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Thread: Bear Spray?

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    Default Bear Spray?

    Hi, I'm new to this fourm this is my first post. I visit a NY Adirondack fourm from time to time, as I have hiked and hunted for black bear there a few times. Recently there was a disscusion on spray vs firearm for bear defense. After reading, I thought to myself, what better place to ask than a fourm from Alaska. Figured if anybody has a large collective experience on this subject, it would be you. Thank you in advance.

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    In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Alaska
    Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fisherman to
    take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field.
    We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as
    not to startle bears that aren’t expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen
    to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.
    It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity.
    Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly
    bear ****. Black bear **** is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear **** is much larger, smells like pepper, and has lots of little bells in it.

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    I knew that was coming.

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    Member chrisWillh's Avatar
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    Generaly speaking "experts" advise a pepper spray with at least 3% capsicum or more. As most pepper sprays contain 1-2%, they don't work well on bears. I however prefer somthing in the .338 to .375 H&H range.
    Chris Willhoite

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    akhuntnut -- very funny! I always thought the bells were a dinner bell for browns and the pepper spray was seasoning on the humans.

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    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    Smile My choice is firearm

    Worked in a law enforcement field for 11 years and couldn't even begin to tell you how many cans of pepper spray fizzled or just failed to work altogether and that was in a controlled area rather than in the bush with a 1000 lbs of Brown Fuzzy Bear with a bad attitude that's thinking your a light snack! Out of all the ammo I've shot only one dud so you can always take your chances but I'll take my chances with ammo anyday. Heres one thing that people who carry pepper spray and nothing else never seem to take into account, ever sprayed pepper spray into a head wind then had to try to guess where the bear you missed with the pepper spray is cause it blew back into your face and now you can't see anymore?? Too many variables with pepper spray for me and I've been trained to use it and have used it alot. I've seen people sprayed in the eyes with no effect, bears are no different as there are always some that aren't going to be affected by it. All the bears I've saw shot were affected by bullets! Just my 2 cents here.

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    Your 2 cents means alot to me, being that you have been there. Any of you that have hunted, hiked, fished, or whatever up there hold a much higher value in what you say than myself. We don't have the real big bears in Michigan or anywhere else I've been. Some big blacks but no Brown. Keep em coming I'm all ears. Do you know why some Goverment agencies, in some states, recomend spray over firearms???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gurn View Post
    Your 2 cents means alot to me, being that you have been there. Any of you that have hunted, hiked, fished, or whatever up there hold a much higher value in what you say than myself. We don't have the real big bears in Michigan or anywhere else I've been. Some big blacks but no Brown. Keep em coming I'm all ears. Do you know why some Goverment agencies, in some states, recomend spray over firearms???
    Probably, they just don't want us to have guns and shoot the animals.

    Black Bears can be dangerous too, and have been known to stalk, kill, and
    eat people.

    I think that most Alaskans on this forum would much prefer a firearm to pepper spray. I certainly would, because I've heard of cases where it didn't work. My impression is that firearms have a better success rate.
    Smitty of the North

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    While I think the whole bear protection thing is over stated I would not recommend pepper spray. Too many variables to contend with. For example one of my kayaking guides tried to get rid of a over curious bear with pepper spray. Unfortunately she wasn't paying attention to wind direction and ended up disabling herself when a gust of wind blew the spray right back in her face. I had to send out a replacement guide via water taxi.

    Gurn;
    Haven't spent much time in the UP I take it. While the Brown bears here in Alaska are much bigger there are some really large Black Bears in the UP, in fact they make our Black Bears look like small dogs. No kidding. They don't have to compete with bigger Bears so they grow to enormous size for the species.

    Just this Alaskans Experiance
    Rick P

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    Member Casper50's Avatar
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    From the encounters that I have studied I've come to the following conclusion. The bears that were turned with a spray may have been bluff charging. Those that were not turned by the spray almost always bit someone. Could the difference between being turned or not be if its a bluff or real charge? I don't know but I'd rather carry a firearm.

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    Thanks again for all the replies. Rick I've only been to the UP once deer hunting, although I may go back for a crack at bear. I live about 15 mi south of Detroit. My son and I got a real nice 500lb black in the Adirondacks of NY., and I got two smaller ones in Quebec. I'll never get to hunt Alaska due to the expense. If ever hit the lotto, or just find a pillow slip full of $50 bills on the side of the road. I be there.
    If anyone else would like to add please post away.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Gurn; great outdoor opportunities abound in the UP assume fishing from salmon to brook trout. Great hunting form grouse to Bear and some really cool hikes. Explore a little up that way. It's not Alaska but it's close. Northern Ontario is really nice too. The pink salmon runs up that way are hard to beat.

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    Like anything else, pepper spray is just another tool with limitations. The biggest limitation is wind. Out here on the AK Pen, the wind blows constantly at about 15+ kts on any given day.

    Even the big pistol-gripped, fire extinguisher types aren't going to be very effective, and regardless of having the wind at your back when you discharge one of those things, you are still going to get back-blast.

    Even in LE situations where I needed to spray an arrestee, I couldn't due to wind and weather conditions.

    Don't rule out pepper spray, but understand that it's only going to be effective under ideal conditions.
    Now what ?

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    Thanks Steve. Thats a good point. Rick I would really like to go hiking at Isle Royale. I heard its great. Have you ever been there? I've been building up my points for Mich. bear season. It's a lottery, the more points you have the better chance of being drawn.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    The wife and I spent 10 days circumnavigating Isle Royal and then cut through the middle of the Island portaging from lake to lake in a kayak One of the best trips of my life! Great scenery and monster pike a plenty. We also saw wolves and moose, had a cow nosing into our tent one morning.

    Bear hunting was a permit system when I lived in the UP. I hear allots changed not for the good since I left

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    Off to bed guys between chronic insomnia and my 5 month old teething I'm whipped, Valium is starting to kick in too.

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    Default pepper spray

    I agree with most posts here.

    I just watched a show about a woman who used pepper spray and was mauled anyway.

    She hikes and uses spray...and had been mauled twice.( think I would find another hobby)

    So unless you get a 16" barelled .458 lott M70 and name her "pepperspray"

    I would say forget all forms and strenghts of capsaisum,it's worse than useless....it gives some people false hope. Makes them brave and confident and maybe willing to take chances they ought not take.

    jedi

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    I do own a CZ 458 lott, and a big can of spray. Maybe I could tape the can to the barrel, wear a gas mask, and let em both off at the same time!!
    Recon that would do the trick??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    The wife and I spent 10 days circumnavigating Isle Royal and then cut through the middle of the Island portaging from lake to lake in a kayak One of the best trips of my life! Great scenery and monster pike a plenty. We also saw wolves and moose, had a cow nosing into our tent one morning.

    Bear hunting was a permit system when I lived in the UP. I hear allots changed not for the good since I left

    Thats it!! Now I gotta do it some day!! I always heard it was a great place, and monster pike too!!

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    I have been trying to find some information on Bear Spray vs a Firearm. It was posted once that Spray is 30 percent more effective the a Firearm. Was hoping to find some accurate info to find out for sure.

    Something else though. We have been carrying tasers for the last couple years and have seen the demo tape where the animal taser drops a bull. I wonder if that is an option. Does Alaska have a law against civilians carrying tasers.

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