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Homeowner Uses Shotgun To Stop Charging Grizzly In His Front Yard

Lawrence Michalchuk, a 54-year-old father from Bella Coola, British Columbia, had a close call with a Grizzly in his front yard.

After an unsuccessful attempt to scare the bear and her cubs away, the homeowner was forced to defend himself against the sow’s charge.

The entire incident was captured on video by Michalchuk’s wife. After sharing the video below on YouTube, Michalchuk provided the following statement:

The Facts:
We just got back after 1 week trip, 70+ year old in-laws (from the city) looking after the kids. We left them a bucket of nuts and bolts to shake and make noise to get bears off the property if they come. We got home the night before and noticed bent over mountain ash trees/broken branches, bear poo full of mountain ash berries, craters in the lawn from them digging for roots.

In the morning, the dogs were barking and noticed bears by the tree (with no fruit since it was already all picked) that the kids climb in every day.

I went and loaded the 12g shotgun with 3 birdshot shells (#6 trapload) with the intention of shooting in the air to scare them away (family told us they had been coming back regularly since we had left and they weren’t scared of noise).

I went outside, from underneath the deck, shot once in the air, and the sow started charging so I ran back inside the house.

She then started walking her cubs away and I took that as a sign of submission, so I went outside again and when she got ~65 yards away, I shot in the air again to keep pushing her along. After that shot, the sow turned around and looked at me and I yelled at her to keep moving her on.

Then in an instant, the sow turned and charged, head down, ears back, and hair flat.

I knew this was a serious charge and I only had one shot left (of birdshot), and having dealt with bears while working for 30+ years on the central BC coast rivers with the Department of Fisheries, and having gone through repeated bear training with a shotgun, I knew that if I turned and ran, there would have been contact.

I didn’t want to blind the sow by hitting her in the face so I aimed at her right side to hopefully trip her up to buy me enough time to run inside the house.

I waited as long as I could, backpedalling and losing my right Croc, almost tripping me up, until she was just across the driveway and then I shot, which did trip her up so I turned and ran inside the house.

For a split second, she bit my Croc that had fallen off, then she kept coming towards the house with her mouth open, ready to bite me, and I slammed the door.

The last thing I remember was gravel hitting my truck as she turned and ran back (four limbs working fine) and took her cubs away.

I later tracked her and her cubs a ways off our acreage; there was no blood, no hair and I know she’ll be sore but she’ll now think twice about approaching people.

I talked it over with the local conservation officers, showed them the video, and they said I was totally justified in defending myself and family.

I’m just glad it was me and not the kids out there.”

After sharing his video and statement above, Michalchuk received an overwhelming negative response from the public. “What are your choices?” he asked CBC News. “You leave a bear in the yard who thinks it owns your yard … and then your kids go out there?”

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