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#181628 - 09/07/09 05:18 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: Tom_L]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Bear sprays are meant to put out a cloud of spray that the bear (or other beasty) inhales as well as getting it in its eyes.
It is the effect on their eyes and their breathing that is the deterrent. They are suddenly unable to breath properly or see.
The idea is to put that cloud out there that the bear has to come through as it charges. It is not like you are actually trying to spray the bear as a target.

Bear sprays are meant to put up that cloud about 25 feet from you and are really meant to be used if the bear is charging at you.

Sprays are effective in most cases, but even then back ups might be needed. Not every bear is stopped by spray.

About seeing the bear first? Well, that is not always true either.
Bears are very good at moving through thick brush quietly, but very seldom has anybody been stalked as prey by a bear. It has happened a few times though, and the stories told by survivors are illuminating. In several of them they had no idea there was a bear there until they had already been knocked down.

I don't want to make it sound like the bears, cougars and wolfs are all just waiting for you to step off the sidewalk so they can satisfy a ravenous craving for human flesh.
It is not like that at all.

You are far more likely to stumble over a sleeping bear, get between a sow and her cubs or surprise a bear that is just not paying attention. It does seem odd that an animal with such fine senses could be surprised but they get careless at times too.

Hikers wearing bells and survey crews on salmon streams using air horns have still managed to surprise bears at short range.
These types of encounters often result in the bear charging because it does not know what else to do.

I often go into fairly remote areas with no gun or spray.
However, in areas where I know I will be close to bears, especially bears that are more habituated to people, I take equipment that might be needed to prevent becoming a casualty.
Yes dumps qualify, so do public camp grounds, bear habitat areas like the edges of swamps and at certain times large berry picking areas.

Black bears have been killed by people hitting them with sticks, but like Tom_L points out, that is really a last ditch effort.


To comment about survival situations I would say Susan has it right.
I would add that any encounter with a bear is automatically a survival situation.
It does not mater if it is in the deep dark forest or on your own front porch.
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May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#181629 - 09/07/09 05:27 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: Tom_L]
bsmith Offline
day hiker
Addict

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 584
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
Quote:
* In California, from 1986 through 1998, exactly two people died from mountain lion attacks, whereas in one year alone, over 4,000 people died in traffic accidents, including 800 pedestrians. This means that your car or someone else's car is ~2,000 times more likely to kill you than is a mountain lion. (A Detailed Calculation gives the ratio as between 1,150 and 4,300.)

Don't take it as a personal attack, but what you're suggesting here is based on a totally flawed premise.

i don't take it personal, i took it from this source, more specifically the sources of the data statistics, as well as the mountain lion foundation here.

or how about this: The Hunter Incident Clearinghouse reported that in just the year 2002 alone, hunting accidents in the United States killed 89 people and injured 761. and yet, since 1890 only 21 people have been killed by mountain lions on the entire North American Continent.

hunters are typically found in cougar territory, yet they kill more people than cougars do.
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#181633 - 09/07/09 06:57 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: bsmith]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Originally Posted By: bsmith

hunters are typically found in cougar territory, yet they kill more people than cougars do.


Yeah, hunting season scares the crap out of me too.
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#181647 - 09/08/09 03:38 AM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: scafool]
fasteer Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 63
Loc: away
Originally Posted By: scafool
Originally Posted By: bsmith

hunters are typically found in cougar territory, yet they kill more people than cougars do.


Yeah, hunting season scares the crap out of me too.


yeah, ditto.
Back when I worked up in NW Alberta, I often saw bears, was never threatened by one.
Twice in 5 years I had a bullet rip past close enough that I could hear it hitting leaves in the trees nearby.
I never saw those 'hunters' and they never saw me.
I've seen black-bears, grizzly-bears, wolves, bobcat, but never seen a cougar.
Doesn't mean one has never seen me.


Edited by fasteer (09/08/09 03:38 AM)

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#181648 - 09/08/09 04:24 AM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: fasteer]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Originally Posted By: fasteer

yeah, ditto.

Yes, even when I am hunting I am nervous about other hunters.
I have never had the bullets zipping around me, but 2 of the guys I went to school with in the 70s are dead from hunting accidents.
When it gets near to deer hunting season I become the brightest orange thing you can imagine in the woods.
I become so brightly fluorescent orange that I make my own eyes hurt.
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#181657 - 09/08/09 01:53 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: Tom_L]
jcurphy Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 48
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
Quote:
* In California, from 1986 through 1998, exactly two people died from mountain lion attacks, whereas in one year alone, over 4,000 people died in traffic accidents, including 800 pedestrians. This means that your car or someone else's car is ~2,000 times more likely to kill you than is a mountain lion. (A Detailed Calculation gives the ratio as between 1,150 and 4,300.)


Don't take it as a personal attack, but what you're suggesting here is based on a totally flawed premise. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Virtually everyone is involved in traffic daily. Comparatively VERY few people venture out into mountain lion terrain however and those that do for the most part don't do it on a daily basis. So statistically your principle is unsound because there are naturally going to be far more people hurt in traffic accidents than out in the bush. But that does not necessarily mean your chances of getting mauled by a mountain lion are really that low statistically.

Now your logic would make more sense if you actually knew just how many people on average do enter mountain lion terrain annually, then calculating the percentages.


Gotta love statistics. You can use statistics to confirm or deny just about anything lol. I'd like to see the statistics of hikers that actually ventured into bear country that were attacked by a bear. Probably still quite low, but more sobering than you might realize. I'd wager something like 0.5% (1 in 200), but still higher than lightning strikes.

Back to the point of preparation. They sell kevlar neck guard shirts to hockey players to protect against pucks and sticks, I wonder how they'd fare against the jaws of a 200 lb. cougar? (and I mean the cat, not the older woman looking to spice it up with a young lad ;))

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#181662 - 09/08/09 04:48 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: jcurphy]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Crank statisticians everywhere despair that people use statistics sloppily and without showing the results of the many tests devised to test the relative trustworthiness of statistical conclusions.

[Not a stats guy, just cranky.]

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#181674 - 09/08/09 06:17 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: dweste]
BrianB Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/08
Posts: 99
I don't think the statistics really matter. We're not really discussing how to prepare for the event not happening. I do agree that the biggest threats are humans and feral dogs above the wildlife in many areas, though.

Anyway, a couple of points:

1. Extra people is the best thing to bring in areas where wildlife may be a problem. Slow running ones are best, but barring that, someone who doesn't mind pouncing on said wildlife if it's gnawing on you is good too.

2. Pepper spray is the best deterrent for any animals, humans included. Someone mentioned that they had a hard time digging it out of their pocket. Don't carry it that way. Put it in a holster that can be deployed while still attached to you, either on a shoulder strap or at your dominant hand's hip. Learn to fire it from that position, and practice with a practice canister. If an animal (or human) is serious, you won't have time to dig out your spray.

3. However, pepper spray does not always work, for various reasons, so a gun is not a bad idea for back up, provided you're trained to use it. A gun in the hands of your trained friend is better, of course. Relative to cougars/mountain lions, from several accounts I've read, they are much more adverse to prey fighting back than, say, feral dogs are. One account told of hikers assisting someone being attacked by a cat, by stabbing the cat with a Swiss Army knife. So, gun if allowed/trained, or knife or stick, whatever you have. But have something (both you and your friend) on hand. In no-gun zones, a hickory hiking stick and a fixed blade knife are a good idea.

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#181676 - 09/08/09 06:32 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: Susan]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1065
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... Cougar attacks are like being struck by lightning ..."

From NOAA: Four hundred people get struck by lightning every year. Between 1997 and 2006, 437 people in the United States died from lightning strikes.

Perhaps a different simile would be better?

And the difference between rare and never can be terminal.

What about carrying one of those smallish airhorns instead of (or in addition to) pepper spray? You could conceivably use it even if your head was in a cougar's mouth.

How many people facing a predator remember to check which way the wind is blowing before they use their pepper spray, or have time to check? Finding yourself downwind of the pepper spray could incapacitate you more than the predator, and result more in a seasoning effect than a repellent effect.

As to the people in the link of the original post here, why were they wandering around, separated? It would seem that a cougar might be discouraged by a group of four.

A little more common sense might change 'rare' to 'never'.


You missed the point. How much do you worry about lightning?
Only if you are in an exposed place.

Same with wild animals.
Are you in an area where they are a known problem?

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#181717 - 09/08/09 10:38 PM Re: Wild animal attack preparation [Re: jcurphy]
Hookpunch Offline
Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 128
Originally Posted By: jcurphy

Gotta love statistics. You can use statistics to confirm or deny just about anything lol. I'd like to see the statistics of hikers that actually ventured into bear country that were attacked by a bear. Probably still quite low, but more sobering than you might realize. I'd wager something like 0.5% (1 in 200), but still higher than lightning strikes.


I am the OP and I guess a cranky statistician, I majored in it in university. I guess you were being facetious but in fact statistics is a rigorous mathematics and you just cannot use statistics to prove anything.


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