62-year-old bowhunter Ron G. Leming was forced to do the unthinkable when he drew back his compound bow with his son in the sights. In a desperately heroic act of adrenaline fueled marksmanship, Leming saved his 37-year-old son, Ron J. Leming, from an attacking grizzly bear.
The father and son were hunting elk in northwest Wyoming when an 11-year-old male grizzly stepped out of the tree line and charged Leming’s son. The younger hunter instinctively evaded the charge and jumped toward a tree for cover. He dodged the bear’s attacks as best he could before turning to run downhill. He crossed his father’s path with the bear in close pursuit. In an interview with the Cody newspaper, Ron J. said, “I passed my dad and I saw an arrow fly right by my leg, about two feet away. I took three or four more steps and I fell. The bear was on top of me.”
Leming kicked and clawed his way free of the monstrous grizzly, but only escaped a few feet before the bear bit into his back. With his son on the ground, Ron G. launched arrow after arrow, repeatedly hitting the bear who quickly ended the attack. As the fatally wounded grizzly turned his attention toward the father, the injured son screamed from the ground “Kill him!” The bear took a few steps toward Ron G. before succumbing to his wounds, stumbling backwards and fell over dead.
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It turns out Ron G.’s first moving shot was the deciding blow. His arrow had slashed a major artery and pierced the beast’s heart. The younger Leming told the Cody newspaper, “I would have been mauled way worse, if not killed, if Dad hadn’t had the nerve to stand his ground and shoot that bear with his bow. There’s not many people who could have done that.”
The pair packed their gear and left the wilderness on horseback. Ron J. was taken to the hospital with multiple punctures and slashes across his body. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department began a standard investigation, but believe they already have all the evidence needed to declare this shooting justifiable self-defense.
Ron J. believes God had a hand in his father’s marksmanship. Ron G. had missed two shots on a bull elk the day before and asked for divine intervention. His son told the newspaper, “The night before, Dad said a prayer for God to guide his arrow.” He didn’t bring down any elk, but it seems like Ron’s prayers were answered after all.
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(image source; Billings Gazette)