Defense against black bear


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epvdrisc
October 12, 2012, 10:39 AM
I am trying to determine the better alternative as a defensive weapon against black bears in our area. I understand that black bears are usually shy but the occasional predator bear bothers us so much that we never go into our yard without a long can of “Counter Assault” bear spray by our side. Also, I have a .357 magnum revolver with a 6” barrel and I was thinking of carrying that with Double Tap 200gr hard cast lead bullet cartridges as a backup. However, I wonder if the revolver should be my primary defense weapon against a black bear. Assuming that I can hit what I shoot, I am interested in hearing your opinions as to which I should use as my primary, and if the revolver, where should I aim?

Thank you for your input.

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hso
October 12, 2012, 10:47 AM
Unprovoked black bear attacks are so rare as to be statistically irrelevant. In the past two decades there have only been 7 fatal black bear attacks on people who weren't keeping them as exotic "pets" in the U.S. 7 in 22 years.

If for some reason you have true predator bears coming into your yard, a very unlikely occurrence, your best tool is bear spray backed up by a shotgun with slugs. Any problem bear should be reported immediately to wildlife authorities so they can remove the animal relieving you of the threat.

481
October 12, 2012, 11:54 AM
Unprovoked black bear attacks are so rare as to be statistically irrelevant. In the past two decades there have only been 7 fatal black bear attacks on people who weren't keeping them as exotic "pets" in the U.S. 7 in 22 years.

If for some reason you have true predator bears coming into your yard, a very unlikely occurrence, your best tool is bear spray backed up by a shotgun with slugs. Any problem bear should be reported immediately to wildlife authorities so they can remove the animal relieving you of the threat.

This.

As noted, unprovoked attacks are very rare- if you are going about life in a urban/suburban area it's even less so.

In the situations where a firearm is required to end such a threat, a 12 ga. shotgun w/slugs (as suggested by hso) or centerfire rifle caliber (.308/.30-06 or better is preferable) is the best option, handguns being a distant second in their desirability for such tasks.

fatcat4620
October 12, 2012, 11:57 AM
Have you ever thought of a fence?

HoosierQ
October 12, 2012, 11:59 AM
Oh no...not bears again! Well, at least it wasn't zombies ;)

JohnM
October 12, 2012, 12:19 PM
You don't say where you are, but if you have a black bear hanging around, do as has been posted already.
Contact a game warden or the sheriff if you don't know how and they will.
They'll come out and trap it for relocation, usually.
Any bear getting habituated to humans is a problem.

Mainsail
October 12, 2012, 03:13 PM
As noted, unprovoked attacks are very rare- if you are going about life in a urban/suburban area it's even less so.

The last bear attack here in Washington was in a suburban area. Bear attacks in town usually happen because the bear is protecting a known (by the bear) food source. If that food source happens to be your trash can, your risk goes up. We have hikers and backpackers all over the Parks, National Forests, and Wilderness Areas and the bears, when they see them, are either shy or indifferent.

If you're worried about bears in the yard you first need to make the yard a whole lot less appealing. This means you protect your trash, take down the bird feeders, etc., so that there's nothing there that makes the bear ignore his natural aversion to humans. If bears do come around, a shot in the rump with some 12 gauge rubber pellets might go a long way to reinforcing his aversion to humans (and not just you either, but your neighbors and the kids etc).

All in all though its rarity makes it only a minor worry, so don't get wrapped around the axle with it all.

buck460XVR
October 12, 2012, 03:43 PM
The best defense against black bears is a good offense. First you dig a hole about 6 feet in diameter and about 8 feet deep. You then put about 6 inches of ashes on the bottom. On top of the ashes you place a small piles of fresh green peas. When the bear bends over to take a pea, just kick him in the ash-hole.

epvdrisc
October 12, 2012, 04:14 PM
Sorry about some of the confusion. We live in the upstate of SC, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no single black bear harassing us, in fact NO bear is harassing us, but we have sighted a black bear on the property several times in the past. We have no pets (thus, no pet food hanging around), no bird feeders, and no outdoor storage of garbage or trash so there is nothing to attract the bear; I think our problem is that we live among them or at least with one. A neighbor about 10 minutes away does have a bird feeder and it was destroyed by a bear, likely the same one. The issue is that we go out to do yard work (4 acres) and sometimes I have to walk to the end of the driveway (600 ft) with a shovel or spray tank or something else; I really can't carry a shotgun around at the same time.

Thank you for your help.

mljdeckard
October 12, 2012, 04:16 PM
Echoing what HSO said,

This is an example of how I will never use a handgun for any job if I have time to get to a long gun. Yes, the handgun you are using is about as good as it gets, but handguns are not good tools for defensive work. I would be running for my shotgun.

The most effective deterrent is probably to wave your arms and make lots of noise.

Alaska444
October 12, 2012, 04:24 PM
I am trying to determine the better alternative as a defensive weapon against black bears in our area. I understand that black bears are usually shy but the occasional predator bear bothers us so much that we never go into our yard without a long can of “Counter Assault” bear spray by our side. Also, I have a .357 magnum revolver with a 6” barrel and I was thinking of carrying that with Double Tap 200gr hard cast lead bullet cartridges as a backup. However, I wonder if the revolver should be my primary defense weapon against a black bear. Assuming that I can hit what I shoot, I am interested in hearing your opinions as to which I should use as my primary, and if the revolver, where should I aim?

Thank you for your input.
Not sure where you live, but you have to first be in an area where it is legal to shoot if you had to. Secondly, a fence is not likely to stop a bear unless you have it electrified.

Some urban areas are using aversive techniques to not only drive bears away, but instill fear and keep them from coming back. They using non-lethal 12 ga rounds to sting and scare with the noise, whistles, flash bangs etc.

If you are having a real bear issue, start with the F&G or see if there are other agencies that might help with this locally.

As far as which gun, a .357 with heavy hardcast bullets is the way most folks go. Avoid hollow points with bear since you are looking for penetration.

You may want to find out if someone in your area is feeding the bears which would habituate them to people. These are the type of bears at greatest risk of problems.

Good luck and I hope you can keep them away from your home and family.

Sharps-shooter
October 12, 2012, 04:38 PM
We have black bears around our farm. They have neer been unfriendly to me, but some say they can be unpredictable. Last one nearby that attacked a guy, was after he flashed his camera at it a bunch. Which seems pretty predictable to me. I usually carry a .357 out in the woods for general protection. I feel like it would do ok against a black bear, but id hate to shoot one.

BruceB
October 12, 2012, 05:14 PM
Yeah, sure..... black bear attacks are "rare".

Tell that to the family of a young adult male (22)who was killed in his sleeping bag and partially-eaten by a healthy wilderness black bear less than one mile from my home in the Northwest Territories. We lived about twenty miles out in the bush, and I seriously doubt this animal ever had contact with humans before. It was hunted down and killed....a bit late, I'd say.

Anyone who takes ANY bear "for granted", thinking they KNOW what that bear is going to do at any particular time, is what I call a "bliss-ninny". Personally, I carried a .44 Magnum ALL the time outside of hibernation season, and was damned glad to have it on several occasions.

I once had to kill another wilderness bear, a good 80 miles from roads or civilization, on the steps of my cabin.....range, about two FEET from the muzzle, and it was COMING.

Jeff Cooper quote: "The law of averages is faint comfort.....if YOU are the exception." Words to SURVIVE by, and not just with bears!

At home, we used an M14 ("real" TRW M14s) or FAL as "house gun".... I have a lot more faith in Nosler Partitions than I do in any shotshell load. Away from the house.... .44 Ruger or S&W revolver.

481
October 12, 2012, 09:59 PM
Yeah, sure..... black bear attacks are "rare".

Tell that to the family of a young adult male (22)who was killed in his sleeping bag and partially-eaten by a healthy wilderness black bear less than one mile from my home in the Northwest Territories.

I don't think that anyone here is equating "rare" with "never". "Rare" in this case means seldom.

Lost Sheep
October 12, 2012, 10:36 PM
(edited for brevity) I have a lot more faith in Nosler Partitions than I do in any shotshell load. Away from the house.... .44 Ruger or S&W revolver.
Shotshell, I agree. Buckshot, good, maybe. Hard-cast slugs, yes, very good bear "medicine". Brenneke slugs have a good reputation.

To the O.P., what size are your black bears? For some of the larger ones, .357 might be a bit light, but hard cast, flat point slugs work well for heavily muscled animals.

As has been said before, a long gun is hands down superior to a handgun and spray is actually more effective (easier to aim and to hit with, as the stream can be directed even after pressing the "go" button) and across the Northern Tier of this continent has a pretty good track record against Brown, Grizzly Black and Polar bears at keeping humans injury-free. Better than firearms, actually. Google Smith & Herrero for some studies published in the Wildlfe Journals.

If a long gun is inconvenient to have at your fingertips, 357 Magnum is a bit lightweight for bears over about 150 lbs. Beyond that, something that starts with a .4 and weighs over 240 grains. 1500 ft-lbs of energy would be comforting, but hard to come by in anything smaller than 41 Magnum.

My advice, keep the spray. Buy an extra can and use one whose expiration date is near or just passed for practice (less than a box of GOOD ammunition). Once you have seen how easy it is to spray a target at 10 yards, you will probably have more confidence in it.

In Alaska, if you shoot a bear in Defense of Life or Property (DLP), you have to report it to the State, preserve the hide and skull, turn everything over to the State. You go to all the trouble and you don't even get to keep the cape! (Though you can keep any pictures you take.) Then prove to the investigators that the shooting was necessary or face charges. In Alaska, the presumption is on the side of the human, but in your State, I don't know.

If you WOUND the bear, you are morally (if not legally) responsible for the damage the bear causes. (In my opinion) If you successfully spray a bear, you have taught a bear that people are to be avoided. Pretty much win-win.

Good luck,

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep

hso
October 13, 2012, 12:29 AM
From your second post is sounds like you're "bothered" by the bear as opposed to the bear bothering you. Learning more about them would be a good first step so you understand better what their behaviors are and what drives them.

If you don't put any food out in the form of garbage cans or dog/cat food or feeders or store any horse/goat/sheep feed in a shed look for these things on adjacent properties and look for berry patches on your property close to your residence and signs of trails to/from it. See if the trails happen to coincide with where you've spotted bears.

If you actually continue to fear black bears after you've learned about their behavior, you need to keep the can of bear spray on your hip all the time you're out. If you want to add a firearm you need to read the hunting forum about handguns suitable for bear hunting and carry a more powerful handgun that you can draw and hit with quickly.

I spent hundreds of days in the GSMNP and Blue Ridge hiking as a young man and had many many bear sightings from distant to a few feet. I only had one out of the ordinary experience where I was concerned for my safety in those scores of close encounters. Most people either fear wildlife the know too little about or have too little fear for them and try to treat them as cute cuddly animated stuffed toys/pets. Learn about them, respect them and you'll be fine.

Alaska444
October 13, 2012, 12:46 AM
Sorry about some of the confusion. We live in the upstate of SC, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no single black bear harassing us, in fact NO bear is harassing us, but we have sighted a black bear on the property several times in the past. We have no pets (thus, no pet food hanging around), no bird feeders, and no outdoor storage of garbage or trash so there is nothing to attract the bear; I think our problem is that we live among them or at least with one. A neighbor about 10 minutes away does have a bird feeder and it was destroyed by a bear, likely the same one. The issue is that we go out to do yard work (4 acres) and sometimes I have to walk to the end of the driveway (600 ft) with a shovel or spray tank or something else; I really can't carry a shotgun around at the same time.

Thank you for your help.
Start with 10 mm or .357 as the minimum black bear defense. Others may say 9 mm, so be it, not my cup of tea. Not sure if you can open carry on your own property in NC or if it is easy to get a concealed carry permit.

The likelihood of an attack is still low but you should be prepared. As far as the kids playing, I suspect coyotes which are "epidemic" in the last decade might be more of an issue. Even on Cape Cod, my mother gets coyotes on her property fairly frequently.

Putting a fence to keep out most of the wildlife is certainly an option, but I have seen videos of bears going over fairly high fences as if they weren't even there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aCkBF6GABo

Bottom line, you probably can't keep them off your property if they want to get in your yard. Not a situation I would want with young kids. Good luck.

Renegade Ziggy
October 13, 2012, 07:14 AM
Yeah, sure..... black bear attacks are "rare".

They are rare, unfortunately they still happen.

HSO made some very good points, you should first inform your local wildlife authorities (game wardens or whatever you guys call them). If your forced to shoot at one a .357 or .44 is the way to go, IF you don't have a shotgun. You may not have to put it down either, most wild animals will run from the noise a high caliber firearm makes, so hopefully killing it is the last resort.

Millwright
October 13, 2012, 06:08 PM
You don't say where you're at and bears' personalities/behaviors vary as widely as their habitats. In AR/PETA-Friendly NJ many black bears have become "habituated"; i.e. accustomed to interacting with humans or being fed by same. This has led to numerous - and growing - numbers of "problem bears" as the population - bear and human - grows. But fortunately, so far carnage has been limited, and most "bear problems" result in pet maulings and/or property damage.

But I'd never bet my safety on the manners of an animal with 1" long claws and 3/4" canines. Being alert for bear sign and your environment, bear spray and, ultimately, some serious bear killing arm when all else fails are good insurance. >MW

r1derbike
October 13, 2012, 11:19 PM
Can of diesel engine starter fluid and a Bic lighter? I'd keep both close if camping and one gets in your face. Makes a heck of a flamethrower!:evil:

Double Vision
October 14, 2012, 12:04 AM
Sorry about some of the confusion. We live in the upstate of SC, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no single black bear harassing us, in fact NO bear is harassing us, but we have sighted a black bear on the property several times in the past.

We live in a part of NJ where bear sightings are common. We have had numerous bear in our yard over the years. Several have been on our back deck. We treat bears with respect and they don't bother us.
Personally, I see no reason to be shooting a bear outside of hunting season unless it is a matter of life & death. If you have a dangerous bear around, I would suggest that you call your state game department.
Good luck.

Rail Driver
October 14, 2012, 12:13 AM
There's a black bear that roams my neighborhood frequently. (I no longer live in Tallahassee, I'm about 45 minutes south of the city, in a much more rural area) He's known affectionately by the neighbors as "Bobo". He weighs somewhere in the realm of 400-450lbs. Once in awhile he'll act up and dump someone's trash can, but usually he's fairly easy to get along with. Once in awhile he'll nap next to my firepit. If he's out there when I take out my trash early in the morning, a good loud "Hey Bobo" usually sends him lumbering back into the trees up the street. He's getting a bit grey around the muzzle, and is relatively docile. He tends to keep stray dogs out of the area, though the stray cats ignore him.

I'm sure he's a bit more used to people than most bears, but from what I've read, black bears are more likely to run away than to attack unless it's a female with cubs.

Fotno
October 14, 2012, 12:27 AM
I've lived in prime black bear country (the Appalachian mountain range) my whole life. Hunted here, camped and cut timber here; I've runs into dozens of them in the woods and never had a single problem with them. Never had any reason to feel afraid. I give them their space, and they give me mine.

denton
October 14, 2012, 12:40 AM
Yes, lethal bear attacks are rare.

Bears are wild animals. And you can usually shoo them away like the neighbor's dog. The problem is that they are so powerful and quick. A momentary fight response can do a lot of damage.

A friend of a friend was working on an oil rig in Montana, living in a camper trailer. One morning he went out to go to work, failing to notice that a bear was into his garbage. Before he could react, the bear was upon him, and mauled him pretty well. So he had a lengthy trip to the hospital.

After the hospital trip, he equipped himself with a 357 Magnum.

On his first day back to work, there was a bear waiting just outside his trailer door (same bear? he thought so). He gave the bear all six rounds, and the bear still mauled him and gave him another trip to the hospital. As far as I know, those two just never learned to get along.

I'm not one who spends him time obsessing over tangling with a bear. But for those who do, I think you want as much gun as you can carry and manage, with as much reach as you can get. A bear can cover 100 yards in 6 seconds. A 45-70 rifle or carbine will let you engage at that range if you need to, where most shotgun slugs will not. If that's too much bulk, then I think a 44 Magnum is a good choice.

Buck Kramer
October 14, 2012, 10:02 AM
I just got back from 2 weeks fighting the Wesley fire in the Payette National Forest. We had a black bear (we named him Booboo) that hung around the line most of the time we were working. For the most part we just let him roam around but when he got a little too bold we just shooed him off with a 1" line. He was just curious, and pretty confused. Don't leave food around, make your presence known.

hardluk1
October 14, 2012, 12:38 PM
denton It does take the right ammo, place well when your intent is to kill. 170gr sp work well. And bear spray could have save some hospital time. Guys have killed blacks around here with 9mm's while bow hunting. Some have used a broadhead slap on the nose in a tree stand. Other used bear spray. Bears tend to sleep in guys deer stands at times as corn tends to be close by. Got to be sure to look at your stand before climbing up.

Jezcruzen
October 14, 2012, 01:43 PM
I was alone and walking to my climbing stand deep in the George Washington National Forest before light on the opening day of bow season. I had placed by stand at the bottom of a popular tree the evening before.

With my bow in one hand and a flashlight in the other, I noticed that a rotten log across the overgrown logging road had been moved since the evening before. Something moved to my left and I swung my flashlight over in that direction. A black bear was standing in the brush. Once I shinned the light on him/her, it took off down the ridge snapping branches and making a lot of noise as it went.

It happened so quick.... too quick to be scared.

I walked on to my stand, but it was just spooky having to lay my bow down and turn off the light as I catipillered up the tree trunk in the dark and all alone. The more I thought about it the more spooky all of it was. I was happy to get back to the Jeep!

22-rimfire
October 14, 2012, 02:00 PM
Minimize the food sources on your property. The bears will spend all their time at the neighbors. Bears like most animals are looking for an easy meal. If you provide the easy meal, they will litterally return almost nightly.

Try to enjoy the bears and keep your distance. I wouldn't get too excited about the occasional bear visit. Once they start visiting your property, they can be a real nuisance.

jmr40
October 14, 2012, 05:49 PM
Unprovoked black bear attacks are so rare as to be statistically irrelevant. In the past two decades there have only been 7 fatal black bear attacks on people

This may be a true statement, but the number of incidents are becoming far more common. There have been 2 of those deaths and multiple attacks within a 100 mile radius, within 10 years, and within a 3 hour drive of were I live. I'm aware of at least a dozen incidents in East TN and North GA just in the last few years. Most of which never made the news. Over a 100 year period the number may be irrelevent, but over the last 10 years it certainly is not.

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I do use common sense in regards to food, but I cannot control what others who have been in an area before me are doing. If other hikers/campers/homeowners are doing stupid stuff and training bears to accept human food I must be prepard. The state killed 3 bears just over a week ago that came out of the mountains and were making pests of themselves in a neighborhood near where I hunt.

I still believe most bear incidents can be traced back to poor human decisions, but often the person who pays, is not the person who trained the bear to hang around humans. It only makes sense to be prepared with an adequate firearm.

My personal choice is a Glock 10mm loaded with the same 200 gr Doubletap loads. But the 357 is also a good choice. I prefer the Glock because it gives me the same performance in a much lighter, easier to carry package when hiking in bear country.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/05/bears-killed-after-roaming-chatsworth-georgia/

Another incident just over a year ago

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=202374

From 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/us/24bear.html?_r=0

Alaska444
October 14, 2012, 05:58 PM
This may be a true statement, but the number of incidents are becoming far more common. There have been 2 of those deaths and multiple attacks within a 100 mile radius, within 10 years, and within a 3 hour drive of were I live. I'm aware of at least a dozen incidents in East TN and North GA just in the last few years. Most of which never made the news. Over a 100 year period the number may be irrelevent, but over the last 10 years it certainly is not.

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I do use common sense in regards to food, but I cannot control what others who have been in an area before me are doing. If other hikers/campers/homeowners are doing stupid stuff and training bears to accept human food I must be prepard. The state killed 3 bears just over a week ago that came out of the mountains and were making pests of themselves in a neighborhood near where I hunt.

I still believe most bear incidents can be traced back to poor human decisions, but often the person who pays, is not the person who trained the bear to hang around humans. It only makes sense to be prepared with an adequate firearm.

My personal choice is a Glock 10mm loaded with the same 200 gr Doubletap loads. But the 357 is also a good choice. I prefer the Glock because it gives me the same performance in a much lighter, easier to carry package when hiking in bear country.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/oct/05/bears-killed-after-roaming-chatsworth-georgia/

Another incident just over a year ago

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=202374

From 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/us/24bear.html?_r=0
+1, I don't expect to ever have to use my CCW in defense of my life or defend my family, so according to the naysayers on bear attacks, by that logic, I shouldn't carry a gun either for SD purposes.

Your comments reflect precisely the situation. Bear behavior is changing because our actions against them have changed drastically.

Being prepared for bear attacks is only prudent if you are going to venture into bear country. Stating that bears are always afraid of us flies in opposition to the growing numbers of bear attacks we see in the news all the time. If you examine those stories, an overwhelming majority of them occurred to people that did not take into account the dangers of bears when they ventured into bear country and had no bear defense options at all.

Being prepared for SD situations is prudent even though I never expect to have to use that preparation. Being prepared for aggressive bears just makes sense if you venture into the woods. It puzzles me why the same folks that relish SD scenarios make fun of folks discussing real bear attack situations. In any case, I treat both situations equally. Prepare for the situations you could encounter and pray you never do.

denton
October 14, 2012, 06:09 PM
Bears tend to sleep in guys deer stands at times as corn tends to be close by. Got to be sure to look at your stand before climbing up.

The mental image of trying to persuade a bear that he doesn't want to nap in your tree stand has me chuckling. Good point.

Yes, there is a lot to be said for cartridge choice, bullet choice, and shot placement, plus a measure of luck. I don't think bears have magic bullet repellent, but they do seem to get cranky when shot, and to fight ferociously while dying.

A friend tells the story of his friend who was set upon by a cranky bear. His hunting companion put a broadhead through the bear as the bear chased his victim through camp. The victim whipped out a knife, which was all he had, and counterattacked the bear, which was still very much alive and dangerous. When the dust settled, the bear was dead, the victim could see through one of his hands, and the victim's boot was full of blood. Turned out that it was bear blood. The broadhead had done its work, but the bear was still still fighting in spite of being in the process of dying from blood loss.

I doubt that the fact that such attacks are rare was much comfort to the victim. Well, or the bear either, for that matter.

My theory is to stay the heck away from bears whenever possible. They can usually be shooed away like a big dog, which is to say that works except when it doesn't.

22-rimfire
October 14, 2012, 06:14 PM
Heading to the Smoky Mts this week... hope I see some bruins.

Not planning on walking up on a bear and patting its heard or scratching its ears. :)

captain awesome
October 14, 2012, 06:19 PM
Defense against black bear
you need a minimum of a 500 S&W magnum loaded with 700gr bullets going at least 1200 FPS to bring down one of those monsters. Any thing less and you might as well wear a platter on your back and lay down on it when you see one.

In all seriousness, a hot 357 loaded with hard cast, flat point, wide meplat, heavy bullets is fine.

Cee Zee
October 14, 2012, 07:41 PM
Actually black bear attacks are a LOT less rare than they were a couple of decades ago. It is clearly due to the number of black bears skyrocketing in certain areas of the country. In the 2000's there were actually 16 fatal black bear attacks in North America. There have been 3 more in the 2010's so far. That number is a huge increase in what was ever seen before. Even during pioneer days bears rarely killed people because they could retreat easily. Now with a lot of bears around and a lot less space to run you get cornered and desperate bears attacking people for self defense and as a food source for aging and unhealthy bears.

Check out the chart on this page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

Yes I know it's Wikipedia but check out the sources listed. There are 193 footnotes. Most of them can be checked on the net.

Bear attacks are still rare. But bears are dangerous animals. The best defenses against bears IMO are dogs, anything that makes noise (pie pans on strings, chimes, firecrackers, bottle rockets, etc.). I have a lot of bear around where I live. I have one now that is marking its turf at the back corner of my house every night. I'm going to have to catch it out there and scare it away. But the bear here will come in and eat my dog's food, they will stand down wind of my grill and chomp their teeth when I grill out, they have been into my neighbor's grain for his cattle, they have stood 30 yards away and not flinched until I got out the firecrackers, and they leave all sorts of signs (droppings, marked trees, scratch marks on the ground) plus they killed at least one of my cats and maybe two. I've seen where they have killed squirrels and taken one bite out of them and left them (and it was a huge bite) and I've seen where they have killed deer. A local state park turned 500 bear loose in this area in one year. So the gubmit is making sure we have lots of them around. They keep the deer population down and maybe that's good because deer going through windshields are a lot more of a danger than a bear attack. Still I would suggest being prepared for anything and learning how to deal with bears trying to get over on you. Seal your trash tight. Use a 12 ga. or at least a .44 magnum IMO for potential bear attacks. I don't worry about being attacked but I carry a weapon at night when I can't see what's going on as well. And I don't use normal ammo. I use stuff like Black Magic slugs for my 12 ga., which are rated for dangerous game and I use Buffalo Bore hard cast bullets in my .44 mag. And yes I bought the .44 for the bears. I could have bought a .357 just as easy and cheaper. But I wanted to be sure because likely as not you will only get one shot. I sometimes carry my 30.06 around on my ATV for protection also. But most bears can be scared off fairly easy if you have the nerve to do it. If you don't, call the game warden.

And for the guy who lives in the Appalachian Mtns. I agree that attacks are rare but there have been some fatal attacks in these mountains recently. And I was stalked by a bear there too. I live in the same mountains BTW.

coyotemoon
October 14, 2012, 09:15 PM
Have cans of WASP Nest Killer spray in various locations that are easy to reach. It reaches out to 30 feet and will stop a bear in its tracks.

Ehtereon11B
October 14, 2012, 09:36 PM
I have gone on many a bear hunt and hikes through bear areas. The thought of using any type of spray to repel a bear always seemed useless to me. Granted bear attacks are uncommon and most bear attacks I have heard of were the bear attacking bear hunters. Nevertheless I usually carry a handgun while hunting and hiking to take care of most critters that I might have to deal with. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

mf-dif
October 14, 2012, 10:54 PM
Carry around a Drago while puttin around your property. That will stop any bear.

Cee Zee
October 15, 2012, 12:00 AM
I'm sure the wasp spray would work if you hit the bear in a sensitive area like the eyes or the mouth or the nose. But the bear spray that works best shoots out in a mist instead of a stream. I used to be a mail man. I know how hard it is to hit a moving animal in the sensitive areas with a stream. We were given spray for dogs. It's almost impossible to hit them when they're moving around. It's hard to hit them when they're sitting still because you have to adjust your spray after you first start spraying and that makes the dog move to avoid the spray. I'd say lots of chemicals will stop a bear if you can hit them in the right spot. Heck a can of spray pain might do better because you could paint their eyes and make them blind for a while and it comes out as a spray instead of a stream. And that's the real ticket is being able to hit them in a good spot in a big hurry.

hso
October 15, 2012, 12:06 AM
This may be a true statement, but the number of incidents are becoming far more common

Incorrect.

There are 2 on record in 2011, 1 in 2009, 1 in 2006, 1 in 2006, 2 in 2005.
Why do people let their private fears cause them to make things up that can be so easily fact checked?:rolleyes:

paintballdude902
October 15, 2012, 12:09 AM
my bear gun for hunting them is a .45-70 guide gun. my for defense (never carried a special gun for bear defense) would be a 12ga pump/semi alternating slug/000 buck shot

JShirley
October 15, 2012, 12:18 AM
You know, THR's mission is to show gun owners at their best.

Jokes about outrunning your friends or shooting them so the bear doesn't get you are NOT the way to convince anyone that gun owners might actually be decent people.

John

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 12:44 AM
Incorrect.

There are 2 on record in 2011, 1 in 2009, 1 in 2006, 1 in 2006, 2 in 2005.
Why do people let their private fears cause them to make things up that can be so easily fact checked?:rolleyes:
Dear hso,

With all due respect, bear attacks are on the rise. You are quoting data for fatal bear attacks. The quote you looked at included fatal and nonfatal attacks in his area.

jmr40

This may be a true statement, but the number of incidents are becoming far more common. There have been 2 of those deaths and multiple attacks within a 100 mile radius, within 10 years, and within a 3 hour drive of were I live. I'm aware of at least a dozen incidents in East TN and North GA just in the last few years. Most of which never made the news. Over a 100 year period the number may be irrelevent, but over the last 10 years it certainly is not.

Scientists have looked at this issue and they do conclude that bear attacks are rising in number.

A 2008 survey by Hristienko and Linda Olver, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources bear ecologist, showed human-bear encounters rising in 20 of the 26 states either bordering or east of the Mississippi River. As bear habitat and populations have expanded, human-bear encounters have become more common in cities as disparate as Longwood, Fla., where last year a black bear was caught swimming in a family's hot tub; to Missoula, where one was captured after trying to enter the city's airport.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-08/yellowstone-bears-tourists/53556208/1


Beware of Predatory Male American Black Bears: Attack Rates Are Rising With Human Population Growth

"We didn't demonstrate why population growth is correlated with more bear attacks but we suspect it is because there are more people pursuing recreational and commercial activities in black bear habitat," Herrero said. "Similarly, we don't know exactly why there have been more attacks in Canada and Alaska, but we speculate that it could be because bears in those areas are living in less productive habitat with periodic food stress, which may predispose some bears to consider people as prey."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511074807.htm

So yes, the scientific data demonstrates increasing bear encounters and increasing bear attacks rising in conjunction with the human population growth. Once again, rare, but real. And yes, increasing in frequency.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 12:52 AM
Dr Herroro's study changed the perception that sows with cubs caused the majority of fatal attacks, but instead, Dr. Herror found that the majority of black bear fatal attacks are predatory male black bears. Rare, but real, I believe it is just prudent to prepare for the rare event in case you become one of those statistics. You can listen to an interview with Dr. Herrero discussing his findings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kjuMqCL6kk

Once again, folks don't disparage posts/thread talking about preparing for self defense situations with two legged predators, but seem to disparage the same type of threads discussing bear attack situations. Sorry, I don't get it. Living up in northern Idaho, I carry daily to defend my family and myself but in reality, I am much more likely to have encounters with four legged critters while out in the woods up here.

Cee Zee
October 15, 2012, 12:52 AM
Boy that's some way to "moderate" a discussion. I got my facts from a place that I listed HSO. I didn't make up anything. The guy documented every kill on his list. Maybe the difference is North American attack, which I what I referenced, and US attacks. But since you missed the link the first time here it is again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

22-rimfire
October 15, 2012, 01:00 AM
Based on the number of bear threads on this forum, it is a pretty common topic and there is a fear involved. Once you see a bear up close and watch how quickly they can move, or if you handle say a calf (100 lbs) and realize how strong they are, it is easy to transfer that information to black bears which are predatory to a certain degree.

Pick up a wild house cat and they can certainly rip you up. Transfer that information to a mountain lion and you have fear because you know they could do 100 times more damage than that little house cat.

But still, fatal human encounters are pretty rare.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 01:10 AM
Boy that's some way to "moderate" a discussion. I got my facts from a place that I listed HSO. I didn't make up anything. The guy documented every kill on his list. Maybe the difference is North American attack, which I what I referenced, and US attacks. But since you missed the link the first time here it is again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America
If you compare the data from the 1990's to the decade of the 2000's, there were 8 black bear attacks in the first set in the 1990's and 16 in the second. That is a 100% absolute increase based on gross numbers.

For brown bears, we have had 5 attacks in 2 years this decade so far which is already nearly half of the total from the prior decade. Yes, there is objective evidence of increasing fatal bear attacks. Herrero's study is quite interesting in that 80% of the attacks in 110 years took place since 1969. In addition, the description of predatory male black bear behavior is truly an important knowledge factor for folks who spend time in the woods to know. The quiet, stalking black bear is more dangerous than the nervous bear snapping its jaws and growling and stamping the ground. The silent and slowly approaching bear is the more dangerous beast statistically.

Cee Zee
October 15, 2012, 01:16 AM
Before I get kicked off the board for daring to have an opinion and a list of facts that contradict someone else's list I thought I'd throw in another list since they're so easy to check.

Bear attacks in North America listed as 19 in the 2000's:
http://jasperwildlife.com/Fatal-Bear-Attacks-in-North-America-Jasper-Wildlife.html

I have no idea how accurate these lists are BTW. I just know I did NOT make this stuff up. I said clearly it was a Wikipedia list I referenced and that the person had 193 footnotes mostly linking to news reports about the attacks and most of the easily checked on the net. Whether this info is accurate or not is on someone else. But to flat out accuse me of making it up out of fear is over the top. And I talked about having all sorts of bears in my yard but it hasn't made me move or take any extreme actions unless you count tossing a pack of firecrackers at a bear as extreme. I've had two cats killed by bears. Both were within 30 feet of my yard at the time. I've had bear signs in my yards for years. I can take some photos of droppings in my back yard right now and I can prove it was left by a bear (there's deer fur in it). So how it is that's I'm so scared I make things up is beyond me. I've seen bear all over the place in my area. I have photos of me feeding bears in the Smokey's (from a long, long time ago) with the bear not more than 20 feet away. The bear then followed me to my truck and stuck it's paw in my partially rolled down window. I have photos. Yeah I'm scared to death of bears. In fact I'm probably reckless to the extreme when it comes to bears. If anyone else has a bear paw stuck through a window photo I'd like to see it. I'll be glad to find mine but it may take a little while. I can find photos of bear sign in my yard very quickly though.

The quiet, stalking black bear is more dangerous than the nervous bear snapping its jaws and growling and stamping the ground. The silent and slowly approaching bear is the more dangerous beast statistically.

That is certainly true. And I've dealt with both. I had a bear in Virginia along Pine Mtn. stalk me and my wife for about 75 yards walking just on the other side of some thick brush (mountain laurel) and the closer we got to a choke point on a trail the closer the bear got. It got within maybe 15 feet of us just as we were about to head down a narrow ledge to a wider section on the mountain below. I could smell the bear plainly at the time and I had been hearing it all along. I had seen fresh droppings from that morning just a few minutes earlier. And they have had a big problem with tourists feeding bears in that area so clearly the bear was looking for a handout. Instead I turned and walked away slowly and loudly. You can ask my wife how scared I was at the time. I can guarantee she will tell you I never broke a sweat even though I didn't have a single gun with me since it was in a park. I won't make that mistake again.

hso
October 15, 2012, 01:16 AM
The Hristienko/Olver survey was on all encounters and didn't focus on attacks, just encounters. They didn't attempt to address attacks.

The article in Wildlife Management (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.72/abstract) is about fatal bear attacks and not simply attacks. The information I used was also only on fatal black bear attacks.

Note that only 14 fatal black bear attacks are identified for the "lower 48 states" between 1900 and 2009. 14 in 100 years! You may see an increase simply because of better reporting and record-keeping in later decades as well as more frequent encounter opportunities as people intrude and encroach on black bear habitat as American population increases and spreads from urban areas.

The abstract is below -
Abstract
At least 63 people were killed in 59 incidents by non-captive black bear (Ursus americanus) during 1900–2009. Fatal black bear attacks occurred in Canada and Alaska (n = 49) and in the lower 48 states (n = 14). There were 3.5 times as many fatal attacks in Canada and Alaska but only 1.75 times as many black bears, and much less human contact for black bears in Canada and Alaska. There was a weak positive correlation (rs = 0.56, P ≤ 0.000) between the estimated size of a bear population within a given jurisdiction and the number of fatal black bear attacks. Some jurisdictions had no fatal black bear attacks but had large estimated black bear populations. Of fatal attacks, 86% (54 of 63, 1.08/yr) occurred between 1960 and 2009. There was positive linear relationship between the number of fatal black bear attacks per decade and human population size in the United States and Canada per decade (r2 = 0.92, β = 0.000, P ≤ 0.001). Of fatal attacks, 91% (49 of 54) occurred on parties of 1 or 2 persons. In 38% (15 of 40) of incidents, peoples' food or garbage probably influenced the bear being in the attack location. We judged that the bear involved acted as a predator in 88% (49 of 56) of fatal incidents. Adult (n = 23) or subadult (n = 10) male bears were involved in 92% (33 of 36) of fatal predatory incidents, reflecting biological and behavioral differences between male and female bears. That most fatal black bear attacks were predatory and were carried out by 1 bear shows that females with young are not the most dangerous black bears. As a result of our research agencies managing black bear can more accurately understand the risk of being killed by a black bear, and can communicate this to the public. With training, people can learn to recognize the behaviors of a bear considering them as prey and can act to deter predation. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Since this study is about fatal bear attacks and the Olver survey was about increasing encounters, not attacks or fatal attacks, I'm not sure what the point is in trying to characterize them as discussing all or non fatal attacks. You have to go back to the source material instead of reporting on the studies to avoid inaccurate characterization of the research.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 01:27 AM
The Hristienko/Olver survey was on all encounters and didn't focus on attacks, just encounters. They didn't attempt to address attacks.

The article in Wildlife Management (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.72/abstract) is about fatal bear attacks and not simply attacks. The information I used was also only on fatal black bear attacks.

Note that only 14 fatal black bear attacks are identified for the "lower 48 states" between 1900 and 2009. 14 in 100 years! You may see an increase simply because of better reporting and record-keeping in later decades as well as more frequent encounter opportunities as people intrude and encroach on black bear habitat as American population increases and spreads from urban areas.

The abstract is below -


Since this study is about fatal bear attacks and the Olver survey was about increasing encounters, not attacks or fatal attacks, I'm not sure what the point is in trying to characterize them as discussing all or non fatal attacks. You have to go back to the source material instead of reporting on the studies to avoid inaccurate characterization of the research.
Dear hso, once again with all due respect, both articles I quoted refer to increasing encounters from increasing human population, that was the connection. Source material is always best as you state. That is why I placed the link directly to Dr. Herrero's interview.

While rare, bear attacks are increasing and our knowledge of them is also increasing. The take home message from Herrero is that aggressive bears need to be removed from the area, hopefully by a permanent solution and that you should be prepared for predatory black bear attacks if you live in bear country.

We just had another predatory black bear attack a couple of weeks ago in Montana. What is the point? Yes, you should consider black bear defense above and beyond pepper spray if you live in bear country. I'm not sure why anyone would disagree with that conclusion.

Cee Zee
October 15, 2012, 01:37 AM
The list was described as a fatal attacks list in the title of the article on Wikipedia. And I also referenced black bear attacks in my post. The second survey included brown bear attacks.

I make no claims for the accuracy of these stats btw but the truth is I've seen several reports that indicate a big increase in attacks. Locally there has been an increase in attacks as well if you count a 4 state region as a local area. Kentucky, Tenn, NC and Virginia would be the area I'm talking about. The thing that makes me think the reports on increased attacks is accurate is the booming population of bears in this area. Everywhere I go there are bear reserves, problems with people feeding bears, state parks releasing 500 bears in a summer (that was 20 miles from where I live and 2 miles from my farm), etc. plus there's the amazing jump in the number of bears I've seen personally. I see them where I live and I see them on my farm. I've seen an incredible increase in signs where it's obvious that bears are hanging around. There are photos in the newspaper, dead bears on the highways, bear signs in my yard and bears in my yard doing things they would never have done 20 years ago. It just made sense to me that the number of attacks would increase given the number of new bears around. But again those aren't my stats and I make no claims about their accuracy.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 02:05 AM
The list was described as a fatal attacks list in the title of the article on Wikipedia. And I also referenced black bear attacks in my post. The second survey included brown bear attacks.

I make no claims for the accuracy of these stats btw but the truth is I've seen several reports that indicate a big increase in attacks. Locally there has been an increase in attacks as well if you count a 4 state region as a local area. Kentucky, Tenn, NC and Virginia would be the area I'm talking about. The thing that makes me think the reports on increased attacks is accurate is the booming population of bears in this area. Everywhere I go there are bear reserves, problems with people feeding bears, state parks releasing 500 bears in a summer (that was 20 miles from where I live and 2 miles from my farm), etc. plus there's the amazing jump in the number of bears I've seen personally. I see them where I live and I see them on my farm. I've seen an incredible increase in signs where it's obvious that bears are hanging around. There are photos in the newspaper, dead bears on the highways, bear signs in my yard and bears in my yard doing things they would never have done 20 years ago. It just made sense to me that the number of attacks would increase given the number of new bears around. But again those aren't my stats and I make no claims about their accuracy.
Dear Cee Zee,

Which state do you live? It amazes me that the conservation and preservation of a rabidly growing bear population exceeds the common sense of having adequate bear protection when in bear country. Take a look at what the state of Missouri advocates for bear avoidance and especially for bear defense against an aggressive bear.

If a Bear Seems Aggressive

Black bears almost never attack people. If you follow the precautions listed above, you probably won't have any trouble with bears. However, in the unlikely event that a black bear does attack, fight the bear aggressively with anything close at hand—rocks, sticks or even your fist. Black bears are usually intimidated by an aggressive counterattack.

http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/outdoor-recreation/camping/camping-black-bear-country

Yes, bear attacks are rare, but shucks, not even pepper spray in their recommendations? Sadly, the folks in charge of the bears care more for protecting them against mortality than they do the people who use the parks in question. If you are involved with an aggressive black bear intent on harm, these folks offer no effective defense options.

Sorry, give me a good gun, minimum of .357 magnum/10 mm instead of grabbing "anything close at hand—rocks, sticks or even your fist." Discussing bear defense on forums such as THR is important since the official sources almost never include any effective bear defense measures.

JShirley
October 15, 2012, 02:08 AM
Wikipedia is an open-source document. I advised my students I would automatically fail any assignments that attempted to use it to "prove" anything.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 02:18 AM
Wikipedia is an open-source document. I advised my students I would automatically fail any assignments that attempted to use it to "prove" anything.
When it comes to bear attacks, there is no central data resource. The bear researchers likewise do not publish their raw data sources to be able to look objectively at their research. I would love to have Dr. Herrero's data base, but to date, I have never seen that published and likely never will.

Until then, for raw numbers, Wikipedia is the only source we have as flawed as it may be. I have on more than one occasion taken their data on bear attacks and looked up individual stories. All of those listed stories are easy to confirm in news accounts on the web, at least for the last few decades anyway. Is it all inclusive, who knows, there is nothing to compare it to published as a central source.

So, until the researchers publish their files on the raw data, what other option is there?

hso
October 15, 2012, 02:23 AM
At least check "facts (http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/bears-a-humans/119-how-dangerous-are-black-bears.html)" and read the abstract from the published articles if not the journal article itself. It took a few minutes but it wasn't that difficult to find the abstract and then from that the article.

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 03:46 AM
At least read the abstract from the published article if not the journal article itself. It took a few minutes but it wasn't that difficult to find the abstract and then from that the article.
Dear hso,

Thank you, I have read the the abstract you put forth and have seen it in the past. Not sure I am going to spend money to get the full article. I have no problem looking at science articles, I am an MD and spend a lot of time doing just that.

Not everyone has that back ground, so I posted links to the articles about the article and a direct interview with Herrero discussing and explaining the article. If you want the full article, it will cost about $30.00.

Is there a specific point you would like me to address. Bottom line, sticking with the thread OP, considering an appropriate black bear defense is prudent for all those that live in bear country especially considering the findings of the Herrero study on predatory black bear attacks.

I will have to see where I put the article in my files.

Thank you,

Alaska444

Alaska444
October 15, 2012, 03:59 AM
Looks like Herrero does include basic information on each bear attack. I never noticed that previously.

It would be interesting to see how his list compares to Wikipedia.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.72/suppinfo

But putting together the take home message of Herrero, the answer is to have more than one option of definitive bear deterrent should you ever need to in the rare circumstance of an aggressive black bear attack.

AWorthyOpponent
October 15, 2012, 05:55 AM
Can of diesel engine starter fluid and a Bic lighter? I'd keep both close if camping and one gets in your face. Makes a heck of a flamethrower!

WD40 works well also, and can double as a gun lube/cleaner if you are out camping...just make sure you clean PROPERLY when you get home.

Robert
October 15, 2012, 08:38 AM
Enough.

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