thammock02 / TikTok
19-year-old Trenton Hammock was hunting in Alaska when he came into a confrontation with a brown bear and ended up killing it to defend himself.
The Alaskan hunter shared a short video on TikTok showing he had just killed a Sitka blacktail deer on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. Not long after he shot the deer, a seven-and-a-half-foot brown bear showed up near his kill and began walking towards it.
Video footage was filmed on October 16 and showed the bear making its way towards Trenton and his kill while he yelled at it trying to scare it away. He even fired his .44 Mag. revolver near the ground where the bear was but that wasn’t enough either.
“She didn’t care about me at all,” Hammock told MeatEater. “Rather than being scared by the shot I’d fired just 5 feet in front of her, she kinda perked up. It was like someone rang a dinner bell,” Trenton told The Meat Eater.
He believes the bear’s hunger is what kept it from running away and instead, caused it to move dangerously close to him.
“After I shot in her direction, she disappeared beneath a small ravine for a little while,” he said. “Eventually she emerged in the spot where I’d killed the deer. I watched her smell the blood on the ground right before she started coming directly at me and the deer again.”
Trenton told The Meat Eater that he had made his mind up that if the bear got within 20 feet of him and his kill that he was going to pull the trigger and shoot.
“This whole time she’s weaving through trees trying to sneak up to me, and I’m standing next to my deer trying to move around and keep something between us while also staying where I can still see her,” Hammock said.
Prepared for an encounter like this, Trenton fortunately had a valid brown bear tag in his bag making it legal for him to kill the bear if it got too close. Unfortunately for the bear, it didn’t listen to his warnings and he let his bullets fly.
“I get this log in between me and her, and she’s coming directly for me. When she was about 20 feet away, I yelled as loud as I could again and threw a rock in her direction. My spot was that log. I was like, if she reaches right here I’m gonna have to shoot her. And so once she put both front feet on that log, I shot her right in the heart.”
Trenton explained that after shooting her in the heart, he followed up with a few more shots to the sow’s lungs. Once he knew the bear was neutralized, he started filming again to show the aftermath of the incident.
“I love bears,” Hammock said and also added that he is studying to become a wildlife biologist. “I have so much respect for them and I know that every time I go out hunting I’m walking into their backyard. But I’ve always known that it could potentially come down to shooting one.”
Specifically for that reason, is why Trenton made a point to get a brown bear tag and keep it with him as he went hunting in these remote regions. If he would have not gotten the tag and would have shot the bear, it would have been an illegal kill.
According to the law, you can not shoot a bear trying to keep it from a kill. Normally the hunter would have to back off and let the bear have their kill but Trenton had the tag to make a legal kill and defend his deer.
“In Alaska you cannot defend dead game from wild animals without a tag,” he said. “If some guy was trying to steal my deer, I could shoot him but not the bear, which is why I get a bear tag every year in case I need to kill one. I don’t want to do all the work for nothing.”
It took Trenton eight hours to skin the bear and he kept the bear head to mount and would use the hide to make a rug. He did not have time to salvage the meat on the bear (which is not required by law for brown bears) and left the remainder of the carcass to be eaten by forest animals that will no doubt, do so.
“I sent the hide up to Tundra Taxidermy up in Chugiak, Alaska, and I’m getting a rug made,” he said. “For the skull, I have my own dermestid beetles.”
Overall, Trenton says the encounter with the bear was rather scary but he is very thankful that he was prepared for a situation like this.
“After shooting the bear, I was relieved that it was a clean kill and that I was OK,” he said. “There was a ton of adrenaline, and I was really shaky for a while. I probably spent 20 to 30 minutes just watching the bear after I shot it before I felt comfortable enough to begin working on my deer. I was concerned about another bear showing up or the one that I shot getting back up. It was probably an hour after I shot it before I actually went down and touched it.”
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