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bear protection

I'm just a random Eagle & Venturing scout that has hiked and backpacked around the PNW & Maine. So take my opinion for what its worth from an alcoholic-ghost profile-pic internet enjoyer.

I find safety in the wild to be a two part concept. First is behaviour, and second is remediation.

Concerning bears, if you are heading out into the wild in bear country assume there are bears or bear dens around, especially off of well worn human trails or near game trails. And likelihood is higher May through November. In general wildlife doesn't like to be near potential threats, so making yourself known through sound is most of the effort. Groups of people naturally make lots of noise, talking, laughing, singing, traversing. Individuals are much quieter, because talking to yourself is irregular for many people. But do that! Talk out concepts, emotions, stories, sing songs. Ever been out with kids and been annoyed with them screaming or hitting sticks? This is when that is good. Don't be afraid to indulge yourself, and even give a good whack on a tree with your special tree whacking stick every once in a while. Animals, including bears, will hear you and stay away.

That is almost the whole nine yards. Bear attacks are rare, and fatalities even rarer. I'm not sure of the stats, especially between countries, but its one out of many millions for bear attacks.

Yet bears are naturally curious, and are motivated by basic needs. What do bears want? [Seems like the intro to a meme.] Food. Are you food? No. But you might be carrying food. If backpacking make sure food is sealed in, at least, airtight containers, or 'bear proof' containers, and when at camp store food safely: I was taught 100 ft away from your camp, in either a 'bear proof' container and hanging it from trees. Same with cooking, keep it away from your camp and downwind if possible. I see the official recommendation from BC Parks is a 50 metre triangle, with your campsite, food prep, and food storage at each corner.

But indeed I realize the OP question was about the hardware, what to carry for remediation. And this is a paddling website. In the US I've only ever carried bear spray, and it's been whatever is at REI. In three decades I've never had to deploy it, and only a couple of times have I seen bears in the wild with my own eyes at distance, generally by rivers or streams. The states are almost entirely black bears, which I understand to be a little more timid.

The coastal brown bears here and grizzly bears in the rest of Canada can be more intense, I'm told. So when I realized our bear sprays had passed their expiration date, we got two Kodiak bear kits here at MEC. These include spray with with pen flare bangers. And we put them on either our hip when we're out and about in provincial parks and beyond. We looked them over and watched a YouTube video on how to deploy if we ever need to, so we're familiar in the event of urgent need.

I don't think you'd ever need more than that for hardware. There are of course extremely rare edge cases on already rare events, such as coming across a bear and its young cubs. Animal behaviour can be bizarre and unpredictable, and I haven't met people hiking around with a sword and a shotgun looking for a bear fight.

I can definitely offer my opinion on what not to do, though, and that is arm yourself for forest warfare. In 2014 I was on the Allagash River with my brother David and his young daughter Emily, just a regular canoe trip. We just had lunch near the ranger station before the falls, and went back to shore before the falls for a pit stop. I stayed with the canoe while they went to take care of business. Em comes bounding back down to me to say they ran into the military! What!? Dave gets back and tells me they were getting into the bush and suddenly coming up on them is a family with three young girls. Mom and dad both were carrying in their hands sand-coloured pump-shotguns, pistols on their hips. What the hell? All three girls with pink pistols on their hips as well. He was flabbergasted. Dave asked if there was an armed violent offender on the loose out here. Dad answers, "No, we're just being bear safe." !!! Wow, are you hiking the whole river or something? "No, we're just out here for the day." Dave and Em are both wearing PFDs, but the dad asks. "Uhh, how about you, you two out for the day?" Dave tells him we're five days into a canoe trip... the dad was more shocked than Dave was! I think the chances of that family having a firearm related accident were far, far higher than being eaten by a bear within walking distance from the parking lot.
The counterpoint to that is to consider the probability of a bear attack within walking distance of the parking lot. I think there are many people who overestimate their perceived edibility.

Ultimately it's your decision how you stay safe. I know that for me, carrying a firearm would not increase my safety. I'm not sufficiently trained in their operation.
In my case, carrying bear spray makes much more sense than a firearm.
Yes CPS. Bear spray is an excellent tool. I do not disagree. My point is only that the fear based idea of "danger" from someone else carrying a firearm may not be based in anything but emotion. I carry a firearm ever day of my life, but I depend on spray as my #1 tool for a deterrent in bear country, which I live very close to, and go into many many times every year. Western Wyoming is extremely full of Grizzly Bears.
On an annual, per-capita basis, Wyoming regularly suffers the third-highest death rate from firearms of any U.S. state, as you can verify for yourself using this data dashboard from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perhaps not coincidentally, Wyoming also boasts the second-highest rate of adults living in a household with a firearm, as you can verify for yourself using this database compiled by the RAND Corporation. In light of Wyoming's unusually high firearm fatality rate, I'm not sure whatever Wyoming is doing in terms of gun culture should serve as a model for the rest of the country, much less for British Columbia (where Bierre a Terre is from).

As for bear attacks in Wyoming—one of the most commonly cited justifications for all those guns—the most recent report of a fatal Wyoming bear attack I can find dates back to 2018. During the four years between 2018 and today, Wyoming has suffered one fatal bear attack against hundreds and hundreds of fatal firearms shootings. We would probably be safer if we gave the guns to the bears!

I agree with Bierre a Terre: the family of five toting their seven guns were not only ridiculous, they were more dangerous than any bears.

As the years go by, the more time I spend in the woods, the less heavily I am inclined to arm myself. These days, I don't even usually carry bear spray—as I didn't on my recent two-week trip on the central coast.

No the CDC is not correct. You see the Wind River Indian Reservation (A "socialist's utopia) is included in that stat, and by law they are NOT part of Wyoming State Government but part of Indian Nation. Legally that's as different politically as Mexico or Japan.

If you remove the deaths from the "rez" Wyoming is and has been the lowest crime and murder rate in the whole USA. In the 11990 and I think in the 2000 census Wyoming was 50th out of 50 in crime if you remove the W.R. Indian Reservation from the count.
This fact was pointed out to the CDC on several occasions, but being slanted to the left in a big way, they have refused to modify the stats because they do NOT want the highest number of guns in the hands of citizens to reflect the FACT that Wyoming has the lowest amount of violent crime.
The firearm discussion is a bit of a departure from the op. For most people, particularly in Canada, firearms are not an option. Handguns could be useful during a bear attack but are totally impractical for most people due to regulatory requirements and hunting rifles are impractical to carry on an extended trip even for licenced users. Bear problems are rare. In over 40 years of outdoor activities I've never encountered a bear that didn't want to get away from me. I used to not worry about bears at all and never carried any protection but in the last 15 or so years I have started carrying bear spray. And it's really a people problem. In the last 20 years I've seen a proliferation of people leaving messy camps with food and bear attractants which cause problems for future people. Bear problems are people caused. I recommend bear spray. But more importantly please keep a clean camp.
Legally that's as different politically as Mexico or Japan.
I'm not sure exactly what you are thinking, but US Native Americans are in fact US citizens and eligible for a US passport and vote in municipal, regional, state, and federal elections. So... it's US soil my friend. Inside of US states. Full of US citizens.

I don't think we need name calling or such by stating people that don't like, want, or have guns are brainwashed. This is a website about paddling?
I'm not sure exactly what you are thinking, but US Native Americans are in fact US citizens and eligible for a US passport and vote in municipal, regional, state, and federal elections. So... it's US soil my friend. Inside of US states. Full of US citizens.I don't think we need name calling or such by stating people that don't like, want, or have guns are brainwashed. This is a website about paddling?

I am strongly seconding this. And I am cautioning everyone to not get detoured into what laws could/would/should be in either Canada or the States. The subject of this thread is, and will remain, bear protection. To the extent we discuss firearms at all, we will discuss them in terms of what firearms laws actually are in our respective countries, not our aspirational versions of what we might think they should be. Violators will have their posts deleted and risk temporary or permanent bans. (I'm speaking as a firearms owner myself, lest you think I have an anti-gun bias.)

Rather than focus on any national differences, let's put the emphasis on our shared citizenship in the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Of The Sea And The Wild Places.
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One thing which is perhaps worthy of a consideration is safely transporting bear spray in a kayak. Usually I leave mine in its holster which has a sturdy velcro flap which does a fair job of keeping it from going off when rattling around in a kayak (at least so far).
It might be wiser to put it in something like this:

That one's quite large, but smaller, non-padded options are available. One could probably make one from scrap PVC pipe as well...

Accidental discharge of bear spray could be very uncomfortable, as well as potentially covering boat and gear with an attractant. Bears are attracted to the smell of bear spray when it's not being forcefully driven into their sinuses.
Yes it good to point out that bear spray which is really pepper spray is actually an attractant for bears. It is only the intense dose in their nose that deters them. People should know never to spray it around camp. And if you have to use it or if someone has used it in the area before then it is time to move on. Also i don't usually worry about bears while paddling. My major concern would be about habituated bears around camps.
Usually I leave mine in its holster which has a sturdy velcro flap which does a fair job of keeping it from going off when rattling around in a kayak (at least so far).
Same. I'm a dope that originally put it in dry bags with clothing, and at some point when we decided we had a surplus Pelican ruck hard-case put it in that with pen flares.
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