Alexei Dyumin, 43, told the daily Kommersant that he was on duty while Putin was asleep at a presidential residence when he saw a bear standing at its glass doors.
“We looked each other in the eyes, he stepped back a bit.
“I opened the door and unloaded the entire cartridge of my pistol under his legs,” he said. “I felt pity for the bear.”
Mr Dyumin said that the animal retreated, and Putin later praised him for sparing the bear.
When Putin appointed Mr Dyumin last week as the acting governor of the Tula region south of Moscow, many commentators speculated that it was an interim step in his quick ascent.
Some even claimed that Putin could be grooming the burly general as his successor, the allegation that appears dubious as the Russian president so far hasn’t signalled any intentions to step down after his current term ends in 2018.
While the officer gave few details of his service next to Putin, he shared some yet unknown details about the secretive Russian leader, a figure of immense interest to his fans and foes.
He also refused to comment on media claims that he played a key role in the Russian takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in March 2014.