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  1. #1
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    Default Does Bear Spray Work? Maybe it depends.... Interesting article

    So nearly everything we've been told about bear safety has been hinged on the notion that bear spray is a better defense weapon than a firearm. At least, that's the conclusions many reached. Turns out, it's not really a matter of better. It's a matter of the circumstance. Very good read. The big take-away for me is that there simply wasn't a large data pool on the use of bear spray with charging bears.

    Of course, these studies largely dealt with brown bears and black bears are more relevant to the AT. On that note:

    The 2010 study “Does Aversive Conditioning Reduce Human-Black Bear Conflict?” found that methods like chasing, rock throwing, or shooting black bears with nonlethal rubber shotgun slugs were as effective as, if not more effective than, pepper spray.


    https://www.outsideonline.com/2401248/does-bear-spray-work

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    Good article, looking at what the studies really show and what they do not show. So often, we rely on simplistic conclusions and forget common sense. The last paragraph of the article is so prophetic:

    “So, what’s the conclusion here? To me, this isn’t an argument for or against guns or for or against bear spray. It’s an argument that, despite the presence of deterrents, dealing with an aggressive bear encounter does not involve any sure outcomes. Rather than beginning and ending the conversation with a false statement about bear spray’s efficacy, we should instead acknowledge that recreating safely in bear country requires training and knowledge—not dogma.”

    I have had several encounters with black bears on the AT, hiking alone and with others. So far I have been lucky. I exercised common sense, awareness, caution. That doesn’t guaranty that I will be so lucky in the future. But following certain rules improves the odds. Travel in groups. Make noise so you don’t surprise the bears. Never try to outrun a bear - you can’t. Don’t challenge a bear but be prepared to use spray and/or walking staff and anything in your possession. Don’t go into bear habitat without such items.


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    I should have elaborated on my statement about not challenging a bear and I do so with an example. Several years ago I was hiking alone on the AT near Chattahoochee Gap in Georgia. I came to the top of a mountain and spotted a cub about 40 feet from me. The cub noticed me about the same time I noticed him. The cub was small enough that I knew mama would be close by. Immediately I noticed mama about 30 feet from cub and she was watching me closely. She stood up on her rear legs and studied me more. I did not stare her down. I had read and heard that that may be considered threatening to a bear. I watched her closely through my peripheral vision and slowly walked away from the cub. I continued to watch my back for a couple of hours. Mama never made advances aside from her initial stand.


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    Mace is stronger than bear spray and that is what I carry. I get being humane, I've been a vegetarian for 40+ yrs for that reason. But when it comes to my life or the efficacy of using mace on a bear, the bear is getting maced. I also carry a 9mm as a last resort.
    Last edited by DownYonder; 08-28-2019 at 10:37.
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    That's typically the case with most things....it depends. Regardless of how black and white some people make something seem.

    I do know this, personally, I don't carry anything in black bear country (spray when with my daughter though). When I eventually make it out to Grizzly territory, I will be carrying both spray and a firearm. My choice.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

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    Yeah me too and somebody that can't run as fast as me!

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    There’s a HUGE difference between black bears versus grizzlies. In grizzly country, multiple cans of bear spray and an appropriate firearm.

    Unless it’s a predatory male black bear at night or you’re stuck between mum & cubs in close proximity, moose are far more dangerous.

    Standard mace is only effective if it’s fog type, stream sprays will only scare the chimp monks.

    As a carnivore, I hear carrots screaming in the night.

    For something to live, something must die...Gandhi 1953

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    A few years ago I had a conversation with a ranger in GSMNP who had worked as an intern in Alaska. As part of a study his job was to go to garbage dumps and antagonize a brown bear then test the effectiveness of different deterrents.

    He said some bears seemed to actually like pepper spray.

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    Default Does Bear Spray Work? Maybe it depends.... Interesting article

    a while back a thread on this, it was mentioned that...
    a) you're supposed to wait till the bear was pretty close (maybe 20')?, before spraying, and ...
    b) it took a few seconds (can't recall exactly how many) for the spray to work.
    I remember at the time, doing the math, concluding that the bear could easily cover the distance between you and him before the spray's effectiveness kicks in.
    I would think -- if you're an experienced shooter and you have the right weapon and it's you or the bear -- the firearm would be more reliable.
    btw -- just addressing the issue, here. Certainly not advocating carrying weapons on the trail. (Me personally? I couldn't hit the side of a barn)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    A few years ago I had a conversation with a ranger in GSMNP who had worked as an intern in Alaska. As part of a study his job was to go to garbage dumps and antagonize a brown bear then test the effectiveness of different deterrents.

    He said some bears seemed to actually like pepper spray.
    Manufacturers discourage spraying it on your tent or belongings. Apparently bears enjoy spicy foods, an accomplished researcher from Oregon U found that grizzlies would wallow in areas sprayed.

    Again, huge differences in danger between species. Grizzlies are, and they know it, the apex predator

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    Lightbulb The obvious problem

    > the firearm would be more reliable.

    Intelligent people in the outdoors have known since the days of Lewis and Clark that small caliber bullets absolutely do NOT stop a grizzly. It's like the line in Blazing Saddles: "Don't shoot him - that just makes him angry." In other words, no firearm that would be worth the weight is going to stop a grizzly. So it absolutely is NOT more reliable; indeed, it's pretty much worthless. And that's the case even if you're calm enough to get your firearm out of your pack, aim, and make a perfect shot at a moving target in the time a grizzly can come at you.

    The advantages of bear spray are (1) unlike handguns, it works; (2) it can be grabbed and aimed in a matter of seconds; (3) it spreads itself across a wide area, meaning you really don't have to aim very well; and (4) there's no chance of an accidental fatality - a danger with handguns FAR greater than the danger from bears.

    So you can either carry a hand gun, or be intelligent and carry bear spray.

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    Well I'm certainly not the most intelligent man in the room but when I make it to grizzly country I'll be carrying both and both will be easily ecsesable. That's why you see all those folks walking around Alaska have a 44 mag. On their side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    > the firearm would be more reliable.

    Intelligent people in the outdoors have known since the days of Lewis and Clark that small caliber bullets absolutely do NOT stop a grizzly. It's like the line in Blazing Saddles: "Don't shoot him - that just makes him angry." In other words, no firearm that would be worth the weight is going to stop a grizzly. So it absolutely is NOT more reliable; indeed, it's pretty much worthless. And that's the case even if you're calm enough to get your firearm out of your pack, aim, and make a perfect shot at a moving target in the time a grizzly can come at you.

    The advantages of bear spray are (1) unlike handguns, it works; (2) it can be grabbed and aimed in a matter of seconds; (3) it spreads itself across a wide area, meaning you really don't have to aim very well; and (4) there's no chance of an accidental fatality - a danger with handguns FAR greater than the danger from bears.

    So you can either carry a hand gun, or be intelligent and carry bear spray.
    "it's pretty much worthless" incorrect: https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/def...#axzz5y0ItOjaW

    "The advantages of bear spray are (1) unlike handguns, it works"
    incorrect: bear spray does not stop the attack 28% of the time. Rubber slug stops attack 100%....see the article in post #1.

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    Golden bear, I don't want to shoot 1 of your relatives believe me. l just have something about being eaten alive ,be it a rabid animals, a bear or hannibal lecter!

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    Obviously, Golden Bear has thought this through using critical thinking skills and Obviously using a very, very high IQ.

    So, for the less unfortunate, really less mentally gifted, we should Obviously not really challenge his opinion. After all, if bear spray was good enough for Lewis & Clark, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

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    Never tried it on bears but it will stop an unruly drunken neighbor for sure. As the police explained, the bear spray comes out in a fog able to reach a larger area where as self defense pepper spray comes out in a straight line for an individual's face. Also since it's a "non lethal" option it does not cause any permanent injury which makes it hard for the recipient to press assault charges.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

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    Thumbs down I stand corrected

    I was incorrect in stating that low caliber handguns do not stop grizzlies.
    I will no longer make that statement, as it is clearly not true.

    Thank you for showing me facts that correct my falsehood.

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    Lightbulb In grizzly territory outside of Alaska

    when I make it to grizzly country I'll be carrying both and both will be easily ecsesable[sic]. That's why you see all those folks walking around Alaska have a 44 mag.
    In Alaska while in grizzly territory, I would recommend a rifle over a handgun, but to each his own.

    But if you're in grizzly territory outside of Alaska, you're either in Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, or in Canada.
    Openly carrying a 44 magnum in ANY of those areas is NOT a good idea, even if you have a permit to own one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    > the firearm would be more reliable.

    Intelligent people in the outdoors have known since the days of Lewis and Clark that small caliber bullets absolutely do NOT stop a grizzly. It's like the line in Blazing Saddles: "Don't shoot him - that just makes him angry." In other words, no firearm that would be worth the weight is going to stop a grizzly. So it absolutely is NOT more reliable; indeed, it's pretty much worthless. And that's the case even if you're calm enough to get your firearm out of your pack, aim, and make a perfect shot at a moving target in the time a grizzly can come at you.

    The advantages of bear spray are (1) unlike handguns, it works; (2) it can be grabbed and aimed in a matter of seconds; (3) it spreads itself across a wide area, meaning you really don't have to aim very well; and (4) there's no chance of an accidental fatality - a danger with handguns FAR greater than the danger from bears.

    So you can either carry a hand gun, or be intelligent and carry bear spray.
    Huh......that's weird.

    https://www.wideopenspaces.com/alask...-a-9mm-pistol/

    Also nobody smart is going to carry a firearm in their pack, it needs to be readily accessible, just like bear spray....the draw stroke for bear spray is very similar to a firearm, so being calm and level headed is a major factor to proper bear spray deployment as well. Wind is also a major factor in effectiveness of bearspray; most areas where you would utilize bearspray happen to be in the high country where winds are more prevalent. I'd encourage people to explore whatever option, if not both, that they're more comfortable with rather than let personal biases come into play. Whatever someone decides, they should prioritize situational awareness and be careful traversing enemy bearritory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    In Alaska while in grizzly territory, I would recommend a rifle over a handgun, but to each his own.

    But if you're in grizzly territory outside of Alaska, you're either in Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, or in Canada.
    Openly carrying a 44 magnum in ANY of those areas is NOT a good idea, even if you have a permit to own one.
    Wouldn’t advocate for open carry waiting on Old Faithful to erupt. But certainly in the Lamar valley backcountry.

    Unlike the the east coast, Montana, Wyoming & Idaho have “real” wilderness areas. Not just my phone won’t work wilderness, but we’re a 100 miles from a road wilderness

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