Bear spray effectiveness

greg vs

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The recent Journal of Wildlife management has a paper on how effective pepper spray is on black, brown, and polar bears (limited data). Written by Steve Herrero.
 

Shay Mann

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Wayne Carlton's video "Call'N all Bears" shows a real live demonstration on how well bear spray works on a large black bear. Looked pretty darn effective.
 

SDHNTR

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That is an awesome DVD. I love that spray scene.
 

BOWUNTR

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I'd bet all the tests were done on passive bears. IMO, a bear that is intent on doing some damage to you is gonna love the taste of pepper when he is chewing on you. I handled a police dog for 8 years and we tested the dogs with pepper spray while they were on the bite. It made them more aggressive, and did not effect them negatively. Probably causing them to fight back. I'd hate to try the pepper spray on an aggressive bear, JMO. A large magnum handgun is going with me to Kodiak this August. Ed F
 

greg vs

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I'm not going to go into details (causes too many arguments on the forum) but the results were NOT on captive/passive bears bears. I believe all were from Alaska.

I'm a biologist, did 2 years bear research, been charged (black bear), used to guide (Calif), live in grizzly country: My preferences: 1) spray, 2) Shotgun w/slugs,3) Ruger OV, HEAVY 45 long Colt. I have several 44s-they stay home!

It was interesting that bear spray (as a repellent on objects) attracted brown bears (I knew it did on black bears)
 

JNDEER

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (greg vs @ Apr 9 2008, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I'm not going to go into details (causes too many arguments on the forum) but the results were NOT on captive/passive bears bears. I believe all were from Alaska.

I'm a biologist, did 2 years bear research, been charged (black bear), used to guide (Calif), live in grizzly country: My preferences: 1) spray, 2) Shotgun w/slugs,3) Ruger OV, HEAVY 45 long Colt. I have several 44s-they stay home!

It was interesting that bear spray (as a repellent on objects) attracted brown bears (I knew it did on black bears)[/b]

what is the sprays effective range? what kind of results did you get in your research as far as percentage wise...100% results of detering a bear using the spray, less, etc.?

not questioning you...just curious about the results...this is a question i was wondering as well and was considering a smaller handgun for protection in some of the areas we hunt...
 

greg vs

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Wasn't my research. Steve Herrero and his crew did the work==I think it was a synthesis of original work and statistics from Alaska Game, Parks Service etc. I only had time to read it once=If I get a chance next week, I'll re-read it.

One clarification==At work (Feds), we cannot go armed without a lot of approvals and training==bear spray is certainly looked upon with more favor outside of AK. How much that affected the data I don't know.
 

Redneck75

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Gotta weigh in on this one. One kind of bear spray is effective on an agressive bear...the kind made of lead. We use the "pepper spray" (OC) in the Navy & that is the same thing the bear spray is made out of at the same level of concentration. It doesn't stop people, let alone an enraged grizzly bear. Every person has to qualify with the OC spray before they can carry it and they must get sprayed and then perform an @ 2 minute long "fight-thru" drill. If every single person I've seen sprayed (over 400 now) can get through the drills, I'm pretty sure a grizzly bear ain't gonna get stopped. Granted, it may take away some of his effectiveness but a griz at any percentage is more than I want to mess with.
 

greg vs

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Sorry, gotta weigh in pretty heavy on that one!

How many bears have you tested??

A grizzly weighs about 500-700 pounds, a coastal brownie up to 1000 or more, a polar bear as much as 1200+. They cannot anticipate future events and, therefore, be mentally prepared. Their ability to reason is much more limited, so they can't think it through. All they know is that they hurt, can't see, can't smell. Also, their sense of smell is much more acute than a dog's is and that is AT LEAST 1000 times as sensitive as a man's is (some say 500,000 times more sensitive). As any chili-head can attest, people get used to oleo-capsaicins. Ex-convicts spray each other to develop tolerance==how many of your "subjects" eat spicy food?

Another example==ketamine is widely used to trank canids (dogs and their relatives)==use it on a cat and it causes them to go ape==they will literally chew themselves to pieces. Or carfentenil==widely used to trank grazers like elk=one drop in a primate (including humans) and you're dead in less than 60 seconds!

I could go on and on for pages but I think that's enough to show comparisons between species are pretty pointless.

Oh, another point==Forest Service published a paper on bear guns for defense a few years ago: The only effective stopper was a 458 mag= after that, the effectiveness was less than 100% and dropped pretty fast once you got below a 300 mag.
 

BackCountryHNTR

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Here in CA, we cannot legally carry a handgun during the archery hunting season, so I carry a bear pepper spray with confidence...of course, we don't have brown/polar bears here...
 

greg vs

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We have a weird law in Wash. We can carry a handgun during blackpowder season but it must be a blackpowder handgun (i.e. I carry an 1860 Army)
 

JNDEER

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thanks for clarification...
if you have a chance and could post a link on those research articles or if you know the authors or titles, i would like to read over their research on this...my schools library does not have any articles that i can come across.
 

JNDEER

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thanks backcountry......i am hoping to find some Research articles (peer reviewed) about the testing or effectiveness of the spray.......as what grev vs suggested if the research was done, then there should be research papers on it, but i have not found any.
 

Shane

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Glad to hear you jump in on this topic Greg vs. I appreciate the information, for sure.

For me, between known field research data, not being legal in WA to carry during archery season and knowing how difficult it is to thread a bullet to a tiny instant kill spot in a couple seconds on that enraged, moving bear vs. pounding him in the face with a peppery fog...it's spray for me. Hands down.

...and I'm a big fan of monster handguns! But I want to go home in one piece even more.

Anyone come across any data showing guys with handguns making it out of a brown bear charge alive? I remember JJhack telling a story of a time he was checking traps and was attacked by a black bear. Don't quote me, but I recall something about being hit so hard and fast there was no time to react. Then, once knocked down, he was pinned in the mud so he couldn't even draw the pistol.

I keep thinking that even if I could just reach the fogger trigger, I could take a deep breath and just cover the whole area in pepper until the critter moved off. I doubt they can reason through it like humans sometimes can.
 

Shane

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Oh, are there any new spray products you recommend folks take with them into the field?
 

greg vs

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My access to copies is through our library & is encrypted. One of my biologists has a subscription and passes a paper copy around each quarter.



The Forest Service article is on line at the NW research center website. Here's the page (you might have to cut and paste to get there):

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf This is likely grey literature (non-peer reviewed).



The Journal of Wildlife Management is put out by the Wildlife Society. You can purchase copies from them online but you can also look up a library that has a subscription online at:

http://worldcat.org/wcpa/ow/b34c2072e96d69...b4da09e526.html (Peer-reviewed journal)

Tips regarding bear spray:
1) largest can you can get.
2) Strongest you can get (I think 10%)
3) Carry TWO cans (as one Forest Service biologist told me: how do you get back when one can is emptied and you're 20 miles up a trail in grizzly country?)
4) If you use part of a can, discard it ASAP (a day or so). Once it dries, the spray will clog to nozzle.
5) I was (bluff) charged once by a black bear. Trust me==if your gun/shotgun/rifle/spray isn't in your hand, you won't have time to get it there. Those suckers are fast!!!

ps: I also LIKE big guns (458 win, 454 casull, hardcast 45 Colt, 45-70, 45-90, 405 Winchester)==I carry spray.
 

BOWUNTR

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I'm gonna give my 2 cents, again. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert with bear attacks, effects of handguns on large bears, effects of pepper spray on a charging rhino... I will say I do have some experience with using pepper spray on humans (can anticipate future events) that want a piece of your ass and canines (cannot anticipate future events) that want a piece of your ass. Also with other animals I won't mention!!

I'm not referring to bears that bluff charge or just want to scare you off. I'm talking (worried) about the bears that are intent on causing some damage to you. By all means if you don't KNOW that you can thread a bullet in to a tiny kill spot, then you shouldn't be carrying a rifle or pistol. Maybe a shotgun is the best choice. I'm not sure. If you think that a fog of pepper spray is going to shield you from an enraged animal that wants to tear you apart, I think you're nutz. I really don't want to be part of any research project.

Answer this for me. What happens when that bear is charging you and the wind is in your face. I'll tell you what happens. You lose your vision, you start choking, snot starts rolling off your upper lip... and the bear hits you. I've felt the effects of pepper spray too many times.

I have always felt that common sense is your best protection against bears. I use every precaution I can in bear country. In black bear country I carry only my bow. In Brown/Grizzly country I'll carry a shotgun or 454 casull. JMO. Ed F
 

JNDEER

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (greg vs @ Apr 15 2008, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
My access to copies is through our library & is encrypted. One of my biologists has a subscription and passes a paper copy around each quarter.



The Forest Service article is on line at the NW research center website. Here's the page (you might have to cut and paste to get there):

http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr152.pdf This is likely grey literature (non-peer reviewed).



The Journal of Wildlife Management is put out by the Wildlife Society. You can purchase copies from them online but you can also look up a library that has a subscription online at:

http://worldcat.org/wcpa/ow/b34c2072e96d69...b4da09e526.html (Peer-reviewed journal)

Tips regarding bear spray:
1) largest can you can get.
2) Strongest you can get (I think 10%)
3) Carry TWO cans (as one Forest Service biologist told me: how do you get back when one can is emptied and you're 20 miles up a trail in grizzly country?)
4) If you use part of a can, discard it ASAP (a day or so). Once it dries, the spray will clog to nozzle.
5) I was (bluff) charged once by a black bear. Trust me==if your gun/shotgun/rifle/spray isn't in your hand, you won't have time to get it there. Those suckers are fast!!!

ps: I also LIKE big guns (458 win, 454 casull, hardcast 45 Colt, 45-70, 45-90, 405 Winchester)==I carry spray.[/b]
thank you for posting those links
 

barel74

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I see studies and alot of hear-say, does anyone have any first hand experience with a charging bear(any kind of bear) and bear spray? Just curious
 

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