Having had a few bear encounters, one sticks out as important for carrying both a handgun and a can of pepper spray along with your rifle.
My two friends and I had just killed an elk across a deep wash and two of us crossed the wash to begin field dressing. The third friend, a nice young lady, decided she was going to stay put and observe (she didn't want to scramble down the wash). Well we had no sooner started with the chores and looked back to see a big grizz coming out of the timber 30 yards between the gal who had stayed on the otherside of the wash. We began yelling to her that a bear was comming to her because she and the bear didn't know the other was there. As she turned, she raised her rifle as the bear stood on it's hind legs at 20 yards! I kept waiting for a shot, but none came.
I knew something had gon wrong when I saw her drop her rifle and start for her pepper spray. She proceded to fumble with the safety catch on the spray and then began yelling. Realizing that this was getting bad, fast, and the two of us were 150 yards across a wash and no help, I fired my hunting rifle into the air.
The bear, for some reason decided to stop his advance at 5 yards, turned and ran back into the treeline. This all took about 20 seconds. We immediatly left the elk, scrambled back across the wash and covered the 150 yards to her in about 30 seconds.
When we got to her, it was evident that she had cycled the bolt on her .270 4 times without pulling the trigger. Four loaded cartridges lay at her feat. As we examined the pepper spray, nothing seemed wrong. The safety was easily removed and it discharged just fine. She was addimate that just a minute earlier the safety had been stuck tight and she couldn't get it off.
Well, about that time, the bear returned! My friend deployed the now "repaired" pepper spray and as the bear approached 30 yards, snapping his jaws, he again stood. The spray was launched but because of the wind, did not reach the bear. The bear dropped to all fours and began advancing. This is when I drew my 629, and fired, not at the bear, but very close! That did the trick, the bruin left for good and we finished out chores, brought up the horses and left the area with our elk!
Thank goodness the bear decided to leave. No one, Including the bear, was harmed and I think we all learned a great lesson that day. Under stress, you don't know what will happen if you have not trained for the situation. I also learned that havng the most options available for protection while in bear country is a good idea.