Ballistics for bears

Necropost, but this is probably the best thread on the subject and starting a new one is pointless.

The black bears are slowly creeping back into our area, and I got to meet one while taking out the trash.

Understand that what I mean by "taking out the trash" is about 100 meter walk. So yeah, a hungry bear is probably rubbing his eyes and thinking its his lucky day.

This isn't my first encounter and I've read this thread and another I can't seem to find. But suffice to say that making myself big and slowly backing off got me out of the all-you-can-eat zone. The black bears here are generally skittish and usually  run off, but this one was enjoying my asshole neighbors trash buffet which he prepares by not covering the cans. He wasn't backing off and gave me the stink-eye.

Protection options are limited and I don't have the luxury someone from Alaska previously mentioned about getting covered by my neighbor. I am also compelled to believe carrying the 45/70 Marlin might raise a few eyebrows. This is a rural area, but the Starbuck quaffing dunces in my neighborhood would probably call the ANG if they saw that.

Given that all I have left are handguns in 9mm, and standing there with a bag of garbage, a 4 inch EDC knife and my dick in my hand was slightly unnerving- what are my best carry caliber/handgun options?

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A .44 Special or .45 Colt would be a good start. A heavy .357 might work, but it wouldnt be my first pick.

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If it were me, I might try something in the shotty family.   Bear alert here constantly, I grab a 12 gauge.  If I have to shoot it, it's likely to be under duress and I don't have time for the fineries of pistol marksmanship or the desire to rely on lesser terminal ballistics.   I want warheads on foreheads, preferably in the 00 variety.   I can't afford to be hurt.

If size is a problem and neighbors are nosy, maybe a pistol grip, SBS, AOW like the Super Shorty.  Alternatively, the Taurus Judge might be solid here with .45LC and .410 buck.

One of my best friends was a professional bear guide in Alaska, he carried a .44 mag, but considered that last ditch.   If you expected bear, you took a rifle or a shotgun.  Black bear and polar bear are the only species that habitually, actively hunt people.

 

NOTE: I merely visit bear country for enjoyment, but this is a topic that has interested/amused me for some time.

I say the first 2 questions are how much of a burden do you want the gun to be and how much of a wheelgun guy are you?

Pending that and noting the size and relative aggression of the average black bear, a Glock 20 could be easy for transition and not overly expensive.   I know a bunch of people that have bought magnum revolvers that might as well feed it to the bear and hope it chokes rather than attempting to shoot it.  I'd rather take my chances with one of my HK's loaded up with .45 Super and hope for the best on a gun that I know.  It's a curious parallel to the CCW mindset that ownership is somehow a guarantee of safety and considering proficiency is often an afterthought.  

One thing to note if you go searching elsewhere on the net (more often than not the threads are funny as hell), remember bear hunting and fending off a bear are not the same thing.

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

pointblank4445 posted:

NOTE: I merely visit bear country for enjoyment, but this is a topic that has interested/amused me for some time.

I say the first 2 questions are how much of a burden do you want the gun to be and how much of a wheelgun guy are you?...

 

Thanks for all the replies. It seems like the caliber choices previously mentioned are still relevant.

It's interesting you make this particular point. Because my next question was do I go with the platform I know and shoot regularly, or a new one that I would need to shoot more regularly to become proficient.

We can laugh about it, but running into Winnie-the Pooh's bastard cousin, no matter how many times it happens, has a tendency to raise the stress level. You're immediately going to controlled breathing and fighting the impulse to quickly egress. Having mastery over a firearm in that situation is going to be of paramount importance. I've seen how deceptively fast a bear can be. It's easy to think fat guy at a buffet speed when the reality is Lightfighters at a free bourbon tasting speed. If he gets to you there are no do-overs. Bears seem pretty unforgiving like that.

I know you guys in brown bear country are laughing your asses off. But then, nobody likes you anyway.

_______________________________________________________
"Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset"         

 

"You are never out of the fight."

 

Joined: 9/5/2011 Location: The Former Empire State, now The State of Anarchy

pointblank4445 posted:

NOTE:  It's a curious parallel to the CCW mindset that ownership is somehow a guarantee of safety and considering proficiency is often an afterthought.  

One thing to note if you go searching elsewhere on the net (more often than not the threads are funny as hell), remember bear hunting and fending off a bear are not the same thing.

This^^^^

A thousand times ^^^

If you are in the bear woods and have not fired a clean moving target Bill drill or a Tueller drill in the last year, with the pistol you are carrying, the pistol is dead weight. 

Same goes for any shotgun or rifle you may be carrying. 

Competence.... it pays.

I think the video illustrates some other points.  Much like the CCW parallel I mentioned above, I will throw out another:

Planning and intelligent decision making will prevent a lot of problems.  It won't prevent every problem, but you will find yourself in fewer shit storms.  

I'm not animal expert, but I wonder what the deal is with this guy in the Longeye's video.  He obviously wasn't concerned enough to put the fucking camera down and prep to fight with both hands (or his stick).  He mentioned his camp...is this a heavily camped area and did the bear perhaps become used to human presence and/or associate people = campsite = garbage/foodstuffs.  From what I have seen and what Dux notes about his careless neighbor, people often invite these things via their own dumbfuckery or at best a lack of understanding.  

I would say that in between your Bill drill practice for the worst case scenario, a frank discussion with the "asshole neighbor" is in order and consider how to prevent some preventable encounters...

Just for fun:

http://i.imgur.com/AZ4m25k.gifv

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

I have a similar circumstance with habitual bears roaming the grounds. Black Bears. 200-400 lb. 

Ideally, you'd want to carry something large bore, heavy bullet for caliber, and either hardcast  flat tipped or JSP hunting loads depending upon revolver or semi-auto (and feeding reliability).  You need something that will drive deep into a moving target that presents much more thickness protecting it's vitals than an upright human.  The latest controlled expansion self-defense/duty JHP for use against humans is not necessarily the ticket. You want more than the 12"-18" gelatin block penetration that the FBI recommends for gunfights.

So...

I would agree that any of the bigger revolvers that start with a ".4..." would be ideal.  I've chosen S&W 4" .41 Remington Magnum revolvers just because I've owned/shot them for 40 years and it's my very favorite handgun caliber. Six shots is likely more than I'll ever be able to fire as a sprinting black bear closes on me from inside of 50 yards. Time for two shots is more likely. A black bear can outrun a horse. I'll either make good stopping hits or get used as a chew toy.

My bear duty house guns (for a problem in my yard, on the porch, etc.) are S&W Models 58 & 57. Ruger & Taurus offer revolvers in the same caliber (or .44) for less cost. There isn't a black bear alive that those guns can't handle.

Alternatively, a 10mm semi-auto with the heaviest, fastest loads it'll feed reliably should work fine. .41 Magnum Light. Glock 20.

Or... .40 S&W with 180-200 grain bullets moving at max velocity. Out of a duty sized gun like an HK USP (a gun with a fully supported chamber). Double Tap or Buffalo Bore flat tipped hunting loads at around 1000+ fps. 30-ish inches of penetration.

Or... .357 Magnum with bullets of similar weight. Again, out of a duty/hunting sized revolver. 4"-6" barrel. S&W or Ruger.

Or... even a .45 ACP +P 230 grains out of a full sized 5". Colt GM or equivalent.

If I got caught out with a 9mm, it would be with 147 +P and hope for the best. (I everyday CCW 9mm... but for deliberately walking local trails & roads among bears, I swap out for a bigger gun).

I have had two much-too-close encounters with black bears in my life, one of them at contact distance (bear leaning in and sitting on me through a Goretex pocket hotel tent wall). One in my back yard. Both times I was unfortunately armed with a 5-shot .38 J-Frame. If you ever want to feel inadequately armed, pointing a little .38 Special at a large bear at point blank range will do it. I was lucky both times and didn't have to shoot. Both bears curious but not aggressive. Thankfully.

Any handgun caliber that will take a large deer will also kill a black bear. But it might not stop one who's decided to scuff you up or eat you (black bears are actually statistically more predatory than their bigger cousin humpback bears). The question becomes one of deciding upon a gun/caliber combo that you can employ rapidly, under stress, against a blindingly fast animal that's turned aggressive.

Not the time and place for baby guns, short barrels, lighter weight bullets, or reduced velocity loads. 99% of the time, a Blackie is going to either go the other way... or simply ignore you and continue on with his feeding effort at the trash cans. Or instigate a bluff charge. But when/if the animal goes hostile and presses home an attack, you need to view it as the same kind of problem you'd have with a VBIED barreling down on you. You'll only get a few seconds (at most) to anchor him.

An advantage to the semi-auto route is that most will feature rails for a light. And most of my local bear encounters happen at night. Especially while out walking my dog in forested/brushy areas. This is good reason for Tritium night sights on an outdoor handgun as well. A dark colored animal buried in the dark shadows of vegetation is near impossible to aim at with standard sights.  You just see a big dark blob and it's difficult to acquire a sense of where on his body your sights are actually pointed.

But a rail mounted light works better; really well as a matter of fact. I've found the ability to shine a bear rustling in the Oaks & Pines to be handy. I can usually interrupt them with the light at a distance (>50m) where neither of us are inside each other's personal space. They then generally decide to move off. And I don't need the added complication of trying to manipulate a hand held light while either controlling or dropping a dog leash. So for my nocturnal strolls, it's a .40 USP with TLR-1HL and 180 grain bullets. During daylight, one of the .41 Magnums.

So whatever you choose has to deliver a deep driving shot in a serious caliber, be absolutely reliable, be something you can make hits with against a fast moving target, and be something that can get the job done within 1-3 shots. Because any shots after that are going to be at muzzle contact distance.

Hmm...that's a lot of stream-of-unconsciousness crap posted above about something that I don't really view as a major problem. I live among bears and they're part of the local landscape. Used to humans and mostly well fed from a variety of rich food sources. Just another critter... like the resident coyotes, deer, and occasional lion. Incidents of bear aggression are very, very rare.  But... the bears are there. And so am I.  I've bumped into them enough times to be mindful. Thus, I've given some thought to exactly how I go about armed.  Especially the night illumination & handgun caliber/load equations.

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It may have been this thread, or another one, but I've mentioned this before. 

.45 Colt is what I hunt with. But it's not a great choice unless you're willing to order Buffalo Bore or CorBon ammo. Reason is that the majority of .45 Colt ammo in local stores is the "Cowboy" loads or "defense" loads. Same thing. They're loaded down with lighter grain bullets for easy handling.  While they might be effective in a bear, I wouldn't trust my life to them. 

 

I use Buffalo Bore 310grn moving at about 1500fps out of my 5 inch Ruger Blackhawk. But I wouldn't recommend an SAA for obvious reasons. It's just what I hunt with. 

 

I'd look more towards a .44 Magnum.  It'll be very similar to my .45 Colt loads and you can find it at any Wal-Mart or Big 5.  In a decent wheel gun of your choice. 

 

I don't like shotguns for large animal defense. One shot could stop it. But I've heard local stories of multiple shots being ineffective. Last month, my neighbor hit an ornery Raccoon twice with 00 Buck from about 30 yards. It then moved to a spot he couldn't shoot towards, and stayed there pissed off for hours. It snuck away and died, presumably, some time after he couldn't hear it anymore. He was very surprised to not find a body. Point being that the pellets of shotguns become unreliable stoppers at distances you'd likely consider very close for a bear.  

 

On a side note, our bears have been acting strange this year. More aggressive than normal. Same with our Cougar and Bob Cats.  But the bears really seem to be different. Aggressively breaking into homes and not being scared off nearly as easy.

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"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."


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Joined 06/02/09.        Sierra Nevadas, Ca.

Screenshot_20170719-104926Screenshot_20170719-104935Screenshot_20170719-104944Ok, I'll see if I can figure out pics. This is a bear that recently decided to enter a neighbor's house. Husband, wife, three kids. All asleep upstairs. It made a mess of the kitchen and left without them waking up (weird design of house made that possible).  It was caught on one game camera and one security camera. The window security pic is the way it got in. 

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"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."


Friends, in your life I hope you do four things; lie, steal, cheat, and drink. When you lie,do it to save a friend. When you steal, steal someone's heart. When you cheat, cheat death. And when you drink, drink with me.

Joined 06/02/09.        Sierra Nevadas, Ca.

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pira114 posted:

Screenshot_20170719-104926Screenshot_20170719-104935Screenshot_20170719-104944Ok, I'll see if I can figure out pics. This is a bear that recently decided to enter a neighbor's house. Husband, wife, three kids. All asleep upstairs. It made a mess of the kitchen and left without them waking up (weird design of house made that possible).  It was caught on one game camera and one security camera. The window security pic is the way it got in. 

I remember this one. It was very recent. My local morning news crew thought it was amusing. DAMF. 

Mojo/Mark
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I think thats a different story. But I remember a news story about it also. This one was just a few days ago, and our neighbor didn't share the pics with anyone but us until a day or two ago when she put them on Facebook. But either way, there have been numerous stories in the Sierras about Black Bears acting different. Another recent story has some kid waking up, while camping, to a Black Bear chewing on his head.

 

Normally, I'm not at all worried about them. Ever. Lived side by side with them for a while. Recently, however, it's just gotten weird.  Our garbage is also very far from the front of the house. Like 60 yards. And I don't tell the kids to take out the trash after dark anymore. We've had three different bears in our neighborhood that don't seem to want to leave. Must be climate change.  

 

The best defense against bears is not to bait them in with poor practices. DUX is being fucked by his neighbor apparently. I'd have a chat with him about better practices with garbage. But just closing a lid won't do it. They're smart and don't have much to worry about. A bear will do what it does. So yeah, walking armed to the trash can making lots of noise is a start.  The bear WILL outrun you. If it so chooses. It's often a false charge to establish a pecking order. An order it will always see itself being on top of.  Don't run, it just triggers his instincts to chase. Back off and prepare to stand your ground.  Mostly, like all animals, the bear will decide it's not worth the effort and risk if your bang stick starts making loud noises. Especially if those loud noises hurt.  If it's sick, injured, or has cubs close by,all bets are off and prepare to have to keep shooting. All in all, they're a very low risk predator for humans. But they're very good at what they do to us when they choose to 

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"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."


Friends, in your life I hope you do four things; lie, steal, cheat, and drink. When you lie,do it to save a friend. When you steal, steal someone's heart. When you cheat, cheat death. And when you drink, drink with me.

Joined 06/02/09.        Sierra Nevadas, Ca.

Their speed is  amazing and having surprised a few  bears (and me) next to trails and logging road,s  especially when the leaves are on, they simply disappear.    If one decided to charge full bore from cover instead of running away I would doubt my ability to react, draw and fire in such a short time.   That rules out single action revolvers for me as I find them clumsy for my short thick thumbs.

I like the idea of a Glock 10mm loaded with heavy hard cast with a wide meplat  due to their weight, ease of carry  and being a platform that I'm know.   

I was once squirrel hunting in the early part of the season when I and a bear with  two cubs snuck up on one another.   I was enjoying watching them until they started getting too close and I realized if momma discovers me she might find the situation  mutually interesting and all I got is a .22 rifle with std vel. ammo.   The 10mm would have made me feel better although nothing was needed.

I thought this video was a perfect example of "if it isn't within arms reach it doesn't exist" rule.   Notice the marine shotgun beside the empty chair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbE53XUtVw0

 

Thought this was interesting:

Alaska Outfitter Defends Fishermen from Raging Grizzly with 9mm Pistol

Alaska Outfitter Defends Fishermen from Raging Grizzly with 9mm Pistol

I have been guiding brown bear hunters and fishermen and bear photographers from our homestead within Becharof National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for 33 years and have had numerous close encounters with bears. Until now, I have never had to shoot an unwounded bear to protect either myself or clients, but the other week an event occurred and my good fortune changed. When it happened, I was fully aware of what was going on and how big the bear was. I also managed to stay aware of where my clients were, even when the bear was directly between us. The woman I was guiding said that while she did not remember smelling the bear’s breath, it was close enough to her face that it could have bitten her!

I have killed enough bears to know how important shot placement can be, even with large-bore rifles. I was well aware of the limitations of my 9mm pistol, even with Buffalo Bore ammo. I was aiming for a vital area with each shot; because it all took place between 6 and 8 feet, they were not far off. But hitting the head and brain of a highly animated and agitated animal is a difficult shot.

The two photos shown here tell a pretty good story by themselves. The secondary photo (embedded at the bottom of this story) was taken from the point where the charging bear first erupted from the brush. I am on the left and Larry, my fishing client, is on the right. The bear was within 2 feet or less of Larry and his wife when I shot it. You can see the dead bear to the left of Larry. The main photo (embedded to the right) shows Larry and me with the dead bear and shows its size.

Larry and his wife were fishing with me, and because we were going to a small stream I had fished before, which had numerous large male brown bears, I decided to take my Smith & Wesson 3953 DAO 9mm, rather than the S&W 629 .44 Mag. Mountain Gun I have carried for the past 25 years, as the larger boars are usually less of a problem than sows with cubs.

Before we reached the stream, while we were walking through dense brush and tall grass, we heard a growl and deep “woof” of a bear approximately 6 feet to our right (behind me in the secondary photo). We had been talking loudly but must have startled a sleeping bear. It sounded like it made a movement toward us, and I shouted loudly and the bear ran back through the brush to the right in the photo. Within 15 seconds, we could hear it growling and charging through the dense brush from the opposite side.

I had my pistol out by then, and the bear first appeared from where the photographer in photo No. 2 was standing. It went straight for my clients; Larry and his wife fell backwards in the deep grass. She said the bear’s face was close enough to hers that it could have bitten her!

The bear was highly agitated and standing within 3 feet of my clients when I decided I could take a shot without endangering them.

My first shot was at its neck, and then it began growling and spinning toward the impact. I wanted to hit the head but the bear was moving so fast I simply began shooting each time I could hit a vital area. I hit it six times before it turned to run off, and my seventh shot was into its pelvis area as it ran. When it dropped within 6 feet of the last shot, I checked my pistol and found I had only a single round left in the chamber so decided against walking in and finishing it.

My pistol was loaded with Buffalo Bore 9mm +P Outdoorsman 147-grain FN hard-cast loads that have a muzzle velocity of 1100 fps. I had previously tested, compared and proven such loads with my .357 and .44 mags., and I was convinced they would work.

https://www.americanhunter.org...zly-with-9mm-pistol/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's starting to sound like a Glock 40 MOS with or without and RDS just might be the ticket.

Mojo/Mark
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Lifelong Alaskan here. Decades in the emergency services. Many stories, no personal experience, But in my opinion....

Shot placement is KING. It doesn’t matter what the weapon is. Many, and I do mean MANY bears have been takin with 22. LR and 223/556. AR’s and Mini 14’s are the go to guns in the bush of Alaska. (didn’t say it was smart I just said it has happened)

It is of my opinion if a bear is going to attack you.. it’s going to attack you. Unless you are able to get that perfect CNS shot, heart shot or major blood vessel shot it’s going to MESS YOU UP. From what I know either you are going to have enough time to do something (draw and shoot, deploy pepper spray or get big and loud) or you won’t.

You never hear many stories of someone by themselves getting mauled and killing the bear while on top of them. Either they kill the bear before it gets to them or it mauls them. Most bears that attack people are surprised, defending something or sick/hungry.

So just like Personal Defense against people.. HAVE A GUN. But have other options.. Bear spray or noise makers.

Make yourself known.. Make noise while walking to the trash, sing, whistle or bang some shit around.

As far as ammo, I would use heavy, hard bullets. But if all I had was my EDC 9mm with 124gr HST.. that’s ok with me.

Black bears, Grizzly’s / Kodiak’s and Polar bears have absorbed multiple hits from various hand cannons (44 mag, 454, 500’s) and even multiple hits from 12 gauges. If you don’t hit what’s important.. they won’t die right away.

good luck and be safe.

 

The gene pool needs some chlorine.

 

Joined: 4/7/03   Location: Renton, WA - Barrow , AK

I have to admit, in a handgun I think the 10MM glock is a winner, loaded correctly. If I had regular exposure to such places, that would be my choice. For right now, if I went someplace like that, the .41 with some heavy hard SWCs I bought a few years ago would be the best choice. In a shotgun, pigs would fly before using buckshot; I'll use slugs, thank you very much.

"A" answer: I'd rather avoid the experience.

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Docinak posted:

Lifelong Alaskan here. Decades in the emergency services. Many stories, no personal experience, But in my opinion....It is of my opinion if a bear is going to attack you.. it’s going to attack you. Unless you are able to get that perfect CNS shot, heart shot or major blood vessel shot it’s going to MESS YOU UP. From what I know either you are going to have enough time to do something (draw and shoot, deploy pepper spray or get big and loud) or you won’t...You never hear many stories of someone by themselves getting mauled and killing the bear while on top of them. Either they kill the bear before it gets to them or it mauls them. Most bears that attack people are surprised, defending something or sick/hungry...Black bears, Grizzly’s / Kodiak’s and Polar bears have absorbed multiple hits from various hand cannons (44 mag, 454, 500’s) and even multiple hits from 12 gauges. If you don’t hit what’s important.. they won’t die right away.

 

...and you guys put on the vapours re Australian critters?

My town has bear sightings nearly every other day now.  Most have been caught and tagged, some multiple times.  They give not one fuck about people or trying to be stealthy because they know they cannot be hunted.  I do actually believe that.  Plus, the area is so anti-gun, the bears probably noticed by reading about it in the paper.

A couple of years ago on a weekend, I was on a major four lane road in the next town.  Heavy traffic.  I am at the light when a good size bear walks right past my driver's window and in to the intersection.  Not. One. Fuck. Given.  He just continued to walk down the double yellow line.  It was actually amusing....except probably for the guy stuck in traffic in his top down convertible.  He looked concerned. 

My back yard has a Brook going through the end of it that is the animal Underground Railroad.  It goes from one end of the town to the other.  Bears, fox, those horrible fisher cats, deer, turkey, whatever use it all the time.  I have a nice patio with a firepit that I love smoking cigars next to at night.  The first two things I bring outside with me is a 1000lumen SF R1 and a Benelli Supernova Tactical 12ga topped off with 3" Brenneke slugs.  The Brook is about 150' away from the house and I always sit facing that way.  Don't know if that will work but it's what I came up with.  As dirty as it makes me feel, I believe that the Glock 40mos in 10mm loaded with proper ammo is the way to go for most people .  If you are a revolver guy, you have a lot more choices but if you really don't shoot revolvers a lot, I think you are better off with the pistol.

Jojos is working on my Marlin .45-70 stopper.  That would be pretty damn effective as well.  All of this of course presumes that upon a close bear sighting, I don't scream like a little girl and become paralyzed.  There's a chance for that to happen.

Even I know that a bear is a formidable foe if angered, hungry or protecting its cubs. I love bears and would just prefer going our separate ways upon bumping into each other.  The bear to the woods and me to a bar....for hours.

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IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

The Most Reverend Consig

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 Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

I live 6 miles from where that guy woke up to the sound of a bear chewing on his head. At the house I keep a Marlin .44 mag loaded with 240 gr. soft points. Haven't needed it yet. The dogs have always been able to run bears off. Even when it was 2 bears vs 2 dogs. Since they got harassed and got no food they don't come back. The current dogs are mongrels, 50 and 90 lbs.

leot

Joined 9/16/04   Northern Colorado

@DUX
I wouldn't overthink it or worry too much about it.  Whatever firearm or that 4" EDC blade you tend to carry should be up to the task.  I don't think its necessary to go out an buy any new firearms to fill the niche of being your "anti-bear gun".   But if you really need something to ease your mind, then just get some
 BuffaloBore 9mm +P+ PENETRATOR or BuffaloBore 9mm +P OUTDOORSMAN ammunition and call it "mission accomplished".

Black bears are very timid and reluctant to fight anything that may maim or kill them, in the unlikely event that one attacks it'll typically disengage from said attack once pain & damage has been dealt to it.  Hell even female black bears are extremely reluctant to defend their cubs from humans (even when cornered).  If you search the net you'll find plenty of stories about folks fending off a black bear attack or killing an attacking black bear with such items as a knife (e.g. swiss-army pocket knife killed a 455lb attacking black bear in Canada), blunt impact weapons, or small caliber firearms. 

Despite fears that a hit from a bear paw can disembowel you or ruin your day, the truth is that getting hit by their paw isn't a big deal and won't ruin your day.  While bear claws are good for climbing trees they're piss poor at ripping or hooking and trapping flesh.  Also the blunt force trauma isn't as severe as portrayed either due to the relatively slow speed and large surface area of the impact.  The biggest threat of injury is from bites or being pounced on repeatedly if the animal gets on top of you after falling to the ground.  I know what I'm saying goes against hundreds of years of folklore and everything you've likely seen in Hollywood...

Bear Claw Welts
Take a look at the above picture, what you're seeing is the after effects of being struck by a bear paw after getting attacked by a large full grown female (encroached on her and cubs whilst cornered, attempted to tag animal without tranquilizer IIRC).

I'm not trying to piss in anyone's corn flakes here,  as there is nothing wrong with having a healthy respect for these animals and being cautious around them.  But if you're a healthy adult male you shouldn't have any cause to be afraid of a black bear, especially if you're armed!


(IMHO, so as always;  "YMMV")

First, thanks for all the solid advice. There are very few places where you can raise an issue and receive expert feedback (and humor) this comprehensively. I believe we've covered ballistics, firearms, situational aspects (time of day, etc.), tactics and other factors. All complemented by video and pictures...

THIS is why I come to Lightfighter.

Just to answer a few questions, it was just before dawn, probably around 04:15 when  this happened (and did one previous time). So yes, lowlight is a factor. I usually do make a lot of noise as bears are generally not the only critters out at that time. We have coyotes strolling through, foxes, most of the usual small game and believe it or not an occasional bobcat. That's why the trash goes out at 0 dark thirty.

I was surprised to see him (I'm assuming "he" as the sows are usually smaller) staying put with that noise. There is more than adequate food in their natural habitat this year,  so usually they don't cling to a particular meal when someone approaches. But he's probably a relative of one of those arrogant, smug SOB's Consig described.

Just to be clear, based on experience in my AO, I believe the probability of an attack is extraordinarily low and I would be loath to shoot one. They are magnificent animals that will usually run if confronted with loud noises (at least around here). But it pays to be prepared, even if the purpose for which you prepare never comes to fruition.

Regarding the food source. This particular neighbor is probably the reason for attracting the bears. A few years ago a sow and her cubs were picking through his trash, which he kept uncovered in his backyard until garbage day. His HH6 discovered them while attempting to take the dog for a morning walk. They called everyone but the NG, and both law enforcement and animal control told them to put the trash inside and get better bins. That didn't last long as apparently bad habits die hard. I'm going to have a discussion with him as I am pretty certain law enforcement has better things to do...

I already have some Buffalo Bore rounds for my rifles and it looks like getting the 9mm will be my best short term solution.  Getting one of the different caliber handguns mentioned above is probably next.

_______________________________________________________
"Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset"         

 

"You are never out of the fight."

 

Joined: 9/5/2011 Location: The Former Empire State, now The State of Anarchy

I know this is a discussion about ballistics and bears, but I'm kinda surprised that nobody brought up bear spray.

Call me a fern patting tree hugger, but when I worked in grizzly country, I was given Stephen Herrero's book, Bear Attacks, and I took his advice about bear spray to be scientifically validated.  His advice, simply, was that bear spray is generally more effective than guns when it comes to defending yourself.

And here's video from Yellowstone:

https://www.facebookDOTcom/Yel...os/1352802038068480/

I'm interested to hear what some of the Alaska guys think about bear spray vs. guns for self defense against bears.

HazardZetForward posted:

I know this is a discussion about ballistics and bears, but I'm kinda surprised that nobody brought up bear spray.

Call me a fern patting tree hugger, but when I worked in grizzly country, I was given Stephen Herrero's book, Bear Attacks, and I took his advice about bear spray to be scientifically validated.  His advice, simply, was that bear spray is generally more effective than guns when it comes to defending yourself.

And here's video from Yellowstone:

https://www.facebookDOTcom/Yel...os/1352802038068480/

I'm interested to hear what some of the Alaska guys think about bear spray vs. guns for self defense against bears.

I just came back from Sequioa and both my bro in law and myself had bear spray. 

In LFr fashion, I packed a glock 19 also....so both were used

We did run into a bear cub....momma was no where to be found...also saw another bear but we were in our vehicle..

Walked out back two night ago to round up one of the house cats before it rained. Swept the yard with my little 120 lumen pocket Fenix light. Medium sized black bear (~250 lbs) standing about 12 meters away (measured distance the next morning).  Slowly backed up to open door behind me and just kept the light in his eyes. He ambled off.  Little Ruger LCP in my pocket. Totally useless gun and less than quickly accessible carry for that situation. Perfectly good bear spray hanging in the garage on the other side of the house. Bigger guns all located inside the house. I had the presence of mind to light up the yard, but not to bring along the right gun. LOL. 

Naturally, my huntress cat showed more common sense than I did... and was nowhere to be found with a bear hanging around. 

I'm an idiot.  Walked right past a duty belt holding my .41 Magnum Model 58. Just strolled out into the darkness with a pea shooter instead. Gotta find a quick on/off paddle holster for the .41 revolvers. At least until the weather changes and I can conveniently pocket carry an N-Frame in my coat.

But I'm also gonna order some of Buffalo Bore's Outdoorsman loads in .45 ACP +P for the new Shield. Easier late night always-on-the-body gun to carry IWB around the house and yard. And certainly better than .380 for Yogi.

I really enjoy watching the local wildlife at all times of day or night. Especially the bears. But that was just a bit too close. I could have tossed him a scooby-snack. Or wound up as one.

Lions and Tigers and Bears... Oh My.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Shoulder holsters get very little respect these days, but I think there are some legitimate purposes.  If you're in your PJs, or sweatpants and a T-shirt and you're going to take the trash out, the cat, etc. and you want a large gun in a holster, it is relatively simple to just throw on a shoulder holster, do your stuff, and take it off when you are back inside.  Depending on weather, time, temperature, you can even throw on a bathrobe for concealment.  Something to think about anyway.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Astronomy posted:

Walked out back two night ago to round up one of the house cats before it rained. Swept the yard with my little 120 lumen pocket Fenix light. Medium sized black bear (~250 lbs) standing about 12 meters away (measured distance the next morning).  Slowly backed up to open door behind me and just kept the light in his eyes. He ambled off.  Little Ruger LCP in my pocket. Totally useless gun and less than quickly accessible carry for that situation. Perfectly good bear spray hanging in the garage on the other side of the house. Bigger guns all located inside the house. I had the presence of mind to light up the yard, but not to bring along the right gun. LOL. 

Naturally, my huntress cat showed more common sense than I did... and was nowhere to be found with a bear hanging around. 

I'm an idiot.  Walked right past a duty belt holding my .41 Magnum Model 58. Just strolled out into the darkness with a pea shooter instead. Gotta find a quick on/off paddle holster for the .41 revolvers. At least until the weather changes and I can conveniently pocket carry an N-Frame in my coat.

But I'm also gonna order some of Buffalo Bore's Outdoorsman loads in .45 ACP +P for the new Shield. Easier late night always-on-the-body gun to carry IWB around the house and yard. And certainly better than .380 for Yogi.

I really enjoy watching the local wildlife at all times of day or night. Especially the bears. But that was just a bit too close. I could have tossed him a scooby-snack. Or wound up as one.

Lions and Tigers and Bears... Oh My.

 

 

Reminds me of what my dad used to always say, "I don't care how great it is. It's useless if you don't have it with you when you need it."

Dorsai posted:

Shoulder holsters get very little respect these days, but I think there are some legitimate purposes.  If you're in your PJs, or sweatpants and a T-shirt and you're going to take the trash out, the cat, etc. and you want a large gun in a holster, it is relatively simple to just throw on a shoulder holster, do your stuff, and take it off when you are back inside.  Depending on weather, time, temperature, you can even throw on a bathrobe for concealment.  Something to think about anyway.

I still wear an old Shooting Systems nylon shoulder rig in the coldest weather when doing shoveling, walking the dog, etc. If I don't have to strip off the outerwear in public, it means no worry about what my waistband is doing or how accessible it is. Shoulder holster under the last layer is pretty easy to get to, and pretty comfy while doing labor, or when you fall on the ice.  

I have known a handful of hunters who use vertical draw shoulder holsters with an otherwise wildly oversized handgun, even when shooting with rifles. Their gun-they-always-have can be effective against the dangerous animals they might encounter if they don't bring the rifle every time they walk away to take a leak, etc. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

 
HazardZetForward posted:

 His advice, simply, was that bear spray is generally more effective than guns when it comes to defending yourself...

I'm interested to hear what some of the Alaska guys think about bear spray vs. guns for self defense against bears.

 

I'm curious about the effectiveness of the spray, also.

My reservations with the spray comes from using OC on people.  It seems to work 100% on cops and about half that with folks on the street.

I'm wondering how many of the wins recorded by bear spray were merely inquisitive creatures?  I've   had animals follow along my scent trail out of curiosity or come closer due to sound or movement.    If a honey liontigerbearbadger were to do the same it might be considered "stalking" and run at the sound of the spray and be counted as a spray success when curiosity was the only thing deterred.

My concern is the spray's effectiveness against a really PO'ed  bear that is determined to carry through the attack or do a shower scene.  

Considering the distance of the spray and how quickly a bear could close that distance if it doesn't work there isn't  going to be much need for a Plan B.

 

 

 

 

The thought of running into a bear freaks me out.  My BLUF question is: 12 Ga or .44 Mag?

Here's why.  I'm becoming more disillusioned with camping in established sites crammed full of stupid people.  If I'm in the bush with fewer people, I want some backup in addition to spray.  Since an encounter is not necessarily likely, I don't want to lug around my Enfield No 5 which is my typical bush rifle.  Also, although legal to carry a non-restricted firearm in the bush, discretion is still a good idea as we have a lot of hippie pinkos that pop up at the most annoying moments.  Some Conservation Officers are quick to accuse one of "hunting" out of season or without a license if the firearm is loaded.  This is more of a bureaucratic inconvenience based on the personal judgement of the officer on the ground. 

As others have mentioned here, a pistol, in a sufficient calibre, is both convenient and discreet.  Trouble is, in Canada, all hand guns are restricted.  As such, they can only be shot on an approved range and an "authority to transport" is needed to move them to and from the range. 

So I need something compact, discreet, sufficient calibre and non-restricted so I can carry it freely in the bush.  Hence my calibre question.  I've narrowed my choices down to 2 possibles:

a.  mare's leg/ranch hand in .44 mag.  (6 + 1rds).  12 ins barrel and 26 ins  overall (although I've seen some mention of o/a length at 24 ins and still legal...might be a typo...) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgD6O6-euX4

or

b.  box mag fed (5 rds) Dominion Arms 12 Ga with 8.5 ins barrel and full stock for a similar o/a length to the mare's leg (26 ins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-Svw4L_wrk.

 

I'm also aware of the most important factor discussed in this thread - accuracy/shot placement.  This is somewhat sacrificed in the .44.  The recommended aiming method being to fire with your arms locked straight as you would with a pistol.  Unlike the USA, we are legally allowed to replace the mini stock with a replacement full stock.  This bumps up the o/a length to approx 30 ins and improves the accuracy.  I wonder about the accuracy of the 8.5 ins barrel on the 12 Ga.  A 12.5 ins barreled version can be had and that bumps o/a length to approx 30 ins.  So both more accurate versions are 30 ins o/a which begins to get in the way of compactness/discretion with still no clear winner.  The idea was to approximate the "handiness" of a pistol...

One advantage of the 12 Ga. is that, if one anticipates bumping into a Conservation Officer or if in a more populated area, you can simply pop off the box mag and that appeases most of the bureaucrats.  Once alone, you can simply pop it back on.  Going from loaded to unloaded and back again with a lever action is very difficult to do efficiently/quickly.

Another consideration is cost.  The 12 Ga. is approx $400 Cdn.  The Rossi ranch hand is the cheapest version of the mare's leg, however, the supply is drying up.  When available they were approx $700 Cdn.  Other manufacturers (Chiappa, Henry etc) are going for approx $1,000 Cdn or more.

So, it's back to the question of your recommendation of calibre: .44 Mag or 12 Ga.  If you were suffering under the same restrictions/laws as us, what would you choose?  Don't say "move to the US"...

Joined sometime in 2008.                  Live in Canada.        

stray round posted:
 
HazardZetForward posted:

 His advice, simply, was that bear spray is generally more effective than guns when it comes to defending yourself...

I'm interested to hear what some of the Alaska guys think about bear spray vs. guns for self defense against bears.

 

I'm curious about the effectiveness of the spray, also.

My reservations with the spray comes from using OC on people.  It seems to work 100% on cops and about half that with folks on the street.

I'm wondering how many of the wins recorded by bear spray were merely inquisitive creatures?  I've   had animals follow along my scent trail out of curiosity or come closer due to sound or movement.    If a honey liontigerbearbadger were to do the same it might be considered "stalking" and run at the sound of the spray and be counted as a spray success when curiosity was the only thing deterred.

My concern is the spray's effectiveness against a really PO'ed  bear that is determined to carry through the attack or do a shower scene.  

Considering the distance of the spray and how quickly a bear could close that distance if it doesn't work there isn't  going to be much need for a Plan B.

 

 

 

 

That is precisely the question that comes to mind when a study determines that spray is more effective than a firearm.  Stated another way, if somebody is shooting at a bear, it's probably a much more serious threat, on average, than an instance where spray is being deployed. The bar for spraying is simply much lower than for shooting, so I question if the situations counted in the study are apples-to-apples.

Also, was the firearm itself taken into account? If somebody used a small gun that they had at the time, because it was their only option, that hardly counts as a "loss" against a bear.

If the bear was on your tent, your wife, your dogs, in thick brush, at night, in a stiff wind, and David Attenborough is narrating your slaughter...tell me...what tool would you want in your hands?

HazardZetForward posted:

Call me a fern patting tree hugger...

You Sir, are  a fern patting tree hugger!

I don't know why you wanted to be called that, but I'm here to help.

 

Based on the thread so far, I think bear spray is a good second layer of protection; an electrician might be a great first layer.  MOST black bears are timid.  A light installed at the end of the driveway will placate the neighbors, allow early warning, disperse polite bears and identify bears who might not be so timid.

Just like people, the bears who don't run at a show of force are the determined ones.  Maybe he's  an aspiring artist who is turning his life around, maybe he's loved by his girlfriend Ursula  (a big sow of a gal, but their cubs keep them together), maybe he is just about to head to University of Maine on a football scholarship...

I really wanted the above to be funnier...  ah well.

My concern with bear spray is windy days.  I'd rather not ne struggling to see AND have to deal with Mr. Bear.

Dorsai posted:

Shoulder holsters get very little respect these days, but I think there are some legitimate purposes.  If you're in your PJs, or sweatpants and a T-shirt and you're going to take the trash out, the cat, etc. and you want a large gun in a holster, it is relatively simple to just throw on a shoulder holster, do your stuff, and take it off when you are back inside.  Depending on weather, time, temperature, you can even throw on a bathrobe for concealment.  Something to think about anyway.

Thanks for this suggestion.

To me, "conventional " has come to mean appropriate to solve the problem. That type of carry fits this situation as I'm usually on my way to a workout and nothin else is really effective in that gear. I just need to find one that works and suggestions are welcome. 

I was going to purchase the Buffalo Bore 9mm +p "hard cast" Outdoorsman. Are there any concerns with that round (either accuracy or wear on the barrel)? 

_______________________________________________________
"Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset"         

 

"You are never out of the fight."

 

Joined: 9/5/2011 Location: The Former Empire State, now The State of Anarchy

generic_user_7 posted:
stray round posted:
 
HazardZetForward posted:

 His advice, simply, was that bear spray is generally more effective than guns when it comes to defending yourself...

I'm interested to hear what some of the Alaska guys think about bear spray vs. guns for self defense against bears.

 

I'm curious about the effectiveness of the spray, also.

My reservations with the spray comes from using OC on people.  It seems to work 100% on cops and about half that with folks on the street.

I'm wondering how many of the wins recorded by bear spray were merely inquisitive creatures?  I've   had animals follow along my scent trail out of curiosity or come closer due to sound or movement.    If a honey liontigerbearbadger were to do the same it might be considered "stalking" and run at the sound of the spray and be counted as a spray success when curiosity was the only thing deterred.

My concern is the spray's effectiveness against a really PO'ed  bear that is determined to carry through the attack or do a shower scene.  

Considering the distance of the spray and how quickly a bear could close that distance if it doesn't work there isn't  going to be much need for a Plan B.

 

 

 

 

That is precisely the question that comes to mind when a study determines that spray is more effective than a firearm.  Stated another way, if somebody is shooting at a bear, it's probably a much more serious threat, on average, than an instance where spray is being deployed. The bar for spraying is simply much lower than for shooting, so I question if the situations counted in the study are apples-to-apples.

Also, was the firearm itself taken into account? If somebody used a small gun that they had at the time, because it was their only option, that hardly counts as a "loss" against a bear.

If the bear was on your tent, your wife, your dogs, in thick brush, at night, in a stiff wind, and David Attenborough is narrating your slaughter...tell me...what tool would you want in your hands?

I recently lived for a while in Western Wyoming, in grizzly country. This is also black bear, wolf, mountain lion, coyote and bobcat country. Bear spray is well-respected. Nobody wants to kill one of these animals if they can help it. The biggest issue with grizzly is their unpredictable behavior. If you meet one, there's a good chance that it will "bluff-charge" you (a very common behavior) and pepper spray allows both of you to walk away. The problem is, of course, that you never know for sure if the bear was bluffing until its over.

Having said that, nobody goes into that country without a weapon. Big revolvers are the norm. Shotguns and big rifles are also common. I ran into the Wyoming Game and Fish biologist in charge of Wyoming's grizzly program. He was sighting in a .375 Ruger rifle that he carries. An outfitter friend that guides elk hunts always has one person on watch with a .375 H&H Magnum when his clients are dressing out an elk. He keeps shotguns all over camp. This is what people do in grizzly country.

I still occasionally have black bear and mountain lions in my neighborhood. Frankly, I don't worry about them. They're just part of the night time ecosystem like trash pandas. Locally, it seems that the best way to avoid bears is to not hang hummingbird feeders. They do like that sweet syrup.

Joined: 1/14/08                   Location: Central Wyoming

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