Bear Country

Occasionally one of our customers share an amazing story. Please read about Ken Ledeau’s encounter with a bear while walking in the Dupuyer, Montana area.


I wanted to tell a quick story. I am a semi-retired truck driver, not much of a hunter or
outdoorsman, but I love getting outdoors when I can. I rented a beautiful little cabin near
Dupuyer, MT in December of 2019. Thorough the winter I spent a lot of time walking on state land near the cabin. On 04/08/20, I was walking about a half mile south of my cabin on some state land. It was a plateau (bench), with fairly steep drops down into Dupuyer Creek drainage. It was open prairie land. I felt safe up there and was not as alert as near Dupuyer Creek, with its very dense brush willows and trees. I had been warned about bears by the folks in Dupuyer and ranchers and farmers in the area. I was carrying a Smith and Wesson .44 Mag., a 629 classic, and bear spray. As I was coming down a finger ridge off the bench, a half mile south of my cabin, I heard something like meowing off to my right. I stopped and listened for a few seconds, then started walking down the ridge again, thinking about dinner and a movie.

Photo by Mila Kusmenko

I took a couple steps and for some reason looked back to my right and saw a bear coming up the finger ridge. She was close and moving fast. She topped the finger ridge a little below me and was almost on me, while I was still fumbling around trying to get my gun out. I noticed that her mouth was going to
end up in my groin. So I waved my right hand in front of her and brought my left knee up as she bit my left thigh above the knee. I fell backwards twisting my right ankle. As this was happening, I found my gun and brought it out. I remember seeing her back at eye level. I brought the gun up and shot into her back somewhere. That was it. She stopped biting, and began to move away from me. I pointed and shot her in the body again, and then just kept shooting. By the time she was about 15 yards away I was out of rounds. She sat down and then stood up looking dazed and slowly walked back off the ridge. I had loaded the gun with your Bear Loads before the walk, and I just wanted to thank-you. I was a little rattled when I started shooting and may have missed her as she moved away, but I don't care, that first round at close range ended the fight. She got me pretty good, but I was able to walk down to my cabin, get in my truck and drive to the hospital in Conrad. I felt bad that my aim wasn’t good enough to kill her. I thought the way she was acting that she would die shortly after the attack. FWP had to come out and do that the next morning. The wardens guessed she was about 12 years old and weighed 350 to 400 pounds. The theory is big bears were down at the creek and scared her up onto the bench with her 3 cubs. They found a little brush patch to hide in below the ridge I was walking on (the only brush patch in the area). A rancher rescued the three cubs a couple of days later. Thanks again. I will have to get another box of Bear Loads.

Ken Ledeau