Father Beats Brown Bear with Spotting Scope to Protect Family from Attack

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Father Beats Brown Bear with Spotting Scope to Protect Family from Attack

Posted 2013-05-02T03:18:00Z  by  Stephanie Mallory

Father Beats Brown Bear with Spotting Scope to Protect Family from Attack

Hero dads have made headlines in recent days for protecting their families from vicious animal attacks. Last week, I wrote a blog about a man who saved his 6-year-old son from an alligator attack. This week, an Alaska man beat a brown bear with a spotting scope to save his wife and three children from an attack.

According to ABC News, Toby Burke, his wife and children decided to go bird watching along the Alaskan Kasilof River Beach. While observing birds through their scope, they spotted a brown bear in the distance. Burke, a wildlife biologist, was used to seeing bears and was not worried. He watched the bear disappear into the undulating dunes, then assuming the bear had left, he and his family continued their hike through the dunes.

Moments later, they came face to face with the bear.

"The bear is coming, it's coming towards us!" yelled 11-year-old Grace Burke to her father.

The family raised their arms and made loud noises to scare the bear away, but it didn't work.

Suddenly, the bear bounded toward them. Burke yelled to his wife, "Get behind me!"

With her 7-month old baby on her back, Laura Burke grabbed her two other children and got behind her husband.

Eight-year-old, Damien, wanted to run, but his dad said, Don't run. Stick together!"

Burke grabbed his scope, which was attached to a 6-foot-long tripod and put it sideways into the bear's mouth, but the bear swatted at the scope and severed it.

Burke used the sharp severed metal tripod to hit the bear in the face to scare it away, but the bear didn't budge and instead smacked the tripod out of Burke's hands.

"It was just me between my family and the bear," he said. "At that point, I made physical contact. All I could do was put my left arm up. Then its mouth clamped down on my forearm. So I remember hitting it in the face with my right arm."

After several minutes of scuffling, the bear finally ran away, and Burke managed to walk away with only minor bruises and scratches.

"I definitely felt a crushing sensation when it clamped down on my arm," he said. "Fortunately, because I had heavy layers of clothing on, I'm basically just really bruised up."

After the bear left, they notified the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers about the bear.

"Upon arrival, an investigation revealed a female brown bear was acting erratically by attacking a vehicle, a telephone pole and then, eventually, a male walking on the beach," said a news release by the Department of Public Safety.

As two troopers walked along the tree line in search of the bear, it came running out of the woods toward them, so they shot it.

Talk about one brave dad and one lucky family. What would you do in a situation like this? Would you be brave enough to stand your ground?