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Pistol or bear spray?

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Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Beendare » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 1]

Well we’ve all seen the studies saying bear spray is more effective than a firearm.

Let me just get this out right now I’m in the fire arms camp. I think we are being force-fed the bear spray recommendations.

Bear spray a slow cumbersome and dependent on many conditions on how effective it is. Where a firearm is only dependent on how good you are with it. Of course whichever you choose you need to practice practice practice

I’m always skeptical of the studies. It seems when they set out to prove something ....they always do. In the case of this bear spray there’s a lot of wildlife folks and naturalists recommending spray ....they just do not want these bears shot.

I have the same problem with some of the Ashby studies but that’s a different subject.

We’ve seen a few of these cases pop up where the bear spray didn’t work. I know of one personally when I was in Alaska 12 years ago in the same area as an outward bound group that has never made the statistics. The group sprayed a bear When It came in after their food, it ran off but then came back and mauled a couple of the kids pretty bad.

So here we have an outfit that researched a bunch of cases of bear defense with a firearm.
https://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2018/02/defense-against-bears-with-pistols-97_25.html?m=1
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Beendare » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 2]

Now in all fairness 100% of these cases are successful with firearms, A slanted representation

I don’t want to be one of those guys I hate,.... that set out to prove something /grin
I’m not claiming that firearms are 100% as this article might insinuate, I know that is false.

There are cases where folks have been found dead and their firearm hasn’t been fired and the like. I alluded to it in the first post: whichever weapon you choose is only as good as you are.

I do think this study shows that firearms are very effective contrary to what the bear spray proponents would have us believe.

I also believe that as time goes on I think we’re going to see more and more cases where people relied on bear spray and it didn’t work
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 3]

Good stuff Bruce. Thanks for sharing this perspective.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 4]

I'll simply quote and refer to three sources;

Forest Service HANDBOOK, ALASKA REGION (REGION 10), JUNEAU, Alaska
FSH 6709.11 – health and safety code handbook
Chapter 50 - Employee Safety, Security, and Health
51.21 – Authorization for Firearms
"In areas determined to be high risk, a firearm is the required means of protection."

The Journal of Wildlife Management, 2012
Efficacy of Firearms for Bear Deterrence in Alaska
"We found no significant difference in success rates (i.e., success being when the bear was stopped in its aggressive behavior) associated with long guns(76%) and handguns(84%)"

United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station
General Technical Report PNW-152 March 1983
Safety in Bear Country: Protective Measures and Bullet Performance at Short Range

"We selected a distance of 15 yards as the “point of no return”-the distance at which an obviously aggressive bear must be stopped or a person risks personal injury or death. We stress “obviously aggressive,” a term for a bear that is charging, with the assumed intent of doing bodily harm."

So, the Forest Service regulations for Alaska Region 10 requires that a firearm be used for protection in high risk areas - not bear spray.
The Journal of Wildlife Management says that their studies show that rifles are 76% effective at stopping bear attacks and handguns are 84% effective.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that at 15 yards distance a bear attack has reached the point of no return and only a firearm is going to be effective at reducing the chances of personal injury or death.

Putting all that together and it tells me that scientists that have actually studied Forest Service bear attack data have concluded that firearms are the appropriate choice for self defense in a true bear attack (one where the bear is still charging at 15 yards or less).
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby jmez » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 5]

I think both can be, and are effective. I don't think there really is any argument about that. Which is more effective. No one knows. You couldn't do a scientific study to prove either way. There is no comparative basis to be made. In a couple of these cases bear spray was used and it didn't work. In the cases where it wasn't used you have no idea whether it would have worked or not. In cases where bear spray worked that doesn't mean that a pistol would have also worked. You simply can't compare them.

My opinion, take whatever gives you more piece of mind. In most all cases that is all either is going to be good for. If you look at the statistics from actual hand to hand combat in a life threatening situations, about 2% of people are actually capable of even functioning under those conditions. That includes people that are trained to do so. That training doesn't include shooting your pistol a lot at a range and being proficient with your weapon. You can throw that right out the window when something is attempting to kill you.

There are physiological changes that occur within your body when you are put into a life or death situation. There is no way to stop them or avoid them. They occur in even the professionally trained killers. People with professional training are made aware of them and taught how to function as they occur.

No delusions of grandeur here sitting in my recliner. I feel far more comfortable with spray than a pistol. It is really easy to deploy and I have a far greater chance of hitting the bear with the spray than I would a pistol. As I said above, that is nothing more than piece of mind.

I have gotten first hand accounts of grizzly incidents from 4 different people. Two of them were badly mauled and the other two the bear left without touching them. One occurred in Alaska and three in WY. Three of them were rifle hunting the other was approaching a bear in camp with a pistol drawn. No shots were fired in any of the situations.

The guy in camp, an outfitter for years in western WY heard the bear in camp. Went around a wall tent with pistol drawn, bear stood up and slapped the pistol out of his hand and proceeded to maul him.

Friend of mine hunting western WY, grew up there and hunted his whole life there. Got charged by a sow with cubs elk hunting. She charged him and hit him. Then came back three more times and mauled him after the initial incident. Never fired a shot, Said he didn't have time and honestly didn't even remember that he was armed as it was occurring.

Another friend hunting western WY. Grew up there, hunted and guided his whole life there. Was charged by a sow without cubs elk hunting. Came around a bench and saw her at about 100 yards. She stood up, looked at him and charged. At about 15 feet she veered off and hit a dead tree knocking it over. Proceeded to destroy the dead tree right next to him for a period of time. She then stood back up, looked at him, turned around and walked off. I told him I would have shot her. He just laughed and said no you wouldn't, I didn't even know that I had a gun.

Alaska moose hunting. We went halibut fishing when we came out. Were on a charter with 4 guys from Michigan. One of them was hunting and climbed up on a beaver dam to look over the other side. When he did a brown bear stood up on the other side and looked at him, point blank. Stared at him for about 20 seconds, he thinks, turned around and walked off. He went back to camp. When his buddies returned he told them the story. They asked him where his gun was as it wasn't in camp. He wasn't sure where it was, he didn't remember. They walked back to where the incident occurred and found his gun in the beaver pond next to the dam. He didn't remember dropping it and had no idea he'd left it until they brought it up.

Unless someone has actually been involved in a grizzly confrontation you can't speak to what you would or wouldn't do or what may be more effective. I'm pretty sure, irregardless of what I had with me, if I got into a situation with a bear I'd $%@# myself, if that bear was intent on doing me harm I'd be mauled, if it wasn't intent on doing me harm I'd walk away unscathed.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 18, 2018 •  [Post 6]

Actually there are several scientific studies on the effectiveness of firearms, what you can't prove is if one deterrent would have worked "better" than another in any single situation. What the studies I've referenced all say is that even the Forest Service says that when a bear is within 15 yards it's a life and death situation, if you think a spray is an effective way of protecting your life then by all means, use it. Personally I think a firearm is a better tool for protecting my life than a spray.

If you've ever been sprayed in the face with OC you'll understand why I'm not about to trust using a spray in close quarters and in conditions that might blow that spray back on me. With OC in your face you aren't going to be able to do anything to help yourself, even if you do have a gun for backup. The problem as I see it that bear sprays are only effective to a range of about 25 feet, that's only a little over 8 yards, well within the distance that the Forest Service feels is a life threatening situation. You are only going to have about 2 seconds to react at that distance so which deterrent you choose better be the right one because you aren't going to have the time to switch to another one.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby wawhitey » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 7]

For me, its a sidearm all the way. I agree on the idea that bear spray is being pushed by people who dont want bears killed and / or dont want people carrying guns. Bear spray requires extremely close range, and fml if the wind is wrong. Not only that, but you can reload a sidearm. If your can of spray is empty, and youre not going to be back to your truck for a week, then what? Maybe for the granola crowd that does day hikes in ntnl parks, and are anti gun, so dont have the ability to use a sidearm effectively, spray is probably a better idea. For me, i can practice with my handguns right in my backyard. I shoot quite a bit, im very comfortable with my sidearms, and ive killed a bear (black) in a self defense situation with my sidearm before, at 8 feet. And every year i have close quarter encounters with bears where im staring down a revolver barrel at them, ready to hit the trigger if they wont back down
Fired warning shots at a couple bears last season, and in late november while deer hunting, came like 5 yards from a big boar eating a deer. Was pretty sketchy. So close i shouldered my scoped rifle and had my revolver on him. He wasnt impressed with my tough talk. I ended up walking backward for a ways with my sidearm pointed at his head. Screw bear spray. Bear spray is for people who dont know how to operate a revolver, and are brainwashed enough to value a bears life over their own. Theres not a bear in the world whose life is more important than mine, imho. If i feel threatened, by a bear, wolf, lion, moose whatever.... im going to shoot to kill. My personal safety comes first. Legal questions are a distant second. A dead bear cant rip your face off.
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Postby saddlesore » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 8]

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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Tigger » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 9]

I agree with Saddlesore. For those that practice a lot with a pistol, go for it. I hope you don't miss. I am not a pistol shooter. When I get the time to shoot, I shoot a rifle or shotgun. So my proficiency with a pistol is not good enough in my mind to kill a bear on a charge (I could care less if the bear dies or not, if the bear charges me I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6!). So I carry both. Spray for the charge and a pistol for when he is on top of me and hopefully I can get to my pistol. If not, I hope my buddy gets him off me.

Last year we practiced with spray and my buddy got a little in his eye. Wow was that fun to watch and it sure made me feel better about the effectiveness of spray!
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Swede » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 10]

Last season when I hunted with RJ, I carried a pistol with me on a few occasions. I did not buy spray as I don't know when I will hunt griz country the next time. Going in and out, I just hoped any griz would be polite enough to give me plenty of warning and wait for me to get the pistol out of the holster and aimed. I did not file the front sight off, as I thought I might use the gun later for something other than bore sighting my intestinal tract. Who knows when I will be hunting griz country again?
Saddlesore is right, again. I have noticed that old coot has a bad habit of being right. :D
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby wawhitey » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 11]

" a lot of these chest thumping ego driven people who think they are good enough to stop a bear moving at 35 mph towards them all the while getting a good sight picture in a 6" POI while they are stressed and shaking need to file the front sights off their handguns on when the bear uses it as a suppository so it won't hurt as bad."

Unless a charging bear is starting its 35mph run from at least 50 yards away, it wont matter if youre carrying a sidearm or bear spray, that sucker will be on you before you can deploy your weapon. One more thing a sidearm has going for it imo, is lets say the worst happens. You get caught off guard and a bear is now ripping you a new ahole. While youre buried in 300+ lbs of fur, getting shredded, do you want to basically smoke bomb yourself with pepper spray? That wont make it any easier to get your freshly ground carcass off the mountain. A good sa/da revolver, in theory you could jam the barrel into fur and start squeezing the trigger, and only the bear should be effected.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby CurlyTail » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 12]

I don't carry either in Black Bear country. I don't carry either in Mt. Lion country.

I have not yet hunted in Grizzly Country - but when I do - I intend to carry both, and hunt with a buddy.

If I had a Grizzly in camp at night sniffing and pawing my tent I would probably use spray. If I stumbled on a Griz who then charged me, I would want a pistol. I would hunt with my buddy and we would rehearse a plan a time or two before and during the hunt. The plan would involve me with a pistol, and my buddy with spray. Not sure how it would turn out - It would depend on the Bear and how determined it was to maul me.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby wawhitey » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 13]

CurlyTail wrote:I don't carry either in Black Bear country.


To each their own, but i would reevaluate that. Just in my 2017 deer season i had 4 <20 yard encounters with black bears (not counting treestand situations) and not a one was impressed by my tough talk. People that say black bears are all timid scardey cats just havent dealt with enough of them. Every year i run into at least one black bear that didnt get the memo that its supposed to be a candy ass. So far its only come down to dropping the hammer once for me, but its been a very close thing several other times. Last year a friend was cow calling in sept and got charged by a blackie. Ive spent the last couple years harassing him about keeping his sidearm on his hip instead of in his pack. Bear started coming at him. He yelled. It stopped for a second, then decided to resume its charge. The bears pause gave him enough time to get his.357 unholstered, and he ended up dumping all 6 rounds and killing the bear.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Navesgane » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 14]

CurlyTail wrote:
If I had a Grizzly in camp at night sniffing and pawing my tent I would probably use spray.


I would want a firearm if I was inside the tent.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 15]

I agree that a lot of people are in no way prepared for the reality of a violent, life threatening situation, but I'm not one of them. I'm a retired Marine with enough combat time to know what it's like to be scared crapless. I also ran a major firearms range for a few years and conducted firearms training for both civilians and military personnel so I'm not unfamiliar with the general capability of the average shooter.

I'm not attempting to convince anyone to carry a gun or a spray, what I'm doing is simply quoting facts rather than spouting off with an uninformed opinion. An analysis of those facts make me feel that since the federal agency that deals with bears on a regular basis requires a gun be carried for bear defense it makes me feel that a gun is a better choice. I do get amused by these bear debates though because the pro spray advocates always quote the success percentages but I've never met one of those advocates that can actually produce any verifiable data to prove their accusations, most don't even know what the proof sources are that the pro spray propagandists used to support their opinion. What's worse, some will try to claim that guns don't work because people didn't use them, that doesn't prove anything about the effectiveness of the gun, it proves the unpreparedness of some people. I understand the inclination to avoid killing an animal unless it's necessary but when you're dealing with an animal as unpredictable and powerful as a grizzly you have no margin of error, you'd better be right the first time because you wont get a second chance.

To me a long gun is a better choice if you focus in regards to power but in the real world you probably wont be able to swing that long barrel in to position without a bear swatting it out of your hands or you may not be able to swing the barrel in to position because of the closeness of the bear. A handgun is a last resort self defense tool (it's not even that good against a knife in the hands of an knife fighting expert) so anybody with a minimum of common sense should realize that a handgun isn't going to stop a bear attack every time but neither is spray. Can you miss with a handgun - of course you can but you can also miss with spray if the wind doesn't cooperate or you misjudge the distance. One thing most people don't think about is that sprays have a shelf life which can weaken the effectiveness of the spray, I don't have to worry about shelf life with my bullets. If you are lazy or unrealistic about defending against a bear attack, either weapon could fail because of the failures of the user. I'm a bit of a fatalist in that I believe that if it's your time then no matter what you do you're going to check out, that doesn't mean that I'm going to smear my body with honey and sit in front of a bear den but it does mean that I realize that regardless of which tool you choose, you might not live through the attack. I do carry spray when it's convenient (and yes, I live in grizzly territory) but I don't always carry it. I buy a new can or two every year and toss the old ones in the trash. But I always carry a gun no matter what I'm doing, even when I'm just doing chores in the immediate area around the house (we've had moose and mountain lions in the yard and grizzly tracks within 100 yards of the house so there is a reason for my paranoia).

In the end it all comes down to what you feel most comfortable using, I doubt sincerely that in an actual attack (not a faint) that spray is going to produce a better outcome than a gun but that's just my opinion based on what I feel are my skills and the research I've done. I can play devil's advocate to my own position and come up with what-if scenarios that would support using spray, but in the end, when my life is on the line, I'm going to choose to use a tool that has the potential of terminating the attack with the greatest authority.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Swede » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 16]

The requirement for F.S. employees carrying guns in bear country (Alaska) goes back many years. I suspect it goes back to a time before bear spray. It might be worth noting, they don't go out alone, and in larger crews they carry a 375 H&H.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby saddlesore » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 17]

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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Swede » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 18]

A couple of years ago, when I was still in high school, Buzzy an underclassman went out hunting with his dad. One of them shot a bear. After admiring the bear, the dad was going to gut and skin it. Apparently the bear was not interested in donating its hide without some fight. When the knife went in, the bear came alive and started to wrestle over ownership of the coat. Buzzy got his knife out and started stabbing at the bear. I guess the bear finally gave up on any claim on whose hide it was, but not before Buzzy had hamstrung his dad. I suspect the dad was very glad Buzzy did not grab a gun and start shooting. I never read in the newspaper what happened to the hide. It probably was not worth the effort it would take to patch it up.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Beendare » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 19]

Some good commentary...and I would agree with the premise most guys are better off with Spray.

I was smiling and nodding at Saddles comments. I've shot plates....and taken classes with a lot of folks claiming they could shoot [including cops] and they were bad....really bad....and some not safe to shoot with.

It was Jmez that pointed me to a very good book on the subject, "On Combat" that goes into detail on the why and how of combat situations. A bear charge is just that. BTW, Thx for that Jmez....the only book I refuse to loan out as I don't want to lose it.


I've had the advantage of being charged by hogs at close range over 20 times..and the first couple were just as men described it....I was a deer in the headlights. With some training and knowing what to expect.....not one hog survived a charge after that. I've only been charged by a couple bears....both false charges.

I do believe a person can train themselves to react and shoot....but it ain't gonna happen with a couple boxes of cartridges. If you're first reaction before you mouth "Bear" is drawing your pistol....I think you have better than even odds of coming out on top.

But then I also think that if you jump....just before that plane crashes...you will make it. /grin
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby saddlesore » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 20]

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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby wawhitey » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 21]

Well saddlesore, if im getting mauled by a bear, id rather have a handgun on my hip that might save my life, than have nothing to fight back with other than my bare hands. And as far as the long gun thing goes, i just dont think theyre a good defensive weapon. A scoped bolt action rifle would be very hard to hit a bear with in an up close, fast moving scenario, and all but impossible to get a follow up shot. And once youre getting mauled, no way can you use it. I see a wheel gun on my hip as the best safeguard for an unlikely scenario. A scoped, bolt action rifle is for hunting, not so much for self defense.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Beendare » 04 19, 2018 •  [Post 22]

10 second rule sure...but does it always apply here? There are other factors that can help you deter a bear with a firearm.

Muzzle blast can have a big effect. Which would you dislike most....muzzle blast from a SW 629 classic .44 mag....or some pepper spray? I'll take the pepper/ grin

I know of a couple cases where the blast....and it could have been the sound...turned the bear. Then these was Fred Eichlers bear hunt where his guide turned that bear in full charge.

I've seen animals shot back....we call it the rear third...and they swing around looking for the attacker. I've seen bears do this a lot...both on hunts....and also on video. Shoot that bear in the rear third while in full charge...or worst case while he is mauling you....and he will turn away...even if just for a second.

I've seen animals totally incapacitated by a shot in the hip...or again....rear third...even with a bow.

I don't attribute magical powers to a firearm....no way its as effective as hiving a bear tag in your pocket...but thats some nasty medicine coming out of that muzzle at close range.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby saddlesore » 04 20, 2018 •  [Post 23]

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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby jmez » 04 20, 2018 •  [Post 24]

The good thing is that most maulings or attacks don't end in death, gun or no gun, spray or no spray. On the very, very slim chance you end up actually getting mauled, there is even less of a chance of it being fatal.

Whole lot more "romanticizing and bravado" goes on with bear attacks than actual bear attacks.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby saddlesore » 04 20, 2018 •  [Post 25]

jmez wrote:The good thing is that most maulings or attacks don't end in death, gun or no gun, spray or no spray. On the very, very slim chance you end up actually getting mauled, there is even less of a chance of it being fatal.

Whole lot more "romanticizing and bravado" goes on with bear attacks than actual bear attacks.


You sure got a point there
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby ishy » 04 21, 2018 •  [Post 26]

Check out this video how quick the larger bear takes out the smaller one. Puts it in perspective how quick and powerful they can be, and that's a blacky! I know I'm going to be looking over my shoulder more at bait sites after seeing this.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby scubohuntr » 04 23, 2018 •  [Post 27]

I don't know how I would react in a bear attack situation. I very likely wouldn't get a shot off- spray or gun. The reason I carry is that little difference between "very likely wouldn't" and "couldn't". I do carry spray in addition to my Redhawk. I'd rather have the bear live to fight another day, given the choice, but if it came down to instinct I'd be reaching for the .44, not the spray. If I had a bear threatening rather than all-out charging, I'd hit it with spray first, left handed, while my right covered it with the gun. I've been in a situation where I had time to do that, and two warning shots turned an aggressive black bear. Everyone went home safely.

There has been some discussion of a "10-second rule". It's a bit misleading, because you don't need the bear to die, you just need it to give up chewing on you. If you smack it with a .22 and the bear decides you're not worth the trouble, it's a win. When it comes down to a for-real charge at close quarters, you will get hurt. Whether you go for spray or a gun, you won't stop a determined charge at 15 feet. Even if the bear is deterred by either bullets or spray at that range, he will get a couple of licks in before he takes off.

Finally, there are situations where bear spray just won't work. If the reason you ended up way too close to a grizzly is because you are headed into a stiff wind, bear spray will come right back at you. If a bear is coming into your tent, for God's sake don't reach for the spray. The bear can just pull his head out; you will be stuck inside a tent full of pain, and completely defenseless when you stumble out.

Of course, all this is just theoretical. Chances are I would not do very well defending myself with either option, but I do like to at least have the options. I carry a tourniquet and clotting agent, but in any situation where I would need those I'd be more likely to bleed out than to successfully save myself. Emergencies are emergencies because they are life-threatening. We don't carry first aid or bear defense because it makes us immune to emergencies, but because it gives us at least a slim chance of doing something about it in the nearly worst-case scenario. In the most likely case, you won't have a life-threatening emergency. In the second most likely case, you are too far gone before you can react, but there's really no point planning for that, is there?
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby saddlesore » 04 23, 2018 •  [Post 28]

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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby scubohuntr » 04 23, 2018 •  [Post 29]

You're right, there's little chance of getting one shot off and even less of two. It just goes against the grain for me to say, "I probably can't kill or wound a bear enough to make a difference, so I'll just lay down and die." I shoot my handgun a lot, thousands of rounds a year, so it's not that far fetched for me to depend on it. It certainly doesn't make a bear attack impossible, and probably doesn't make enough difference to make a statistically unlikely event like a bear attack any less likely. Maybe I wouldn't have time to get it out in the event of an attack. But, dying in a bear attack is not the worst case scenario. Standing by helplessly while someone else dies would be much worse. If I had to, I would attack a bear with my bare hands to get it off my wife or child. I would use the most lethal response available to me, repeatedly, to change that situation. A firearm gives me a chance to do just that, and maybe survive it. Granted, for every person who uses a firearm successfully to repel an attacking bear, there are several who make the situation worse, and many thousands who carry a firearm and never need it. I'm perfectly happy to stay in the last group.

I probably won't carry the revolver while rifle hunting this fall. When I'm carrying a .375 H&H rifle, the .44 doesn't add anything. I'll carry bear spray and hope I don't need it.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby RAMMONT » 04 23, 2018 •  [Post 30]

Like the old saying, having a gun is like having a condom, it's better to have one and not need it than to need it and not have one.

A pistol isn't going to do you any good because both arms are going to be pinned down --not necessarily, besides, that's assuming that everybody will always be on their back when a bear attacks them - very poor reasoning. You must hit the CNS to stop any animal in his tracks? Not true, I'm sure most of us have seen animals fall like a rock with heart shots and some with lung shots. In fact, in the data that I've read, most bears that have been killed with guns during a bear attack were hit in the chest with the bullets hitting the heart or the lungs. Most people make their decisions based on their emotional reaction to an issue and when they are faced with data and facts that can prove them wrong they simply pull crap out of their behinds to try to sound like their opinion is the only correct answer. On the other hand, there are others, like me, that will readily admit that my choice is based on fear, fear of not having any tool to protect myself with.

Living in SW Montana I hear about at least a half dozen bear attack stories every year and more often than not bear spray has not stopped the attacks, guns didn't always stop them either but they did stop some of the attacks. Neither tool will guarantee that you wont get mauled, sprays are called deterrents for a reason, even a pistol is classified as a deterrent because it wont always stop a bear , but of the two deterrents, a gun is the only that can be lethal if necessary. If all you had was spray, and it failed to stop a mauling, do you think that it's more probable that a bear will quit with a few love nibbles or do you think that a person has a better probability of being killed, because that's what some of you are asking others to do, you are asking people to believe that spray is the only tool that should be used and that if that doesn't stop the bear then we should just lay down and get mauled because a gun wont do us any good anyway. It's possible that I might not be able to use my pistol once the bear jumps on me but then again I might, just like it's possible that my gun wont stop the bear in his charge but it's also possible that it might. Since none of us can find (or is it we just don't want to find) real data that we feel proves the true effectiveness of either tool we'll just resort to picking what makes us feel most comfortable. Since I've read several stories about how spray had absolutely no effect on a charging bear and the victims resorted to successfully using guns, I think I'll skip the spray part and just use a gun.
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Re: Pistol or bear spray?

Postby Lefty » 04 24, 2018 •  [Post 31]

I had chimed in but evidently logged out before my post loaded :x

Ive always carried a shotgun for my "sidearm" when bear an moose hunting with my daughters and wife. Archery hunting I carry bear spray. same as hiking and ATVing

But I carry bear spray for more than bears.
In two situations in the woods,.. 35 years past, both times I had a pistol while trapping,.. . I was willing to take a beating before even considering using a firearm,.. both situations I reported to the sheriff .
But given that same situation both of those guys would have received a can full of pepper caspian.
My middle daughter has a concealed carry. But All three daughters have bear deterant on their headboard as do I my 5 year old granddaughter knows how to use it too
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