World Record Grizzly Bear - Analysis
Not quite a world record
In real life, the big grizzly in the first two photographs measured 10' 6" from nose to tail and weighed an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 pounds - unusually large for the vicinity in which it was found, says the USDA Forest Service, but not quite a world record, nor even a record for Alaska. It was killed on October 14, 2001 by U.S. Air Force Airman Theodore Winnen on Hinchinbrook Island, Prince William Sound. The photos were taken by his hunting partner, Staff Sgt. James Urban. Both were stationed at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks at the time.
Though the bear was within 10 yards of the hunters' position and moving towards them when he fired the first shot, Winnen says, it did not charge them, contrary to what the email claims. "I don't know if the wind was in our favor or what," he told the Anchorage Daily News. "We were dressed in camouflage. He might not have seen us." Winnen's weapon was a 338-caliber Winchester Magnum, not a 7mm semi-automatic as alleged. The first bullet pierced the bear's brain but left it standing; five more in the chest brought it down.
No man-eater, says Forest Service
Was the bear a man-eater, as claimed in the email? No, says the Forest Service, there is no evidence of that. When asked by the Anchorage Daily News to comment on the horrific final image of what appears to be a partially-eaten human victim, Forest Service spokesman Ray Massey admitted he hadn't even looked at it. "I didn't want to see a photo of the body," he said. "I know it's bogus."
Sources and further reading:
Monster Brown Bear Urban Legend Debunked
USDA Forest Service news advisory, 17 Oct 2002
The Truth About Alaska's Monster Bear
Anchorage Daily News, 7 May 2003
Giant Bear Grows on the Internet
Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Daily News, 16 Dec 2001
Last updated: 05/07/03