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Old 04-02-2014, 06:04 PM   #21
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So, what's the deal with pepper spray? Is it legal to carry while hiking in Canadian parks? What makes the difference between "bear spray" and that intended for humans - just the label?
Am I better off just forgetting about it and telling my wife that bear attacks are so infrequent that there's nothing to worry about? (Probably the truth anyway.)
My wife carries pepper spray that she bought in Canada. We taped the receipt to the can and have never had problems crossing customs with it.

The one and only time she had a reason to use it, she cussed out the bear for scaring her and never even got out the bear spray. (I know how the bear felt). To my knowledge, your odds of slipping and drowning or getting hit by lightning are higher.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:26 PM   #22
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Ray,
Forget the idea of taking firearms across into Canada. It's not Florida! There is too much red tape getting the legal permits and too much trouble if your caught illegally carrying. I would suggest taking someone along you can out run and let them carry the bear spray for something to do while their getting mauled by a brown bear.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:14 PM   #23
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My wife carries pepper spray that she bought in Canada. We taped the receipt to the can and have never had problems crossing customs with it.

The one and only time she had a reason to use it, she cussed out the bear for scaring her and never even got out the bear spray. (I know how the bear felt). To my knowledge, your odds of slipping and drowning or getting hit by lightning are higher.
See, I told you guys that our wives are WAY scarier than bears.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:32 PM   #24
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When I bought my can of bear spray I asked how effective it was and they replied that they've never had anyone return to complain about it I think there are three differences between bear spray and human spray: (1) bear spray is more potent and potentially fatal to people, (2) bear spray is typically larger, and (3) intent (always a tough thing to prove). Bear bells are not recommended in some of the BC parks (Cathedral I think) because they attract the bears who associate the sound with food. I'd still carry the bells anyway. Its better to be approached by an aware bear than to surprise a bear. BTW the moose aren't any safer to be around. At least we don't have alligators and pythons.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:13 PM   #25
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My belief (utterly unsupported by experience) is that bear spray is intended to put up a cloud of noxious fumes between you and the bear, to prevent it from charging -- it comes out of the can in a cloud. Self-defense pepper spray is intended for the targets eyes, and comes out in a stream.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:30 PM   #26
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I bought a device ( looks like a ball point pen ) for firing "bear bangers". They fire a projectile about 100', making a whistling sound and then explode with a tremendous bang.
The salesman told me not to point it at the bear. If you miss, it will explode behind the bear and it will run in your direction. Supposed to fire it straight up.
Practiced once and managed to set a grass fire.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:48 PM   #27
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We bought bear bangers, but never used them. I'm not sure if we've had pepper spray (for any purpose), but I remember talking about it for bears.

The difference in the pepper spray products is probably just the labeling and size: a cute little purse-sized can is not going to be even marginally useful against a bear, so it will likely be considered a weapon for use against people... and is pointless to carry for bears.

Rifles and shotguns are routinely brought into Canada from the U.S. by hunters, but it does mean paperwork. Most handguns are useless against bears (except as noisemakers), and all of them are not worth getting across the border. The classic "Dirty Harry" 44 Magnum is reputed to be somewhat effective against bears, but I wouldn't bother trying to convince anyway that was a legitimate reason to bring one in, and you couldn't carry it anyway. Despite this lack of firepower, we don't get eaten by wild animals.

Now, if you go to place where polar bears are common (such as Churchill, MB), and you are outside and away from buildings, someone in the party should be armed. Black bears and grizzlies are not polar bears, and polar bears don't exist anywhere you're likely to be able to tow a trailer to.

If I see a bear, I consider myself lucky. I have not yet been lucky enough to see a cougar or wolverine. I'm certainly not worried about being attacked by any of them.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:19 AM   #28
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Now, if you go to place where polar bears are common (such as Churchill, MB), and you are outside and away from buildings, someone in the party should be armed.
I was in Churchill once for business, just for a few hours. I wanted to wander down to the beach for a few minutes, just to dip my toes in Hudson Bay. To say I did it. It was a once in lifetime opportunity. The local RCMP told me not to do it unless I was carrying a shotgun.
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:54 AM   #29
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Some of you are rationalizing in your minds that most bears don't attack people. So what would someone from Texas know about bears? I haven't always lived here. The fact is that they are wild, unpredictable animals. The notion that an un-experience hiker can defend themselves with a firearm or some gadget from a charging 900lb brown bear coming out from a brushy trail is BS. A brown bear can sprint twice your speed and be on you in a matter of seconds. They may be with cub, close to a food stash, very hungry, or just in a bad mood. They can tear into your car or trailer with little effort. There are many dead and injured people who would now agree that bears can attack. They can also tear into your car or travel trailer. So educate yourself, be smart, and be most of all...be careful.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:14 AM   #30
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Although mostly unwarranted, the fear of bears seems to be very common amongst many people, and is probably one reason many people choose not to visit some of the National Parks or partake in outdoor activities while there. If it helps to keep the crowds down while I am in the parks, I am all for helping to foster a fear of bears into those contemplating a visit (Just kidding).

Personally, I have never troubled myself much with worrying about bears, however, I will use "bear safe" practices when camping, hiking, or doing other outdoor activities where contact with bears is possible. Although I have carried out many of those outdoor activities over much of my life, my experiences with bears have been limited mostly to watching them run away when they see a human.

I have heard that bear spray and pepper spray are identical except for the packaging. Although it would be highly uncomfortable to be sprayed by bear spray, it is not likely to be fatal to a human.
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