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Bear Spray
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Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Bear Spray on 08/12/2011 08:24:27 MDT Print View

I was curious how many of you carry bear spray when in areas that have grizzlies. Do you think most backpackers do? I'm going to be running a route in the Tetons and thought it might be a good idea to carry some. I've never carried spray before but seems like grizzly encounters are becoming more common.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Bear Spray on 08/12/2011 08:52:18 MDT Print View

Hi - yes, absolutely.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Carry bear spray on 08/12/2011 08:53:17 MDT Print View

There are a lot of Grizzly bears here in the Tetons. Carry bear spray - ESPECIALLY if you are running.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Yes on 08/13/2011 18:02:16 MDT Print View

After just getting back from a big trip in the Alaskan bush without bear spray, I have decided to add it for next time.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yes on 08/13/2011 18:06:36 MDT Print View

Ryan, did the nice little fuzzy-wuzzies come out to great you?

--B.G.--

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
air horns on 08/13/2011 18:59:23 MDT Print View

Just curious if a compressed air horns like those sold in marine shops that you sometimes hear at sports events would be an effective deterent? Certainly would have some usability advantages over pepper spray I would think and is much cheaper, at least here in Japan where a small can of Counter Assault sells for ~US$200+, IF you can find it!

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: air horns on 08/13/2011 19:06:24 MDT Print View

why do u have bear spray in japan, I thought there were no bears there?

Air horns don't do anything to an aggressive bear. is your life worth the $20 difference of the bear spray and air horns here?

Edited by rcowman on 08/13/2011 19:07:17 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: air horns on 08/13/2011 19:21:12 MDT Print View

Not the bear spray conundrum again....(runs away screaming and waving my arms in the air).......

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: air horns on 08/13/2011 20:35:09 MDT Print View

You can get some really tiny and lightweight air horns (cheap, too). Unfortunately, they are not nearly as loud and obnoxious as the big ones.

In June, I was in Yellowstone (grizzly country), so I carried either bear spray, a bear flare, or both. It would be just my luck to run into a grizzly that was deaf.

--B.G.--

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: air horns on 08/13/2011 21:56:24 MDT Print View

"why do u have bear spray in japan, I thought there were no bears there?

Air horns don't do anything to an aggressive bear. is your life worth the $20 difference of the bear spray and air horns here?"

Like I said, just curious since "making noise" is supposedly a good strategy.

We report several attacks/deaths annually by Asian Black Bear in the Japan Alps and in the Northern island of Hokkaido we have Kodiak-sized Brown bears. There doesn't seem to be much hiker education/prevention here other than the occassional warning sign. Certainly no bear canisters/bags are being sold and most folks in campsites store food in/around tents. Lot's of bear bells though. Sounds like Xmas in the mountains during high season!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: air horns on 08/13/2011 22:10:50 MDT Print View

"Lot's of bear bells though."

Sounds like a marketplace that is just ripe for titanium bear bells. You wouldn't want to have just ordinary steel bells.

But then some Japanese engineer will develop an electronic bear bell so that you can vary the pitch and loudness, and they are powered like a self-winding watch.

--B.G.--

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: Utah
signal cartridges - bear cracker on 08/13/2011 22:46:53 MDT Print View

One option to add to bear spray to prevent an encounter is a loud noise maker. Signal cartridges, fired with a pen-style launcher are supposedly effective and are actually pretty small and light.

bear signal

They're basically the same as firing a gun off which is what a lot of people that "protect" themselves with a gun are mostly likely to use it for.

Edit: link on bear deterrents:

http://www.bearsmart.com/bear-management/non-lethal/tools

Interesting piece from the site:

"Research suggests that bear spray on objects or the ground may actually act as an attractant to bears. Since bear spray is a stable weather-resistant compound, it may retain its attractant properties for days or months. Bear spray should be cleaned from objects and the ground after use to avoid attracting bears (Smith 1998). Canisters, that have been fired, should also be cleaned or stored in bear-proof locations."

Edited by ctwnwood on 08/13/2011 22:51:47 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: signal cartridges - bear cracker on 08/13/2011 23:04:45 MDT Print View

I have a vague idea that those may be banned in the national parks. You would need to ask them, and it would vary from park to park.

In most national parks, fireworks are banned. Firearms are legal to be carried, but you can't fire them unless you have a life-or-death situation. A Yellowstone grizzly charging at you may be life-or-death. A Yosemite black bear prowling around your tent may not be.

--B.G.--

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: Yes on 08/14/2011 07:40:03 MDT Print View

@Bob: No, the cute little fuzzy guys did not meet us but they were EVERYWHERE. Brooks Camp at Katmai was an interesting experience. There were sightings in Lake Clark too.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Yes on 08/14/2011 13:25:46 MDT Print View

"Brooks Camp at Katmai was an interesting experience."

In my first hour there, I had an up-close experience with brown bears.

I got off the float plane and attended the mandatory bear safety video. Then I grabbed my sixty pounds or so of gear and started walking up the beach toward the campground. When I was halfway there, I heard somebody running up fast behind me, so I started to turn to look over my left shoulder. A half-grown bear ran right past me like I wasn't there. I could have reached out and brushed it as it went by me. Then about five paces behind, another half-grown bear was chasing the first one. Wow. Then about twenty paces behind them, the full-grown bear was chasing the half-growns. None of them even looked at me, so I guess I wasn't on the menu.

That is when I came to appreciate the electric fence around the campground.

--B.G.--

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: Re: Re: Yes on 08/14/2011 13:48:23 MDT Print View

Yup, similar experiences at Katmai. We saw a bear on the beach literally 30 seconds after walking out of bear orientation. The rangers told us not to worry about the bears chasing each other (like you saw), they are not interested in us. We were walking past the lodge one evening when a sub-adult come charging right out of the woods 3 feet in front of us. That kind of freaked some of the people in the group. Lake Clark was uneventful but we did observe a brown bear mother and cubs from a distance.

I am actually more scared of the black bears out here in the Eastern US than Alaska because they have become so accustomed to human food. Dumb people feeding them in the Smoky Mountains does not help either.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes on 08/14/2011 14:15:44 MDT Print View

My estimation is that brown bears and grizzly bears are much more dangerous than black bears. They are larger, more unpredictable, and more lethal. Black bears can be problematic because they are very intelligent and very curious, but not so lethal. Black bears seem better at solving problems, opening things, and getting into mischief.

I would never consider wasting a perfectly good can of bear spray on a black bear unless it already had my leg in its jaws. For a grizz, though, I might value having a second can of it handy.

--B.G.--