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Old 05-22-2010   #21
BackCountry's Avatar
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 86
In grizzly country a 460 XVR or 500 mag will stop a bear - both rounds have more stopping power than most magnum rifle loads. In small bear country such as Desolation/Grays a .357, .41 mag or 10mm auto with the proper round will have no problem stopping a bear. I enjoy hunting with a hand gun as it provides more of a challenge. In my experience both the .357 and 10 mm with the right round have had no problem knocking down Colorado sized bear. You better be practiced and comfortable with a hand gun if you are going to carry one for self defense in bear country. The moment you need a gun is not the time to learn. At that moment the gun should be instinctively a part of your body.

Prevention is a much better option. Pack the gear up and keep the camp CLEAN. Wipe down the coolers and use good sealing coolers and ammo boxes to keep smells to a minimum. I leave the gear in the boat at night and so far have had no problems. I have heard that it takes a very hungry or garbage trained bear to approach a raft. I am a light sleeper and have scared bears out of camp quickly when I have heard them rummaging around. If there is a lot of bear sign at the camp you have chosen, move down stream. I have used a hand gun discharge to scare off bears effectively. I would rather scare the bear off and move on as soon as possible than shoot one. Having an effective handgun in the back country is an essential tool - I don't leave home with out one. I would be seriously letting down my family if I needed one and didn't have it. If you choose to carry a side arm for self defense make sure you and your family get the proper training, practice and are comfortable with your firearm before taking it along. Teach your kids about guns and get them shooting early in life so there is no mystery or curiosity about firearms.

First and foremost keep a clean camp and don't invite a bear problem. Avoiding a confrontation is always the best course of action.

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Old 05-22-2010   #22
Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 361
Originally Posted by ag3dw View Post
Lots of times camping I "establish my territory". Being an (the) apex predator, I am sure that many wild animals are human averse. At least give them something to think about. Just use a few dribbles and pinch it off and you can cover a pretty good perimeter, esp the main travel corridors.
I like this idea! And with the 9 of us consuming beverages throughout the day, supply shouldn't be an issue.

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Old 05-22-2010   #23
White R. BC
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Durango, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 316
Several people studying wolves have used this technique effectively. Don't know about bears, but it may not hurt. Women during that time of the month would be excepted.
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Old 05-22-2010   #24
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I'm definitely no bear expert, nor a gun expert, but I have a buddy that used to lead 1-2 week canoe trips for a camp in northern Ontario, near the arctic circle in polar bear country.

Aside from the standard bear avoidance tactics, his "Bear gun" was a .12 gauge with a mag-light built into the stock that came on when the trigger was depressed. The first shell was birdshot, then as many slugs as the gun would hold. The idea was that the pellets would hopefully blind the bear, and then pray that the slugs break bones and stop the charge. Apparently there's no false charge in polar bears.
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Old 05-22-2010   #25
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 535
sorry if repeating anything but here's my input...

for the cooler, cam strap the hell out of it for the night. put pots and pans on top to serve as a "warning system" to wake you or someone up. start everyone up and get yelling and making a racket to scare it off. the cam straps aren't going to keep it out long term but they buy you time. it's much safer to chase off a bear BEFORE he's into your food,no doubt.

do some research on BRFC's too. i use them for trips to AK,ect. they work great. i've had the privilege to watch a brown try and bust ours open for nearly an hour at a safe distance on a ridge.

and the best prevention to bear problems is using just your brain. i'm not abit anti gun but remember statistically you stand a far,far better chance of injuring or killing yourself or someone in your party with the gun than being hurt/killed by a bear. paranoid gun nuts shitting their pants every time they see a bear in the wild scare me a whole lot more than the bears any day. and again, not anti gun one bit just anti stupid people with guns.
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Old 05-22-2010   #26
SimpleMan's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
Pepper spray? Please. Won't work if there's a breeze, and it wears off in 30 minutes and he'll be pissed. Get a gun. Aim for the shoulder and you'll stop him.

Also, I understand that a Yeti cooler with a padlock on it is considered 'bear proof' by the National Parks. Just don't leave it on your boat.
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Old 05-22-2010   #27
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
I vote prevention too, but when it come down to it I want a gun and not pepper spray. My buddy went to Baffin Island in the canadian arctic with a can of bear spray, his Inuit guide told him to get a can of salt spray too, so he would be "fully seasond" for the offending bear.
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Old 05-22-2010   #28
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by upshitscreek View Post
paranoid gun nuts shitting their pants every time they see a bear in the wild scare me a whole lot more than the bears any day. and again, not anti gun one bit just anti stupid people with guns.
indeed, but want gun if I am being charged. If i had pepper spray i would'nt just go spraying it at every bear, same with a gun.
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Old 05-22-2010   #29
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
So much conflicting opinions here, some have merit: clean camp, camp away from food/food preparation areas, secure food containers and non-burnable trash, avoid scented items in your tent (deodorants, toothpaste, candy, chapstick, etc) no man-strater type guys allowed....

According to one highly regarded bear biologists study: firearms are almost 10 times less effective in deterring aggressive bear charges--the majority of bear charges are bluffs which the people who had firearms and used them, ended up provoking the bear, resulting in injury or death. Whereas, those using bear spray/or not using (but having it on them), were much less likely to experience injury or death. Draw your own conclusions, but my experience in grizzly/coastal brown bear country is--pepper spray and the above camping guidelines seem to work--so far .

Remember; if you have bear spray in a hostile bear encounter, you don't even have to be the fastest runner to escape--it works on humans too...
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Old 05-22-2010   #30
castle rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 203
Pepper spray works I had to use it on a pissed grizzly. If I had a gun I would haved used five on it an last one for me. No way a gun would have stopped it. Also Simpleman in order to shoot it in the shoulder it has to be running across your path and not really possing a threat so why shoot it? Just sayin. But keep anyways keep a clean camp have cooking area away from sleeping area and storage area away from those two and you sohould be safe for the most part. But key to no bear problems are clean camp and bear spray. If those two dont work get a gun and save the last round for your self

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