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Bear Spray: Maybe Not So Good...

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by WrongHanded, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I've spent time around black bears, and they are not a huge concern in most cases. A starving one can be very dangerous though and there have been a few cases where they stalked, killed, and ate humans. Anecdotal data I've read from a few online sources seems to indicate that bear spray is actually more useful on brown/grizzly bears than black bears. Not sure why. The most interesting encounter I ever had was in Northern, WI. I was out hiking early in the morning, and it began raining. Rain in a hardwood broad leaf forest can make it really hard to hear anything as the rain pap pap paps on the leaves. I wasn't particularly concerned as I spend a lot of time in the woods. However when I started hearing an obvious black bear in the brush nearby (maybe 30-40 yards) making some sounds that I interpreted as a warning, I paid closer attention. This was on an old logging road, so there wasn't anyone around.

    The sounds were very similar to the last audio clip labeled as "threatening" at this website.
    http://bearsmartdurango.org/bear-sounds/

    The part that scared me was that I couldn't see the bear. But I realized there was a lot of black berry bushes around. In hind sight, I'm guessing the bear either heard me and was warning me off, or actually saw me and wanted me out of it's berry patch. I was happy to oblige, but I suspect it was a bluff from a small bear. The sound was somewhat less guttural than in the audio clip, and I'm guessing it was not particularly heavy.

    I've spent quite a lot of time in brown/grizzly country as well, and I have been, by accident, entirely too close to a juvenile. I wanted to get a look at the bear and approached with a small conifer tree between me and it. When I looked around the tree I did not realize just how close the bear had wandered to the tree. It was freshly out of hibernation and busily consuming grass as fast as possible. I was WAY too close. As in maybe 60 or 70 feet. If it'd sprang toward me, I would not have gotten to safety. I did manage to snap some pics though. I'll have to dig them up.. My estimate was it was around a 500 lb bear.

    In any situation I encounter a bear, I'd prefer to have spray and a gun both. What's key is to be aware of what's going on around you, not just to avoid bears to begin with, but to be cognizant of wind direction.

    More importantly, I think being aware of what the bear's behavior is telling you is more important. Bears are bullies. They will try to bluff you out of the area if they can. But they have also evolved to be top of the food chain, and fighting is part of their repertoire, and obviously they are opportunistic hunters. If a bear is charging me, I'm drawing a gun and firing as fast as I can. Plan on the bear making it to you, because they are damned fast when they want to be. Browns can run down elk. If a bear is trying to bluff you, or is curious, a little bear spray may do the trick. If one is in my tent, I'm not concerned about hitting someone else, as it's likely to be a point blank shot. So I want something big. I also don't want to disable the other members of my party by exposing them to the spray and making it harder for them to get away if the opportunity presents.

    There's no reason not to have both as bear spray isn't heavy enough to be a real concern to me. But I'm still bringing a gun.

    Consequently, a friend of mine had to use bear spray on an aggressive mountain lion a few years ago. It worked fine on a kitty.
     
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  2. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    Unrelated as it is, I just want to add something about black bears. I hunt them fairly regularly in North Carolina with dogs. When you have a pack of obnoxious canines nipping at their heals they are agitated, amped up, adrenalized, scared, and very aggressive. When they make eye contact with you under these circumstances, it's unsettling. I know they are the champions at living close to human settlements and stealthily existing a shy life, but I have a really healthy respect for them and their capabilities, particularly under duress. They are not to be dismissed or trifled with. JMHO.
     
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  3. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Agreed. While black bears are not typically dangerous, they should never be trusted or taken lightly. And a scared animal, any scared animal, can at the very least hurt you.

    Surprising a bear is probably one of the worst things that can happen in the woods.
     
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  4. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    Or being hunted by a mountain lion.
     
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  5. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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    The bear population in Colorado Springs is out of control. Every time something like this happens and the bear has to be euthanized the SJWs Raise Hell.

     
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  6. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Yeah that's no good either. I have a lot of lions where I live and come across their tracks regularly. They don't typically attack, though there was a recent incident in Colorado where a jogger was attacked by a young male cat.

    He choked the cat to death. Seriously...……….. He choked him the hell out.
     
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  7. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    LOL! I love how he knew how to open the fridge and cabinets without damaging them. That bear has done this before.
     
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  8. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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    Mountain lions are the one animal I've never run into in Colorado Springs (Well, I've never run into a Duck Billed Platypus here either), although I might have seen one run across 30th street one night.

    I was hiking on Old Stage Road in Colorado Springs one morning and heard an African Lion roar. I freaked out a little until I realized I was up the hill from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and that I had, in fact heard a lion roaring.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
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  9. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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    Well, he never did it again.

    There was some STUPID woman who lived in a neighborhood on the West side of town who was cited numerous times for feeding bears in her back yard. Apparently she even left her kitchen slider open and left oatmeal out on the counter of her kitchen for them.

    I keep waiting to hear one of them killed her but it hasn't happened yet
     
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  10. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Give it time. Stupidity like that is self limiting.

    They are elusive animals. I've had the pleasure of seeing two clearly, a third from a distance, and suspect I was being trailed by one. I caught a glimpse of a brown head disappearing behind a bush in reaction to me turning and looking it's way. It's one of two times I've had to draw a gun. I waited for a dopy whitetail to run off, but nothing moved, and I wasn't about to approach the juniper bush to verify.
     
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  11. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    My brother has lived up in Alaska for at least forty years now. He's just off the Glenn Highway a few miles north of Palmer and has been living a subsistence lifestyle from the beginning (his idea of a rifle is a 375 H&H - he has three of them). Whenever he sees grizzly tracks on his property (was forty acres - much less now...) he doesn't worry about the bear at all. He says that grizzlies are roamers and cover miles and miles as a routine... Whenever he finds black bear tracks on his property he starts making plans to deal with the animal (he likes bear for roasts and stews as well...). In his opinion a black bear will hang around and begin causing trouble if not dealt with... He's not concerned about his property - it's the kids, grandkids, and his dog he's concerned about.

    Like I've already said, the black bears I saw looking across the river from his place were quite big, I never expected to see them that size....
     
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  12. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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