Bears, blood, and gore in ‘Attacks’ |

Bears, blood, and gore in ‘Attacks’

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Imagine for a moment that you’re out in the wilderness, tromping around looking for moose and you hear a rustle of brush and grass a few yards in front of you. Aha! You just knew that bull moose was around here somewhere. You creep up quietly to surprise him and instead, you come face-to-face with three-inch fangs and four-inch claws connected to a very, very large bear.Surprise the moose? Looks like you got a little surprise yourself. That’s just one of the stories you’ll read about in “Bear Attacks of the Century” by Larry Mueller and Marguerite Reiss (c.2005, The Lyons Press).Teddies sure look cuddly, lying on your bed or stored in a toy box, but common sense and a few hair-raising stories tell you that a real bear is nowhere as cute or comforting as a teddy bear. “Bear Attacks of the Century” isn’t very comforting, either.In this book, you’ll read about people who traveled to Alaska to hunt, hike, or fish and found themselves in the presence of wild bears, sometimes in the fight of their lives. Most of these stories are of people who “knew better,” and even took precautions but no matter what they did to deflect the bear, the bear attacked.In one story, a polar bear broke through a window, came directly into a building, and attacked a man inside. During the attack, shots were fired and the bear was killed. The victim lived, but the authors say that he has lost his ability to earn a living.Not all bear attack victims do live, however. Some of the most frightening, nightmare-inducing parts of this book are stories of attack victims who probably never knew what hit them, and had no chance at a puny defense. And speaking of defense against these ursine terrors, story after story shows that bullets often have little or no affect on a raging bear unless the shot connects with incredible accuracy. In fact, one expert says that he’s seen bears with old wounds or bullets still in their bodies, and the bears barely seemed to notice.Particularly helpful are the first and last chapters in this book, in which the authors have interviewed experts on bears and bear attacks. Those chapters are bluntly truthful; they lay to rest a few myths and give some pointers for surviving what could be a deadly attack by a creature that, potentially, is three or more times your size. Most importantly and the experts can’t stress it enough is to always be prepared for a bear attack when you’re in bear country.”Bear Attacks of the Century” is probably not going to ever be on a best-seller list anywhere, but it should be read by anyone who likes to hike, hunt, or spend time in the outdoors. While you may not have grizzly bears, polar bears, or Kodiak bears in your back yard, the lessons in this book are prudent if you are surprised by any sort of creature with fangs and claws. VT

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