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Thread: Bear Spray

  1. #11
    I had some encounters with bears while out in the woods/stream side. Once I was going downstream to hop in the river and fish up to the vehicle. When I got to the spot where I was going to enter the river I started to cross a little meadow with tons of wild roses and full of hips. Halfway there, I a brown bear jumped to its feet and stared at me for an instant; I probably did the same and was staring right back. The bear jumped into the river and took off. I walked back to the Expedition and had a beer.

    Another time I was on a nice Sangre de Cristo stream and from the corner of my eye saw something coming down the hill. My first thought was that I was an elk or two because of the color. I got the attention of the person fishing with me to point out the "elk" that was on the opposite bank. When I focused on the animal I realized that it was a huge bear with two cubs. The blond bear had a dished face, humped shoulders and the cubs where as big as most bears in the state. I told my companion to reel up and if the bear continues walking we should head to the vehicles. The bear and cubs stopped on farside slope and stared for awhile. We decided to leave and the bear turn and started to walk across the slope up into the forest.

  2. #12 supporter and plankowner
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Lawrence, KS
    My earlier post evidently did some "self" correcting or I just typed it in wrong.....hmmmmm. The point I tried to make is that this summer is turning out like a couple of recent ones where, due to drought conditions the bears are likely to be stressed and not in their more normal behavioral pattern. At least, that is my assumption based on the information I have at this point. The last time that this type of drought occurred we had a nightly bear in the small mountain community going through trash cans. Most summers that does not happen. Stressed bears are less predictable and for that reason I'm considering the spray for just this summer. To be truthful though, the problems of keeping it around and transportation make me leery of it as well.

    On another note, I think there is some evidence that the lack of hunting in some areas for large predators is resulting in populations that are not as likely to exit the scene. I know that in Shenandoah Park, I've found that most bears mosey off but they certainly show no fear when I encounter them in the back country. I've had similar encounters in PA and NJ. Never, had a problem in CO. I think it is very easy to get overly alarmed but I also think it is expedient to take appropriate precautions based on the risk assessment. As a person that generally fishes alone, I'm thinking that carrying the spray this summer might help put my wife's concerns at ease when I'm out.



  3. #13
    FWIW, I didn't edit your post...

  4. #14 supporter and plankowner
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Lawrence, KS
    Didn't even consider that you had done anything Gus. I was referring to my iPad' s. correcting routines.

  5. #15 plankowner
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    boreal forest of Alaska
    I’ve worked on a fish, wildlife and people management career path since 1974 … and in Alaska since 1994. I’m a biologist, manager, LE officer, firearms instructor, defensive tactics instructor, and OC-10 (pepper spray) instructor. I’ve field investigated bear mauling where everything was done wrong and “death by bear” incidents where everything was done right. I’ve shot black and brown bear with handgun, slugs and rifle (not in defense of life situations.) I’ve sprayed “advancing” black, brown and polar bears; and 250+ thick neck LE officers who assured me they were going to kick my ass after I sprayed them (they are required by policy to get sprayed if they are going to carry spray.) It worked 100% of the time … end of story. The bears immediately stopped and exited the situation … as did I. The only officers that didn’t immediately go down had closed their eyes and held their breath (not much of a threat to me in that condition.) When they opened their eyes or took a breath … down they went. A breeze that quakes the aspen can be a wild card (read that problematic) in your applying the spray in the best manner and place (read that in the bear’s full face from less than 7 meters.) I’m also sure that there are “he said she said” stories that the spray didn’t work … and some may even be true.

    When I day trip ride my motorcyles in Alaska I’m ATGATT … and that doesn’t include spray or deadly force (However if I just feel like shooting I’ll carry something appropriate … and yes … I have concealed permit.) If hiking to the fishing hole or overnight camping in the bush … I carry spray and/or handgun. If on extended float/hike “into the wild” I add long gun with slugs/nosler partition to the mix. Warning shots have never worked for me … if bears are coming to see what’s going on … they come anyway. But that doesn’t mean they’re coming to eat me. Work requires me to carry cracker shells. The only time they worked was when I shot them in the ass from a distance as they were already leaving the area and I wanted them stay “left.” If they come around again then I leave … after all, I’m the visitor in their home.

    I'm perfectly comfortable just carrying bear spray (. . . or just a gun.) In AK and Canada documented reports . . . there have been more "succesful" stopping bear incidents with bear spray than with firearms . . . and you don't have to deal with a dead bear afterwords. Stay mindful, involved and prepared in the field … carry what you need and not a gram more.

  6. #16
    That my friend, is exactly what I needed to hear.

    Thank you.
    Japan: Tsuttenkai, Jolly Fishers, member since 2010

  7. #17
    In a recent news story from forested far NE Minnesota, a woman heard some noise at her kitchen door, thought it was her husband at first, and then went to investigate and found a large black bear halfway in the doorway. She screamed and rushed at the bear, and the bear backed out and retreated into the woods. She didn’t need a gun, or a broom, or a wooden spoon, or any other weapon.

    My concern with what we’ve written about firearms and bear spray is that people will assume the bears are something to be feared. I’m all for safety, and I don’t think anyone should do foolish things around wildlife. Let’s be realistic about the risks, and as grayling says, “stay mindful, involved and prepared in the field … carry what you need and not a gram more.”

    I won’t discount grayling’s reports about his experience in Alaska. I have not been to Alaska. What I read is that the brown bears there are a whole different animal than the black bears we have here in the Upper Midwest.

    If we teach people that they need to carry a weapon, they are less likely to go into the woods at all. That would be a loss. My three now grown children as youths experienced camping, backpacking, hiking and wilderness canoe travel in the north country. None of them ever carried a weapon. They developed their strengths, learned self reliance, and learned to appreciate the natural world. Lots of young people and adults too, are afraid to get off the trail or out of sight of the road. They learn to be afraid, which is very sad.

    On Saturday I had a timber wolf cross the road in front of my car. In a post on another board a few years ago a man learned that the area he fished had coyotes, and he asked for advice on what kind of handgun he should carry for personal protection. People answered him too, with recommendations including some pretty heavy calibers. That’s pitiful. Coyotes and wolves are not a threat to people.

    My first black bear “encounter” while fishing/camping was 50 years ago. I’ve run into them many times since. Except for a couple times when I got too close before knowing it (described in my earlier post), I’ve never been afraid of, felt threatened by, or been startled by a black bear.

    When I’ve encountered a black bear, a moose (several times), or a timber wolf (a few times, almost never) on a fishing trip, it’s been something to remember.

    Now if I’m eaten by a bear on a fishing trip next week, I won’t write in to report it. If I continue to post on anything, you’ll know it didn’t happen.

  8. #18
    I hike in places sometimes that are so remote that if something unfortunate did happen I probably wouldn't make it out.

    Do I bring protection such as bear spray with me? Yes, I most certainly never leave the house unprepared. It's not that I am so scared that a bear is going to come out of the woods charging me, but yet I like to be prepared in any worse case scenario. I always abide by the saying that "you can never be to prepared". I love being out in the woods miles from anything, just me and mother nature.

    Really, the thinking should be to respect your surrounding and always be prepared for a worst case scenario. Not having the thought process of living in fear of a bear / mountain lion attacking you. Sure, more times than not a bear is going to avoid you at all costs, or the moment he see's you he will run for the hills.

    Just by chance you run into that one animal that decides to be bold, it doesn't hurt to have spray.

    Just my two cents...

  9. #19
    Dude almost pulled the spray on a bull at a put and take lake...


    I understand what Ernest writes though, I had someone read a story of mine and died trying to do what I did. People often do things on the whim of others so what Ernest tilts at, I understand.

    The three of us stood around right before we took off from the car on our grand adventure up into a high mountain valley, far away from the road or anyone else. Both the other guys had bear spray and mine was in my bag in the car. They started laughing about, "I only have to be faster than the slowest man, Adam, looks like you are it!" and we all chuckled.

    There is a part of me that just doesn't care for carrying anything.

    There is a part of me that wants to be prepared.

    On the reservation, I can't carry a pistol so sometimes I carry bear spray.

    Bear spray is no big deal, if you hit someone with it, they are not going to die. It's no big deal.

    And guns?

    Be responsible, we have constitutional rights about arming ourselves and out in the outdoors is no problem far as I'm concerned. If someone wants to carry a Desert Eagle cause he is afraid of a coyote, if it is legal, none of my business.

    Just like keeping fish to eat.

    If it is legal, and you are following the law, then I got some matches to start the fire to cook those fish.
    Japan: Tsuttenkai, Jolly Fishers, member since 2010

  10. #20 plankowner martin_b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    South Jutland, Denmark
    A Canadian friend of mine put this on his facebook the other day, scary...

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