Then when they died the hair laid flat and they lost 30% of their visual body size!
A female black bear would be some kind of record at 400 pounds in my experience! In 20 years of bear management I have seen one that was 290 pounds in very late fall. That was the biggest by a margin over the mormal sized females. The average Female will go 150-170 pounds and a whopper female will be over 200 maybe up to 225. Even interior grizzly females for that matter would be large at 400 pounds. The Male interior (not Alaska)Griz will usually get to the 550-650 pound mark on average
When I was working in the bear research and damage prevention program for the Weyerhaeuser Corporation and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department in Western Washington, I had 60 feeding stations to maintain on about 380 thousand acres bordering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascades of Washington state. The reason we had feeding stations for black bears is another story altogether. I will just say for now that we were doing work on tree damage prevention by offering a supplemental food source for part of each spring when natural foods were limited.
I would make three trips each week maintaining approximately 20 stations per trip. One day while making the rounds of feed stations my daughter who was about 5 years old fell and cut her knee pretty bad. She was stressed out and nothing I could do would pacify her need to go home. I found some candy bars in the truck, and gave her some soda. The sugar rush helped for the time being and I really needed to get through the remaining stations so I would not screw up my schedule for the next set of feeding stations.
I did not want to drive all the way out of the woods and have to come all the way back to finish. My daughter was a good sport working with me, as it was all she really knew in her life. We were out working with the bears together nearly every day. I would just strap her into the car seat and pack a lunch and away we would go for the whole day.
Because she was hurt and sore I knew she wanted to go home, she always wanted to visit the feeding stations to look at the claw marks on the trees and look for bear tracks in the mud. She was learning to be quite the little tracker and outdoorsmen. Today was much different because of her injured knee, she did not want to go out of the truck. There were some really steep or brushy stations that were dangerous or too difficult for her so she would sit in the truck and watch the road for bears. The deal was if she saw a bear to beep the horn in the truck so I knew there was a bear nearby. This actually happened several times but was not a normal occurrence.
Because of her little injury I was really hurrying to get done and trying to finish before her "sugar rush" wore off. We had about 4 stations to go when she started with the I want to go home now suggestions. She really had no choice in the matter but I certainly did not want her to hate doing this with me, so I agreed to hurry through the last 4 stations if she would help me. I even reminded her that feeding station number 1 was her favorite because we often saw bears there. Especially the one-eared bear that she thought was really funny looking. I never let her out of the truck at station #1 because the bears there were everyplace and the one-eared bear had been getting more and more bold each week through the spring and summer.
When we arrived at the last station I reminded her about using the horn and keeping an eye on the road. I grabbed a 50 pound sack of our specail "Land O lakes" bear chow and headed into the woods about 50 yards to fill the feeding station. It was really rainy, typical of this time of year. The trail into the location was very slippery in several places and because I was in a hurry I almost fell a couple times. I opened up the feeder and poured the bag in, not nearly enough to fill the drum. I reset the motion sensing game counter, exchanged the film in the motion camera and ran out to the truck for another sack of feed. I told her I would be right back and ran up the hill to the feeder to put in this final bag.
With my mind on getting home to fire up the wood stove an making something for dinner I was coming around a steep and slippery section of the path when I was hit so hard from behind I lost all my breath. I actually heard something but with the bag over my shoulder I never saw what happened. The bag flies into the air landing right next to my head. At that exact instant I realized a bear was on my back and I was suffocating with the air knocked out of me and the weight of this bear was on top of me. I am now, and was then a pretty fit guy, but working to get out from under this bear was pointless. He had me down and there was nothing I was going to do. He was biting me in the back around the shoulders and neck. One paw was on my head and pushing it down into the mud. I was still struggling to breathe and decided I needed to somehow get my Ruger Redhawk out and resolve this problem.
I could not move a muscle without getting bit again and again. My thoughts turned to my daughter who would certainly come looking for me and would also be attacked and killed for sure. Even if the bear left me what would I look like when she found my body? What panic would set in for her? What would a very young child do with a dismembered parent alone in the woods? These hundreds of thoughts go through your mind like the bullet train, one whizzing thought flying through your head after another.
That was probably the single scariest moment of my life. I was terrified she would come looking for me, I needed to do something but was completely helpless to get up. This was really a horrifying situation. Then as quick as I was knocked down the bear jumped off and ran into the bush, I briefly caught a glimpse that he had only one ear. I was in shock for several seconds sitting up and trying to get my wind back. I felt like taking out the Revolver and throwing it as far as I could. What a worthless piece of dead weight I had been lugging through the woods for many years. The one time I really needed it, I cant put it into action! Then I heard the horn of the truck blowing and my daughter yelling out the window that the bear with one ear was in the road. Hurry up papa, he is leaving. I am not an exceptionally religious guy, I believe in God but am not an extremely religious church going person. I guarantee you this though; no one is an atheist when a bear attack is occurring!
I eventually got to my feet and filled the feeding station. I went back to the truck trying to clean off my face and hair with my shirt. I was really choked up, knowing how close I was to losing my daughter and my own life, it was difficult to remain calm and un-emotional about what just happened. When I arrived at the truck my daughter stated sharply, What took you so long, you missed the one eared bear, he was standing in the road, didnt you hear me beeping the horn? --- What happened to you? How come your so muddy, what happened to your face? Are you okay, what happened to your shirt?
She was like some kind of semi-auto question machine, those of you with children can probably relate. I explained what took place and that I was okay and we could go home now. Of course at this point she wanted to stay and go shoot the bear. Going home and allowing the bear to run free was just unacceptable. We did however go home. As it turned out I had massive bruising on my back and neck; many of the bruises on my head and neck look like shoestring licorice in purple. I had many long purple blood blister type marks from the claws. The claws did not break the skin. My heavy carhart jacket has holes in the back from the bites; I feel it saved me from much worse injuries. There was a minimum of blood; the biggest fear was my very difficult breathing, and the injuries I would find when the adrenaline wore off and when the mud was cleaned off. I was for more sore and miserable in the days to follow as the bruising and swelling became worse.
I took an F&W employee out several times who really wanted to shoot a bear. We eventually shot the one-eared bear. I have it shoulder mounted in my shop. He was a 2.5-year-old male that weighed 210 pounds. The most typical problem bears.