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.(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.
Good points. I think I'd prefer carrying a pistol to a can of spray anyway.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.
Forgive my ignorance, but is bear spray effective on moose? I would assume it would hurt anything with a nose and eyes.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.