Bear spray in Colorado?

ahatclif

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Do most people take bear spray on their Colorado elk hunting trips?

I have only camped in the mountains once and as a 20 y/o I had bigger concerns than bears that evening.

Now as a 42 y/o and planning my first hunt, I am trying to think thru more of the variables. I haven't read that much about it but it seems like if you are clean and don't cook food near your tent that you are probably relatively safe. We are likely hunting near Steamboat. I assume black bears are everywhere but I am not sure if this is an area of high concentration.

I've looked up diagrams about hanging food and about locating food and cooking areas separately and distant from the sleeping area. Anything else in the practical realm that I should consider?
 

MtnCam

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Keep anything with scents away from camp. Even if not food, bears may seek it out due to curiosity. Also, remember bear spray is your friend and doesn't weight that much. Just my 2 cents.
 

Bar

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I never go in the mountains (everyday) whether scouting, hiking, fly fishing, or hunting without bear spray.
 

AdamW

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Bear spray for me as well. That's just me, but I like to have it.
 

elkduds

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I have hunted elk all over CO @ least one season each of the last 30 years. Never needed or considered bear spray until last Sept. Last year I was approached by 2 bears in an hour while sitting a pond. One was 20 yd away, headed toward me when I began talking to him. He kept walking so I stood up. He then saw me and made haste back into the oakbrush, the way he came. The (much) bigger one came in 40 min later from a different direction, veered around me 40 yds away, went up the same oak hillside as his little buddy Boo Boo had earlier. Walking out to the truck after sunset the next evening, another big dude was heading toward the trail I was walking, 200 yards behind me. I walked pretty fast back to the truck. Except for that spot I have never seen multiple bears while hunting, and have never been close enough to be concerned. I started off this post to say don't bother w bear spray in CO, but I'm rethinking.
 

Felix40

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I havent yet in 6 trips up there and one year backpacking all over nw colorado. We even cook food in our tents and do all the things you aren't supposed to. Had a good sized bear walk through camp one night and then was seen the next day by my hunting partner not 100 yards from camp. On another trip one buddy brought a pistol and I will never forget him coming back into camp one night with that thing drawn. He said he saw a bear watching him in the dark while hiking. I think maybe he got a little too excited in the dark by himself. They have never really bothered us. We see several every trip but the mice tend to be more of a nuisance than the bears.
 

Bar

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I havent yet in 6 trips up there and one year backpacking all over nw colorado. We even cook food in our tents and do all the things you aren't supposed to. Had a good sized bear walk through camp one night and then was seen the next day by my hunting partner not 100 yards from camp. On another trip one buddy brought a pistol and I will never forget him coming back into camp one night with that thing drawn. He said he saw a bear watching him in the dark while hiking. I think maybe he got a little too excited in the dark by himself. They have never really bothered us. We see several every trip but the mice tend to be more of a nuisance than the bears.

What's the point of your post? Are you saying to never worry about bears? They'll never bother you?
 

flatlanderhuffandpuff

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I havent yet in 6 trips up there and one year backpacking all over nw colorado. We even cook food in our tents and do all the things you aren't supposed to. Had a good sized bear walk through camp one night and then was seen the next day by my hunting partner not 100 yards from camp. On another trip one buddy brought a pistol and I will never forget him coming back into camp one night with that thing drawn. He said he saw a bear watching him in the dark while hiking. I think maybe he got a little too excited in the dark by himself. They have never really bothered us. We see several every trip but the mice tend to be more of a nuisance than the bears.

Why do all those things you aren't supposed to do? I would suggest you give the bears the respect they deserve. Even if you don't get attacked it would be a real bummer to come back to camp and find your sleeping bag and tent chewed to pieces.
 

Back Country Hunter 2

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When scouting I always carry a pistol and bear spray. When bow hunting I always carry bear spray, even with a bear tag in my pocket. When I rifle hunt I don't carry anything as I almost always have a bear tag in my pocket. I try to be covered in all situations as I'm almost always by myself. I've never had problems with bears in my camp. I try to do everything right as far as keeping a clean camp. It's worked so far . . . Knock on wood.
 

justin davis

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Heck no! I will never carry a pistol or bear spray in Colorado. I usually always have a bear tag so I hope to run into a bear. Black Bears are so scared of people it's not even funny! Live here all my life and never have issues.



If I was in grizz country that's another story
 

PMcGee

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I carried it the first year and that was it. We usually see a few bear in the two weeks we are out there. We've never had one in camp. I usually get a tag and that's enough to keep them away from me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

chindits

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I never have yet, but maybe someday. However, I care more about my wife then me and I have bought her bear spray. The bears are plenty thick and the biggest and repeated bear contacts I hear about every year is camps and cars getting tore up. Even clean camps with food hanging. I have been close to bears and even sows with cubs, but I never felt too worried by them. However, my real concern is a bear doing a night visit to my camp with me in my tent. I would say that would be the most vulnerable you will be since you will not be able to deploy spray at that point if you even had the time and wherewithal. I guess trying to take back an elk or deer harvest from a bear would be another situation where I would definitely be wishing for some spray.
 

Bar

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Well, it does happen. here's one example.

Ward was killed by a bear while he slept near the fire pit at his campsite. His fiancée who slept in a nearby motorhome discovered his partially consumed body the following morning. The bear was later shot and killed by conservation officers.[7][8]


In the 2000's there have been 29 deaths from black bears. Who knows how many attacks that didn't end in death.
 

beefman

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In Colorado, I have never felt the need to carry bear spray. I do try to use best practices for camping/cooking in bear country but don't feel the small risk is worth the added weight. Sure, it does happen and we all hear about it when it does. What we don't hear are the reports of 100's of thousands of people in the woods who don't get scratched up by a bear.
 

Beendare

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Well, it does happen. ....

During hunting season....in Co? Naw.....10x more likely to be in a wreck on the freeway.

BUT...if you are paranoid of bears by all means carry the spray over a firearm....

[Real reason for spray; I don't want to get shot if I snap a stick and startle a newbie in the Co woods]
 

Bar

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Hardly afraid of bears or I wouldn't hunt them with a flintlock. It's no reason to not be careful. I've never been hit by a truck either, but I still look both ways when I cross the road.
 

elkguide

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I have great respect for bears but have only carried spray and a handgun when I was working or hunting in grizz country.
 

cnelk

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Like Justin D said, buy a bear tag and you be pretty much guaranteed not to see a bear.

Also, bear spray does not work well in the wind or in the close confines of a tent.
A handgun is not affected by either of those conditions

I respect bears but I never carry spray and frequently carry a sidearm.
But not for bears
 
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