Black bear bags Bay City man's buck

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A Bay City man bagged a buck, but a black bear stole his hart.

John Wardynski shot a six-point buck and then captured on video as a black bear took his kill and dragged it away.


John Wardynski posted the tale and video of his hunt and encounter with a bear on his Facebook page. The post has already earned 107,000 views and nearly 2,000 shares.

"I was just amazed by what happened there," Wardynski, 67, told The Detroit News Wednesday. "I didn't realize there would be that much interest over the bear encounter out there."

He said he was hunting last week Thursday on private property in Alcona County, about a half mile from the Oscoda County line, when it happened. He also wrote about the experience in a Saturday Facebook post.


Wardynski, a retired project engineer for Dow Corning, said he was rifle hunting and took down a 6-point buck when a black bear stole his kill from him. In other words, the score was Bear 6, Hunter 0.

An avid outdoorsman, Wardynski said he has been hunting for 45 years and he has encountered lots of different animals while stalking antlered prey in the woods, including coyotes, bears and wolves.

As a result, seeing the bear didn't scare him, he said. Instead, he took out his iPhone and recorded the creature, which started heading toward the deer.

He also began walking toward his prize and the bear wasn't afraid of him, either.

"She was going after my deer and I had never heard of (a bear doing) that before," he said.

The black bear is the only species of bear found in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The average adult black bear stands less than 3-feet-tall at the shoulder when on all fours and are about 3-to-5-feet long. Female adult black bears can weigh as much as 300 pounds.

They are also omnivorous and opportunistic eaters that will consume both plants and animals.

Wardynski said he jumped up and down, shouted and broke branches to chase off the bruin trying to ruin his hunt.

"But she wasn't minding very well," he said. "Then she bit the deer. I was thinking 'this is not good.'"

He took out a handgun and fired a couple of shots into the air, he said, but that didn't spook the bear, either. In fact, she took a step toward Wardynski and he backed away a little, he said. 

She then started to drag the deer away. 

"I had never seen anything like it before," Wardynski said.

He said he was prompted by family, friends and hunting buddies to share the encounter on his Facebook page.

Wardynski said he also contacted Department of Nature Resources officials about the incident.

They told him the bear likely took his deer because it was desperate to find food for her and her cubs, he said.

He asked them if he would be able to recover the buck's antlers. They told him black bears don't bury their food so he probably could retrieve the antlers from the bear's den after it went into hibernation. They instructed him to call them after there's snow on the ground and they would help him find the bear's den and the antlers.

"I'm not going to get the venison, but at least I'll end up getting the antlers," he said. "And it makes a fantastic deer hunting story."