Did a hunter in Alaska kill the largest grizzly bear on record? And did the grizzly kill two hunters beforehand? No, neither assertion is true: This meme is a still-circulating exaggeration of a real grizzly killing that occurred in 2001, but that bear was not record-setting size and no evidence was found that it had killed anyone.
These pictures are of a man who works for the US Forest Service in Alaska, and his trophy bear.
He was deer hunting last week when the large grizzly charged him from about 50 yards away. The guy emptied his 7mm Magnum semi-automatic rifle into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. The big bear was still alive so the hunter reloaded and shot it several times in the head.
The bear was just over one thousand six hundred pounds. It stood 12' 6' high at the shoulder, 14' to the top of his head. It is the largest grizzly bear ever recorded in the world.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Sep 30 20:26:40 2020 UTC)
This is what the rest of the lengthy post said:
The Alaska Fish and Wildlife Commission did not let him keep it as a trophy, of course; but the bear will be stuffed and mounted, and placed on display at the Anchorage airport to remind tourists of the risks involved in the wild.
Analyzing contents of the bears stomach, the Fish and Wildlife Commission established the bear had killed at least two humans in the past 72 hours, including a hiker missing two days prior to the bear's own death.
Backtracking from where the bear had originated, the US Forest Service found the hiker's emptied 38-caliber pistol. Not far from the pistol was the remains of the hiker. The other body has not been found.
Although the hiker fired six shots and managed to hit the grizzly with four (that the Service ultimately retrieved, along with twelve 7mm slugs, inside the bear's body), it only wounded the bear and probably angered it immensely.
Think about this :
If you are an average size man, you would be level with the bear's navel when he stood upright. The bear would look you in the eye when it walked on all fours! To give additional perspective, this bear, standing on its hind legs, could walk up to an average single story house and look over the roof; or stand beside a two story house and look in the upper
I would like to point out that the Padres at San Antonio Mission in California had a plaster cast of a bear's foot the was 14" across and a tracing on parchment that was 16" across, which would make it bigger than this bear. JB
This poor bear has been killed on social media several times since he was originally shot in 2001, and he has gotten larger -- in mythological stature and actual purported size.
What actually happened is that in October 2001 a 22-year-old airman from Eielson Air Force Base named Ted Winnen killed a grizzly bear on Hinchinbrook Island. It was a big bear, no doubt. Its hide measured 10 feet 6 inches and it weighed between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, officials said. But it was not 12 feet, 6 inches tall nor did it weigh 1,600 lbs. Nor had it killed anyone.
Photos -- and the exaggerations -- hit the Internet in 2002. The fake story has been repeated through the years and is still going strong. USA Today debunked it September 28, 2020, as did Reuters on September 30, 2020.
Looking back at what happened, The Anchorage Daily News explained the phenomenon in a story May 10, 2013, which it updated September 27, 2016.
Thanks to some photographs with a distorted perspective the made Winnen's bear look huge, that animal took on an afterlife of its own on the Internet and just kept growing and growing and growing after it was shot.
All this despite the fact that Snopes had started clearing the issue up almost immediately, posting its conclusions on May 29, 2002:
- Ted Winnen, who shot the bear, was an airman with the
U.S. AirForce, not a Forest Service employee.
- The bear was large, but not a "world record
12 feet 6 incheshigh at the shoulder" and weighing "over one thousand six hundred pounds." The ursine bagged by Mr. Winnenmeasured 10 feet, 6 inches from nose to tail and its weight was estimated at between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds -- an extraordinarily large bear for the Prince William Sound area (about double the average size), but not a world record.
- The bear was coming towards Winnen and his hunting partner from about 10 yards away, but nobody knows for sure whether it was "charging them." According to the two hunters, the bear may not even have been aware of their presence.
- Winnen bagged the bear with a .338-caliber Winchester Magnum, not a "7mm Mag
The North American Bear Center also debunked the exaggerated claims June 8, 2003, on its site website bear.org. The organization said it called officials in Alaska for confirmation.
"You wouldn't believe the number of calls we've received about that story," said Willow Gaber of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. "It's amazing how stories can change once they circulate around the Internet."
Nor was it a killer bear, the site reported. Another Fish and Game official told the site:
"That bear wasn't responsible for killing any humans."
As for the real record-breaking bear, it's under glass, said bear.org.
The true world-record Alaskan brown bear still stands, exhibited in a glass case at the Anchorage Airport. ... (I)t was taken in the 1960's and weighed around 1,700 pounds.