MTNTOUGH - Use promo code RANDY for 30 days free

How close is too close?

Pahoundsman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
Messages
600
Location
Central Pa
I’ve only ever seen 7 grizzly bears while hunting. The closest one was a little over 300 yards and I was lucky enough to harvest it. My question is how close do let one get to you before you take action? I’m not talking about a charging bear, but one that doesn’t ignore you or leave when you make yourself known. What distance do you use bear spray and if that doesn’t work,what is your next course of action?
 
Depends who you ask around here... There's a handful of guys who think sidearms don't work, so if you're archery hunting and you only have a sidearm, you might as well just hit them with your purse and then lay there and get eaten.

In the real world, where sidearms work... I would fire a warning shot at probably 20-30 yards. If he shows no signs of losing interest, I'd get ready to make some quick and accurate shots. I imagine at 20-30 yards, a warning shot would more than likely change the bears mind. But if it didn't, it would be a matter of reading the bears attitude and making some quick decisions.

In the end, my life is more important to me than a bears life. I can't imagine you're going to get in trouble for shooting a bear that's that close to you.
 
One of the best tools in my bear tool box was an acme thunderer whistle. After 20 years seeing bears on a daily basis I found it more useful than warning shots. Actually after firing dozens of warning shots I found the whistle much more effective in changing their direction. A warning shot is just another loud scary noise And a bear that has been shot and survived in the past, very likely wont ever get close to you. IF gun fire / dinner bell theory is to be believed your warning shot just convinced the bear he needs to come eat what you just shot. I also kept one of those air horns that ass hats behind you at the ball game use, in my boat. It worked well when a bear followed us back to the boat. Also kept one in the tent when camping along streams.
At about 50 yards we would gather up and quit fishing. At 25, if he is still coming our way, we’ve moved, waded across or climbed the river bank onto the tundra kind of thing. If they turned and followed and the whistle didn’t work they get sprayed. Only had to shoot one in 20 years guiding, four over my lifetime.
Wish I had kept a journal; Warning shots worked sometimes, typically on bears that had no idea we were there and got real close before we knew he was there.
Whistle worked better particularly on bears that had gotten within 25 yards knew we were there kind of thing. Could be it worked better because it worked initially so I decided to save ammo, but it turned most of the bears I used it on. Also handy as I doesn’t interfere with running a handgun.
Spray worked dozens of times, never worried about the wind when I had to use it. Moving 90 degrees from where the bear last saw me seemed to keep me out of the cloud that may have come back.
Absolutely convinced two of the bears we killed when I was younger would have been turned if we had spray then.
Guiding I always had the whistle, spray and either a 454 or a long gun. Getting the hell out of their way worked better than anything else.
photos from Margo creek, the home of misfit bears. He was about 25 yards when he caught lunch.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0306.jpeg
    IMG_0306.jpeg
    246 KB · Views: 32
  • IMG_0300.jpeg
    IMG_0300.jpeg
    228.2 KB · Views: 32
I’ve only ever seen 7 grizzly bears while hunting. The closest one was a little over 300 yards and I was lucky enough to harvest it. My question is how close do let one get to you before you take action? I’m not talking about a charging bear, but one that doesn’t ignore you or leave when you make yourself known. What distance do you use bear spray and if that doesn’t work,what is your next course of action?
If its sub 50 yards and moving in my direction, I'm taking action as soon as it's in range of spray. Foraging for food or trying to catch fish, I would try to leave the area first if that's a possibility
 
Being around grizzlies most of my life, I hope I never have to find out. I have killed 2 of them, 1 in Montana and 1 in Alaska.

Last fall we came as close as I ever want to and we knew they were around, we were guns out and cautious.

They are extremely fast and deadly. I read all the suggestions about what to do and most haven’t seen a grizzly. I wouldn’t say I know what to do, I haven’t had one make a killing charge, although I have witnessed many bluff charges.

Anyone that has survived a grizzly attack can tell you what they did, but the next attack is not likely it to turn out the same. When I hear about the guy sticking his arm down the bear’s throat to gag him, I shake my head in disbelief.

I would suggest being prepared and that would be to be able to stop the bear with spray or a gun and that would almost require the spray or gun in your hand while you are walking. If you don’t have your defense in your hands at the time of the charge, your chance of survival are greatly diminished..
 
No that’s not right. His way of doing it is letting the bear hammer him while he bow hunts but has a crew of 50 people follow him with a gun.
This is true.

But one thing is for sure: Cam carried that sucker out whole, on his back, uphill, barefooted, wind in his face, snow blowing in his eyes.
 
When I hear about the guy sticking his arm down the bear’s throat to gag him, I shake my head in disbelief.
I agree with everything you said but since I know a guy that did it I have to disagree. His grandma sent him this article and while he was actively getting chewed up by the grizzly it was the only option he had. It’s obviously not a situation you’d want/plan to be in but I personally wouldn’t write it off…I’m not sure what would motivate a guy to make it up.

 
Depends who you ask around here... There's a handful of guys who think sidearms don't work, so if you're archery hunting and you only have a sidearm, you might as well just hit them with your purse and then lay there and get eaten.

In the real world, where sidearms work... I would fire a warning shot at probably 20-30 yards. If he shows no signs of losing interest, I'd get ready to make some quick and accurate shots. I imagine at 20-30 yards, a warning shot would more than likely change the bears mind. But if it didn't, it would be a matter of reading the bears attitude and making some quick decisions.

In the end, my life is more important to me than a bears life. I can't imagine you're going to get in trouble for shooting a bear that's that close to you.
A warning shot would be futile on the bears I've encountered in interior Alaska.
I've seen 2-year olds, and adult sow with cubs totally oblivious to a rifle shot.

Bear spray is my primary line of defense, as I am not good enough with my 44 magnum Redhawk to always
hit a bouncing softball thrown directly towards me (size of a grizzly brain).
Those that trust a sidearm have mostly never shot a grizzly bear charging, and if they did they were lucky.
The likelihood of hitting an ear, shoulder, etc rather than the brain or spine is too high.
A charging bear is faster than most people think, and more difficult to kill than most people think.

griz.jpg
 
A warning shot would be futile on the bears I've encountered in interior Alaska.
I've seen 2-year olds, and adult sow with cubs totally oblivious to a rifle shot.

Bear spray is my primary line of defense, as I am not good enough with my 44 magnum Redhawk to always
hit a bouncing softball thrown directly towards me (size of a grizzly brain).
Those that trust a sidearm have mostly never shot a grizzly bear charging, and if they did they were lucky.
The likelihood of hitting an ear, shoulder, etc rather than the brain or spine is too high.
A charging bear is faster than most people think, and more difficult to kill than most people think.

View attachment 290471
Do you carry both or only spray?
 
A warning shot would be futile on the bears I've encountered in interior Alaska.
I've seen 2-year olds, and adult sow with cubs totally oblivious to a rifle shot.

Bear spray is my primary line of defense, as I am not good enough with my 44 magnum Redhawk to always
hit a bouncing softball thrown directly towards me (size of a grizzly brain).
Those that trust a sidearm have mostly never shot a grizzly bear charging, and if they did they were lucky.
The likelihood of hitting an ear, shoulder, etc rather than the brain or spine is too high.
A charging bear is faster than most people think, and more difficult to kill than most people think.

View attachment 290471
I've seen warning shots work in several occasions. I just watched an older meat eater episode where they had a sow charge and it thought otherwise and veered off after a warning shot.

A shot to the CNS on any bear is tough to do, but a loud bang followed by a sharp pain from a 200+ grain bullet typically makes them rethink their decisions too attack...
 
One of the best tools in my bear tool box was an acme thunderer whistle. After 20 years seeing bears on a daily basis I found it more useful than warning shots. Actually after firing dozens of warning shots I found the whistle much more effective in changing their direction. A warning shot is just another loud scary noise And a bear that has been shot and survived in the past, very likely wont ever get close to you. IF gun fire / dinner bell theory is to be believed your warning shot just convinced the bear he needs to come eat what you just shot. I also kept one of those air horns that ass hats behind you at the ball game use, in my boat. It worked well when a bear followed us back to the boat. Also kept one in the tent when camping along streams.
At about 50 yards we would gather up and quit fishing. At 25, if he is still coming our way, we’ve moved, waded across or climbed the river bank onto the tundra kind of thing. If they turned and followed and the whistle didn’t work they get sprayed. Only had to shoot one in 20 years guiding, four over my lifetime.
Wish I had kept a journal; Warning shots worked sometimes, typically on bears that had no idea we were there and got real close before we knew he was there.
Whistle worked better particularly on bears that had gotten within 25 yards knew we were there kind of thing. Could be it worked better because it worked initially so I decided to save ammo, but it turned most of the bears I used it on. Also handy as I doesn’t interfere with running a handgun.
Spray worked dozens of times, never worried about the wind when I had to use it. Moving 90 degrees from where the bear last saw me seemed to keep me out of the cloud that may have come back.
Absolutely convinced two of the bears we killed when I was younger would have been turned if we had spray then.
Guiding I always had the whistle, spray and either a 454 or a long gun. Getting the hell out of their way worked better than anything else.
photos from Margo creek, the home of misfit bears. He was about 25 yards when he caught lunch.
⬆️ this right here is the only posting in this thread worth a goddamn.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
110,390
Messages
1,918,063
Members
34,727
Latest member
Clifford Radcliffe
Back
Top