I recently told some people that smallest cartridge documented to have been used to killed a polar bear was a 22 but now I can’t find any proof of that fact. I had a clear memory of reading an article in a print magazine that documented such a thing, but I will be danged if I can find it now. Apparently I am not the only person with this memory as I did find this quote from a forum….
I read an article where an Inuit woman killed one of the largest polar bears ever killed with a .22 rifle. Hid behind a door in the kitchen, when the bear poked its head in the kitchen, she put the muzzle of the rifle in it’s ear and shot; dropped like a rock. They reported it was very difficult getting the bear out of the house.
This report was greeted with considerable skepticism on the forum and I don’t blame them for the skepticism in the absence of proof. All I can say is that I remember reading a similar article a long time ago. But I will be danged if I can find that article now so either I am totally mis-remembering or the all encompassing internet failed to preserve any kind of documentation. Best I can come up with something semi-official looking is the off hand comment in this article that references what my dubious memory recalls saying….
Marauding bears have been killed by .22 rimfire pocket pistols; not very often, but it has been done by an Eskimo woman I happen to know about.
But the article offers no documentation to support that claim so it might be a commonly repeated tall tale. All I can offer in defense of my memory and the undocumented hearsay found on the internet is that it is well documented that a 22 in the hands of native American woman can kill a very large bear. But the bear is question was a very large grizzly and the woman in question was Cree and not Inuit. Her name was Bella Twin and she got into the record books for that particular bit of daring.