Wherein Fr. Z muses on bears, demons, and spiritual calibers

This is a little offbeat.  I need to blow off some

My father sent an article, as fathers do.  It is a riveting article about people who experience attacks by bears by using handguns.  When you live in the north woods, this gets your attention.

The attacks are briefly recounted, with the calibers employed, and the results.

Few critters in the wild are as frightening at an attacking bear.  They can move as fast as a horse for a short distance and their physical power is enormous.  Bears, especially the Grizzly and the Brown variety, are among the largest carnivores on land.  The females especially can be incredibly aggressive if their cubs are present.

As a kid, spending time in Montana and Wyoming, we went now and then into the Bighorns to stay in a cabin.  Amazing place.  But when nature called, and you made the journey to locus iste, you took your rifle.  No matter your age, you took your rifle.  Regardless of the outside task, you took a rifle.   Bears.  Scary animals.

Here is the article.  It FASCINATING reading, not only for those of us who are into calibers and what shoot them, but for the accounts of the attacks.

Might I suggest that it is grizzly reading? It involves the debate about the effectiveness of handgun calibers.

Here is an example:

Defense Against Bears with Pistols: 97% Success rate, 37 incidents by Caliber


We have found three cases where .357 revolvers were used to defend against bears. Two were successful, one was unsuccessful.

1. MT: Grizzly Bear Killed After Biting Warden in Montana Forest June 26, 1987, .357 Magnum

Pictures at Field and Stream Article here

‘’I wouldn’t want to have another go-round,’’ the 60-year-warden, Lou Kis, said from his hospital bed after undergoing surgery for the bite, which was so powerful that it broke the leg bone below the knee.

Mr. Kris, a warden captain here for 22 years, killed the 400- to 500-pound bear with six shots from his .357 caliber Magnum revolver as it bit him.

Interesting point: the examples of 9mm were successful!   For those of you who say that a caliber that doesn’t start with a “4” is not enough, the technology of 9mm is getting really interesting.  And you can carry more rounds.  But I digress.

Okay, by now you are wondering if I have finally lost it.   First, I wrote about beavers.  Now, bears?

Here is where I am going with this.

What we are doing if we are NOT using our TRADITIONAL Roman Rite and all its power.

In this pilgrim journey we are in, we are encountering both the roaring roaming lion Peter warns of and equivalent bears… and, to make the song complete, tigers too.  Not tiggers, tigers.  DAMN scary animal, the tiger.  Scarier than either bears or lions.  But I digress.

We have great defensive and offensive spiritual weapons of ascending calibers, from prayers to sacramentals to fasting to sacraments. 

And, as I have written elsewhere in regard to a Mass Collect, the soul in the state of grace has Demon Kevlar!

I want us all to carry and train with and use these spiritual calibers to the extent that we are able and according to our vocations.

Think of the “stopping power” of a round of blessed salt and holy water.  However, a smaller caliber Hail Mary is not to be sniffed at.  First, the magazine that is a Rosary carries a lot of rounds.  Prayerfully recited the Hail Mary is a scary hollow point rounds that blossom when they strike the Devil.   Again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again….

Fathers!  Oh, Fathers, consider your incredible arsenal.   Face it.  The lions and tigers and bears are after you and your flock.  USE YOUR WEAPONS.  You can use the Roman Ritual!  You can say the Ma Deuce of spiritual arms the TRADITIONAL MASS in the very language that the Enemy hates most.   Every prayer from your consecrated mind and heart is like a round to a hard thing or a vital squishy thing in every demon around you.

Can we PLEASE stop fooling around with the baby food and the rattles and binkies and take up the serious rations and arms that our times require?

There are BEARS out there, damn it!  And lions and tigers.  Tigers… brrrr.   I remember a video of a tiger running across the surface of a pond to kill a deer.  HERE

Sometime take a look at videos of bear attacks.  Brrrrrrr.

And about those bears… do NOT insult Elisha!

And ohhhhhh do I miss Gary Larson.  Come back, Gary!  All is forgiven.

I think I miss him even more than, dare I, Calvin and Hobbes.

(I sense a new installment from a certain devil dog reader.)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Going Ballistic, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. MitisVis says:

    Calibers? You’ve never really lived until you hunt bear with a sharp pointy stick! Although when bowhunting bear I always carry a sidearm, but haven’t had to use it. I do prefer the .44 or .41 but have carried a .45 and a 9mm. 10mm is on my wishlist First bear with the pointy stick was 460lbs and was quite invigorating…great article btw and the guy from Idaho was just a couple years ago, I remember that one.

  2. jflare says:

    Ah, arm yourselves competently, both physically and spiritually. Sounds like good advice to me.
    I’ve heard occasional reports of bobcats in this area in the past 10 years. I notice the article DOES talk about using a 9 mm, which I have, for defense against critters too. I’m rather leaning toward a .45 in the long run. I’d rather see the critter drop quickly than assume it’ll ultimately be stopped. …although a mushrooming 9mm bullet might act in a similar manner. Hmmmm…..

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “As if a man would run away from a lion, and have a bear meet up with him.” (Amos 5:19)

  4. Unwilling says:

    Ninety-five year old lady faces bear

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    “Fathers! Oh, Fathers, consider your incredible arsenal. Face it. The lions and tigers and bears are after you and your flock. USE YOUR WEAPONS. You can use the Roman Ritual! You can say the Ma Deuce of spiritual arms the TRADITIONAL MASS in the very language that the Enemy hates most. Every prayer from your consecrated mind and heart is like a round to a hard thing or a vital squishy thing in every demon around you.

    Can we PLEASE stop fooling around with the baby food and the rattles and binkies and take up the serious rations and arms that our times require?”

    Amen. Time for those Things that Go Bump in the Night to be on the receiving end of the rattle of Spiritual musketry.

    Speaking of “Devil Dogs” here is a recent article about a retirement ceremony:


    Fr. Z: I sent a Western Union telegram to Tracer Bullet, just to see what he was up to. Well, in return, while I was at the counter at Nighthawks Diner tucking into meatloaf and spinach, some guy, his face lost in the shadow of his low-slung fedora, dropped an envelope beside my coffee cup, grunted, or maybe he belched, and returned to whatever dark alley he was passing the time in. The letter reeked of cigarette smoke and cheap gin. Tracer wrote about what he was up to these days:

    “Me and the Bunco Squad were tailing some ex-shamus turned boozehound turned scratcher named Eddie-the-Scar. Eddie had a face like a platter of fried chicken and was twice as greasy. Turns out, Eddie was wearing iron. On some dark street he spun around and threw lead, darn near filled us with daylight. The bulls told him to drop the Chicago typewriter or they’d put him in a Chicago overcoat. Eddie had been tipping a few and just laughed like a carnival clown. He yelled back that he’d put us in a wooden kimono before he made license plates, then he jumped in a boiler and scrammed. But I got a lead on Eddie. So I lit a coffin nail and hit the pavement to pay a little visit on a bootlegger, Johnny Aqua Velva.”

    I’m not sure what that means Fr. Z, but hopefully Tracer packed plenty of Lucky Strikes for that caper. In the meantime I’m trying to think of a title for that caper: Eddie the Counterfeiter and Death; Cold Hard Cash and Death; A Platter of Fried Chicken on a Dark and Stormy Night and Death…okay, I’ll work on it.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. Semper Gumby: Well done.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z.

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