">> There are a couple of a saves each year in Alaska from SPOT alone, whereas there rarely more than one fatal bear attack a year <<
I don't understand your rationale. . . . Please explain your thought process, I don't understand why the fear of being lost/rescued is greater than a bear attack when the stats look pretty similar. I'm not trying to be confrontational about this but I truly don't understand the thought process"
Mike: For me, it's a mult-factor decision as to why I sometimes carry a PLB and very rarely bear spray (pretty much only when someone else wants it along):
SPOT publicizes their saves to me (I get their emails) and I especially note their Alaska cases. But I hear other cases through, say, the Kenai chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, or the local paper that SPOT doesn't report. And I'm not on ACRs (GlobalFix, ResQFix) or McMurdo's (SmartFind, FastFind), Sydertrack's, etc's mailing lists so I'm sure I know of only a fraction of the PLB saves.
But if a bear so much as scratches a human anywhere in the state, it's on the front page and I hear about. So there's a huge reporting bias. And, for almost everyone, an emotional bias in our response to big, scary, strong, toothed and clawed carnivores. I try to factor that out of my practical decisions.
SPOT is 147 grams and I don't have to keep at the ready. Bear Spray is 420 grams plus holster = ?470 grams?
Bear Spray is for one issue - bears, and maybe could be multi-purposed for undesireable humans.
SPOT could assist in a wide variety of situations that I can imagine and others I haven't. And I can send on "OK" or "help" message to family in addition to the "SOS" to SAR personnel.
And, having looked through Herraro's articles and data, it all screams at me that making noise is far more effective than what you have in your holster. Subtly, and I shouldn't, but I would make somewhat less noise if I was carrying spray. I don't know if this is the phenom Bruce was considering but for me, in that way - being a bit quieter - spray could increase my risk of a bad bear encounter very slightly.
Also, I'm a high-mileage guy - 40-mile day hikes, that kind of thing. Weight matters and my voice weighs nothing. Standing all day in the Kenai River, "Combat Fishing" shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of old, fat, white guys? Then I wouldn't mind the weight. But, in that case? Where 85% of the other fishermen have spray and a Glock and maybe a shotgun with rifled slug? I'd just start moved back and out of the line of fire/spray when everyone else cuts loose.
But I am fine with anyone who wants to carry spray. Mostly because I think it's good when people get out in the woods more. I'm fine if you carry a gun IF you are safe, skilled, and have carefully considered when and how to use it. But I'd rather people carried spray than guns.
Maybe, fundamentally, my fear of a bear attack is pretty darn low. I've studied, thought about it a lot, and assimilated it. I was MUCH more worried about lions and cape buffalo on a walking safari in Zimbabwe than I am about bears along a salmon river in Alaska. Because it was new to me, new stuff is scary, and I hadn't come to terms with it. And how can I possibly, long-term, fear bears if I still drive my car 20,000 miles a year? For activities we do all the time, we each have to come to terms with the risks, take the mitigating steps we choose and get on with our lives. Otherwise, I'd be a well-armed, paranoid, whack-job barricaded in my bunker. And we already have enough of those up here.
Mike, what are your bear experiences? How often have you surprised a griz on the trail?