According to this report from ABC News, Toby Burke, 48, and his family were hiking in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. His wife, Laura, and their three children had joined their dad for a day of outdoor recreation and bird watching when suddenly they spotted a brown bear. Burke watched the huge carnivore from a distance until it disappeared and assumed it had gone elsewhere. Suddenly the beast reappeared and charged.

Alaska Bear one 134“The bear is coming, it’s coming towards us!” screamed his 11-year-old daughter Grace. The family began waving their arms in an attempt to cow the bear into fleeing, but the tactic did not work and the bear closed the distance between them. Laura Burke took the hands of her children and sheltered behind her husband as Toby Burke tried to lure the bear’s attention to himself. He scanned the area for anything to defend himself and sighted his bird watching scope on a metal tripod.

“I put the scope sideways into the bear’s mouth, keeping it away, and it swatted at the scope and severed it,” Burke said. The broken tripod was left with a sharp tip, which Burke struck against the bear’s face. However, it takes more than that to dissuade the bear and it ripped the tripod away from the biologist.

“It was just me between my family and the bear,” he told ABC News. “At that point, I made physical contact. All I could do was put my left arm up. Then its mouth clamped down on my forearm. So I remember hitting it in the face with my right arm.” … [continued]

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.