When do you carry bear spray?

LarryBoy

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Note, this thread is split off from @McKee80's excellent trip report so we don't derail it too badly.

I would carry spray if I was in Glacier. From what I remember there was not very much on the west side of Glacier which is why I asked. I also seem to remember something about spray and the Canadian border, but that might be a "found memory".

Good to know that you can borrow it at the permit place. Last year when I went to Banff, I bought spray and then donated it to a local at the end of my trip, I'd rather save the $40 :)
I think this is worth a broader discussion for the board. Do you carry bear spray, and if so, under what circumstances?
 

Pringles

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I carry bear spray when I’m hiking in Yellowstone, and at least sometimes when I’m by the road bear watching. Since I have it, I’d rather wear it where most people aren’t wearing their bear spray, than not having it when I might wish to use it. I also wear it when I’m hiking in the Beartooths, the Absarokas , and the Tetons. In short, where I believe there are grizzlies.
 

Jackson

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Note, this thread is split off from @McKee80's excellent trip report so we don't derail it too badly.


I think this is worth a broader discussion for the board. Do you carry bear spray, and if so, under what circumstances?
I have two cans of it, and I pretty much only bring a can when I'm dayhiking or backpacking somewhere with grizzly bears, which is probably 1-4 times per year. So not too often.

I brought it once to the Uintas when my wife and I were just getting into backpacking because my wife felt safer with it. Haven't done that since though.

I've also considered bringing it when I go solo to places with black bears, but I haven't actually brought it before. I've never even seen a black bear except once from the car near Quake Lake, so I usually assume black bears will be a non-issue everywhere I go.

It may be a good human deterrent though if the circumstances ever arose. I've thought about getting a compact handgun for car camping for that purpose, but I've never followed through.
 

LarryBoy

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I have two cans of it, and I pretty much only bring a can when I'm dayhiking or backpacking somewhere with grizzly bears, which is probably 1-4 times per year. So not too often.

I brought it once to the Uintas when my wife and I were just getting into backpacking because my wife felt safer with it. Haven't done that since though.

I've also considered bringing it when I go solo to places with black bears, but I haven't actually brought it before. I've never even seen a black bear except once from the car near Quake Lake, so I usually assume black bears will be a non-issue everywhere I go.

It may be a good human deterrent though if the circumstances ever arose. I've thought about getting a compact handgun for car camping for that purpose, but I've never followed through.
Funny you mention the human deterrent. The only time I've ever taken the safety off my bear spray is when an overly protective/scary-looking dog is coming at me. I'd much rather deal with bears than dogs.

That said, I've still never, ever seen a bear, so what do I know...
 

Jackson

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Funny you mention the human deterrent. The only time I've ever taken the safety off my bear spray is when an overly protective/scary-looking dog is coming at me. I'd much rather deal with bears than dogs.

That said, I've still never, ever seen a bear, so what do I know...
Well, you've had more up-close interaction with them than I have at least. All my sightings have been roadside. You had the joy of one smashing up the food in your Ursack and slobbering all over it while solo in a pretty remote place.
 

LarryBoy

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Well, you've had more up-close interaction with them than I have at least. All my sightings have been roadside. You had the joy of one smashing up the food in your Ursack and slobbering all over it while solo in a pretty remote place.
I can't really recommend bear slobber as a condiment. It's cheap, sure, but not particularly tasty.

Also, you haven't truly lived until you've had to decide how much bear slobber is too much bear slobber.
 

Perry

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I can't really recommend bear slobber as a condiment. It's cheap, sure, but not particularly tasty.

Also, you haven't truly lived until you've had to decide how much bear slobber is too much bear slobber.

Yikes!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

McKee80

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I carried it in Glacier, it was a no-brainer for me. First time in grizzly country. There were mountain lion warnings posted as well, and they said it “may” help with them. Incidentally, a guy we met out there said his friend used it on a home intruder and put him in the hospital.
 

LarryBoy

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I personally carry it when both of the below are true:

1) I'm solo. As in, I'm normally hiking out of eye and ear shot of others. As in, I dont need to announce my intentions to pee.
2) I'm in griz country.

So on the CDT, I picked my bear spray up in Dubois, Wy (the road crossing at Togwotee Pass) and carried it to Canada. I probably could have gotten away with mailing it ahead from southern MT to central MT (apparently the population of griz in the Centennial and Beaverhead ranges is pretty minimal, but it's such a pain that it wasn't worth it just to to pick it back up in a couple hundred miles.
 

b.stark

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I finally got some a couple years ago and carry it pretty much any time I'm in grizzly country. Will probably take it anywhere black bears seem to be problematic also. Been doing more solo dayhiking in the greater yellowstone area the past 3 years or so, which inspired me to carry the spray.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Now as for myself personally, I carry bear spray whenever I am in Grizzly Country. And in my hiking, I am always going solo ... just by my lonesome. Also as for myself, I carry a small air - boat horn which does wonders and which I recommend in carrying with you also.

The first year for myself in Grizzly Country was way back in 1979 then again in 1981 with both years in Yellowstone Park Country. Now even though I have hiked many a time in Grizzly Country with seeing hundreds of Grizzlies thru the years. And also having a multitude of super close encounters with Grizzlies, I have never never really had to use it though. I have been bluff charged by Grizzlies and came around a corner with a Sow Grizzly with her 3 cubs less then 50 feet above me on the slope. I would say many people trust in that bear spray maybe too much. The best thing to use when in Grizzly Country is using your own mind and staying alert to what is happening around you at all times. It seems to me that many a Grizzly just as much does not want a close encounter with us Two Leggeds as we don't want a close encounter with them. I have had many a Grizzly, deep in bear country, start running from me as fast as they could once they spotted me and knew I was around. From so many of the animals have learned .... If we respect them and give them their space, in turn they will give us our space.

Wishing Everyone the Best!
 

Rockskipper

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Around here, you don't carry bear spray, you keep it by your bed. We've had over 20 incidents of bears breaking into houses so far this fall alone (Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado). But they're blackies and usually just want to raid your fridge. There's one that sleeps between the neighbor's house and mine every night, but I think it's gone into hibernation as I haven't seen it for a week or so.

Here's a story from a few years ago in nearby Aspen:

There’s probably no one who has had more encounters than Tom Isaac, the Pitkin County Assessor.

“It came right into my bedroom,” said Isaac. “Into my bedroom and it was a large bear.”

Isaac described his encounter with a massive 500 pound bear nicknamed “Fat Albert.”

“The bear decided he was more interest in the refrigerator than he was with me,” said Isaac.

Officers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife found “Fat Albert” asleep, with a full stomach, on Isaac’s property after they were called to investigate.

Isaac was paralyzed nearly 30 years ago. He has had no less than five bears inside his house in the past eight years.

“In order for me to get into the house I have an automatic button I have to hit with my elbow and they’ve learned how to open that door also,” Isaac said.
Now, he puts a two-by-four across the door to keep bears out.

“He doesn’t call me anymore. He doesn’t want the bears trapped or anything like that,” Wright said about Isaac.

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/05/25/aspen-sits-in-heart-of-bear-country/
 

wsp_scott

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I mostly hike solo in the SE Appalachians and I have seen a number of black bears, never thought to carry spray. One of the first things I have taught my kids is never run from a dog and that a bear is like a really big dog so don't run from those either. In the SE, the bears are very aware of people and run away very quickly.

This summer in the southern Sierra, it never occurred to me to carry spray, but if I had ended up in the North Cascades or Glacier or ... with grizzlys, I would carry even if I wasn't solo. It just occurred to me that the one backpacking trip I did in Alaska (Eagle River for two nights), I bought spray at the REI and then left it in the car as my wife drove away. So would have carried it in Alaska, but flaked out :)

Basically I view spray as cheap insurance even if you end up donating it at the end of the trip. I really wish there was a way to get it on a plane.
 

Bob

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I carry it when going for walk from my house. Have it close by when working outside. Always when backpacking in griz country.....
 

Udink

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I carry "bear spray" everywhere that I hike. I've only unholstered it twice: once when a guy was trying to break into my truck while I was hiking in the Book Cliffs, and another time in the La Sals when I accidentally almost got between a black bear mama and her cub. Oh, and I once had to actually deploy it in order to disarm a 1-gallon can of corn that we tossed into a campfire but wouldn't explode.
 

Miya

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Even though some places I go do not allow bear spray and I don't have grizz over here, I bring it on almost all my trips.
Day hiking or sleeping out. I keep it next to me in my tent when I sleep too (don't worry wouldn't spray it in there).
It gives my friends and family peace of mind. I more think I would use it on a stalking mountain lion or a human and don't worry about the bears out here so much.
 

Rockskipper

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Never mind - and I vow to quit posting when I'm on cough syrup (bad cold)...
 
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