“The Old Suburban Guerrilla Discusses the Techniques of Bear Hunting”

by William John Watkins


It always bothers me when I read the paw prints and see that some guy has been walking his bear through the suburban night. The tracks usually go right across the front lawn, two strides really, moving fast like it was anxious to get somewhere else. They don’t stop, but you always worry that they will and you’ll have to come out with a snow shovel in the morning and a couple fifty gallon drums and clean up after it.

And that always makes you think about what you’ll do the next time. Maybe sit up in the attic window with your Manlicher-Carcanno wondering if you can get off three shots in the allotted time. You have to assume one for the man, two for the bear. It’s best to take the man out first. You have to assume he’s armed, anybody walking a bear is likely to be a bit paranoid at least. Although since the suburbs went downhill so fast and so hard in the last three years, even a bear’s no guarantee you can walk the streets at night unmolested.

If you go for the bear first, even if you do get him with the first shot, you have to expect return fire before you can get off a second round.  Probably automatic weapons fire at that. Anybody who can afford a bear isn’t going to be firing back with the same bolt action derelict from World War I you fired at him with. You can be sure it’s no senior citizen like you walking an animal that big. And if it is, he’d have to be such a tough old bird you’d have a better chance bringing the bear down with one shot.

More than likely it’s one of those gangbangers from the Crack house/meth lab down the street, so spaced on the stuff himself he thinks he walking the cat. So you can figure on a couple sprays of automatic weapons fire coming back at you through the window almost immediately. Some of those Meth heads have those big fifty caliber rounds that can come right through the two ply lead sheeting you got around the window, and even if the Kevlar holds, you’re going to get knocked a good ten feet and feel like somebody real big punched you in the chest.  Not a good scenario. You laying there trying to get your arms to work and some psychedelicopsychotic opening holes in your attic wall at fifteen hundred hits a minute. And the bear standing up on its hinds legs and roaring, and all the brainfried human refuse from down the street coming at a dead run with gas cans to set your house on fire and feed you to the bear if you come out.

Better to prevent all that and shoot the man first. A head shot, of course. Preferably through the right eye since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and you know he’s left-handed because if the bear wasn’t walking on his right side, the tracks would be in the street instead of going across your lawn. So that means he’s carrying his nine millimeter in his left hand or his machine pistol. You can pretty much rule out a shotgun/machine gun because he’d need both hands to operate it and he needs one hand for the bear.

Of course, you can’t rule out a shotgun with a pistol stock. This is a big man, his strides match the bears about two and a half to one, so he’s got to be well over six feet himself and strong, because there are no marks of that heavy chain dragging on the ground even at a full run. Likely he’s a roider as well as a Meth head and pumps iron all day long watching TV news just for the violence with the sound off and rock & roll blaring out of his Ipod.  Probably wearing a sleeveless flack jacket so you can see his tattoo with the death’s head mounted on a naked spread eagled woman, and biker boots and double denims with those studs running down the sides and using the national flag for a bandana above his mirrored shades. You definitely want to take a guy like that through the eye, because you won’t get a second shot.

And even with a perfectly placed shot, you got no guarantee he’s going to notice. Those creatures are always halfway to the astral world most of the time anyway, and they only use half the one tenth of their brain the rest of us use, so you have to hope your bullet is going to plow through exactly the slice of cerebellum he’d use to figure out how to lift his weapon and fire it.  Sure you could file your bullets down and make the tissue plow a lot thicker, maybe dig a furrow wide enough to cut the hemispheres apart, but the more you flatten that point, the less aerodynamic your bullet is and the more likely it is to spin or go off course.

An inch makes a big difference in a situation like this. You could blow his nose off and give him a new mouth on the side of his cheek and it won’t even knock him down. A guy like that won’t even feel the pain until the next day, might not even notice it until the liquor starts to spill out onto his shirt all the time, but if he does, he’s going to be damned mad.  And it’s not going to take him long to figure out where it came from. Those damn surplus rifles aren’t even smokeless, and by the time you clear the bolt and draw a second bead, he’ll likely be up on your porch kicking the bear until it knocks your door down despite the reinforcing and the nine inch nails.

And if that happens, you got less than a minute to climb down the ladder and trade your rifle for a shot gun before he or the bear starts in on the Mrs. And considering what degenerates they are in those meth labs, you better hope it’s the bear. Although, if he is preoccupied showing the old lady what the young ladies are up to, you got a better chance of getting close enough to stick the shotgun in his ear before you fire.  That way you don’t have to worry about how much of his brain is permanently anesthetized, most of it will be on the wall anyway.

Of course that leaves you in close quarters with the bear.

Unless you’ve had the foresight to leave a chain saw running on the edge of the coffee table, you’re going to be at a distinct disadvantage. There is the theory that if you hit a bear forcefully on the nose, it will turn and run away. I don’t know that anybody who holds that theory ever actually put it into practice, but it is something to keep in mind if all else fails. The best thing in that situation is to go on the offensive. You might be tempted to fire on the bear point blank, but even the largest shot will have difficulty penetrating the bear’s thick coat, and although it will likely go off and die later from a stomach wound, it will probably finish off you and your wife before it does. The best strategy, assuming you have one barrel left, is to advance on the bear, jam the barrel up under its chin as deep as you can, and pull the trigger. Unless they have been feeding it the same drugs they have been taking, the blast should render it harmless. Be careful not to let it fall on you. Most bears used in guard duty weigh about the same as a small pick-up truck and an attack bear will often run to the weight of a medium sized van.

This is, of course, a worst case scenario. If all goes well with the first shot, you may not even have to shoot the bear at all. It may simple run off startled by the noise and no longer restrained by the chain. If it does, of course, you must take the risk that it will run to the meth lab where it has been consistently fed and lead such inhabitants of the house as are able to stand back to your doorstep. This contingency can only be met by advanced planning. Burying high explosives under the sod of your front lawn is the most effective countermeasure that can be taken.

A dozen or more coffee-can sized containers filled with blasting powder is generally effective in removing large crowds from your front lawn. Paint cans filled with alternating layers of nails and manure resting on a thick layer of black powder and mounted horizontally on the front banisters can also be effective. Be sure the bottoms of the cans are reinforced and the lid is sealed tightly but not welded in place. Do not stand behind the cans or on the porch when detonating. These are best used to cover a hasty retreat into the fortified parlor through your steel reinforced front door.

All this can be prevented, of course by shooting the bear first. Since this would leave the man free to return your fire, the best strategy is to wound the bear on the same side the man is standing on. Bears are notoriously bad at ballistics and few have had enough trigonometry to calculate the trajectory of a bullet, so most will think their wound has been inflicted from the side the wound is on. As bears tend to over-generalize, and operate most often on the basis of superficial association, it is likely to think the wound was inflicted by the man standing next to it. Since a bear can break the neck of a cow with one swipe, it is likely to make short work of your human adversary even if it is muzzled.

If it is not muzzled, wait until it has turned its back on the house and lowered its head to feed. This creates a natural opening at the base of the skull leading directly to the brain. One well placed shot can then rid you of both adversaries. This may also be used to your advantage in dealing with the inhabitants of the Meth lab when they come to investigate. The best strategy might even be to go there and tell them that you saw the bear turn on its master for no apparent reason and although you were able to kill it, you were unfortunately too late to save their comrade. Be sure to tell them that his dying words were that his stash be divided equally among them. This will insure their accepting your story at face value.

This is, to be sure, a risky plan all around, and the most effective strategy may still be to shoot the man first and then the bear. If you adopt this approach, the best alternative is to shoot the bear through one of its eyes. The bear is likely to rear up at the sound of the first shot, so the eye will be considerably closer to you than otherwise. The disadvantage lies in the fact that standing up causes most bears to squint, so that the eye is considerably harder to see.  This is particularly true for brown and black bears, although Kodiak bears present much the same difficulty. The popularity of polar bears as attack animals, especially in the Northeastern suburbs, makes it more likely that you will have a fine contrast between the dark eye of the animal and its white fur.

However, even if you are successful and can drop the bear where it stands, you still have the problem of a gang member and the gang’s mascot lying dead on your front lawn. Even the most drug addled brain can be expected to make the connection between you and their untimely demise. This can be avoided by dragging the bodies onto a neighboring lawn.

Two difficulties arise here. First, the man is very large and will be difficult to move. Second, the bear is several times larger and may not be moveable at all without the use of a car and some stout rope. Thus, it will be difficult to move the bodies without attracting attention to yourself and exposing yourself to fire from the house on whose lawn you are attempting to deposit them.

As usual in these matters, it is better to outthink your adversaries than to outshoot or outfight them. Simply take some material the same color as that sported by a rival gang, tear it in several places, and place it under the paw of the bear. The odds are the bodies will be inspected by people in a semi-comatose state whose faculties for rational thought will be considerably diminished by long term drug abuse. These minds can generally be depended upon to jump to the most easily available conclusion, that is, that the man and bear were killed by members of a rival gang.

With any luck, the gangs will annihilate each other, and except for a few weeks spent indoors with the steel reinforced shutters sturdily in place until the series of retaliations and counter -retaliations gradually declines as the number of gangbangers diminishes, you will have no more difficulty with man or bear.

However, considering the difficulties involved in any of these approaches, it is easy to see why the average suburbanite is more likely to resort to the snow-shovel and garden hose than to the gun and to stress how important it is to get along with the neighbors.


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