Mar 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm #1256167
First of all, I am not talking about Black Bears. I've dealt with Black Bears and they don't worry me that much. I'm only talking about Brown Bears, commonly called Grizzlies in some parts of the U.S.
Previously when in Yellowstone and Glacier Parks, I was prepared with either Bear Spray or a Bear Flare or both. I only saw two Grizzlies during those visits. Since I drove there, I could transport either device in my car or attach either to my belt. Not a problem.
This year I will be visiting some other national parks with Grizzlies. Unfortunately, I am flying there, and that rules out transporting my own Spray or Flares. In some instances, I could keep purchasing new Spray or Flares, but then I would need to get rid of them before flying home, assuming that they didn't get used. In other instances, I won't even have any opportunity to purchase Spray or Flares.
Now, in the parks, you can't hunt the Grizzlies anyway, so forget about that.
The general advice from the NPS rangers is to walk through the backcountry in small groups. Unfortunately, I will be alone. NPS tells you to make lots of noise to warn the Grizzlies that a human is coming, because it is mostly the surprise situations that get really ugly. So, NPS tells you to talk or sing. Boy, that can get old.
I suppose that I could bring a whistle, but I'm told that whistles are not as good as a loud male voice.
Then I thought about one of the small air horns. There are some that aren't any larger than your hand, and they are transportable by air. I wonder if that would halt a Grizzly charge. I have some doubts. The whistle or voice could warn of my approach, and then the air horn might do something in the event of a charge.
When all else fails, you drop to the ground, cover your head and neck if possible, and play dead. NPS says that often a charging Grizzly will run up and stomp on you, and then walk off.
I ask, what is a good ultralight Grizzly bear repellent? I will rule out sheets of titanium.
–B.G.–Mar 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm #1583076
I know this is a long shot, but maybe see if there are some other BPL members who will be near the park that you're visiting. Maybe you could work out something with purchasing/trading/selling bear spray?
Of course, I'd be interested in answers to your question myself.Mar 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm #1583078
Bear Spray is about a $45-50 item, and a Bear Flare is half of that. I doubt seriously that anybody is going to want to drive any serious distance just to help me work a deal on this.
You know, it is bad enough just getting a Flare shipped around the country, what with the Hazmat fees.
Besides, there are parks that can't be driven to.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 12:06 am #1583086
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Mar 7, 2010 at 12:20 am #1583092
I've never heard of the six person rule in any of the U.S. parks, but it doesn't sound silly.
I tend to be carrying 10-30 pounds of camera gear when I hike, so I don't always travel at the same pace as others. When I am lightly loaded, I tend to head up the steepest hills that others are unlikely to hike.
I suppose that I might try to recruit some other hikers, but I suspect that I will be the Lone Ranger. If I do hike with others, I will remember to wear my running shoes. I only have to run faster than the other hikers.
One Brit always hikes with his umbrella. He claims that a Grizzly charged him one time, and he quickly opened the umbrella and closed it back and forth, and that confused the bear. I'm not sure I want to bank on that.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 12:45 am #1583093
well bear spray really is the gold standard on this, bearspray from what I remember is effective in about 99-98% of attacks.
I doubt an airhorn will be any better then bangers.
Other then good campsite management I would really suggest carrying bearspray. Perhaps with some local advice you could avoid problem areas?
That said most bush piolets will allow you to fly with the stuff. I think it is the commercial flights where you are searched for weapons where they dont like it when you carry it.
More specifics?Mar 7, 2010 at 2:39 am #1583100
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Most airports would have to be near a town with a post office of some sort. You can have the bear spray sent general delivery and pick it up. Some ranger stations in certain parks will accept packages as well and hold for you. While some can receive packages, they don't ship out, in my limited experience.Mar 7, 2010 at 6:54 am #1583124
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I hiked all last summer in Yellowstone, Glacier, the Bob, and other GRIZ country, most often alone and never with spray. I haven't been eaten yet.
I pay attention to the time of year and the terrain. Certain areas are no-brainers to worry about. In early summer, hiking along a raging creek through neck high brush in Glacier, I was singing and hollering at the top of my lungs for a good 90 minutes straight. At other times on the same trip, I went hours through open alpine terrain without saying a peep. I saw no bears on that 70+ mile trip, but on a long day hike in the same area in late August I saw a black bear and five GRIZ in twelve hours. They seemed to be on the move and feeding more purposively with winter knocking at the door.
I keep a clean camp, hang and cook well away from where I sleep, etc, etc. I've got some odor-proof bags to use this season, too.
I also fatalistically figure that if a bear really wants to eat me, I've had it. So I don't worry about it too much.Mar 7, 2010 at 10:39 am #1583184
No, there is no airport at the final destination. There is no post office. We are talking about two moose and a beaver there, and the brown bears own the place.
It will be slightly before the start of the crowberry and blueberry season, so the bears may be foraging. I don't know when cranberry season starts, but the bears probably do.
Nearly all bush planes are unpressurized, so if they happened to fly a little too high, a can of bear spray might accidentally leak. That could cause the pilot to crash, so it is prohibited with some air service companies.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 10:52 am #1583189
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
nevermind.Mar 7, 2010 at 10:54 am #1583191
And strap it to a wing? Give your airservice a call, I doubt it is the first time they have run into this problem.Mar 7, 2010 at 11:18 am #1583197
I have four air hops to get to my final destination, and I have no opportunities for shopping or post offices anywhere along that. It doesn't matter what the final bush plane can carry since I can't get on even the first hop with bear spray. So, bear spray and flares are out of the picture. I need something legal to transport, yet effective on bears. I guess voice and whistle will have to be the warnings and then maybe some UL air horn will be the next step.
Hmmm. I could pack the separated ingredients of black powder, and then mix them when I get to the destination. Of course, trying to ignite that stuff when a bear is charging would be difficult. The bear bomb.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 11:58 am #1583205
@jeff-kLocale: New York
Would the bush plane be able to provide you with a can of bear spray? It seems like this would be a common problem for their customers and it would be good business for them to rent or provide bear spray to their customers. Even if it was as special circumstance, they may allow you to ship a can to them.
As I don't know the details, they might not work, but just a thought.Mar 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm #1583214
Hi Bob other then bear spray the next most effective answer is a large caliber gun – shotgun with slugs, .50cal handgun, ect. I have no idea where you are going but mailing ahead would work for spray, I also think you are underestimating local stores ect, I would call ahead and try to arrange something.
You can try horns but that is a different method. Bear spray helps you repel attacks, horns try to scare them away.
Bear spray is highly effective, more effective then firearms or horns, avoidance and good camping is the lightest strategy. That said I practice avoidance but bring spray with me.
I think you might have found the limits of the forum, exp with the info provided, I would try talking to the locals and get their advice.Mar 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm #1583287
@xpatrickxadLocale: Upper East TN
Maybe if you tell us where you're going some people could provide better information and a possible solution and there would be less wild guesses and speculation on our part.Mar 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm #1583303
Patrick, maybe you came in late. There are only a few states of the U.S. where grizzlies can be found, and there are only a few national parks of those states. Previously, I dealt with Yellowstone and Glacier without a problem. This year, I must fly to my destination parks, so I can't transport any normal bear repellents. I will have no access to post offices or stores along the way or at the destination. You can't hunt within a national park.
That leaves bear deterrant techniques, like talking and singing, to avoid surprising the bear. I've been told that high-pitched noises like bells are not effective. In a joking manner, one bear expert claimed that the best warning was to sing Country and Western music at the top of your lungs, and that bears seem to find that obnoxious.
I suppose that other tools like a machete or a shield might be packable, but I'm not certain that I want to deal with close quarters combat with something that outweighs me by four times or more.
The small air horn is the only thing that I've thought of that might work, but I would probably need to have a discussion with the NPS rangers.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm #1583316
no worries, you can carry a gun for personal protection in a park, might get in trouble if you shoot anything though.
I don't have the time to search down your cryptic comments: talk to locals; nothing beats bear spray; I'm sure you'll be fine; I would practice good camping, find a way to carry spray if I was worried about bears, and not visit the area if I could not do it with what I thought was reasonable safety.Mar 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm #1583317
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"so I can't transport any normal bear repellents."
How about taking a pet skunk? Seriously. I've wondered for a long time now why a repellant based on skunk spray hasn't hit the market. It would stop a bear, or anything else for that matter, dead in their tracks. Nasty stuff.Mar 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm #1583321
Somebody suggested to take along a wolverine on a leash.
Despite the fact that Grizzlies are far larger than a wolverine, wolverines are far meaner. There have been many reports of Grizzlies backing down from a confrontation with a wolverine. Unfortunately, my wolverine is not leash-trained! Hard to transport.
I'll see what NPS says, since it is in their backyard.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm #1583327
If you chose to hike alone in Grizzly country and are not allowed bear spray, then you need to follow the rangers advice. No UL replacements should be relied upon. If you have a family with children, good life insurance is recommended. Good luck.Mar 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm #1583330
Any airport has to be able to receive mail, supplies, and parts. Somehow they get fuel in. They get solvents in spray cans.
I appreciate your search for alternative deterrents, but somewhere, somehow, I'm sure you can ship to your final airport. If you're talking about a final "in the brush" airstrip, I'll bet those guys know how to get it done.Mar 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm #1583334
I've been sprayed in the face by a skunk. Unpleasant yes, but not enough of a deterrent for a motivated animal. I took a swing at it afterwards, with a shovel.Mar 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm #1583346
Greg, there is no airport at my final destination. No fuel. No services. No post office. No store.
That is the nature of bush planes. They just land on whatever place they can, like a beach.
–B.G.–Mar 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm #1583347
Like I said, "I'll bet those guys know how to get it done." Protocol or no Protocol.Mar 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm #1583354
Well contact your pilot and ask him to supply you.
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