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Bear Spray: Maybe Not So Good...

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by WrongHanded, Dec 2, 2019 at 11:47 PM.

  1. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    After getting into a discussion and bear spray vs firearms I another thread, I thought I should repost this article here.

    It goes into some detail about the various studies done on bear spray, and the "98% effective" claim that spring from it. I found it very informative.

    https://www.outsideonline.com/2401248/does-bear-spray-work
     
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  2. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    That is interesting. Thanks.
     
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  3. joneb

    joneb Member

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    My thought is if I am going to surprise a bear the wind may likely be in my face and a bullet against the wind may fair better than spray.
     
  4. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    As a side note, the spray was designed to incapacitate a bear. Try using it under duress in your tent. The bear might not be incapacitated, but you might be. Not a situation I want to experience.
     
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  5. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I think it's worth considering that bear spray apparently works quite reliably on "curious" bears. Ones that are not actually attacking, but might work themselves up to it if left unchecked.

    Whilst I certainly value my life more than that of a bear, I don't want to have to kill one just because it's come closer than I'm comfortable with. I'd prefer to give them a negative experience of getting close to humans, that they can remember for years to come.

    I'll take a gun over spray any day, but there's no reason I can't take both.
     
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  6. Trunk Monkey

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    I'm not sure incapacite is the right word. It's made to make them go away. Bear spray is actually not as strong as OC spray that's designed for use on humans. It shoots out farther and faster because you don't want to Bear to get close to you obviously but it's actually a lower concentration of OC than sprays designed for use on human beings

    That said, Sabre red won't even incapacitate a human being and it certainly wouldn't incapacite a pissed off bear.
     
  7. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    You know where I was going with this. I wouldn’t want to discharge it in the confines of a tent. It wouldn’t be good even if it’s not as strong as spray meant for humans.
     
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  8. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    I'd rather discharge OC spray in the confines of a tent than a gun. Especially if my family were in the tent with me.
     
  9. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    I'd listen to Todd Orr

     
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  10. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    Not me. I would want to end the threat.
     
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  11. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Having been in a few scraps where spray was used on the street... it seemed that we got more of it than the target ever did... so relying on "bear spray" out in the field isn't something I'd be signing up for...

    That said, there are still bears here in Florida (I've seen the videos -but never the bear...) but down here in paradise I'm much more concerned with what I encounter on the street than back in wilderness areas... This from a guy who handles sharks with only gloves on that are quite a bit bigger than me when removing hooks etc. from my skiff - almost daily if we're aiming at them... Mostly lemons, blacktips, and bull sharks along with an occasional hammer or tiger... -just nothing like the salt areas of the Everglades...
     
  12. 40-82

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    I love what Walt Audi, a pilot on the Arctic Coast said about bear spray. He thought it was an excellent idea. "Spray it in your eyes, and you won't have to see what happens next."

    When traveling toward bear country, there's always waiting, waiting in the airport, waiting for some kind of local last minute service that you have to have. In those minutes of waiting, there's always some local or some hippie traveler who wants to know how you plan to deal with the inevitable potential of bear problems.

    If it's in an airport, they may actually see your cased gun, and demurring that you're completely naive about possible solutions to bear problems may not be possible. Most might allow a gun might actually work, if you could handle it, which of course, being a tourist, you can't. Even if they think you might be able to defend yourself with a gun, they look at you, consider the value of a bear's life, and allow that they'd rather see a bear walk away alive than you.

    Since I've learned that I can't get away from this kind of advice, I smile and thank them for their insight.

    I actually sympathize with their point of view. A bear? An eco-tourist--which do I care the most about?
     
  13. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    They had Bears Down by Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey all the time. Unfortunately two or three of them got run over crossing the highway (19) every year.
     
  14. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    The reason I would rather use bear spray in a tent than a gun (assuming I'm not alone) is that I have seen a bear knock over a tree and I would be scared to death that the bear would hit me just as I pulled the trigger and knock the gun right in line with my wife or one of my kids just as I pulled the trigger.
     
  15. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    For my part.... I have NEVER thought of them as an EITHER / OR option though I do understand how some utopian, anti-gun types might try to force us to see it that way.

    After that, I will also not discount spray out of hand, just because I prefer the ballistic option.

    Todd.
     
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  16. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I take both. I'm not looking to save ounces on a hike. A can of bear spray within reach, just as my pistol is, makes sense.

    Now, I'm not a He-Man who stares down danger with a steely gaze as I draw my iron fully aware and intent that I am going to be the cause of an attacking bear's shuffle off this mortal coil. So, for me, i play the odds: what are the odds that an experienced shooter with null experience handling an attacking bear could draw my sidearm, take aim, and hit several hundred pounds of fat, muscle, fur, and bone where I need to in order to incapacitate it? What are the odds that I can empty a can of spray in an arc and get enough of it into the air that the animal is turned off enough to leave me as an undesirable investigation?

    Bears are tough on the outside. Many of them get into territorial scrapes with each other. Biting, pinching, and swatting in a way that is more like a fist fight that they each walk away from that would leave a human a broken mess. Damaging them enough to know that they are damaged can be tricky.
    A bear's nose is powerful. They can pick up scents at ridiculous ranges. A snoot full of spray can bother them way more than a glancing fat-shot. They aren't armored to defend themselves from being accosted in the olfactory area.

    So for me, spray if I can see them and maybe gauge that they are just overly curious. Firearm if they are acting predatory, or, God forbid, they attack.
     
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  17. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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  18. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Luke

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    I've always wondered what is going through a grizzly when they "incapacitate" a person on the ground and don't take the opportunity to fill their belly? I know that most bear attacks are a defensive/territorial posture for a bear, and especially for a sow and cubs, but it just seems there are quite a few attacks that end well with the bear getting his/her lumps in on the person and leaving. I've always chalked it up to they were stopping a threat and their mind was not on food; it has just always puzzled me as many other parts of nature are so food focused at all times to sustain themselves. In situations of a sow with cubs it's more understandable as the sow will leave the "incapacitated" threat to check on the cubs.

    Oh and in response to the question, in black bear country I just take my pistol; in grizzly country I would take both for sure. But I don't believe for a second that bear spray is the end all be all of bear protection.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 10:31 AM
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  19. Antihero

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    The problem with that is the assumption that the bear is going after you instead of your wife or kids.

    In that situation you are then spraying the bear off axis and your wife/kid with pepper spray
     
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  20. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    I'd rather hit them with OC than a bullet.

    OC is not the Hammer Of Thor that people make it out to be. The last time I got sprayed I was eating pizza 15 minutes later
     
  21. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Growing up in North Florida West of Tallahassee there were black bear. We joked they were actually just very hairy pigs. Baja Georgia and L.A. (Lower Alabama) were just extensions of the Chattahoochee Valley though the river name changed to Appalachicola at the boarder after Being Re enforced By the Eufalla on the Bama side and the Flint on the Georgia side. There was a guy in the late 1950's and early 1950s down below the Talquin Electric Dam on Lake Talquin on the west side of the Ocklotnee that kept a Black Bear in a cage to attract tourist and one could buy the bear a beer. He was actually the larges bear I have seen in Florida but having a bear swilling pet in a cage made most folks totally poke fun at our bears.

    My youthful experiences with bear in the woods ended with me waving my arms over my head and screaming and both bears turning and running away. Having bear only about your own size helps!

    Since moving to the G'ville Area (bad weekend for a former 'nole this last) 30 years ago I have seen but two but do not spend much time in the woods. One was hit by a car and I called it in to an unbelieving dispatcher who actually called me back later to tell me I was right. The other was across a field running away, and at first I thought it was a pig.

    Honestly then and now pigs frighten me more than our little black bears in Florida. They make a special pig spray? ;-)

    -kBob
     
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  22. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    As a point of comparison-the black bears I watched through my brother’s spotting scope up in Alaska were so big they dwarfed the ones I’ve seen in the south (years ago in north Alabama)... The spotting scope was set up on his kitchen table and looked out across the Matanuska River towards the western side of the Chugatch mountains... The bears that I just had to watch up on the mountain side were every bit of three feet wide across the butt... I wouldn’t even begin to guess how much one weighed.... They really caught my attention.
     
  23. Antihero

    Antihero Member

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    Sure, but it does have an effect in the exact moment. There's no good answer here but probably one of the worst times to be sprayed by pepper spray would be when you are being attacked by a bear
     
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  24. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I'm not going to comment on brown bear defense. With black bears, blanks, rubber bullets and 12 gauge bean-bag rounds are commonly used and proven effective less-than-lethal methods. Dogs are also very effective. Any of these things are preferred because the bears often present a nuisance and danger but not an immediate lethal threat. OC spray usually does not have a long enough range to address nuisance bears safely. They shouldn't be approached that closely.

    If a black bear surprises a person and they are at close range upon first being noticed, there is still a good probability they can be scared away with noise or that the person can retreat and step away from the Huckleberry pie or picnic basket. I'm not saying they should avoid lethal force if it becomes necessary, but that black bears are rarely aggressive and confrontations can be avoided with good planning and food storage methods.

    In one bear encounter, I had hung a bear bag at an insufficient height and distance. I was at a very high altitude and the trees were small. This was before bear canisters were available. A bear climbed the tree and went out on the limb to reach the bear bag. The limb broke and the bear came crashing down, waking me up. I was sleeping on the ground without a tent. The bear was nearly in arms-reach. I grabbed my pocket film camera and used the flash to scare it away. It made off with the bag and left nothing but the coffee for breakfast. Nowadays I have a large dog and that pretty much rules out any close encounters. I realize that's not the case with Griz, but the last one of those I saw was in Yellowstone. I would not want to be "that guy" that killed Yogi.
     
  25. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Spray, handgun, rifle, shotgun, etc.

    I'm thinking none of these things should be thought of as an "either-or" choice. Rather, they represent alternatives and additions.

    For example, I often hunt with a rifle, but also carry a handgun. Why? Because the handgun is ALWAYS on me, whether I have to set my rifle down for some reason poker I have to drop it to rapidly climb a tree.

    Seems to me the best spray is simply another option.
     
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