Originally Posted by aquadog
I hope this is a prank post, or sarcasm.
Otherwise, you need to read or experience more current information, as much of what you state is not consistent with current bear safety practice. Let's put this in perspective. You say you've seen black bears 4 times in 12 years. Last year I had a grizzly with two cubs munching berries across my driveway, about 75', watched them for about an hour. Same summer, another mother grizzly with 3 cubs wandered by, black bears are frequent neighbours. This is at home, not way out in the bush, I'm only 25 km to Whitehorse.
All you're saying here ^ is "I have more experience than you, so your opinion is invalid and my opinion is a golden toilet". Please point out one thing that I've said that is "not consistent with current bear safety practice".
Grizzlies will defend territory or act to eliminate a threat, but do not typically view people as food. I have a friend and two acquaintances who have been mauled by grizzlies. In each case, the bear left them alone after believing it had eliminated the threat. My friend recalls thinking "if I don't stop screaming, I'm dead". He did so, the bear dropped him. I would add that it had him by the back of the leg where it joins the buttocks and was flailing him through alder bushes like a dog does with a stick. That's how strong they are. Or see the cabin pictures I posted. Grizzlies also respond well to bear spray, i.e. leave. So are you automatically dead if a grizzly attacks? No, use spray, play dead, they may leave you the worse for wear (none of my friends are pretty anymore), but alive, if you're lucky.
Look at what I said in my first post that you're supposedly responding to here ^. I said bear-spray or a firearm can prevent what is practically an "auto death" when attacked by a grizzly. Of course I could have said play dead as well, but I prefer a more pro-active approach hence why I didn't mention that.
As others have posted, your luck changes if you're constantly exposed to the situation, but that's true of anything. Use a chainsaw a lot, you're more likely to cut yourself.
We had one unfortunate incident where a prospector was out staking, unknowingly walked right below a den with a mother griz and cubs. She probably killed him so quickly there was no time for any action. Given some distance, and no surprise, she may not have acted as dramatically as she did. Who knows? There is an element of uncertainty, they also have personalities. Some are mellow, some not.
If you think a black bear your size is the same strength, good luck. Not even close. While most black bears will run, some won't. Worse, some black bears DO think of us as food, and will initiate a predatory attack. If it's pretending not to see you, slowly stalking closer...bad signs. We keep it quiet, but do lose a tourist now and then to bear attacks, almost all to black bears. One young summer worker had "old school" advice and played dead when the black bear went for her - this in a public government campsite - and while the bear was eventually chased off by others, it wasn't pretty. They don't necessarily kill you before starting to dine. If it's a predatory black bear, make the meal as hard to get as possible, fight back - but only if contacted.
At what point did I ever say or even imply that a black bear of my size has similar strength? Once again, please review my quoted post. I said a normal sized (consider the context: standard Colorado) black bear versus a dude with a bowie knife would practically be a fair fight. Sorry you took all that so literally...my point was that, like most mammals, bears are smart. If you fight back and hurt it enough, it will more than likely run away because you're not easy pickin's and like all wild animals it's brain is constantly in survival mode. Did I recommend fighting off a bear with a bowie knife? No, I didn't. My intended implicit message was what I layed out above...bears are animals, they are smart but they are simple-minded, by and large they prefer the path of least resistance. You fighting back is not in their game-plan ever. My most basic message was to fight back...don't assume playing dead will save you. And what was your message in the above paragraph? The exact same thing: fight back (but my recommendations are still "not consistent with current bear safety practices", right?). Bears will always be stronger than you, but never smarter. Use your head and you can probably outwit an attacking black bear unless you're entirely defenseless and caught by surprise. Of course your chances of successfully defending yourself in any manner against a grizzly are much less.
At another public campsite a black bear went for a fellow who was splitting wood, and he had the cool presence of mind to nail it dead center of the skull with his axe. Giant balls, and great timing. For the bear to get that close, it wasn't a bluff charge. If you're taking black bears casually, good luck with that.
^Again, you're trying to make it seem like I take bears casually. I don't, I simply recognize that I don't live in true bear country where grizzlies are eating berries near my property, etc. Once I had learned more about safe practices in bear country, I've practiced those guidelines myself...but I don't pretend like black bears are murderers behind every bush in the wild. But if I lived in wild Canada, I probably would because Canada is not Colorado.
I am probably more afraid of grizzlies, as I've seen what they can do, but given a choice, I'd almost rather deal with a grizzly than a black bear. Maybe it's the unpredicatability of a black bear, which I think may be higher than a grizzly.
Put another way, I've had a grizzly walk through my camp, about 25' away. I sat still, he ignored me, it was clear that he was sending a message: "MY woods". If that had been a black bear, I'd have been really worried, that close would mean intent.