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Old July 23, 2000, 09:46 PM   #1
BadMedicine
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Keith Rogan, With all do respect, I really enjoyed your bear maulings page, and am glad that people can be helped by what you went through. I live in Anchorage AK, and was wondering if you do too. I read that you were attacked on kodiak, but couldn't find anywhere on your page that said where you lived. I did find a couple things on your page that I thought deserved a second look.
Under Bear Artillary You said...

"There are very few situations where shooting a bear is really justifiable. Bears can destroy tents, steal your food, approach and make absolutely terrifying threat displays. They often follow hunters waiting for a kill so they can steal your deer or clean up the "gut pile". None of these situations require shooting a bear and if you don't believe me, you can try and convince the judge before they pronounce sentence on you!"

But in fact the Alaska state hunting regulations 2000-01 page 18 says....

"You may kill game animals in defence of life or property if you did not provoke an attack or cause a problem by leaving food or garabage accessible to wildlife, and if you have done everything else you can to protect your life and property.....Property means your dwelling(tent), means of travel, pets or livestock, fish drying racks, or other valuable property...(and) meat of a game animals legally taken becomes your property"

I wouldn't shoot a bear over a deer I shot, but would if it was destroying my tent or other things in camp. Letting troubled bears get away with this is just giving them an excuse to do it again, and next time there may be a person in that tent they're thrashing. Happy hunting, Bobo.


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Old July 24, 2000, 11:10 AM   #2
Keith Rogan
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I live in Kodiak.

There are cases in Alaska where you can shoot a bear in defense of property, but most people visiting that page don't live in Alaska so I wrote it from that perspective.

Even if you can legally shoot a bear under those circumstances, you're far better off just pepper spraying him rather than shooting him. You won't have the F&G up your rectum with a microscope and you won't have 1200 pounds of dead bear lying in your camp to skin and carry back to town to justify what you did. Your fishing trip is over when you shoot a bear.

That was the point I was trying to make. Pepper sprays give you options - there are no gray areas. If the bear gets too close just spray the sucker and don't worry about it. If you only have a gun, you spend a lot of time around here biting your nails and swearing.

Bring a gun AND some pepper spray.



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Old July 24, 2000, 06:12 PM   #3
BadMedicine
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I donm't want to be mistakin for a trigger happy hunter, but lets just make a couple things clear, If a 1500 pound ****** off bear is close enough to shoot with a squirt gun, and still closing the gap, you can rest assured that I wont waste time pepper spraying him. I consider the guns I carry, .357, .44 mag, to be far more efficient. I like spicy foods, and to a bear, a man with pepper spray taste just like buffalo wings.
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Old July 24, 2000, 08:17 PM   #4
Al Thompson
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Bad Medicine - I suspect Keith knows a thing or two about the subject. He makes a very good point about the aftermath of a successful shooting.

The pepper spray option is a viable option that seems to have no detractors with any credentials.

If you think that pepper spray is not useful, please support that theory.

Civility is required here.

Giz

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Old July 24, 2000, 08:49 PM   #5
Robert the41MagFan
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My understanding is that pepper spray works 80% of the time. Guess that the balance are buffalo chicken wings.

Think that Keith has it right. Don't think that camping equipment is expensive enough to justify the shooting of a bear. In economic terms, the camping equipment is much less expensive than the legal fees and fines that a person most likely will face if they shoot a bear under those circumstances.

BTW: anyone foolish enough to face a angry bear with a .357 Magnum, will resemble a lollipop.

Robert



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Old July 24, 2000, 11:55 PM   #6
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Three or four weeks ago The Discovery channel had it's Grizzies..Part Two..or whatever. It's been on before. The gentleman who was on it had been studying bears for something like thirty years. Of all the attacks (more than 100 I believe) he researched here were his findings- "bear" with me on this, memory and all. NON-LETHAL means of defense if attacked; curl up in the fetal position- a gentleman in his maybe mid fifties was interviewed- he had done this- his face was not a pretty sight. His face looked like something out of a horror movie. Pepper spray- an alternative if don't carry a firearm- Effective range 5 metre's (do you really want a grizzly within 5 metre's?) And you have to take into account the wind of course. I thought it odd he hadn't mentioned firearms up to this point. Well, there was a reason- the firearm is the end all. If you don't carry an appropriate firearm when in this animals habitat you are BELOW him in the food chain. If a firearm enters the picture you then become ABOVE him in the food chain. Haven't we evolved into the most intelligent creatures on earth? Then why in the heck would somebody venture into grizzly country with nothing more than pepper spray? If you're not into firearms STAY OUT OF GRIZZLY COUNTRY!!! The expert moderating the program told of some complete failures as far as pepper spray was concerned. Fatal at that.
I've remote camped for about twenty-eight years in the Sierra-Nevada's (calif.), Blue Mountains (SE Wash State), and the Cascades (central Wash State) and always followed bear camping etiquette. I've been face to face with two bears. Once, before I was "into" guns and once after. I felt alot better the second time!! When in bear country keep your awareness keen and carry at least a .44 magnum. My thoughts, J. Parker
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Old July 25, 2000, 10:15 AM   #7
Keith Rogan
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To sort of put the "gun vs pepper spray" thing in perspective, think of it like this - in coastal Alaska there is about 1 brown/grizzly per square mile. During the summer salmon runs there may be as many as ten bears per square mile along the rivers. If you were to shoot every bear that "got to close" or acted "aggressive", you'd leave a trail of dead and wounded bears in your wake everywhere you went.
Most of the negative encounters you face are pretty ambigous. A bear is popping his jaws at you across a fishing hole, a bear approaches and begins circling your camp, you run into a bear on a trail and he begins "woofing" at you - pepper spray is great stuff! You can use it in these encounters and not have to sweat about legal repercussions or turning this into a life and death situation when you wound that bear with a firearm.
Pepper spray works most of the time. It works nearly ALL the time in these doubtful situations because the bear hasn't made up his mind what he's going to do - a million scoville heat units in the face will make up his mind that he should go elsewhere. You're doing a favor for every person that bear meets because he won't be likely to approach a person ever again.
And you're in bear country, you're with a partner and there is a gun, right? If the spray doesn't work you can always go to plan "B".



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Old July 25, 2000, 10:28 AM   #8
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About the pepper spray. It doesn't stop anything, it annoys them. It might work and it might not even if you use it correctly.

Mr. Rogan has commented that a bear attacks VERY fast. And that you might not have time to use a gun. If that is true would you want to be reaching for pepper spray or a gun when you got hit?

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Old July 25, 2000, 09:22 PM   #9
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J. Parker spoke about the wind factor. Bear Spray is meant to disorient, or confuse a bear, because it acts on the nervous system, you spray this into the wind, or with a slight breeze, and you've lost the battle, on humans, I'm sure the effects are near paralysis. Then Keith mentioned slamon streams, STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!!! I dont care if you have pepper spray, a gun, or a fricken army, all those bears are hungry andsee you as compitition. You may be consentrating on spraying one bear, and there are 3 in the brush behind you. Not only that, but a bear mace cans are only good for so many squirts, it'd be stupid to spray every bear in the vicinity of a salmon stream. I'm not attacking anyones opinion, but when it comes down to it, Keith said it best on his page "a human life (especially mine) is worth more than a bears." I'll deal with the courts and right or wrong later, I'm not going to die to avoid some fine. Just my thoughts.
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Old July 26, 2000, 02:05 PM   #10
Keith Rogan
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Bad,

Well, I don't want to "stay away from the salmon streams". I like to fish. The bears are part of the landscape and you have to learn to deal with them.
I don't know if you've ever been out here on Kodiak or along the Alaska Peninsula but you're not going to avoid bears. If you hunt or fish or just hike, you're going to run into bears.
Its usually not an issue. You stand your ground and yell. If he doesn't back off you give him a squirt of pepper spray. I floated the Ayakulik a few years ago in June for the King run. We saw dozens of bears every day, they came into camp, they tried to "woof" us out of good fishing holes, we ran into them on trails and got "challenged" - you going to shoot all these bears?

The brown bear in the threatening posture, "woofing" and clicking his jaws is not a bear that is likely to attack. You're in a "personal space" dispute (a biologist corrected me on my calling this "territorial" - something else entirely). You could shoot this bear but in some areas you'll likely run into another tomorrow who does the same thing - you going to shoot him also? How many bears a day do you shoot until the F&G slaps the cuffs on you?

In my research on brown/grizzlies I've found that maulings fall into two broad categories.
The first category is what happened to me - a bear for whatever reason, surprise, injury, hunger, PMS, just suddenly rushes an unsuspecting human (usually from cover). You don't see this coming, you don't have time to fool around with pepper spray, you don't have time to ring your little bear bells or blow your stupid little whistle - if you have a gun you use it if you have time. Hopefully you're with a partner who'll also start pumping lead into the bear and not shoot you in the process.

The second category of maulings is where you do something stupid in one of these "space disputes". Bears are just like big dogs and they'll challenge you on their turf. 99.9% of the time, if you just stand your ground they'll eventually become satisfied and just wander off. If he wants your deer or fish, give it to him.
If you run, they'll chase you. If you whip out a .44 mag and shoot him you're going to make him very angry and possibly precipitate an attack. If you hit him anywhere other than the brain he'll likely charge and you'll be dead long before he bleeds out from that wound.

Pepper spray is for this second category of confrontations. It WILL work in that situation - and thats a VERY common situation. If you can't gracefully edge out of the scene, spray the bastard! Pepper spray temporarily blinds a bear as well as eliminating his smell, taste, etc. It also inflicts a lot of pain - if you ever get a whiff of this stuff you'll understand. An animal without his sensory input is a helpless animal - it will run away.
If this happens to be that one bear in a hundred who doesn't run, you've still got your partner covering the situation with a large rifle, right? At worst, you're dealing with a large angry bear thats now blind - a better situation.

And you're right, if its windy you can't use pepper spray. If you've got someone between you and the bear, you can't use it. And perhaps it just won't work on a particular bear.
Its still a good option to have and works very well in most situations. Rule #1 is that you don't go into big bear country without a partner. You're armed with REAL guns - big bore rifles or shotguns w/ slugs. Ideally, one guy covers, one guy sprays.

In yesterdays paper there was a story about a mauling down on Admiralty. Guy runs into a bear and instead of standing his ground, he runs. An animal running from a bear is "prey". Bear chased hims down, works him over and then leaves.
Thats the typical confrontation that would have been nothing but a good story if he'd just stood his ground and backed the bear down. He was a kayaker so he probably had nothing more lethal than a bag of granola - thats simply being unprepared and uneducated.

Shooting a challenging bear is too far in the other direction, its over-reacting. As I tried to point out earlier, if you shot every bear that got to close or acted aggressive in coastal Alaska you'd leave a trail of dead and wounded brown bears behind you everywhere you went. You'd likely go to jail - you'd certainly get someone mauled by leaving wounded bears around. They're damned hard to kill. Maybe its hard to appreciate living there on the mainland where bears are relatively few and far between. The density out here is 10 or 20 times what you find around Anchorage or the Kenai.

There is a reasonable middle ground. Have a rifle and be ready. Use the spray. Get on with your fishing or deer hunting instead of filling out paperwork down at the F&G office.




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Old July 26, 2000, 02:19 PM   #11
Keith Rogan
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J. Parker,

Trust me on this - a .44 mag is no protection against grizzlies. It might make a good "gun of last resort" if you're fishing or performing some activity where you simply can't deal with a longarm, but its not a wise choice as a primary weapon. Grizzlies in the rockies occasionally reach 1000 pounds. Coastal Alaskan grizzlies commonly go 1200-1500 pounds and there are verified cases where they've exceed 1 ton in weight! Thats 5 to 10 times the weight of a large human and the animal is in superb physical shape, muscular and fast.
A .44 mag against such an animal is about like shooting a rampaging weight-lifter with a .22 short. You'd better be damned good or damned lucky!




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Old July 26, 2000, 03:42 PM   #12
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Rogan; The "expert" on the Discovery channel that has devoted 30 years of his life to the study of bears and bear behavior is much less enthusiastic about pepper spray than yourself. Is the .44 magnum a good choice as a carry piece fishing for Salmon on Kodiak? Probably not. How many Alaskans carry a .44 magnum as their weapon of choice in their daily routine and/or during recreation? Many I bet. With Garrett's hardcast load it certainly can't be a bad choice. Pepper spray was invented for cops to use in their line of work. Somebody put it in a bigger cannister and called it "Grizzly" spray. I've seen the Salmon fishing on Kodiak on TV and the guides have 12 gauge pumps on their shoulders. Makes sense. I have never carried pepper spray and never will. IMO, pepper spray is for cops and mail carriers. Of course, this is just my OPINION. We all have OPINIONS don't we?
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Old July 26, 2000, 05:46 PM   #13
Keith Rogan
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J.,

Yes, of course you're entitled to your opinion. I agree with you on the Garrett loads - if you must use a .44, Garrett would be the way to go.
The point that I can't seem to get across (likely lost in my own verbosity) is that most negative bear encounters are fairly ambiguous. Theres no clear cut "shoot - don't shoot" rule you can go by.

I suppose if you live and hunt the Northern Rockies where you may only have one grizzly every 500 square miles, you may only run into one "aggressive" bear in your whole life. Ok, so don't take any chances and shoot if in doubt.
Theres one bear per square mile on this island and that density holds true for much of coastal Alaska. You simply can't go on a fishing or hunting trip and shoot 2 or 3 bears every time you go out. Its just not an option you want to take - you'd end up with a felony conviction, lose your gun rights, your hunting privileges, pay enormous fines, etc. You have to cut it a little finer around here, use more judgement and yes - take more risks.

If you run into a bear on a trail who won't back down, you have three options:

1: Shoot, and hope you kill him dead right NOW.
2: Don't shoot - yell, eventually try and sneak away, whatever.
3: Spray the son of a bitch (while somebody covers with a rifle)

If you don't carry the spray, you've reduced your options by 1/3.
Thats all, pepper spray gives you one additional option - a middle course to choose between fight or flight.

I don't want to sound like I'm thumping my chest - I assure you that my balls are no bigger than the next guys. Everyone who hunts and fishes around here can tell you similar stories.
I've backed down a lot of bears. I've chased them off trails by yelling and waving my hat. I've had them take deer from me - once at a range only 5 or 6 feet a big male came out of the brush like a ghost, looked at me and carried away a 4 point buck like a dog with a rabbit. I've had bears do wild threat displays pounding the earth and popping their teeth at ten or twenty yards. Many, many times I've had bears at close range who just "puff up" and sort of try and freeze you out - just stand there unwilling to back down.

The bear who got me didn't do any of those things. It just attacked on sight and THATS how real bear maulings happen.
The dog that bites you doesn't stand there barking at you first - it just bites. Its the same way with bears. If you don't run, if you just stand your ground with a "barking" bear, you're fairly safe.

I'm not a biologist and certainly not an "expert" but I've had a lot of bear encounters and have some basis to judge by.

If its actually going to attack, you'll know - it'll be charging you at 35 miles per hour, not puffing up and clicking its teeth. A charge is no time for pepper spray - its .375 H&H time.

As for bear sprays - they are not necessarily the same thing as those little cans that cops carry. UDAP and some others are making stuff that is much hotter, has greater range and is formulated just for bears. There are some filmed tests done in Yakutat where brown bears are hit with UDAP sprays. The bears turn practically inside-out and run away bawling. The stuff does work.





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Old July 26, 2000, 10:58 PM   #14
BadMedicine
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Kieth, you said there is no clear cut, shoot, or dont shoot rule, but I'll give you one, it works 100% of the time for me. If I'm in fear of my life.....I'll be pumping lead. That's my rule cut and dried, I wont die for some sorry assed bear who can't share the creek.

here are your supposed options...

"1: Shoot, and hope you kill him dead right NOW." Hope? when I shoot, especially if a bear was charging, there'd be no luck involved, I'm a pretty good shot and confident of my 10 yrd abuilities.

"2: Don't shoot - yell, eventually try and sneak away, whatever."

"3: Spray the son of a bitch (while somebody covers with a rifle)" If you have a rifle to cover him with I dont see a reason in pepper spraying him and enraging him more. You said that 99.9% were bluffing and wouldn't charge, for that .1% I'm not bluffing, I don't carry a gun for looks, if he's going to charge I'm not trusting my life to a can of Raid.


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Keith Rogan:
J.,

Yes, of course you're entitled to your opinion. I agree with you on the Garrett loads - if you must use a .44, Garrett would be the way to go.
The point that I can't seem to get across (likely lost in my own verbosity) is that most negative bear encounters are fairly ambiguous. Theres no clear cut "shoot - don't shoot" rule you can go by.

I suppose if you live and hunt the Northern Rockies where you may only have one grizzly every 500 square miles, you may only run into one "aggressive" bear in your whole life. Ok, so don't take any chances and shoot if in doubt.
Theres one bear per square mile on this island and that density holds true for much of coastal Alaska. You simply can't go on a fishing or hunting trip and shoot 2 or 3 bears every time you go out. Its just not an option you want to take - you'd end up with a felony conviction, lose your gun rights, your hunting privileges, pay enormous fines, etc. You have to cut it a little finer around here, use more judgement and yes - take more risks.

If you run into a bear on a trail who won't back down, you have three options:

If you don't carry the spray, you've reduced your options by 1/3.
Thats all, pepper spray gives you one additional option - a middle course to choose between fight or flight.

I don't want to sound like I'm thumping my chest - I assure you that my balls are no bigger than the next guys. Everyone who hunts and fishes around here can tell you similar stories.
I've backed down a lot of bears. I've chased them off trails by yelling and waving my hat. I've had them take deer from me - once at a range only 5 or 6 feet a big male came out of the brush like a ghost, looked at me and carried away a 4 point buck like a dog with a rabbit. I've had bears do wild threat displays pounding the earth and popping their teeth at ten or twenty yards. Many, many times I've had bears at close range who just "puff up" and sort of try and freeze you out - just stand there unwilling to back down.

The bear who got me didn't do any of those things. It just attacked on sight and THATS how real bear maulings happen.
The dog that bites you doesn't stand there barking at you first - it just bites. Its the same way with bears. If you don't run, if you just stand your ground with a "barking" bear, you're fairly safe.

I'm not a biologist and certainly not an "expert" but I've had a lot of bear encounters and have some basis to judge by.

If its actually going to attack, you'll know - it'll be charging you at 35 miles per hour, not puffing up and clicking its teeth. A charge is no time for pepper spray - its .375 H&H time.

As for bear sprays - they are not necessarily the same thing as those little cans that cops carry. UDAP and some others are making stuff that is much hotter, has greater range and is formulated just for bears. There are some filmed tests done in Yakutat where brown bears are hit with UDAP sprays. The bears turn practically inside-out and run away bawling. The stuff does work.





[/quote]

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Old July 26, 2000, 11:00 PM   #15
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oops, sorry about the whole re-quote.
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Old July 27, 2000, 11:37 AM   #16
Keith Rogan
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OK Bad,

Its your life and you have to live it. I don't understand why somebody would spend a big wad of cash on a remote hunt or fishing trip and end it on the first day though.



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Old July 27, 2000, 09:36 PM   #17
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Just let me jump in here for a second and tell my little story . I was a paratrooper stationed for a time at Ft. Richardson out side of Anchorage . We did a lot of training all over Alaska . We made so much noise most of the time the bears probably wished we would go away . Good for them because with all the .44 and .357 talk I would be no doubt the last man standing with an M-60 .
After my service stint I went back to Alaska to prospect for gold . My weapon of choice was a sawed off shotgun worn in a cross draw . I was ready . Not too smart but ready . I still thought I was bullet proof . Still haven't seen a bear at this point .
Went back to work in a cannery off the Alaskan Peninsula . On my days off I would play around on the Peninsula with some other guys looking for gold and exploring . Still have not seen a bear . Signed on a Halibut fishing boat for more adventure . Went to Kodiak for a stop on the way to the fishing grounds . Still with my sawed off feeling safe . Went to The Kodiak Inn and saw a stuffed Kodiak Bear out in front standing on it's hind legs with arms held high .
I don't ever want to see a live one PERIOD!!!!! . Don't believe that it looks evil ? Check it out if you ever get there .

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Old July 28, 2000, 11:39 AM   #18
Keith Rogan
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They ARE huge aren't they? When they stand like that to get a look at you, a large male is something like 12 feet tall - they can look in a second story window! People just don't appreciate the scale of these things till they see one.
When one pops up at close range, a gun feels awfully puny no matter what the caliber.

Where did you prospect at? Do any good?



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Old July 28, 2000, 01:19 PM   #19
Paul B.
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Yup. They're big all right. When I was a young sprout (11 years old) I used to go to the Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, and the Stimsin (Simpson?) African hall to look at all the mounted animals and fish.
One day as I walked in, I noticed a huge dark brown something at my right. They'd installed a mounted "Kodiak" bear right next to the front door. I'd heard that they were big from reading OUTDOOR LIFE. I did nit realize what "big" meant. I've never forgotten that bear.
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Old July 28, 2000, 05:15 PM   #20
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Are there any documented cases of people standing their ground & not doing anything foolish that get attached?

Maybe there is a place for a super soaker type pepper spray gun mounted under the barrel of a rifle/shotgun? [okay that was 1/2 in jest]

My problem with pepper spray for any use is that to use it you have to be so close that your dead meat already if target is hostile. And I know people who have taken pepper spray full in the face and still be capable of attacking. I also know LEO that have used it, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't on people.

I guess I have a hard time believing that if "you shoot and don't kill the bear right now it will be very mad and attack" while if "you spray it with pepper spray it will be crying, hurting, and run away". I mean it is feeling pain in either case right? Pepper spray is supposed to make the bear blind? If that is true I would think they would stand still or run into trees but still be very PO.

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Old July 29, 2000, 01:19 PM   #21
Keith Rogan
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Glam,

I would not under any circumstances advise depending on pepper spray alone. Well, maybe I'd advise Chuckie Schumer or Al Gore to rely on it...

When I go out, I usually give my pepper spray to whoever I'm out with. I carry a Marlin Guide Gun in .45/70 stoked with Garrett Hammerheads. The plan being that if a situation arises, I'll cover while the other guy sprays the bear.

You have no idea how hard these animals are to kill when they are adrenalized! In this situation, the bear is by definition, wired, or you wouldn't be considering shooting him in the first place. I can relate many first-hand accounts of large brown/grizzly bears taking multiple hits from .338/.375 class weapons to bring down. You don't want to start shooting at close range when he's already considering attacking.

As for your question about whether a bear ever attacks following a threat display (when the human stands his ground and plays smart)... Well, yeah, it does happen sometimes, but it really is quite rare.

As for bears vs humans and pepper spray - a human relies on reasoning at some level. He doesn't rely on sight, smell or other sensory input - if he's determined enough and figures he can get close enough to grapple, he'll ignore the pain and do so.

Animals are different, cut off the sensory input (along with inflicting pain) and they'll normally retreat.
All of this depends on using some basic common sense. For example if you were to squirt a sow and cubs, you might just create an attack the moment those cubs start bawling in pain! Use it on a windy day and let it blow back on you and you'll be on the ground crying and acting like "wounded prey". Not good.

I've talked to many mauling victims and read many hundreds of accounts of maulings. There are many, many cases of people shooting a bear and then getting mauled for their trouble. Its a very common scenario. I have yet to read of an account where somebody sprayed a bear and then got mauled. It may have happened - it surely will some day, but your odds are better with spray than with a gun - if you use it in the right time and place.



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Old July 30, 2000, 05:14 PM   #22
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robert the41MagFan:
...Don't think that camping equipment is expensive enough to justify the shooting of a bear...[/quote]

The exception is when you are remote and your camp is paramount to your survival.

Most bear "experts" I run into are full of stuff (and there are many) but Keith seems to speak from experience.
Something I have noticed about this board, as well as others -- many people are a little trigger happy, whether it is bears or bad guys.
I've said it before, do everything you can to avoid it, before pulling the trigger. It just ain't worth it.



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