Thanks northernbcr that was very helpful and informative. I think we also have a better idea where you are coming from, which sounds very matter of fact and down to Earth. I think I drove through Fort St. John once, as well as Chetwynd and Fort Nelson. Anyone that considers Fort St. John to big of a city to live in, and able to make their living outdoors, has my utmost respect, not without considerable envy. The wife of such an individual also has my respect, not without some sympathy. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
I will give some more thought to bear spray when hiking with my daughter, and keep doing the other stuff I do including learning as much about our local bears as I can. They are pretty fascinating, and I know they are out there, but I never see them. I don't find the way we hunt them here to be all that sporting. The focus seems to much on weapons and targets. I also think excessive baiting and hunting bears for sport is a slippery slope towards 'bear farming' which can lead to problems, but I think if its done responsibly it is an effective means of managing the adult male population. For bears, at least here in New Brunswick, I would prefer it if the bear population were managed by commercial hunting by local rural residents, rather than resident and non-resident sports hunting. I believe that would be less lucrative, but also less likely to go astray and create problems. I also think the drag out of the den method might have some advantages over baiting, though not without some disadvantages. Those choices would be better left to commercial hunting and game wardens and rural residents, rather than recreation and politics dominated by city folks, of whatever stripe. I'm all for sports hunting, even by non-residents, but not for bears. I do understand rural people need to make a living. I just wish there was a bigger market for bear pelts and bear meat, and a smaller market for shooting baited and/or trapped bears by city folks as a blood sport. Besides ethical issues, I believe the woods are less safe when such interests are involved, rather than more traditional methods and interests.
I do think the risks of a bear encounter in places like New Brunswick are too insignificant to focus too much on bear defence, rather than on bear education, except perhaps where small children are involved. People need to know more about bears. That should be the primary focus I think, rather than bear defence.