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Mace Pepper Spray Gun and Bears

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  • #16
    First your more likely to be killed by lightening than a bear attack, personally I only carry a side arm in certain known high concentration bear areas or when hunting bears.

    Secondly the only bear I have personally seen sprayed didn't get any effect from it. The young lady who attempted to spray a bear that was up wind of her, that she felt was too close to camp however got a full dose in the face. She had to be air lifted out emergently and landed on a ventilator in provs ICU. Seems she has "mild asthma." I'll never risk my life with a protective technique that is just as likely to take me out if the wind shifts. I'd personally like to be able to fight back if things turn for the worse! BTW the bear that was the intended target of the spray walked up to the young woman now laying on the beach writhing in pain and screaming that she couldn't breath, sniffed her foot and walked on through camp and into the woods, just as he more than likely would have if no one had ever noticed him standing there.
    BHA Member
    Bowyer to the forces of light in the land of the midnight sun.
    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

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    • #17
      The best protection is the one you have with you most often. A 30-06 bear gun would probably do the trick but its a PITA to lug around which is why we opt for handguns.

      If your wife doesn't like guns, then I'd suggest getting a serious can of bear mace for her to carry. She is likely to carry that all the time -- and is more likely to use it -- then a gun she doesn't like. You can carry the handgun or shotgun. If you're doing activities together that gives either person some sort of response option.

      If I'm doing stuff that I think might attract bears (small game hunting for example) I'll sometimes bring both spray and handgun. Kind of the belt and suspenders approach, especially as my trail gun is only a .357... If the situation allows I'd prefer to hit a bear with the spray first but its nice to have a backup plan.

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      • #18
        I'm with you on that. I used to carry a .338 on our hiking, fishing and berry picking trips. I found myself usually a couple paces away from the rifle...not handy for self defense and sometimes a little too handy for small children. I started carrying a .454 and the result is I'm armed a lot more of the time than I was with the .338. The wife doesn't carry a gun and we both carry pepper spray. I'm sure many would say If I want to adequately protect the family I should move up to a .500, or a 12ga, or a 37mm automatic cannon.

        It can be seen as analagous to wearing a seatbelt. We (hopefully) won't get in a situation where seatbelts will be needed to save our lives. There is also the possibility that things could be so bad the seatbelts won't help, but it still feels better to have them on. If we wanted the best protection we'd wear five point racing harnesses, have a roll bar installed in the car and everyone would wear nomex suits and crash helmets.

        In both cases one must make a reasonable compromise....and do all he can to avoid trouble in the first place!...Louis
        Louis Knapp

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        • #19
          I wear both on my pack. The bear spray is always first. I have 4 good reasons. 1) Some bears actually charge when they hear a warning shot. 2) I have no desire to kill a sow and follow up by having to kill the cub she was defending. 3) A moving target isn't ideal, especially when I am encumbered with a full pack and hopped up on adrenalin. With bear spray, it is just point and shoot, and the bear runs right into a wall of fog. Either way, you may only have time for one shot. I prefer the odds with bear spray... No need to spend precious miliseconds on target aquisition. 4) I also have no desire to spend a day skinning out a bear and carrying out the hide and skull when I don't even get to keep them.... and lest we forget, that last point is Alaska State Law. I also carry a snub-nosed .357 loaded with bear rounds, mostly for a 2-legged deterrent, but also because I know bear spray isn't perfect, especially when there's a strong wind. The .357 isn't perfect either, but I know it will never be leaning against a tree 10 yards away when I need it, and it's more practical when surveying thru black spruce and bear brush, which is where I usually find myself.

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