Is Bear Spray needed in non-grizzly area?

loblolly7

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Jul 15, 2019
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Tennessee
How necessary is bear spray if I won't be in a grizzly area? Are black bears really that concerning for a group of guys backpack hunting? Is it worth carrying a can?
 

Jimmy

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Apr 18, 2016
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California
(so far) for me black bears in places you can hunt them they are far more scared of people than town bears or bears in national parks. I've never had a problem. But some people have had run ins, so if it makes you feel more comfortable go for it. After packing it around for a while you'll probably ditch it.
 
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loblolly7

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Jul 15, 2019
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Tennessee
(so far) for me black bears in places you can hunt them they are far more scared of people than town bears or bears in national parks. I've never had a problem. But some people have had run ins, so if it makes you feel more comfortable go for it. After packing it around for a while you'll probably ditch it.
I hauled one around on my last elk hunt and never saw a bear and the can usually ended up out of reach or in a pack where I probably couldn't have used it quickly. I'm leaning towards abandoning it.
 

CHAD PEZZLE

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Jun 22, 2012
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Rohnert Park, CA
I don't carry any when rifle hunting CA, seems like a waste of time to put a perfectly good rifle down to un-holster some bear spray. I also agree that in areas where bears are hunted, we don't have a lot of close encounters like you might see in national parks.

I could potentially see the use if you're strictly archery hunting, CA doesn't allow a side arm while archery hunting.
 
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loblolly7

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Jul 15, 2019
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Tennessee
I think I may abandon the bear spray myself and then leave it up to my hunting companions whether or not they want to carry it themselves.
 
K

Kootenay Hunter

Guest
If you have rifles, maybe not as big of a deal.

I'm not exactly making a lot of noise when still hunting the bush, and I've bumped a few bears. A scared bear can be a dangerous bear, especially if they have cubs.

I'm usually one in the 'better have it and not need it...' camp.

Interesting situation, if you're hunting whatever and have a bear tag, get into an encounter and shoot a bear, might not be the best situation if you weren't planning on dressing and packing out a bear there and then. I don't think you'd get a pass for wanton waste for self defense when holding a tag. A $30 can of spray might have saved a big pain...just a random thought.
 

mcseal2

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May 8, 2014
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I always just carry a rifle or handgun. My logic might be flawed, but I don't want to every need to decide in the moment what to grab. I don't want to lose that little bit of reaction time. If all I have is either a rifle or pistol, I will go straight to the firearm. I don't carry both in black bear country, just a handgun when scouting, rifle when hunting. Also the guns are something I practice with a lot and am familiar with using quickly. I don't see myself practicing with bear spray like I do with guns. Wind doesn't affect bullets at close range like it does spray either.

I definitely see the upside to spray in the right conditions. It doesn't require nearly as much accuracy to effectively hit a bear. Even more important the bear and person (hopefully) both leave the encounter without long term harm coming to either. I would hate to be the one that met a bear spray didn't stop though. I've also heard several stories of spray being accidentally set off and ruining gear or hunts. Its just not the route I choose for myself.

In the end encounters with bears, especially black bears, are pretty rare. I figure pack what lets you feel comfortable and sleep well at night. Chances are you will be fine with or without it.
 

Ridge Ghost

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Mar 21, 2012
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Missoula, MT
I always carry it in archery season. Grizzlies do show up from time to time in "non-grizzly" areas in my state. Every black bear that I have ever encountered in the woods has run from me, but I have been bluff-charged by moose several times.

I'm in the "better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" camp.
 
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loblolly7

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Jul 15, 2019
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Tennessee
I always just carry a rifle or handgun. My logic might be flawed, but I don't want to every need to decide in the moment what to grab. I don't want to lose that little bit of reaction time. If all I have is either a rifle or pistol, I will go straight to the firearm. I don't carry both in black bear country, just a handgun when scouting, rifle when hunting. Also the guns are something I practice with a lot and am familiar with using quickly. I don't see myself practicing with bear spray like I do with guns. Wind doesn't affect bullets at close range like it does spray either.

I definitely see the upside to spray in the right conditions. It doesn't require nearly as much accuracy to effectively hit a bear. Even more important the bear and person (hopefully) both leave the encounter without long term harm coming to either. I would hate to be the one that met a bear spray didn't stop though. I've also heard several stories of spray being accidentally set off and ruining gear or hunts. Its just not the route I choose for myself.

In the end encounters with bears, especially black bears, are pretty rare. I figure pack what lets you feel comfortable and sleep well at night. Chances are you will be fine with or without it.
Good points. I think I'd prefer carrying a pistol to a can of spray anyway.
 
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loblolly7

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Joined
Jul 15, 2019
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12
Location
Tennessee
I always carry it in archery season. Grizzlies do show up from time to time in "non-grizzly" areas in my state. Every black bear that I have ever encountered in the woods has run from me, but I have been bluff-charged by moose several times.

I'm in the "better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" camp.
Forgive my ignorance, but is bear spray effective on moose? I would assume it would hurt anything with a nose and eyes.
 

b_young

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
74
Location
NC
Forgive my ignorance, but is bear spray effective on moose? I would assume it would hurt anything with a nose and eyes.
I read in another rockslide thread recently that a moose is not affected as much by bear spray. I’ll see if I can find that thread.
 
Joined
May 3, 2019
Messages
95
Everyone has different opinions. Imho ? Why carry a can of spray when you can carry a 10mm ?

A gun is a much better all around equalizer in the time of life travails then mace.

Bears ? Moose ? Big cats ? What about people ? Seems a trend is happening and people have been hunting people in the woods.

I say pack a gatt no matter what.


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ChrisAU

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Jan 12, 2018
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2,002
Location
SE Alabama
Last year, my first time out, I had a handgun on my chest, bear spray on my hip, and rifle in hand. Man that sounds stupid typing it out. By day 3 I had given the spray to a buddy and hidden the handgun in camp.

Yeah I’m taking bear spray this year, 280AI caliber bear spray.
 

brsnow

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
853
I carry a knife, for me if I end up in close combat it would be my best defense. Spray is technically effective at a distance I wouldn’t find a black bear an issue yet. I don’t carry a sidearm because I do these trips with kids, the youngest is almost 3, and I don’t have a great way to ensure they can’t get it and it still be available if needed at night in our tent.

At the end of the day, I am more concerned with proper food storage .
 
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