Do you feel the need to have a weapon when camping

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fike

Adventurer
While that is a good article, there are several first hand accounts of bear shaking off spray like it was nothing.
Well, if it was a first-hand account, I presume they lived to tell the story.

The whole point of this article was that researchers systematically evaluated bear encounters and showed conclusively that pepper spray has better outcomes than firearms. I don't trust anecdotal evidence, particularly when reputable researchers have completed comprehensive analyses of incidents over a hundred years of data. The truth is that bear encounters rarely result in deaths. We are more likely to get into a car accident and die on the way to the wilderness than be mauled by a bear, but that doesn't make us drive slower.
 

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precision powder

Backwoods Explorer
Well, if it was a first-hand account, I presume they lived to tell the story.

The whole point of this article was that researchers systematically evaluated bear encounters and showed conclusively that pepper spray has better outcomes than firearms. I don't trust anecdotal evidence, particularly when reputable researchers have completed comprehensive analyses of incidents over a hundred years of data. The truth is that bear encounters rarely result in deaths. We are more likely to get into a car accident and die on the way to the wilderness than be mauled by a bear, but that doesn't make us drive slower.

I can find a few stories when I'm home. There have been a few I read where they shook off the spray and they either had to shoot it, or someone with them shot it. I know at least 2 where the sprayer died and the person that lived ran to safety. I personally would rather have a gun. Ammunition doesn't expire and it's useful in more than that one situation. That's just me, if others want to carry spray I support their choice to do so because that is their right. As a bear hunter I always carry a large caliber sidearm with me. Especially when I know there could be a mother with cubs around. Generally black bear wont bother people but that's not always the case. I'll look for the picture of my 4 wheeler seat. I bear tore a giant section right out of it. The front posts of my cabin are all clawed up from bear climbing is trying to get the birds
 

chet6.7

Explorer
I carry spray and a firearm,I will use the spray if it is the best option at the time.
My encounters with black bears were in coastal areas,wind direction/s can be a factor,spray may not be the best option in certain wind conditions.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
While that is a good article, there are several first hand accounts of bear shaking off spray like it was nothing.
Not the bears I've sprayed, which have been many as a guide in AK. And statistics and research have much to say about the success of spray over guns as it relates to human injury and death. This is an old debate, but the general consensus by the experts is: Spray is always the better first line of defense.

Don't read that as do or don't carry a gun, but if bears are your worry, spray is the way to assuage that concern most effectively.

http://expeditionportal.com/bear-aware-why-some-say-spray/
 

matthewp

Combat Truck Monkey
Good article Christophe! Even though I aways carry a firearm, I will add a can of quality bear repellant to my "escalation of force" equipment. Better if both of us walk away shook up but alive after an unexpected encounter. I believe that bear has no more intention to do me mortal injury than I do of it.
 

Scott Brady

Founder
Yeah, I cannot accept the logic that shooting a bear is a better idea then pepper spray. Probably the same losers that shoot Leopards or Tigers (I am a hunter, not a trophy shooter).

Sure, have a gun as a backup, but shooting a bear when pepper spray is documented to work more effectively is inexcusable. In fact, even basic research into ballistics would demonstrate why a handgun caliber VS. charging bear is a bad idea. The pepper spray disables the bear's sight and smell almost instantly, while a .45 will most likely kill the bear, but long after he has mauled you. A rifle is an entirely different and more effective defense, but few walk around with rifles for defense against bears. Even a .44 Magnum lacks the hydrostatic shock to stop a bear instantly. That would require a perfectly executed cranio-ocular against a fast charging target.
 

gophere

Adventurer
Spray all the way for bears, now wolves on the other hand...

Few years ago I was traveling along the northern Montana/Idaho border. Got to about midday and found a nice camp site next to a creek to setup the tent and whatnot. Thought to myself 'oh yeah, bears' and clipped the spray onto my belt.

At a little before dusk I was playing ball with Skete, my dog, in the creek when he suddenly dropped the ball and ran back to the truck. He is ball obsessive and only quits when you take it away. I stood there a minute and then saw a shadow streak across the ridge above the creek. I knew what it was right away and it really didn't phase me right then.
Walked back the the truck where Skete was sitting ears back, scanning the woods line. I told him to chill out and made us some dinner. Skete took some time to eat, looking up after every bite, which again was unusual.
Wasn't going to have a fire that night cause of burn restrictions and it got dark fast. As soon as the sun jump behind the mountains Skete was not happy with the situation at all. He made me rethink the spray on my belt and I swapped it for the Smith and Wesson along with pulling the Mossberg from its scabbard under the seat.
Skete never left camp that evening, just sat quietly next to the truck.

Then came bed time. I looked long and hard at my extra comfortable mattress spread out in the tent and decided to sleep in the cramped truck instead. Middle of the night Skete bellows out the window and is immediately met with yips and snarls from all sides.
I freaked as he was pretty much ready to jump out the window and get it on. Reach forward and threw on the lights to see FIVE big *** grays pacing back and forth in front of me. Started yelling, so did Skete, and it did not good. They just wee circling us. I grabbed my pistol and fired a couple rounds in the air and those rough looking killers just jumped around alittle. What the hell I thought! So I climbed into te front seat, started the truck, and drove off. It was like 30 miles or so and I pulled over to try and get some more sleep. Rolled around abit till sun up then had to drive back to get my tent.
When we got back there Skete inspected the area, then was his normal self so I figured they had moved on.
I just could not believe how bold those wolves were when I fired shots. The cats, bears and coyotes have all ran, but not these guys. Scary but glad Skete didn't try and go after them. He has taken on lone yotes be for but these would have torn him up.
Oh and I don't now if the spray would have worked or not, maybe, but I would Ave had to spray myself into a circle.
Just a scary situation anyway you look at it.
 

gophere

Adventurer
Spray all the way for bears, now wolves on the other hand...

Few years ago I was traveling along the northern Montana/Idaho border. Got to about midday and found a nice camp site next to a creek to setup the tent and whatnot. Thought to myself 'oh yeah, bears' and clipped the spray onto my belt.

At a little before dusk I was playing ball with Skete, my dog, in the creek when he suddenly dropped the ball and ran back to the truck. He is ball obsessive and only quits when you take it away. I stood there a minute and then saw a shadow streak across the ridge above the creek. I knew what it was right away and it really didn't phase me right then.
Walked back the the truck where Skete was sitting ears back, scanning the woods line. I told him to chill out and made us some dinner. Skete took some time to eat, looking up after every bite, which again was unusual.
Wasn't going to have a fire that night cause of burn restrictions and it got dark fast. As soon as the sun jump behind the mountains Skete was not happy with the situation at all. He made me rethink the spray on my belt and I swapped it for the Smith and Wesson along with pulling the Mossberg from its scabbard under the seat.
Skete never left camp that evening, just sat quietly next to the truck.

Then came bed time. I looked long and hard at my extra comfortable mattress spread out in the tent and decided to sleep in the cramped truck instead. Middle of the night Skete bellows out the window and is immediately met with yips and snarls from all sides.
I freaked as he was pretty much ready to jump out the window and get it on. Reach forward and threw on the lights to see FIVE big *** grays pacing back and forth in front of me. Started yelling, so did Skete, and it did not good. They just wee circling us. I grabbed my pistol and fired a couple rounds in the air and those rough looking killers just jumped around alittle. What the hell I thought! So I climbed into te front seat, started the truck, and drove off. It was like 30 miles or so and I pulled over to try and get some more sleep. Rolled around abit till sun up then had to drive back to get my tent.
When we got back there Skete inspected the area, then was his normal self so I figured they had moved on.
I just could not believe how bold those wolves were when I fired shots. The cats, bears and coyotes have all ran, but not these guys. Scary but glad Skete didn't try and go after them. He has taken on lone yotes be for but these would have torn him up.
Oh and I don't now if the spray would have worked or not, maybe, but I would Ave had to spray myself into a circle.
Just a scary situation anyway you look at it.
 

fike

Adventurer
Good that you had skeet with you. Actually dogs are vey good deterrents for most critters. Bears tend to be afraid of dogs...at least the black bears I usually run into.
 

precision powder

Backwoods Explorer
Good that you had skeet with you. Actually dogs are vey good deterrents for most critters. Bears tend to be afraid of dogs...at least the black bears I usually run into.
Black bear are scared of people as well. For the most part they have a completely different attitude than grizzly bear do. However there can always be a very aggressive one. Mountain lions are another thing to be at least aware of. Spray does work some times but as mentioned before its not always the answer. You would be foolish and be wishing death upon yourself if you are getting charged and you spray into the wind. It will blind you and not bother the bear at all, then you die. A lot of people around me in the woods carry either a large caliber pistol 44mag with hard cast lead or hollow points but there are others that also carry a short 12ga on a backpack rig. Some animals do not appreciate you coming across a kill.

It is more than just that though I know a lot of places don't have this issue but something to at least think about in this state is people growing pot out in the woods. It seems to happen a lot on paper company land, private property they dont belong on, or public land. There is no real rhyme or reason to it you can just happen across plants in buckets. MOST of the time it is a non issue and you never see anyone there or the person just suggests you leave and is mostly "friendly" about it. I do know a guy that came across a rather unhappy person that chased him off with a gun threatening to kill him though.

Me personally I would rather have at least something and not need it then need it and not have it. Be it that I come across someone that wishes to do me harm, an animal that is rather unhappy I am there, or I get lost/hurt and I am stuck there. There are a lot of things that having one could be handy for. Plus where I live there is ALWAYS something in season that you can take advantage of. Might as well grab a snack while you are out.
 

rgallant

Adventurer
Oddly I worry less about bears and even generally other people, I see very few people once I get far enough out and most black bear run at the sound of the truck. I do carry a 12 gauge, and it is on me when I am out of the truck for any length of time.
But I also carry a wide variety of ammo, it is much for living off the land if so required as protection. Being in Canada a handgun is not generally an option for any kind of carry, and I am not a good enough handgun shot to make viable for me anyway for animal defense.

But handguns, long guns or bear spray are all useless if you do not how to use them. I have spoken a number of hikers and quaders who seem to think spraying in the general direction and just hitting the bear will work.
 

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plainjaneFJC

Goofball
Speaking personally I could never imagine myself or understand why people are "a trophy shooter", yet I would have no problem shooting a charging bear. I think it is a poor comparison.
Yeah, I cannot accept the logic that shooting a bear is a better idea then pepper spray. Probably the same losers that shoot Leopards or Tigers (I am a hunter, not a trophy shooter).

Sure, have a gun as a backup, but shooting a bear when pepper spray is documented to work more effectively is inexcusable. In fact, even basic research into ballistics would demonstrate why a handgun caliber VS. charging bear is a bad idea. The pepper spray disables the bear's sight and smell almost instantly, while a .45 will most likely kill the bear, but long after he has mauled you. A rifle is an entirely different and more effective defense, but few walk around with rifles for defense against bears. Even a .44 Magnum lacks the hydrostatic shock to stop a bear instantly. That would require a perfectly executed cranio-ocular against a fast charging target.
 

doug720

Expedition Leader
But the sad part of bears and people encounters while camping is it is largely a made made problem.

Many people don't think when they camp in bear country, as such, many bears associate people and vehicles as a source of food. This association brings the bears into contact with people who are ill prepared on what to do when they see a bear in camp, so they react.

We camp many times each in an area that we see at least one bear per day, many days we see several. These are California bears, not grizzly's. But still bears.

Keep a clean camp, make noise, and yes be prepared, but be smart. We have bear spray, dogs and yes, a fire arm. But we have never needed the spray of firearm.

Several years ago, our friend was killed in Yellowstone in front of his wife while hiking by a bear, so I know this happens. Bad timing and a couple bad decisions cost Brian his life - http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/08/local/la-me-bear-victim-20110708

We see people do dumb things every time we visit the area that we see the bears, food left out, visible ice chests, doing dishes near camp, little kids wondering around after dark, etc. Many times, people make the encounter with a bear happen, it's not just happenstance they are around...
 

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