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Thread: Bear Spray??

  1. #1
    Member chromage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    On da river

    Default Bear Spray??

    I have been living in Alaska for about two months now and have only seen one cub running across the road. I am going to start hiking hear pretty soon with some friends and was wondering if it's really neccesary to buy bear spray for protection? I have never really had to worry about bears where I come from but don't want to take any chances up here.

  2. #2
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    North Pole, Alaska

    Default Great Question

    Packing a gun works much better.
    This is a great question and I am glad that you posted this. This was the VERY first thing that someone told me to get before I start hiking and climbing and my area. Ooops... yeah... I didn't do that and then again I am incredibly fortunate that I haven't been stuck in line with a bear.
    I'd like to hear other responses, too.. because this will definitely help me.
    (I still have yet to get Bear Spray, but I do have a pistol... but ask me how to use it? I have only used a pistol once in my whole life!)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Here's a web link that has some interesting research and stats on bear-human encounters, spray and firearms:

    A few of things that I keep in mind when deciding what to bring on a hike. First, bears very, very rarely take on a group that is hiking. If you're solo, working your way quietly thru alders, along a noisy salmon stream, then you're at higher risk to surprise a bear. Also, if you're with a group, a non-lethal spray can be used on a bear without worry of where the rest of your friends are standing. They may cry if they get a whiff of spray, but nobody gets really hurt.

    Second, I think the weight and shape of pistol and shotguns makes them sometimes clumsy to have at hand, especially while wearing a pack. A weapon in your pack is pretty useless.

    Third, you need to be comfortable using whatever it is you decide to carry. If it's a spray, learn how to slip the safety clip off and invest in a practice can so you can see the spray cloud. That's a good $35 investment. Same with a gun, spend time on a range so you know what you're doing.

    And, practice all the things that help avoid a bad encounter with wildlife in the first place: group size, noise, food storage, camp site choice, etc. There's a good summary at

    Most of all, get out and hike! For all the talk of bear encounters, it's likely the most dangerous thing you'll do is drive to the trail head.


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