Authorities in Montana just dismissed charges against a Texas man for shooting a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park, Montana.
This past summer, Mr. Brian Murphy, a resident of Texas, was hiking in Glacier National Park when he was attacked by a grizzly bear. Luckily for him, he was armed with a .357 Magnum revolver and was able to defend himself.
When shouting and spraying the bear with bear spray failed to stop the bear’s charge, Murphy shot the bear with his handgun at an estimated range of less than 10 feet. Though the .357 Magnum is not known as a reliable “bear stopper,” one shot was enough to end the charge.
According to the Spokesman Review, Murphy then fled the area with a couple of other hikers who witnessed the attack. He then reported the attack to the first National Park Ranger that he encountered and fully cooperated with their investigation. When rangers visited the scene of the attack, the bear was gone.
However, they did find blood, indicating that the bear was injured by the bullet. DNA tests on blood and hair at the scene confirmed that the bear was a grizzly. The bear has not been located and it is entirely possible that it is alive and healthy. Hopefully, that painful experience will deter the bear from future interactions with humans.
Beginning in 2010, visitors to National Parks have been allowed to carry firearms in accordance with federal, state, and local gun laws. However, it is illegal to discharge a firearm within the boundaries of the park.
As a result, Mr. Murphy was eventually charged for illegally discharging a firearm inside a national park, a misdemeanor with a $500 fine. Murphy’s attorney, Mr. Jason T. Holden, presented Murphy’s case to the government and arguing that Murphy acted appropriately and discharged his firearm in self-defense.
Lucky for Murphy, the judge agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that Murphy cannot be re-charged at a later date.
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“In a situation such as Mr. Murphy’s, where his life was in mortal danger, he has a right to defend his life,” Holden said in the report. “That is not against the law, and that’s why the government dismissed this case.”
“I don’t want to give the wrong impression,” he went on. “You can’t willy-nilly fire a gun in a national park – you can’t. You can’t if a bear is 50 feet from you. But this was a full, straight-on charge and attack.”
Have you ever seen or experienced a grizzly bear charge? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.