How many people actually live in or venture out in bear country and fear enough that carrying the equivalent of a small cannon is required - just in case?

Here where I live, we have the highest concentration of black bears in NA with a population estimate of 120,000 to 160,000. Even on the low end estimate of 120,000, that number is still higher then the low end bear population estimates in the combined states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. Black bear sightings here, are a very common occurrence. Yet almost all outdoors oriented people are not routinely packing a firearm - and it is not all due to our much more restrictive gun laws. Simply put, it is not about being scared of bears. Instead, it is all about respecting these magnificent animals and being bear aware.

As for Grizzly bears. In the lower 48 of the USA, there are only about 1500 Grizzlies left. So the odds of being attacked are slim to none and it is highly probable that an attack by other wild or domesticated animals has a much better chance of suddenly and unmercifully ending your life.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock