RMEF on bear spray vs. guns (for bears)

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
#16
We have lots of blackies here on the outskirts of lederhosenland, as well as up at Lake Wenatchee. Unfortunately though, that's primarily because the lake's a large summer home community of Seattle-side city dwellers. They tend to store their garbage in the outside cans, and that's just a magnet for coons and bears. That's not to say that there's a few idiots here in Leavenworth who can't comprehend why there's a family of bears ripping up their front deck because they stored 20 gallons of honey underneath it! Bird feeders are an especially tempting offering. Humans create most of the problem encounters with these other forest-dwellers, and then cry when the bear has to be put down. That being said, the bear spray's on the hunting pack, along with my sidearm. A note on the last, too: hollow points aren't what you want for that application-they need to be solids.
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#18
Close but rather than a glorified screaming bottle rocket I was thinking something more along the lines of a projectile that leaves a cloud of capsicum irritant like a 1972 Chevy Vega.

Funny, some years ago when I was in Alaska waiting for our flight to Talarik Creek on Lake Iliamna one of the Indian desk clerks saw our riot shotguns and handed us a few of those pyro-screaming shells...said they work better than buck shot + slugs. I just couldn't get my head around swapping lead for noise...they stayed in my pack.
 

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#19
I think handguns, regardless of caliber, offer far more emotional security than physical security. The person who thinks he can draw, aim, and make an accurate kill shot with a handgun when a bear is closing from less than 50 feet away at 40 mph is delusional. About the only way that shot is going to be made is by jamming the gun in the bear's mouth when it's on you and firing. The probable percentage outcome in that scenario is that you're going to end up being bear scat. Embrace the wilderness concept and stop worrying about bears.

Sg
More than handguns. The Pacific Northwest Forestry Research Lab of the Forest Service way back in the 1970's published a research paper on various guns and calibers for stopping a charging bear. The Forest Service has crews working in southeast Alaska and they always had a "rifleman" with the crews for their safety. It is interesting reading. Google it. It is out there on the net.

After reading the research paper....bear spray.

I only had ONE bear try to run me over working in the woods. Let me tell you they run fast.....and he was just trying to get away from my assistant and ran straight across the meadow right at me. They are really near sighted so I don't think he realized I was standing there until he heard me yell....about 10 feet from me. An out of body experience.
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#20
I smell a UDAP salesman :D. Not sure if this is the one you were referring to?
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152

Some of the calibers listed in the report are just nuts...unless one was out hunting brown bear, who the hell would ever carry one for North American game? I test fired a .454 Casull and it was ridiculously heavy and getting any chance for a second shot is, well, fahghetabawdit. Even the Ruger .44M I settled on is a brute with hot loads, but a reasonable balance.

The report does cite effectiveness of warning shots and I personally like the option of seeing if that gets them moving another direction from a safe distance. The .44M is damn loud and can throw up a chunk of turf or plume of water as well. I suspect it would definitely get the attention of most bears that you're not the normal prey they deal with.

Bottom line is no matter what you have, you need some reasonable distance to start with...a quick, sudden encounter will be left to the grace of God.
 

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#21
I smell a UDAP salesman :D. Not sure if this is the one you were referring to?
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152

Some of the calibers listed in the report are just nuts...unless one was out hunting brown bear, who the hell would ever carry one for North American game? I test fired a .454 Casull and it was ridiculously heavy and getting any chance for a second shot is, well, fahghetabawdit. Even

Bottom line is no matter what you have, you need some reasonable distance to start with...a quick, sudden encounter will be left to the grace of God.
Yep, that is the report. Well, the Forest Service was hunting brown bears....that was the point of having a person with a gun along with the crew. It is an interesting discussion. I just shoot shotguns....bullets are outside my league.

But having had enough bear incidents over the years. Bear Spray is a lot easier to use than a gun particularly when your primary job is measuring trees rather than hunting.

Some of my favorite memories were of cruising timber in Idaho on cool, damp mornings and seeing a purple pile (huckleberries) of bear poop steaming in the early morning sun!!

Bears are interesting creatures. One time in Colorado we were staying at a cabin and a bear showed for some dumpster diving next to the cabin. We laughed at the bear and took a few photo's of the bear in the dumpster and then went inside. He must have not appreciated the laughing, because when we got up the next morning there was a BIG PILE on the front steps of the cabin next to the front door.
 
#23
My escalation of force leads me to carry four items used in order when possible:
1) my head to avoid unfavorable contact
2) an air horn (read Bear Horn) and my kids carry these as well
3) bear spray (and know how to use it)
4) sidearm as the last resort (and know how to use it)
I was on a trek in SW Alaska last summer and the outfitter (30+ years experience) swore that a blast of the air horn had not failed to scare off a bear in the ten years or so he'd used them. He also gave us bear spray, and he and his assistant each carried shotguns.
 

TheShadKing

Will Fish For Food
#24
Bears are interesting creatures.
That's for sure. :D

Air horns are an interesting idea. Most bears were smaller than most of the other bears for most of their early bear career, and most of them remember it, so air horns should work on most of them, most of the time. :p

Most of the bears I've run into have run away from me, except that really big one, and I ran away from it. :eek:
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#27
"A bear running at you at 30 mph is traveling 44 ft/sec. A bear that is 88 ft. away could be on a person
in 2 seconds."

As has been mentioned by some already, this fact pretty much means it wouldn't matter what the hell you want to use as a weapon/deterrent. The hope is that you see the bear well in advance of a charge and have whatever you choose to use at the ready.

"He said that the recent firearm research showed that didn’t matter if a person discharged a firearm or not; the outcomes were roughly similar."

May be true, but the video I mentioned of the sow barreling ass at the group floating in Alaska would counter this claim...spray may have worked there as well, but the firearm absolutely did.

Great report/study...interesting read for sure...thanks for sharing.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#28
I was on a trek in SW Alaska last summer and the outfitter (30+ years experience) swore that a blast of the air horn had not failed to scare off a bear in the ten years or so he'd used them. He also gave us bear spray, and he and his assistant each carried shotguns.
Sounds like they use the same escalation of force that my plan includes. Kids and the bear horn, the Mrs and I with spray and me with the .40 or .45. I hope to never have to find out, but if I have to find out I'd like to think I'm ready and the rest of the family has a spare key to the rig. They know I'm the last to retreat from the area if it comes to that.