Your thoughts on bear spray

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by speedracertdi, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Harry Swan

    Harry Swan One more time

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    Actually for a fee you can bring in a rifle or shotgun as long as the dimensions are 29" or greater. Also, big cans of bear spray are acceptable but smaller personal pepper spray are not.

    In a "not in Alaska" experience I spent a night with bears east of Quesnel, BC, near Bowron Lake Park, when a bridge washed out stranding me with a bunch of curious black bears for 18 hours. Not much sleep that night but they were just curious not aggressive and I just shooed them away. It must have been like living in Anchorage....
    #61
  2. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    I would also like to "check" one at the border on the way up...

    I wonder how I can do that?
    #62
  3. DeathWish

    DeathWish Adventurer

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    I am a zoo keeper and we use air horns to get one of our stubborn bears to go inside his night house. I can tell you he does not like the sound and runs away.
    #63
  4. morerpmfred

    morerpmfred Been here awhile

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    My bear spray contains real lead. If you can not afford that, then bear spray will work , just not all the time. Legal in Canada is shot gun not less than 26 inches overall. Semi autos barrel has to be minimum of 18 1/2 inches. My pump has a factory barrel length of 14 inches. It is short but legal here. Fits nicely in large backpack.
    There is a legal process in Canada here to transport your firearms through to Alaska. Check in with border security here.
    #64
  5. Harry Swan

    Harry Swan One more time

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    Good to know. Thank you.
    #65
  6. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    Yeah.............and this is the usual attitude of Canadians who can't carry pistols.:rofl

    Now be nice.......you Canadians always get your panties in a wad when we (Americans) mention or promote pistols.:D Gun (mostly pistol) threads used to get pretty nasty when we shared the sight with Canada.:deal

    First off........Bears aren't the only thing that will go after you sorry ass out in the boonies. On the bear side of the spectrum.......Explain your pistol ballistics and bear spray "theory" to this guy who saved his life by killing a charging bear with a 454.
    http://www.adn.com/2009/08/13/897940/twig-snap-alerts-dog-walker-to.html


    Secondly, most people who have killed an animal in self defense that I know personalty (including me) have killed a moose. For some reason they (moose) don't get the "press" bears do when they kill or hurt someone. While I have pulled my gun more than once on a bear encounter.......I have never had to shoot one. On the flip side I have lost count of how many times I have pulled a gun for a potential moose threat......I did have to kill one of them. It injured a dog bad enough that it died later....and was doing a tap dance on a clients head when I finally shot it. I think your going to find bear spray don't work worth a shit when a moose is tangled up in your dog team stomping your dogs. Wanna explain the "field trials" on that one???:norton
    When I am racing or doing tours I am NOT going to carry a rifle or a shot gun......I carry a PISTOL. Remember the Yukon Quest musher who had to kill a moose with his axe??? Now if he was allowed to carry a gun...........

    I feel for you guys in Canada not being able to carry a pistol, BUT please don't give us a bunch a BS about how great bear spray is compared to guns.:eek1:deal
    #66
  7. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

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    Yeah, well, ya better watch yer back, Mike. :uhoh

    [​IMG]
    #67
  8. CappyRidesAgain

    CappyRidesAgain Nom nom nom

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    not as scary as a certain DR sneaking up on you. :eek1
    #68
  9. legion

    legion Honking the Horn

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    That thing's still got your line and tackle in it's mouth. Did you cut that line... or how did that work out?


    [​IMG]
    #69
  10. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

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    The DR that I’m sure you are referring to has a very sneaky new look now.
    You wouldn’t recognize it at all. :uhoh
    #70
  11. Whalerman

    Whalerman Amateur Gynecologist

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    # 1

    I live on the coast in B.C. (yes the pistolless country) and have a few personal bear experiences. The town I live in has had several maulings over the years, always someone being in the wrong place in the wrong time. There haven't been any actual predatory bear attacks on humans here that I know of, but it does happen.

    I was moose hunting on a river a few years ago, where we were staying on my boat anchored in the ocean and my partner and I each had a small skiff that we would go up separate rivers on the high tide and float back out, looking for moose. On one of the river deltas I saw no less than 7 different identifiable grizzlies at once.

    There was a sow with 3 two year old cubs, a pair of medium sized teenagers still travelling together and a big boar that was not scared of us in the least.

    On one of the trips down the river I unknowingly floated between the sow and one of her cubs. I was floating downstream right at dusk with a fairly low tide in about 3 feet of water and was watching the sow and 2 of the cubs rooting for skunk cabbages. The riverbanks were well above my head but she was close to the river and in plain view. When I got a little farther downstream I saw the last cub on the other side of the river and realized I had floated between them. It wasn't a problem and I only realized what had happened after it was over, none of them even knew I was there.

    A few days later I was heading upriver on a rising tide and saw the 2 teenagers out on an island in the river delta. I was using a boat with a small 4 stroke that was very quiet and would only travel at tugboat speeds. It would not get up on plane and the river made more noise than the motor. A few hundred yards further upstream I passed the sow and her cubs as they were foraging on the same piece of land I had seen the teenage bears on. It was a typical idyllic scene with all 4 bears digging up roots and eating them.

    As I was passing her she snapped to attention, woofed at her cubs and tore of downstream towards where the 2 other grizzlies were, with her 3 two year old cubs hot on her heels. In a fraction of a second they transformed from a peaceful looking family into a ferocious gang of raging beasts intent on death and destruction. They were popping their gums and snarling as they ran off in the direction of the other bears and I realized that if I had been the object of their attention, it wouldn't matter what I was packing for artillery or bear spray, they would have had their way with me.

    We got a moose and came home, but the day we left, another hunter was badly mauled by these same 4 bears. He had wandered into an area where the bears had killed and buried a moose. He lived but was never the same.

    # 2

    Another year we were hunting inland and right at dusk we spotted a bull moose in a clearcut at least 350 yards away. My partner and I both lined up on it and shot at the same time due to the distance. It was just like one of those arcade games, as soon as the moose fell over, a grizzly stood up no less than 30 yards from the moose.
    It was obvously hunting the moose before we came along. We jumped in the truck and raced into the logging sale as close as we could get to where the moose was, wanting to get to the moose before the bear claimed it.

    The bear wasn't on the moose when we got there, but was pretty close to it. I shot a stump close to the bear to scare it off, and we gutted the moose. The plan was to use a cable turfer to get the moose out whole so we could stay together, 2 well armed guys and a dog. Unfortunately, in our haste to get to the moose,we lost the handle to
    the turfer on the way in. With no way to move the animal, I dragged the gutpile away from the moose, we collected the heart & liver, and headed back to camp.
    The whole time this went on we could hear the grizzly stomping around in the bush just out of sight. Neither of us wanted to leave the moose overnight but didn't really have much choice. We did tie a rope to the carcass so we could hook onto it the next morning without getting too close, and pissed all around the area in case it might help.
    The official policy in a case like this is to leave the moose as soon as you encounter the bear. We really shouldn't have gone to get the moose at all.

    The next morning we went back in full daylight making lots of noise, attached a long rope to the one we left the night before and dragged the carcass out with the truck. All that was left of the moose was 3 shanks and the hump.
    That moose looked like a mooseskin rug with feet. The ribs were all chewed off within a few inches of the spine, the pelvic bones and most of the spine were all chewed off, no nose or tongue left. There had obviously been more than one bear feeding off the moose because it was almost completely gone. If parts of it had been dragged off to be buried the hide would have been gone also.

    Two days later we saw another moose feeding with its head down so we snuck in close to try and get a better look when the moose lifted its head and it turned out to be the biggest grizzly I have ever seen. I shoot a .270 and have killed many moose, elk and deer with it but I know all it would have done was piss that bear off.

    I'll close with some sage advice passed down from my grandfather, who spent his working career as a timber cruiser on the southern B.C/ Alberta border.

    1. Never to go into the bush without a compass and a flashlight.
    2. A shotgun with the proper loads is the best defense against any north american animal.
    3. He had more dangerous encounters with moose than with bears, which some of the posts above also point out.

    Living here my whole life, in an area with many salmon rivers, I have had many encounters with bears, some a little scary but most not. We regularly get black and grizzly bears in town, everyone has bear teeth marks in their garbage cans.

    We have been threatened off a river by a black bear that decided we were too close to his fishing hole. I have camped on a river where you could hear bears running up and down the shallows all night chasing salmon. My hunting partner had a black bear fall out of a tree right beside him. I have had one make several circuits around our tent one night while we were inside scared shitless without defenses of any kind.

    I had a bear in my garage one night trying to stomp the lid of a 5 gallon pail of walnuts, making a hell of a racket.

    One of my riding buddies had the wildlife officers kill a bear in his garage that got trapped in there and it was quite pissed off about it. The wildlife officer killed it at about 3 feet with a shotgun.

    All the letter carriers in town have had close encounters while delivering mail, my wife included.

    My dad has had several bears trapped in his back yard over the years as they were attracted to his chickens.

    The bottom line for me is use common sense and if you can, carry a shotgun. Regarding the pistol grip, I also find them painful to shoot, so I had a woodworker friend of mine carve a grip with a much shallower angle that is very comfortable to shoot. You could do the same by buying an extra wooden stock and taking a saw and sandpaper to it.

    Sorry for the long post but once I started it was hard to stop..... and you did ask.
    #71
  12. CappyRidesAgain

    CappyRidesAgain Nom nom nom

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    i just took the picture before i unhooked it, i was so excited! :D

    I had the fish on a stringer when he took it. He got another fish that I was holding, he just would not go away from us, kept walking towards us, at 5ft I laid the fish down :cry

    live n learn I suppose.
    #72
  13. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    read them some statistics... in a smooth, calm voice
    #73
  14. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    This all comes down to a frank risk analysis calculation- while bears are scary and often dangerous it's important to realize how rare an accidental encounter is to a road bound traveler. If the OP is going to tour Alaska and Canada on a bike and isn't intending to travel far from his motorcycle the chances even seeing a bear at all, let alone up close, are poor. In reality the risk posed just by riding the bike are many times greater than that presented by any local fauna- he is a lot more likely to be injured or killed by someone falling asleep at the wheel of their RV or by being tripped up by bad roads.

    All the discussion over caliber, ballistics, shot placement, and so fourth is interesting, but the real need isn't all that high. Even the two recent maulings in eagle river were isolated to areas where bears were known to be, and were in the sort of places a traveler unfamiliar with the area would be very unlikely to go. I've carried firearms and or bear spray when camping in known high bear density areas, but have never (thankfully) needed any of it- and I'm not going to second guess anyone who feel the need to do so- but I would stress the value of doing an honest examination of the actual risks involved before making a decision.

    In short: You plan to tour an unfamiliar place with poor roads on a motorcycle and you think that bears are the problem? You would be better served to investigate some sort of travelers medevac insurance in case you meet an angry pothole on the haul road and need a lift home.
    #74
  15. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Exactly! But trying to convince riders who have heard the word "bear" mentioned that they will be in far greater danger from cage drivers in cities that they pass through en route is futile. They have become fixated on bruins, and fail to realize how much more likely they are to encounter moose. Still, cage drivers are by far our greatest danger.

    Hmmm. Any way to affix a 12-bore to the side of a m/c, aimed at about windshield height?

    Take that, left turner! :shoot

    :lol3
    #75
  16. Harry Swan

    Harry Swan One more time

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    I have MASA, they'll get you back from a hospital and get your bike to your home. $240/year is a bargain if you think about it.
    #76
  17. mfgc2310

    mfgc2310 Been here awhile

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    How do bears perceive your tent?

    If you have no food and didn't wipe your hands on your clothes etc,etc. and stay quiet in the tent (sleeping) how safe(r) are you.

    I recently traveled through BC and a bit of Alaska and camped in the excellent camping sites they have. I saw lots of black bears, some fairly close from the road while traveling - but no bears or signs of bears in campsites. I told myself most bears probably do not have positive experiences at campsites and probably avoid them. Also, it was obvious everyone was very aware and careful about leaving food around.

    The black/brown ???? bears I saw seemed very afraid of me on the bike even with the bike stopped. When I got close they would move away from the road - even if I tried to sneak up and I had one climb a tree for me right close to the road on the northern part of the #37 in BC

    I did see a few grizzly bears from a distance for the first time in my life (non discovery channel I mean) and I did a holy crap what is that. The grizzly was a little ways away but I could sense the grizzly was not at all afraid.

    I did come up on what I thought at first was a small moose, walking down the center of the road. I could see under the animal through its legs back to front. As I came up behind it I came to a stop and used my horn expecting it to run. It turned it's head and looked at me for 5 seconds or so before walking off the road. It stopped and turned its head and looked at me from the side of the road while I moved along. It was a large black bear like 5 feet high but real skinny. I learned sometimes the most dangerous bears are old, starving bears - they get desperate for food.

    The camp staff would come and talk to me to tell me no food left out etc, etc. that bears were present and active.

    One camp staff explained that bears can be attracted to the smell of tooth paste on your breath !!!!

    Let's just say I was somewhat concerned.

    I did have bear spray (1 can) and bear bangers and a a big knife but it was only to be able to tell myself if I did have bear come after me I would not go without a fight.

    To be honest I was very impressed by the number and type of animals on and near the road. I kept thinking if I hit an animal, it or his friends will eat me before I get help. Lot's more bears in BC then in Alaska but I only did the top of the world road, I did not get very far into Alaska.

    I would say your chances of a serious bike crash are probably 1000's of times greater than a bear attack - at least that is how it worked out for me - lots of close calls.
    #77
  18. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Ditto!:deal
    #78
  19. Gezerbike

    Gezerbike I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa......ck

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    5 of us went up to Alaska and we bought 5 cans of bear spray to take with...everyone had to have their own ! We sold 5 cans when we got home at a big discount. But everyone felt safe. But if you do some basic math, you might come to a different and more rational conclusion. A charging griz can cover about 41 ft per second. Those spray cans of bear spray advertise they will spray 30ft...max. So, unless you see that bear coming from 20 or 30 yards away, you can realisticly figure you have no more than 3 seconds to pull the can out, pop the safety, aim and fire. Good luck. You'd be money ahead to get an emergency beacon thing to push for help getting you to first aid than fighting off a mad griz with a can of fancy bug spray ! :lol3
    #79
  20. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Maybe so, but you slept at night right? That is why I take what I take with me.....I know deep down I'm just a snack if it were to come down to it, but with my arsenal of crap I sleep well!:huh:deal
    #80