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Thread: Bear deterrent - what do you pack

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    Default Bear deterrent - what do you pack

    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?

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    A rabbit's foot and high situational awareness.

    This is if I'm fishing or hiking, if I'm hunting big game (mostly deer and moose in country with plenty o browns), I have whatever weapon I'm hunting with, up to 338 and down to a 357 pistol.

  3. #3

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    I pack 95% common sense and 5% technology. In 40 years of bush time with bears, the common sense has kept me from needing the technology. Choice of technology is based on the place I'm going, but I also practice with all of it and I'm good with it.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I pack 95% common sense and 5% technology. In 40 years of bush time with bears, the common sense has kept me from needing the technology. Choice of technology is based on the place I'm going, but I also practice with all of it and I'm good with it.
    That's the best answer ever, but I have to say that the road flare idea is pretty cool (although risky in the tinderbox that's become summertime interior Alaska).
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlshore View Post
    but I have to say that the road flare idea is pretty cool
    I can just see myself strike...strike...striking that flare as the angry mama sow bears down on me.... Nahhh I'll stick to something that slings lead.
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

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    I just make sure I'm not the slowest one in the party.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikebraun View Post
    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?

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    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowstone View Post
    I just make sure I'm not the slowest one in the party.
    And just in case I am the slowest, I just pack a small, light, easy to carry pistol. Not for the bear but to ensure someone ends up slower than me....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    And just in case I am the slowest, I just pack a small, light, easy to carry pistol. Not for the bear but to ensure someone ends up slower than me....
    Remind me never to get in range!

    one day closer to alaska.
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    I'm with the common sense and situational awareness crowd. The best defense is to not get yourself into a situation in the first place. Beyond that we carry pepper spray. Studies show it's more effective than a firearm in an attack. The only time we carry a firearm is if we're going so far into the bush we can't guarantee getting out if something breaks down and we might be stuck out there overnight.

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    It happens FAST. Been charged a couple times and the bear pulled up short. I was not armed (logging) Had one come after me that did not stop. I was packing a .44 magnum. I'm still here, and his hide is on the wall.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    LOL. That's great!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    And just in case I am the slowest, I just pack a small, light, easy to carry pistol. Not for the bear but to ensure someone ends up slower than me....

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    Usually have my 10mm with me. Biggest issue is paying attention to what is going on. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will just waltz around through thick brush during salmon season without paying the slightest bit of attention to what's going on around them.
    Nurse by night, Alaska adventurer by day!

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Either my .44 mag or my judge with .45 colt.
    The spray is an option that my wife chooses as she isn't proficient with a gun and isn't interested in becoming so.
    Road flares are not going to work for me.
    Especially given our last few fires around here and their slow to light.
    If it makes you feel safe go ahead.
    Sometimes I'm not packing but usually I am.
    Wasn't it a forest service gal who bear sprayed a bear and it came back and mauled her anyway?
    I don't buy that spray is more effective!
    Of course common sense and situational awareness should never be left home.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Last bear I sprayed sneezed. We shot it in the head with a 375 Ruger 2 days latter. Just wouldn't leave the cabin.

    The problem I have with these spray vs gun studies is they assume they have all the encounters to analyze. The bear we shot we tagged, so it counted as sport hunting not DLP.


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    I love my 4" barrel 44, carried on the opposite hip. It stays out of the way of my work gear and is so close and accessible that way. I agree about awareness being 95-99% of the equation. That being said, I have had to draw twice on moose who were bluff charging and it makes you a lot more confident, which helps with big critters.


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    44mag and bear spray. I carry the spray as a first option if I have the time. The gun for all other scenarios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    And just in case I am the slowest, I just pack a small, light, easy to carry pistol. Not for the bear but to ensure someone ends up slower than me....
    I was once guiding a drunk & obnoxious client up at Great Bear one year and we were camping 65 miles from camp.
    There was a group of 4 guests, myself and another guide. I had a slug gun but they didn't know that and my buddy the other guide brought his single shot Cooey 22. The first evening the two of us were plinking and the drunk slurred "what's the gun for". My response was "it's in case the bear comes". Confused he says "What the eff are you going to do with that? It's a 22"
    Answer: "I'm going to shoot you in the knee and run like eff!!!"
    His 3 buddies just about fell over they were laughing so hard.

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    I fully agree that awareness is #1 and not putting yourself in a situation to begin with. As for the fire danger I certainly don't plan on throwing the flare at a bear so I don't see that as an issue.
    With any type of protection you need to practice to be prepared when it's time to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikebraun View Post
    I fully agree that awareness is #1 and not putting yourself in a situation to begin with...
    Well....up here, whenever, an wherever, you go the potential "situation" may not be that far away....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Why is it that every thread about bear protection has to have the same tired old responses about shooting someone in the leg with a .22? That joke has to be older than me.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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