Dimitri quote "I don't think you can compare a animal attack in the woods to a attack being done by another human. Simple fact of the matter is, no matter how hard you try, taking a baton to a bear and trying to "win" the confrontation wont happen. So how I see it its best to get to the highest level of force without wasting time that will end up costing you your life in a animal attack" ___________________________________________-
1) Do you have any statistics about animal attacks on campers. You make it sound like "pack or die at the hands of bigfoot". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> The fact is - animals are afraid of you to begin with. They are cautious of humans. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
2) Mtn lions that cause problems (according to California fish and wildlife) are generally young males in the 60 to 80 pound range <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> - yearlings who haven't yet learned to avoid humans. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />They are curious, but except in extreme rare instances they avoid contact with humans. When they do, they may growl a threat <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> or otherwise challenge you rather than ambush you. At the point of challenge you must go psycho on it, and it will run.
3) Bears. I have little experience with grizzlies except for camping 3 months in Alaska. I have spent hundreds of nights over way too many years camped in black bear country and I have not yet seen one that wouldn't run away when hit with a rock or when I chase them.
3) As far as the fight back idea - sure you should fight back, but if you are going into the woods"with a round chambered" then maybe you should stay home instead. Your probability of having to defend yourself from a serious attack by dangerous animal is far smaller than being struck with lightning.
4) Human problems - we said camp in the wilderness, not the jungle. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> You would have to be struck by lightning twice to equal the scarsity of trail side killings. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
5) After the recent gun stuff in this forum, I'm beginning to fear some of the gun toting scared members worried about defending themselves, more than I worry about actually being assalted by an animal or a criminal in the woods. I am beginning to fear "honest law abiding people". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
I'm also not talking about shooting everything you come across in the bush.
Fact of the matter is in Ontario black bears DO NOT fear you anymore and will come right into your camp site, and heck they are going into towns in broad day light now without any fear of humans. So I really rather not try to scare a black bear away and home for the best if its coming at me. Just me, but my survival is more important to me then trying to make the bear happy and giving it its next lunch.
In the last 8 years, 26 people have died from bear attacks in North America, as well as 62 attacks on humans by Mtn Lions/Cougars between 1994 and 2003 occurred, so yes I do believe being prepared is a good thing.
As for "human problems" on the trails, I never had a problem with anyone. I was referring to the use of a police officers force continuum not really working for a animal thats attacking you.
5) After the recent gun stuff in this forum, I'm beginning to fear some of the gun toting scared members worried about defending themselves, more than I worry about actually being assalted by an animal or a criminal in the woods. I am beginning to fear "honest law abiding people".
Hey..wait a minute.....yer the one hauling around that giant Ruger, over-pressured hog leg! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
By the way, I don't carry firearms most of the time but do carry pepper/CS spray, especially when doing trail work. Do a search on Youtube for 'pepper spray' and watch some of the videos. Holy Mole'!!!
I do agree with Dimitri about going straight to the highest level of force and not wasting time with 'steps'. Where you hike dictates what level of force you bring, if any at all.
Ummmm - no. Most Cougar attacks are juveniles - less than 3 years old and weighing around 100lbs. They aren't very good hunters. They hang around too close and watch you. They want to kill you but they don't know how.
When you see a cat, and that cat isn't running away, you've got a dangerous situation. You need to be shooting, or attacking with sticks and rocks, or blasting with pepper spray. But since most people don't speak Cougar, most folks misinterpet the Cat's behavior as being "friendly".
My point is, a person should carry the amount of personal protection that one is comfortable carrying. And yes, animals and humans have been repelled by batons or other impact weapons. I don't advocated a baton for backpacking. If you are comfortable with nothing then that's what you should have. The decision to take a life be it an animal or human is a very serious undertaking and should not be taken lightly. There are consequences to it that go far beyond the immediate moment. You can be charged with a crime or sued for "protecting yourself". Then there is also the mental and emotional aftermath of the use of force. I have friends who have had to take a life (human) in self defense and ended up not able to get over it and retiring. I know that if I use deadly force, I am in all likelihood going to be sued. And if you shoot an animal and itís not hunting season and you donít have a proper license, you will find yourself defending your actions to the authorities.
As for the use of force continuum, what I meant was you don't and should not resort to deadly force at the first sign of a threat. And you don't have to use all of the levels either. Obviously if you are about to be eaten you act. But just because a bear woofs or growls at your presence doesn't mean he's going to attack. Sometimes they are just warning you that you are too close. ( I have had this happen)
The original question was again ďalternatives to packingĒ. There is pepper spray and electric fences ect. I think the best thing is whatever makes you happy and comfortable AND if we all practice safe food handling, awareness of our surroundings and just plain common sense we can enjoy the wilderness we all value. I for one would hate it if it was completely safe, read that sterile. Now let's go fishing!
How I figure it a bear growling at me as long as it keeps its distance is just fine, I don't know about anyone else but I feel no need to use any actions unless it comes towards me, hence why I feel you go from no force to deadly force on a animal, as its ether attacking you or it isn't.
As for getting charged for killing a bear, cougar or anything else, if its coming towards you, and you shoot it when its looking at you (ie front to back) and you report it in, I doubt anyone will be able to charge you. Just remember some places have "spoiled meat" laws, so if you shoot it and leave it in the bush you may get charged for letting it rot. Ontario for example has those rules.
Most Cougar attacks are juveniles - less than 3 years old and weighing around 100lbs. They aren't very good hunters.
I know Big Bend Ntl. Pk. better than anywhere and the cougar attacks there were all either sick animals or surprised ones. There have been no cougar caused human deaths in that park...even when one had a child's head in it's mouth for an instant. Minor injuries were all that were reported. All were fought off with bare hands or sticks/rocks. The sick cats were destroyed. The surprised one's moved on. There are regular reports of cats stalking the park services's pack burros and horses....again chased off by waving arms and rocks. I've been trying to see a cat in the wild for years...only to get barely a glimpse of one ghosting through the trees trying to get away from ME. I've had something like 5 black bear encounters....two while bicycling. In all cases, they were completely absorbed in what they were doing and paid me no attention.....even when I tried to get theirs! (they were blocking the trail/road) It's ferel dogs that have caused me the most problems. I've fought off two. One with a trekking pole until it's owner could throttle it, and the other with pruning loppers. Both cases could have gone very badly had just a couple components of the scenario been different. We're talking pits and rottweilerss here, and more and more are being reported loose (listen to your police scanner! "mom and kids pinned in car")...it's fashionable now for young folk to sport an attack dog. I've dialed up the defense just a tad for the dogs.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_Bull_Te..._when_attacking Our animal control officers carry sidearms and a spray of some kind, and have used both, depending on the threat. They tell me to 'not mess around'....it's not worth the risk.
Loc: jersey city NJ
Regarding alternatives to firearms for defense against cougar attack, it's tough to shoot something you can't see
Montana Fish, WIldife & Parks biologist Gary Olson quote regarding cougars: "Luckily, if you can see them, you'll probably be okay. It's when you can't see them and the animal means business that you're really in trouble."
(Olson makes this observation due to cougars' stalk & ambush killing method.)
Also, regarding effectiveness of firearms as self defense against bears, here's a relevant quote from US Fish & Wildlife service:
"[Investigations by ] Law enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of human-bear encounters since 1992 [show that] persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time.
During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries.
Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero reached similar conclusions based on his own research -- a personís chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used."
I don't argue any of that. As I've said several times...I don't go armed AT ALL for bears or cats, or even humans, unless it's on my southern border. Grizzlies are very rare in Texas. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" /> Our guide in Alaska did carry a rifle, and good for him! "When bullets are fired..." What the heck does that mean? 50 cal.? .22lr? And to say "pepper spray", are we talking about fogging, fire hose bear spray or a little squirt from a personal defense thingy (mental image is like trying to stop a speeding car with an aerosol can.). Carry what ever makes you feel safe and are trained to use, sized for the threat.
And, I have to wonder, how many times have I been stalked by a cat over the last 40 years? I must not be appatizing. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time.
Ok, so about 50% of the time means that it may be 51% or even 52% of the time people do not suffer injuries when protecting themselves with firearms. So really "most people may not suffer injuries" may also work in this statement. They give vague numbers.
persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time,
Agian, that may be only 50.1% of the time, and they are just trying to get the reader into thinking "ok I guess pepper spray will work better so I'll just carry that" after reading this.
The Ministry of Natural Resources says pretty much the same thing here in Ontario "use bear spray it works better, carrying a rifle for bear defense is illegal" and yet they carry rifles and shotguns specifically for this reason, and the Federal goverment seems to think prospectors and Bush pilots are the only people who should carry firearms to protect themselves from animals, I guess their lives are more important then everyone else's. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
The Wildlife/Forestry/Conservation Officers should practice what they preach and leave the firearms at the office or don't preach at all about how much "better" pepper spray is then a firearm.
Loc: jersey city NJ
I think it's very reasonable to assume good faith on the part of the authors of the FWS statement regarding bears, as well as on the part of Canadians to whom you refer.
Scenarios that assume bad faith seem to lean toward conspiracy theories, government plots, or extreme ignorance on the part of highly trained and experienced field biologists...
But I agree that it's impossible to know the facts at first hand, and since the conclusions are drawn from numerous incidents involving many people, nobody can know the relevant facts at first hand.
Similarly along the lines of assuming good faith, one might well imagine that the vast majority of people who have actually used a firearm for defense against a charging grizzly bear had thought the issue through in advance, with reasonable knowledge and care with regard to specific firepower.
Since I've never shot a grizzly with a .22.....ought I to be skeptical?
Not trying to say anything "conspiracy" like. Every time I dealt with them it was top notch I got no problem with them at all. Just saying you can't say one thing and do the opposite and still think people will listen to your vague "facts".
A guy in Alberta last summer got attacked by a grizzly, ended up using his hunting knife to fatally wound it.
McLellan said the bear had been partially concealed by a knoll in the field and he didnít see her until she stood up in front of him 60 yards away.
ďI had a camouflage mask on so I took that off so that she could see that I was a human, thinking that would scare her away. I started waving my arms and screaming and it never fazed her. She just dropped down to all fours and charged.Ē
The grizzly rammed into his stomach and then grabbed his left arm with her jaws. As the two went down, McLellan plunged the knife into her back between the shoulder and neck.
As for your 22LR comment, the Alberta record for Grizzly bear was set in 1953, by a 63 year old Native women named Bella Twin who defended herself with the single shot 22LR she was carrying when the bear went to attack her as she picked barries.
Loc: jersey city NJ
"They give vague numbers"
US FWS statement:
"a personís chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used."
Actually that's not vague. Accuracy can be questioned, though the statement offers nothing other than FWS authority for debate.
You also say " I got no problem with them at all" but then you add that "the Federal goverment seems to think prospectors and Bush pilots are the only people who should carry firearms to protect themselves from animals, I guess their lives are more important then everyone else's."
My personal view is, given choice of a 12-gauge slug or pepper spray at the instant of a grizzly attack, I'd definitely take the gun....
But given same choice while packing for a 2-week expedition, and I'd probably take the spray....Apparently, statistically, according to FWS, it wouldn't make much difference.
I'd be interested in a similar analysis of the effectiveness of firearms as a defense against criminals. I bet the data is more compelling.
When I say vague, "doubles" or "triples" or "most" or "several" and other comparison/not exact words that do not have a specific number backing them up I consider vague.
They are great to deal with personally from experience when in the bush, and are helpful too. So as I said Conservation officers are great to deal with just like every Police officer I ever dealt with.
However I cannot see how 2 people, different reasons to be in the bush (prospector verses hiker or camper), makes any difference on their chance of getting attacked and why one is "alright" to protect themselves and the other isn't. Hence my comment on the government's policy.
I went day hiking at a Gorge I like to hike in and was chatting with a ranger. I told the ranger what department I worked for, and asked him about car break-in's and vandalism. He asked me if I was armed and I told him yes.
Then he asked me if I had handcuffs or anything else as far as police gear. I said no, and he said that I should carry plastic disposable "flexicuffs", OC spray, and a small collapsible baton (ASP). He said that because if I ever caught anyone breaking into or damaging anything I can hold and detain them until they arrive.
Uh, ok. I mean if I was put in that kind of situation I would do something. But then I thought to myself, geeze, are you gonna put me on the payroll to???
I go there to hike. The last thing I want to do is where is carry a bunch of crap I carry at work. Regardless it was interesting that he said that. I guess if something did happen I know that the rangers aren't gonna think much if they ever had to respond because I had to draw down on anyone aka something really bad happening.
I really don't want to think of something like that happening, being that I go hiking to enhance my serenity, and not think about work.
"Let's not miss the beauty of the forest by the ugliness of some of its trees." Bill W.
The whole reason I was talking to a ranger was because I called him because someone hit my truck at a trail head, (they left their information thank God.) He showed up and advised me that he couldn't do accident reports and that the state police or county sheriff had to take it. No units were available, so I had to go to the sheriffs office and fill out a citizen police report. He said he was new to the area and ended up giving me the wrong directions to the sheriffs office. He was a nice guy, but not to bright.
He was the real deal because he had a fully marked Dept. of Forestry SUV. and uniformed in the standard light brown and green uniform.
I don't mean to criticize a fellow brother in arms, but yeah I found it quite odd when he made that statement.
I go hiking to get away from my job. The absolute last thing I want to do is anything remotely close to law enforcement unless I absolutely have to.
"Let's not miss the beauty of the forest by the ugliness of some of its trees." Bill W.