View Full Version : Bear Spray

04-23-2009, 10:04 PM
While in the park, can you carry it or not? This may have been covered in a thread but I must have missed it.

I really do like carrying it when my son is with me. Believe me you do not want to hear me singing in the woods.

Hope someone can let me know because I'll be down on May 1st.

Flat Fly n
04-23-2009, 11:10 PM
There's an old saying with people who carry handguns into the park into remote places, which also implies to bear spray..........

I would rather be judged by a jury of six men, than be carried by six at my funeral........but in this case, " I would rather be judged by six men, than be eaten by a hungry bear". Carry the spray if it make you feel better, just get the real stuff and not some little bottle. IF you gonna hit something or stop it, use something BIG.

04-24-2009, 12:45 AM
I agree with FlyFlyn. Protect yourself and your family.

We carry CounterAssult when ATV'ing in MT.

04-24-2009, 09:06 AM
Edit - Removed.

04-24-2009, 09:31 AM
I think this thread could possibly get filled up with people with stories about what happened when they tested the bear spray.

I have a bottle of counter assault with me and it is legal to carry it in the park, so don't worry about it. If it makes you feel more comfortable, or your loved ones as in my case, then by all means get some.

04-24-2009, 09:36 AM

Double check, but I think there was a posting on the site last week that bear repellents and sprays are not legal in GSMNP. The posting had the actual legal posting. Here's the link: http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2009/04/is-bear-pepper-spray-legal-or-illegal.html

04-24-2009, 02:30 PM
I do have counter assualt and have carried it when my son is with me. I must say that I will continue doing that when he is with me in the future.

Jack M.
04-24-2009, 04:22 PM
As I read the regulation, a loud whistle or even an air horn is probably NOT a weapon.

04-25-2009, 02:06 PM
I have an email from the GSMNP HEADQUARTERS saying that carrying spray is LEGAL!

Randall Sale

04-25-2009, 02:57 PM
Per CFR Title 36, part 1: Weapon means a firearm, compressed gas or spring-powered pistol or rifle, bow and arrow, crossbow, blowgun, speargun, hand-thrown spear, slingshot, irritant gas device, explosive device, or any other implement designed to discharge missiles, and includes a weapon the possession of which is prohibited under the laws of the State in which the park area or portion thereof is located. Bear spray is considered an irritant gas device. From what I was able to find on the NPS nformation was the parks located in Alaska are the only ones spelled out in the regulations that permit the carrying of the repellent. It is recommended in the NPS systems in the western US but it is still illegal per the CFR standards. Certain park superintendents are permitted to make exceptions to the CFRs but it is unclear whether the superintendents have any flexibility to modify the weapons restrictions.

It would be nice if someone would actually post something in writing from the GSMNP Superintendent for a ruling instead of the he said/she said information that is confusing people.

04-25-2009, 05:20 PM
"It would be nice if someone would actually post something in writing from the GSMNP Superintendent for a ruling instead of the he said/she said information that is confusing people."
Having cleaned up my storage area ("inbox") after changing providers, I find I apparently didn't retain it in my documents, fly patterns, etc being more important. I just shot and email to GSMNP headquarters to check if they changed the ruling (?) and will post whatever I get for an answer. A few years ago, I did post their response on this board to my query; stating that bear spray was permitted but not reccomended. Anyone out there in cyberland remember my post.
As I use to tell my students, you can't believe everything on the internet. So lets go to the source!

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

04-25-2009, 05:21 PM
Not that I would want to have to use it, but it didn't say anything about a very large knife such as a machette. If I go back country alone, I will have the spray. Fine me if you want.

04-25-2009, 05:24 PM
Just did archive and found my post of March of 06, but I didn't copy the email. I'll do so this time.

04-25-2009, 06:44 PM
Randall, I wasn't attempting to call you out so please accept my apologies if you felt I was. There has been much discussion on this issue with the published CFRs from the NPS saying one thing and others saying something else. When I have fished Yellowstone, it is common acceptance and the recommendation of park personnel that you carry a deterrent if fishing in the secluded areas. In the parks in AK, there are actually signs referring the repellent. The GSMNP is a different animal, no pun intended, when it comes to the protection. Although I do carry it in other areas, in the 40+ years of fishing the Smokies, I have never carried a repellent, mainly because of the bears I've seen, I have never felt threatened and they were usually more afraid of me than vice versa.

04-26-2009, 12:21 AM
No offense taken. I had copied the email but had cleaned it out. I wanted confirmation in case there ever was an issue with NPS (School teacher's C.Y.A.). After several years, I guess I deleted it. I,also, never felt I needed to carry spray but my wife nagged. My cousin's wife's father was mauled badly in Glacier by a Blackie. After the Glenda Bradley's death above Elkmont, and 3 other incidents I've decided to carry. My wife had a bear walk up within 5 foot of her on Bradley Fork one Oct when she decided to get out of the wind and cold along the bank. She fishes then "takes breaks to read or Bird." (Probably similar to what Glenda Bradley was doing?) I had a sow with a Very well fed cub come down a tree after me on Cucumber Gap trail. The campsites up from Elkmont seem to be getting closed quicker every year. The only time I've ever unholstered my spray was on a Rottweiler being "walked" up Little River Trail. My main concern with bears is our paying for someone else's stupidity. Example Plateau Angler's post Site #24 and warning.

I've be checked three times while fishing, I carry it in the holster. Pam carries a Marmot side bag with one sticking out of the pocket. We've stopped and talked to rangers and trail crews etc. been in campground offices, etc with our sprays openly visible and never had any questions or comments made.

I,also, know that a lot of "Bear incidents" are down played, not publicized. I remember the Bear attack on the Roaring Fork last summer and talking with folks in the park who were unaware of it.

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

04-26-2009, 08:12 PM
I have emailed the gsmnp service. I will copy the email here when I get something but in the meantime I will be carrying the dreaded bear spray.

On a side note anyone watching the alaska experiment? PLEASE. I wouldn't last a minute in the wild but these people crack me up.

Arctic Grayling
04-26-2009, 09:53 PM
I have emailed the gsmnp service. I will copy the email here when I get something but in the meantime I will be carrying the dreaded bear spray.

On a side note anyone watching the alaska experiment? PLEASE. I wouldn't last a minute in the wild but these people crack me up.

Bear spray may be alllowed in the national parks in Alaska, but there is one small problem with that. Bear spray is not allowed on airplanes. The only way to get to many of the national parks in Alaska is to fly.

The only national park on the road system that I can think of that prohibits firearms is Denali. And even part of Denali is open to hunting.

There is a lot of federal land in Alaska, but most of it is controlled by agencies other than the NPS. The biggest problem area for bears is the Kenai/Russian Rivers. I think that land is controlled by the forest service and the fish and wildlife service. The boundary between the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge runs right down the middle of the Russian River. One agency controls one side of the river and the other agency controls the other side.

04-26-2009, 10:57 PM
You could buy it in Anchorage or Fairbanks and take it on the small planes though, right?

Flat Fly n
04-26-2009, 11:19 PM
Wave those regulations at a bear before you run. A mile or two up on the Little River above the campground, or on the Laural around Frog Pond outside of Elizabethon in the Cherokee Nat. Forest, your out of luck without protection. Don't try to run though, we clocked one running beside us at 35 mph in Maine on a logging road years ago. You can't out climb them. Get the spray. Purchase it where you fly into, and give it away before you leave. Cheap insurance. I drove out to MTone year, and still have mine on the ready in my truck. You never know when you'll run into a "bear" late one night while your in your car.

Arctic Grayling
04-27-2009, 12:46 AM
You could buy it in Anchorage or Fairbanks and take it on the small planes though, right?

I don't think you can even take it on the small planes. Maybe it's a FAA restriction or something. It's probably available to buy in someplace like Dillingham, but I doubt if it would be available anywhere else. People in rural Alaska all have firearms instead of bear spray.

I read somewhere that a firearm is required on those small planes in case they go down.

This is a post from a pilot on another forum:

"I do not think that FedEx or UPS will ship it, if they do it will be a HazMat charge for sure. There goes your good deal. The stuff is not expensive, and I think even WalMart (i don't shop there) sells it.

A couple of other things.

1. Think seriously about your handling it. If you transport it in your car and it goes off inside or even in the trunk, you are going to be incapacitated and probably crash.

2. Don't plan on doing any flyout trips, no Part 135 (airtaxi) is going to haul it. I refuse to fly it, unless it is a float compartment when I fly under Part 91 rules (private flying).

3. Plan on buying an extra can or two and actually go out and dispense it. Don't do this when it is windy. More people get self medicated by the stuff then they get it effectively on the animal. Just like a firearm, you have to know how to use your weapon, and what it does before being in a panic situation where stuff is happening fast. I think you will find that effective range is about 10' or so. Having killed bears on a full charge I know you don't want to shoot to early (firearm) as many times a bear "false charges" due to their poor eye site. The bear I put two 250 grain 338 Win mag bullets in was doing about 30mph at 15' away when I put the first one in it. After the second shot went it hit me doing 29.2mph. I still suffer from a back injury, it was like walking out into the street and letting a car hit you. I laugh my a$$ off every time I hear about someone thinking they are going to stop that with spray. I was smothered under the bear (I killed it, but it was still quivering and bleeding) and could not get out from underneath without assistance, and I about suffocated."

I've heard this guy tell about his bear encounter over pizza and beer.

04-27-2009, 12:44 PM
Go ahead and carry it. I carry counter assault on my side any time I set foot in the park. I always here these guys talk about how they have fished all these years in the park without a bear incident, thats great for them. I am not worried about bears, but I have the piece of mind knowing I would have a deterrent if one did charge. Most of these "anti" spray people are just trying to put on a tough front anyway. Like I said, pay the $45 and get you a belt holster to go with it. You will feel much better when you are alone in the back country next time and you come upon a bear.