Bear Spray

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#22
Anyone ever shot a bear?
That's the question that never gets answered whenever bear talk springs up on any overland forums. Everybody is an expert based on what they read on the Internet and second hand stories. 99.9% of respondents have never shot a bear and of those the vast majority have never even hunted. Bears are to overlanders what zombies are to nerds.

I can't speak for grizzlies as they are out of my experience but bears die real good and are pretty damn tasty.
 

Mr. Leary

Adventurist
Founding Member
#23
That's the question that never gets answered whenever bear talk springs up on any overland forums. Everybody is an expert based on what they read on the Internet and second hand stories. 99.9% of respondents have never shot a bear and of those the vast majority have never even hunted. Bears are to overlanders what zombies are to nerds.

I can't speak for grizzlies as they are out of my experience but bears die real good and are pretty damn tasty.
As Stated above, I prefer to wrestle them into submission rather than shoot them, but I agree that they are tasty, as long as you like rich and fatty meat. Kinda like how duck meat compares to turkey.
 

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#24
Hell my Grandma Salsgiver use to poach 'em with a .22 mag back in the day. We'd get a call from her telling us she needed a hand with a "black angus" and off to the farm we would go to do some butchering. The moral of the story is...don't roll around in Grandma Salagiver's corn field if you don't want to get ate.
 

CJones

Adventurist
#25
I'm not claiming to be an expert on bear attacks. I have shot a bear before. There is a pretty big difference between my hunting the bear and it attacking me, though. The bear I shot was somewhere between 60 and 80 yards from me, it wasn't moving much, just foraging around, and it certainly didn't know I was about to shoot it. So it was pretty easy to put a rifle round, no matter the caliber, right where I wanted it. Bear was dead quick.
Now, when a bear is 50 yards or closer, and decides it want's you dead, it's going to be a lot more difficult to put the round where you want it. Smaller black bears will probably drop easier with a big caliber almost anywhere you hit it. The bigger they get, the more important shot placement is. That's an assumption on my part, I haven't used a gun on a charging bear. I've only had one bear threaten my life and my can of UDAP did the job nicely. But I would rather start with something I don't need to be as accurate with, and that I know from experience will at least give me some time, than to go straight for the precision required hardware. My, non-expert, opinion.

Side note. Black bear is very, VERY, tasty.
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#26
All kidding aside, Black bears are very different from Grizzlies. I've never even had to get big or loud with a black bear before, although my Mom ran one out of camp with a pot and pan once many years ago. Essentially a 300 lb raccoon, but dangerous if provoked, startled, or cornered.

Grizzlies are no joke. If they decide they want to get you, they probably will. Some folks carry very large Calibur pistols, but IMO you don't have much of a chance without a hi-powered rifle... Or a can of bear spray, which can disorient them sufficiently long for you to make your exit.
Slug guns preferred to high power rifle. Many a Grizzly have survived high powers long enough to tear people up before they die.

And yes black bear meat is quite tasty but ensure you cook it enough as it has higher rates of trichinosis than pigs do.
 
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Jonathan Hanson

Adventurist
Founding Member
#27
Someone here mentioned a compact bear spray. I think compactness should be at the bottom of the priority list for bear spray. You want the biggest can you can get, with the longest range.

Years ago when Roseann and I crossed the Canadian border on our way to kayak the Beaufort Sea well above the Arctic Circle, Canadian customs asked if we had any weapons. I said yes, a Winchester .458 Magnum and a can of bear spray (we had a chance of encountering polar bears). They asked to see the bear spray, and hauled us into the office because the can did not say "Bear spray" or "For use on animals only." They came close to confiscating it but finally let us go.

Never even glanced at the rifle.
 
#32
Another thought is from a different experience base. While not quite the same, I never deployed OC spray without two things occurring: first I would get significant exposure (probably due to the second reason), secondly I never had OC spray work as advertised. Every single person I sprayed I still had to fight. It wasn't until they were handcuffed and in my patrol unit that the effects of the OC would hit them.

I've seen videos of bear spray working, I've also seen videos of OC spray working on combative subjects. I still carried my spray religiously while in bear country though.
 

CJones

Adventurist
#33
Another thought is from a different experience base. While not quite the same, I never deployed OC spray without two things occurring: first I would get significant exposure (probably due to the second reason), secondly I never had OC spray work as advertised. Every single person I sprayed I still had to fight. It wasn't until they were handcuffed and in my patrol unit that the effects of the OC would hit them.

I've seen videos of bear spray working, I've also seen videos of OC spray working on combative subjects. I still carried my spray religiously while in bear country though.
Just a couple thoughts I had when reading this. I'm not trying to be combative for the sake of being combative.
When you deployed your OC spray, I am speculating as I was not there to witness it, you were likely within arms reach when doing so. Not to mention the fact that after spraying them you were responsible for cuffing them. They don't have to be able to see you well to start throwing punches and flailing/kicking when you are trying to grab hold of them. Not to mention, and I'm still speculating, that most of the subjects being sprayed were probably not completely sober. Not sure sobriety plays a role but I would think it does.
Anyway, Bear spray is significantly stronger (combined with the extreme sensitivity of a bear's olfactory), has a much greater distance it can be deployed, and you hopefully aren't going to try approaching the bear to cuff em after spraying them.
 
#34
and you hopefully aren't going to try approaching the bear to cuff em after spraying them.
Now you tell me? That's 6-weeks of training I'll never get to use...

And yes for the rest. Not saying right or wrong, just something I was thinking about over the past couple of weeks banging around Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier.
 
#36
Just got back from a moto rally in Naksup (BC) and one of the presentations being offered was about bear safety. The instructor, a guide offered several great tips:
- bear bells do not work !...why ? bears do not hear high frequency sounds only low frequencies, a bell will emit a high frequency hence why they are not working...
- bear spray should be replaced when the expiry date is met (usually 5 yrs). What happens is the can will slowly leak pressure and after 5 yrs, you may not have the 20'+ distance the spray will hit, the liquid in it is still good but without sufficient pressure, it may not reach your target anymore...
- select a bear spray can with a "glow in the dark" safety cap. This will assist you in quickly in locating your can in the dark in your tent if Yogi decides to pay you a visit in the middle of your sleep. Before going to bed in the tent, shine your flashlight on the cap to "activate" the glow.
- Make sure to unwrap the can if sold with a cellophane wrapping, it needs to be ready for use right away. no time to unwrap when Yogi is facing you.
- always read the can instructions before heading out in the country.
- keep a knife inside your tent at night. Again if Yogi tries to gain entry via the closed door trapping you inside, the knife will allow you to cut an opening on the other side of the tent and allow you to escape.
- the bear spray does not work right away once deployed so expect to be hit and bitten by the bear for about 10 seconds after spraying the animal charging you. Like humans being sprayed with pepper spray, it takes a few seconds to work and cause pain to the recipient.
- if using bear flash bangs, fire the bang cartridge ABOVE you not in direction of the charging bear. The reason is that if you aim at the bear and the bang flies by the animal and goes off behind it, the sounds may scare him off and push him forward in your direction... not good so always fire flash bangs above your head.
- if you have a companion, get side by side and lock one arms making you and your friend a larger target and perhaps this will prevent the bear to attack if you are a bigger threat. If wearing a jacket like, open it like a sexual pervert (! lol) to visually appear larger than you are.
- if using bear spray, do not stay at the location as any other unrelated bears present in a radius of a few miles around will be attracted by the strange smell of bear spray and wil be approaching to investigate...
stay safe out there :)
 

Brett C

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Moderator
#37
Just got back from a moto rally in Naksup (BC) and one of the presentations being offered was about bear safety. The instructor, a guide offered several great tips:
- bear bells do not work !...why ? bears do not hear high frequency sounds only low frequencies, a bell will emit a high frequency hence why they are not working...
- bear spray should be replaced when the expiry date is met (usually 5 yrs). What happens is the can will slowly leak pressure and after 5 yrs, you may not have the 20'+ distance the spray will hit, the liquid in it is still good but without sufficient pressure, it may not reach your target anymore...
- select a bear spray can with a "glow in the dark" safety cap. This will assist you in quickly in locating your can in the dark in your tent if Yogi decides to pay you a visit in the middle of your sleep. Before going to bed in the tent, shine your flashlight on the cap to "activate" the glow.
- Make sure to unwrap the can if sold with a cellophane wrapping, it needs to be ready for use right away. no time to unwrap when Yogi is facing you.
- always read the can instructions before heading out in the country.
- keep a knife inside your tent at night. Again if Yogi tries to gain entry via the closed door trapping you inside, the knife will allow you to cut an opening on the other side of the tent and allow you to escape.
- the bear spray does not work right away once deployed so expect to be hit and bitten by the bear for about 10 seconds after spraying the animal charging you. Like humans being sprayed with pepper spray, it takes a few seconds to work and cause pain to the recipient.
- if using bear flash bangs, fire the bang cartridge ABOVE you not in direction of the charging bear. The reason is that if you aim at the bear and the bang flies by the animal and goes off behind it, the sounds may scare him off and push him forward in your direction... not good so always fire flash bangs above your head.
- if you have a companion, get side by side and lock one arms making you and your friend a larger target and perhaps this will prevent the bear to attack if you are a bigger threat. If wearing a jacket like, open it like a sexual pervert (! lol) to visually appear larger than you are.
- if using bear spray, do not stay at the location as any other unrelated bears present in a radius of a few miles around will be attracted by the strange smell of bear spray and wil be approaching to investigate...
stay safe out there :)
FYI looking bigger to a male grizz may actually cause it to attack. Otherwise all good info.
 
#38
This is going around Facebook this evening:

https://www.facebook.com/todd.orr?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
https://www.facebook.com/todd.orr?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
If you click through he has a video he took of his injuries.

Grizzly 10/1/16

Hello everyone.
Thought I should share yesterday morning's Grizzly incident.

I took an early morning hike in the Madison valley to scout for elk. Knowing that bears are common throughout southwest Montana, I hollered out "hey bear" about every 30 seconds so as to not surprise any bears along the trail.

About three miles in, I stepped out into an open meadow and hollered again. A few more steps and I spotted a sow Grizzly bear with cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow. The sow saw me right away and they ran a short distance up the trail. But suddenly she turned and charged straight my way. I yelled a number of times so she knew I was human and would hopefully turn back. No such luck. Within a couple seconds, she was nearly on me. I gave her a full charge of bear spray at about 25 feet. Her momentum carried her right through the orange mist and on me.

I went to my face in the dirt and wrapped my arms around the back of my neck for protection. She was on top of me biting my arms, shoulders and backpack. The force of each bite was like a sledge hammer with teeth. She would stop for a few seconds and then bite again. Over and over. After a couple minutes, but what seemed an eternity, she disappeared.

Stunned, I carefully picked myself up. I was alive and able to walk so I headed back down the trail towards the truck 3 miles below. As I half hiked and jogged down the trail, I glanced at my injuries. I had numerous bleeding puncture wounds on my arms and shoulder but I knew I would survive and thanked god for getting me through this. I hoped the bleeding wasn't too significant. I really didn't want to stop to dress the wounds. I wanted to keep moving and put distance between us.

About five or ten minutes down the trail, I heard a sound and turned to find the Griz bearing down at 30 feet. She either followed me back down the trail or cut through the trees and randomly came out on the trail right behind me. Whatever the case, she was instantly on me again. I couldn't believe this was happening a second time! Why me? I was so lucky the first attack, but now I questioned if I would survive the second.

Again I protected the back of my neck with my arms, and kept tight against the ground to protect my face and eyes. She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arms again. One bite on my forearm went through to the bone and I heard a crunch. My hand instantly went numb and wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath. The sound triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back. I knew I couldn't move or make a sound again so I huddled motionless. Another couple bites to my head and a gash opened above my ear, nearly scalping me. The blood gushed over my face and into my eyes. I didn't move. I thought this was the end. She would eventually hit an artery in my neck and I would bleed out in the trail... But I knew that moving would trigger more bites so a laid motionless hoping it would end.

She suddenly stopped and just stood on top of me. I will never forgot that brief moment. Dead silence except for the sound of her heavy breathing and sniffing. I could feel and her breath on the back of my neck, just inches away. I could feel her front claws digging into my lower back below my backpack where she stood. I could smell the terrible pungent odor she emitted. For thirty seconds she stood there crushing me. My chest was smashed into the ground and forehead in the dirt. When would the next onslaught of biting began. I didn't move.
And then she was gone.

I tried to peek out without moving but my eyes were full of blood and I couldn't see. I thought that if she came back a third time I would be dead, so I had to do something. Staying in position on the ground, I slowly reached under my chest to grab at the pistol I was unable to get to earlier. I felt I needed something to save my life. The pistol wasn't there. I groped around again but nothing. I wiped the blood from one eye and looked around.
No bear.

The pistol and holster were lying five feet to my left. The bear's ferocious bites and pulling had ripped the straps from the pack and the holster attached to it. Now trashed, that backpack may have helped prevent many more serious bites on my back and spine.
I picked everything up and moved down the trail again. I couldn't believe I had survived two attacks. Double lucky!
Blood was still dripping off my head and both elbows and my shirt was soaked to the waist and into my pants. But a quick assessment told me I could make it another 45 minutes to the truck without losing too much blood.
I continued the jog just wanting to put more distance between that sow and I.

At the trailhead was one other vehicle. I really hoped that person didn't run into the same bear.
I snapped a couple quick photos and a video of my wounds, laid some jackets over the truck seat and headed for town. I stopped a rancher along the way and asked him to make a call to the hospital. When I got into cell service, I made a quick call to my girlfriend to ask how her morning was going, before freaking her out and asking her to bring me a change of clean clothes to the hospital.
Another call to 911 and I gave the operator a quick run down of my injuries and asked her to call the hospital and give them a heads up that I was ten minutes out.
Moments later I was met at the front door by the doctor, nurse and an officer. I had to ask the officer to open the door, put my truck in park, and unbuckle my seat belt. My left arm was useless. He was impressed I had taken the effort to buckle.
Once inside, the x-rays revealed only a chip out of the ulna bone in my forearm. Following was eight hours of stitching to put me back together. Most were arm and shoulder punctures and tears. A 5" gash along the side of my head will leave a nasty scar, but I'm hoping my balding doesn't come on too quickly and leave that one exposed. :)
And finally, this morning, numerous deep bruises and scrapes are showing up from the bites that didn't quite break the skin. Dark bruising in the shape of claws, line across my lower back and butt where the bear stood on me. Also a few more chest bruises and facial abrasions from being smashed and slammed into the ground.

Not my best day, but I'm alive.
So thankful I'm here to share with all of you. :)
In a couple weeks I will have to clean out the truck a little better. My girlfriend says it looks like I had gutted an elk in the drivers seat.

Todd Orr. Skyblade Knives.
 

GeoYota

Adventurist
#40
This is going around Facebook this evening:

https://www.facebook.com/todd.orr?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
If you click through he has a video he took of his injuries.
Read his posting...amazed he survived two attacks from the same bear.

What stuck out most in my mind were the facts that the bear charged right through his cloud of discharged bear spray, and still attacked him...and that during the attack his pistol and holster were torn from his body and thrown 5 feet away.

To @sfsmedic 's point, all the preparation in the adventure world (bear spray, firearms, education) does not "prepare" you for the variables faced when dealing with real world circumstances (a grizzly sow protecting her cubs).
 
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