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Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

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Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 21, 2017 •  [Post 1]

Thought I'd bring this one up again as the season is approaching us.... When hunting in big bear country, do you prefer to carry bear spray or a big bore pistol? I normally don't carry any anti-big bear, or for that matter, any other anti-big mammal measure, while hunting elk in grizzly country unless I'm going back in on a kill (that's just me). When I do strap something to my body, I carry a Taurus UL Model 444 .44 MAG with 305 GN solid lead HSM bear loads. I feel that if it ever came down to "it", I want to be able to disrupt the critter's nervous system (something I don't believe aerosol spray can do), even if its dragging me away by my leg. What do you cats feel about this and what do you/will you carry this fall on your trip(s) into big carnivore country? Just sparking some conversation ;). RJ
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Elkhunttoo » 07 21, 2017 •  [Post 2]

If I'm not carrying my rifle I've got my .357 mag on my hip. It's small and easy to carry. I hope I never have to use it in self defense but I will always carry it. When I used to hunt grizzly country before I had my pistol I carried bear spray. There is a chance I'm moving back to where I would be in grizzly country again and honestly, it doesn't excite me. 17 years ago I hunted that area as a high schooler and never carried anything but my bow and never gave it much of a second thought. Last hunt I had in that area we followed grizzly tracks every where we went, including 20 yards from where we camped
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Indian Summer » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 3]

I carry an 8 by 10 picture of my wife when she's mad at me. I wait until they are at close range then I flash it at them. They can't get out of there fast enough.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 4]

Indian Summer wrote:I carry an 8 by 10 picture of my wife when she's mad at me. I wait until they are at close range then I flash it at them. They can't get out of there fast enough.


Hahaha! That's mean, Joe! I am assuming this tactic is griz tested, griz approved?

I've carried a pistol or bear spray at various times. In areas that bears are known to frequent I will ALWAYS carry something. I put 50 rounds through the big .44 on a target range about a year back. I must say, I won't be carrying a gun again till I can actually hit something with it. I also don't fully trust bear spray due to several stories in the past year where it hasn't been effective. So I guess I need some serious range time before I'm back in the mountains.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Lonnie » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 5]

I have a friend of mine who works for the forest service and back packs a lot. He says the bear spray is more effective. Just make sure the wind is not blowing back in your face. lol I seem to agree. I am a pretty good pistol shot but in the heat of the moment it is hard to hit a moving target with a bullet. I have never tried the bear spray but I have watched lots of videos where it was effective. Another friend of mine did have a brown bear come after him in archery a couple of years ago. He shot the bear in the head and killed it. He called fish and game and told them what had happened because he did not want someone to find the dead bear with his bullet in its head. He said he had to take fish and game back up to the mountain and explain everything that happened. The fish and game guy was not happy he said if they would have had bear spray that they would not have had to kill the bear.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Swede » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 6]

I plan to bring along my 357 Ruger SA. I may ask to borrow my son's shotgun and buy some 00 buckshot. I don't much care what the Fish & Game guy likes or dislikes if I am endangered by a grizzly. I "might" use his bear spray if he gives me a can of the stuff, but who is checking the wind direction when a griz is coming at you?
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby stealthycat » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 7]

when a grixxly charges you might have what, 3-5 seconds to make a decision right ?

and you're going to test the wind? wait until the bear is in your face?

I love the idea of pepper spray .... I cant help but trust the power of a handgun though and if I were to hunt grizzly country, I'd buy a .44 mag with a 4 or 6" barrel, probably 6 " and a revolver.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Grousewit » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 8]

I carry a little 22 snubnose. Say im huntin with Swede. When we encounter a bear i will pop Swede in the kneecap an take off. U only have to b faster than the slowest person in the group!
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Lefty » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 9]

Lonnie wrote:I have a friend of mine who works for the forest service and back packs a lot. He says the bear spray is more effective. Just make sure the wind is not blowing back in your face. lol I seem to agree. I am a pretty good pistol shot but in the heat of the moment it is hard to hit a moving target with a bullet. I have never tried the bear spray but I have watched lots of videos where it was effective. Another friend of mine did have a brown bear come after him in archery a couple of years ago. He shot the bear in the head and killed it. He called fish and game and told them what had happened because he did not want someone to find the dead bear with his bullet in its head. He said he had to take fish and game back up to the mountain and explain everything that happened. The fish and game guy was not happy he said if they would have had bear spray that they would not have had to kill the bear.


He wasnt happy to walk up that Mountian!!

There is plenty of evidence spray works better. The problems with a handguns most people do not shoot well under stress. The town I was from there was a shootout between a criminal and State Highway Patrol / FBI guys. Between two buildings 45 feet apart literally shooting over a car . Law officers shot 12 rounds; one bullet was found, the one that went through the criminal.
Plus bullets dont often stop a bear dead instantly, few loads do. Sound has proven effective( ask Somalia pirates)as a deterrent.
I carry bear spray! Ive mentioned it before; crazy people scare me more than bears. Ill use bear spray, where I would hesitate puling a firearm.
I have three adult daughters all three carry bear spray, All three have bear spray on their nightstand
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Indian Summer » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 10]

All the tree huggers say spray is more effective. But there's a reason they took guns to Vietnam instead of that stuff. Tree huggers get more upset when a bear is killed than when a human who "knowingly invaded the bear's habitat" gets mauled. Don't take a knife to a gunfight folks. I keep bear spray in camp if I'm in griz country and I have carried it in Alaska but I always have a heavy handgun.

The most important thing though is a level head in dicey situations. Neither will do you much good if you are a panicker.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Brendan » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 11]

I carry both. Being honest with myself - I don't practice with my pistol nearly enough, so bear spray will get the first nod in a fast/emergency scenario.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 12]

Indian Summer wrote:The most important thing though is a level head in dicey situations. Neither will do you much good if you are a panicker.


This! I've been on a fresh bear kill before (cow moose in Alaska), and we could hear the bear in the brush. I didn't know the extent of natural fear that prey animals like us can feel till then. And my partner was even packing the shotty with slugs for just such a situation.

We held it together, the bear left us alone, and I know what to expect in the future. But it would have been very easy to panic.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 13]

I always like to share this VID from F. Eichler when we discuss this topic. I seriously doubt if a "pfffssst" sound would have stopped this mama brown bear like the big boom did. The big boom in itself, is a pretty darn good deterrent for a startled bear (I've used it a few times myself on annoying black bears and saw it in action once on Chichagoff Island (sp?) outside of Sitka while doing a nature hike on the island my pop was logging on). The effects of pepper spray are nasty indeed but I'm not so sure that they are as immediate in their desired effect to "turn" a big bear as 1. the big boom and certainly 2. nervous system disruption by a big chunk of lead being blasted through muscle, bone, organs.

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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Mathewsz7-elkridge » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 14]

I am thinking of carrying a smith and wesson shield 40 cal with lehigh defense extreme penetrators. Also the bear spray for first use if i have time before they get to close. If the bear is to aggressive I will go with the fire power. What do you guys thing of a small semi auto for last resort?
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 15]

Mathews, that look like an expanding copper round (solid lead gets much better penetration and has a much higher likelihood of going deep to disrupt the nervous system). JMHO, but .40 to a big bruin is like a .22 MAG to a deer. Not enough bang and quantity of projectile for the unfortunate task at hand.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Old school » 07 22, 2017 •  [Post 16]

In Griz country I'd have my S&W 629 classic - 6" barrel 44 mag
In black bear country my Springfield Armory XD 40 cal.

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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby ishy » 07 23, 2017 •  [Post 17]

I know we all feel more comfortable throwing lead, but look at this study. Spray encounters 98% human unharmed. Firearms 1 in 4 resulted in human injury! Sorry folks but I like 2% way more than 25% odds. Biggest point to me is that if you are going to stop a bear you have to hit the brain or spinal cord on a charging animal that more than likely you didn't know was coming.
https://elknetwork.com/bear-spray-bullets/
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 07 23, 2017 •  [Post 18]

ishy wrote:I know we all feel more comfortable throwing lead, but look at this study. Spray encounters 98% human unharmed. Firearms 1 in 4 resulted in human injury! Sorry folks but I like 2% way more than 25% odds. Biggest point to me is that if you are going to stop a bear you have to hit the brain or spinal cord on a charging animal that more than likely you didn't know was coming.
https://elknetwork.com/bear-spray-bullets/


I hear ya Ishy but I have always wondered about the published studies. Are they perhaps a bit bias as they were performed by folks that lean toward saving bears from harm first and foremost? I would venture a guess to say that there have been many more bear's turned by hunters using a big bang/shots fired than by spray but those incidents possibly didn't make the study notes? I dunno brother...I have this same thread going on a few others forums and Beendare made a comment that his big bore pistol isn't affected by wind, and, can shoot through tent walls if needed; facts to consider. I hope none of our members ever have to face a true blue close encounter with a big brownie (or bad attitude black bears for that matter), it's no fun. I'm sure somebody has mentioned it, but our situational awareness and avoidance is the number one deterrence for such encounters.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Lefty » 07 23, 2017 •  [Post 19]

I have mentioned this in other posts .
While hunting with my daughters on their moose hunts and walking into a bear baits I carried a shotgun and bear spray.

Archery and general hiking its bear deterant (spray).

My brothers best friend, first year in Alaska killed two big boars. Killed them both with a split slug out of a shotgun. one dropped dead with its nose in the door, the other on the edge of the porch. He mentioned the worst part was he had no way to move them or anyway to bury them
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Roosiebull » 07 23, 2017 •  [Post 20]

I have never hunted grizz country, we have lions and black bear. neither I consider dangerous to humans in a normal situation, I don't carry a sidearm while hunting.

if I am scouting, with no weapon, I pack my 357 w/6" barrel. I always have a lion tag, and if I see one while scouting, in theory, I could turn it into a hunt.

if I were to shoot and wound a bear or cougar, I would back out and go get my big pistol, a s&w 500 mag, 500gr soft points at 1500fps is adequate power, my thought on shooting under pressure, I will get one shot, I will let said animal get within no miss zone, in the situation I could imagine, it will be point and shoot range. a second shot while i'm being brutalized is option B :shock:
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 07 23, 2017 •  [Post 21]

I have hunted in Grizzly country only once.That unit in Alberta required I have guide. He opted for 300 mag. For about ten years I was a NRA certified instructor for several disciplines. One of them was Basic Pistol which most students took to get a CCW permit. A lot of guys signed up for it telling me they knew how to shoot ,but only need a certificate. They would show up at the range with 44 's , 357.s, and such and brag how they could hit with it. I can't remember any that should have trusted their life to their abilities. They had a hard time with 22's . I suspect that a large segment of those who carry handguns for bear protection would more than likely have the bear use that handgun as a suppository on the hunter before they ate him.
It isn't just the tree huggers that say the spray is more effective. Studies have been done to show it is true.However, I know a fellow that lives in Powell,WY , just north of Cody. He carries spray, but his choice is a 12 gauge shotgun with good rifled slugs in a pump configuration
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Tigger » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 22]

i carry spray only. I am not a pistol shooter and I like my odds of using a visible 4 foot circle to hit said bear than a single projectile hitting an extremely fast target in the CNS which is about what, 3 inches in diameter? I head this once and thought it was very aptly put. Have someone roll a tire downhill at you. You get 1 shot to hit the exact middle of the tire coming at you (the tire is not broadside, it is rolling at you-so when I say middle I mean middle of the treads). This does not account for up and down, just left and right. Now do it 10 times. How many times do you think you can hit the middle of the tire coming at you out of 10? If you miss by more than 2" you die. Again, this doesn't account for up and down (you could hit the exact center of the tire coming at you but be 8" high which would miss the CNS on a bear but look like a hit at the middle of the tire). Oh, wait, there is more. You need your pucker factor to be max while all this is happening. This is where the picture of Joe's wife being mad comes in.....

I believe in the studies. Maybe they aren't perfect, but .....

Options for hunting and having a Big Bad Bear encounter in my opinion:

1. Avoidance
2. Shoot your buddy in the knee, trip him or tie his shoelaces together.
3. Bear spray
4. Handgun

Around camp or going in for the second load of meat, I would put a shotgun loaded for bear (ha-get it? loaded for bear?) with spray on my hip as the best method.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby >>>---WW----> » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 23]

If you pack a handgun for bear, you need you file the front sight off because it is going to hurt like heck when that bear shoves it up your rear end!!!!
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby scubohuntr » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 24]

Any firearm, provided you can hit with it, is preferable to poking an attacking bear with your finger. If you carry a gun for bear protection, put AT LEAST 200 rounds through it on the range each year, from various positions, using either hand, at ranges from five feet to fifty yards. Otherwise leave the gun at home, as missing a determined bear with any gun likely won't stop it.

I believe a large part of the statistical advantage of bear spray is due to the fact that many people who work in bear country- loggers, miners, park rangers, water samplers, etc.- are not allowed to carry firearms on the job, but are required to carry bear spray. They are also required to report every bear encounter. People who carry firearms in the woods- hunters, trappers, fishermen, campers, etc.- often don't officially report bear encounters unless they are really bad ones. I would have no idea where to report a bear encounter that did not involve injury, unless I was in a state park. If I had to kill a bear in self defense, I would report it, but many people are afraid of legal repercussions and don't.

I have no doubt that bear spray works in many situations. I also know for a fact that a warning shot from a handgun sometimes works. Personally, I always carry bear spray, carry a firearm when the risk seems high, and have an air horn in camp. I don't own a really suitable handgun at the moment, so I'm stuck carrying my .375 H&H when I feel the need for knockdown. Great bear gun; carry gun, not so much. Once I get enough pennies saved up to get a .44, I'll be carrying a firearm much more frequently.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Elkhunttoo » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 25]

>>>---WW----> wrote:If you pack a handgun for bear, you need you file the front sight off because it is going to hurt like heck when that bear shoves it up your rear end!!!!


:lol: Same goes for the firing end of that pepper spray can :o

Honestly I like that the gun can go "bang" when the bear is at a further distance. I like the deterring factor of the spray. But the simple truth is that when a grizzly is mad and on the defense you're in a lot of trouble no matter what you have. Just think about how humans react when the adrenaline kicks in, now times that by 10 and add unbelievable strength to it. When a bear looses it the bang might not even be heard, and 30 feet is closed by a running bear in the blink of an eye.

In these situations my uncle always thought me to stay flexible, that way you are able to stick your head between your leg and kiss your bum good bye ;)
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby stealthycat » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 26]

If I can get to pepper spray and deploy it properly, I can get to my gun the same.

I youtubed this morning and did not find a single bear charging video that was defused by pepper spray ..... a irritated bear, yes .... but a charge? No

It can work i'm sure, but a charging grizzly can go through a pepper spray cloud how fast, and still get to you right?

also, bear gets to you, how can you deploy your spray with a bear on you? I know people can/have used their guns when bears are on them.

I'll take the gun - gun and pepper spray is the best
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby oldnovice » 07 24, 2017 •  [Post 27]

I don't care what the studies say. Especially studies that cannot be controlled to any extent such as encounters with wild animals. I have run statistics for 30+ years and I have never seen a control group in bear attacks! I carry my Sig Sauer 2022 Para in 9mm. Sure, it won't likely kill a grizzly with one shot but in 1-3 seconds I can get off 3-10 rounds. I practice shooting a lot of rounds fast and keeping on the target. But, then again, I am not hunting in Grizzly country!
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby scubohuntr » 07 27, 2017 •  [Post 28]

I have run statistics for 30+ years and I have never seen a control group in bear attacks!


I'd love to see the bulletin board notices on campus for that control group! I'm betting volunteers would be scarce, unless it was someplace like Berkeley.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 07 27, 2017 •  [Post 29]

I think the control group are such that ones that tried to save themselves with handguns are dead.You hear about the spray users because they are still alive.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby scubohuntr » 07 28, 2017 •  [Post 30]

saddlesore wrote:I think the control group are such that ones that tried to save themselves with handguns are dead.You hear about the spray users because they are still alive.


No, an actual control group would be 20-50% at random with firing pins removed in their handguns and inert training spray, and not told about it. Placebos, ya know. Then you compare survival percentages from control vs. actual in both groups. As it is, there is no valid comparison, because there is no way to know how many incidents are not reported, and exactly what the circumstances were. How many "successful" bear spray incidents were just hosing down a poor bear that got surprised on a trail, and never had any intent of attacking? Also, most of the data is not coming from impartial sources.

I have turned a bear with two handgun shots into the ground in front of it; never used bear spray except in training. I'm sure bear spray would have worked in that situation, but I would have had to let the bear get quite a bit closer, and I wouldn't have had a plan B if it didn't work. With the revolver I had four rounds left to escalate with if it got sticky.

I hope I never get the opportunity to find out if bear spray works. I'm more likely to be carrying spray than a handgun, but if I'm carrying both and have time I will be spraying left handed and covering with the gun. In a close quarters charge I may not get either out in time, but they'll be prying what's left of my fingers off the gun, not the spray. I've had training and I am certified for bear spray, but there is no way to spend the same hours using bear spray as I have shooting. I don't think anyone has trained enough with bear spray to automatically go for it in a SHTF scenario. It's got to be a hard-wired response, with no thought at all.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby CurlyTail » 07 29, 2017 •  [Post 31]

I have not hunted Grizzly Country - so this is theroretical from me.

I want to hunt grizzly country, and when I do - I think that you need both pepper spray, a handgun, and a reliable hunting partner. Pepper spray is option #1. If you use your spray on day 2 of a hunt, you still need another option on day 4.

I don't think anything will stop a charging Grizzly that has caught you by surprise. If you hear a sound and can get prepared - you step to the side, your buddy advances to your side, and the lead person pulls the spray and the following person pulls the handgun. Hopefully both the bear and the hunters will get out without harm. I would use spray if 30 yards or less, and a warning shot from the gun if farther out.

I would put my tent, my cooking area, and my bear bag with all food and smellables in a triangle no less than 100 yards apart from each other
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Indian Summer » 07 30, 2017 •  [Post 32]

Actually that's a pretty good post Curly. We don't have to choose so having both is really the best option. Situations and circumstances can vary greatly. Here's a story from another forum I thought I'd share on this thread. No speculation here.... the real deal. We are not always the alpha creature! If these guys were bow hunting and had no firearm or spray they might both be dead. Remember he shot the sow I the chest with a caliber big enough to kill his elk.

"A friend of mine killed an elk opening day of rifle season in Montana. He and his friend packed half of the elk out the 3 miles to the truck then returned for the other half. When they got back to the elk a sow grizzly had claimed it. She charged and my friend shot her in the chest. She continued on, knocked him down, chewed on him some. Started dragging him back to the elk carcass. He still had the rifle in his hand but couldn't shoot her as he was dragging the rifle along behind and she was right on top of him. He tossed the rifle away for his friend to get it. His friend was reluctant to shoot, worried about shooting the victim instead, but after lots of yelling to do so, he did. The bear kept dragging him, until finally a bullet was put in her head from point blank range. Bottom line is that being armed may not necessarily ensure your safety, my friend is probably only still alive because he had someone else there."

If I know there are griz in the area I always have a gun. But I also keep spray and it is in the spray can holster attached to the shoulder strap of my pack right on the left side f my chest where I can get at it faster than anywhere else. A charging grizzly requires serious advance preparation! This a serious subject. If you live in Montana or Wyoming you hear about grizzly attacks every year. Only a couple of those stories make their way to the midwest and east.

Midwest you might repeat the comment you made on that thread. It was very good sir.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 07 30, 2017 •  [Post 33]

Not an attack on me,but interesting story.
My one and only guided hut occurred in the Red Deer River country in Alberta, north and west of Calgary.The week before I arrived they had killed a grizzly that invaded the camp.

We had to ride thru a govt ranch to get to our hut area every morning. There was no hunting there, but from the looks of it,someone had shot an elk close to the boundary and a grizzly had pulled the carcass onto the ranch.
The horses were still pretty snorty from the grizzly episode the prior week and .

The carcass was pulled in several directions every night and one morning we had to ride past it.Fresh tracks were all around it and I am sure the bear was not far off.The guide asked me to get down and put my foot in a track in he snow so he could take a picture of it for size. He said "don' t worry", the horse will let us know if the grizzly is close. I had on size11 sorrels and my boot didn't stretch but halfway lengthwise in the track. By this time the horse is dancing around and I had my hands full just holding it. No grizzly in sight, and I had all could do to get mounted. Once mounted and moving out, the guide mentioned that the bear must have been closer than he thought. Sure worried the heck out of me.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Muzzyvselk » 07 31, 2017 •  [Post 34]

I hunt Montana and hear/read about encounters every year. Only encounters iv had were seemingly curious bears just checking us out. I always carry spray and my 1911. I know it's not good big bear medicine but I'm very comfortable with it and can draw and shoot it instinctually. I handload heavy solids for it. I tell myself I'll use the spray first if only to avoid the conundrum of explaining a dead or wounded bear. Iv heard conservation officers explain the "skunk theory" were the more bears have interaction with humans and get sprayed they will avoid us as humans do when we smell skunks. It's a taught lesson mother bears would teach there cubs. I think I'll avoid them and let others teach the bears. my best friend close by with his .357 gives me comfort no bear spray ever could.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby RAMMONT » 07 31, 2017 •  [Post 35]

If you read the study that supposedly proves that bear spray works well, take note of the numbers breakdown. They indicate that of the study's 72 incidents where bear spray was used successfully, only 25 involved bears that acted aggressively in any way (their definition of aggressive is way too broad, it even includes when a bear seems to be following a person). Since those that used a gun instead of spray are restricted from using a gun unless there is a direct threat (in other words, a direct bear attack) then you can't really make a comparison to this report's data, it isn't an honest comparison. The majority of incidents where the spray was used were situations in which the bears weren't actually attacking, they were just curious (46) which means that it was far easier to deter the bear - which results in a false conclusion that the spray is more effective. What's more, when they break down the analysis, they explain that of the 7 black bears that were classified as aggressive only 1 actually attacked. In order to compare numbers they need to study how effective the spray was against bears that actually attacked since people with guns can't shoot a bear unless they are actually being attacked.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby jensenrw.2000 » 08 06, 2017 •  [Post 36]

Bowtech RPM 360, Montana Black Gold Pure 7 pin, VAP1 300 arrows, Thunderhead Razor Broad-heads, Tight Spot Quiver, Kuiu Ultra 6000 pack, Seek Outside Tipi
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Timber » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 37]

The way I look at it is the bear spray does not work.....now what? You miss with the firearm....now what? Well with the firearm you shoot again. I have read the meateater article but what I find more interesting is the comments of some of the experienced residents that live with grizzlies and it seems they prefer a firearm when it comes down to it.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby cohunter » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 38]

Ok... nobody else is saying it so I will: I think I come down on the bear spray side of the fence for 2 reasons.
1. I've watched a bunch of bear hunting videos on youtube probably close to 100, so we're talking a similar sample size as the aforementioned study and nearly every time a bear is shot its first reaction is to snap at and swipe at the spot. Most of the time they find nothing and THEN run off. On one video (and I wish I remembered where to find it) an arrow shaft is still sticking from the bear's side and rather than run off, the bear spends the rest of its living consciousness destroying that arrow. Maybe this was a Cameron Haynes hunt for brown bear? If firing at a bear from close range and they happened to come into contact with you, I imagine you would be the target of that bear's rage. I know a bullet kills fairly quickly, but I imagine a bear can do quite a lot of damage in 10-15 seconds - I remember as a kid reading a story of a bear attack where the victim fired into the bear several times through the attack and the bear just kept biting and clawing until it finally died. It takes a near-perfect shot to drop a bear instantly - most of us can't shoot that precisely especially under attack. It seems the bear's first response to a shot or stab wound is a "fight" response.

2. Bear spray on the other hand is applied in a gradient - most concentrated near you and less as it moves toward the bear. For a bear to continue its attack, it must push through and increasingly strong directional barrier. I don't know if you've ever gotten pepper juice in your eyes, but the response it incites in a person is more of a "flight" type response. Is it ridiculous to compare human and bear behavior? Well... consider the skunk. I hunt in an area infested with bears. Two seasons ago I was walking down an oak-brush-choked trail and surprised a black bear at about 15 yards. I said, "hey, bear" and without hesitation, he took off. About 40 yards further down the trail, I met a skunk. I made noise, threw rocks, waved my arms... no difference, that skunk kept coming. I ended up bailing off the trail into the brush to get out of the way. A skunk isn't particularly fast, not camo-ed in the least but is pretty darn confident in its scent repellent. I think there's got to be a physiological reason for this, or skunks wouldn't exist.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Timber » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 39]

And if #2 doesn't work then what? Pepper spray does not stop all humans so is it the same for bears? If a bear has a hold of me and I am getting mauled I would not want to be messing with pepper spray. I can just hope that the firearm does not get knocked out of my hand. Usually when my son and I go he carries spray and I carry the firearm but when by myself it is always the weapon. It boils down to what you are comfortable with I guess.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 40]

This discussion brings to mind the video concerning the game warden releasing a trapped grizzly that they were re-locating The trap was in the back of a pickup and the game warden was up on top of it working the gate.When the gate opened,the grizzly decided it was better to get the game warden than to scurry off. The game warden emptied all six shots in his .357magnum into the bear at probably less than 6 feet.The bear was still was trying to climb up over the trap when it died. It died pretty darn close to the game warden.

In the time frame of 1995-2000 ,I was teaching Basic Hand gun classes for CCW permits. Between the classes and handgun competition I w as firing 300-500 rounds a week.I didn't qualify as Expert, but I was pretty darn good. During those classes, a lot of guys came in and said they could shoot.I do not think I would have been capable of putting 2-3 lethal rounds out of 6 into a charging bear and I never met any of those guys who could even come close. I suspect, and I don't mean to offend , but most guys even on here that choose a handgun over spray would not be able to either.
I don' t hunt in grizzly country, but do have a few black bears. Most will run from a human. However,the ones that stalk a human are usually mature boars and if they are stalking a human ,they mean to eat him/her.That has been proven. I do believe spray would work better in those instances. I carry both spray and a handgun when I don't have a rifle with me JMHO
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby RAMMONT » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 41]

No handgun is as powerful as a rifle so if I'm choosing a pistol it's going to be as big as I can handle. Admittedly you can kill a bear without using one of the bigger calibers but your chances are much better of stopping a bear quicker with a big gun rather than a small gun - provided you can handle the bigger gun. All that being said, I usually carry my .44mag or .454 when I'm scouting (we do have both black bear and grizzly here, along with wolf, and a couple of other biting critters). When I'm hunting I just carry my rifle and hope that I'll have enough time to respond if the worst happens, most often I run into a black bear and they usually run away. I will carry spray from time to time but I honestly have more confidence in my handgun than the spray - but then 20+ years in the Marine Corps and private combat handgun courses have helped give me some confidence in my ability to hit a bear under stress (but I doubt that very many people could hit 6 out of 6 under these kinds of circumstances), but even then I don't expect to walk away unscathed. As everybody says, bears rarely drop dead from the first shot so regardless of what pistol I'm using I'm prepared for the reality that I might have to crawl out of the woods afterward.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby MountainmanZ » 08 11, 2017 •  [Post 42]

I have had 3 instances with grizzlies during archery season in WY where things happened so fast you'd never stand a chance with a pistol (at least not me)! Once you see a grizzly at full speed moving through cover I think you'll agree with me. My closest encounter last season was at 7 yards when a huge boar lunged around a tree in front of me. I can't help but think of the pain in the ass it would have created for me if I would have shot the damn thing and killed it. I ALWAYS carry two cans of spray on me when hunting this country - one on my chest, one on my waist.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby RAMMONT » 08 12, 2017 •  [Post 43]

So you didn't have time to pull a pistol but you have time to pull a can of spray, disengage the safety on it, and deploy it effectively? Sorry, but my guess is that you don't handle pistols very much because if you did then you'd be aware of the fact that if you have time to deploy spray then you'd have the time to deploy a handgun.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 08 12, 2017 •  [Post 44]

RAMMONT wrote:So you didn't have time to pull a pistol but you have time to pull a can of spray, disengage the safety on it, and deploy it effectively? Sorry, but my guess is that you don't handle pistols very much because if you did then you'd be aware of the fact that if you have time to deploy spray then you'd have the time to deploy a handgun.


I think he is saying that at 7 yards the spray acted as a deterrent,where as a handgun fired with maybe a fatal hit would still enable the bear to get to him. Obviously the bear left
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Timber » 08 12, 2017 •  [Post 45]

Bottom line is everyone has their preference. I choose a firearm and there will be almost nothing to change my mind on that. I can confidently pull my firearm and be ready in less time then it takes to pull and arm the spray. Whether or not I can hit the bear or even get a shot off depends on myself and the good lord.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby MountainmanZ » 08 13, 2017 •  [Post 46]

RAMMONT wrote:So you didn't have time to pull a pistol but you have time to pull a can of spray, disengage the safety on it, and deploy it effectively? Sorry, but my guess is that you don't handle pistols very much because if you did then you'd be aware of the fact that if you have time to deploy spray then you'd have the time to deploy a handgun.


LOL, pretty safe to tell by your tone you're not the type to be convinced, which isnt my goal anyway, so let me speak to those who my multiple close grizzly encounters might benefit (btw, thanks for you service). I kind of hinted at my shortfalls handling a pistol in my post, so yep, you're right, I don't handle pistols much. Hopefully that doesn't make me a wimp 'cause I'm pretty ba at lots of other stuff ;). Having the time to pull a pistol / spray is one thing, hitting a grizzly in thick cover, or at full speed in a fasion that will drop it in its tracks or stop it is another.

One instance I had a few years ago, I was going in to retrieve a second load of meat. Next thing a know a grizzly is halling ass down through the timber toward us. I'll always remember what struck me most was how fast the grizzly came through all the trees, deadfall, and junk, like it wasn't even there. We already had our spray in our hands (knowing we we're heading into a kill area). We popped the safeties, and aimed at the grizzly. It veered off, ran past us, disapeared in the brush below us, then moments later suddenly reappeared, running up hill at us, then disappeared again into the brush. We were both frantically looking around thinking it was going to come charging out of the brush again at any moment. If it wouldn't have veered off that first time, neither one of us, personally, could have mortally hit it with a pistol. It was so fast. But could have gotten a cloud of spray deployed.

I've got some pretty good stories, but don't have time to share them all. In my run-ins I've found that the sheer speed of the bear would make it pretty difficult for me and my friends to hit and kill it with a pistol. I had a thick cover encounter where I preferred having the spray with me. I have had a couple situations where I probably would have had a dead bear on my hands if I'd had a pistol instead of spray at the time, which makes for a mess I'd rather avoid. The possibility of a bear encounter in the dark while I'm hiking in or out are common. I feel better having a can of spray in my hand, and one on my chest at these times. Thick cover, a bear on top of me, a bear on top of a buddy, etc I see benifits of spray over flying lead. There are also some pretty extensive studies that have been published over the past few years, some in popular outdoor publications, that compare encounters where victims had spray vs pistols. I'll go with the odds, and what my experience with actual grizzlies has taught me. What's most important is that you have something on you if you're going in to grizzly country. I think there are more out there than the biologists know. Many of them will admit that too.
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Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby stumpy waters » 08 13, 2017 •  [Post 47]

I carry both and pretty proficient with a pistol. If the need ever arose the spray would come first and I figure the pistol would be a head shot when he latches on. :)

But I'm kinda curious, and ask this seriously, for all of those who seem to have absolute confidence that they will have no issues stopping a charging grizzly.

How do you practice that?? :) i.e., shooting at something that can cover 50 yds in 3 seconds, running towards you, and bounding as it goes?
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Timber » 08 13, 2017 •  [Post 48]

MountainmanZ wrote:
RAMMONT wrote:So you didn't have time to pull a pistol but you have time to pull a can of spray, disengage the safety on it, and deploy it effectively? Sorry, but my guess is that you don't handle pistols very much because if you did then you'd be aware of the fact that if you have time to deploy spray then you'd have the time to deploy a handgun.


LOL, pretty safe to tell by your tone you're not the type to be convinced, which isnt my goal anyway, so let me speak to those who my multiple close grizzly encounters might benefit (btw, thanks for you service). I kind of hinted at my shortfalls handling a pistol in my post, so yep, you're right, I don't handle pistols much. Hopefully that doesn't make me a wimp 'cause I'm pretty ba at lots of other stuff ;). Having the time to pull a pistol / spray is one thing, hitting a grizzly in thick cover, or at full speed in a fasion that will drop it in its tracks or stop it is another.

One instance I had a few years ago, I was going in to retrieve a second load of meat. Next thing a know a grizzly is halling ass down through the timber toward us. I'll always remember what struck me most was how fast the grizzly came through all the trees, deadfall, and junk, like it wasn't even there. We already had our spray in our hands (knowing we we're heading into a kill area). We popped the safeties, and aimed at the grizzly. It veered off, ran past us, disapeared in the brush below us, then moments later suddenly reappeared, running up hill at us, then disappeared again into the brush. We were both frantically looking around thinking it was going to come charging out of the brush again at any moment. If it wouldn't have veered off that first time, neither one of us, personally, could have mortally hit it with a pistol. It was so fast. But could have gotten a cloud of spray deployed.

I've got some pretty good stories, but don't have time to share them all. In my run-ins I've found that the sheer speed of the bear would make it pretty difficult for me and my friends to hit and kill it with a pistol. I had a thick cover encounter where I preferred having the spray with me. I have had a couple situations where I probably would have had a dead bear on my hands if I'd had a pistol instead of spray at the time, which makes for a mess I'd rather avoid. The possibility of a bear encounter in the dark while I'm hiking in or out are common. I feel better having a can of spray in my hand, and one on my chest at these times. Thick cover, a bear on top of me, a bear on top of a buddy, etc I see benifits of spray over flying lead. There are also some pretty extensive studies that have been published over the past few years, some in popular outdoor publications, that compare encounters where victims had spray vs pistols. I'll go with the odds, and what my experience with actual grizzlies has taught me. What's most important is that you have something on you if you're going in to grizzly country. I think there are more out there than the biologists know. Many of them will admit that too.


I personally carry a firearm for other reasons than a bear. I have run into some pretty strange people over the years and if you all want to bring bear spray to a gun fight then more power to you! :D :lol: :lol:
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby JKaboom » 08 13, 2017 •  [Post 49]

Great thread - I carried bear spray with my rifle last year though we only have black bear in CO (and lions). I carry spray when fishing. Fortunately I have not had any close encounters; just a couple at distance fishing and the bears wandered or ran off. I want to carry both and saving for the pistol. I'm really saving for the pistol for the two legged encounters. Like the previous poster said there are some strange folks at times and a side arm would sure make me feel better LOL
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 50]

I wanted to bump this up.This appeared on FB today. Photos went with it, gruesome.

Our dear friend Tom Sommer went elk hunting in MT. decided to tangle with a Grizzly this morning. Tom didn't win but he made it out alive after a 5 mile mule ride after the incident. he is in hospital being stitched up. I will have more info as it trickles in. one thing is certain. there is no way the bear survived that bite. :). apparently Tom pulled his pistol but bear swiped it out of his hand. sounds like Tom was saved by quick thinking friend with pepper spray. I am sure lots more to Come,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, UPDATE,,,,, ok people. Tom just called. he is alive and well. in a little hospital in Ennis, MT. 90 stitches in his head. so the story goes they are on a ridge working elk, they spot a griz at 30 yards so Tom yells at it. Tom says apparently Griz don't like to be yelled at. it charged. tom And partner Dan both pulled out pepper spray. Dan sprayed but Toms spray didn't work so bear came after Tom. Tom ran behind a tree, bear kept coming. apparently bear chased Tom around tree twice, Tom got his pistol out turned to shoot, bear knocked his hand down. Tom hit ground. bear bit through thigh then put toms head in his mouth. while head in mouth tom tried to shoot bear in neck but bear stepped on hand /gun. Tom said he could hear his skull cracking. thought that was it. Dan shot bear at 2 feet with pepper spray. that's all it took. bear ran off and tom shot at it but said he couldn't see anything from all the blood and pepper spray in his face. 4 hours later after several hours on back of mule he is alive and in hospital. great spirits. was laughing. hope I did his story


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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby scubohuntr » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 51]

Wow. Just, wow. Very glad to hear Tom is going to be okay. Making a note to never yell at grizzlies.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Indian Summer » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 52]

Ouch! So what is everyone's take on that encounter? Would they have bee better off to shoot first and ask questions later? One guy with spray didn't help. Another guy drawing his handgun too late didn't do the trick either.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Elkhunttoo » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 53]

Honestly I like that the gun can go "bang" when the bear is at a further distance. I like the deterring factor of the spray. But the simple truth is that when a grizzly is mad and on the defense you're in a lot of trouble no matter what you have. Just think about how humans react when the adrenaline kicks in, now times that by 10 and add unbelievable strength to it. When a bear looses it the bang might not even be heard, and 30 feet is closed by a running bear in the blink of an eye.

In these situations my uncle always thought me to stay flexible, that way you are able to stick your head between your leg and kiss your bum good bye ;)



First thing, greatful they are both still alive and going to make it through. I'm pretty much sticking to what I said a while back. Way better to be prepared and have both, but when a bear is mad you are in trouble. Thankfully he had a good friend that was able and willing to help and thankfully the spray worked. It sounds like the spray failed him by not going off but his friends spray saved him. The gun failed him by the bear being stronger then him. I wouldn't say to use one over the other or try to convince anyone that one is better then the other. Use what you are comfortable and confident with. And make sure you hunt with a good buddy!!! There is always strength in numbers. Glad he is okay

One last thought, that is one heck of a gash!!!!!!
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby saddlesore » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 54]

I wonder how many test their bear spray several times a year and replace after three years. From this occurance and that the bear left right after getting sprayed by the 2nd guy that spray does work immediately.I wonder if the guy had shot the bear how much damage it still would have done before it died
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Lefty » 09 05, 2017 •  [Post 55]

A bit more

Grizzly bear knocks pistol out of hunter's hand in Montana mauling which ends with mule trek to safety.

Glad Tom has such a positive attitude.

Grizzly bear knocks pistol out of hunter's hand in Montana mauling which ends with mule trek to safety
Posted about 2 hours ago
Close up of Tom Sommer, who has a bloodied bandage wrapped around his head.
Photo: Tom Sommer suffered cuts to his head, leg and arm after he was mauled by a grizzly bear. (AP: Tom Sommer)
Related Story: Man charged after brutal attack on kangaroo goes viral on Chinese social media
Map: United States
A grizzly bear has mauled a bow hunter in the US state of Montana, slashing a 41-centimetre cut in his head that required 90 stitches.
"I could hear bones crunching, just like you read about," Tom Sommer said as he recovered in hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
The 57-year-old said he and a hunting partner were looking for an elk they had been calling on Monday morning.
His partner spotted a grizzly bear feeding on an elk carcass in the southern end of the Gravelly Range, just north of the Idaho border.
"The bear just flat-out charged us," Mr Sommer said, saying it closed the nine-metre distance between them in three or four seconds.
His hunting partner fired his bear spray, which slowed the bear's charge.
Mr Sommer said he grabbed his own canister so quickly that he couldn't release the safety and he couldn't afford to look down as the bear closed in.
He ran around a tree twice and dropped his bear spray in the process.
Mr Sommer then grabbed his pistol and turned to confront the bear.
"It bit my thigh, ran his claws through my wrist and proceeded to attack my head," he said.
A close up of a head wound with stitches.
Photo: Tom Sommer needed stitches to his head after he was attacked by a grizzly. (AP: Tom Sommer)
He still had his pistol in his hand and was going to shoot the bear in the neck when it swatted his arm down, Mr Sommer said.
"Jut like that it stopped," he said. "He stopped biting me, he got up and started to run away."
His hunting partner had been able to fire the rest of his bear spray, ending the attack, which lasted about 25 seconds.
"It could have been a lot worse," Mr Sommer said.
Mr Sommer's hunting partner had some blood coagulation powder and they made a turban, stopping the bleeding after about 15 minutes.
They walked 1.6 kilometres back to their camp and rode mules another 6.4km out to their base camp, followed by a two-hour ride in a ute to get to the hospital in Ennis.
"Through it all I was very conscious, very level-headed and low key about it," Mr Sommer said.
"Besides some scars, it doesn't appear that I will have any problems.
"I've been a hunter my whole life. I have no grievance against the bear. He was just doing what bears do.
"But I would have shot him just the same."
AP
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Tigger » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 56]

This happened right where we are going. How comforting.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby RAMMONT » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 57]

...he couldn't release the safety and he couldn't afford to look down as the bear closed in.


As I've told others, plan on getting mauled if you get attacked by a bear, I don't care if you carry spray or a gun, you're going to bleed.

Only a couple of seconds between seeing the bear and being attacked
If you don't have time to pull a gun then you won't have time to pull a can of spray

Personally, I like the idea of carrying spray and a short barreled, big caliber handgun. If the bear is running full speed at me and it's within 30 feet then I'm going to shoot and I have no intention of even trying to use the spray, most bears are pretty serious if they are still running toward you at that distance. Yes, there have been cases where the bear will run to within 10 feet of a person and then stop but at that distance, if the bear isn't faking, you won't have any time to respond. At 30 feet you might have a couple of seconds to get a couple of shots off but at 10 feet there isn't a thing that you can do.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Timber » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 58]

RAMMONT wrote:
...he couldn't release the safety and he couldn't afford to look down as the bear closed in.


As I've told others, plan on getting mauled if you get attacked by a bear, I don't care if you carry spray or a gun, you're going to bleed.

Only a couple of seconds between seeing the bear and being attacked
If you don't have time to pull a gun then you won't have time to pull a can of spray

Personally, I like the idea of carrying spray and a short barreled, big caliber handgun. If the bear is running full speed at me and it's within 30 feet then I'm going to shoot and I have no intention of even trying to use the spray, most bears are pretty serious if they are still running toward you at that distance. Yes, there have been cases where the bear will run to within 10 feet of a person and then stop but at that distance, if the bear isn't faking, you won't have any time to respond. At 30 feet you might have a couple of seconds to get a couple of shots off but at 10 feet there isn't a thing that you can do.


Everyone has their preference. I prefer a weapon that goes "bang" as stated before, I carry more because of the crazy people than the crazy bears. Glad this guy is ok and everything worked out. Maybe the spray is more efficient but I still choose to carry a firearm for multiple reasons.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 59]

An additional benefit to carrying a sidearm while in bear country (archery hunting, hiking, camping, berry picking, kayaking, butterfly hunting :? , bigfoot tracking, etc.) is that you have an emergency signal device with you if needed. Three shots fired is pretty much a universal distress signal.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby COElkNut » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 60]

WOW!

I'm glad that fella survived - what an ordeal. His family must be so relieved. That's about the best outcome for an actual, full-blown mauling encounter one could reasonably expect. His hunting partner literally saved his life - with nothing but a little 'ol can of pepper spray - miracle of miracles!!!

I bet he changes pepper spray brands - i sure would. Immediately.

FWIW, i carry both pepper spray and a Sig P220 45ACP - spray for the four-legged critters the 45ACP for the two-legged variety. If i were hunting in griz country i'd double up on the pepper spray.

My preference for spray is UDAP and it's in a carrier that attaches to the sternum strap on my pack. The trigger release is facilitated by grabbing the top of the canister and yanking the safety block release cable. It comes off very easy. I was nearly run down by a couple aggressive cattle several years ago and that spray can was quickly, effectively and easily deployed - like it was second nature. Replaced that 1st canister and am due to replace the current one next April.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby stumpy waters » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 61]

Like I said earlier I carry both, but the thought that if you don't have time to pull a gun you won't have time to pull a can of spray makes little sense to me, unless folks use/carry them completely different than I do.

My pistol is in a holster. Assuming the strap is not engaged (mine always is so that's another step for me) you have to pull the pistol from the holster, bring it up, get the safety off, and hit a bear running directly at you at insane speeds with a projectile that is the diameter of a dime. And of course you have to hit it in a location about the size of an orange to drop it dead.

My spray is on my belt right in front of my pistol. I don't pull the can out and it does not have a strap over the top. The safety pushes back with the thumb and the thumb pushes down and a three foot wide cloud of pepper spray goes 30 feet, as the can is already pointed straight ahead. Right from the hip.

I can have spray deployed a whole lot quicker than actually pulling a gun and firing it.

You guys are some awesome crack shots with your pistols. Billy the Kid wouldn't stand a chance these days. :)

Curious though, how do you practice shooting at bounding targets moving towards you at the speed a bear would?
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 62]

stumpy waters wrote: You guys are some awesome crack shots with your pistols. Billy the Kid wouldn't stand a chance these days. :)
Curious though, how do you practice shooting at bounding targets moving towards you at the speed a bear would?


Billy the Kid wasn't a gun slinger, he was really a back shooter ;). And heck ya, I practice weekly at the bigfoot (bigfeet?) moving through my property on the wet side of the Evergreen state at a rapid pace. One of these days I'm gonna connect :D
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby Lefty » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 63]

Tigger wrote:This happened right where we are going. How comforting.

I shot my first bull on the southern end of the Gravelies
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby RAMMONT » 09 06, 2017 •  [Post 64]

...Assuming the strap is not engaged (mine always is so that's another step for me) you have to pull the pistol from the holster, bring it up, get the safety off, and hit a bear running directly at you at insane speeds with a projectile that is the diameter of a dime. And of course you have to hit it in a location about the size of an orange to drop it dead.


First of all your comment just proves that you don't train with a pistol, you might target practice or shoot cans, but you obviously don't train. If you did then you wouldn't have made your comment about placing a "projectile" (most of us call them bullets) that is the diameter of a dime (not unless your handgun shoots a .70 caliber bullet, dimes measure about .705" in diameter). Further, you don't know much about hunting bears or you would realize that the target area is larger than an orange (about 3"), most people agree that a bear's kill zone is at least 8" in diameter and more like 12" if you have enough gun and hit accurately.

Second, you keep making the mistake that so many others do, you aren't trying to drop a bear in his tracks, you are trying to stop his attack. Regardless whether you are using a spray or a gun, you're just trying to stop the attack. Why people think that shooting at a bear means that you want to kill him is beyond me, I couldn't care less if he's wounded or drops dead, I only want him to stop attacking me. Quit thinking that you are going to drop the bear in his tracks, it isn't going to happen, it doesn't happen with a rifle and it sure won't happen with a pistol, and it probably isn't going to happen with a spray that's used on a bear that's actually attacking. Regardless of whether you are using a spray or a gun you probably won't get more than one squeeze of the trigger before the bear is on you. With a spray, you're done once the bear is on top of you but with a handgun, you might get one or more shots off, I like the odds better when I can get 3 or more shots off with a big handgun as opposed to being able to spray a can once.

Third, there really is no difference between pulling a pistol, aiming it, and squeezing the trigger and pulling a can, aiming it, and squeezing the trigger, the process is the same for both (probably because the bear spray mechanism is shaped a lot like a pistol) and therefore if you don't have time to pull a gun and shoot it then you don't have time to pull a can and spray it. If you think that using a spray eliminates having to aim then you really have no idea of how to use the spray. Oh wait, there is one difference (and again you show your lack of experience with handguns), a revolver (which I recommend over a semi-auto handgun) doesn't usually have a separate safety mechanism to disengage while all sprays have some kind of safety so there is one more step to the process for a spray vs. a revolver.

Also, most bear sprays recommend starting to spray at no more than 35 feet and sweeping across the animal because that's as far as the spray is effective. On the other hand, the U.S. Geological Survey trains employees to shoot their firearm when a grizzly is within 50 feet and shows “aggressive traits”. They go on to say
If a grizzly that’s aware of you is facing you—frontal orientation—that’s the most aggressive posture for a bear. Shoot. Even if the bear is stationary, shoot.
, why the difference? It's because the U.S. Geological Survey has found that when a bear is within 50 feet and shows signs of being aggressive it's a good bet that it's going to attack and a bear can reach speeds of 40 mph while attacking which means that you will have about 1 second to respond if you react when the bear is 50 feet away. If you have one second to respond at 50 feet then you will have about a half second to respond if the bear is 35 feet away - do you really think that you can deploy that spray and end the attack in half a second? I think that that's really wishful thinking at best. On the other hand, even if I only wound the bear, I have a far better chance of turning him away and stopping the attack even if I don't kill him.

And finally, with a pistol, I don't have to worry about the wind but with the spray, you'd better hope that the wind isn't blowing the wrong way because if it is then at least you won't be able to see what the bear is doing to you.
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby stumpy waters » 09 07, 2017 •  [Post 65]

RAMMONT wrote:
...Assuming the strap is not engaged (mine always is so that's another step for me) you have to pull the pistol from the holster, bring it up, get the safety off, and hit a bear running directly at you at insane speeds with a projectile that is the diameter of a dime. And of course you have to hit it in a location about the size of an orange to drop it dead.


First of all your comment just proves that you don't train with a pistol, you might target practice or shoot cans, but you obviously don't train. If you did then you wouldn't have made your comment about placing a "projectile" (most of us call them bullets) that is the diameter of a dime (not unless your handgun shoots a .70 caliber bullet, dimes measure about .705" in diameter). Further, you don't know much about hunting bears or you would realize that the target area is larger than an orange (about 3"), most people agree that a bear's kill zone is at least 8" in diameter and more like 12" if you have enough gun and hit accurately.

Second, you keep making the mistake that so many others do, you aren't trying to drop a bear in his tracks, you are trying to stop his attack. Regardless whether you are using a spray or a gun, you're just trying to stop the attack. Why people think that shooting at a bear means that you want to kill him is beyond me, I couldn't care less if he's wounded or drops dead, I only want him to stop attacking me. Quit thinking that you are going to drop the bear in his tracks, it isn't going to happen, it doesn't happen with a rifle and it sure won't happen with a pistol, and it probably isn't going to happen with a spray that's used on a bear that's actually attacking. Regardless of whether you are using a spray or a gun you probably won't get more than one squeeze of the trigger before the bear is on you. With a spray, you're done once the bear is on top of you but with a handgun, you might get one or more shots off, I like the odds better when I can get 3 or more shots off with a big handgun as opposed to being able to spray a can once.

Third, there really is no difference between pulling a pistol, aiming it, and squeezing the trigger and pulling a can, aiming it, and squeezing the trigger, the process is the same for both (probably because the bear spray mechanism is shaped a lot like a pistol) and therefore if you don't have time to pull a gun and shoot it then you don't have time to pull a can and spray it. If you think that using a spray eliminates having to aim then you really have no idea of how to use the spray. Oh wait, there is one difference (and again you show your lack of experience with handguns), a revolver (which I recommend over a semi-auto handgun) doesn't usually have a separate safety mechanism to disengage while all sprays have some kind of safety so there is one more step to the process for a spray vs. a revolver.

Also, most bear sprays recommend starting to spray at no more than 35 feet and sweeping across the animal because that's as far as the spray is effective. On the other hand, the U.S. Geological Survey trains employees to shoot their firearm when a grizzly is within 50 feet and shows “aggressive traits”. They go on to say
If a grizzly that’s aware of you is facing you—frontal orientation—that’s the most aggressive posture for a bear. Shoot. Even if the bear is stationary, shoot.
, why the difference? It's because the U.S. Geological Survey has found that when a bear is within 50 feet and shows signs of being aggressive it's a good bet that it's going to attack and a bear can reach speeds of 40 mph while attacking which means that you will have about 1 second to respond if you react when the bear is 50 feet away. If you have one second to respond at 50 feet then you will have about a half second to respond if the bear is 35 feet away - do you really think that you can deploy that spray and end the attack in half a second? I think that that's really wishful thinking at best. On the other hand, even if I only wound the bear, I have a far better chance of turning him away and stopping the attack even if I don't kill him.

And finally, with a pistol, I don't have to worry about the wind but with the spray, you'd better hope that the wind isn't blowing the wrong way because if it is then at least you won't be able to see what the bear is doing to you.



Dude you need a life. :))

Yes dimes are much bigger than any caliber handgun. Glad you noticed. Adds to my point.

No I don't 'train' with a pistol. Not at a target running 40mph straight at me especially. Still curious how you do that?

Honestly I don't have that much time to 'train'. Spend 50+ mornings a year waterfowl hunting, about 20 mornings deer hunting, and about 80 -100 nights a year running coon hounds. Y'all can have the range. :)

Really?? Bear spray won't drop him dead in his tracks? Glad you pointed that out. :).

'With a spray you are done once the bear is on top of you' - if you had spent a FRACTION of the time reading the posts I made in this thread as you did typing your thesis, you would have seen where I said I carry both, the spray would be deployed first, and the pistol would be there when he latches on. :)

Difference in pulling the pistol and pulling the spray - i won't pull the spray. It will be deployed from the holster.

Regardless of whether any of us go for a spray or a pistol, if there is only a half second to react, we're all gonna get chewed on.

End of the day, I don't care what you do. At all. Hate to disappoint!

I admit it though. You are a modern day marvel with a pistol. My hats off to you. Pat yourself on the back for me. The ninth wonder of the world is typing amongst us. :))
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Re: Bear Spray vs Pistol while hunting in GRIZ Country....

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 09 07, 2017 •  [Post 66]

So far so good but ensure we keep this a discussion, exchanging viewpoints and not gravitate towards "something else". Got it? Good.. Read the forum rules if anybody has any questions about what may be crossing the line on our forum ;).

Found this little VID clip on YouTube (gotta love You Tube) and thought it was worth a watch....

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