There has been a horrific hunting accident in Alaska. Seems a brown bear client of master guide Dave Haeg shot at, and reportedly wound- ed, a bear along the Chichatna River this past August 14, at which point Haeg ordered his assistant guide, John Jedlicki, to open fire with his .338-caliber rifle. Unfortunately, the client was crouched in front of Jedlicki, and he stood up just as the first round went off. The hunter, Gary Kern, 50, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, died instantly of a single gunshot to the head. The incident may have a familiar ring to it, as we aired a complaint not so long ago from a subscriber who was so incensed when a "trigger-happy" Alaska guide shot his bear for him that he refused to claim it as his own. Eventually, you may recall, the State Troopers forced him to claim the bear. The episode generated so much comment we created a forum that generated a landslide of comment. You can go back and read that comment by clicking on http://www.huntingreport.com/temp_william_gentner.cfm
Generally speaking, Alaska guides rallied around the guide who potted the client's bear, citing guides' professional responsibility to prevent a wounded bear's escape. It did not matter that the guide's bullet was the only one ever found in the bear, as far as the guiding community was concerned. The important thing was, the guide thought the bear had been wounded, and that was reason enough for him to shoot.
At the time, I made it clear that I thought Alaska guides were trigger-happy and that they need to learn a thing or two from professional hunters in Africa who have developed a greater calmness about dangerous game. The good ones protect their clients, but they don't open fire like excitable school girls when a dangerous animal has been shot at and is fleeing into the brush. Of course, a wounded bear is dangerous. And, of course, no one wants to go into the bushes after one. But having to do that once in a while just may be the price of conducting a safe hunt.........(continued)