Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee to look at claim it unintentially endorses CounterAssault
CounterAssault is probably the number one grizzly bear pepper spray, but UDAP spray is very good too (some say better). Mark Matheny, who invented the large “bear size” pepper spray after being mauled and saved by a small can of spray, is claiming the IGBC is promoting CounterAssault in its education materials.
Story: Grizzly bear committee to examine spray claim. By John Cramer. Missoulian.
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.
34 Responses to Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee to look at claim it unintentially endorses CounterAssault
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I guess I don’t understand why this needs to be a big deal, as it seems to be in the Missoulian. If the IGBC or Center for Wildlife Information wants to promote CounterAssault because that company gives them money to produce their materials, then I say promote CounterAssault. If the other companies are so concerned, maybe they should give money to help produce the IGBC educational materials. Personally, this makes me not want to use UDAP spray. I get really tired of people threatening to sue other people.
Interesting . . . on the other thread Tai was asking where the bear spray requirements on distance and duration came from.
Here’s what it says in today’s article:
“Matheny questioned the basis for the IGBC guidelines – which only his competitor Counter Assault meets – but committee members said they didn’t know where the guidelines originated.”
Ter, surely you understand that this is a basic fairness issue? The IGBC guidelines for bear spray seem to have no testing behind them, yet the committee puts them out there like they really have meaning. And then they prominently feature Counter Assault in their educational materials. It gives consumers the impression that C/A is the only “real” bear spray out there.
It would be like the government acting as though Chevys were the only safe cars on the road, when we know full well that other companies also make safe cars. To extend the analogy, it would also be like one federal agency acting like Chevy was the only one that passed some kind of crash test, when another agency already had its own crash testing program that all manufactuers had to pass.
I agree with UDAP — it’s unfair to use public money to more or less advertise one brand over another.
Further, if C/A does withdraw their $3,000, well, I think that would make THEM look bad. Their whole business is based on people trying to get along with bears, so they’re profiting from bears and bear conservation. No two ways about it. Their $3,000 is a small sum to give back (and, come on, even if they don’t mention C/A by name, those educational materials are going to lead customers to their door).
By the way [and again, I have NO ties to UDAP], Mark Matheny already gives back a lot by appearing for free at educational events and giving talks about his experiences.
I agree with SAP.
Then, maybe IGBC can include some other sprays in its material. I agree that it is unnecessary to have two different agencies regulating the same product with different guidelines. If the IGBC feels it needs to have additional guidelines, then it makes sense that they should know what the reason for them is.
But, personally, I feel that the IGBC’s time could be better spent on other issues besides whether or not it unintentionally endorses one brand of spray over another.
The guidelines, were not set up by Counter Assault or CWI, the outlines were suggested by Dr. Jonkle, when he was doing the testing in the late 80’s and early 90’s, at that time, Bill Pounds owned Counter Assault and he formulated the sprays that were tested, Dr. Jonkle had no idea what was in the can, he used them and said this works or this don’t work. The articled claimed they endorse CA on their website, which if you look at the website they don’t, they simple use the generic term “Bear Pepper Spray” Yes, the EPA regulates content, but has no say in performance of the bear sprays, they regulated what can be called a bear spray. Not how it works.
Again there is a basis for the guidelines and they were derived from Dr. Charles Jonkles testing of various formulations on over 80 bears.
Getting rid of the guidelines in my opinion would be a mistake, it would lead to even more confusion among the public, with all that has happened this fall concerning bear pepper spray and various public figures, we are heading to a point where the public is going to be so confused they are not going to carry anything. UDAP initiating this is doing nothing to enhance the education of the public.
The biggest issue here, is why isn’t all of the bear spray companies contributing to the educational effort? I know for a fact that CWI would be willing to put all the logos on the educational materials.
By the way, Mark did not invent anything, the large canisters were used before he started UDAP, in fact Mark worked at Counter Assault at the time the Larger cannister came about. The product that was used in Mark’s attack was a personal defence spray made by Bushwacker Backpacker Supply, with is the Counter Assault Company.
Dear Concerned – thanks for your insights and information. That clears things up quite a bit.
I hope that we can maybe revisit some of the guidelines now, since we’re probably about 20 years and untold thousands of bear spray user-days wiser (I hope!) than in those early pioneering days. I’m not just counting actual deployments of bear spray, but all the time people have spent carrying it, thinking about using it, spraying themselves accidentaly . . .
On the previous discussion we had about bear spray on Ralph’s site, here’s what I threw out as a my idea of functional guidelines:
“% and strength of the OC active ingredient (I think this is already mandated by EPA?)
number of bursts per can (rather than how quickly the can empties out)
volume of spray delivered per burst
size of cloud generated per burst in still conditions.
Distance doesn’t matter quite so much to me, although my testing with UDAP makes me think it shoots far enough (20 – 30 feet under still conditions). If distance was a primary consideration, that could certainly be achieved but at the expense of a nice big cloud that requires little aim. Law enforcement has OC sprays that come out in a stream instead of a cloud for targeted delivery, so it’s certainly do-able, but maybe not desirable.”
Number of bursts is important to me because I am often out for 7-10 day hitches and want to carry a can that could work for at least two encounters if necessary (although I can’t say that “rationing” would be the first thing on my mind in an aggressive encounter!).
Big-cloud vs. distance is a highly individual preference, although I think some middle ground is probably desirable. Advantages of a big cloud include not having to aim much, and not having all the spray obstructed by brush. Disadvantages would include spraying your friends and horses and mules if you have them, and potentially dissipating the spray too much.
The only big argument I can make for prioritizing distance would be that it would be preferable to stop the bear further away rather than closer, so that it doesn’t go ahead and bowl you over or otherwise make contact.
Again, there has to be some middle ground. For those familiar with shotguns, it would be like the choice between full choke and cylinder bore, or between 000 buckshot and #4 shot.
I agree that all bear spray companies should support educational efforts, for the reasons I stated above. Ruger and Smith&Wesson don’t support non-lethal coexistence education for obvious reasons — they’re peddling $800 revovlers instead!
Streams were in fact tested and discarded as the product is not as effective in a stream pattern as it is in a shotgun pattern, the pepper MUST be atomized to attain maximum effectiveness, there is an optimum particle size for maximum effectiveness and this is not obtained in a stream situation.
The reason police carry streams if because they deal with entirely different situation, many times they are in crowds and do not want to expose everybody, just the person they are trying to subdue.
The biggest key in the whole bear spray products is the head that is used on the can, as long as what is inside the can performs, the shotgun spray head is the key to effectively delivering the spray in front of you.
Again, the guidelines were derived not only from D. Jonkels studies, but many bear biologists that were consulted before they wrote a position paper on the subject, the IGBC adopted their recommendations and did the EPA for content.
Properly formulated bear spray, will offer several bursts in the can, if you have a can that will spray for 5 seconds, you have 5 1 second burst or any combination of that full amount of the can…the first bear I had to spray, I used the whole can, the second bear I sprayed, I only had to hit the trigger for a short burst and it did the job…
But again, there was a whole bunch of input on suggested guidelines before the IGBC adopted them.
Myself personally don’t think anyone who is in the market to sell bear spray, should be suggesting guidelines, this should be by un-biased people who are concerned with product performance only..and that is how the suggested guidelines were brought about many years ago…
And actually Ruger and S&W do promote and teach about non-lethal use of a firearm, with the various classes and such they each year, on both TV as well as many of the outdoors shows, fairs and such, I have attended quite a few of them at S.H.O.T and other firearms shows…
Thanks for the good info!
Non-lethal use of a firearm? What’s that — warning shots? Clobber them over the head with it? With those big new .460’s and .500 caliber anvils, that might just work . . . 😉
They teach in many of their classes how to handle a situation without the use of a firearm, often times they feel the presence is enough, but they do also teach that if all else fails, use the firearm to protect yourself as well as family…I had occasion to shoot the .500 S&W the other day, crips, what a monster!
Bartlebaugh said the IGBC bear spray “guidelines came from recommendations from Missoula biologist Chuck Jonkel.” That makes no sense. Jonkel tested and helped develop bear spray back in the 80s. The IGBC bear spray guidelines weren’t written until 1998 or 99. Jonkel isn’t a member of the IGBC, so why would the IGBC ask him for recommendations—especially since Jonkel spent six years developing and testing bear spray with Bill Pounds, founder of Counter Assault. Obviously, that would raise concerns about Jonkel’s objectivity.
Even if Jonkel gave the IGBC his recommendations on bear spray, it was the IGBC that wrote the official IGBC bear spray position paper. Chuck Bartlebaugh is on the IGBC “Information & Education” subcommittee. Bartlebaugh claims he’s a marketing whiz. The IGBC bear spray guidelines gives Counter Assault a huge marketing advantage over other brands of bear spray that meet EPA requirements. It sure does look suspicious. But wait, there’s more.
The IGBC will give the CFWI $60,000 taxpayer dollars this year to produce educational materials, do training programs, and oversee the IGBC website. Bartlebaugh hired Dave Parker of Flathead Valley Web Works to do the IGBC website. Parker does the Center For Wildlife Information’s website. And Parker does the website for . . . Counter Assault.
Tim Rubbert was the CFWI Treasurer in 2003. In Rubbert’s book Hiking With Grizzlies, his says, “Counter Assault, the bear spray that I carry, is the only bear spray I know that has actually been tested in controlled situations.”
Rubbert’s biography mentions that he works “with the Center For Wildlife Information, educating people on bear avoidance . . . Tim is presently conducting grizzly bear slide presentations and guided hikes at Big Mountain Resort near Whitefish, Montana ”
“BEAR PEPPER SPRAY. The IGBC does not promote or endorse any particular commercial product.”
Is the public getting objective information about bear spray from Bartlebaugh, Ruppert, and Parker? It’s rather bizzare that Bartlebaugh told the Missoulian Counter Assault “deserved to be mentioned” in his bear literature because it’s the only brand of bear spray that meets IGBC guidelines on spray duration and spray distance—after all, the issue for Mark Matheny and other bear spray companies is that Bartlebaugh had a hand in writing those guidelines.
Were UDAP bear spray, Frontiersman bear spray, and other EPA approved brands of bear spray even aware that you could buy advertising with Bartlebaugh and the IGBC by making a “donation” to the non-profit Center For Wildlife Information? Given that Bartlebaugh is essentially a government contractor producing bear literature for the IGBC, shouldn’t Bartlebaugh/IGBC do public notices about the opportunity to buy advertising in those bear brochures? Who sets the price, Bartlebaugh, or the IGBC? Can Remington Firearms buy in for $3000? What about the ATV companies, and the mining company that claims building a mine in occupied grizzly bear habitat in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness will benefit bears? If Counter Assault can buy advertising from Bartlebaugh, shouldn’t any for-profit company be allowed to do the same?
I think the IGBC is a stand-up collection of state and federal agencies that needs to re-consider its financial ties with Bartlebaugh’s Center For Wildlife Information/Counter Assault bear spray company.
No. Just as a non profit cancer organization can pick and choose who they show advertising support for. Let’s say Marlboro wanted to advertise for them for say $100,000. That cancer org has a right to say, “go ?@!# yourself.” Lets say I have something I want to sell. How about T-shirts? It is MY job to research which companies I like that I may be able to advertise with. So it is up to them, the person who is seeking advertising, not always the person who is seeking money for materials to help his cause in his org. All those orgs you mention advertise with someone, you don’t think that the people who gave them advertising space went to them every time? You see, you say, “oh your a nonprofit who is pretty well known, striving for a cause I agree with. I will give you a bit of money to help BOTH our causes and you can advertise what I sell because it also helps our cause.”
And by the way, HOW is any of this helping BEARS? OR people for that matter?
SAP “It gives consumers the impression that C/A is the only “real” bear spray out there.”
AND Pampers are the best diapers. C’mon this is what advertising is about.
SAP ” Law enforcement has OC sprays that come out in a stream instead of a cloud for targeted delivery, so it’s certainly do-able, but maybe not desirable.”
OC sprays do not have nearly the proper amount of capsasin in them to deter a bear.
I agree with Concerned. CWI would advertise other products IF they believed in them which is THEIR
right. Remington would probably be welcomed as long as they were active in passing out the materials that CWI has to hunters and their members. After this year, it would seem that hunters are in need of the most education on bears and bear things. I don’t think for a minute that CWI would pass up that opportunity. Even if they didn’t like it, it would still be the best bet for bears. That is whats important.
Since the Center For Wildlife Information gets $60k–in taxpayer money–from the IGBC to produce brochures, I don’t think the CFWI should be free to decide who gets to advertise on those brochures. Assuming Mark Matheny at UDAP bear spray pays taxes, he has every right to be ticked off that the IGBC gives Bartlebaugh money to produce brochures, and then Bartlebaugh advertises for UDAP’s competitor Counter Assault on government financed brochures. Even if Mark Matheny begged Bartlebaugh to pay for advertising on taxpayer financed brochures, TsK claims Bartlebaugh has the right to say no if he doesn’t believe in UDAP bear spray. That’s wrong. That’s totally unfair. Matheny should ask the Montana Congressional delegation to look into the way the IGBC does business with Bartlebaugh.
On top of everything else, Bartlebaugh is no bear expert, and it shows in the crappy bear brochures he produces. Any college freshman doing a 1500 word report on “Wildlife Viewing and Photography” could visit a few websites–National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Watchable Wildlife–and cobble together a better brochure that the Center For Wildlife Information’s guide to “Wildlife Viewing and Photographing.”
The IGBC should stop funding Chuck Bartlebaugh’s Center For Wildlife Misinformation.
Just like Timothy Treadwell, Bartlebaugh might be able to give grade school classes a rudimentary eduction about bears, but Bartlebaugh would be way out of his league trying to educate hunters about bears. That’s like asking someone who took a basic first aid course to teach brain surgery at Johns Hopkins.
“After this year, it would seem that hunters are in need of the most education on bears and bear things. I don’t think for a minute that CWI would pass up that opportunity.” TsK
The clashes between hunters and bears this fall have put a spotlight on bear spray, and that’s a good thing. Already the IGBC has agreed to re-evaluate it’s bear spray guidelines. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks commissioner Vic Workman was roundly criticized for shooting at a charging grizzly rather than spraying it. Now people are asking if it’s realistic for a hunter with a rifle in his hands to use bear spray. Now hunters are taking a careful look at the how state fish & game departments train hunters to use bear spray and/or firearms. Now hunters are asking if the IGBC has tested bear spray in cold temperatures and adverse weather conditions.
Bear spray seems to have a fanatical cult following; as a result of all the clashes between hunter and bears this fall, many feverently held beliefs about bear spray are going to be scrutinized. I think its going to be the bear spray cult that gets a much-needed education.
A couple of thoughts:
TsK – I wasn’t suggesting that we start using law enforcement OC sprays on bears, I was musing about the trade-off between distance and dispersal, and using the LE sprays as an example of choosing distance over dispersal.
[By the way, OC stands for Oleoresin Capsicum, which is the active ingredient in bear spray, just at a higher concentration than what’s common in civil applications. So bear spray IS an OC spray.]
Also, TsK, you are correct that non-profits can refuse or accept advertising from whomever they like. But when public money enters the picture, things change quite a bit.
I’m not a lawyer, but I’m sure some will get involved quite soon and clear all this up (or not?!).
Tai, I have to disagree with you about Chuck Bartlebaugh’s materials. I think they’re clear and effective. Every time I have seen Chuck speak in public, he is VERY clear (in a funny, disarming way) about the fact that he is not a FORMALLY TRAINED “bear expert.”
What “misinformation” is he putting out? Those are pretty serious allegations, and it’s a good thing you’re blogging anonymously because you could open yourself up to a libel suit. Tread carefully.
To end on a sort of positive note, Tai, I agree with you that it’s good that this season has raised some important questions. I don’t TOTALLY agree with your characterization of bear spray devotees as a “cult,” but I don’t totally disagree either.
Some people pretend like it’s the perfect product with no weak points whatsoever. That kind of complacency is bad, and certainly won’t help improve the technology or the training. Serious criticism will.
Bottom line, though, is that it comes down to which you have more faith in — firearms or bear spray — and how much you value grizzlies. I have more faith in my ability to use bear spray than my rifle, and I’d rather not kill a bear, so the choice is clear for me.
I’m not going to force that choice on you. You may have more confidence in your rifle or sidearm, and may have fewer reservations about killing a bear. The law gives you the right to defend yourself — that’s why I think it would be counterproductive in the end to MANDATE that hunters carry bear spray.
Given all the skepticism about bear spray and cultural conflict over the status of grizzlies, FORCING hunters to CARRY bear spray would be counterproductive — I think their resentment would GUARANTEE that they would go for the firearm, even if the spray was right there.
Interesting, quite interesting, I am seeing a pattern in the posts..
Tai “Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks commissioner Vic Workman was roundly criticized for shooting at a charging grizzly rather than spraying it.”
As he should be. Instead of saying “whoa bear, whoa”, while the bear was going at him “full bore” and then having the time to think about “shooting from the hip”, he could have gotten a spray out. Not that it is a requirement but while hunting, especially sneaking around in bear country, you should have your spray out. No one is saying that it is a sure thing but to now down play it as being useless is irresponsible. What if you aren’t a hunter? What if you don’t carry a gun? What if you’re in a National Park, where guns are not allowed? I suppose you are going to rely on bear bells? By the time a bear hears those, he is already close. CA, UDAP, sprays noises alone have been well known to startle a bear off a charge, which I have a feeling, Workman’s gun did on that day. So then wheres the difference there? Bear spray may have worked, JUST like the gun may NOT have worked. Of course there are weak points but it is better to have something than nothing.
“Since the Center For Wildlife Information gets $60k–in taxpayer money–from the IGBC to produce brochures, I don’t think the CFWI should be free to decide who gets to advertise on those brochures.” Why? I pay plenty of taxes for things I don’t agree with. Lord knows. Those brochures come in handy. From some of your statements I am beginning to think this is a personal issue with you. What d you know of Bartlebaugh that has you so enthusiastically encouraged to make personal statements about him? Please don’t tell me this is all about a book that they no longer have on the site? Had it been your book, you’d be ok huh? Now I see where you and Methany fit in. This stuff is made for Hollywood! You guys are in the wrong state!
BUT just in case I am wrong about that assumption.
There are no bear “experts”. There are no expertise in nature. Things are constantly changing and being learned. Educational material is not just gathered from one person’s experience. Giving, and let’s continue to use Remington as an example, giving Remington’s staff brochures on bear behavior and how to tell the difference between them, so that they can pass on some simple, valid and relevant points, doesn’t seem all that sterile to me. Who else will do it? Even if there were others who would, so what if that is what this organization wants to do. It’s unfair? It’s their choice. Taxpayers give to the IGBC to help bears, they hand it out to people who they think can make a difference, those people in turn do the same and so on and so on. IGBC can’t make every business happy. It’s not possible and completely ridiculous to expect them to. Methany wasn’t making money on a spray he was promoting, with that lovely website to boot, and so, he decided to make war. The only thing that this war will prove to damage are the bears, a committee and an organization that helps them. If that is how Methany wants to “protect” bears, by taking out good people in the process in order to gain some advertising, he is going to be in for a world of hurt. This “sue crazed” mania is fatiguing and will back fire. Who would want to buy anything from a person of this character? There are plenty of places for Methany to look into for advertising, BUT you have got to look into it. Put in the leg work. Stuff isn’t just handed to you. Not for nothing, but did Methany ever approach Bartlebaugh ( I have no idea) for advertising?
I am glad they are reevaluating. Like I said anything that can give bears a fair chance when snuck up on is ok in my book. Which would be why I am for the IGBC and that goes for Bartlebaugh too. $60,000 is nothing to sneeze at but in the advertising business it doesn’t go very far for very long. The IGBC doesn’t have money to throw around so I thank them for giving to the little people who make a big difference.
Interesting, very interesting!
There you go! Straight from an “experts” mouth.
Tai “Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks commissioner Vic Workman was roundly criticized for shooting at a charging grizzly rather than spraying it.”
TsK “As he should be. Instead of saying “whoa bear, whoa”, while the bear was going at him “full bore” and then having the time to think about “shooting from the hip”, he could have gotten a spray out.
TsK, that’s easy for you to say, since you weren’t there. Workman disagrees. You say Workman had time to “think about” firing, he says it all happened in “nanosecond.” Just a nit-picky point the bear spray cult won’t like, but you can say “whoa bear whoa” with your mouth, while pointing the rifle in your hands and firing an instinctive shot from the hip at a charging bear. For Workman to spray the charging bear instead of just pointing his rifle and shooting from the hip, he would have had to done something with the rifle in his hands, and then reached for his bear spray. What would you recommend he do with the rifle in his hands?
What’s amusing about this whole discussion is that next year Montana, Wyoming and Idaho will all have a legal hunting season on grizzlies, and then state and federal agencies will drop the whole ruse on bear spray. Alaska doesn’t tell hunters to carry bear spray. Alberta doesn’t tell hunters to carry bear spray. BC doesn’t tell hunters to carry bear spray.
Concerned sees a pattern in the posts here. Me too. Some people seem more CONCERNED with the financial well being of Counter Assault than the facts about bear spray or the lives of hunters. TsK TsK.
Being honest with you, I don’t care or have a stake in any bear spray companies bottom line, I buy my bear spray from a store, and I do happen to be a hunter that carries bear spray.
Seems some here, have a stake in how many books they sell, that wouldn’t happen to be you would it Tai? Next time you write a book Tai, make sure you present the facts or qualify it with “this is my opinion”, because I can tell you, you are no expert.
Also, I bet you, there will be no grizzly hunting season in the near future in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho, it will take longer than that to just d-elist them, in addition to the lawsuits that will be filed, so no grizz hunting season in the foreseeable future..which by the way, I have no problem with.
Vic, didn’t have to do anything with his gun, the holsters for bear spray are designed to allow the spray to be shot IN the holster, even Matheny says that on his website, we all have to be trained in gun’s and it seems many need to be trained in the use of bear spray..as spray is carried on the hip, in most instances, just like a pistol, what is the problem with deployment?, There is no bear spray “Cult” but there are those that disagree with the firearm, shoot and ask questions later “Cult”
And I know, I know, this will degenerate in a down hill spiral, so I will bow out and let Tai, continue his rant…I have said what I need to say..
Concerned “I bet you, there will be no grizzly hunting season in the near future in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho, it will take longer than that to just d-elist them,”
Umm, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding grizzlies in the Yellowstone region have already been de-listed. And if my feeble memory serves correctly, the Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming grizzly bear “management plans” that are on file as part of the delisting process all called for grizzly bear hunts.
Concerned “the holsters for bear spray are designed to allow the spray to be shot IN the holster, even Matheny says that on his website, we all have to be trained in gun’s and it seems many need to be trained in the use of bear spray.”
We? Who’s we? Not Counter Assault, right? I’ve heard that Dave Parker, who does the website for Counter Assault, is one of 6 USGS certified bear spray trainers in the whole wide world. Maybe Dave Parker could explain how Vic Workman or any other hunter, while holding a rifle in his hands (plural, 2 hands) is supposed to deploy bear spray in a hip holster. Poor ol’ Vic and all the other hunters have to do something with that rifle in their hands (plural). I wonder what a certified bear spray instructor like Dave Parker would recommend? Drop a rilfe with a round in the chamber? Casually hum James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James while monitoring the progress of the charging grizzly, then release the rifle with one hand, hold it in your other hand, and try to operate bear spray with your free hand? The bear spary cult hates detailed questions like this.
But hunters deserve answers from the “carry bear spray and know how to use it” cult.
Tai, I’ve asked you three times about your experience with bears and you haven’t responded. How about a direct answer to a direct question: Tai, what is *your* experience with bears?
Mack P. Bray
My opinions are my own
Does not matter the venue, the thread always goes the same way, the cat is out of the bag again…
Yes, all three plans do indeed have provisions for hunts in the future, but that future is not next year as you stated, it will take a while before the grizz are being hunted in the lower 48,
I have years of experience with bears in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Alaska. Come to think of it, I worked for an eco-tourism company for two summers and guided people to the Pack Creek bear viewing area on Admirality Island. Guides had a choice of carrying bear spray or firearms. Forest Service and Alaska Dept of Fish & Game personnel stationed at Pack Creek didn’t have a choice in the matter–they were required to carry firearms. I wonder why that is? It’s been a few years since I’ve visited McNeil River, but the last time I was there, Fish & Game Dept. employees carried shotguns, not bear spray.
By watching bears interact at places like McNeil and Pack Creek, you learn about bear behavior. Once you know a little about bear behavior, it’s readily apparent that most bear literature is ay off base.
Thank you all for your comments.
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