Contributors to this thread:
Alot of discussion over the years on how to protect yourself in our wilds of America. Bear spray? Revolver? Caliber? Etc. I've drawn my revolver twice since '08. And I sleep better at night in the Backcountry knowing I at least have a chance. Luckily I didn't have to squeeze the trigger. So not a debate on your preferred protection, but rather, have any of you had to use your spray? Or squeeze that trigger? How frequent have your "oh shit" moments occured in the woods?
I have had maybe 7 or 8 close uncomfortable encounters over my decades of bow hunting in Colorado. Have drawn my pistol twice, never had to use it.
Not a direct answer to your question but I just listened to podcast with Ron Niziolek. Biggest takeaway I had is whatever you choose, be proficient. (Even with spray) Several of his encounters happened so fast that even these experienced mountain men couldn't deploy their spray fast enough to stop the charging bear and luckily the bear was generally bluffing or "messaging" all critters to get off of his kill.
Although I carry spray, I have never deployed or even tested it. He stated that when you deploy it, it has "Kick back" and that nozzle will kick up. I have an expired can or two that I am going to test with. Much cheaper to burn a can or two vs a hospital or funeral bill.
I've had to draw my pistol several times in the wild. One of those times was inches from having to fire. Thank god the bear stopped before I had to shoot it.
Ive been hunting for over 50 years and never had an encounter with a bear. Seen plenty from long distance. I must really smell if never had a encounter. Thank good right.
David! A .40 !! Not the kind you drink either :-)
Yeah Geno, I been thinking about trading my Taurus UL .44 mag snubby for a little less kick. This thing hurts after a few shots. A friend has a brand new .40 he wants to sell. I'm curious about the Springfield .45 XD Mod conceal version.
To funny EF Hutton lol. Guess it works when applied per the manufactures recommendation
I pulled spray on a huge blondie in the Fortymile mountains a few years ago. My sidearm was inconveniently laying in a gear pile a couple miles away. Bears can't read but I think this one recognized the label. Ran like a rabbit.
I once pulled the magnum on a cow moose that faced me down at under 5 yards. She caught me by surprise and I figured I was as good as done-for. I recall seeing the laser dot dancing on her face while I yelled whoa. No fun.
Depends on what kind of bear. .40cal won’t get much respect from a grizzly or brown bear.
Whatever you use be proficient and confident with it. A little common sense goes a long way in bear country
We just bought a home in Big Sky, Montana, which is in SW Montana, close to Yellowstone. There are lots of Grizzlies around there. So.., I have been doing a ton of research on this issue. Most of the locals just carry a large can of spray. Some carry a back-up gun. Besides the large revolvers, the Glock 10mm is a popular handgun. It sounds like having spray, and being proficient gives the most chance for successful defense. If you use a gun, you better be very proficient; a wounded Grizzly is even more deadly.
One moderately close call with grizzly many years ago in Alaska but 3 of us armed with rifles made it not too tense with good visibility and the bear decided to peel off maybe 50-60 yards away.
My hunting partner had a close call with a lion here in NM 2 years ago. I had left for home and he was cow calling to a herd of elk. Short story is elk suspiciously ambled away and he stood up - lion jumped up into the air startled on the other side of the bush he was calling from. My buddy was so surprised he slipped and tumbled backward downhill and dropped his bow.
The lion growled and hissed at him and followed him for nearly half an hour 10-20 yards from him while he yelled, through rocks, sticks. He didn't have a lion tag and was paranoid about having a potential run in with the law claiming self defense so just kept moving away. He decided if something went south he wouldn't be able to draw his bow fast enough so held an arrow to use for stabbing if it came down to that.
The lion eventually left when he got out of the PJ and into grassland.
A) always have a lion tag B) always carry and be proficient with some form of defense
My hunting partner sprayed a black bear at close range and it turned the bear inside out.
Funny, I can fly with a handgun/firearm. Not with spray.
TD my dads' a bush pilot. One of his pilot friends was taxiing getting ready to take off and their bear spray blew. He told my dad it was so bad both he and his passenger dove out of the door and would have dove out even even had they been airborne.
Because of that story we carry the spray in a protective container inside the external belly pod on my dad's plane...
I accidentally discharged a can of UDAP climbing a hill in MT. It wasn't even a direct blast. Just a quick "psssst" at my right elbow. My right arm covered the discharge but before I could process what happened, the hacking and burning started. The tears and snot flowed for what seemed like hours. Miserable.
Incidentally, the winter parka I was wearing still held the capsaicin despite numerous cycles through the wash.
EF Hutton. I googled the Fox 5.3 on YouTube and was that you I saw take the horizontal and vertical blast to the face in a training exercise? Funny stuff.
Spray is better then hand gun and way faster
Yeah that was the guys biggest issue. He was panicking because he couldn't breathe.
So nobody admitting to puncturing a bear.....not too surprising. Me neither.
I've held my shotgun on a big bear in the alders I jumped while crossing canyons on Kodiak...luckily the bear took off more afraid then I was. I've had numerous encounters with blackies but never anything major, a couple bluff charges then one scroungy brown phase got a swift kick to the snout following us bushwhacking in the dark on an elk hunt...dang PB&J sandwiches. That was Co....neither one of us had a pistol or spray.
I've settled on a pistol with penetrator bullets. Whatever you choose, make sure you train with it so its automatic.
I think spray is a viable option but there is no doubt some of the wildlife folks recommending spray do that as they don't want to see these bears killed- even in Self Defense.
The cases of a bear charging through the spray at high speed relatively unaffected....and of folks being incapacitated by their own spray colored my choice.
I whitetail hunt with a high population of black bears. I don't give them a second thought. For griz, I'd have spray.
I sprayed a Black bear a few years ago in Saskatchewan. I wish I could have had a video of it. It had to look hilarious......after the danger was gone. I was hunting a bait from a homemade platform stand.....sitting in a chair. I had room for my back pack, my quiver, and what every else I needed right at my feet. There was a Black that was always waiting at the bait. He served as a great asset when any other bear would approach. He wasn't a yearling. Maybe 175 lbs. He could care less that I was there. Whenever another bear approached he would run off. I would then decide if the incoming bear was a shooter or not. Plus he was a great source of entertainment. About the third night, my friend was at the bait. He comes to alert. This time he runs up the tree right to my right.....8-10 feet from me at about eye level. The base of my stand was 17 feet. I'm now watching the approaching bear. Every once in a while my bait companion and eye would make eye contact. We had a history. I decide the new bear is not what I want, but another interesting source of entertainment. after a short time, my friend decides if the bear at the bait will share. He starts down my neighboring tree. The bear at the bait will have nothing of that. He charges my friendly bear...back up the tree next to me. I swear he looked at me like I might be able to help. This scenario happens like five times. Friendly bear comes down the tree next to me. He gets chased back up next to me. I was noticing that every time the bigger bear went back to the bait he would glance at my ladder. To this point he showed no interest in the stand or me. OK...now we are about to get to the problem. The 5th or 6th time this happens (I was't counting) the bear walks to the bottom of the ladder. He looks up. I take a picture. He puts both feet on the ladder. I take another picture. He begins to slowly climb. Now, I should mention I have hunted Bears a lot; so I wasn't too concerned....Yet. This is where I wish I had the video. I start talking to the Bear.."Stay Down"..He takes another step up. I take my arrow of my bow and point it at him...Stay Down" He takes another step. I'm thinking I have Bear spray in my back pack. I start digging in my back pack for the spray, but I keep talking...'Stay Down"..."Get Down"...I find the spray! By the way, if he would have wanted me the spray was worthless. Plus I had to quickly figure out how to use this damn stuff......But I keep talking..." Stay Down".. "I have Bear Spray" He continues up the ladder. Now he has one rung left on the ladder...."Get Down...I WILL USE THIS"...I'm pointing the bear spray at him......I'm doing a lot of talking. He is now at the platform. I have the safety out of the spray. I have the can pointed at him....making sure it's pointed the right direction. He is now too close. He reaches for my boot. I stick the can in his face point blank. I Spray!!! That orange shit went all over his face. He fell backwards seventeen feet to the ground. The fall knocked all the wind out of him as he landed on his back. He was blinded. He made the most god awful sounds. He bumped into everything in his path. It was surreal. He never was aggressive,but way to close.....about this time, the bait bear next to me looks at me as if to say thanks! He heads down the tree and resumes eating. A video would have been priceless. Funny now...little too close at the time.
Bear spray would have been worthless if he wanted me.
EF....If I had sprayed every bear on a rung of my ladder stand or half way up my tree, I would own stock in Bear spray. Anyone who sprays a bear at the bottom rung of the ladder hasn’t spent much time in the bear woods. The thread’s question was: has anyone sprayed a bear? I answered the question. I’ve killed thirty five bears.....I’ll put my confidence and seriousness up against your “ been there done that” remark.
Now I understand when you say you have very little bear experience. That explains what you know about bears. I didn’t say the spray doesn’t work. I said the spray knocked the bear out of the tree and blinded it. My word arrangement seems clear. Your understanding of hunting bears is the issue.
Great story grape! Truely a hunt to remember lol.
I have video of a black bear sprayed with UDAP in AK. Wasn’t nearly as effective as I thought it’d be. Bear came back for another dose. Next time I’ll pack a revolver & a bear tag.
EF, I am sure you are a good man.If I may ask one final question, “ How many Bear hunts in the Canadian provinces have you been on?”
My answers to your questions are None....None...None.
EF, I am not trying to tell you about what you have experienced in chemical training, chemical exposure, or reaction to this particular chemical exposure. I know NOTHING about this. I answered your three questions. Will you answer mine? How many Bear hunts have you been on in the Canadian provinces?
I answered a guestion at the beginning of this thread about Bears. You have been trained at the Police Academy. I have not, and thank you for your service. I am Not trying to tell you about weapons training or chemical exposure other than to answer the question: “Has anyone ever sprayed a Bear?” In telling that interaction the spray knocked the Bear out of the tree and blinded it once it hit the ground. The stuff works when it is shot into an animals face. I told ONE of the multitude of interactions I have had with Bears.
So you know weapons. How many Bear hunts in the Canadian provinces? If you would answer that one question, the pissing match is over!
My nephews emptied a cannister on a bear hunt in Ontraio. We were hunting together, but they left earlier than we did for home. At night on a lonely highway they stopped to switch drivers. Unknownst to them, one cannister of bear spray was lodged between the seats of their pickup. A bit down the road while the passenger slept, the driver decided to adjust the seat. The cannister ruptured and the cab filled with spray. They said it was an experience they'll never forget.
I had an experience with spray while bowhunting for elk. I was attempting to lure a 5x5 bull closer to me using a cow call, but suddenly the bull took off as I noticed a bear at 4' on other side of branch of fir tree I was under (dinner bell). I now sprayed him with SABRE CS, OC pepper spray, he merely backed up a foot until I unloaded the 3+ oz can in his face at which time he just walked away. It worked but not great.
Last year we had two bulls (cattle) that had got away from round up and where making a mess of our hunting camp for several days. After several failed attempts to chase them off , we decided to UDAP bear spray one of them. At a distance of 14-15' from the bull the spray was just carried away by a cross wind and had no affect on the bull. In just two sprays the 8 oz can was empty. Does spray work ? Only under certain conditions. Will I carry it, yes and a noise maker.
Well, I have a bit of experience with black bear, brown bear and grizzly bear. I too have no confidence in bear spray. I wear a 44 mag when I'm hunting in Brown and Grizzly Bear country. If I return to a kill site or any other bad situation, I have a 12 gauge with me. Bear spray is pretty worthless in a wind. Where I hunt it can get kind of windy at times.
So basically - spray yourself in the face, it'll take your mind off the bear having his way with ya !! ;-)
Bingo! Bob for the win!
Plus, warning shots not so impressive..... hard to reload a spray can..... not much fun to practice..... hard to look good with a sissy can dangling off your belt..... hard to use with beast on top of you, in your tent....etc.
fun read grape
Now you and EF should spend less energy waving your cans around
EF have you ever been through 44 mag certification? I bet it hurts taking that to the face too!
No one is doubting getting sprayed with pepper spray is not pleasant, just several people with far more bear experience than you are stating their opinion that they are more comfortable with a sidearm than spray. Why the constant need to belittle those opinions?
I too carry a sidearm over spray, for the exact reason Bob mentioned. It’s windy as hell most of the time.
"Why the constant need to belittle those opinions? "
SOP. On several different forums.....
And apparently his is the only sarcastic humor officially allowed..... lighten up Frances.......
From Friday in Glacier. Sprayed the 150 lb bear from 15 feet and it did not deter the bear. I'm in grizzly country a lot, and am a strong proponent of bear spray. But I am rethinking that position. One reason is wind, but I don't know if that was an issue in the linked story. However, who the hell cleans fish 10 feet from their tent in griz country?
I am wondering what "Hazing the bear" meant......
Come on EF, be a good sport and answer my question. I answered all of yours. So ......one more time...How many Canadian Provinces have you hunted Black Bears in?????
I guess I'm hunting in better spots than most of y'all, in eleven seasons of hunting 2 to 3 weeks worth of the season, only time I unholstered my spray was for a rutting moose I couldn't see but could hear in the moonless night and I've only seen one bear while actually in the field, seen a couple from the road.
So..... I wonder what TBM up these days?
Dam near soiled myself laughing at that story grape! LMAO.
I'm sure spray works well in most encounters, and I carry it on my pack strap, ready to go...but i also carry my G29 with hardcast bullets. I'm going with both, I see no need for an either/or situation when it comes to saving my bacon....I'll carry the weight and cover a little less ground. More than just bears out there...lions, crazy druggies, illegals, etc...
I haven’t been in those situations so I can’t offer much of an opinion. I can tell you to go watch the Todd Orr video. Not sure he would have had time to shoot a pistol. Might have been better cuz the bear ran right thru the spray cloud.
"The park is attempting to trap the grizzly bear for further management action. The bear exhibits numerous signs of food-conditioning and meets the definition of a conditioned bear in Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Guidelines. A non-conditioned bear would typically not enter a campsite with people present and resist human attempts to scare it away. Conditioned bears are usually removed from the population by being placed in zoos or euthanized."