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Old 11-28-2012, 09:22 PM   #44
Dude Buddha
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Yukon
Oddometer: 654
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
"Bear spray works"

- have you personally sprayed a bear with it, and if yes, what happened then (I do not doubt that statement, but ask, because I haven't)..?

And even more stupid questions: what exactly does "bear spray" contain, are there different products, and are they widely available in your country, or you need permit to get them?
Yes, the bear turned and ran. The active ingredient is typically 1% capsaicin. Bear spray is widely available in Canada, does not require a permit, but you may be required to sign a disclaimer or waiver: "...I understand the bear may still eat me". I've read a number of studies, it's good stuff and certainly much better for the average person than a gun. A precaution, I would always move my camp if I had to spray a bear. One study showed that grizzlies left, but a small percentage of black bears came back a few hours later to investigate, perhaps a WTF? reaction.

There is a joint study/video that was sponsored by Yukon/Alaska/B.C. (maybe it was Alberta) that produced two DVD, one is "Staying Safe in Bear Country", the other is "Working in Bear Country". Both are very good, but you have to wonder how much they paid the grad student to go approach the bears...

Total agreement with those who wouldn't be near someone who thought a gun was the only (or even recommended) solution. In most cases, I just want the bear to leave me alone, and most are doing that naturally, it's quite rare to get charged or be investigated. I have talked to a bear biologist from Alaska who had gone 30 years doing field work without being charged, he was almost disappointed!

Clarification on the cabin repair - I had a shotgun (you need about 4,000 lb. ft. of energy to kill a bear, most handguns have around 400 lb.ft. for, say, a .45 - ineffective) because I wasn't sure the propellent in the bear spray was going to work at -30, there were only the two of us for miles (no worry about hitting an innocent), the bear was behaving oddly (should have been hibernating) and was aggressive about opening cabins, and my GF is going to live there next spring, so I didn't want the bear coming by again. This particular bear needed to be gone, and I learned after that the Conservation Officers have done so, shot it from a helicopter. It's been sent for necropsy to see why it was behaving this way, wasn't skinny, had good teeth. Might have been learned behaviour from somebody being sloppy with their camp/cabin. Up too late in the winter though, they're guessing it might have been sick, had odd scat.

There's lots of good literature out there on bear behaviour, interesting animals. Read the more recent info, approaches have changed over the years as more is learned.

A couple quick points, don't rely on bear bells, they can sound like natural noises. Simply yell ("Any bears in there?"), the human voice is distinct. Don't go into thick bush that has bear tracks going into! Don't camp on a trail used by bears. Obvious stuff, just keep thinking.
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