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Prettywoman0172
10-06-2010, 15:33
How many of you consider bear spray to be a necessary part of your pack and how many think it weighs too much to bother with.

Thanks.

A

mweinstone
10-06-2010, 15:36
every hiker to a one that i have ever met carries two bear sprays.

mweinstone
10-06-2010, 15:40
kidding. only uninformed non hikers are ever seen with it. and we allways recomend they get rid of it. it cannot help you. on the other hand. being familiar with the rules of the bearoad gives us all the confidence we need to calmly do what were trained to do if a bear is suddenly in our path. calmly continue around the bear or away from it if no path around exists. feeding, takeing pictures, vocalizing or not moveing along may cause death.

Lone Wolf
10-06-2010, 15:44
How many of you consider bear spray to be a necessary part of your pack and how many think it weighs too much to bother with.

Thanks.

A

it doesn't weigh too much but it is totally unnecessary

Moose2001
10-06-2010, 15:53
on the AT....not necessary

mweinstone
10-06-2010, 15:56
worst bear senerio is an angry bear focused on you cause your in its face. your job is to continue calmly and without fear or hurry but with respect. and that means backtracking if needed. comming back in an hour wont break you. but being stupid like bolting into the woods offtrail is silly.

Don H
10-06-2010, 16:04
http://http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=43324&c=721]http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/2/1/3/8/grizzly-bear-warning_thumb.jpg[/url]

Don H
10-06-2010, 16:06
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/2/1/3/8/grizzly-bear-warning_thumb.jpg (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=43324&c=newimages&cutoffdate=1)

canoehead
10-06-2010, 16:32
I wouldn't bring it,, make noises when you are in thicker cover sing / whistle do what it takes to make your self more comfortable... But they will hear and or smell you usually way before you even know their there. I've had a number of encounters over the years in my business by myself and with others, and I did the text book make your self bigger than you are. back away slowly. they all ran after my initial encounter. The best answer is prevention.............Including a clean campsite

garlic08
10-06-2010, 16:36
on the AT....not necessary

Ditto this.

Many Walks
10-06-2010, 17:13
Prettywoman0172 This is a good question and is often on the minds of people contemplating a thru hike. The biggest problem with bear encounters is when hikers don't keep clean camps allowing bears to learn they have easy access to food. In time the the bear loses it's natural fear of humans and encounters get more aggressive with subsequent hikers. While there have been encounters with aggressive bears on the AT, they are still isolated and rare. Personally, we saw a lot of bears on our AT thru, but never felt threatened. I didn't carry spray on that hike, but on rare occasion I do carry it in some areas of the Sierra if I'm hiking in places with known aggressive bear activity. Understanding bear behavior helps ease the concern of not being at the top of the food chain in the wilderness. To help increase hiker knowledge there is a great CD presented by the Bear Country Society in cooperation with the International Association for Bear Research and Management called “Staying Safe in Bear Country”. It covers both Black and Grizzly bears in North America and presents real life situations to show bear behavior and it's relevance to human safety. There is a lot of good info on their websites as well.

beartripper
10-06-2010, 17:21
Carry it if it makes you feel better. Read the bear books and your own experiencies with bears. It can be helpful.

MkBibble
10-06-2010, 18:52
http://www.bear.org/website/ has lots of info and some pretty entertaining videos.

Mags
10-06-2010, 18:58
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/2/1/3/8/grizzly-bear-warning_thumb.jpg (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=43324&c=newimages&cutoffdate=1)


British Columbia is a bit different than the Appalachians. :sun

The only grizzly bears in the Appalachians are found on the covers of A WALK IN THE WOODS ;)

leaftye
10-06-2010, 19:57
If I were to ever carry bear spray outside of grizzly country, it would be for unleashed or feral dogs.

Daydream Believer
10-06-2010, 20:32
Prettywoman... I do carry bear/pepper spray...just a little tiny very light tube of it but it has a good range. I carry it in my shirt pocket where I can actually get to it if there is a sudden need. I'm actually thinking of it more as an all purpose personal protection tool versus being bear specific.

I have never needed it yet and I suspect it's long odds that I ever will...but it does make me feel a little bit more safe when I'm hiking or camping alone.

tdoczi
10-06-2010, 23:56
if you ever visit grizzly country you'll see bear spray for sale in every store thats even remotely outdoors orientated. ive never seen it for sale on the east coast. anywhere. kind of tells you something, no?

the funniest thing to me about people who live in grizzly country is how equally afraid of black bears they are. guilty by association i guess.

sheepdog
10-07-2010, 00:07
I always carry pepper spray. Good for mean dogs, angry hikers and the ocasional GSMNP overly friendly bear. Weighs nothing and is good insurance.

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/4/9/2/0/smokies_bear_thumb.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=28403&catid=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=14920&cutoffdate=-1)
this bear walked within 25 feet of me at GSMNP, I pulled out my bear spray but talked him into going around me without using it.

4eyedbuzzard
10-07-2010, 01:18
if you ever visit grizzly country you'll see bear spray for sale in every store thats even remotely outdoors orientated. ive never seen it for sale on the east coast. anywhere. kind of tells you something, no?

the funniest thing to me about people who live in grizzly country is how equally afraid of black bears they are. guilty by association i guess.

They have slightly different behaviors. A grizzly will often attack but break it off and stop and not kill if a victim covers up and plays dead. If a black bear attacks you it is generally going to kill you and eat you, so you better damn well fight for your life. Yeah, most of the time black bears run off, but that doesn't mean you should lose respect for what they can do.

leaftye
10-07-2010, 01:35
the funniest thing to me about people who live in grizzly country is how equally afraid of black bears they are. guilty by association i guess.

A bear is charging you. Quick, is a small dark grizzly or large pale black bear?

My answer: Holy feces, a bear!

tdoczi
10-07-2010, 09:00
A bear is charging you. Quick, is a small dark grizzly or large pale black bear?

My answer: Holy feces, a bear!

a) if you cant quickly tell the difference you shouldnt be out hiking in grizzly country

b) ive heard people express a specific fear of black bears. playing it safe and assuming all bears are grizzlies if youre unsure i can understand. thinking black bears are inherently as aggressive as grizzlies is just incorrect.

tdoczi
10-07-2010, 09:02
They have slightly different behaviors. A grizzly will often attack but break it off and stop and not kill if a victim covers up and plays dead. If a black bear attacks you it is generally going to kill you and eat you, so you better damn well fight for your life. Yeah, most of the time black bears run off, but that doesn't mean you should lose respect for what they can do.

perhaps, but i'm not willing to recommend anyone taking their respect to the point fo special ordering bear spray to carry with them. i mean seriously, where can you even buy this stuff on the east coast? i tried to when i was going to glacier, figured it would be cheaper than getting it there. i couldnt find it anywhere.

SmokyMtn Hiker
10-07-2010, 09:08
Never even considered it or thought about it. The chance of being that close to Black Bear around here is very slim, except maybe in the GSMNP, most see humans and retreat the other way.

Harrison Bergeron
10-07-2010, 09:16
If all of the above good advice for avoiding a bear attack fails and you turn out to be the one in a million actually attacked by the bear you saw -- a 1oz tube of pepper spray intended as a dog deterent has been tested and proven effective against black bear attack.

http://www.bear.org/website/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=204:pepper-spray-questions-&catid=62&Itemid=123

Bears have a 20X better sense of smell than dogs, so pepper spray very effective on them. Personally, I prefer the option of defending myself to plan B -- roll into a fetal ball, and hope the bear doesn't rip open a major artery while he's mauling you.

But the real reason I intend to carry a pepper spray on my hike next year is not for bears. It's for the dangerous animals that I'm far more likely to encounter while hitchhiking into town.

leaftye
10-07-2010, 09:20
a) if you cant quickly tell the difference you shouldnt be out hiking in grizzly country

And you can do this in that situation?


b) ive heard people express a specific fear of black bears. playing it safe and assuming all bears are grizzlies if youre unsure i can understand. thinking black bears are inherently as aggressive as grizzlies is just incorrect.

That's part of the reason for my earlier response. Instead of wasting time to try to correctly identify the bear, plan an appropriate response that can be applied to both types.

DavidNH
10-07-2010, 09:22
No one needs bear spray on the AT. You don't need it.

The main defense against potential bear attacks is good ol common sense.

tdoczi
10-07-2010, 09:29
And you can do this in that situation?



That's part of the reason for my earlier response. Instead of wasting time to try to correctly identify the bear, plan an appropriate response that can be applied to both types.


i cant say ive ever been in that situation, but i can tell a grizzly from a black bear in ways that have nothing to do with its color. and if a bear is charging me i'd probably guess grizzly anyway, just based on behavior.

and i'm all for spraying any charging bear without regard to what color it is. what i'm not for is being uneducated and freaking out if you see what is clearly a black bear standing around doing nothing the least bit aggressive towards you just because you have a fear (perhaps justified, a different topic) of grizzlies.

a local i met in glacier put it to me best, i work in NYC, thats far more dangerous than hiking in grizzly country.

leaftye
10-07-2010, 09:55
I'm with you on not using color alone. That's why I switched up the colors in my example. Checking other features works, although I usually don't wear my eyeglasses while hiking. As you said, spray a charging bear. It works with both types. It's not about being uneducated, but about having a simple solution to act on when your brain may not want to work.

tdoczi
10-07-2010, 10:07
I'm with you on not using color alone. That's why I switched up the colors in my example. Checking other features works, although I usually don't wear my eyeglasses while hiking. As you said, spray a charging bear. It works with both types. It's not about being uneducated, but about having a simple solution to act on when your brain may not want to work.

its also worth pointing out that the procedure for a charging grizzly after releasing the pepper spray is to hit the ground and curl up in a ball. as someone has rightly pointed out, this is a horrible idea on the off chance a black bear takes a run at you.

my points are this- you dont need to bear spray when theres no grizzlies around, which is why they dont even bother selling it in places that dont have grizzlies. and people shouldnt be paranoid about black bears because of what grizzly bears can do.

its also worth noting that accidents with pepper spray are far more common than bear attacks. and from what ive heard it is NOT something you want on if you arent near a very strong source of running water with which to rinse it off. frankly, knowing what i know now i wouldnt even bother buying a new bear spray, even in grizzly country. i'll carry the one i have until i loose it or it expires, after that i'm done. i'm kidding myself to think i'd even do a good job of spraying the stuff if a bear even did charge me. most likely i'd end up being eaten while in burning agony from having pepper spray all over me.

leaftye
10-07-2010, 10:36
I, like most others here, hike in black bear country. I totally agree not to bother with bear spray for black bears. That's why I said if I did carry it, it'd be for dogs. Ill tempered unleashed dogs and their owners concern me more than black bears.

Yeah, I'd probably be a smelly mess after a bear charge. It wouldn't all be pepper spray...

BAG "o" TRICKS
10-07-2010, 11:21
How many of you consider bear spray to be a necessary part of your pack and how many think it weighs too much to bother with.

Thanks.

A

I'm asked so many times by my city dwelling friends who never go out into the deep woods, "aren't you afraid of bears"? My answer to them is "nope, buy I sure respect them." I tell them that I fear the tick and mosquito more as they can and have put a hurtin' on many hikers with Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus. I have ever had a problem with bears and have seen quite a few up close while walking in the woods mainly in Smokies, Shennies, and NJ. You ask any avid hikers out there and they'll probably tell you the same. I haven't seen or met any experienced AT thru-hikers carrying the stuff but have seen plenty of weekend warrior cotton campers with it. I wouldn't carry bear spray on AT but I may consider 'possibly' carrying it in well-established grizzly areas, in certain situations. For the AT I feel it is a waste of money and usually weighs too much, but again, that's your choice, whatever makes you feel safe. If you have a bear in close enough to use spray you may already be in trouble and if you do spray him you may just irritate him more. Instead of bear spray to help protect yourself I feel it is more important to learn the do's and donít of living among wildlife 'before' heading out into their home.

weasel and bunny
10-07-2010, 11:40
Hikers should know what type bear habitat in which they are hiking. Hikers are encouraged to wear small bells and carry bear spray.
They should also know different bear signs, ie. bedding areas, tracks, scat. Black bear scat can be found in small piles and will contain berries, nuts and fur from prey species. Grizzly bear scat is found in larger piles, contains more meat products, contains small bells and smells of bear spray. :-)

tdoczi
10-07-2010, 11:44
Hikers should know what type bear habitat in which they are hiking. Hikers are encouraged to wear small bells and carry bear spray.
They should also know different bear signs, ie. bedding areas, tracks, scat. Black bear scat can be found in small piles and will contain berries, nuts and fur from prey species. Grizzly bear scat is found in larger piles, contains more meat products, contains small bells and smells of bear spray. :-)

actually anyone i ever met in grizzly country who seemed to have experience and know what they were talking about was of the opinion that bear bells didnt do anything except annoy yourself and other hikers. they just arent loud enough and most people wear them on their backs, making it even less likely a grizzly thats in front of you will hear it while youre still far enough away for it to matter. a bear hearing a bell ring on a person thats 20 feet away doesnt do you any good.

MkBibble
10-07-2010, 11:50
I have been lucky enough to see bears 3 of my last 4 trips to the AT/near the AT (N. Georgia, SNP, GSMNP). About all I saw was thier back ends, and even though I had a camera handy every time, they were gone so fast that I only managed one really bad picture.

These bears have no interest in being around humans, and they are gone SO fast.

Many Walks
10-07-2010, 11:55
actually anyone i ever met in grizzly country who seemed to have experience and know what they were talking about was of the opinion that bear bells didnt do anything except annoy yourself and other hikers. they just arent loud enough and most people wear them on their backs, making it even less likely a grizzly thats in front of you will hear it while youre still far enough away for it to matter. a bear hearing a bell ring on a person thats 20 feet away doesnt do you any good.
I think it was a joke.

Hooch
10-07-2010, 11:57
I'll aree with a few things that have already been posted here. First, on the AT bear spray is totally unnecessary. Second, if it makes you feel better, take it. However, you really don't need it. Third, your best defense against bears is good old fashioned common sense.

chiefiepoo
10-07-2010, 14:58
Agree with those who see no need for bear spray in the Eastern US. I never take it along and I do own a few cans of "Counter Assault" pepper spray for Glacier and Yellowstone back country trips. Spray is $50.00 in most places out west. Buy it and take it with you if you are going in the back country. See the training video before heading out. It is somewhat more than point and shoot.

Better yet, go with some knowledge as your first line of defense. Find and read a copy " Hiking with Grizzlies" written by Tim Rubbert. He has over 20 years of Griz / Black bear research with his brother and claims 1,500 bear sightings. My take away is, that your personal response strategy determines the outcome of most bear encounters. See his info here;

http://www.grizzlybrothers.com/HIKINGwithGRIZZLIES.htm

SMSP
10-07-2010, 15:03
I pulled out my bear spray but talked him into going around me without using it.

Where do I learn bear-talk?:D

SMSP

sheepdog
10-07-2010, 15:12
Where do I learn bear-talk?:D

SMSP
I can give you lessons for only three easy payments of $19.95 :D


basically I just stood tall and said "hey bear, hey bear" he stopped, gave me some great pictures, and went around me. The dipsticks hiking about 200 yards behind me totally disrespected this bear and it mock charged them about 3 times and held the trail. It made them hike around him. I guess it was pretty scary for them and a good learning experience.

c4jc88
10-11-2010, 23:51
Hiking in Kodiak Alaska I carry bear spray and a 44. Hiking in Valdez AK I carry bear spray because there are black bears everywhere.. I have never carried bear spray on the AT. If I did it wouldn't be for the bears it would be for the homeless people that take up residence in the shelters...

Uncle Joe
07-31-2015, 15:35
I would say for the Great Smokies, I'd probably carry it. Just a few weeks ago a kid was dragged from his hammock while sleeping.

QiWiz
08-04-2015, 17:39
I would only carry bear spray in grizzly country (like Glacier NP, Denali NP, etc). Never would on AT or PCT.

Semi9
03-31-2018, 10:54
I bought myself one can https://bestoutdooritems.com/best-bear-spray/ carried it a few times it's not worth the weight in my opinion.If the bear will go on you, you won't have time to get a spray, although many told me that this is a useful thing, The brand most recommended for grizzly bears in Yellowstone is UDAP brand of pepper spray, priced between $35-50.00.Directions claim to have a 30-foot range.But honestly, I don't understand how he can help in an emergency situation