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Thread: Bears

  1. #51
    Senior Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    I've posted this before but I think it needs posting again...

    Bear spray protects the bear as well. The purpose of bear spray is to stop aggressive actions by the bear. When the aggressive action is stopped...when there is no injury to the hiker/backpacker...that bear is likely to 'live another day.' It won't be removed or euthanized. This is a win-win result given that the overwhelming majority of bear encounters are 'surprise' or 'accidental' encounters and are not intentional or predatory actions by the bears.

    While there are some very experienced and very well trained people out there, I would strongly contend that firearms are not the most accurate way to deal with bear encounters. Again, given the surprise and often close-up nature of these encounters, it's very difficult to draw a weapon, aim, and fire accurately and stop the animal (not to mention the effort involved in carrying a weapon of sufficient size). If it is not stopped and is only wounded I believe the situation has been made worse. I also believe that there is more risk to the hiker/backpacker and his/her trailmates from carrying the weapon then there is from bears (certain areas, particularly in Canada, excluded). Just as bear encounters are 'accidental' so too are there accidents with firearms...and there are many more accidents with firearms than encounters with bears...

    My other, rather hard-over opinion, is that if one cannot recreate in bears' habitat without the intent of using lethal force against the bear then one should stay out of the bears' habitat. There is a wide range of U.S. recreational land that has no bear threat...if one cannot tolerate their presence without the thought of killing them then that someone should go somewhere else.

    There's barely 1000 grizzly left in the lower 48...just 2% of the estimated population when first explored/settled by the 'white man.' There is no good reason to cause the death of a bear for the sake of our recreation...be smart, be safe. Practice clean camps and bear avoidance...and carry bear spray.

    FB

  2. #52
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddleback View Post
    My other, rather hard-over opinion, is that if one cannot recreate in bears' habitat without the intent of using lethal force against the bear then one should stay out of the bears' habitat. There is a wide range of U.S. recreational land that has no bear threat...if one cannot tolerate their presence without the thought of killing them then that someone should go somewhere else.

    There's barely 1000 grizzly left in the lower 48...just 2% of the estimated population when first explored/settled by the 'white man.' There is no good reason to cause the death of a bear for the sake of our recreation...be smart, be safe. Practice clean camps and bear avoidance...and carry bear spray.

    FB
    Well said.

  3. #53
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    Black Bear encounters

    This is a very interesting thread. Of course, the noted newspapers accounts that were posted at the beginning of this thread are true and to be remembered. However, I have spent many years hiking and backpacking in the Smokies and in other bear backcountry. In fact, I just got back from there and had a bear encounter on the Deep Creek trail. A bear that I estimate was about 400 pounds shot out like a canon from the rhododendrum thicket about 10 yards from my feet. He was very anxious to get far away from me. This is the usual encounter in backcountry. For many years, I saw them all the time as I hiked because I ate sardines on the trail, and of course they showed up to see about that, still they never came too close. I have always hung my food well away from my camping area, and I cook away from there too.

    I have taken on more careful habits because I love bears and don't want to be the reason for one being killed. (I even quit eating sardines when on the trail) It is their habitat and we are visiting. I would recommend Ed Speer's philosophy, (shared in his excellent book) and keep a very clean hammock site, cook away from the site and hang food away from the site. Hang where there are no animal trails nearby or exisiting campsites. Never keep food in your hammock or tent. Bears have some of the best senses of smell of any animal.

    When using these practices, I am not in the least bit afraid of camping in black bear areas. I don't carry any weapons, except for a small knife. I have seen hundreds of bears and never have I been threatened, by keeping my distance and respecting their habitat.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddleback View Post
    I've posted this before but I think it needs posting again...

    Bear spray protects the bear as well. The purpose of bear spray is to stop aggressive actions by the bear. When the aggressive action is stopped...when there is no injury to the hiker/backpacker...that bear is likely to 'live another day.' It won't be removed or euthanized. This is a win-win result given that the overwhelming majority of bear encounters are 'surprise' or 'accidental' encounters and are not intentional or predatory actions by the bears.

    While there are some very experienced and very well trained people out there, I would strongly contend that firearms are not the most accurate way to deal with bear encounters. Again, given the surprise and often close-up nature of these encounters, it's very difficult to draw a weapon, aim, and fire accurately and stop the animal (not to mention the effort involved in carrying a weapon of sufficient size). If it is not stopped and is only wounded I believe the situation has been made worse. I also believe that there is more risk to the hiker/backpacker and his/her trailmates from carrying the weapon then there is from bears (certain areas, particularly in Canada, excluded). Just as bear encounters are 'accidental' so too are there accidents with firearms...and there are many more accidents with firearms than encounters with bears...

    My other, rather hard-over opinion, is that if one cannot recreate in bears' habitat without the intent of using lethal force against the bear then one should stay out of the bears' habitat. There is a wide range of U.S. recreational land that has no bear threat...if one cannot tolerate their presence without the thought of killing them then that someone should go somewhere else.

    There's barely 1000 grizzly left in the lower 48...just 2% of the estimated population when first explored/settled by the 'white man.' There is no good reason to cause the death of a bear for the sake of our recreation...be smart, be safe. Practice clean camps and bear avoidance...and carry bear spray.

    FB

    I don't disagree with you, I've never had any unpleasant encounters with wildlife that I didn't outweigh....

    However there are times when a firearm is the ONLY effective way to deal with a bear. Not so much a US problem but Polar bears actively HUNT humans.. And yes to use a firearm effectively requires extensive training AND practice, however the same is true of bear spray, the difference here (Canada) is that anyone can buy bear spray and go merrily off to the woods, thinking it WILL protect them without ever cracking one open... but they can't get a firearms permit without training and at least an understanding of the fact that it takes practice to be a useful tool.

    FWIW, moose scare me more than bears do... Simply because there are more of them and you're more likely to encounter one.

  5. #55
    Senior Member FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    Anyone know much about how wild Boar react to hikers/campers?
    Those things would be scary to encounter. Would make a delicious breakfast the next morning though.
    "Every day above ground is a good day"

  6. #56
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    I know guys who pay money to hunt wild boar with nothing but a knife... I doubt anyone can say the same about bears...

  7. #57
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    They don't like hikers/campers. Wild boar actually scare me more than the alligators down here. I have not seen any, but have heard bad stories. The good thing about them is they can't climb trees.

  8. #58
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    Never encountered truly wild boar, have hunted wild (feral) pigs and camped in Salt water croc territory in Australia. Down there I was more worried about spiders and other poisonous creatures than anything else...

    Generally not worried about wildlife, as long as I understand them and their motivations.... Food, protecting young, etc... most don't really want an encounter and will leave if given the option. The odds of them being really aggressive and acting in some "unusual manner" are lower than being killed in a car accident on the way to the trip...

  9. #59
    Senior Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Rapt --

    I agree with your comments about polar bears. My own comments were written with grizzlies and black bears in the lower 48 in mind. There are places in Alaska and Canada (I've heard) that are much higher risk and that I would avoid in favor of somewhere else to camp.

    That being said, when I backpacked in Alaska (Anchorage area and south) I didn't carry firearms and bear spray hadn't been developed yet. That period was my first time in griz country and the realization that I was 'at risk' compared to my experiences in MD/VA/WV/PA heightened my senses and made the trips more 'thrilling.'

    FB

  10. #60
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    Forget bears, it's the chipmunks you have to watch out for.



    Just look at the fire in his eyes. They found this picture in a camera that was splattered with blood. The owner was never seen from again.


    More proof...


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