Nunavut hunter takes down 2 polar bears at once after 'scary' close call

A pair of hunters became the hunted at their camp near the floe edge near Coral Harbour, Nunavut.

Leonard Pameolik Netser and his son were alerted to the bears by their husky

After taking aim just once, Leonard Pameolik Netser fired both rounds from his double-barrelled rifle and took down two polar bears simultaneously. (Submitted by Leonard Pameolik Netser)

A pair of hunters became the hunted early Thursday morning at their camp near the floe edge near Coral Harbour, Nunavut.

Leonard Pameolik Netser and Troy Akat had been out with a group hunting earlier that day, but when the group headed back to the community, the father and son decided to spend the night on the ice.

The two were looking forward to an early start the next day — and a start is what they got.  

It was dark, cloudy and windy, making it difficult to hear what may be lurking outside, Netser said.

"I didn't sleep well at all. In fact, I was up most of the night looking for bears because those bears are scary, man.

Leonard Pameolik Netser stands with his son, Troy Akat. (Submitted by Leonard Pameolik Netser)

"At about 6 a.m. we finally fell asleep, already exhausted from hunting all day, just when I fell asleep I heard our little husky pup growling and barking," Netser said in Inuktitut.

Netser said he got his gear and grabbed his gun. He hollered at his son Akat, giving him a heads-up.

"I told him I heard the dog barking and it's probably a bear... I'm going outside, so I stepped out of the tent and was greeted by a nasty big bear and his buddy. I shouted out, 'whoa! Holy crap! Not one but two," Netser said.  

Akat, who is a wildlife conservation officer, ran out to help his dad, Netser said. He fired off some bear bangers and rubber bullets to scare off the bears, but it didn't deter them.

"He shot the closer bear in the rear-end to scare it off because it was still coming at us, but it was like nothing would stop him," Netser said.

At that point, Netser shouldered his high-powered .30-06 double-barrelled rifle and aimed at the bear closer to him.

"It turned out I had fired both barrels simultaneously, which killed the first bear and knocked the second bear out," Netser said.

Having accidentally pulled both triggers, Netser managed to take down a bear per bullet. Akat went to deal with the knocked-out bear, where it fell.

Lucky only fell asleep after the situation was safe. (Submitted by Leonard Pameolik Netser)

Netser says he has noticed more bears in the area in the last few years and was also surprised to see two male bears hanging out together.

He says after things calmed down and they felt safe, he went looking for their puppy, who'd first alerted them to the danger.

The dog, named Lucky, was sound asleep next to Netser's rifle.