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Eagle94-A1

Bear Repellent Recommendation

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We got a group needing some backpacking practice before Philmont. Since I missed the last backpacking trip, I'm definitely going this round.

 

Going into bear country, and I'm not worried about "Bear Bells."  I dance both Northern Traditional and Southern Straight, so bells aren't an issue.

 

Bear repellent is something new for me. Any recommendations on brand and size?  I am an old fogey now with a slight arm issue, so I am now trying to minimize weight as much as possible. Thanks in advance.

 

Eagle94-a1

 

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Make sure the bells are engraved with your personal info so they can identify who the bear ate by studying the scat, lol.

 

Seriously, If you search on 'bear spray' or something like that you'll see ratings for the most popular brands, spray patterns, and strengths. Back in 2005 I procured some of the last cans of truly strong bear spray. It's illegal to even check that stuff through in baggage so I leave what's left of it with a friend out west.

From one or two observations of encounters, all an experienced bear needs to do is just see the spray can or maybe a short burst and they take off to put as much distance between you and them as possible. If you're really unlucky you might encounter an 'inexperienced' bear and if so, let 'em have a real snoot full. You'll do yourself the favor of making them scarce right away and also making them wary of any other 'monkeys' with spray cans.

 

They don't make the spray that powerful anymore but if you do try it out, regardless of strength, make sure you know which way the wind is blowing or else you'll really, REALLY regret it. The stuff is seriously bad news and there should be no temptation to 'play' with it. Plus it's kind of expensive.

Good luck.

Edited by vumbi

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It's also a good practice that when you are in the area of bears, be sure to smell all the bear scat you can find, if any of it smells like peppers, whatever was being used was not strong enough.  Some bears like their dinner plain, others like to spice it up.

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Does Philmont allow you to carry bear spray? I didn't bring any in two Philmont treks. 

 

It is not prohibited.Looking at their 2016 guide I see nothing in there.

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Whoever wrote that article should have checked with the National Park Service before publication and it would have given them the opportunity to correct all the bad advice they propose. 

So fill us in. What should be corrected? I'm not a bear expert.

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Yep, Walks in the Woods has the latest and greatest info.

 

I sure hate it when BSA sends millions of boys out into the woods without proper training.

Edited by Stosh

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In the spirit of that 'other' thread, if you're carrying concealed you can use even a tiny 22 to take care of business. Just make the bear stand really still while you move close enough to aim carefully at its eye. That'll take care of things.

 

I'm joking of course. But I think the NPS site has the better advice. Except there was one time when I did have to run like heck. I could see a low hanging tree branch that I was pretty sure I could grab and swing up into. The trouble was that the bear was closing on me faster than I was closing on that tree branch. It was a realy tense situation, 'pucker factor' was high.

Edited by cyclops

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Well, I for one wouldn't carry a .22 for bear.  :)  But a 9mm fired into the air would make a noise most bears haven't heard and would do well at getting their attention.  The name of the game is to make them more afraid of you than you are of them.  I was at a fishing camp in Canada, like the smell of fish isn't going to attract a bear or two?  They were using fireworks to keep the bears away.  it was working for them. 

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That was, ahem, a joke.

But the best noisemaker I've ever seen to repel a bear (and just about everything else, including fellow campers) is one of those boat horns. That is as loud and obnoxious as anything I've ever heard.

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Edited by cyclops

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I would think the air horn would be an easier pack, easier access than firecrackers.  One doesn't need to know which way the wind is blowing either.  Just pull the trigger and chase the bear out of camp.  And yes, they are obnoxious.

 

:) I knew you were joking.

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