Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
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.
Yes to all the above. As I noted in my previous post, having lived in Alaska for more than 30 years, my personal choice is to carry bear spray. While there is some chance of getting mauled by a bear, it is fairly far down on my list of things to worry about in the out of doors. However some folks, both in the lower 48 and in Alaska seem quite obsessed with bears. Hence the frequent, and often heated threads about spray vs firearms.

To elaborate on your remarks about how common bears are, vs how uncommon attacks are, let me comment on Anchorage. We are a modern city of around 300,000 or so, but the wilderness of the Chugach Range comes litterly to the edge of town. And it is real wilderness, with very few real trails. Last I heard, Fish & Game estimates there are about 60 or so brown/grizzly bears that live in close proximity to the city. I don't recall seeing figures on black bears, but there must easily be many hundreds in and around the town. For folks living in subdivisions on the Hillside, adjacent to Chugach State Park, it is not at all unusual to see both brown and black bears in their neighborhoods. One friend woke up one morning to find a mamma griz and cubs snoozing on his deck outside the sliding glass window.

I live in West Anchorage, well inside of town, on the side away from the wilderness. Yet last summer, my neighbor watched a black bear run across my front yard. The Coastal Trail is a paved trail that leads from downtown, follows the West Anchorage shoreline past some very nice homes, past the airport, and ends at Kincaid Park. The Coastal Trail is extremely popular with bikers, walkers, joggers, and families of all ages. One day last summer, while riding my bike I saw no less than 4 black bears on the trail. I have a photo of 3 of those bears, with a jetliner overhead on final approach to the airport runway. The bears were peacefully munching vegetation. Me and the other folks on the trail just stood and waited, for maybe 5-10 minutes, until the bears wandered off the trail far enough so we could proceed.

So we have of all these bears in and around town. And we have a relatively young population of very active hikers, walkers, trail runners, bird watchers, hunters, fishermen, mountain bikers etc. Yet bear maulings, while they do sometimes occur, are really quite rare. But clearly some folks, here and down south, seem quite paranoid and obsessed about bears, way out of of proportion to their actual odds of getting mauled.

Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
That was the point I was making. These bear vs gun vs spray threads here on ETS - which seem to crop up so often, make it seem that the bear is the biggest and baddest threat in the outdoors - which is simply not the case.

Anyway, that is my last words ever on this over debated subject .
Amen Bro, Amen! Also my last comment on the subject.

Edited by AKSAR (10/25/18 12:26 AM)
Edit Reason: added Teslinhikers comment
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