Here at NRA Family we like to showcase the role of guns in American history in a series we call "Throwback Thursday
," but this is no throwback. Today we're covering a modern event that just happened to play out in a very old-fashioned way. It all started with a little cabin in Colorado, where the Williams family spends their summers, and the Uberti
1866 Yellowboy rifle that the paterfamilias
had on hand.
Bill and Stephanie Williams, natives of Texas, first realized that the black bear that was hanging around their cabin was getting just a little too brash fairly early on. Bill first caught sight of the bear the night before the incident.
"Ninety six percent of this county is national forest land," said Williams. "In the 23 years we have had this cabin, we have never had any problems with animals. Although, we have seen signs of them passing through our property." Continued Williams, "I saw him out the window and realized I didn't have a loaded gun. So I loaded up the Yellowboy and hung some hooks on the wall next to the bed to hold it. I left the bear alone that night. He was outside and I was inside."
As a cowboy-action shooter, Williams is well versed in shooting the venerable Uberti Yellowboy - a modern-day replica of an Old West lever-action rifle that got its name from its distinctive brass receiver. With his rifle now loaded and close at hand, the couple went back to their daily business and the bear left...but not for long.
Curiosity or hunger led the bear back to the cabin the next night. The couple awoke at 3:00 a.m. to the loud sounds of the bear breaking through a cabin window.
"It sounded like an explosion when he slammed the window open," said Williams. "I grabbed the Yellowboy and walked to the opening from the bedroom to the living room. We don't have a door to separate the rooms. With the front porch light coming through the windows, I could see the bear on the couch, just 42 inches from me. I cranked off the first round and hit him. He jumped down from the couch and stood up in front of me about three feet away. I shot him twice more and he fell back to the other side of the room."
Williams shot several more times and could see the bear was still moving. After reloading, Stephanie handed Williams a flashlight, and he put a final .45-caliber round into the bear, ending the confrontation. Seeing the bear and readying his rifle close to the bed was key to the couple surviving the ordeal.
"That rifle saved our lives," said Stephanie. "I blow it a kiss goodnight every night before bed. It was one of the scariest things I have been through, but we are slowly getting back to normal."
Williams dialed 911 and reported killing the bear and a sheriff's deputy and wildlife officer arrived to assess the situation, ultimately ruling it a self-defense wildlife killing and took the bear.
Although shaken by the incident, the couple is back living in the cabin, now replete with bars on the windows and a reinforced door. Williams also keeps his Yellowboy loaded and ready by the side of the bed.