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BigJohn
2007-06-24, 18:11
Okay, so you've encountered a black bear in a remote area and you are traveling alone. Unfortunately the bear has already been habituated to human food and has become a "nuissance bear" (or maybe its a momma bear which is a better example). You have done everything right to try and discourage the bear from coming near you but it has become aggressive and it is now past the point of no return. You cannot distract or scare the bear away from you...you will have to fight back.

Now taking the above statement into consideration; in terms of preparedness; I know some of you advocate carrying guns in the likelihood of such an encounter. On the other hand many of you don't. Do you carry pepper spray? Or maybe a good knife?

I have thought seriously about carrying a small canister of pepper spray with me on my solo trips. Not just for bears, but the possibility of encountering aggressive dogs. What is the difference between bear spray and pepper spray? Is it just in terms of units of heat? Does this really make a difference?

I have found a small canister of pepper spray at the local gun store that is cheap ($11.00), three sprays, has a key-ring (to hang on my pack), and is light enough that I'm not really worried about the weight...however at another local store I found a bottle marketed as "Bear Spray" which is way too heavy and resembles a freakin fire extinguisher!

Is the “fire-extinguisher” really necessary? What would you do if you were going to prepare for such an encounter. Or do you just rely on faith that your deterance methods will work and hope for the best. (sorry for the dramatics. Convincing family and friends that I am prepared for everything can be daunting. Being armed with a good argument has been excellent for dispelling fears).

What would you do? Thanks!!

sailingsoul
2007-06-24, 19:23
Well, you took out my first idea with "your alone" . I like to have a companion with me, one who runs slower. That way all I need is to get my companion between me and the bear, then start / keep running. No one savvy, will go for that key chain toy, Even with the irresistible < $4. price. Gee-ch! they don't work on muggers. If used to fend off a bear, you will surely be lunch after it stops laughing, if it can. Come to think of it , if the bear can't stop laughing, it might work. Those things put out a cloud/mist that travel 2 or 3 inches against a breeze, then down back at you if sprayed up wind. That's why the real bear spray "resembles a freaking fire extinguisher! " . It send out a solid stream of liquid ( not spray/mist) with enough force to go up WIND may feet, real wind. How far can you run with pepper spray/mist in your eyes before you hit a tree? Take up Kung fu. No doubt a you could parley with a staff for hours , keeping the bear at bay until he tires of you and looks for easier treats. With all kidding aside , I'd say that with out that " freaking fire extinguisher" bear spray, a real gun (not 380 cal. pistol) ,or a slower mate, how fast can you climb a tree???? Remember, you won't be slowed down by the first three. Hay! you set the terms. SS:captain:
P.S. Can wait to see what others say.

Amigi
2007-06-24, 19:49
Well, black bear is a bad example. I just got back from black bear country ( pics and post up soon ) and I'm MUCH more concerned with wild boar than a black bear. Granted, the Florida black bear is shyer than a red headed kid in orphanage, but I still keep my eye out.
The problem with this hypothetical question, is that the conclusion is already reached. You've done all you can to discourage like loud noises and waving your arms. You've stood your ground, and showed the bear your best mean face. And the bear is still coming at you? Say a prayer.
Unless you wanna hike with a fire extiguisher or a .22 magnum ( we've had this discussion, let's not rehash it here ) then you're SOL. At least you died doing what you loved, and gave a threatened species a good meal. :eek2:
But really, there are way more worrisome things to be concerned with when in the bush, like cleanliness, water supply, food, mosquitoes, deer ticks, wild boar or whatever really dangerous animals you have in your neck of the woods. I'm more worried about scorpions and ticks than bears.
But I dont live in Grizzly country. If I did, then maybe I'd feel different.

JAK
2007-06-24, 20:05
I understand Black Bear size and behaviour depends on where you are in North America. Also, as Amigi says, the question is somewhat of a non sequitur. People and dogs are a more serious threat than bears here, even though bears are actually more numerous in the woods. I am not afraid of people and dogs here, and so I am not afraid of bears either. Sure I get shivers thinking about bears sometimes when I am sleeping alone under the stars, but that is part of the fun. Sometimes I cuddle up closer to my hatchet. That's about it. I am on the lookout for indications that bear size and behaviour might be changing, due to increased Bear baiting for example, or other factors. You have to do your own local research, and at the end of the day, live your own life. Here are a bunch of articles in the area I hike:

http://www.unbf.ca/forestry/centers/fundy/annotated_publications_parks_canada.htm

BigJohn
2007-06-24, 20:26
Well like I said...completely hypothetical. I like generating discussion. From everything I've read if you do everything right it shouldn't be an issue...the core question is really...should you take pepper spray into the woods or is it just a waste of time? Unfortunately not everyone is endowed with innate outdoorsman abilities. The best I can do to learn is ask questions. Thanks again.

JAK
2007-06-24, 21:09
I wouldn't bother with pepper spray around here. Someplace else I would have to research first. Perhaps a more interesting hypothetical question might be how you would go about hunting and killing a Black Bear without using firearms or traps? I think the natives used to drag them out of their dens first, and then kill them. The reason is because if you killed them inside their dens it might be years before you get another chance at another bear in the same den. No shit. Love that story. Read everything you can on natives and bears. Truly great stuff. But I am not a native, very little anyways, and bears around here don't bother me so I don't bother them. :)

Turk
2007-06-24, 21:28
Before I answer this, allow me provide a little background. I was born and raised in northern ontario black bear country. In a town with no stop light, a night out on the town often includes scaring the bears out of the garbage pile waiting to go in the incinerator.

What I love more than anything, are these tree hugging self styled wild animal experts that spend 4 weekends a year in bear country and then flame me on an online forum with their far superior expertise on how everything I do and think I know, living day to day in remote bear country is wrong.:biggrin: :biggrin:

No seriously ..... we got rid of that guy around here:bandit:

Here's my 2 cents on the hypothetical situation presented. The best weapon you are ever going to have in that situation is whatever is in your hand at the time. Bears are really hard to sneak up on. Where I usually have a surprise and close encounter are on canoe portages in august. The sound of rapids and waterfalls mask your approach to the otherwise very keen ears of the bear. In august the blue berries are in full bloom and bears love to plant themselves in a large patch along easily accessible paths such as portage routes.

Coming around the corner with your canoe/kayak on your head and being within 10-20ft of a bear NEVER gets any easier. I call BS! on anyone that claims they remain cool and collective. This has happened many many times, and I have never had a bad experience. Never failed to scare the crap right out of the bear.

The best advice I have ever been given is to stand your canoe/kayak on its tail and rest it over your shoulders. To the bear you present a huge and dominating silhouette. But okay in the spirit of this post, the bear isn't scared off. Time for fight or flight.

I have no illusions of pulling out a knife, operating pepper spray or reaching for anything that might be on my belt or in my pack. When the moment is actually upon you, your brain goes temporarily retarded. If you manage to blurt out really stupid and obvious things like "wow, its a bear" ... you are doing better than most:biggrin: If I am walking point, I am definitely not going to turn and run. A kayak paddle is about the best thing I will have on me at the time. That gives me about 6-7ft between my delicate flesh and the bear. In that situation I guess I would let the bear swat at the paddle and try not to have it knocked out of my hands or let him get a hold on it. Just use it to keep that critical distance between us. If the opportunity is there I would try and bat him on the nose. Thats about the most damage you can hope for, and one of the few ways known to work in documented cases of people that survive bear attacks. A good wack on the nose might just convince him to take off and look for an easier meal.

Go ahead and flame away at my tactics. But im not going to change them.

BigJohn
2007-06-24, 22:31
Thanks Turk...your experience is always welcome. I really don't know anything about the subject. I live in Kentucky where bears have not been a topic of discussion for many years until recently. Settlers scared most of the predators from the region a long time ago. The U.S. Forest Service has been working on a re-integration project for several years now and just recently bears have started to grace the spotlight in Kentucky again. So in effect, all of my camping experience as a young man never focused much attention on bears. The biggest thing we've had (since I was a boy) were white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

I think my concern is regional. Since the eastern United States is densley populated, remote backcountry in Kentucky is becoming a bit of a rarity. There is not many places that you can go that are truly "remote". Encounters between man and bear are becoming relatively frequent. So, take into consideration my experience (or lack thereof).

This is something that is relatively new to me...so...in essence...the best that I can do to learn is by asking questions from those who know. There are alot of books out there that claim to know the "right way" but I like to get right to the source. So thanks again for any advice that you can give me, no political agenda here...

Thanks,

CoyoteWhips
2007-06-24, 22:54
Hypothetically, if I were faced with a determined aggressive bear, I would want to have a really big gun (RBG). This would be that time when carrying an RBG would save my life.

Hypothetically, if I were in KMart and had a sudden heart attack, I would want to have a portable defibrillator somebody could use on me. This would be one of those times when carrying a defibrillator would save my life.

While I like to think the low fat, high fiber thing is working for me, realistically, I'm much more likely to need a jolt to the heart than an RBG or pepper spray. Can't carry everything, though. Gotta pick the stuff that's most likely going to help me survive my current environment.

In the spirit of Indiana Jones, though, I do carry an eight-ounce snake whip. It makes a similar sound as a pistol crack without breaking Massachusetts gun law, scares the hell out of big dogs, and a three crack volley is just my way of saying, "Help; I'm lost and I've swallowed my whistle." Plus, it looks cool as heck hanging from my belt.

JAK
2007-06-24, 22:59
Turk. Great post. From what I have read bears are more dangerous in Ontario than here in New Brunswick, or is that only because Ontario is bigger? I have really only seen them back when we had more public dumps. I have heard we have something like 12,000 Black Bear here in New Brunswick, which is a lot, so they must be smelling me even when I don't see them. That's what makes me wonder about taking a small child deep into woods where perhaps young children don't often go. Anyhow, I will read more.

http://www.outdoorns.com/news/bears.htm

GGS
2007-06-25, 00:40
What I love more than anything, are these tree hugging self styled wild animal experts that spend 4 weekends a year in bear country...

Hey! I resemble that remark... :biggrin:

Seriously, although I have no day-to-day first hand knowledge like Turk, what he said matches what I've read.

The two things I carry for defense are:

A walking stick that can double as a club
Pepper spray

I purchased my pepper spray somewhere online for about $11. My _understanding_ is pepper spray shoots a directed stream out several feet, it is not a mist like a cologne bottle. (Think wasp & hornet killer) Just direct the stream at the bear's eyes. According to Dr. Lynn Rodgers http://www.bear.org/ a sprayed bear doesn't go away mad, it just goes away - quickly, only stopping occasionally to wipe its eyes.

So I would think pepper spray would be something good to take. Also, like a gun, you may never need to use it but boy it sure is comforting to know you have it.

And I agree with Turk. For all my plans, how will I execute the one moment of surprise when suddenly I look up and a black bear is staring back at me? What will I have time to grab when a bear bursts out of the bushes and I realize it will be upon me in a fraction of a second? Will I hit it with the pepper spray? Will I hit it with the walking stick? Will I just stand there and wet my pants? Will I panic and flee [which of course is not the right thing to do]? Won't know until I come into that situation.

Is my pepper spray the proper stuff to use on bears? Well here is just my opinion. If it's hot enough to blind/stop a human attacker it should be effective against a bear whose nose is 100 times more sensitive. That is just my opinion, this is not based on anything I've read. So there exist two possibilities: 1) I am right and somebody is making $40 profit selling a similar product because it is advertised SPECIFICALLY FOR BEARS, 2) I am wrong, and if I am ill-fated enough to become the 50th person in the last 100 years to face death by a predatory black bear, my spray will prove ineffective and you will all read about me in the paper the next day.

Iceman
2007-06-25, 01:41
The best way to deal with an encounter with something bad on the trail, is to practice what you will do ahead of time, many times...practice, practice, practice, so it is second nature.

If you have pepper spray already, and you have never fired it off, you are foolish to think you know anything about it, you may as well carrying silly string. To be honest with you, it is probably already a dead can anyway. Cops train with pepper spray yearly. Cans are shaken daily, and tossed when the label tells them so. If you intend to use bear spray, buy three bottles. Practice with the first. Get to know it well... Carry the second on your belt. Practice pulling it at a moments notice... And the third; hand it to your buddy who is afraid to carry a real gun as you pullout your handgun and start blowing holes in the damned bear that ain't learning to stay away.

Oh yeah, practice shooting things with your gun often, too...hypothetically...

Turk
2007-06-25, 02:57
Bodiak has not been around much lately, ... or he's just lurking quietly. We live about an hour apart here in southern ontario (where all the jobs are). But we both frequent northern ontario ( where I grew up).

If there is one man in all the world that I would take everything he has to say to heart... it would be Tom Tilley. Tom lives in between Bodiak and I, bout 45 mins down the road. Last summer he was portaging his canoe in a remote lake in northern ontario when he was attacked by a bear. Luckily reflex/luck/skill/ and his dog got him out alive.

He is the only person I have ever heard that has killed a bear literally with his hands.
http://hikinghq.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=318&d=1162065259
His dog sam was very lucky too:
http://i5.tinypic.com/20ru639.jpg
And this is the knife that killed the bear:
http://i7.tinypic.com/20tf1v9.jpg

brief synopsis of the story here:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/07/22/bear.html?ref=rss

Iceman will appreciate that one. As I believe he carries the same cheap Buck USA model 119.
Since that incident, Tom has been speaking all over ontario. To listen to him speak, you really
walk away with the impression "so thats what its like". He is a completely ordinary mid fifties guy
that loves the outdoors. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a completely
odd and rare event took place.

GGS
2007-06-25, 03:43
Turk, I remember that post. Incredible story. Amazing what can happen when the fight or flight kicks in...

dropkick
2007-06-25, 03:44
.....if I am ill-fated enough to become the 50th person in the last 100 years to face death by a predatory black bear, my spray will prove ineffective and you will all read about me in the paper the next day.
GGS
I don't know where you get your numbers as I normally hear of at least one death attributed to them every year.
Even if the numbers are right, they don't count being mauled and that wouldn't be fun even if it didn't kill you.
I personally know 2 people who have been attacked, and both were very lucky to have survived.
And as my last shot - black bears aren't the only type of bears.:aetsch:


I'm not saying you should worry very much, if you stick to established trails, make a little noise, and even if bears are around you won't likely see them.

In the spring when the bears are hungry and cranky or with cubs you should worry more.

I carry BEAR SPRAY - the fire extinguisher - not the useless little flavor enhancers that they sell for under $10. There is a difference in the formula not just in the amount and force of spray.
Occasionally I also carry a pistol.

I'm from Montana. I was born and raised here. I've fished beside bears. I've picked huckleberries in the same patches they were eating in. I've watched them walk through town. I've also watched one tear my metal cooler apart in an established campground, cleaned up after one broke into my camper and trashed it for the fun of it (no food inside), and I've seen the scars that my next door neighbor got when he was mauled while walking his dog.

I agree with Turk, on everything except the cool and collective thing. In stress situations I usually collapse, start shaking, and wet myself after everything is over, during the event I'm usually very analytical. Normally I think well under pressure.

JAK
2007-06-25, 17:30
Interesting stories. I still think things must be different here in New Brunswick than in Ontario. I know there are bears where I hike. They are just very timid of humans, and very restrained even with cubs when they do swat you. They are generally smaller also. They might be more likely to attack if you have a dog. The lady that was roughed up a bit in Titusville was walking her two dogs. I would still consider a dog an asset though. Of course there is probably an exception waiting to happen. The odd bear has reached 650 pounds or more. They do eat deer and moose, so why not humans? They are certainly very capable predators. For some reason the mother bears here train their cubs a little different I guess. I am still waiting to talk to some local people that might know better. I would like to talk to a local and older bear hunting guide. I have mixed feelings about bear hunting, not my idea of hunting, but I'm not really sure what the alternative might be to keep the male numbers down. I'm mostly interested in what they might think the risks are when hiking alone, or with a young child, or with a dog, or both. The article below describes Black Bear behaviour in the area in and around Fundy National Park. The article suggests ways to increase the Black Bear population within the park. The Fundy Footpath runs for 42km west of the park along the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Very rugged. Lots of ups and downs. Bears for sure but I have never seen them.

http://www.unbf.ca/forestry/centers/cwru/soe/bear1.htm

deadeye
2007-06-25, 18:06
How about some perspective here:

I've been hiking and fishing for 45 years, including a season as a forest ranger. In all that time, I've seen thousands of people, hundreds of dogs, dozens of deer, a handful of moose; porcupines, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, coyotes, etc. I've seen 1 armed hiker, and exactly zero bears (like Turk and others, all the bears I saw were when we had open dumps). I've been threatened by some of the people, and bitten by at least one of the dogs.

Here's another point of view: in the US in 2001, there were over 40,000 highway deaths. In 2002 - nearly 43,000. (NHTSA website). From 1900 to 2003, there were 52 fatal black bear attacks. (source: wikipedia - I know, not the best, but you get the point, I hope).

Without question, the most dangerous part of a hiking trip is your interaction with humans: the drive to the trailhead, the trailhead parking lot, trails near towns and roads, road crossings, people and their pets.

Sure, I used to wonder about my kids if I had a heart attack while hiking, but that would be better than if I had one while driving 70 mph!

So suck it up. If you survive a bear attack, you can write about it and make a buck. I you get killed, there's your 15 minutes of fame.:argh: As someone here once said: "No Sniveling!"

JAK
2007-06-25, 18:35
Thanks deadeye. You have to give these bears a lot of credit. The truly are amazing animals when you think about it. They somehow find all this food out there to eat, with some help from Tim Horton's of course, but still. They do all this eating, and yet on an individual basis they are less likely to be seen by a human, or hit by a car, or do a human harm than most other large mammals out there. It really would make more sense to prepare for a dog attack, here in New Brunswick anyways. Still, having a seven year old daughter with me really ups the ante, so I am still doing all the research I can. I would like to know more about the impact of bear hunting and bait sites.

Bear
2007-06-25, 21:41
Hey Turk,
I sure as hell am not going to flame your tactics. You are right on target. I saw a film once of a grizzly chasing a caribou and was amazed at how fast that thing moved. Not to mention how people are going to react to the situation and the reaction time. If a black bear decides to attack you can do one of two things, fight like hell with what ever you have in your hand because you won’t have time to reach for anything else or bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

oops56
2007-06-25, 23:20
Well it like this if you had time to kiss you ass good by i think it would be full :bootyshak

Bear
2007-06-25, 23:46
Never thought about it oops but you are right. I know mine would be.:ahhhhh:

GGS
2007-06-26, 00:25
I don't know where you get your numbers as I normally hear of at least one death attributed to them every year.
Even if the numbers are right, they don't count being mauled and that wouldn't be fun even if it didn't kill you. I personally know 2 people who have been attacked, and both were very lucky to have survived.


Human fatalities from black bear attacks in years 1900-2003 is 52 according to Wikipedia. Here is a listing of bear attacks by decade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_by_dec ade. Also see Deadeye's post #17 in this thread for similar stats & perspectives. And I agree, they don't count being mauled and being mauled isn't fun.


And as my last shot - black bears aren't the only type of bears.:aetsch:

Yes, very true. As to what bears you are likely to encounter... That depends on where you hike. Here in Michigan the only bear is a black bear. If I expected to encounter brown bears or polar bears my equipment list would be very different.

However the question of this thread is what to do if you expect to run into a BLACK bear. Other types of bears weren't in the scope of this question.

Stats aside, there are three types of bear encounters:
1. A surprised bear runs away from you
2. A bear attacks you, whether predatory/defensive
3. A bear hangs around your campsite either ignoring you (interested in cooler, backpack, or whatever) or trying to decide if you're food

#1 and #2 have been discussed in this thread. Maybe pepper spray will help with #2, having a stick/club/paddle will probably be the only weapon you'll have time to bring to bear [no pun intended]. #3 is where the pepper spray really becomes an option. If yelling and banging of pans doesn't work and Mr. B. Bear is still around, what do you do? Charge it and whack it on the nose with a stick? Sounds good in type but is a little more difficult to execute in reality. Short of reaching for the sidearm, Admiral Pepperspray is a really nice option to have.

Again, based on statistics I have little to fear from black bears. The vast majority of any encounter I might have will be #1. Very rarely it will be #2. However #3 presents some opportunity to turn away a potential attack before Mr. Bear gets any bolder. I personally feel better having SOME option other than noise/sticks. It's still not a big enough concern to justify bringing an 8oz "fire extinguisher" and lugging that thing through the whole hike, however a litle 2oz pepper spray in my pocket makes me feel comfortable that I have options.

That works for me in Michigan. If I were deep in the Canadian wilderness where black bears may not have contact with humans, or if there were a chance of brown bears in that area, I'd be reviewing my choices. Probably adding some type of lead/gunpowder solution to my list...

But for now it's
Walking stick that can double as a club (for defense against attack)
2 oz Pepper spray

GGS
2007-06-26, 00:54
They do eat deer and moose, so why not humans? They are certainly very capable predators. For some reason the mother bears here train their cubs a little different I guess. I am still waiting to talk to some local people that might know better. I would like to talk to a local and older bear hunting guide. I have mixed feelings about bear hunting, not my idea of hunting, but I'm not really sure what the alternative might be to keep the male numbers down.

Black bears are primarily vegetarians. Meat like moose/deer make up only about 1% of its diet, and that is primarily carrion, or if the bear is lucky, a newborn fawn that it stumbles upon.

It helps to understand the evolution of the black bear. 10,000 years ago black bears were prey to grizzlies, dire wolves, and the terrible short-faced bear. Black bears survived by being timid. Run first, ask questions later. The survivors passed their traits down to the black bear of today, which serves them well against man. A common misconception of black bears is they will attack in defense of cubs. It is highly unlikely they will do this. Defense of cubs is a grizzly bear trait. Grizzly bears have a different evolutionary history than black bears. Researchers have captured squalling black bear cubs out of trees while the mother either retreats or at worst bluff charges.

There is a funny pets video out there somewhere - sorry I couldn't find it for this post - that shows a black bear being chased off by a house cat. Kind of illustrates the black bear temperament.

As to the hunting issue, I myself choose not to hunt. I'm not against hunting, I have hunted in the past, I just now choose to enjoy nature in another way. As a solo hiker with a dog it is very reassuring to know that in Michigan the hunting season teaches the bear population that humans and dogs are bad news. Those that avoid humans and dogs survive. It also makes available a resource of experienced hunters and tracking dogs to track down a problem bear should the need arise. And it keeps the bear population in check. A bear overpopulation leads to depleted food sources, and starving bears will only lead to more bear/human encounters of the unpleasant kind.

Take-a-knee
2007-06-26, 00:56
Personally I would prefer a 4" magnaported S&W 629 (44mag) but I guess that isn't always neccesary.

http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/father-kills-300-pound-bear-with-log/20070622182209990001

GGS
2007-06-26, 01:10
Personally I would prefer a 4" magnaported S&W 629 (44mag) but I guess that isn't always neccesary.

That is unquestionably the ultimate trump card...

Pardon my firearm ignorance... I know the 44 mag is a handgun (ie. Dirty Harry) but is it also a rifle caliber?

dropkick
2007-06-26, 01:11
I've been hiking and fishing for 45 years, including a season as a forest ranger. In all that time, I've seen thousands of people, hundreds of dogs, dozens of deer, a handful of moose; porcupines, skunks, groundhogs, foxes, coyotes, etc. I've seen 1 armed hiker, and exactly zero bears (like Turk and others, all the bears I saw were when we had open dumps). I've been threatened by some of the people, and bitten by at least one of the dogs.
Deadeye,
I agree with you that people are more dangerous than bear, however I'm going to continue to carry my bear spray and bell my dog. - I don't really worry about bear, but I see at least 1 or 2 a year and I'm cautious.

This is just to satisfy my own curiosity:
Was your job as a ranger in Vermont? And have you lived and hiked there the majority of your life? I wondered as your animal sighting numbers seem low to me (I have no experience with Vermont though).
I see at least a dozen deer almost every day, and I've seen much more than a handful of the others (except fox - I've only seen about 6 that I can remember).
Maybe this is why you haven't seen bear anywhere except the dumps, not enough food.

dropkick
2007-06-26, 01:16
That is unquestionably the ultimate trump card...

Pardon my firearm ignorance... I know the 44 mag is a handgun (ie. Dirty Harry) but is it also a rifle caliber?

It can be. 44 mag refers to the size of ammo it takes. Any handgun ammo can be fired from either a handgun or a rifle. You just have to find a rifle ported for it.

Iceman
2007-06-26, 02:04
Personally I would prefer a 4" magnaported S&W 629 (44mag) but I guess that isn't always neccesary.

http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/father-kills-300-pound-bear-with-log/20070622182209990001

Halleluja brother, I have seen the light! Takeaknee you are right on track, awesome pick. I have another choice though, just not the cash to back it up: Smith and Wesson 460XVR http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=11101&storeId=10001&productId=14776&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15707&isFirearm=Y

Turk
2007-06-26, 04:40
Smith and Wesson 460XVR .....

Okay, that is officially crazy. Muzzle velocity 2300 FPS. sheesh!

mach 2 = 2 232.87402 feet per second

The good news is, whether you kill the bear, or firing a warning shot you at least alert everyone in a 20 mile radius to your presence.

BigJohn
2007-06-26, 09:46
Iceman said in a recent post that we were not talking enough about “killing stuff”. Glad I could contribute. As for my original post, a closer study will reveal that this is an open ended question…

Turk mentioned hitting the bear on the nose with a paddle, Iceman said blast the bejeezus out of it with your Smith and Wesson 460XVR . To me both are acceptable answers because the question was “How would YOU be prepared for that scenario?”

I took out all of the possibilities for deterrence because there are plenty of theories about how to scare a bear away but no one really says “how do you fight a bear when you have no other choice?” (regardless of whether the point is actually moot or not)

Plus I’m seeing a lot of regional variations in the way people answer the question…it appears that bears may act differently in different parts of the world and environments. A ranger from Vermont may have a whole different experience from someone living in Montana.

My discussion on pepper spray was only included because this is something that I am considering but don’t necessarily plan to use.

P.S. Is the nose the best place to hit a bear?

deadeye
2007-06-26, 10:43
This is just to satisfy my own curiosity:
Was your job as a ranger in Vermont? And have you lived and hiked there the majority of your life? I wondered as your animal sighting numbers seem low to me (I have no experience with Vermont though).
I see at least a dozen deer almost every day, and I've seen much more than a handful of the others (except fox - I've only seen about 6 that I can remember).
Maybe this is why you haven't seen bear anywhere except the dumps, not enough food.

Good question: yes, I've live in VT all my life - so far, and most of my experience is in VT, northern Maine & New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks. Plenty of bears around, so I don't really know why I haven't seen any, despite a healthy population. Couple of possibilities, in no particular order:
1) I make noise when I'm approaching "bearish" areas
2) As often as possible, I to camp away from popular sites, what's become known as "stealth camping"
3) the north woods are thick - bear or deer and other critters can be pretty close to the trail and remain unseen (so can people - try sitting a few feet off the trail, and see how many folks walk right by without noticing) there are few 'wide open spaces' where you might see deer browse from a distance
4) hunters are still active in all the places I hike, and the bears are generally very wary, unlike the Smokies or other places where hunters aren't allowed
5) My ranger job was mostly above tree line on a popular mountain - lousy bear territory (Although the same year, a new tenting area was established nearby - in a bear's home territory. That ranger got some nighttime bear experience, but banging pots and pans scared the bear off.)
6) I'm really ugly and smell pretty bad

Deer and bear are wary and stealthy. The moose, on the other hand, are noisy as all get out. Sound like bigfoot crashing through the trees.

Turk
2007-06-26, 16:29
My discussion on pepper spray was only included because this is something that I am considering but don’t necessarily plan to use.

P.S. Is the nose the best place to hit a bear?

I have no idea if hitting a bear on the nose, is best. I heard this from an animal control officer. We have a huge over-population problem with bears in northern ontario. Largely due to the cancellation of spring hunting permits back in the 90's that was brought in to address declining populations in the south. Small fly-in camps/outfitters are the worst offenders for creating bear problems with their small open landfills. Animal control is often called in when bears begin pestering tourists to these camps. They tranquilize the bear and relocate whenever possible. They try hard to use as little drug as possible on the animal. Consequently they often have to release, angry and very much fully conscious bears from the steel cage. I was fortunate enough to watch them do a relocate once (from the safety of the truck cab). The guys said, if a bear for any reason does not immediately run for the bush, they wack em on the nose, and that gets them running.

Just the same, keeping true to our little scenario here, If anyone knows how else one might reasonably injure a bear in a life or death situation. That would be good to know. Even with firearms, assuming the average person packing heat is NOT carrying one of Iceman's hand cannons... where do you shoot a bear? Any hunters around here? What kind of penetration would you need
to stop a charging 300-500 lb black bear?

dropkick
2007-06-27, 02:11
I've never killed a bear.
Never got in a situation where I had to, and I'm a meat hunter, never felt like hunting bear. I like elk meat. But I've had plenty of friends and relatives who have hunted them.

One relative is trying to get every form of big game available with a recurve bow. Having killed all the types here, he's heading to Africa sometime soon. Personally I think he's a wacko.

Anyway, from the people I've talked to, plus all the things I've been taught about it ever since I was a kid, if you absolutely have to shoot, aim center mass and try for a heart shot. Bullets from high powered rifles have been known to bounce off a bears skull.

Your best bet would be behind it's front leg, but that's awfully hard to hit when it's charging you.

If you are a world class marksman you could also try to shoot it in the eye (with a one handed shooting stance, as you'll be holding a martini in your other hand)

Bear
2007-06-27, 03:51
Turk,
I’ve never hunted bear but I am a big deer hunter so I watch a lot of hunting channels and read a lot of hunting magazines. Everything I have ever seen says to take a broad side double lung shoot which is going to be impossible if a bear is charging you. The other problem is you will have to be a damn good shot with a pistol. Now factor in a very fast moving target along with anal pucker and you know what creek you are up with out a paddle. On the positive side you will have a very close shot so it will be pretty much instinctive shooting. I would aim, as best I could, just below the head. This offers you a big target and if you hit low it may reach the heart, high you might get him between the eyes or on the nose, dead on, depending on the angle, you may break his neck. Bottom line is, if you use a pistol as a last line of defense, you are going to have to practice, practice, practice. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Take-a-knee and Iceman, if I am in bear country without a rifle I would want one hell of a side arm, but for me in black bear country, I’ll take my chances if I am packing in for a few days. If I am on a day hike and it is legal and there an abundance of bears, I’m packing heat.

If I am attacked unarmed I would go for the nose and eyes with what ever I can get my hands on or with my hands.

Take-a-knee
2007-06-27, 10:47
The classic stopping shot for dangerous game is to break a shoulder. This would be problematic on a charging bear since that target would be moving up and down. I would second a center-mass chest shot with a 44mag pistol, a 357mag with long, heavy 180gr bullets would probably work fine in the CONUS. Dumping energy into the animal is your only hope of turning him, you will not kill the animal on a charge with a pistol before he gets to you. If I lived in northwoods bear country I would want a scout-type rifle close at hand, a slicked up bolt gun chambered in 30cal or larger (338 federal or 358 Win) with ghost ring sights. You will be one lucky SOB to make this shot even with some range time, it probably won't happen without it. It has been done on numerous occasions however. I've skinned out two bears, one Alaskan brownie (29 yr ago) and one blackie a couple of years ago. When you get the skin off of them, what is left looks like a powerlifter, you don't want one of these critters pissed off and closing with you.

Thudley
2007-07-08, 08:41
As a city-raised kid, I discovered my love of the wilderness, and wild things, later in life. A few years ago, my wife & I purchased our piece of the woods: an 87 acre parcel in the Adirondacks. We really enjoy having deer, beavers, otters, etc. as our neighbors, and spend lots of hours in the forest watching for them. However…no bear sightings yet. I know they are here, since my neighbor had one break into here screened porch last year to get at her bird feeder. This octogenarian chased it off with her broom! Hmmm, can a broom be fashioned into a walking stick, or a paddle? Maybe sharpening the end of the handle….

But, I digress.

I think the local bears are very shy due to the penchant of the local hunters to shoot them (regardless of season or location) whenever they stick their heads up. I’ve nothing against hunters, although I am not a participant, but it cuts down on my chances of spotting a bear in the wild, something I would like to add to my experiences. As a note, I read an interesting statement in the Guide to the AT. It says that black bears are most numerous in northern NJ.

No one here has yet mentioned the “playing dead” trick. Just curling up in a ball to protect vital spots and making no sound. I read somewhere that this is a recommended method when attacked. Am I full of beans on this one, or has anyone else heard of it? :dontknow:

Spice1
2007-07-08, 11:44
I'm not sure about bears, but playing dead is now considered the worst thing you can do if attacked by a mountain lion. They are trying to kill you to eat you. So you play dead, you get eaten. The official word now is, "FIGHT". Claws like friggin icepicks, a five ton hydraulic vice with teeth and they say fight. I again say, bring slower friends.

Bear
2007-07-08, 12:12
Playing dead is the recommended defense if attacked by a grizzly bear but if attacked by a black bear the “experts” say you should fight like hell.

CoyoteWhips
2007-07-08, 16:00
I'm not sure about bears, but playing dead is now considered the worst thing you can do if attacked by a mountain lion. They are trying to kill you to eat you. So you play dead, you get eaten. The official word now is, "FIGHT". Claws like friggin icepicks, a five ton hydraulic vice with teeth and they say fight. I again say, bring slower friends.

Maybe a big squirt bottle?

Works with the cats at home.

sailingsoul
2007-07-08, 16:32
While living in Reality (some don't) one should always keep in mind that the hypothetical is not reality. The hypothetical is great when getting together and chewing the fat. I do enjoy it but when it comes to reality, I feel it can fall a bit short. Falling short on the topic of Bears might lead to serious injury or death. When it comes to bears and safety I realized that I have in my past experienced a big dose of reality.
In June of 1972 I had just returned from Viet Nam and had 45 days leave before I had to report back to duty. I decided to do some camping in the Grand Tetons and visit Yellowstone National Park. It was the year that the park was celebrating its' centennial. I actually got a job in the Lodge at Old Faithful Geyser, for 10 days. This was very rare because the company had rule and only hired people willing to sign a contract through the end of the season. They could use the help and made a exception due to my status. This allowed me to see and learn about the park as a local rather than a tourist. One night at 10:15 pm, after the hotel lobby had closed to the public (at 10 pm) several of us employees still inside when alerted, that a Bear attack had just occurred in the area.
There were these 2 guys that were backpacking about, over the summer. They were hanging in the area because a friend from there home town worked at the lodge. They were about 18/20 and had a camp setup nearby while they visited the park and her. Seems earlier that evening, they ate there dinner at camp then came down to hang with us and there friend at the lodge. After eating dinner they didn't clean up, leaving used pots and dishes in there tent closed up. Along with there food stores, this proved to be a deadly mistake.
Anyway, us employees were hanging in the closed lobby when one of the two lads who left at 10, came running back in a state of shock. He and his buddy were returning to there camp site when they were attacked. His buddy, Harry was right next to him, holding the flashlight when out of no where they were run down by a bear. There was NO warning. They heard and saw nothing before being attacked. The bear centered on the one with the light knocking the other over and rolling him down hill the way they came. He got up and ran like hell back to the lodge in horror having to leave his buddy behind. They believed it was a Grizzly, as the bear was not identified to my knowledge. The Ranges were called, the victim was found dead, with his abdomen opened, that night. The bear had licked clean the pots and dishes. It had also tore into food stores and ate much of them. He was possibly still eating as they approached. Seems the bear heard them coming and attacked them about 50 ft from the tent in the direction of the lodge.
This story is true not hypothetical. I think we are all best served by getting all information for others true experiences and never from "what if" scenarios. Just like Truk said in post #7 of this thread. That way truly valuable insight can be mined from real experiences.Those young men should have never left the dinner pots and dishes dirty, in there tent. That served as a powerful magnet attracting any animal down wind. They also kept there food stores in the tent. Another magnet. I will never, in my life, ever setup camp and not take all my food aways from the camp and tie it up. After seeing the face of that young man when he came running back, I'd say I take my food out further than most. One time I had a heck of a time finding it . Don't do that either. Here is a link showing how attracted bears are to food.
http://cellar.org/iotd.php?t=8919 After see the pictures I want to know what kind of line is that????? When in known Bear country one approach while traveling is to stop and eat before you make camp and hiking some more before making camp. This way all those cooking /food smells are not where you make camp. IMHO SS:captain:

dropkick
2007-07-09, 02:27
In bear country the fire close to camp should never be the cook fire (I violate this rule quite often though). However I don't leave any food or dirty pans near camp. I also wash my pots and pans a good distance from camp. I also sleep in clothes I didn't cook in.

Geo.
2007-07-09, 03:16
Interesting pic's Sailingsoul. I once spent a few months in bear country and was usually pretty careful about what I did with my food. Hung it up a tree most nights, though some locations it was a bit tough finding a suitable tree.
Bears only got my food once, luckily I was just a day or two out from re-supply. Ripped the branch off the tree that the bag was suspended from. I was surprised at their 'expertise' (and strength) at the time but after seeing those pic's in your link I reckon I was lucky I didn't lose food more often.
Matter of interest, they ate everything except a tube of toothpaste that they'd taken a bite of and didn't like.
Don't know if it worked or not, but each night I'd urinate around the perimeter (outside :biggrin: ) of my tent as I'd heard an old timer's tale that laying down your scent could act as a deterrent - got visitors some nights but they never crossed the line, so who knows. Those hairy guys really keep you focused, so I was willing to try anything!

Jim Henderson
2007-07-09, 14:00
I have never faced a bear in the wild. I hear California where I hike is bear country but never saw one, but I am pretty noisy, mostly wheezing I think. I read too many outdoors magazines, so judge my thoughts based upon that.

I once went shopping online and in stores for a good repellant for my wife to use on agressive dogs. The pepper sprays are usually considered effective for people, but are small and as my oldest son can attest, not that bad, dufus. The bear sprays that I found typically had a MUCH higher heat content and a bigger can, say spray paint can size or a bit less.

My wife used the Bear spray several times, thus the advantage of big cans, on some vicious dogs and they retreated like hell was upon them and after a few experiences kept their distance on future encounters. She especially liked the orange dye that colored the dogs a pretty color.

From reading I have read that the Bear sprays are somewhat effective but some really agressive bears may not retreat, so it is not fool proof. Most of the outdoors mags recommend the bear sprays and or a big caliber handgun as a minimum. Problem with a hand gun is that too many of us then have a false sense of superiority and may not retreat when that is the best option.

Other comment from the magazines is that if a black bear is after you, it is probably predatory rather than curiosity.

Like I said, never encountered a bear, but if I felt I was going to be in serious bear country I would probably carry at least my 357 or maybe the 44. Problem is the extra weight and local laws in the various forests. I have taken my 357 on camp trips but since I keep it in my pack(partly due to the laws), a quick draw is out of the question. I have actually needed it once when I was being stalked by some coyotes for breakfast, they ran as soon as they saw the gun.

Just my armchair opinion,

Jim Henderson

Hollowdweller
2007-07-09, 15:52
I've run into a few over time at Cranberry Wilderness, which is a Black Bear Sanctuary. But they have all been running from me. One was up in an old apple tree and when it saw us it jumped from the top of the tree and landed right in front of us and took up the hill.

All I have seen have been scared of people, but most of them, even the ones in Cranberry have been hunted and are pretty skittish. My main complaint is Bear Dogs. I have had them bark at my tent and keep me up all night!

Amigi
2007-07-09, 18:34
****Amigi wades through the weak-minded testosterone****

Is in not better to use one's mind, than to take the I'll grab my weapon, and with my coolheadness, shoot the bear in the heart stance?

Let's all get together and test our theories. I'll be alert, clap my hands from time to time, be leary of where I tread, and rely on 20 years experience avoiding bear encounters, and the rest of you can race to see who can shoot a charging bear.
You go first.

I'm smelling BS on the thread, and that doesn't stand for bear shit.

Geo.
2007-07-09, 19:30
Let's all get together and test our theories. I'll be alert, clap my hands from time to time, be leary of where I tread, and rely on 20 years experience avoiding bear encounters, and the rest of you can race to see who can shoot a charging bear.
You go first.



Right behind you on that one Amigi. (probably literally)
Suddenly getting sprung by a bear (and most encounters seem to be close up and unexpected for both parties) I don't think I'd have enough faith in my skill to rapidly deploy a weapon and get an accurate 'stop' shot off. I think the only time I'd feel happy letting loose at a focused pissed off charging bear, would be from the turret of a tank.
Though I guess if there are two of you and you're both armed, then in the event of a bear attacking you, it'd be nice to know that your mate has the means to spoil its day. (Clapping in that instance might be mistaken by the bear for applause) :dong:

Spice1
2007-07-09, 21:24
Well said Amigi. I live and work on the front range, and have lots of volunteers from deep woods places like Staten Island and Los Angeles. Some are anxious to see animals, some are terrified of seeing animals. After a few minutes of walking with me, they will ask about my frequent clapping and whistling.

I tell them there are two ways to walk through the woods. One is walking quietly, hoping to see the wildlife, and one is walking noticeably and hoping not to see the wild life. Some of them want to see cougar or bear, but NONE of them want to surprise the rattlesnakes. On day two, I need neither clap or whistle, as the volunteers are walking behind me offering walking ovations and frequent wolf whistles.

That said, the hypothetical was after the bear, boar, tiger, or mastadon has seen you and is coming straight for you. I would probably (hypothetically of course) sh*t and piss myself hoping the animal would think I have mad cow disease and decide to eat elsewhere.

"Stop Mr. Bear! I'm not organic!"

Bear
2007-07-10, 03:25
****Amigi wades through the weak-minded testosterone****

Is in not better to use one's mind, than to take the I'll grab my weapon, and with my coolheadness, shoot the bear in the heart stance?

Let's all get together and test our theories. I'll be alert, clap my hands from time to time, be leary of where I tread, and rely on 20 years experience avoiding bear encounters, and the rest of you can race to see who can shoot a charging bear.
You go first.

I'm smelling BS on the thread, and that doesn't stand for bear shit.

Yes, it is better to avoid a confrontation if at all possible. But reread what everyone said about shooting a charging bear. It is a last resort and maybe impossible due to the speed of the bear and your advanced warning. But you can bet your ass if I was faced with that problem I would rather be reaching for a large caliber pistol than a knife, rock, or walking stick. Not one of us stated that we would stand in defiance and mow down the charging bear. Take-a-knee said that even if you hit him it would not completely stop him from getting to you. But what would you rather fend off, a bear that has one or several wounds in him and knows that you are capable of inflicting pain in him or one that is undeterred.
AS A LAST RESORT I’ll do my best to shoot him and let you play patty cake with him.

I’ll bet Timothy Tredwell or what ever his name was, was wishing he had at least some type of side arm when that grizzly started eating him. Not that it would have saved his life, but I’ll bet he would have emptied a pistol into him just the same if he had the opportunity.

dropkick
2007-07-10, 07:27
****Amigi wades through the weak-minded testosterone****

Is in not better to use one's mind, than to take the I'll grab my weapon, and with my coolheadness, shoot the bear in the heart stance?

Let's all get together and test our theories. I'll be alert, clap my hands from time to time, be leary of where I tread, and rely on 20 years experience avoiding bear encounters, and the rest of you can race to see who can shoot a charging bear.
You go first.

I'm smelling BS on the thread, and that doesn't stand for bear shit.

Amigi,

My next door neighbor (when I was growing up) got attacked by a black bear while walking his dog on a well established trail just outside the city limits of Helena, MT. (state capital) He was about 50 yards from a neighborhood full of houses. He barely escaped and he has the scars to show it.
He would have liked to have had a gun.

A friend that I grew up with was with his dad cutting firewood. A black bear attacked his father. His father held it off with his chainsaw. My friend headed for the truck to get a rifle. Before he got it the bear took off. Later the bear was tracked and killed by the forest service, as this wasn't the first problem they'd had with it. (1st human attack though).
Somehow I feel his chainsaw was louder than your claps.

I don't think that was B.S. you were smelling, I think you had your head stuck someplace else that smells similar.
If you'd bother to actually read the previous posts before calling people names, you would have seen that nobody was saying to shoot first, they were saying that sometimes clapping and whistling don't work and options are good to have.

Turk
2007-07-10, 16:10
Okay, this topic is generated on every single outdoor forum there is. I for one have read some straight up BS, and downright insane ideas from other forums. This discussion here, I personally felt was very down to earth, and very realistic. If you go through and read the progression of the whole discussion, you will find that all good prevention and avoidance was discussed early on. The topic then turned to more of a "what do you do, when prevention doesn't work".

Those that own and carry guns, of course discussed methods of utilizing them. Those of us that don't, like myself, have only what one might realistically be carrying in their hands at the time.

Because this is very much a loose and hypothetical scenario, as the title states, I thought that the info from those that use guns, and know a thing or two about hunting large game, gave some interesting and informative advice. Additionally, being a non-gun person, I thought the discussion of caliber, precision of aim, and reaction time was very well presented by those that are gun versed. Furthermore, these same gun users if anything, dispell the common myths of shooting bears. If anything they point out the difficulties of making a stopping shot, and what it would take to actually accomplish it. I thought that was made quite apparent in the posts.

When compared to any of the huge multipage bear attack discussions found on other forums, I think the thoughts expressed by everyone in this one was well thought, realistic and overall informative.


just my .02 CDN.

Bear
2007-07-10, 18:27
Best 2 cents I've seen Turk!:beer:

GGS
2007-07-10, 18:51
I'm with Turk!

Take-a-knee
2007-07-10, 20:30
There was an article several years ago in Rifle Magazine by a middle-aged Alaska native who'd been guiding for Alaskan Brown Bear all his adult life. He carried a worn battered 458 Win mag that had stopped numerous wounded, charging bears (that caliber WILL stop a bear). He stated that bears are territorial, and that they don't see humans as prey, they see and react to us much as they would another bear. They almost always "bluster" before they charge. As such, you will most likely be afforded a little time to bring a weapon to the ready. Bears don't have great eyesight supposedly, they do have one of the keenest noses in the animal kingdom for a fact. When walking in bear country, constantly monitor the wind. If you are walking into the wind, on a densely wooded portage trail late in the day, you'd best be making a racket.

Geo.
2007-07-11, 02:25
Bit of info' that might be of interest...The American Bear Association says that bears have eyesight at least comparable to humans but have a sense of smell seven times keener than a bloodhound.
Apparently a bear's nasal mucous membrane is 100 times larger than a humans.
In addition they also have an organ in the roof of their mouth called a Jacobsen's organ that apparently enhances their sense of smell as well.
If they were a bit more co-operative, sounds like they'd make the ultimate tracking 'dog'...

Iceman
2007-08-08, 23:47
When walking in bear country..... on a densely wooded portage trail late in the day, you'd best be making a racket.

I plan to do just that, I will let you know what happens.

dropkick
2007-08-09, 06:06
Iceman,

A friend of mine is a bow hunter and when elk hunting he uses antler rattles to attract game (scraping an antler on tree branches and running back and forth stomping - pretending to be a bull in rut). According to him he's just as likely to attract a bear doing this as an elk.

You probably already had something similar planned but I thought I'd pass this along.

P.S. If you don't have a piece of antler you might try looking in the bow hunting section of your sporting goods store - I've seen them in at least one store around here. (piece of antler - you don't need the whole antler half - just need enough to scrap on the branches, usually they leave the base and part of the first tine)

Iceman
2007-08-09, 08:52
Good ideas. I have a set of muley antlers that I have tried a few times. No luck... the problems with trying for muleys, is that they are migrational (?) animals, on the move once our lousy short hunt opens. Besides, the areas we find them in arent super thick, where you need to call them out...I can definitely see where rattling would help for whitetail or blacktailed deer.

For elk, I have yet to try. I see how it could work. I checked out an elk rattle last year, pretty heavy and clumsy device....apparently elk tines being sort of hollow, make replicating with plastic a bit tough. Nothing sounds quite as good as, well... natural tines.

I too have read that when calling in any predator, that rustling some leaves, branches, etc...to replicate something struggling can help....it works on me! Heck, if I hear someone struggling with a bag of chips in the other room, bam! Here I come!

JAK
2007-08-09, 11:36
"I too have read that when calling in any predator, that rustling some leaves, branches, etc...to replicate something struggling can help....it works on me! Heck, if I hear someone struggling with a bag of chips in the other room, bam! Here I come!"

LOL. Good one.

:adore: :viking: