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What Are Your "Grizzly / Wildlife" Precautions?

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What Are Your "Grizzly / Wildlife" Precautions?

Old 06-30-16, 11:28 AM
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AdvXtrm
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What Are Your "Grizzly / Wildlife" Precautions?

This is a good reminder that we need to be careful and be as prepared as we can for such an encounter.

In this particular situation, even the guy's buddy apparently had no way of defending himself, or helping his friend that was being torn to pieces nearby.

My thoughts are both bear-spray and a high-powered pistol. What do you think?

Cyclist in northern US killed by grizzly bear - BBC News
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Old 06-30-16, 11:33 AM
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I own firearms but would never carry one with me as it would be unlawful for me to so.
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Old 06-30-16, 11:54 AM
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Touring with firearms = never

Touring with bear-spray in bear-country = yes

The likelihood of an encounter with a bear that would require either is minimal. Shooting a gun is a bad idea in a National Park and basically not allowed. If you shot a bear without being mauled first you'd probably end up being ridiculed by the entire world (like the guy who shot the lion). Using bear spray would be fine. Anyhow if you're gonna worry about anything you should worry about the real danger when bicycle touring CARS & TRUCKS!

On my trip to Alaska I used a bear canister (blue thing on top of rear rack in photo) and carried bear spray. I saw lots of bears but never touched the bear spray. The bears & I kept a good distance away from each other. RV's flew by me within inches


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Old 06-30-16, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
This is a good reminder that we need to be careful and be as prepared as we can for such an encounter.

In this particular situation, even the guy's buddy apparently had no way of defending himself, or helping his friend that was being torn to pieces nearby.

My thoughts are both bear-spray and a high-powered pistol. What do you think?

Cyclist in northern US killed by grizzly bear - BBC News
A high powered pistol? For a grizzly? Uh, no. Not even remotely useful.

Bear spray, on the other hand, is likely the only thing that could possibly have helped that would also be reasonable to actually carry on a bike.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:11 PM
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to stay away.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:28 PM
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With respect to the recent story: A gun would have been useless but bear spray used by the buddy might have worked.

No matter what the current circumstance is sad for people & bears.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
With respect to the recent story: A gun would have been useless but bear spray used by the buddy might have worked.

No matter what the current circumstance is sad for people & bears.
Why would a gun be useless? Shooting a bear in the face 17 times seems more effective than misting it with some pepper spray.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:39 PM
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Perspective:

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Old 06-30-16, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
........My thoughts are both bear-spray and a high-powered pistol. What do you think?...
A pistol - any pistol - will just piss-off a Grizzly, they'll have you for a snack.

Bear-spray MIGHT be effective it they are not pissed-off at you.

In bear country, the way you tell the difference between grizzly scat and black bear scat: black bear scat smells of berries and fish; grizzly scat smells of pepper spray and contains little warning bells from the bikers and hikers who rode or walked through the area....

In bear country it is VERY important to pay very good attention to your surroundings, and especially stay away from bear cubs, and NEVER EVER get between mom and her cubs.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:40 PM
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Research suggests bear spray is more effective than firearms for bear protection -although there is still a lot of debate on the issue. There is also the legal issues about firearm carrying. While here in Alaska both open and concealed carry are ok, other states may be different. So carrying bear spray is usually easier. Exception being if you have to fly, as the pressurized canisters are not allowed as luggage.

One more thing: here in Alaska if you kill a bear in defense of life or property you still need to retrieve the hide with claws attached and the skull and surrender it to Fish&Game. Nothing to report if you pepper spray them.

If you do chose to bring a pistol for bear protection it better be a big one -.45, etc... And have it on a shoulder holster for easy access. Same goes for bear spray, though. Make sure you can get to it quickly and carry it on you not on the bike. It is likely/possible that you will get separated from the bike and then the spray is away from you.

That being said, the risk of a bear encounter is not too high if you are careful and do what you are supposed to do. Make noise, keep good camping habits (i.e. keep food away from camp) and most bears will stay away. I still carry bear spray some times but for the most part I just don't worry about it.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Why would a gun be useless? Shooting a bear in the face 17 times seems more effective than misting it with some pepper spray.
Because you'd get off about 1.7 shots before the bear ripped off your arm with the gun.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
Because you'd get off about 1.7 shots before the bear ripped off your arm with the gun.
This is ridiculous. If the other cyclist had had a firearm he would likely have been able to shoot the bear and save his friend. A few years ago a troop of Boy Scouts surprised a bear on a trail in the Kenai peninsula, and the bear attacked one of the kids.One of the grown ups with the kids was able to use a pistol to shoot the bear and save the kid.

Same with bear spray, there are many documented cases of people spraying a bear while the bear mauled someone and the bear running away. I know people who did that on Resurrection Pass Trail.

You make it sound as if brown bears go on a killing frenzy once they are provoked and that's just not true.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Why would a gun be useless? Shooting a bear in the face 17 times seems more effective than misting it with some pepper spray.
The story I read said the first guy was jumped by a bear after startling it. Probably no time to pull out a holstered gun unlock the safety and shoot it accurately. Combat trained experts maybe but a regular guy unlikely, no matter how many movies he'd watched.

If the buddy had a gun its unlikely that he would be able to get off an accurate shot at the bear only.

But laying down a fog of bear spray is non-lethal to man & bear and skill level is minimal, at least for those of us with wasp-fighting backgrounds.
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Old 06-30-16, 12:59 PM
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That bear kept mauling after being shot point blank in The Revenant.

I was at another campground about 3 miles away just this last weekend when another camper was attacked while in his tent at Millard Campground just a few miles north of L.A.
Bear attack closes campground near Altadena | 89.3 KPCC
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Old 06-30-16, 01:01 PM
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Bear Spray , but the best protection IMO is to NEVER allow any food into your tent , ever .
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Old 06-30-16, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Why would a gun be useless? Shooting a bear in the face 17 times seems more effective than misting it with some pepper spray.
I'll assume that someone who says he'll shoot an attacking grizzly 17 times in the face is not an expert in guns, bear spray, nor animals.


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Old 06-30-16, 01:39 PM
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I haven't toured in grizzly country, but have spent considerable time tent camping in it, and lived in Alaska several summers in moderately remote areas.

My precautions:

1. Cook meals away from your campsite.
2. Store everything remotely attractive to a bear in a bear canister, hard-sided vehicle, or bear box.
3. Have a set of sleeping clothes and use them religiously instead of clothes that you have worn while cooking. (Or vice-versa, have just cooking clothes, but that's pretty hard to do.) If possible, store all other clothes outside your tent, preferably in hard-sided storage container. If not, hang backpack or stuff sack with clothes, etc., from a suitable tree (if available, not generally in Alaska). When car-camping in grizzly country, we would put everything in the vehicle overnight except for our tent, sleeping bags and pads, and our sleep clothes. If traveling, we would stop and cook dinner before we camped, and then travel some more and camp for the night (e.g., when driving the Alcan).
4. Bear spray.
5. Make plenty of noise in dense brush in grizzly habitat to keep from surprising them (this seems to have been the causal factor in this mauling).

I've seen photos of grizzly maulings from nurse friends of mine in Alaska. Not pretty. But better than being dead.

Really a shame for the victim here. Sounds like he wasn't really doing anything wrong, per so, just surprised the bear. Biking (especially MTBing) is especially problematic for this, as bikes are moving so fast that even if the bear realizes you are there, it probably doesn't have time to leave the area before you show up. There's a good chance that the bear may have been protecting a food source (kill), but the article makes no mention of that.

By the way, a much better article is in the local Flathead news: Grizzly Bear Kills Mountain Biker Near West Glacier - Flathead Beacon

Easy for me to judge since I wasn't there, but it sounds like the "friend" didn't even try to help the guy being mauled, distract the bear, scare him off, or whatever.

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Old 06-30-16, 01:46 PM
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A 0.22 will be like a mosquito bite.

There are a number of 0.44, 0.45, and 0.50 caliber handguns that would cause some significant injury to a bear. Most, however, don't have a 17 shot magazine.

It sounds like that death was a mountain biker. Road bikers are probably less susceptible to the risk, as long as they exercise some caution and common sense.

Also, know where one is riding. There are only a few places in the USA with Grizzlys.
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Old 06-30-16, 01:51 PM
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Speaking of mosquitoes they are the Most Deadly Animal on the Planet

Bears not even in the top ten.
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Old 06-30-16, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I'll assume that someone who says he'll shoot an attacking grizzly 17 times in the face is not an expert in guns, bear spray, nor animals.
I don't know, for the right amount of money, I'd probably take anyone up on that.

Contestant A and myself -- at separate times -- in an open field with a hungry grizzly bear. Contestant A gets the pepper spray, and I get the handgun with 17 rounds in it (.40 cal).

I don't consider myself an expert in many things outside of work. I have probably put more rounds through a handgun than probably 99.999% of the population, however.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:00 PM
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Bear spray, never leave on a bike ride without it. As for guns... Yea, fail IMO
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Old 06-30-16, 02:08 PM
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I just cycled the Dalton Highway and carried with me seven days of food, mostly prepackaged meals. Here is what I did:
- I put food, food trash and toothpaste in odor proof bags. This stayed in a pannier on the bike, away from the tent
- I considered a bear-proof canister but ended up shipping it ahead to Fairbanks because I exceeded my space budget (one food pannier) and couldn't get it to fit.
- Otherwise stayed overnight close to the highway.
I saw one back bear and heard people talking about a grizzly when I was in Deadhorse but didn't otherwise see the bear.

About to take off from Fairbanks and I have the bear canister strapped on top of my front rack. I'll leave food in it and when camped leave it a short ways away from camp.

I haven't looked at bear spray, though local sport stores do seem to carry it to be mounted in a water bottle holder. A firearm wouldn't make sense mostly because I do not normally shoot. However, also believe I would likely not be able to carry it across the Canadian border.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
I don't know, for the right amount of money, I'd probably take anyone up on that.

Contestant A and myself -- at separate times -- in an open field with a hungry grizzly bear. Contestant A gets the pepper spray, and I get the handgun with 17 rounds in it (.40 cal).

I don't consider myself an expert in many things outside of work. I have probably put more rounds through a handgun than probably 99.999% of the population, however.
Having stood within 40 to 60 feet of a dozen black bears (one actually charged at me for 10 feet) and a couple of grizzlies about 200 feet over the last 40 years... I can assure you I would take the bear spray over any gun except a shotgun where a bear charges un-expectedly... JMO

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Old 06-30-16, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
I don't know, for the right amount of money, I'd probably take anyone up on that.

Contestant A and myself -- at separate times -- in an open field with a hungry grizzly bear. Contestant A gets the pepper spray, and I get the handgun with 17 rounds in it (.40 cal).

I don't consider myself an expert in many things outside of work. I have probably put more rounds through a handgun than probably 99.999% of the population, however.


Except he wasn't in an open field. He was riding on a trail in the forest and, according to another story I have read, likely startled the bear. They rarely attack for no reason. When you go into the woods in Glacier, which is right near where this attack happened, it's explained to you that you should always make noise while hiking so you don't surprise a bear, because that's when they can get hostile. The scenario likely didn't play out like a Dirty Harry movie, with the bear standing around while the rider says "Me and Smith & Wesson" as he slowly draws his firearm from his sport coat. He was probably set upon before he had a chance to piss his pants, much less reach for a weapon or even bear spray.
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Old 06-30-16, 02:38 PM
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MTBs on trails can be quite fast and nearly silent. In bear country that can be a very bad combination. Heck that can be a bad combination where there are other trail users. This is even more so where the trails have bad sight lines and/or blind corners. I've often wondered if a constant sound emitting device similar to the old card in the spokes would help warn animals and other trail users of the bicyclist's approach?

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