I think we all agree that that 12 guage is a good bear stopper and that warning shots into the ground may work but I have read of an instance where a ricocheted bullet hit a bear in the chest and wounded it so my question is, What's everyones thoughts on using less lethal 12 ga. loads for a warning? examples are rubber buckshot, beanbag, or hot pepper loads. of course they would be backed up by lethal loads. I think the noise backed up by a little sting should work plus give the bear something unpleasant to remember but at least to live another day. Any thoughts Or has anyone tried these methods?
When I worked at a couple of different wiers for the ADF&G we had 12 gauge 870's loaded with bean bags and slugs. We had to use the bean bags a couple of times but we also had to destroy one black bear with the slugs. We would carry the shotgun while removing morts from the wier and the bears would be on the far end of the wier trying to get as many as they could before we through them over the wier. The one bear we had to destroy was in our tent area.
let me explain what I seemingly tend to do or favor. I first shoot black bears for meat. I have ate some grizz and it is alright I suppose. I have never fired a warning shot with having a hunting rifle in hand. Generally I will give the bear the opportunity to leave by boring him to death first-kind of sort things out. If that is not persausive enough and the bear persist to assault my dignity he is smoked-literally.
Under most conditions bears stay away but my guard is posted all the time nonetheless-just too many bear trails. I have been charged or bluff charged or confused briefly for food in a charge but never been mauled-what does that say? I would not put any trust in bean bags for one nor would I count on bear deterant spray for that matter. If I must make noise I will whistle or hum a tune when I walk down a trail if for whatever reason other than hunting-so far so good.
I make certain within my own reasoning when to pull the trigger and am not under normal jurisdiction that is par for State Regs. It is a good life I lead still yet but no way would I piss off a bear using bean bags-on a two legged assailaint, yes but not a bear.
I carry a shotgun for waterfowl hunting and believe it serves a good and perfect service there and a rifle for other and all conditions.
What I Would Do
Given the nature of a lot of bear attacks, that being fast and furious, I would load the lethal round first and then cycle the action if you need to fire a warning/ scare shot. I realize that under stress one might forget that the first round is lethal and shoot a bear that he didn't need to. Small price to pay for your life.
I wouldn't say everyone agrees a 12 ga is a good weapon for defending one's life against an attacking bear. But we'll leave that argument asside for now.
My thinking is, in a real bear attack, I will only expect to get off one shot, and I want something that can effectively kill the bear with that one shot, should I properly place it. I have no desire to wound or scare a bear. I don't want to have to think do I have rubber balls, or birdshot, or 00 or a slug. Have the most effective round in the tube, and forget playing around. You won't have time to think about what to use, and fiddling around can get you et by a bar.
Now, the vast majority of DLP bear shootings are unenecesary, and occur because people are scared of bears.
If I see a bear in the wild, I don't become scared and draw a bead on it. If it's just being a bear, I'll more than likely take a picture. If it appears to be threatening, then I'll put a bead on it. If it get's inside 10 yds, or is quickly moving to that distance, then I shoot to kill.
I carry a bear gun with the intent of never needing to use it on bears, but knowing if I do need to, I have the right tool for the job.