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Bear Spray Vs Guns


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At our recent "Bear Aware" presentation, there was some doubt cast upon the effectiveness of Bear Spray, and I think it's safe to say that there was a strong advocation for guns. I've mentioned to a number of people a study from the U.S. Forest Service, but here's one a little closer to home.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2008/03/26/bearspray.html

 

Bear Spray is a far safer, and more effective choice, believe it or not. Also, the usual modern advice is to react to the behavior, not the bear. As a rule, a charging bear is a defensive bear. The bear felt threatened, generally. If all else fails, play dead. You might get some scars, but as soon as the bear is convinced you're not a threat, it'll leave you alone. Grizzly or Black Bear, you do not want to make yourself more threatening. Of course most charges are bluffs, and it makes me sad to think of how many bears have been shot, when they would never have actually touched a person.

 

A predatory bear, of any species, calls for fighting back if escape doesn't work. Predatory bears are fairly cautious, or tentative. Easily misinterpreted as curious. Leave the area, but don't move so slowly that the bear keeps up, or run and provoke a chase. If the bear is really persistent and gets close, make a little bluff of your own. No predator prefers food that might hurt them.

 

One type of bear encounter deserves special mention; the bear that's guarding a kill. They kind of display a mix of defensive and predatory behaviors. Do not investigate foul smells.

 

I've had a number of bear encounters myself. All of them were thrilling. Most were very pleasant for me. A few were scary, to a greater or lesser extent, but no harm was done. I am thankful for every one. If nothing else, they make great campfire stories.

 

For those of you wondering, I multi-task pretty good these days; I've been rocking and singing the baby back to sleep while typing this.

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Hello there, any pictures of the big guy. Your son that is......

I did enjoy the bear talk, still on the bench on guns. I for one do not own a rifle and not sure if it is necessary, that means I try and play it safe when I'm in the bears dining room ( the great out doors ). Play it safe and you should be safe I say,I say. Last year we had a close encounter, auditory not visual , it was enough to get the blood churning aswell as the directional change . So luckily no bear spray or gun was needed , didn't have one anyway. You learn from these occurances, such as scat , check it , is it fresh, lf it is , thats a good sign to leave the area, don't push your luck. I for one can not run very fast in the trees or a clearing. I'm looking forward to this years stream fishing and Its time to purchase some new bear spray and bangers . How about you?

 

just sayin, play it safe....

 

Dan

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I looked up the bc safety bear aware,

No mention of guns or pepper spray nor bangers

 

They did mention if attached by a grizzly, curl in a ball, if a black bear get away, fight it off.

 

Their is a bear aware site and association, in prince George, there is thought that the black bear young males are being more agrecive, if you encounter such make yourselves look big, up on your tip toes, open your jackets, back away.

 

What I liked about the seminar put on by the accociation, was it was on first hand information and actuall encounters.

 

Best advise, talk a lot with your friends.

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Trouble with guns is that if you don't spend the time to get good with it then it is just an expensive bear banger. The gun should still be the last resort after bear bangers and maybe bear spray.

 

However if those are not effective in that one in a thousand cases and it decides to come back for round three then I'm not opposed to upping the anti...!

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Grumpy, could you provide a link to that site? If it's the one I think it is, that info is 16 years old.

 

There were a few other myths propogated that night, such as menstruation in bear country, and that bears are unpredictable. You'll find some good, current info here-

 

http://www.bearsmart.com/

 

Also, bears don't avoid people because we kill them. It's a pretty universal behavior in the animal kingdom known as "strange object response".

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I would suggest that a little practice goes a long way with bear spray, too. Most of us have an old can, near or past its best before date. If not, buy an extra. Spend some time going through the motions and dry firing, including shooting off the hip without even drawing the can. If you never have, fire it off.

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In regards to the bc site from prince George, it was last June, 20011, a six hour seminar on what to do and not to do around bears

 

In essants they sed bangers were better then spray, on the site we were on, which was infested with bears, bangers were given out, when walking around the site by your self, we're spray was never given out. When I say infested, I mean two or three sightings a day on site.

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Is also good to remember two things

 

1- All bears are dengerious and should be treated with caution.

 

2-Not all bears are bad bears.

 

I am by no means an expert but I'm thinking as all things in life you just need to take a little common sence with a little planning and preparedness and for most their will never be an issue.

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Is also good to remember two things

 

1- All bears are dengerious and should be treated with caution.

 

2-Not all bears are bad bears.

 

I am by no means an expert but I'm thinking as all things in life you just need to take a little common sence with a little planning and preparedness and for most their will never be an issue.

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  • 4 weeks later...

At the end of the day give me a shotgun with slugs and ssg's. If you want to play dead, go ahead. as for accessing a real charge, go ahead and do your survey and make your judgement call. I hope it is the right one for you in your time of stress and need. Me and my gun will be backing up and heading in the other direction. Try to stop me and I will shoot. But don't ask me to be your pallbearer. :yoda: In all my years on secluded waters and I have had only two bear encounters both turned out good for the bears, during fishing trips. Although one did get to eat a fresh catch of Cutties on the Ram River years ago. I figure you want them there yours, I can always catch some more for breakfast. The other poked his head out of the Saskatoon patch and carried on eatting out on the Blackstone River about 2 miles upstream. We were within 10 feet of each other and no one bothered to get upset. If I would have been mauled there. That 2 miles would have been very long and lonely. I didn't feel much like eating Saskatoon's that day anyway. Went back the next morning to the patch and picked enough for Saskatoon and Banana pancakes with wild cranberry syrup. Nummies.

 

When I worked in the field in North Eastern BC I shot my fair share of bears that came into our camps and on our rig site locations. The D9 did a great job of covering them up deep and quick. We asked for traps several times and were told to take care of it ourself's, so we did just that.

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No body advised assessing a real charge and making a judgement call to play dead. If an animal charges me and comes within range, it's getting sprayed, no questions asked. What I said was, "if all else fails," meaning if you are defenseless. No one should ever go into the bush defenseless, but sometimes our best plans fail.

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No body advised assessing a real charge and making a judgement call to play dead. If an animal charges me and comes within range, it's getting sprayed, no questions asked. What I said was, "if all else fails," meaning if you are defenseless. No one should ever go into the bush defenseless, but sometimes our best plans fail.

 

It seems to me at some point in real life a person will have to do just that make an assessment and judgement call (that is life and we do it everyday all day), based on there new modern knowledge. My comments were not directed at you but are general statements and what my experience is based on, nothing else. I do agree with your defenceless comment, no one should but most do. Last sentence is directed at you.

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In the case of bears, I don't see it as a judgement call. It's cause and effect. In all my bear encounters, I've never had the slightest doubt what was going on, what was about to happen, or what to do. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I think it's written into our genes. That's why it bothers me when people say bears are unpredictable. I think bears are more predictable than people.

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