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PostPosted: February 2nd, 2020, 1:15 am 
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Daniel Odd Job wrote:
Actually, what I'm saying Mike, is that putting - what is essentially a pipe-bomb - around your neck is a great way to decapitate oneself. Carotid artery, spine, central nervous system are all located within shrapnel range.


That's what I'm saying. If I'm going to make a thundering mistake with a bear banger in a panic, I'd much rather that mistake be made at my hip, or a leg pocket, than my neck. And I think such a mistake will be easier to make than I think when a curious bear sends me into a mild panic.

And yes, a mistake with this neck thing may involve shrapnel, and not just an explosive shock wave.

I carry whistles, compasses, binoculars, and all sorts of things around my neck. I'd never carry an explosive there though.

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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2020, 7:48 pm 
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Location: Omemee
I watched some of the NOLS presentation and will finish it, good info!!.
Best thing to take from it is ALWAYS CARRY DETERRENT!!
Most Provincial/National Canadian Parks do not allow Firearms so this is not a reliable option.
FIREARMS also no good if not handy but I know personally will definitely stop or make black bears run in the opposite direction but unless you are ready to process and pack out the meat the animal is wasted.
Bad hunting ethics to waste meat and I couldn’t imagine the RED TAPE if you shot a bear out of season even in self defence.
Are there any Ministry CO’s that can comment on the legalities in Canada??
Happy Paddling and stay safe ALL.


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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2020, 9:42 pm 
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Location: Vermont/Quebec
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Not a Canadian trip but … Preparing to paddle the Noatak in Alaska in 2012, Cliff Jacobson told me, "You'll see bears. Bring a gun." This was my first time in Alaska. I had encountered many black bears both at home and on trips and had only once had a firearm on any previous expedition, but "lots of grizzlies" changed the calculation.

We went with the strategy suggested earlier in this thread: everyone on the crew had pepper spray and we had two firearms on each section of the trip (recon of Angiaak Pass for the 2013 expedition and paddling to Kotzebue on the Noatak). We saw over a dozen grizzlies, but frankly, the guns felt a bit like heavy, potentially dangerous, overkill by the time we unloaded the boats in Kotzebue. I was thinking that I might not bother with them the next year.

The 2013, expedition was to continue our planned 'circumnavigation' of the western Brooks Range as part of a long running exhibition project. However, with the funding secure, the crew started shrinking until it was down to me. With the idea of trekking alone through bear country, even my wife (life-long Montrealer until we met) urged me to bring my .45-70 (lever-action carbine, the Marlin "Guide Gun"). Fortunately, I did.

Three weeks in, on my first full day afloat on the Reed (it was a bear crossing the mountains; sorry, couldn't resist), I had just passed a cut bank and was in about 8" of water when I heard him coming. Turning around, he was plunging down the bank and without hesitation charged at full speed. Pepper spray never entered my head. I think the issue comes down to what you are familiar with. I grew up with firearms, specifically my Winchester 30-30, so my reflexes and familiarity with a lever-action rifle are well wired. I had a bizarre mental experience with extreme slow-motion and split personalities and in the most intense nano-seconds of my life, decided to fire a warning round past his ear. It worked. I filmed his retreat after digging a little point n shoot video camera out of my pocket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2otTBEtkWpg

I agree that for most people and in many situations, pepper spray can be the best option. I was accompanied for 36 hours by two young black bears a week earlier on the same trip. They came right into camp; within six feet of me while I was napping under my tarp in a light rain, played tag and wrestled for a long time (I have hilarious photos), casually ate blueberries within spitting range, stole one of my Chota boots and simply ignored warning shots from the rifle. Pepper spray might have been very useful, especially since as it was, I had to go to sleep with them hanging around nearby. Fatalistic and tired, I slept soundly :-?. If a person is not very well trained and experienced in safe and effective firearms use, then it can well be more dangerous than helpful. Pepper spray is probably easier to deploy and use in most situations. That said, if you are good and scrupulously responsible with a gun (that included cleaning and oiling it every night), then it can provide an extra layer of safety and the option of saying "NO" and being able to back that up.


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PostPosted: February 6th, 2020, 8:41 pm 
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To add to this. Prevention is a better alternative than deterrence. Bears are all about the protein. An adult grizzly needs 20,000 to 50,000 calories per day, and usually has an 80% vegetarian diet. That's a LOT of sedge-tips and tubers to forage and consume. High quality and dense proteins, like in animal meat, are almost irresistable to them. The food drive of bears is as instinctual as their drive to breed and raise cubs. The sow's renowned protective instinct is understandable when one considers the extreme calorie investment of raising a cub, in an ecology that sees few cubs survive to breeding age. Adult male bears will kill and eat cubs - for the protein. Another issue is that Grizzlies have a range that they regularily travel, and within that range, they depend on knowing what food to find where, at different times of year, throughout their lifetime. They depend on this acquired knowledge for their life. Disturb a bear's habitat and that resource is no longer an option, so large quantities of energy (calories) need to be spent searching out poor alternatives. Calories that are needed to procreate and survive.

I've found switching to a mainly vegetarian diet, and minimizing oily cooking odours, keeps scavengers scavenging elsewhere. Peanut butter - kept contained - is my usual bush protein and fat - no cooking needed. You couldn't pay me enough to try cooking fish in bear habitat. It'd be an invitation... to disaster.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2020, 2:10 am 
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I live and recreate in Western Montana, in an area where there are many grizzly bears and black bears. I'm an experienced hunter, and do some practical pistol shooting. When I'm hunting, I carry bear spray. When I'm hiking or doing other recreational activities in the mountains, I carry bear spray and a handgun. When doing river trips in Canada, I used to carry bear spray and a 444 Marlin lever action rifle. Despite my familiarity with firearms, I regard bear spray as a more reliable and effective bear deterrent than a firearm, and in a bear encounter I would go for my bear spray first. I would only use a firearm if the bear spray didn't deter a bear.

I've had a lot of close encounters with black bears, but have never had to use bear spray. Fortunately I've never had a close or dangerous encounter with a grizzly bear, which is surprising and lucky considering the number of them in the area, and the amount of time I spend in the woods.

For those who travel in bear country, I recommend Stephen Herrero's excellent book, "Bear Attacks - Their Causes and Avoidance."


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PostPosted: February 26th, 2020, 8:03 pm 
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What about a compressed air boat horn?... The handsized one. Very loud easy to carry easy to use. Any opinions?


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PostPosted: February 27th, 2020, 1:47 pm 
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I’d used air horns.
It’s an effective and efficient way to alter your group of a bear encounter. I’ve kept it in the upper tent mesh pocket and used it to get everyone up.
It’s also a loud noise that may deter a bear.

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PostPosted: February 28th, 2020, 4:11 pm 
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Daniel, I found your post a little confusing.
Daniel Odd Job wrote:
To add to this. Prevention is a better alternative than deterrence.
Yup. No confusion there.
Quote:
The food drive of bears is as instinctual as their drive to breed and raise cubs.
This seems to imply that bears are somehow more dedicated to sustaining themselves then other species. Is that really true? Certainly things that hibernate need to put on weight fast. They must be, like, always hungry. But it's tough out there; everything is always hungry. I'm not sure that bears in particular have some extra level of hunger the rest of us don't. They're just always hungry.
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High quality and dense proteins, like in animal meat, are almost irresistable to them.
We are a good source of protein. Although predatory attacks do happen grizzlies and blacks typically don't see us as almost irresistible prey. I suppose if one does then it doesn't matter if you have other meat with you or not. I think what you are saying is that they may try harder, may take more risk like confronting a human to take their meat from them as opposed to, say, take their marshmallows. But it's not like the smell of your re-hydrated hamburger is going to drive them into a feeding frenzy with you as the main course.
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Adult male bears will kill and eat cubs - for the protein.
Male lions are infamous for killing other male's cubs to bring the lioness into heat. Or perhaps to reduce future competition. Bears occasionally do the same thing. I think sometimes just because they are P.O'd. IIRC occasionally evidence has been found that a cub has been partly eaten, but this is not the norm.
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You couldn't pay me enough to try cooking fish in bear habitat. It'd be an invitation... to disaster.
There are zillions of us out there catching and cooking a lot of fish in bear territory. I don't recall hearing about any attacks predicated on fish cooking. Cooked fish isn't part of a bear's regular diet. And I can't think of why cooking fish would be more of an attractant than, say, cooking a hamburger. The thing about bears and fish is to not clean fish or leave offal near a campsite. It's common in Cree territory to make a fish cleaning station also a bear baiting station.
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I've found switching to a mainly vegetarian diet, and minimizing oily cooking odours, keeps scavengers scavenging elsewhere. Peanut butter - kept contained - is my usual bush protein and fat - no cooking needed.
It isn't the odour of cooking food, or of the cooked food as you are eating it that can be an issue. It is, as you say, often oily residue persistent on cutting boards, cutlery or spilled on the ground that will attract bears to a site over time.
Not to sound facetious but I'm reminded of an old friend who claimed the "Rock Method" kept bears away from him - he buried a rock in his back yard and hasn't had a serious bear encounter since!
pmmpete wrote:
For those who travel in bear country, I recommend Stephen Herrero's excellent book, "Bear Attacks - Their Causes and Avoidance."
Good advice.


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PostPosted: March 1st, 2020, 1:05 pm 
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Thanks for sharing this – especially the NOLS vid. I made a mental note on “cautiously curious” and “risk averse”. To both I can subscribe 100%. With regards to bangers I am beginning to doubt their potency. There was thunder in the air all their life. Why would they connect a bad thing to the big (artificial) bang? So now I am favoring 2 cans of spray and a 12 gauge for those instances as described by PaintNPaddler, where a bear would just not leave. A rare thing for sure, but being solo… And to scale down my first attempt of driving the brute away I am carrying a few rubber slugs (law-enforcement type). Never had to use any, but since I haven’t got Daniel Odd Job’s balls of steel to stare down a grizz, a 12 gauge in my hand may provide a similar (false?) sense of brawn – which I am sure the bear can sense somehow or other.

Well - my 2 cents worth
Carsten

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2020, 9:45 am 
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Interesting discussion. Planning and preparing for a trip in Polar Bear territory this summer. Plan is to carry both lethal and non lethal devices. I've never tripped with a firearm as a deterrent/safety mechanism, but those Polar Bears are a different beast. We'll likely never see one, and if we do, I'm sure it will be at a distance, but you never know. The local first nations were insistent we carry.

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2020, 5:00 pm 
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(I edited this post, adding memories as I think about bears....)

We've carried spray, bangers and a rifle or shotgun loaded with SSG's and slugs when tripping in Grizzly country. I've tripped the interior of B.C. with my brother, driving stings of horses into the Rockies east of the Alaska Highway. He was false-charged one time. Happened fast. Rifle was holstered out of reach. Didn't even have time to press the spray he had pulled out before the bear was on him but it veered off, one bound away. False charges happen way more often then actual attacks, but still, it's change-your-underwear time.

Have had only one serious up-close exchange with a black when I did something foolish. Chasing it out of camp with a knife in one hand and a club in the other it spun and came at me and I smacked it on the side of the head (a lucky, reflexive swing) and it veered off and kept on running. Like I said, I was young and even more foolish then I am now. Ended up having to shoot it a few days later. Skinned it and made a coat. Sometimes the bear gets you, and sometimes you get the bear.
Otherwise they've always been the first to back down. Despite the above mentioned foolishness my most memorable black bear encounter was up east of James Bay. I was crouched down, marveling at the freshness of the bear track (the sharp little edges of the print hadn't even dried) when I looked up and it was on a small rise not 5 meters from me. We locked eyes like forever and I knew deep down that that sucker was contemplating killing and eating me and I, with only my little pocket knife, was way over-matched. But it didn't.
I've never carried anything for blacks although I'm thinking about starting to bring a spray to back-up the Buck 119 that normally sleeps with me when I'm solo and a little more paranoid then when with a group. Getting a little less cocky and a little more jumpy in my old age.

Before flying out of Iqaluit to paddle the Soper River we were strongly advised to watch the polar bear awareness video at the Visitors Center (IIRC). Polar bears are rare thereabouts but some people were killed a while before then at Soper Falls. Locals keep a pretty good eye out for them and none were about when I was there. Good thing or I probably wouldn't have done the trip - the Soper is in the Katannilik Territorial Park so firearms are normally not permitted and polar bears scare the absolute crap out of me.

BTW, it was a great little river in a fantastic environment and I highly recommend it.


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PostPosted: March 4th, 2020, 12:36 am 
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I've had a lot of close encounters with black bears, but never had any problems with them. Here is a description of one of my funnier encounters.

Eight of us did a kayak trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, entering via Loon Creek. The second night we camped on a grassy bench with large ponderosa pine trees. As we were hanging out after dinner, we heard a scrabbling sound, and a black bear climbed down the trunk of a ponderosa which was 23 paces from where I had cooked dinner. Apparently when we landed, the bear climbed up the tree, and we didn't notice it and set up our camp right next to the tree. I have not made a practice of looking up into trees for bears when I set up camp.

Most of us had bear spray, which we grabbed. But the bear didn't act at all aggressive. Then a member of the party decided to shoo the bear away. He walked towards the bear, shouting and waving a kayak paddle. Instead of running away, the bear climbed back up in the tree and laid down on a branch, looking very comfortable. This was not good, as dusk was approaching, and the bear was right in the middle of our camp.

Most of the party moved their tents off the bench and down next to the river. We all hung our food in trees, moved off to the edge of the flat, and sat down to see what the bear was going to do. After a while it climbed down out of the tree and walked towards us, sniffing and looking curious. We sat quietly watching it. Then it wandered off into the bushes and was never seen again.

But some members of the party were feeling kind of nervous. I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard a big uproar from the group which had moved down by the river. A member of the group had fallen asleep and dreamed that the bear had attacked his tent. He started hollering, and everybody climbed out of their tents. But there was no bear.


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PostPosted: March 4th, 2020, 1:17 am 
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All right, if we're gonna tell bear stories, here's a bear-less one....

Camped with the aforementioned brother in Grizzly land, his tent 5 meters from mine. Middle of the night. Heavy footsteps outside approaching my tent. Heavy breathing, snorting seemingly directly over my tent. Gotta be a grizzly - had seen sign earlier that day nearby.
Brother from his tent yells "Bear! Get out of here bear! I'm tired and I don't want to have to deal with you so F the heck out of here!" followed by the sound of something very large slowing receding.
About 15 seconds later I hear my brother snoring! I'm still clasped in a fetal position unable to breath and he's fallen back asleep.
The next morning in the light of day the moose tracks were obvious. But I swear to $deity that up close and personal a moose makes a lot of bear-like noises.


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PostPosted: March 4th, 2020, 9:00 am 
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What I think should be done to scare bears away!
Early one morning on another fantastic trip into Georgian Bay, I had the urgent need to get out of bed to find plants in need of watering. Just as I unzipped my little solo tent and started to crawl out, I heard several rather large snorts and woofs from very nearby. I rolled out, stood up and there, about 30 feet away, was a mother black bear and her cub. Moma bear grunted once sending the cub straight up the nearest tree breaking branches in its rush to safety. My first thought was "Where's my camera?" and then "Where the hell is my bear spray and banger?" In an attempt to frighten her away, I immediately started yelling at the top of my voice while jumping up and down and clapping my hands over my head. A short stare-off and calisthenics for Ted. She stared at me and I stared at her until she finally got the hint, snorted once more telling the cub to get out of the tree and they were gone for good. It was then that tripping partner, Doug, yelled from his tent that I should really put some clothes on as I was naked. (It had been a very hot that night) I should probably leave out the part where I turned around and bent over to pick up my camera. That is correct. I mooned a moma bear that was about 30 feet away from me! Now I know why she ran away. Hey, don't knock what works!

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2020, 10:04 am 
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Ha ha, Ted, gives new meaning to carrying a "bear cannon".


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