View Full Version : Flashbang As Bear Deterent?

2004-08-30, 01:41
This may be a really dumb question, but has anyone ever considered using an M25 Distraction Device (or similar) to deter a bear? Everything I read now says that you should make as much noise as you can if a bear comes into your camp, in order to deter it and hopefully make it go away. What better way to make a noise then to toss one of those in its direction? Anyone ever heard of this?

SGT Rock
2004-08-30, 11:30
I have never thought about it. It just MIGHT work. Of course there are stories of people shooting bears - loud guns, bullets impacting, etc - and the bears keep on coming.

2004-08-30, 15:25
I hear ya. I'm an animal lover and would hate to have to shoot at a bear. Not like a .40 cal is gonna do much damage anyways eheheh

2004-09-02, 19:00
Apparently, Fish and Game around here is using noisemakers of the flash and bang type, in a 12 guage shotshell. A somewhat elderly lady asked me if I would shoot them. She didn't have a shotgun. I have a shotgun.

I am glad she hasn't asked me, again.

I don't like the idea of shooting, and not having something actually "effective" to shoot.

It's like shooting blanks.

I think it is a dumb idea to "habituate" a bear to all the "flash and bang" and not getting hurt.

The young bears didn't hurt anything. This was their first time away from mom bear, and on their own. They were not habituated to humans. They didn't even know her no lid garbage can contained food.

The lady moved into their home, the bear's home, building her "fancy lodge".

If she asks again, I have decided I will say no, this is their home territory and you just moved-in. Maybe you can co-exist ? If not, why not build another ridiculously big house elsewhere ?

:elefant: either G.O.P. or pink elephants !

2004-09-08, 09:28
I realize that this is a theoretical question about a bear's response to a flash-bang. However, I can't help but wonder about other responses, i.e., local law enforcement.

I can only speculate as to the availability of these types of things. I'm sure they're not available at the local 7-11, but they're probably available "under the table" at any number of flea markets -- heck, I heard of a guy getting hold of a 105mm white phosphorous tank round at the Tanque Verde swap meet in Tucson.

Generally speaking, though, I would think you'd need some kind of permit to get hold of one, and I also would think that such an incendiary device would be prohibited on state and federal lands. So, it might be effective, but you might escape the bear only to end up in the jaws of a park ranger or other cop.

2004-09-08, 14:32
Cyclist Attacked by Grizzly Bear in Wyoming (AP)

JACKSON, Wyo. - A mountain biker on Togwotee Pass fought off a grizzly bear that repeatedly charged him until a companion drove the animal off with pepper spray. Kirk Speckhals escaped his encounter without a scratch; he had only four dirt marks from the bear's claws on his forearm, a punctured bicycle tire and a bent rim.

He said he hopes others learn from the mistakes he made during his ride around Pinnacle Buttes - including not making enough noise to warn bears, not riding together and not carrying pepper spray.

Speckhals, 46, and companion Tom Foley, said the grizzly was persistent and backed away only when there was about a second's worth of spray left in the can of deterrent.

Speckhals gave credit to Foley, who carried his can of spray on his hip, for saving his life.

"I was on the ground with the bear on top of me," Speckhals said. "I was waiting for a bone-crunching bite. I was ready to die."

Speckhals and Foley said the day started innocently enough when they left for the loop ride on Aug. 29 with another friend, Mark Wolling, near Brooks Lake. The route traverses a couple of passes on the Shoshone National Forest at the 9,500-foot level. The area is near the Teton and Washakie wilderness areas and core grizzly habitat in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Speckhals, a ski patroller and quality controller with a construction company, said he had ridden the loop several times before but had never carried bear spray. Before taking off, Foley offered his extra can of spray. Wolling took it, figuring if anybody got in trouble, it was more likely to be him since he was bringing along his dog.

Speckhals said he had been ringing his bicycle bell at regular intervals to warn bears of his approach. As he climbed to the second pass of the trip, he pulled away from his companions and stopped making his regular warning.

Speckhals said he crested a rise and heard a noise he knew meant trouble. "In the woods, 300 feet away, he was in full charge, coming right at me," he said. No question the bear was a grizzly, Speckhals said.

"I got off my bike and put it in front of me and started yelling 'Bear! Bear!'" he said. Foley, some distance back, heard the cries but could not see the confrontation. Wolling was farther behind.

"All of a sudden I heard 'Bear! BEAAAR!!'" Foley said. "Whoa, God, I better get up there," he thought. From the screams and sounds of the struggle, Foley realized Speckhals was wrestling with a bear. Said Speckhals: "I lunged my bike out at him and yelled and he stopped."

The bear moved in again. He charged "six or seven times," Speckhals said, each time deterred at the last moment by the bicycle. "Finally, he grabbed my bike out of my hands," Speckhals said. "He started stomping on it."

With the bear distracted, Speckhals started creeping away, but the bear immediately left the bike and put its front paws on Speckhals. In a Greco-Roman wrestling stance, Speckhals sensed he was going down.

"This time he just took me out - drug me to the ground," he said. "I knew I was in trouble. I rotated and got on my chest." Foley arrived to see the bear sitting atop his friend. "Immediately, I knew I had to get over there, see what I could do," he said. With pepper spray drawn, he advanced to within 15 feet and fired.

The bear got off his friend but turned and began circling Foley who was still spraying in the animal's face. "That's when I got scared," Foley said, adding that the bear's eyes were very large. "They were full of bear spray - not a blink."

The bear continued to circle as he backed up, yelling for Wolling. Foley's can of spray was running low; "I knew I was almost out," he said. By now Wolling had made it to the site along with the dog and fumbled with his pack trying to find the second can of spray. The dog rushed up, barked twice, then retreated down the trail "as fast as his little legs could move him," Wolling said. With perhaps a second's worth of spray left, Foley tried a new tactic. He yelled at the bear at the top of his lungs.

"I could tell his eyes changed," Foley said. "I knew it was over. All of a sudden he took off."

2004-09-08, 20:41
Cldphoto, I totally agree with you regarding local laws etc. Here in Canada, they are very tough to come by (flashbangs that is). However, hypothetically, if one WAS part of the local law enforcement, and they were already in legal possession of such an item, I question how much trouble they could get in, if they could prove that it possibly detered a potentially fatal bear encounter.

It was just a thought as I am going to an area where I live that has had numerous bear problems this past season (to the point where they are actually closing down campsites in the area, etc). Just wondering if it would be worth taking one along.....as a last resort. :)

Sgt. Krohn, great story....talk about a scare!

2004-09-08, 22:12
here's a really good article about pepper spray and the different tear gases.
it also discusses which ones are legal and where.
Canada has very strict laws about which ones are legal


2004-09-12, 00:10
I hear ya. I'm an animal lover and would hate to have to shoot at a bear. Not like a .40 cal is gonna do much damage anyways eheheh

Back when...In Alaska, there was a local indian gal that used to take BROWN with a .22 long rifle cartrige fired from a old S&W revolver. If she couldn't get a transverse headshot (her preferance), she would slip one between the ribs, scoot up a tree and wait a half hour for the blood pressure to drop, place one through the ear, then skin him out.
Long way around, a .40 will kill him, if you place the shot, But, you are going to be right nervious waiting for him to realize he's passed on. A injured bear has no since of humor.

SGT Rock
2004-09-12, 09:50
Can you blame him?

2004-09-12, 18:03
I'm thinking a flash-bang may or may not deter a bear. There are numerous reports of multiple false charges made on humans prior to actual attack. Or bears stalking campers for hours before confronting them. A flash-bang with multiple explosions would, I think, likely be more effective.
As an anecdote; I once shot a bull elk in the middle of a herd of 5-6 cow elk from a distance of 50 yds or so. I was using a .54 cal muzzle-loader and a 120 gr charge of BP with a Maxi ball- just about the maximum recommended load. In the still morning air the report echoed pretty far down the mountian. My wife and daughter heard it through the forest, a 1/4 mile away in camp.
Additionally, there was a substantial cloud of white smoke produced.
In any case, the herd stopped in their tracks and froze until the bull took one step and keeled over. His four feet literally stuck up in the air. It wasn't until he hit the ground that the herd reacted by scattering to the four winds. A cow and calf nearly ran over me. I believe they might have gone back to feeding if the old guy hadn't acted so funny. None of them seemed to know where the shot came from or what it was, but they figured out something bad was happening when that bull hit the ground.
Does this have anything to do with Bears? I don't know. They are said to be attracted to gunfire when they learn that hunters leave gutpiles behind. I'm going camping up in Canada's Algonquin Park next week and I can't bring a revolver or a flash-bang, so I guess I'll bring my sling-shot. I don't think I'll declare it at the border unless they ask specifically. At least I can get a bears attention with it (If I can get it loaded and aimed) before he gets within knife range.
Pretty grim thought...Fumble around for sling-shot and ball bearing...drop ball bearing...commence to fumble for knife...start screaming like a little girl.
...I should buy a video camera.

2004-09-14, 11:11
Where 'bouts in Algonquin are you headed? That's where I do most of my tripping, and that is where I am heading for the end of Sept....Great park!

2004-09-14, 14:28
We used to use "cracker shells" which sound similar to the 12 gauge rounds that fire an M80 out and explode. These were designed to scare away predatory birds and waterfoul from eating our products. Over 10+ years of using these cracker shells helped us learn one thing: animals learn and adapt to the report.

Tactics had to change to keep the birds off-guard. I'd presume that the bears would learn that the flashbangs pose no threat and wouldn't provide enough negative consequence(s) to deter their behavior.

2004-09-16, 12:37
I haven't called the park yet but thought I'd go hike the Eastern Pines trail. It looked like it might be the least traveled?
I'm dropping the wife off in Toronto at her meeting and going up for just three days while she's busy. So i'll just be looking around. I'd first hoped to bring my canoe along, but we've got so much other gear (read: junk) and we're picking up the daughter, son-in-law and baby in Detroit that there's no room on the roof of the SUV for it. They go back by train when Mom goes to work and I head north.
Any suggestions for an old man on a quick trip?
I agree that stimulation without negative consequence won't be effective on bears for long, but the first time a bear encountered a flash-bang MIGHT have the desired effect.


2004-09-16, 15:08
We use them on the Police dept for S.W.A.T. entry.

They are OK in closed rooms, not sure how effective they would be in the woods.

I believe fire could be a real problem as well. One landed on a sofa once and it caught fast.

2004-09-16, 16:09
We use 15 gram ones that work well outdoors as well as indoors. I would imagine the effect would seem a bit more intense just due to the quiet solitude of being in a park....Good point though about the fire hazard. Always something to consider (although I didn't ...hehe)

Mutinousdoug, I've never been on the Eastern Pines trail, although I hear it is nice. We too are going up to the east side of the park in a week and a half. It is, in my opinion, the nicest area of the park. Even car camping there in Achray is nice. You can access several lakes via canoe, you can hike the trails (barron canyon, etc) and perhaps find your way to the High Falls area. There is a set of very smooth falls and rapids that you can surf down much like a waterslide. There's lots to do and see there, just depends on where, when and how you want to go (ie, canoe, hike). Let me know if you want some more detailled suggestions. I've been going to the park for over 30 years and I feel I know it pretty well. Perhaps I could make some suggestions for your consideration.

2004-09-16, 21:02
I'll take your recommendation and strike out for the East side of the park unless, when I call, the park says: Nix. I'm on the road now,with the kids in Detroit, so this may be my last post before embarking. Looks like a sort of short hike to do the loop to Barron Falls/ High Falls, but I don't know when I'll get away from Toronto so I won't try to extend myself. I'll take my swimtrunks along for the falls. And some Film, since grandmom will have the digital camera. Oh, and a wee nip of Uskebah. And a cigar. That should hold me.
thanks again,

2004-09-16, 21:10
Have fun! Apparently the fall colours will be peaking shortly so you may get lucky and get some great photo ops. If your going up on the weekend you can probably expect to see a few other groups up there. Mid-week this time of year is fairly quiet. Let us know how it goes (and send some pics if you can!).

2004-09-24, 05:14
Karelian Bear Dog (http://www.beardogs.org/kbds/)

They use this breed along with rubber shotgun sluggs to deter grizzlies from human areas in the Rockies and Canada. Carries it's own weight as well.

This Loki, My bear bag, hikin' buddy and extra blanket on the cool nights out. :adore:

Pencil Pusher
2004-09-25, 07:42
So hey, can I pick up a six pack of these at my local Walmart? Would they work underwater too? That way I could fish with one or two of them and then protect my catch with the remaining cannisters from the six pack.