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Thread: Bear Spray, Handgun, or Both?

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    Question Bear Spray, Handgun, or Both?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100510/...inst_grizzlies

    I'll pack both and go with what ever I can grab first! What say you?
    As always in high risk areas a shotgun is best, but most of the areas I am in (if not hunting) the risk is low and I'm not willing to pack a shotgun while biking! : )

  2. #2
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Default

    There are dozens of threads about this subject. Why do people feel like it has to be brought up again and again.

    Bear defensive tools are like car insurance. You have car insurance in place 24/7/12 but hope to never use it. You have the kind of insurance that fits your needs.

    Same with defensive bear tools. It is not complicated.

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    Smile

    Two kinds of bear "experts" that bother me are those who insist on advocating bear spray and those who insist only "habituated" bears attack.

    First of all murphys law its usually very windy here and will be when the bear attacks so I would probably only spray myself and they I will be blind and covered with pepper so screw that!! Second, some bears attack in the middle of wilderness areas so dont feel more safe there either. Carrying a firearm is senseable. What if you cant shoot? There is no excuse, learn to shoot. Its fun!!
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Member goaty's Avatar
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    Default agree

    I agree with Sollybug. A .44 mag bullet won't drift back in my face at 20 yds and cripple me. While using spray, you almost always get some residue on your hands which will be rubbed onto your face once the whole ordeal is over with and you're wiping the sweat from your brow. If you do choose to use bear spray, buy an extra one so that you can shoot it, feel what it's like, and how far it goes. You should always be up wind when shooting it, if you're not, you'll be eating it. Bears don't alway attack from down wind, that's why I use a .44.

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    Member Formerly Montana Bob's Avatar
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    Default Best Defense

    You don't need a gun or spray, just a buddy who runs slower than you!
    Fish IT! Hunt IT! or *#%@ IT!

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    Maybe with the new law about firearms in national parks, there has been created a new business opportunity. A mile or so outside of the park boundary, some enterprising person could open a store that rents rifles and ammo. I know I would pay to be able to carry one into a grizzly area.

    In fact, my wife and I are going to Glacier in September. Hopefully the new store will be open by then.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    There are dozens of threads about this subject. Why do people feel like it has to be brought up again and again.

    Bear defensive tools are like car insurance. You have car insurance in place 24/7/12 but hope to never use it. You have the kind of insurance that fits your needs.

    Same with defensive bear tools. It is not complicated.
    True, but the comments on the Yahoo linked story are both entertaining and scary...

  8. #8

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    Why choose just one?? When my wife and I go hiking she's packing the UDAP and I'll now be packing a 329PD. Best of both worlds I guess.

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    Default

    I really don't see the need to season my meat before its dead or myself for that matter. Just what a bear needs a lightly seasoned hiker to add to the flavor. I always carry my 454 lead bear spray, its better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    I would be willing to bet at least 4 out of 5 of the people who recommend packing a gun for bear protection couldn't hit a Buick with a pistol while being charged by a bear, much less hit the bear on the run in a vital organ or in the central nervous system. Shotgun maybe, but I don' think I trust 00 buck to penetrate a skull. Additionally not everyone can afford the ammunition to become a great shot with a handgun. I could be wrong but if the average shooter at Birchwood range is any indication, the bears are safe.

    I get a bit "irked" by all the John Wayne's out there who tell the average hiker to get a 454 because its the only thing that will save their life.

    Bear spray is cheap, proven effective, and easy to use. It takes very high winds or very heavy rain to render it useless.

    Really, best bear protection is being bear smart.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    Why choose just one?? When my wife and I go hiking she's packing the UDAP and I'll now be packing a 329PD. Best of both worlds I guess.
    My wife and I carry exactly the same for bear defense on our hunts. This way we each have a deterent should a situation go very badly, and I feel that the combination of the two capabilities may provide options.

    WhiteFish

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    Default bears

    I'll throw my 2 cents in here. A number of years ago I had a 44 magnum revolver and practiced with it quite a bit, but still hoped to never use it on a charging bear. I also had a similar 22 revolver with which I practiced both quickly and a lot, to further hone my skills. I was able to hit grouse in the neck with the 22 at 15 yards about 40% of the time with one shot. I had mentally practiced planning for one good shot at an appropriate distance rather than trying to shoot too far away or too close if I had to defend myself.

    I was charged by a grizzly in very remote country and had my revolver in hand when he dropped a salmon on the other side of the stream and came for me. Although everything happened in an instant, it seemed that I had forever to think. He was coming VERY fast but still not as fast as I thought that he could travel. Partway across he glanced over his shoulder while still in full charge and I instantly decided that it was a bluff. He came within about 8 feet of me at high speed and then turned and ran off in the direction in which he had looked. He started the charge from about 30 yards away and he covered the distance in what seemed like one second. From the time when he was too far to shoot until he was too close was almost instantaneous, and any decision which I made must be made with absolutely no time to think.

    The point of my story is that if you intend to use a handgun for protection from bears, you had better practice a LOT for both accuracy and speed or you will not be able to defend yourself with it. Since then if I really want bear protection, I carry a shotgun loaded with slugs or I carry bear spray.

    The reason I ended up in the situation I was in was that I was doing king salmon stream counts for F&G and had encountered a number of grizzlies while doing this. In some instances I was canoeing very small streams and in others was walking. In all other cases, by moving along and making some noise the bears had always moved off. In this case I had seen three grizzles in the small stream ahead of me and when I got about 70 yards away they moved off into the woods; the sow began roaring and beating brush. I passed on the other side and was about 75 yards below her and had just made a slight turn in the stream while she was still making noise, when I saw the boar. I had a full pack of supplies for several days and was in light weight waders which I didn't want to tear in the brush so stayed along the stream.

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    Default Have you ever seen the article

    where the guy is walking the road from his house and a 900 # brown bear is at full charge from 30 yards. He downs it with a short barrelled 454 cassaull. 3 rounds were all he could get off.
    A. yes if he had the spray the bear might not have had to die .
    1.providing he could be accurate with the spray on a bear at full charge.
    2. the bear could live another day to find some one else as a meal.
    3.bears ,like any other preditor do kill, some times, out of sheer habit,challange,entertainment, becauae they can .
    Ever watch a house cat play with a shadow, or catch a squrrel and merely play with it and not kill it right away.
    What are you going to do with the bear spray while the bear is draging one of our friends off into the brush ?
    what ever you choose to use for defence you need to practice with (live practice and regularly), and it can't be hidden in the back pack. Oh and even if your on a bike ,unless it is decent turain ,being able to maintain 35 miles an hour is pretty tough .
    My choice,
    First, I'd pray for wisdom guidance and protection, before making any decisions .
    Second, prepare, the way I am instructed.
    Third. go in the confidence i have always had in my Heavenly Fathers watch care over me. 23 Psalm.
    If I did not have this relationship, I would have a 454 cassaull in a chest pack at all times, even in bed in the tent.
    My God has never failed me, but spray cans fail, and bullets fail, even skills fail, even knowledge fails. But in the final annalisis, the one not prepared to face his maker, is not prepared to live.
    food for thought

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    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Default

    It seems that many/most times this discussion comes up, some people use the argument that a bear is so hard to hit that using a handgun is ludicrous. I have read comparison to hitting a softball thrown/rolled at you, ect.. as a good comparison because of the size and movement comparisons. Well I disagree. It is a bad standard and, in my opinion, so is a paper target. My point is that an actual animal is easier to hit than the above mentioned “more realistic” targets. With a real animal, your brain will automatically track with the numerous visual clues that you don’t get with a ball or paper target. With these visually aids, finding the target is natural and subconscious. A well balanced pistol should point almost as well as your index finger. All of us point and track with our fingers at objects and people regularly and have been doing it all of our lives. Also, warning this is a guess based on a very few personal encounters with charging animals, a charging animal will be coming straight at you (I get the obstructions argument BTW). Therefore your target will be visually straight-line enlarging. Now I am not claiming it is perfect or full proof, but I disagree with those who say that it is nearly impossible unless you can shoot a thrown soft ball out of the air 10 out of 10 times. I think practice drawing and pointing is the first and most important muscle memory to develop. You can test your pointing ability by looking down the sights after you draw and point. If your pistol does not point naturally, get one that does. Recoil, flash and sound flinching have been studied and found to have much less of an impact in combat and hunting situations than many would think. One last thought, anxiety at the range (performance) and in a life threatening situation are different. How you react physically in those two different types of anxiety inducing scenarios is important. Often our natural instincts (for life threatening) are much better than learned behavior responses with performance anxiety. Simple example: compare how you physically reacted in a dangerous near miss while driving a vehicle versus having someone in your vehicle critiquing how you back your trailer up.

    Sorry for the ramble, but I think it is important in this debate.

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    I prefer guns. I once, talked to a guy who shot a black bear that was coming toward him while hiking with his kids. He told me "there was no doubt in my mind I was going to hit it, the only question is where." He shot it in the shoulder and it ran off. The threat actually focused him cause his kids were on the line. And bear spray is no gimme. Try shooting a tree in your yard. My can was hitting 4 feet high and two feet to the right of where I was aiming in no wind. I wouldnt even try in in a reasonable breeze as it would be like trying to direct a wet noodle at a charging bear....
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

  16. #16

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    Having looked at the logic of it all, I have almost no use for pepper spray.

    First; a handgun has real deterrence value because of its noise and "scare" effect. Try scaring or hazing a threatening bear with your 8 oz UDAP.

    Second; pepper spray mandates the bear must be within pouncing distance before it can be deployed. Way too much can happen in a millisecond when a bear is involved at such short distances.

    Third; If a bear decides to invade your tent, you'll have to bide your time and let him get inside with you before pepper spray will work. You'll breathe a couple lungfulls of it too. A handgun might punch a couple holes in your tent, but might also prevent holes in your flesh.

    Fourth; How often can/will you practice with your spray? Does carrying that extinguisher mean you'll be fast and effective? How do you know the pressure is good?

    Summary: A handgun (or any firearm) has the advantage of deterrence. A handgun doesn't require you to have the bear at spitting distance before using it. My handgun ignores the wind direction. I can shoot it from inside my tent and only my ears will suffer. I can buy ammo and practice with it as often as I wish. I can't signal anyone by spraying UDAP into the air. I can reload my gun in 30 seconds after discharging it. You'll need a credit card and a Fred Meyer to do it with pepper spray.

    Respectfully,

    Kevin

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    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    Default I respectfully Disagree

    I believe the big red hissing cloud of spray is easier to hit my target, and has been documented to throw off the senses and disrupt the most likely bluff charge anyway. when the cans expire (one or two years) I go in the backyard and have the family shoot it, its always on my belt and i practice drawing it out. so in a no wind or low wind condition i would pull the bear spray out first. but i also carry a quik draw short shotgun with brenneke heavy field slugs for any other situation and my second draw. I practice with both and feel comfortable walking in the woods, you cant cover all situations, but i do feel its important to have a firearm on you in the wilds of Alaska , but again i would draw the spray first. this is just my opinion.

  18. #18

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    It's probably a good reminder to note that the hunter's reaction times are critical to deploying any defensive measures. A closer bear means you have to be faster in your decisions and actions. A good loud firearm may keep that bluffing bear from getting in one's personal space.

    What I understand about pepper spray is this: It's a last line of defense..."he's almost on me"...product. No pepper spray that I'm aware of will hit with real force at 15 yards. Consider also: a good fast runner can cover 40 yards in 4.3 seconds. How much time will it take a bear to cover 20 yards, considering they are much, much quicker than any human could hope to be? 10 yards is the probable reliable max for a good strong can of spray. You've got less than a second to impact at that range.

    Last September I had an estimated 600-700 pound bear at 60 yards. I was hunting moose with a longbow, and I was alone. The bear was unaware of me. Now, I've carried spray, and I've carried lead too. On this day, the solid and familiar feel of my Lasered 329PD was way more comforting to me than UDAP. That comfort was extended for many days as I knew this bear was living with me in his valley for 12 days and nights.

    Both methods have merit...no question. I've chosen not to rely on the one that only works in extreme close range encounters.

    Great discussion,

    Kevin

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    Default One more thought occured to me

    How many cans of pepper spray should one carry ?
    After you've emptied the first can , you have to carry the empty out of course ,but now you encounter another bear, and he really is hungry.
    It has been my expirece ,that once you discharge airosol anything ,the valve seal is compromised and will continue to loose pressure especially after a test spray,like a fire extingusher. you don't test fire extinguishers, the powder fouls the valve.
    However, people that have a tendency to lack anger control, or particularly fearful, might be better off with carrying spray than a hand gun . Because it is not just what one carries into the woods, but in every day life.

  20. #20

    Smile non lethal?

    I do not believe in using non lethal force on any animal that is intent on doing me harm. Big bullets have worked well for along time...

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