Bear Safety in the Rockies

Samee0621

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Aug 8, 2019
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I’m a relatively inexperienced big game hunter and I’m doing a solo backpack elk hunt this year during first rifle. I’m wondering about how wary I need to be of black bears?

I’ll be in unit 18 which has a lot of beetle kill. I’m wondering if hanging my food is really necessary? And if so am I just going to have to find a tree that looks alive enough not to have it’s branches break under any weight?

Also say I’m lucky enough to harvest an elk and
I need to hang the quarters is it the same situation as hanging my food away from camp? Move the quarters away from the kill site and find another tree that looks alive enough to support the weight? Say there are no suitable trees where I can hang the meat high enough and away from the base of the tree what is the general practice in that situation?

Any help is appreciated.
 

Idaho_Potato

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Jan 5, 2019
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Black bears will see/smell you and run. If you run into one that hold his ground, just be loud and yell and bang branches until he leaves. If you ever see cubs just try to get out of there calmly without alarming the sow. I've had a handful of face to face encounters and they usually linger a bit or immediately recognize a human and get the heck out of the county.

I've left meat on the ground or hanging low off a tree a few times as well. Every time I have left clothes hanging on or around the meat with everything in game bags as well. Never had an issue. Black bears are really good climbers so if you can get it high and out from the trunk it probably wouldn't hurt.
 

HookUp

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Nov 4, 2015
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I have backpacked three seasons without a side arm. This year I'm packing a 9mm with hard cast bullets. Black bears do get aggressive and will enter tents at night. It's rare, but I don't want to be the defenseless burrito. I have two kids and want to make sure I return home.
 
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Samee0621

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Black bears will see/smell you and run. If you run into one that hold his ground, just be loud and yell and bang branches until he leaves. If you ever see cubs just try to get out of there calmly without alarming the sow. I've had a handful of face to face encounters and they usually linger a bit or immediately recognize a human and get the heck out of the county.

I've left meat on the ground or hanging low off a tree a few times as well. Every time I have left clothes hanging on or around the meat with everything in game bags as well. Never had an issue. Black bears are really good climbers so if you can get it high and out from the trunk it probably wouldn't hurt.
Awesome thanks
 
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Samee0621

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Aug 8, 2019
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I have backpacked three seasons without a side arm. This year I'm packing a 9mm with hard cast bullets. Black bears do get aggressive and will enter tents at night. It's rare, but I don't want to be the defenseless burrito. I have two kids and want to make sure I return home.
Yeah I only have a 9mm handgun so I’m going to look around for some buffalo bore +P hard cast ammo or any other brand with similar ammo
 

dgarrett

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Jan 18, 2019
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I would rather walk through bear country unarmed, even close to yellowstone park then walk around a golf course with one cloud in the sky... JMO... Dave
 
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Samee0621

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I would rather walk through bear country unarmed, even close to yellowstone park then walk around a golf course with one cloud in the sky... JMO... Dave
Ok......... but say there was a middle ground and you WERE worried about safety around black bears would you hang your food?
 
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Samee0621

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Aug 8, 2019
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Black bears will see/smell you and run. If you run into one that hold his ground, just be loud and yell and bang branches until he leaves. If you ever see cubs just try to get out of there calmly without alarming the sow. I've had a handful of face to face encounters and they usually linger a bit or immediately recognize a human and get the heck out of the county.

I've left meat on the ground or hanging low off a tree a few times as well. Every time I have left clothes hanging on or around the meat with everything in game bags as well. Never had an issue. Black bears are really good climbers so if you can get it high and out from the trunk it probably wouldn't hurt.
Is a bear bag necessary? I looked at them at rei yesterday and I was surprised at how expensive they were! Do you think I can get away with just using a scentless contractor bag if I hang it properly?
 

dgarrett

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Jan 18, 2019
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only in grizzly country where its required... Other wise I would never hang food for black bears.... But also if it will let you sleep better on your sleeping bag and not worry go ahead and do it... Dave
 

jmez

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Bear bag is not necessary IMO. I hang mine in black bear country because I don't want to come back to camp early in a 10 day hunt and find I have no food left. Don't want to have to waste half a day walking out and going to town to resupply. I just hang it right in camp so they can't get to it.

I've never had an issue with black bears and I don't worry much about them. I've sen a lot of them and they have all run off when they realized I was around.
 

Scooter90254

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May 7, 2018
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Michigan
In all seriousness your more likely to have trouble with an overdosed hipster then a black bear.

You’re much more likely to get robbed on the way there and have your food stolen then you are to be robbed by a black bear.
 

Charlottes

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Aug 19, 2019
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bring bear spray, not a sidearm, sidearms have been proven less effective, you're more likely to wing the bear with a sidearm than stop it if its charging you. Whereas with bear spray you're more likely to stop the bear and give yourself time to get your rifle out or get out. Make sure to keep the spray on your hip so you can whip it out real fast. Sidearms are too much weight and hassle as well, the only cool thing about a sidearm is that they look cool, if you think they look cool, if you're practical you'll see them for what they are.
 

Northwinds308

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bring bear spray, not a sidearm, sidearms have been proven less effective, you're more likely to wing the bear with a sidearm than stop it if its charging you. Whereas with bear spray you're more likely to stop the bear and give yourself time to get your rifle out or get out. Make sure to keep the spray on your hip so you can whip it out real fast. Sidearms are too much weight and hassle as well, the only cool thing about a sidearm is that they look cool, if you think they look cool, if you're practical you'll see them for what they are.

That's a software problem, not hardware. The issue is most people don't train and can't shoot, not with the handgun.

I've watched a black bear circle around and lick bear spray off a log like it was pepper sauce. No thank you. You have to let the bear get way too close to deploy it, and then if the wind is going the wrong way you're just as likely to spray yourself as the bear.
 

Charlottes

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That's a software problem, not hardware. The issue is most people don't train and can't shoot, not with the handgun.

I've watched a black bear circle around and lick bear spray off a log like it was pepper sauce. No thank you. You have to let the bear get way too close to deploy it, and then if the wind is going the wrong way you're just as likely to spray yourself as the bear.
Exactly, most people don't train and can't shoot, so the best defence for most people is bear spray. But if you're so afraid of the big bad bears in the scary woods that you feel you need to pack a handgun, you're probably the type of scaredy cat who will miss, leave the safety on, or wing the bear instead of stopping it.

Bear spray has an effectiveness half life, its going to keep bears away, very very well at first, and then over time become an attractant, as corroborated by your pepper sauce story.

Time training and shooting might better be spent shooting bear spray, learning how much range you actually get with it and how nasty it is in the wind. Combine that with a little reading on bear behaviour and there ya go, don't need to buy, safely store and pack around a useless piece of metal.
 

Northwinds308

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Exactly, most people don't train and can't shoot, so the best defence for most people is bear spray. But if you're so afraid of the big bad bears in the scary woods that you feel you need to pack a handgun, you're probably the type of scaredy cat who will miss, leave the safety on, or wing the bear instead of stopping it.

Bear spray has an effectiveness half life, its going to keep bears away, very very well at first, and then over time become an attractant, as corroborated by your pepper sauce story.

Time training and shooting might better be spent shooting bear spray, learning how much range you actually get with it and how nasty it is in the wind. Combine that with a little reading on bear behaviour and there ya go, don't need to buy, safely store and pack around a useless piece of metal.

Well before you start slinging words like "scared" around, realize I can't carry a handgun. We should be able to as we have an absurd grizzly population that goes completely uncontrolled. We just had another grizzly bear death this summer. He had bear spray. Didn't seem to work out too well because he still's still dead.

You can read all you want about bear behavior, there's been lots of experienced outfitters mauled. As for range, it tells you on the can. Usually it's 35 feet. That's about 10 good steps for a grown man. Basically the bear better be chewing on the fabric of your tent.

Plenty of cases of firearms working and it's not hard to learn how to shoot. Biggest lessons from people who didn't defend themselves successfully are make sure the gun is accessible and don't wait until the bear is on top of you to try and draw and fire. Get stalked by grizzlies a few times, you probably won't be as big a fan of spray.
 

ramont

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Montana
bring bear spray, not a sidearm, sidearms have been proven less effective, you're more likely to wing the bear with a sidearm than stop it if its charging you. Whereas with bear spray you're more likely to stop the bear and give yourself time to get your rifle out or get out. Make sure to keep the spray on your hip so you can whip it out real fast. Sidearms are too much weight and hassle as well, the only cool thing about a sidearm is that they look cool, if you think they look cool, if you're practical you'll see them for what they are.
Absolutely false.

The bear spray narrative is false dogma that was pushed by the environmentalists. They support the idea of spray because it does not injure the bears, unfortunately spray only works fairly reliably on curious bears, not bears that are actually attacking.

Sidearms are far more effective than bear spray (more than twice as effective), it's usually the shooter that isn't effective. Most people don't practice or rehearse how they will try to respond so when they are attacked they have no idea how to react. They have no plan and they simply panic.
 
Joined
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Colorado
Hang your food. Good insurance so you don't go hungry, and it will keep it away from the mice. As for quarters, hang them. I have had to leave quarters in the field with no tree before. Propped them up as best you can and pee around the site. Let them know your scent.
 

Northwinds308

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Aug 20, 2019
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Absolutely false.

The bear spray narrative is false dogma that was pushed by the environmentalists. They support the idea of spray because it does not injure the bears, unfortunately spray only works fairly reliably on curious bears, not bears that are actually attacking.

Sidearms are far more effective than bear spray (more than twice as effective), it's usually the shooter that isn't effective. Most people don't practice or rehearse how they will try to respond so when they are attacked they have no idea how to react. They have no plan and they simply panic.

I like how he thinks you could employ spray from 10 feet effectively when "if you're that scared there's no way you could get the safety off!" To shoot and kill a bear from 50 yards (about as close as I'll let a bear get before I start putting lead in the air).

One of the side benefits of the Global War On Terror is there's tens of thousands of highly trained, qualified people that teach this stuff and there's perfect examples of what does and doesn't work. Old school paddle holsters with a flap = bad. External safeties on handguns = bad. Kydex holsters that completely cover the trigger and offer good retention, good grip, and a clean draw stroke = good.

If I can transition rifle to pistol in 50 pounds of kit and get two accurate shots off in under 2 seconds, I think I'll be okay. People waving their arms in the air like a dumbass and shouting when they should be drawing and considering putting a round across the bear's nose is how they get mauled.

Sidearm is only as useless as the person carrying it.
 

Northwinds308

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Aug 20, 2019
Messages
101
Side note we SERIOUSLY need wilderness carry here. I hate humping a 12 gauge during bow season but our bear population is exploding and it is not a good place to be with meat on your back and nothing but a compound bow.
 
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