Bear protection

jbogg

Senior Member
#42
First, let me say that I am in no way trying to diminish a primal fear in some. I learned a very long time ago that some people have phobias that cannot be overcome. I am simply putting things in a rational perspective. No insults are intended in any way.

The odds are not skewed by anyone's proximity to bears. 350 million to 1 is 350 to 1. If fact, hunters are much LESS likely to suffer a fatal black bear attack. I didn't even add in the 40 million in Canada, by the way, lol. Again, I didn't say don't be prepared if you are afraid of them. By all means do whatever you think will make you feel safe but the fact remains that if you end up dead because of a black bear attack you are 1 in 390 million and you have beat some pretty special odds. Heck, you will be famous!

I would also add that a hunted population of bears makes it DRAMATICALLY less likely that you will have a negative encounter. Bears in the Eastern US are terrified of humans. The teeth clacking is not a threat response, it is a fear response much like that of a boar hog popping its jaws. I can see where it could unnerve and be misunderstood by someone that hasn't seen the behavior before. To put things in proper perspective consider (If I remember correctly) there have been just a couple deaths attributed to bears in the Souheastern US in the last 75-100 years. More people have been killed by rabid chipmunks.

In extreme remote areas where bears are not accustomed to humans, the chance of extremely close encounters certainly goes up but it is still 1 in 390 million that you will end up being Bear lunch.

I'm no biologist but I am around a huge number of bears in a given year. I blood track 2-4 wounded bears per day in a bear camp without a weapon (by law) and I have never ever felt a threat. These bears are in extreme remote areas of Canada and I can and do walk to within 10 yards of them several times in a week. Other than an occasional side ways glare, tooth clacking or huffing to show off, there is nearly zero chance of anything more than their just posturing. To the uninformed it may look like a threat but it is not.

This conversation comes up a few time per year and I only respond for the benefit of the new bear hunter. By reading this negative information, it would seem likely that he is going to have a negative encounter with a bear when the likelihood is astronomically against it.
For what it's worth I was not insulted by your post. I am still a newbie when it comes to hunting in bear country, and I shared many of the already expressed concerns regarding bears. The first night I spent in my hammock solo a couple of years ago a few miles in on NF during a turkey hunt I heard bears around my camp all night long and didn't sleep a wink. Of course there were no bears in my camp that night, but due to my inexperience my over active imagination was running wild. As I have become more educated and experienced in the mountains I no longer fear bears, but I always have a healthy respect for their speed and power. I have found a good pair of earplugs and my glock go a long way to helping me get a good nights sleep.:cheers:
 
#43
For what it's worth I was not insulted by your post. I am still a newbie when it comes to hunting in bear country, and I shared many of the already expressed concerns regarding bears. The first night I spent in my hammock solo a couple of years ago a few miles in on NF during a turkey hunt I heard bears around my camp all night long and didn't sleep a wink. Of course there were no bears in my camp that night, but due to my inexperience my over active imagination was running wild. As I have become more educated and experienced in the mountains I no longer fear bears, but I always have a healthy respect for their speed and power. I have found a good pair of earplugs and my glock go a long way to helping me get a good nights sleep.:cheers:
There you go. Don't be afraid of bears- but respect them, and know what they can be capable of, even if they usually don't use it. A bear attack is a very rare thing, but they do happen. Usually in places where they are protected, are used to humans, or have been fed. And it can be some serious stuff in the rare instance when one does decide to cop an attitude with you.
 
#46
I wonder what that feller that got snatched out of his hammock in the middle of the night and half ate up on Hazel Creek last year thinks about cuddly bears now? :)
 
#47
If I can split the viral video profits with you. :bounce:
I wonder what that feller that got snatched out of his hammock in the middle of the night and half ate up on Hazel Creek last year thinks about cuddly bears now? :)
Well, fortunately for him he lived so he's not 1/350,000,000
 

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#48
Well, fortunately for him he lived so he's not 1/350,000,000
He might have been if his dad hadn't been in the tent nearby and ran out to help.

He looks paranoid, irrational, and phobic laying there with his face half ripped off. :rolleyes:
 
#49
Agreed, none of us know the first thing about bears, don't come from generations of well-known bear hunters, have never been around any, never spend decades having close encounters with them, haven't spent half our lives hunting them, haven't crawled into laurel thickets on our bellies up to bear fights, don't know people who have been injured by them, and bears are fluffy and completely harmless, much less dangerous than chipmunks. We are all clueless indoorsmen who are terrified of bears and have delusional phobias of bears because we don't know anything about them. All bears are exactly like your Canadian bears, including our protected human/food associated/habituated national park bears here in the Smokies. Having respect for a bear's capabilities is an irrational phobia fueled by ignorance. I have been enlightened. I will begin to go up and pet them when I see them from now on.
Agreed, none of us know the first thing about bears, don't come from generations of well-known bear hunters, have never been around any, never spend decades having close encounters with them, haven't spent half our lives hunting them, haven't crawled into laurel thickets on our bellies up to bear fights, don't know people who have been injured by them, and bears are fluffy and completely harmless, much less dangerous than chipmunks. We are all clueless indoorsmen who are terrified of bears and have delusional phobias of bears because we don't know anything about them. All bears are exactly like your Canadian bears, including our protected human/food associated/habituated national park bears here in the Smokies. Having respect for a bear's capabilities is an irrational phobia fueled by ignorance. I have been enlightened. I will begin to go up and pet them when I see them from now on.
I never for a moment insinuated that anyone was ignorant nor did I say anything derogatory. I simply stated a fairly educated opinion based on my experiences. That's what a forum is for by definition.

I never once told anyone to not respect a bear but I did try and put the new bear hunter at ease- as he should be.

If you took it personally I am terribly sorry.

None of us are experts We simply state our opinions on a subject on here to answer questions based on experience. In my case it is 40+ years of hunting and exposure to black, brown and grizzly bears in the lower 48, Canada and Alaska. I live in the heart of Georgia bear country and guide professionally for bears. I probably track more wounded bears in a given year than the average joe.

Not trying to impress here just trying to quantify my experience. That doesn't mean I am trying to disregard the experiences of others be they a very experienced or just a guy that has shot a few bears. EVERYONE has an opinion and a forum let's everyone voice it - even if they are one of those guys that seems to know everything from three legged painted turtle behavior to stem cell research in brown bat fetus (South of the equator). You know the type, right?

Unfortunately, some actually get a bit pouty when others simply post an opinion that they disagree with. In the case of this thread, you seemed to get out of sorts without cause. You may disagree but perhaps a bit of self reflection is in order?

I really don't mean this disrespectful but you're often at odds with others that don't agree with your opinions on a staggering array of topics. You literally have 37,500+ post on this forum and are often times adversarial when you simply shouldn't be. If you are going to go to the trouble of educating other with 7,000+ post per year, (your average) be nice and respectful to others.

Now, let's drop it. You had your shot and I had mine, lol.

I am done with the topic and I'm hopeful that all the bear hunters, be they the average joes or the few suffering from bear induced PTSD, can just get along.
 
#50
Dang. I wasn’t worried till I read this. Now I’ll be packing for sure cause we are covered up with rabid chipmunks. Hope they can’t bite through my snake boots!
 
#51
I think Jerry made the mistake when he confused the words caution for phobia. I think about myself in this case. If I had a "phobia" of being killed, would I spend my time videoing them in the spring? If I had a phobia of them, would I spend my free evenings in the summer driving 45 miles north just to sit and watch them? If I had a phobia of them, would I make those hour long drives in the fall to literally get as close to them as I physically can? Well....no. a phobia would keep me away. But the fact is, I do spend countless hours each year videoing them. I do spend those evenings just watching them. I do spend those long days in the woods trying to get as physically close to them as I possibly can. If I'm trying my best and spending all my efforts to inch within 10 yards of a bear from the ground....how could I possibly have a phobia of them?
Maybe......I try to get as close to them as humanly possible......yet I still respect their power and capabilities?! Sounds a tad more reasonable, right? There is a difference between reasonable understanding and fear. If I was afraid,I wouldn't be getting as close to them as I possibly can. I'm still wondering.....if Jerry tracks all those wounded bears without a weapon.......how does he plan to finish off the wounded bear? Somebody has a weapon, correct? Someone shot the bear with a weapon. If the bear is merely wounded, then it has to die somehow, and so still, a weapon is involved. Just because he doesn't have a weapon, someone else in his party does, otherwise they couldn't finish off the bear. Food for thought.
 
#53
I never for a moment insinuated that anyone was ignorant nor did I say anything derogatory. I simply stated a fairly educated opinion based on my experiences. That's what a forum is for by definition.

I never once told anyone to not respect a bear but I did try and put the new bear hunter at ease- as he should be.

If you took it personally I am terribly sorry.

None of us are experts We simply state our opinions on a subject on here to answer questions based on experience. In my case it is 40+ years of hunting and exposure to black, brown and grizzly bears in the lower 48, Canada and Alaska. I live in the heart of Georgia bear country and guide professionally for bears. I probably track more wounded bears in a given year than the average joe.

Not trying to impress here just trying to quantify my experience. That doesn't mean I am trying to disregard the experiences of others be they a very experienced or just a guy that has shot a few bears. EVERYONE has an opinion and a forum let's everyone voice it - even if they are one of those guys that seems to know everything from three legged painted turtle behavior to stem cell research in brown bat fetus (South of the equator). You know the type, right?

Unfortunately, some actually get a bit pouty when others simply post an opinion that they disagree with. In the case of this thread, you seemed to get out of sorts without cause. You may disagree but perhaps a bit of self reflection is in order?

I really don't mean this disrespectful but you're often at odds with others that don't agree with your opinions on a staggering array of topics. You literally have 37,500+ post on this forum and are often times adversarial when you simply shouldn't be. If you are going to go to the trouble of educating other with 7,000+ post per year, (your average) be nice and respectful to others.

Now, let's drop it. You had your shot and I had mine, lol.

I am done with the topic and I'm hopeful that all the bear hunters, be they the average joes or the few suffering from bear induced PTSD, can just get along.

You are also describing yourself. You were the one who started belittling folks and calling them names or acting like they were outright liars when they said anything about bears being capable of hurting you, and insinuating that others who have also bear hunted and been around bears all their lives just like you, are ignorant, phobic, and suffering from PTSD because they personally know of several instances of bears hurting and killing people. I am far from a bear expert, and don't claim to be one. I'm just a guy who lives around and encounters bears on a regular basis. I am not a biologist, professional bear hunter, or Grizzly Adams. I don't have a bear phobia at all, but I do respect them, and I am cautious around a bear just like I would be around a rattlesnake, alligator, lion, nest of hornets, rabid chipmunk, or any other critter that has the capacity to harm you. Maybe you wrassle them with your bare hands, and kill them with a pocketknife. I don't.

I agree with you for the most part, and my experience has been similar to yours about bears in PLACES WHERE THEY ARE HUNTED, as I said earlier. The national park bear is a totally different critter. Those are the ones I'm talking about. There are a couple bear attacks every year in the Smokies, which are full of bears that mostly have no fear of people and associate them with food. A woman was killed and eaten by two bears a few years ago near here, another family was attacked and their daughter killed and other family members mauled a couple years later. People are bitten or mauled by bears at backcountry campsites on a frequent basis, leading to the closures every year of campsites and trails. That is the stuff I am referring to. Not bears out on the WMA or the Canadian bush. Having respect for bears doesn't equal PTSD, phobia, or any of the other derogatory names that you have called folks in this thread. Kyle stated my thoughts perfectly in this post:
I think Jerry made the mistake when he confused the words caution for phobia. I think about myself in this case. If I had a "phobia" of being killed, would I spend my time videoing them in the spring? If I had a phobia of them, would I spend my free evenings in the summer driving 45 miles north just to sit and watch them? If I had a phobia of them, would I make those hour long drives in the fall to literally get as close to them as I physically can? Well....no. a phobia would keep me away. But the fact is, I do spend countless hours each year videoing them. I do spend those evenings just watching them. I do spend those long days in the woods trying to get as physically close to them as I possibly can. If I'm trying my best and spending all my efforts to inch within 10 yards of a bear from the ground....how could I possibly have a phobia of them?
Maybe......I try to get as close to them as humanly possible......yet I still respect their power and capabilities?! Sounds a tad more reasonable, right? There is a difference between reasonable understanding and fear. If I was afraid,I wouldn't be getting as close to them as I possibly can. I'm still wondering.....if Jerry tracks all those wounded bears without a weapon.......how does he plan to finish off the wounded bear? Somebody has a weapon, correct? Someone shot the bear with a weapon. If the bear is merely wounded, then it has to die somehow, and so still, a weapon is involved. Just because he doesn't have a weapon, someone else in his party does, otherwise they couldn't finish off the bear. Food for thought.
 
#54
Well, I'm not grizzly Adams or the bear tracking expert on here, but I have seen A BUNCH of bear in a tree with hounds barking at them. My observation of black bears is that they have different personalities like people, some are docile and just sit up in the tree and turn their head when you look at them as to not make eye contact. Some will not tree, and do their best to kill all the dogs, even running the dogs down with intent. Some behave while treed until they just all of a sudden either panic or snap, these are the ones that hurt people, and kill a whole pack of hounds. I might not have tracked a million wounded ones, but I have seen them stuck by knives in self defence, and have seen a win. 94 30/30 and win. .338 broken over bears heads after unloading at point blank. I once took a bucket of dog food away from a bear in my yard, he was a big dummy, and had no aggressiveness whatsoever until my pet dog latched onto is gonads, then in the blink of an eye, he killed my 60 pound dog like he was a house fly. So my point is, you better respect a black bear, and telling people that they will not attack people is irresponsible, they will attack people, they don't much, but you better believe they will.
 
#55
I spend a lot of time hunting areas of middle Ga that are full of bears that can't be hunted. See lots of bears there. Most of them leave as soon as they can but I've ran across two that meant business. As stated earlier, bears like all animals in my experience each have their own personalities. This year while deer hunting I had a sow with a cub feed on acorns for about an hour. I hunted 3 more hours after they leftaan then I climbed down the tree, put my climber on my back and took about 5 steps when I saw the cub climb a big pine faster than I could believe. Then mama came charging out. It was a fluff but she meant business and I backed out of there with here watching me the whole time. Two years ago while sitting in a blowdown, a bear got my wind. It was only 30-40 yards away in a thicket. It stood up and slammed the ground so hard I could feel the vibration in the log I was sitng on. Then i it made spitting sounds similar to how a kid does when they stick their tongue out at you. This repeated 6-8 times, then the wind shifted and it stopped. It never saw me but I don't think it was playing. On another note I unknowingly walked within a few yards from a sow and 3 cubs bedding inside a hollow tree trunk. When I saw them they were all looking at me but never made a sound. In my way of thinking respect has nothing to do with fear and some of the words use in this thread seem odd and unneeded. I've spent a lifetime in the swamps around gators and I show them the same respect.
 
#56
I do a lot of hunting and fishing in bear country. I always take 2 things with me as a precaution. 1st I carry bear spray. I have had several people who live near Yellowstone and encounter both black bears and grizzlies to sell me on the benefits of bear spray. 2nd I always go with someone I can out run. I ain't ever heard of the bear getting the faster person.
 

ryanh487

Senior Member
#57
I do a lot of hunting and fishing in bear country. I always take 2 things with me as a precaution. 1st I carry bear spray. I have had several people who live near Yellowstone and encounter both black bears and grizzlies to sell me on the benefits of bear spray. 2nd I always go with someone I can out run. I ain't ever heard of the bear getting the faster person.
Don't even need to be faster, just carry a .22.

Easy to outrun someone with a mini-mag in their knee.
 

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#58
S&w m-66

I'd "like to" carry a 10mm Glock 20, if I owned one.
That's my idea of a good bear protection handgun.
Shorter and lighter trigger pull than a DA revolver, and more power than a .357 (IF you shop around for full-power 10 mm, not ammo downloaded for the sake of lady cops and better LEO qualification scores).

That being said, I don't own one of those, or any other 10mm auto, or a .44 magnum wheelgun.

What I've got for a rugged and rust-proof firearm to take to the woods, that still has a good amount of stopping power and penetration against 300-lb creatures, is a S&W model 66 with a 6" barrel.

This M66, loaded with pretty hot 158 grain loads will have to do. (1500 f.p.s. from a handgun barrel, they say-- but the ammo company could be exaggerating. It may be more like 1300 in real life.)
It's heavy, but I'd rather carry a heavy 2-lb. handgun than even a "light" 7-lb. rifle.
 

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#59
For the sake of comparison, I think a revolver might be preferred over a semi-auto because if the impossible happens and you are attacked and being chewed on it will fire if (when) pressed against the bear (or 2 legged attacker) where a semi-auto can be put out of battery when the barrel and slide contact the attacker. Just something to possibly consider.

That said, my 686 3" (180gr BB) is not as handy to carry as my 40 S&W Shield, but is preferred in this use.
 
#60
For the sake of comparison, I think a revolver might be preferred over a semi-auto because if the impossible happens and you are attacked and being chewed on it will fire if (when) pressed against the bear (or 2 legged attacker) where a semi-auto can be put out of battery when the barrel and slide contact the attacker. Just something to possibly consider.
I highlighted the key word there. Earlier in this thread, the odds of a bear attack were brought up. Now, factor in the odds of a bear attack where you are so close your muzzle comes into contact with the bear and your slide won't rack. I think the odds of this equal a virtual impossibility. I'd venture to say, it's never happened and will likely never happen. And never is a long time.

I wouldn't let the most remote "what if" improbability keep me from carrying what I wanted. If you want to carry an auto, carry it. If you want to carry a wheel gun, carry it. If you don't worry about bear attacks and want to carry nothing but your pocket knife, carry it.
 
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