Has anyone used their bear spray?

Joined
Oct 24, 2015
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W. Wa
A few weeks ago while out fishing in north Idaho, I had made my way down an embankment and a 1/4 mile or so from the truck to a hole that looked promising. After catching a few fish out of said hole, I had decided it was about time to start heading back to the truck(after a few more casts of course) when I caught something out of the corner of my eye.

Somehow, a cow moose had made its way to within 10 yards.

I usually always have a pistol with me, but to be honest up until this point I was the type to leave it locked up in the truck during endeavors like this. It was more of a "in the tent at night" type of deal.

Needless to say, for the second me and that moose looked at each other(and for most of the way back to the truck) I was really wishing I had it on me. I know in a lot of cases you can just give them some space and they'll leave you be, but at this point I was stuck in knee deep water and the only space I could've given would've been to head to swifter, deeper water.

That firearm doesn't leave my side in the woods anymore. If I was the type of guy to be in groups doing this stuff, maybe it wouldn't be a big deal but I'm mostly solo.

Moral of this story - protection/deterrent isn't just for bears, and a lot of people(including myself) are/were in the camp of "it'll never happen to me" until it does. What if it had been a grizzly or cougar?
 

Justin (Raz) Rasmussen

FNG
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Gallatin Valley Montana
I’ve spent the last two weeks on a hiking trip with my wife and daughter in Glacier, Yellowstone and The Tetons which has been fun and refreshing. We covered about 80 miles on some (fairly popular) trails and there are constant reminders to carry spray and to be aware of bears which we did. We did see 3 black bears and one was a sow with a cub but they moved off without any issues. I’m really curious of the people that spent lots of time in these places how often do you encounter bears? Do you always carry spray (or a sidearm) and have you ever had to use it? Is the hype mainly because of grizzlies?
Complacency kills. You need to train yourself to think of every time you go to the woods and don't have a bad bear encounter you are one chance closer to having one. Not oh, I have been in the woods with bears and never had a problem so I'll leave my bear spray or pistol at home.
 

TaperPin

WKR
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Jul 12, 2023
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I keep bear spray handy - I’ve never had to use it, but plenty of people have. I’m most likely to grab it out of the glove box and use it to break up a dog fight. There was a guy with a ccw who shot and killed an aggressive dog that attacked his dog at a city dog park - a small pepper spray would have made his life easier. Not only did he have to wait all afternoon for a police investigation to conclude so he could go home, local news was there to document it, along with the dead dog and a crying college age gal. He had the right to do it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. I’m sure he still can’t go to any dog parks in town without little old ladies and kindergarten girls getting in his face.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
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Montana
In the fall I hang drift fence on trees on the edge of my field. I use baling twine as I have a lot of it.

My problem is that one of my cows has developed a habit of eating the twine and dumping the fence. I figured maybe she needed a deterant so I bought bear spray and spiced up the twine. I discovered the risk of spraying it in the wind. Then the cow turned out to be from texas and liked her twine spicey.

I sold the cow, started using baling wire and have never used bear spray since. I still wear a side arm.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
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BC
I was bowhunting spring black bears and two friends both had grizzly tags. Found some sign during the day where a good bear took a dump on an old logging road. Took it to be a black bear.

Hunted the logging road that evening the last hour of daylight after the thermals switched to downhill. Saw nothing on the way up. Turned around and hunted back down. The big scat turned out to be a very decent interior boar grizzly. Luckily he was about 30 yds off the logging road digging roots in a swampy area….facing toward me.

Spray came out and the safety was removed. Arrow got knocked. As it got dark the Grizzly finally turned around and fed slowly away. I stalked by it on the logging road.

Neither side was fit to move quietly off the road…too thick opposite the Grizzly and well, the Grizzly was holding down his side. Was happy to get the quad 15 minutes later.

Sent my two grizzly hunting buddies back up there the next morning at daylight. They got the Grizzly…he was right were I’d seen him at dark 8 hrs earlier. 30 yd shot with a .338 Winchester Magnum. Buddy still wishes he’d taken the bow that morning.

Dang I miss Grizzly hunting in BC.
 
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IDVortex

WKR
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Jan 16, 2024
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CDA Idaho
Only carried spray once, that was hunting in WY On the refuge, never used it. I don't plan on taking it on any trips this year in Idaho. I've got my 9mm, don't need to worry about spraying myself in the mountains with a 9mm.

I presume it's less than 1% of hunters who actually use spray in the lower 48.
 

2-Stix

WKR
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Oct 7, 2020
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The wife and I were charged by a cow moose with a calf in the Winds about 15 years ago...we pulled the spray and .45...she stopped at about 20 yards.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
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Montucky
Only carried spray once, that was hunting in WY On the refuge, never used it. I don't plan on taking it on any trips this year in Idaho. I've got my 9mm, don't need to worry about spraying myself in the mountains with a 9mm.

I presume it's less than 1% of hunters who actually use spray in the lower 48.
What do you plan on using the 9mm for? Other humans in the woods? I know there aren’t Griz in all of Idaho, but there’s enough in the northern part of the state and they’re gonna be repopulating in the eastern side near the Selway/FCW of No Return.
 

IDVortex

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What do you plan on using the 9mm for? Other humans in the woods? I know there aren’t Griz in all of Idaho, but there’s enough in the northern part of the state and they’re gonna be repopulating in the eastern side near the Selway/FCW of No Return.
I'm not packing a 10mm for griz when I have a handgun I use regularly for SD that I'm way more confident in my shots then using a bigger bullet. At the end of the day, if I die my wife becomes a millionaire.
 

ben h

Lil-Rokslider
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Jun 17, 2012
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SLC, UT
About 10 years ago, I went on a backpacking trip with my brother and a couple friends. On the way home we stopped at a bar for a burger and a pitcher of beer. When we got back to the car one of the bear spray cans developed a leak from the heat. We could barely drive home with all the windows rolled down, I couldn't imagine what it would have been like if it fully deployed in the car.
 
OP
DooleyVT

DooleyVT

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Vermont
About 10 years ago, I went on a backpacking trip with my brother and a couple friends. On the way home we stopped at a bar for a burger and a pitcher of beer. When we got back to the car one of the bear spray cans developed a leak from the heat. We could barely drive home with all the windows rolled down, I couldn't imagine what it would have been like if it fully deployed in the car.
At least that's the story you used when mom and dad asked why your eyes were all red.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2024
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I'm not surprised you have more issues in National Parks as non hunted bears act differently and many are even habituated on humans. I've also had some interesting scenarios in wilderness areas where bears don't interact with humans but these bears usually at least keep their distance way out of spray range.

To answer your question my ratio of accidentally spraying myself with bear spray to spraying a bear with bear spray is 2:0.

This is why unless I'm in an area I'm really concerned I often just carry a sidearm. Not that I view a sidearm as more effective on bears but it's probably more effective against people which is my bigger concern.
 
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