northernxposure wrote:I've encountered black bears more than a few times. Even had one come up the tree to get a better look at what I was - it received a full 12oz aluminum can to it's head for it's troubles. In almost all the instances I've encountered black bears, they've taken off before I got to them, or took off shortly after a stick was lobbed into their general direction. I've carried a 357M for years around them and never felt worried enough to draw down on one - even the big (350+ pound) ones.
Remember that bear spray is not people spray. It's bad, bad stuff. Also bears have crazy sensitive noses, in the order of 1000x what we have. What do you think lets them smell out that sliver of sugar doughnut you forgot you left in your bag that's been wrapped up inside a tent (why were you eating doughnuts in bed again?) that results in a shredded everything. A blast of "ohmygoshmyfaceismelting" to a nose that's already hyped up usually results in getting me the heck out of here.
Of course, if it doesn't - well... hope for a sense of humor from the FSM.
Good and valid points, but....
For some folks (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, parts of Washington, ect) there is the issue of running into a brown bear. Yes, black bears are more likely but that's not going to be a comfort to the poor SOB who meets a brown bear while hiking,camping, or hunting.
that the bear spray would do the trick but if I was involved in such an encounter I'd rather have both options.
Also, I seem to recall watching a video made by a hiker that was stalked by a black bear somewhere in the NE. It's been a long while since I saw the video online, but it was shot (very shakily) on digital camera. the hiker had started wading out into a body of water to get away from the bear. which had continued to advance on him through the brush despite the hiker yelling, throwing sticks, rocks, ect. at the bear. Bear spray would have been a real good idea for this but the hiker IIRC hadn't carried any with him (don't be that guy). I bring this up to remind people that it isn't safe to assume that black bears can be driven off easily.
As an added note, before going out into areas where there are bears do a little research into how abundant the bears food supply has been in the area, both at present and (if you're headed out in the early spring) the previous fall. Some bear attacks have been attributed to the bears normal food supply being insufficient...if they didn't feed well and build up ample fat reserves before hibernating they wake up much hungrier than normal and desperate for food, causing them to be more aggressive towards humans than the norm. If the spring food supply is poor the same applies. Poor fall food supply and
a poor spring food supply...best bet is don't go in the woods!
“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” Robert A. Heinlein