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Old 06-13-2007, 01:19 PM
nmdesert nmdesert is offline
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Default black bears, pepper spray...?



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I hike daily in the National Forest right by my house.
anyway I've become a bear magnet. And while the first few bear sightings were exciting........I'm getting nervous, whimpy to say but I'll be honest.

So I read all the info and I know that they aren't all that dangerous. These are black bears.
I'm unsure if that's good data if you walk by them twice a week.

In the last two weeks I saw 3 in my vehicle where I was hiking. and walked up to one 20 feet away(4th). (and I just sidestepped outta there, my dog put in some false charges to him/her, bear didn't run)
Yesterday (5th), bear sitting in middle of the dirt road, couple hundred feet from the trail head I was planning to use. Sits there 5 minutes and wanders off.
These bear are HUGE, they sure look a lot bigger than the information i read!

Some info was saying that a pepper spray was more effective than having a gun. besides I don't know that I'd have the hand strength for the kind of gun to stop a bear.
and the pepper spray has more spread and I'd be just as happy to just have bear leave than kill it.



Most people here say they never see any bears but I use 15 different hikes in a section of about 10 miles, and these aren't all the same bear or on the same trail. 2 of the 5 could have been the same one, by color and size, but I couldn't swear to you on that.


anyone with some preferences for certain kinds of bear pepper spray?
If you see bears all the time am I over-reacting?
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:02 PM
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Discovery channel had a show on bear attacks in a certain area of Canada. It seems this one bear lost any fear of man, and even started attacking people on a regular basis. This bear attacked one man who just happened to have some bear pepper spray. The man was able to get the spray out and use it before the bear was able to attack him. After a couple of sprays straight to the face and eyes, the bear headed on down the road. As to what kind of pepper spray it was, I do not know.
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:59 PM
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I have read and been told that keeping a bell in your back pocket while hiking, or on your pack, so it jingles as you walk, gives the bears notice that you are there, allowing them to go the other way. I have also heard about the pepper spray. Then there is this old joke that goes:

You can tell what kind of bear has been around by the scat. Black bear scat
is smaller with berry seeds visible. Grizzly Bear scat is brown, has bells mixed in and smells like pepper spray!

I had several Native Brothers with considerable experience with Grizzly Bears, who always said, if you can stretch your arm out, stick your thumb up, and still see any part of a bear peeking out from behind your thumb ... you are too close! I actually have the head and shoulder of a Kodiak Bear that is probably 25 years old, that was killed by my late husband when he was commercial fishing up around Kodiak Island, and went ashore to kill a deer for camp meat on the boat. Said she came up on him and the downed deer and charged. He had no choice. But that rule of thumb is a good one.
Black and Brown Bears can reach a running speed of 35-40 miles per hour over short distances. If you are twenty feet away, you don't even have time to bend over and kiss your butt goodbye. Additionally, this is spring time, and the females are apt to have cubs which makes them a bit protective. If they perceive danger to the cubs, they will attack.

A side note here for you to consider! I have been involved with Native Teachings for a good while, and believe in much of the wisdom. Natives believe that animal spirits will align themselves with people, and that your spirit animal or totem animal, will come to you repeatedly ... that you might know they are there for you, to teach you it's ways, caution you about situations, and in general, just walk with you throughout your life. Other animal spirits will come for a time, if there is something you need to learn or see, but your spirit animal is a part of you. For me, it is the wolf, and he came many times in dreams, to stare into my eyes, until I realized that the color of his eyes was identical to mine. Only after I realized that he was letting me know he was a part of me, did those particular dreams stop. If the Bear is continually coming to you, then maybe there is a lesson that he wishes you to understand, or perhaps he has adopted you as a brother. Native peoples believe the Bear to be their brother, because he walks on two legs and eats much the same food as we do. The Bear's gifts to the people are strength, introspection and self-knowledge. The bear is quite powerful and can sometimes be quick to anger, being too confident of it's own power. If you are throwing caution to the wind over something in your life, maybe Bear is trying to tell you that being unaware of your limits, or pushing beyond them in certain situations, can be disastrous. Bear is also brings medicine to the people, but of all gifts, introspect is probably the strongest. The idea that if you have questions, like the bear, you need to hibernate in the silence for a while, and while you meditate and dream in this silent "hibernation", the answers will begin to come from your subconscious mind into the conscious. These are the gifts of Bear, and if he has chosen to walk with you, you are fortunate, for he is a powerful ally!
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:40 PM
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There used to be a product actually called "bear gas" it was an oc pepper spray. I think the precentage was rather high. Do research into ammounts of oc that work on bears and see if law-enforcement spray will meet the same levels. As an example "phase 4" is 18% oc (i think), and it BURNS ( you, them, their unborn children ) with any spray get a "stream" shot, be aware of wind, and buy an extra can to practice with.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graywolf View Post
I have read and been told that keeping a bell in your back pocket while hiking, or on your pack, so it jingles as you walk, gives the bears notice that you are there, allowing them to go the other way. I have also heard about the pepper spray. Then there is this old joke that goes:

You can tell what kind of bear has been around by the scat. Black bear scat
is smaller with berry seeds visible. Grizzly Bear scat is brown, has bells mixed in and smells like pepper spray!

I had several Native Brothers with considerable experience with Grizzly Bears, who always said, if you can stretch your arm out, stick your thumb up, and still see any part of a bear peeking out from behind your thumb ... you are too close! I actually have the head and shoulder of a Kodiak Bear that is probably 25 years old, that was killed by my late husband when he was commercial fishing up around Kodiak Island, and went ashore to kill a deer for camp meat on the boat. Said she came up on him and the downed deer and charged. He had no choice. But that rule of thumb is a good one.
Black and Brown Bears can reach a running speed of 35-40 miles per hour over short distances. If you are twenty feet away, you don't even have time to bend over and kiss your butt goodbye. Additionally, this is spring time, and the females are apt to have cubs which makes them a bit protective. If they perceive danger to the cubs, they will attack.

A side note here for you to consider! I have been involved with Native Teachings for a good while, and believe in much of the wisdom. Natives believe that animal spirits will align themselves with people, and that your spirit animal or totem animal, will come to you repeatedly ... that you might know they are there for you, to teach you it's ways, caution you about situations, and in general, just walk with you throughout your life. Other animal spirits will come for a time, if there is something you need to learn or see, but your spirit animal is a part of you. For me, it is the wolf, and he came many times in dreams, to stare into my eyes, until I realized that the color of his eyes was identical to mine. Only after I realized that he was letting me know he was a part of me, did those particular dreams stop. If the Bear is continually coming to you, then maybe there is a lesson that he wishes you to understand, or perhaps he has adopted you as a brother. Native peoples believe the Bear to be their brother, because he walks on two legs and eats much the same food as we do. The Bear's gifts to the people are strength, introspection and self-knowledge. The bear is quite powerful and can sometimes be quick to anger, being too confident of it's own power. If you are throwing caution to the wind over something in your life, maybe Bear is trying to tell you that being unaware of your limits, or pushing beyond them in certain situations, can be disastrous. Bear is also brings medicine to the people, but of all gifts, introspect is probably the strongest. The idea that if you have questions, like the bear, you need to hibernate in the silence for a while, and while you meditate and dream in this silent "hibernation", the answers will begin to come from your subconscious mind into the conscious. These are the gifts of Bear, and if he has chosen to walk with you, you are fortunate, for he is a powerful ally!
Graywolf
I'm very very happy there are no Grizzly bears here.
I am going to put a bell on the dog but they already see me in most of the cases so far.
That was interesting to sit and look at the bear yesterday (myself safely in the vehicle), he/she just sitting there, then ambled away. They are majestic.
and if you'all didn't know-don't run. all bears can outrun you and you don't want to set off the prey instinct.
I didn't run but I'm upset/panicky later never at the time,not training so nothing to be proud of, temperament.

If the bear is my brother.....I'll talk to the next one. Some stuff I was reading was saying that, to talk to them -let them know you aren't a maniac and are no threat. Instead of yelling and trying to be bigger/badder type of thing.
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:10 PM
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I would be concerned that the bears are not showing any particular fear of you. Fact is they are wild creatures and could turn on you in unpredictable ways and for unknown reasons (you inadvertantly get between mom and cub, they see you as competition to a kill, you surprise them, they got up on the wrong side of the den that morning...)

Some people think of black bears as almost being vegetarians eating greens and berries with a few insects and fish thrown in for good measure. However this is not the case. Black bear predation on young moose is a significant factor in the moose population and predation has had a detrimental effect on the re-introduction of elk to Ontario.

I have no desire to unnessarily kill an animal, but if I'm given any reason to believe it poses a threat, I would not hesitate. Pepper spray is good, but it is not guaranteed to stop a charging bear. For me, outside of hunting season taking a gun into the woods in not a (legal) option. If I had the option I'd opt for the gun.

The bells are a good idea. Bears that don't run from the bells should be considered a serious risk. Some people will not take their dogs into bear country. The reason being that if the dog gets into a tussle with a bear and decides to run with the bear in hot pursuit, guess where and to who that dog is running with ****ed off bear in tow. Some people like to have the dog as a warning alarm. A decision you have make for yourself based on your knowledge of the dog[s].

I know I haven't really answered your question (spray recommendation) but I'd thought I'd add my $0.02 anyway.

Take care and be safe,
-Per.
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Old 06-13-2007, 10:16 PM
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IMHO, using Pepper spray, on an angry bear, is an UNDER reaction.
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Old 06-14-2007, 12:07 AM
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Ammo-
It's a wierd situation. I'm going to call a local ranger and see if he has more accurate information for me. and possibly a reason why the bears aren't running when they see me? Bears are hunted around here but I don't know when the season is.

Stats: 87% pepper spray defense success
50% gun defense success

One reason they were saying the pepper spray was showing better results was that you don't have to aim as well in a surprise situation. I, personally might be more effective with the spray. what kind of gun will stop a bear?

My dog warned me before I saw anything, then was charging the bear and I called him back. The dog will listen if I tell him "leave it" and has complete recall so the chance of a bit of protection is there without much extra risk-that's for my particular dog.
I've great protection with this dog from people cause he hates all strangers, as my husband says the dog doesn't have to be reloaded!

Dog may possibly deter mountain lions. Which everyone says they never see - I'm not so easy about that now!
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:22 AM
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NM,

Here's a site with some good info (you may have found it already but I thought I'd share it just in case).

http://www.absc.usgs.gov/research/br...epperspray.htm

Cheers,
-Per

PS the parent page of this link has additional interesting links on the subject of bears.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:53 AM
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Per Ardua-
I saw that one but thanks!
It seems in a lot of circumstances the pepper spray is a good way to go.
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:49 PM
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I've test fired Guard Alaska. It puts out a huge blast of bright orange pepper spray. It's impressive. I wouldn't wait till the bear was almost on top of me. I'd fire a huge cloud of it while I'm backing up. Let him run into it. I think I'd carry two of them. One to put up a cloud barrier for him to run through and the 2nd can for when he is within 10-15 feet. No guarantees but I'll bet it will stop any two legged critter. Actually I bought it for crowd control..:D Might save my car from being trashed also.
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Old 06-14-2007, 06:30 PM
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I chatted with my National Park guys.
They don't carry pepper spray unless they will be camping far out. but he said in my situation -I should start carrying it.
Dog , he considered a plus, as hunters use dogs when they go after bear. Some bears are leary of the dogs.

I'm lucky and no one else sees all these bears. I see more bears than they do.
all in all, pretty funny.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:46 PM
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Okay, you convinced me, hose it down w/pepper spray, THEN use the 'ol .44 Mag.!
Actually, the bar graph, in the link, Per posted, sort of went the other way, but what ever works..and it better!
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:26 PM
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Ammo-
pepper spray is supposed to work on cougars too.
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Old 06-15-2007, 05:33 AM
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.44 mag will also work on cougars :D

The pepper spray seems good to as an alternate, particularly for when I can't be carrying a gun in the woods (which is most of the time here). But If I had to pick between the two, I would still pick the gun.

While there are stats that show pepper to have been more effective, I can't help but wonder what those stats would like if all the light caliber and inexperienced shooters were excluded. I *suspect* the numbers would look a lot different.

Just my own preference.

Cheers,
Per.
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Old 06-15-2007, 11:34 PM
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I live up in Idaho and meeting a bear in the woods is common among folks up here. I have heard people, rangers, side of the spectrum and they do not want bears shot. They go so far as to prosecute people that shoot bears, even in self defense. I think that is wrong. I have also heard that one person was chewed on by a bear before the person shot it. Because he was chewed on, the rangers were more forgiving, they are only going after him now because he was only carrying a gun and did not have any pepper spray on him.

Up here there is an unwritten rule among most people I have talked to. Carry a big gun and follow the three S rule.......Shoot, Shovel, and Shutup. Don't tell a soul about the experience. I, fortunately, have not encountered a bear yet. I have run into some bear tracks, big black bear by the size, about 200 yards away from my camp site. I had the 12 gauge with 1 oz. slugs, but even then I would not be too quick to shoot. If the bear charges, I come first. If the bear is content to look at me, lucky for him.

Anyway, about pepper spray. I have found pepper spray to be very effective against animals, mostly dogs. I have sprayed very aggressive Pit Bulls in the face, and it totally changed their attitude. They ran away crying.

Law enforcement used a couple of different sprays. OC (oleoresin capsicum or pepper spray) and a hybrid mix of OC and CS (tear gas) The latter will be under the name Deep Freeze or Freeze +P. I have seen hardened criminals take straight streams of pepper spray with no effect. They just laugh, and the fight is on. I have seen two cans of pepper spray poured into a jail cell with no effect on the inmate. A can of Deep Freeze was used by just a few squirts through the door jam, the inmate came out from behind the three foot toilet wall inside his cell and started begging to have officers handcuff him and get him out of there. I have personally been sprayed in the face with pepper spray. I am white, which does make a difference, and I could not see for about a half an hour. A few squirts of Deep Freeze were sprayed into a 40 foot shipping container. I walked to the other end of the container and back again. By the time I came out, I was leaking major body fluids from my face, tears, snot, saliva, in mass quantity. Not even a direct spray to the face. I would say the Deep Freeze is way worse than the Pepper spray. I just don't know if it affects bears.

The bear repellent that is marketed seems to work good. The streams on the bigger containers in massive and gives good coverage as the person using it is multitasking.....cussing, stumbling, sweating, filling drawers, etc.
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Old 06-16-2007, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
By the time I came out, I was leaking major body fluids from my face, tears, snot, saliva, in mass quantity. Not even a direct spray to the face.
I remember during basic going into the CS hut. After running around inside the hut our small group was lined up and told to take our gas masks off. The DS then walked down the line while each of us recited our Social Insurance numbers.

On that day I understood why a person would jump from a burning building.

-Per.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:51 PM
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Per-
Quote:
While there are stats that show pepper to have been more effective, I can't help but wonder what those stats would like if all the light caliber and inexperienced shooters were excluded. I *suspect* the numbers would look a lot different.
I think you are describing me.
I'll bet you are better off with a gun, and I'm better off pointing in the general direction and spraying.
Yeah, I know I could go practice shooting but it's best to be realistic about my time constraints.

Perhaps the bell is working -I haven't seen a bear in 3 days!


Gonna go look today at what's available local on the bear spray.
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Old 06-17-2007, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
I'm better off pointing in the general direction and spraying.
It is the wise person who understands themselves and behaves accordingly. So often we hear of the "one and only" way of doing something when in reality the 'correct' behaviour is dependent on many factors.

Very glad to hear that the bells might be working for you.

Cheers,
-Per.
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:53 AM
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saw scat and tracks yesterday but didn't see the bear....
I start seeing mountain lions and then I'm going to go armed.

after I practice of course.
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