RMEF on bear spray vs. guns (for bears)

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by TheShadKing, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. TheShadKing Will Fish For Food

    Posts: 261
    Bellevue, WA
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    I was reading the most recent Bugle and came across a mention of some studies that had been done. I hadn't seen them before, or even mentions of them online in any of the perennial discussions on the topic.

    Perhaps y'all have because apparently the RMEF has mentioned it before (link below from last year's Bugle), but basically the upshot is that they're saying bear spray is far more effective, with a 90% safety rate (uninjured hunter) and only minor injuries in the other 10% vs. a ~45% safety rate with guns with serious injuries.

    It's worth chewing on and possibly even arguing over because the statistics for non-spray carriers suggest the outcome is about the same regardless of whether you try to shoot the bear or not.

    But who knows? Lies, darn lies, and statistics as always. I can see a dozen different ways the data can be suspect.

    Personally I've always preferred bear spray because I'm lazy-arsed bastidge, and bear spray is lighter. :rolleyes:

    The blurb from last year's Bugle is here; I couldn't find one for the most recent issue but then again I didn't try that hard:
    http://bugle.rmef.org/print.php?pages=74&issue_id=122939&ref=1


    Rolland
  2. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,120
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    I find the twin .50's, mounted on the gun ring usually solve the "problem bear" issue:D
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  3. WonkyWapiti Member

    Posts: 124
    Maple Valley, WA
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    There was a recent issue in Backpacker magazine dedicated to bears and it had an article that said something similar. I am still behind on the last couple issues of my Bugle but will have to definitely read that article.
  4. scottr Active Member

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    Chasing trout and birds
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    I say (and do) carry both.
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  5. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,726
    Edgewood, WA
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    The carry both gets my vote as well. Anyone know if the sprays work as well on cats, obstinate cows/bulls and tweakers?
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  6. scottr Active Member

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    Chasing trout and birds
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    My bro-in-law took out a group of raccoons with bear spray. They were in a maple tree trying to get onto his roof and with one burst they dropped like flies but it did defoliate a portion of the tree.
  7. martyg Active Member

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    The world at large
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    An acquaintance of mine was recently hit by bear spray, and it required a trip to the hospital for her. She is somewhat of an irresponsible dog owner and her dogs were the target. Weeks and many baths later if your were petting the dogs you had to thoroughly wash your hands after. If you even got your hands close to your face it was all over.
  8. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,267
    Kitsap Peninsula
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    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)
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  9. scottr Active Member

    Posts: 425
    Chasing trout and birds
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    Yeah I would never use on a persons pet or a human unless it was a life or death self defense situation. It is nasty stuff.
  10. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,286
    Your City ,State
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    I carry bear spray but have yet to use it. Talking to the bears, "Hey bear" as I'm walking through their territory gives them an opportunity to avoid me, and that mostly works. If not, I yell at them or blow a coach's whistle. That gets their attention, and they usually run off, but a couple have just turned around and walked away. I always think those will come back around camp to check for food, but so far that hasn't happened. These are rational, pragmatic measures.

    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
  11. scottr Active Member

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    Chasing trout and birds
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    Practice for shooting a charging bear in self defense should involve trying draw, aim, and hit a bowling ball coming towards you on a zip line.
    plaegreid likes this.
  12. Salmo_g Active Member

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    Except hitting the bowling ball on a zip line would still be easier than the needed kill shot on a bear. People should just try and get comfortable with the idea that one potential outcome of time in the woods is ending up as bear scat.

    Sg
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  13. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    The one time I wanted to use my bear spray on a bear, I couldn't. The wind was blowing in my face, so my buddy and I had to resort to yelling and finally throwing rocks (not recommended, but it was all we could do). When the bear got to within about 20 feet without showing any intention of changing course, a decent sized rock hit it in the ribs and it turned and ran off. It would have been nice to have a shotgun in the situation, not to kill the bear, but to make a lot more noise, and know that if all else failed, we'd have a way to defend ourselves.
  14. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,856
    East Wenatchee, WA
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    For some strange reason I have been thinking about this for awhile.
    I'm out hunting with my muzzle loader or my 30-06 and I see a bear coming toward me say 100 yds.
    1. I let the bear know I'm there. Made noise and move, maybe shoot the 06, but not the muzzle loader (to slow to reload).
    2. If the bear doesn't stop and leave before 50 ft. I shoot to kill. No waiting for a close encounter.
    I've been very close to a few bears that never new I was there and as soon as they did they shit and get.
    I would not kill a bear over an elk or deer.
    I figure my brother the bear and I both can live to hunt another day.
    I haven't started to carry bear spray yet.
    One reason is I'm part of the wilderness.
    If I'm fishing or hiking and I get in a bears way, I'm still part of the wilderness, really, really stinky bear shit.
  15. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,726
    Edgewood, WA
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    No argument that firing at a charging bear, expecting to take it down, is a low probability venture. But, have you have not seen the video of the rafting group in Alaska that had a sow coming charging back out of the woods into the river and got within maybe 30 feet when one of the group fired a .44 round into the water in its path? It threw up a plume of water and sent the sow back the other direction post hast. (tried to find it, but no luck). I have also heard others say just firing a round into the air or into the the dirt close to it has proved very successful in getting them to change their intentions.

    Maybe what we need is something like a 2-3 shot flare gun that creates an explosion and cloud of capsin or whatever other nasty stuff they don't like...patent application in process ;)
  16. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,120
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    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.
  17. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    Apart from the capsicum angle, I think you're a little late to the table on that one. "Bear Bangers" have been around for years - http://bearbanger.net/bear_scare_pyrotechnics.html
  18. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,726
    Edgewood, WA
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    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.
  19. Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Posts: 654
    Wenatchee, WA
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    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.
  20. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,726
    Edgewood, WA
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    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.