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Thread: Best bear gun?

  1. #1
    Member GreenTea's Avatar
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    Default Best bear gun?

    I hope everyone has seen the Associated Press article on bear spray (published April 20th, on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News). It just reiterates what has been said many times before, that your best defense against bear attacks is bear spray. It allows people and bears to survive encounters with no permanent disability, and is overwhelmingly more effective than any firearm. Those who are serious about bear defense need to carry spray, regardless of other weapons, and leave the talk about "best bear guns" to armchair experts.
    (Just FYI, my bear gun is a Smith & Wesson 329pd with 320 grain hard cast .44 magnum rounds in a chest holster, but the bear spray is holstered on my hip where it can be fired without drawing it out of the holster.)

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    Default Bear Spray Effectiveness vs. Firearm

    When it comes to accuracy of any story concerning firearms I trust the Assocaited Press about as far as I can throw a big brown bear! I've been reading the AP articles for many years now and the AP will twist and distort the fact about firearms and gun ownership anyway they can to show guns in an unfavorable light. The Daily News isn't much better.

    I work with a number of people who have spent many years in the woods here in AK. One actually used bear spray many times in his work to try and chase off bears. His expereince was that it worked on some bears but some bears weren't effect at all by the spray. He carries a firearm as do the others.

    You carry your bear spray and I''ll carry my S&W .500.

    FYI - your post sounds suspeciously like it is from a anti-firearm greenie. Do I smell a rat?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    I hope everyone has seen the Associated Press article on bear spray (published April 20th, on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News). It just reiterates what has been said many times before, that your best defense against bear attacks is bear spray. It allows people and bears to survive encounters with no permanent disability, and is overwhelmingly more effective than any firearm. Those who are serious about bear defense need to carry spray, regardless of other weapons, and leave the talk about "best bear guns" to armchair experts.
    (Just FYI, my bear gun is a Smith & Wesson 329pd with 320 grain hard cast .44 magnum rounds in a chest holster, but the bear spray is holstered on my hip where it can be fired without drawing it out of the holster.)
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    You could wear Carharts too. You might as well be safe.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    When it comes to accuracy of any story concerning firearms I trust the Assocaited Press about as far as I can throw a big brown bear! I've been reading the AP articles for many years now and the AP will twist and distort the fact about firearms and gun ownership anyway they can to show guns in an unfavorable light. The Daily News isn't much better.

    I work with a number of people who have spent many years in the woods here in AK. One actually used bear spray many times in his work to try and chase off bears. His expereince was that it worked on some bears but some bears weren't effect at all by the spray. He carries a firearm as do the others.

    You carry your bear spray and I''ll carry my S&W .500.
    How about both? Those young teens in our family that cannot handle a big handgun carry pepper spray because it's like aiming a garden hose ...they can do it. My wife and I both carry it, but when picking berries she carries a 12 ga w/slugs and when in bear country, I wear my 500. If I am approached by a predatory bear (slow approach, checking you out) then I'll reach for the pepper spray and teach that bear that people cause pain and aren't very good to be around. If the approach is anything more than that, or if I am surprised by a surprised bear, then that bear will be looking at 50 calibers of fun and wishin' it was wearing hearing protection and a vest... :D

    Brian

  5. #5

    Default Best gun for fishing in alaska

    hey Green tea;
    We have a raging battle going on this very subject a couple doors over at the best fishing gun. Over 80 responses.
    Many of us here in the handgun are quite experienced unlike my Wife, who would be much better off with a willow switch than any firearm.
    Also a good many of us have had multiple brushes with our bears, so we are not going to fit into your statistics.
    My final decision is to carry the gun always and try to remember the hairspray. Pull the gun first and get it aimed, if time allows, pull hairspray, good out to 20 feet or so...
    Thus far in my numerous meetings, where necessary, a warning shot has always worked. If the bear is showing aggression, I say at 50 feet more or less, well beyond the maximum range of any aerosol.
    With a return rate of 17% for aerosol defense, well, I am rarely that lucky....yeah, he's coming back and probably not pleased with me.
    See the other forum, I think we are going to publish it.
    Mark

  6. #6

    Default Brian is right

    Ya know Tea,
    The more I consider your question with it's built in conclusion, the less I like it.
    Obviously, you have at least a reasonable defense pistol, but then you try to sell hairspray. Why?
    Well, why bother us? Are you actually an Alaskan? You can't possibly be sincere with a leader like that.
    Best for you to debate different brands of hairspray as you have already positioned yourself as a staunch proponent of them.
    Mark

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    Quoting Mark
    "Why bother us?"
    I love it.
    A guy has a different take than you on bear spray & he's automatically not an Alaskan (at least not a "real" one) & he's an anti-gun & anit hunting tree hugging greenie.:confused::rolleyes: It's good to know how to identify them.
    For the record I follow pretty much the same procedure as tananaBrian, although at times when bow hunting moose I have gone with either juast spray or just the 44.
    It also sounds like Greentea follows about the same trail as Brian (spray & gun)
    Brian you aren't a tree hugging commie antigun bunny lover are you? Are you really from here:D Maybe I'm one too & didn't realize it:eek:
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  8. #8

    Smile Bear spray?

    Shooting a charging bear does not make one a bad person, neither does not using pepper spray.

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    Default Bear spray, hair spray, or spraying lead

    I have no issue with whatever people tend to do not do in the woods as long as they don't needlessly endanger or damage myself, others, or widlife. Whether they live in Ak or just got here or have lived here all their lifes matters not to me.

    When someone starts quoting the Associated Press however and tries to use that as the basis of why I don't need to carry a gun I do get highly offended. Anti-gun biased crap such as the AP article will be widely quoted by the liberal anit-gun groups and greenies as a to why I don't need to carry a pistol in the National Parks and could get me or others killed by one of the bears that only licks it chops at the smell of bear spary.

    I should have mentioned in the previous post that the person that used the bear spray freqently with only sporatic sucess was not using the spray on agitated or aggresive bears - just bears that were looking for food along streams and rivers and happened to be in the spot twhere he needed to be. I imagine his sucess rate with agitated and charging bears would have been even less.

    That being said I think bear spray is a good option when two or more people are traveling together and one person can use the spray while the other has a gun drawn and aimed. Two or more people standing together plus the bear spray give much better odds that the spray will deter the bear plus one does not waste precious seconds dropping the spray and the first shot if the bear is not turned by the spray.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  10. #10

    Default

    So Green Tea, what's the wind deflection of your weapon of choice (aerosol). High wind in your face would not be a good thing...

  11. #11
    Member GreenTea's Avatar
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    Well, so much for freedom of speech... If you don't like the message, just start attacking the messenger, I guess. I'm very disappointed that an open forum is so close-minded.
    But back to the subject: the Associated Press was reporting on biologist Tom Smith and others who published their research in "The Journal of Wildlife Management". However, this is just the latest published research; there are studies going back twenty years on the effectiveness of bear spray. As a longtime Alaskan who's serious about bear defense I've sought out the research into what works, what doesn't, what happened in actual instances, etc. I found it tiresome, misleading, and potentially dangerous to listen to self-styled "experts" who rely on theory, anecdotal evidence, and what a friend of their's says.
    Anybody who would denigrate bear spray as "hair spray", or think that a bear would "only licks it chops at the smell of bear spary", obviously is not well informed on the capabilities of today's capsacium. I'm really surprised that there's anyone left who hasn't heard about how bears react to properly used spray. (I don't have an agenda advocating brands, snowshooze, but I am a proponent of valid self-defense tactics.) Anybody relying on a firearm to save them from bear attack certainly has not seen the results collected from analyzing hundreds of bear attacks in Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48. (Smitty, if you could point me in the direction of the research showing Carharts to be a deterrent I'd appreciate it.)
    This article, and my response, are not anti-gun at all; it's about bear defense and getting out good information on what really works. (tvfinak, if you can show me one insinuation in the article or my posting that says you "don't need to carry a gun", please point it out to me - I can't find it.) As a Life Member of the NRA I certainly support everyone's right to carry and use firearms, but the speed and surprise of a bear attack, coupled with bears' notorious tenacity to press the attack even when mortally wounded, doesn't make firearms your best first-line defense; there are too many variables that have to fall into place in your favor to make a gunshot save you from getting ripped up.
    (Many bear attacks where firearms were used to kill the bear still didn't allow the victim to avoid a mauling. That's the beauty of spray - nobody gets hurt, and the wildlife isn't endangered or damaged. I don't mean to talk anyone out of their mano-a-bearo combat, if that's their desire. I only mean to address an audience that would like to avoid confrontations altogether.)
    Nor am I proposing that bear spray is the cure-all. High winds do make it less effective, jwp500, and anyone using it inappropriately (like tvfinak's friend) will not get the results they'd like. The point is to do the research, get informed, and you won't have to "imagine" what the results would be - the results are in, and available to the public (Stephen Herrero's books are a great place to start).
    I wish safe travels to all.

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default IF so popular with alaskans

    then why in the last 13 years that I have lived in alaska have I not seen anyone carrying it doing whatever activity. All I see are shotguns, revolvers, and rifles. I have never seen anyone, greenie or who ever with a pepper spray, bear spray whatever the stuff is.

    All that comes to mind is the poor Russian fellow a couple years ago or so who was found with a discharged bear spray canister and his remains. So yeah. It will my my glock 20 for me. I have been around many bears. I will not trust a can of spray. If you carry you both that is just stupid. Just another thing to carry and or confuse yourself with in heat of the moment. Not to mention extra weight and bulk, carry an extra clip or ammo pouch.

  13. #13

    Default Green Tea

    Well, you came in under false pretenses. You answered your own question while you were asking it, and want to know what ? :confused:
    ---Call us closed minded.---

  14. #14

    Default Evil Doer

    GreenTea,

    I like Earl Grey and Camomille, especially when it is fused with Tapain Berry extract, but I quit drinking tea a few years ago when I realized it was all grown in the Far East. The amount of fossel fuels burned transporting tea halfway around the world is criminal!

    There are people who are willing to destroy the earth just to satisfy their little taste buds for a few minutes. I suggest you quit tea and switch to pine bark.

    "America is destroying the world with global warming and the destruction of nature. We must now destroy America and turn to Communism to save the world."

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    then why in the last 13 years that I have lived in alaska have I not seen anyone carrying it doing whatever activity. All I see are shotguns, revolvers, and rifles. I have never seen anyone, greenie or who ever with a pepper spray, bear spray whatever the stuff is.

    All that comes to mind is the poor Russian fellow a couple years ago or so who was found with a discharged bear spray canister and his remains.
    akrstabout, if you check the UDAP web site you'll find that a number of Alaskans have already used pepper spray effectively. When I first got to Montana in 88, almost noboby carried pepper spray. Now, just about all hikers and backpackers in griz country carry it and every year more hunters are carrying it. The good stuff (UDAP) is very effective. As far as I can tell 100%, when used properly, which is a lot better statistically than rifles or handguns. We have been discussing this in another thread. I am not an anti.

    As far as the unfortunate Russian man goes, he did not use his spray effectively. He discharged into the ground (snow) and not at the bear, probably because he waited to long.

    Here is a video documenting the events.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjkTmE--Ntg

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    Default Wrong Assumption

    Green Tea-

    It appears that you are making assumptions yourself - like my friend didn't know what he was doing!

    FYI he is well respected biologist who was born and grew up in Alaska and has traveled all over the state in his work. He used the bear spray not to turn attaching bears but only to run the bears off from where he needed to do his work. Perhaps it was "inappropriate use" but you will have a hard time conviencing me a bear just nosing around is harder to affect with bear spray than one charging you in a fit of anger. He noted that some of the time the bears scooted off and some of the time they ignored the stuff and licked their chops. He probably used the spray more than anyone in Alaska - he knows first hand how the stuff works, not from information gathered from second hand reports. He carried a gun, not bear spray when he goes fishing. Another friend was a profesional guide and commercial fisherman - care to guess what he carries?

    I also note all state and federal foresty and land people carry firearms - not pepper spray. There must be a good reason?

    You may also recall that the police tried pepper spray for a whille until they found out it didn't work all the time. They are now using the Tasers as non-lethal weapons.

    I immediately suspect anything the AP and other big news organizations report concerning firearms - they are so biased it stinks. I remember the book that came out a few years ago concerning the early use and ownership of guns in America. All the big news media hoped on it like crazy and ran all sorts of stories on it. Problem was the "research" was faked and make up to support the authors posiiton that guns weren't commonly owned in early America. Not saying it happened in this instance but it was reported by the AP I'm very skepical.

    Out of curosity - do you also wear bells when you go out in the woods? As I recall they are reported to let the bears know you are coming so they won't be suprised.


    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    Weland anyone using it inappropriately (like tvfinak's friend) will not get the results they'd like. .
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  17. #17
    Member Bear Buster's Avatar
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    go here this subject has been beat to death:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...699#post238699

  18. #18

    Default

    tvfinak, maybe your friend was using an older spray that was designed for use against people and not bears, which is what the original products were.

    I have read a report on the UDAP that Alaska F&G wardens are carrying it. Maybe not all.

    But here's another claim on the UDAP site.

    The Right Stuff for professionals
    The Teton Park rangers, Yellowstone National Park crews, Glacier National Park rangers - to mention a few - all pack Mark's bear spray. -- The Right Stuff -

    If this claim wasn't true it wouldn't last long on this site. And I happen to know the YNP rangers and employees carry spray.

    Here is another report from that site:

    ...Bear pepper spray...the first line of defense in a bear encounter.
    The bottom line is that too many bears are dying as a result of conflicts with humans. The truth is, guns have not proven very effective against repelling grizzlybears from attack, and we usually end up with a dead bear, and often, a mauled hunter. Officials from the WY Fish and Game Department and MT Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks all recommend that hunters and other people in grizzly country use pepper spray as the first line of defense in a bear encounter. Dave Moody of WY Fish and Game Department said that in dozens of cases in the last 15 years, only once has a grizzly bear continued through pepper spray to attack the sprayer [through 1997], while noting that in the majority of cases in which a bear is shot, the shooter is still reached by the bear. For the most part, I think [pistols] are totally useless in a bear attack, Moody told the Casper Star Tribune last fall. -- Tim Stevens, Grizzly Mortality: Alarming and Avoidable, Greater Yellowstone Report 1997

    These are professionals who deal with this subject on a regular basis. If you check the facts, you will see that*good* pepper spray is pretty close to 100% effective. And the old stuff wasn't any worse than guns. There have been a lot folks mauled and killed after firing at a bear in self defense.

  19. #19
    Member GreenTea's Avatar
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    To akrstabout: bear spray is not popular with Alaskans. I only started carrying it regularly the past couple years, after I found out more about it. There's a history of firearms for self-defense that predates spray by a hundred years (at least), and people are very reluctant to give up long held traditions. My initial bear gun was a Mossberg 500 with an 18.5" barrel and pistol grip, loaded with 3" slugs and buckshot in the chamber, slung so I could engage it one-handed. I believed it was my best defense option, based on what I knew at the time, and I was devoted to it. Now I've got more information, made some changes, and encourage others to do likewise. If you don't want to then that's your decision, God bless. Trust what you will. I'll trust that the experiences of hundreds of bear attack victims, analyzed by biologists and other competent observers, have something valuable to teach us.
    As for the Russian victim, what were the specifics? If the spray was not used properly (and there's a terrifying amount of misunderstanding about that) then it proves nothing. If it was used properly, then it was a single failure and doesn't prove anything either. There have been plenty of dead bear-attack victims found with firearms by their sides as well. (Oh by the way, nobody said bear spray was perfect. The ADN article quoted only a 98% success rate, in 83 cases.) Anecdotes and instances are informative, not conclusive.
    I'm pretty certain that my carry options weigh less than yours, and I've suffered no confusion about their use when the time came. Extra ammo? Mauling victims (typically) report time for one shot; reloading during an attack isn't a realistic option.
    To snowshooze: huh?
    To jorel77: ummm, alrighty then... have a nice day!

  20. #20
    Member Bear Buster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    To akrstabout: bear spray is not popular with Alaskans. I only started carrying it regularly the past couple years, after I found out more about it. There's a history of firearms for self-defense that predates spray by a hundred years (at least), and people are very reluctant to give up long held traditions. My initial bear gun was a Mossberg 500 with an 18.5" barrel and pistol grip, loaded with 3" slugs and buckshot in the chamber, slung so I could engage it one-handed. I believed it was my best defense option, based on what I knew at the time, and I was devoted to it. Now I've got more information, made some changes, and encourage others to do likewise. If you don't want to then that's your decision, God bless. Trust what you will. I'll trust that the experiences of hundreds of bear attack victims, analyzed by biologists and other competent observers, have something valuable to teach us.
    As for the Russian victim, what were the specifics? If the spray was not used properly (and there's a terrifying amount of misunderstanding about that) then it proves nothing. If it was used properly, then it was a single failure and doesn't prove anything either. There have been plenty of dead bear-attack victims found with firearms by their sides as well. (Oh by the way, nobody said bear spray was perfect. The ADN article quoted only a 98% success rate, in 83 cases.) Anecdotes and instances are informative, not conclusive.
    I'm pretty certain that my carry options weigh less than yours, and I've suffered no confusion about their use when the time came. Extra ammo? Mauling victims (typically) report time for one shot; reloading during an attack isn't a realistic option.
    To snowshooze: huh?
    To jorel77: ummm, alrighty then... have a nice day!
    Maybe one day they'll have a SPRAY for Moose so we can just put them to sleep without the use of firearms...wouldn't that be special;) NO TRAUMA KILL:D

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