When I first started coming to Alaska 20 years ago I thought that every bear out there wanted to kill and eat me. I packed a gun everywhere I went because I just knew without it I would be dead for sure.
It took a few years of packing the gun and bear mace before I calmed down and started leaving the gun behind. We felt plenty secure with the mace on our hip until one day we shot off an extra canister we had just for a practice run. 4 or 5 seconds and done. What if you missed or there's more than one bear?
Ever since that test I now carry a 15 min road flare on me. The one bear we tested the flare on ran as soon as we fired the flare off and pointed it at him. After a min and no sign of the bear I just knocked the flame out ( used the remainder to start the camp fire in the rain).
We feel plenty safe in bear country these days with our method. How does everyone else roll when in bear country?