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Bear Spray

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  • jonhartsel
    My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike, which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this useless weight?
    Message 1 of 27 , Jul 14 6:38 AM
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      My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike, which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!
    • Roleigh Martin
      I carried such for the first 7 years of hiking the high sierra. What got me to stop carrying it was these considerations: 1. definitely heavy 2. spray is
      Message 2 of 27 , Jul 14 6:45 AM
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        I carried such for the first 7 years of hiking the high sierra. What got me
        to stop carrying it was these considerations:

        1. definitely heavy
        2. spray is only good for about 90 seconds. when in use, it is a
        deterrent, when not in use, the residual smell is an attractant
        3. spray won't do you any good if it's not handy when needed, not sprayed
        in time, or if the wind is atrociously in your face
        4. I watched all the bear behavior/handling videos and realized with black
        bears following all the rules and knowing the bear behavior/handling rules
        along with having hiking poles, that you're probably just as safe with
        those.
        5. the fact that in the last 40 days on the trail and the last 6 years, no
        bear encounters have happened and in all 10 years, the only bear encounters
        did not need bear spray.

        If I was hiking grizzly territory (which I won't), I'd advise carrying the
        spray there. Be sure and bring OpSacks and if needed, bear-resistant
        cannisters. Nothing smelly goes into the tent.

        On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:38 AM, jonhartsel <jonhartsel@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike,
        > which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this
        > useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Barbara Karagosian
        I never carry it - too risky for spraying it in my own face when the wind shifts - plus totally unnecessary. If you are worried, carry a bell or something,
        Message 3 of 27 , Jul 14 7:09 AM
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          I never carry it - too risky for spraying it in my own face when the wind
          shifts - plus totally unnecessary. If you are worried, carry a bell or
          something, that way they hear you coming round the bend and run off. If
          they already have their claws into your food stash, give it up, cos now it's
          their's and they won't share.



          _____

          From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com]
          On Behalf Of jonhartsel
          Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 6:39 AM
          To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [John Muir Trail] Bear Spray








          My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike,
          which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this
          useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bob Bankhead
          John: It s not about what you need; it s about what he needs. If he needs the spray to feel more secure, let him. After all, he s the one who must carry the
          Message 4 of 27 , Jul 14 7:27 AM
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            John:

            It's not about what you need; it's about what he needs. If he needs the spray to feel more secure, let him. After all, he's the one who must carry the extra weight.

            He'll eventually discard it (not necessarily on this trip) when he sees he really doesn't need it.

            The old saying is true - there is safety in numbers. That's why many animals gather and move in herds. Generally speaking, the larger the group, the safer you are. It works for hikers in bear country as well.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • John Ladd
            I agree with preceding comments on bear spray. I don t carry it, but if it is worth the weight in peace of mind to him, let him. If I were to insist on
            Message 5 of 27 , Jul 14 7:59 AM
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              I agree with preceding comments on bear spray. I don't carry it, but if it
              is worth the weight in peace of mind to him, let him. If I were to insist
              on anything, I'd insist that he read up very carefully on how to use the
              thing correctly so that he doesn't needlessly endanger you or a bear.

              It's a lot better than him carrying a gun, after all.

              Be very careful of it in the car. If it went off in the car while you were
              driving, it could kill you.

              I have encountered bears (rarely) but with a little patience they wandered
              off without threatening me. Had one sniffing my head one night at Little
              Yos Valley years ago, which woke me up with a start. She went away when I
              banged a pot with a knife. And that was in a very bad bear area and in an
              era when bears were worse than they are today.

              If he carries it, keep it very handy. About the only time I can picture you
              using it is if you startled a bear by walking quietly toward him, were
              upwind of him and suddenly turned a corner into his "personal space". He's
              going to have to make his "fight or flight" decision very quickly. He'll
              probably opt for "flee" but if he decides to charge, he'll come very, very
              fast. Just don't run. Stand your ground and he'll probably stop, though
              perhaps only about 6 feet away.

              If he carries the spray, he'll need to get it out fast and break off any
              safety latch. But don't use it until the bear's almost on top of you.
              He'll probably stop. If he uses the spray when the bear's too far away, you
              may have a mad bear and he's out of spray. And he may have sprayed you in
              his excitement.

              John Curran Ladd
              1616 Castro Street
              San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
              415-648-9279 (voice and fax)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • herbstroh@charter.net
              I have never taken bear spray into the Sierra and never will. Bears want your food, not you. In the absence of grisly bears, humans are at the top of the food
              Message 6 of 27 , Jul 14 12:07 PM
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                I have never taken bear spray into the Sierra and never will.

                Bears want your food, not you. In the absence of grisly bears, humans are
                at the top of the food chain in the Sierra. (I suppose mountain lions are a
                caveat to that statement, but no one talks about bringing "mountain lion
                spray"). While improper handling/storage of food and the chance encounter
                of surprising a mother bear with cub do cause some risk to humans, these
                are best addressed by common sense rather than a weapon. It is not like the
                bears are circling camp looking for a chance to pounce on a hiker. Your
                food--oh yeah they will pounce on that--but not your person.

                Original Message:
                -----------------
                From: jonhartsel jonhartsel@...
                Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 13:38:36 -0000
                To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [John Muir Trail] Bear Spray


                My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike,
                which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this
                useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!



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              • Roleigh Martin
                ps, I read that no human has been killed by a black bear in California too. I forgot that point. I do toast our ancestors in CA who shot the last Grizzly -- I
                Message 7 of 27 , Jul 14 2:36 PM
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                  ps, I read that no human has been killed by a black bear in California too.
                  I forgot that point. I do toast our ancestors in CA who shot the last
                  Grizzly -- I am glad they are extinct in California. I don't care if this
                  is politically incorrect. I've talked to hikers who know the Grizzly bear
                  safety rules -- they are much worse. For one, Bearikade cannisters are not
                  approved for use in grizzly bear country by national parks in grizzly
                  territories. Two, the clothes you wear while cooking have to go into the
                  bear resistant cannisters, so you'd have to hike with extra clothes then.
                  Your bear resistant cannister would have to be larger to accomodate those
                  clothes. Maybe I heard wrong or read wrong, but I do not hike in grizzly
                  bear territory and am 100% content with California being grizzly-free.

                  On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:45 AM, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:

                  > I carried such for the first 7 years of hiking the high sierra. What got
                  > me to stop carrying it was these considerations:
                  >
                  > 1. definitely heavy
                  > 2. spray is only good for about 90 seconds. when in use, it is a
                  > deterrent, when not in use, the residual smell is an attractant
                  > 3. spray won't do you any good if it's not handy when needed, not sprayed
                  > in time, or if the wind is atrociously in your face
                  > 4. I watched all the bear behavior/handling videos and realized with black
                  > bears following all the rules and knowing the bear behavior/handling rules
                  > along with having hiking poles, that you're probably just as safe with
                  > those.
                  > 5. the fact that in the last 40 days on the trail and the last 6 years, no
                  > bear encounters have happened and in all 10 years, the only bear encounters
                  > did not need bear spray.
                  >
                  > If I was hiking grizzly territory (which I won't), I'd advise carrying the
                  > spray there. Be sure and bring OpSacks and if needed, bear-resistant
                  > cannisters. Nothing smelly goes into the tent.
                  >
                  > On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:38 AM, jonhartsel <jonhartsel@...>wrote:
                  >
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike,
                  >> which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this
                  >> useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • vmaki@mchsi.com
                  i agree Roleigh. i have no desire to hike in grizzly country. i too, am glad they are not in California ... ps, I read that no human has been killed by a
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jul 14 4:12 PM
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                    i agree Roleigh. i have no desire to hike in grizzly country. i too, am glad they are not in California
                    -------------- Original message from Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...>: --------------




                    ps, I read that no human has been killed by a black bear in California too.
                    I forgot that point. I do toast our ancestors in CA who shot the last
                    Grizzly -- I am glad they are extinct in California. I don't care if this
                    is politically incorrect. I've talked to hikers who know the Grizzly bear
                    safety rules -- they are much worse. For one, Bearikade cannisters are not
                    approved for use in grizzly bear country by national parks in grizzly
                    territories. Two, the clothes you wear while cooking have to go into the
                    bear resistant cannisters, so you'd have to hike with extra clothes then.
                    Your bear resistant cannister would have to be larger to accomodate those
                    clothes. Maybe I heard wrong or read wrong, but I do not hike in grizzly
                    bear territory and am 100% content with California being grizzly-free.

                    On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:45 AM, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:

                    > I carried such for the first 7 years of hiking the high sierra. What got
                    > me to stop carrying it was these considerations:
                    >
                    > 1. definitely heavy
                    > 2. spray is only good for about 90 seconds. when in use, it is a
                    > deterrent, when not in use, the residual smell is an attractant
                    > 3. spray won't do you any good if it's not handy when needed, not sprayed
                    > in time, or if the wind is atrociously in your face
                    > 4. I watched all the bear behavior/handling videos and realized with black
                    > bears following all the rules and knowing the bear behavior/handling rules
                    > along with having hiking poles, that you're probably just as safe with
                    > those.
                    > 5. the fact that in the last 40 days on the trail and the last 6 years, no
                    > bear encounters have happened and in all 10 years, the only bear encounters
                    > did not need bear spray.
                    >
                    > If I was hiking grizzly territory (which I won't), I'd advise carrying the
                    > spray there. Be sure and bring OpSacks and if needed, bear-resistant
                    > cannisters. Nothing smelly goes into the tent.
                    >
                    > On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 8:38 AM, jonhartsel <jonhartsel@...>wrote:
                    >
                    >>
                    >>
                    >> My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike,
                    >> which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this
                    >> useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • hmdsierra
                    I shared this post with my old backpacking buddy and this is his reply. In all but one instance that I ve read about, bear spray does not deter black bears. I
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jul 15 3:46 PM
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                      I shared this post with my old backpacking buddy and this is his reply.

                      In all but one instance that I've read about, bear spray does not deter black bears. I can't imagine why not. In the one instance that it did, the bear recovered quickly and stalked the man who luckily made it back to his vehicle just seconds before the bear overtook him. I ,of course, have had occasion to have a whiff of it and can't imagine it not stopping anyone or anything.

                      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I agree with preceding comments on bear spray. I don't carry it, but if it
                      > is worth the weight in peace of mind to him, let him. If I were to insist
                      > on anything, I'd insist that he read up very carefully on how to use the
                      > thing correctly so that he doesn't needlessly endanger you or a bear.
                      >
                      > It's a lot better than him carrying a gun, after all.
                      >
                      > Be very careful of it in the car. If it went off in the car while you were
                      > driving, it could kill you.
                      >
                      > I have encountered bears (rarely) but with a little patience they wandered
                      > off without threatening me. Had one sniffing my head one night at Little
                      > Yos Valley years ago, which woke me up with a start. She went away when I
                      > banged a pot with a knife. And that was in a very bad bear area and in an
                      > era when bears were worse than they are today.
                      >
                      > If he carries it, keep it very handy. About the only time I can picture you
                      > using it is if you startled a bear by walking quietly toward him, were
                      > upwind of him and suddenly turned a corner into his "personal space". He's
                      > going to have to make his "fight or flight" decision very quickly. He'll
                      > probably opt for "flee" but if he decides to charge, he'll come very, very
                      > fast. Just don't run. Stand your ground and he'll probably stop, though
                      > perhaps only about 6 feet away.
                      >
                      > If he carries the spray, he'll need to get it out fast and break off any
                      > safety latch. But don't use it until the bear's almost on top of you.
                      > He'll probably stop. If he uses the spray when the bear's too far away, you
                      > may have a mad bear and he's out of spray. And he may have sprayed you in
                      > his excitement.
                      >
                      > John Curran Ladd
                      > 1616 Castro Street
                      > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
                      > 415-648-9279 (voice and fax)
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • msstanford2002
                      You may not be able to talk him out of it - but if he insists on carrying it, let him! I just got back from my 1st ever backpacking trip/JMT hike. We hiked
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jul 22 4:00 PM
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                        You may not be able to talk him out of it - but if he insists on carrying it, let him!

                        I just got back from my 1st ever backpacking trip/JMT hike. We hiked from TM to RM. I did a ton of research, talked to a lot of people/experienced backpackers, & also just have the experience fresh in my mind.

                        What I can tell you is that getting attacked by a bear is really about the last thing you need to worry about. Black Bears do NOT want you - they want really easy calories. You're more likely to twist an ankle or have your water pump break before you even see a bear.

                        All that being said, you do NEED to have good awareness so that if you're lucky enough to see a bear, you'll know what to do. Additionally, you obviously don't want to get in between a Sow & her cubs, but again, this is highly unlikely.

                        My hiking partner was terrified & it made him feel better carrying the bear spray which was fine w/me. He also carried an air horn & banged his poles together whenever we went through a shadowy area (because, of course, there were tons of black bears that were lurking in the shadows to take a bite out of our butts!) :)

                        Really - keep your wits about you, make a ton of noise/throw small rocks/pine cones if you see a bear in your site & you'll be totally fine. I WISH I saw a bear in the wild when we went, but alas, we didn't.

                        Have a great trip!!!


                        Scott





                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "jonhartsel" <jonhartsel@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > My friend / hiking partner is planning to bring bear spray on our hike, which I feel is unnecessary. How can I convince him to get rid of this useless weight? What % (if any) JMT hikers carry bear spray? Thanks!
                        >
                      • Byron Nevins
                        I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can t use them) And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND
                        Message 11 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                          I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can't use them)
                          And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND to carry:

                          The possession, use, or discharge of pepper spray (including bear spray), pellet guns, and BB guns in Yosemite National Park is prohibited.

                          http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

                          I think the proper procedure if a Mountain Lion attacks you is to try to drag yourself off the trail as he's is ripping you up in order to avoid a charge of littering.



                        • Jason Schlager
                          Baiting Mountain Lions with meat is prohibited.
                          Message 12 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                            Baiting Mountain Lions with "meat" is prohibited.

                            On Dec 2, 2013 12:18 PM, "Byron Nevins" <byron.nevins@...> wrote:
                             

                            I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can't use them)
                            And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND to carry:

                            The possession, use, or discharge of pepper spray (including bear spray), pellet guns, and BB guns in Yosemite National Park is prohibited.

                            http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

                            I think the proper procedure if a Mountain Lion attacks you is to try to drag yourself off the trail as he's is ripping you up in order to avoid a charge of littering.



                          • Jason Schlager
                            Baiting Mountain Lions with meat is prohibited.
                            Message 13 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                              Baiting Mountain Lions with "meat" is prohibited.

                              On Dec 2, 2013 12:18 PM, "Byron Nevins" <byron.nevins@...> wrote:
                               

                              I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can't use them)
                              And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND to carry:

                              The possession, use, or discharge of pepper spray (including bear spray), pellet guns, and BB guns in Yosemite National Park is prohibited.

                              http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

                              I think the proper procedure if a Mountain Lion attacks you is to try to drag yourself off the trail as he's is ripping you up in order to avoid a charge of littering.



                            • cehauser1
                              Just tell your friend that he doesn t have to outrun the bear, he just needs to outrun the slowest person in the group. But seriously, I think your friend is
                              Message 14 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                                Just tell your friend that he doesn't have to outrun the bear, he just needs to outrun the slowest person in the group.  But seriously, I think your friend is thinking of the wrong bears, or the wrong mountains, because bear spray is totally unnecessary for black bears in the Sierras, in my opinion.


                                Question 1:  Maybe try to help your friend understand how un-aggressive black bears really are.  Maybe help your friend understand that bears are completely uninterested in you if they think your food is out of their reach, in a bear canister.  I don't have any solid evidence, but it seems to me that bears are much less attracted to people these days, compared to the old days when they were constantly trying to be peoples' food hangs.


                                Question 2:  Others probably know better, but I'd be very surprised if more that 1% of JMT hikers carry bear spray.  I've never seen this topic even discussed on this Yahoo JMT list, and it never came up with any of the people I talked with this summer.  You might want to carry bear spray in areas with grizzly/brown bears, but black bears are real wimps.  I've seen lots of black bears in the Sierras, but they were nearly always running away from me.  This summer on the JMT, I saw a few eating berries, totally uninterested in people camping and hiking nearby.


                                I don't know how much knowledge or experience your friend has, but sometimes it is impossible to convince a person that their fear is wrong until they experience it for themselves.  Don't push him too hard.  Let him carry the bear spray this trip, as long as you don't have to carry it, and as long as you are careful to not get sprayed by your friend by accident.  


                                About 20 years ago, I was almost shot in the middle of the night by my very scared pistol-packing backpacking partner.  As he lay in his sleeping bag in the middle of the night, the top of the bag started brushing across his head (the bag was moving from his breathing), and he thought it was a a bear sniffing his head.  Just as he was going to make a quick lunge for his pistol, I rolled over in my sleeping bag, and he thought I was the bear for a second.  I almost took a bullet.  Some stories you never laugh about, no matter how many years pass.


                                Have a fun trip, and don't push your friend too hard,


                                Chris.



                                ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <jmschlager@...> wrote:

                                Baiting Mountain Lions with "meat" is prohibited.

                                On Dec 2, 2013 12:18 PM, "Byron Nevins" <byron.nevins@...> wrote:
                                 

                                I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can't use them)
                                And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND to carry:

                                The possession, use, or discharge of pepper spray (including bear spray), pellet guns, and BB guns in Yosemite National Park is prohibited.

                                http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

                                I think the proper procedure if a Mountain Lion attacks you is to try to drag yourself off the trail as he's is ripping you up in order to avoid a charge of littering.



                              • John Ladd
                                I m not sure Byron was much worried about bear, but in case anyone was: Bear-caused deaths in Yosemite NP: 0 in 150+ years Deer-caused deaths in Yosemite NP: 1
                                Message 15 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                                  I'm not sure Byron was much worried about bear, but in case anyone was:

                                  Bear-caused deaths in Yosemite NP: 0 in 150+ years

                                  Deer-caused deaths in Yosemite NP: 1 in 150+ years (a young kid trying
                                  to feed a deer got impaled on a horn)

                                  Source: Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite by Michael P. Ghiglieri

                                  Maybe bring deer spray. Or don't try to feed the deer.

                                  There were 2 people last year badly frightened my mountain lions, but
                                  there again actual attacks have been negligible, again 0 in Yosemite
                                  NP (same source).

                                  John Curran Ladd
                                  1616 Castro Street
                                  San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
                                  415-648-9279
                                • Roleigh Martin
                                  Bryon, I like your writing. Your gentle sarcasm I m sure generated a lot of laughs. Anyway, when I first started doing multi-week hiking in the High Sierras
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Dec 2, 2013
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                                    Bryon, I like your writing.  Your gentle sarcasm I'm sure generated a lot of laughs.  

                                    Anyway, when I first started doing multi-week hiking in the High Sierras (I've done it every summer for the last 14-15 years), I was scared about bears and for about 2-3 years carried bear spray (I don't know if I was violating the policy in effect then or not).  It would have been a SEKI policy anyway, as my first 7 years was limited to the High Sierra Trail and tangents.

                                    But after talking to other hikers, and reading nearly every book on bears -- look for books with the word "bear" or "lion" in the Amazon Wish List I created for reading material useful for hiking in the Sierras -- it's in one of the links in our group, but repeated here:


                                    Anyway, it's late here on the East Coast and I want to get to bed.  Follow the rules the NPS provides on bear safety, understand their behavior/psychology by reading some of the books, and you'll do just fine.

                                    Mountain Lions are much more a risk near major urban areas (such as remote suburbs) where human activity has scared away wild game, such is not the case on the JMT.  The only known human encounter with a Mountain Lion I've heard of in the High Sierras was with a female ranger who was off trail and even with her, she was not killed.  I don't know more, but it happened probably 20-40 years ago, maybe John Dittle knows more about that incident.  

                                    I've seen their tracks and their scat but no other evidence, and no other park ranger I've talked too has seen them up live either.

                                    I did read where a hiking pole saved a hiker (perhaps it was in Colorado, not 100% sure), where the hiker had the ability to kneel down and turn the hiking pole upside down, pointed side up, and the lion landed on the pole, and it was enough of a jolt for the lion, it turned around and left the hiker alone).  

                                    I personally think the very sensible bear rules, your wits and your hiking poles are good enough protection to deal with black bears.  The stats John gave I've heard are also true for the whole state of California since 1900.

                                    Roleigh


                                    -------------------------------------------------
                                    Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                    _



                                    On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM, Byron Nevins <byron.nevins@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    I was looking into the gun policy in National Parks (you can carry them but you can't use them)
                                    And was surprised to see that Bear Spray is illegal to use AND to carry:

                                    The possession, use, or discharge of pepper spray (including bear spray), pellet guns, and BB guns in Yosemite National Park is prohibited.

                                    http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm

                                    I think the proper procedure if a Mountain Lion attacks you is to try to drag yourself off the trail as he's is ripping you up in order to avoid a charge of littering.




                                  • groundhogsteve
                                    Before you do that whole run faster than somebody else thing, first determine if the bear is a black bear or brown/grizzly. Check the molars.
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                      Before you do that whole "run faster than somebody else" thing, first determine if the bear is a black bear or brown/grizzly.  Check the molars.
                                    • Bill Cathey
                                      That seems like too much trouble, given that it would require some cooperation from the bear to examine its teeth. A more practical way to differentiate
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                        That seems like too much trouble, given that it would require some cooperation from the bear to examine its teeth.

                                        A more practical way to differentiate between a black and grizzly bear is to sneak around behind the bear and give it a little kick in the behind. Not a hard kick, as you don't want to hurt the bear. Just enough to freak it out a little. Then, quickly climb a tree. If the bear climbs up the tree and kills you, it's a black bear. If the bear just knocks the tree down and kills you, it's a grizzly ;o)

                                        Seriously, though, I always carry bear spray in grizzly country, such as Yellowstone, but would never do so in the Sierra or other areas where only black bears reside.

                                        Just keep a clean camp. Never store, prepare or eat food where you sleep. Keep all odiferous items properly stored in a bear can (or bear hang where permitted).

                                        bill

                                        On Dec 3, 2013, at 8:53 AM, <groundhogsteve@...> wrote:

                                         

                                        Before you do that whole "run faster than somebody else" thing, first determine if the bear is a black bear or brown/grizzly.  Check the molars.

                                      • Byron Nevins
                                        My post was tongue-in-cheek about illogical laws. Gun? Sure. Pepper Spray? No way. I must be pretty lucky because I had 2 extremely up close and personal
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                          My post was tongue-in-cheek about illogical laws.  Gun?  Sure.  Pepper Spray? No way.

                                          I must be pretty lucky because I had 2 extremely up close and personal encounters with Mountain Lions in 2013.  One was in Pacifica and the other in Pioneer.  In the former case we were both on the same trail going towards each other.  50 feet apart.  This Lion absolutely held his ground for a good 1 minute while checking me out.  I did the same.  I was very happy to have 2 hiking poles for defense.  If I had turned and run it may have turned ugly.  Finally he gave in and exited into the bushes.

                                          In Pioneer the Lion showed up on the porch of the house.  I was 5 feet away, safely inside the house.  

                                          I mainly was thinking of the woman's blog last summer where she was so freaked out that she stayed up all night in a panic over a lion (probably not real).  Holding some pepper spray would give one enough of a feeling of security to calm down even if it would never be used.



                                        • johndittli
                                          Just for the record, and I don t mean this in any political way, just stating facts. The allowance of guns in National Parks is rather new. A gun bill was
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                            Just for the record, and I don't mean this in any political way, just stating facts.


                                            The allowance of guns in National Parks is rather new. A gun bill was attached as an unrelated amendment to Credit Card legislation in May of 2010. Prior to that, guns were, for all practical purpose, outlawed in 1936. Under the new law, the NPS must abide to state gun regulations. The NPS is still allowed to regulate other "arms" such as slingshots, traps, sprays etc. 


                                            As for seeing 2 mountain lions in one year, yes you are very fortunate. Fifty years of working and playing in the mountains, tracks on my driveway with somewhat regularity, and I have yet to see one!


                                            JD

                                            Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail


                                             

                                          • Roleigh Martin
                                            I don t live in CA. Where is Pacifica and Pioneer? If those locations are near suburbs, the wildlife expert explanation is that mountain lions are more a
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                              I don't live in CA.  Where is Pacifica and Pioneer?  If those locations are near suburbs, the wildlife expert explanation is that mountain lions are more a threat to humans there because the wild game/life is not easily available to the Mountain Lions, hence the consideration of human bait.  These same experts state the problem is virtually zero on the PCT because there is so much wild game nearby.  

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                                              On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM, Byron Nevins <byron.nevins@...> wrote:
                                               

                                              My post was tongue-in-cheek about illogical laws.  Gun?  Sure.  Pepper Spray? No way.

                                              I must be pretty lucky because I had 2 extremely up close and personal encounters with Mountain Lions in 2013.  One was in Pacifica and the other in Pioneer.  In the former case we were both on the same trail going towards each other.  50 feet apart.  This Lion absolutely held his ground for a good 1 minute while checking me out.  I did the same.  I was very happy to have 2 hiking poles for defense.  If I had turned and run it may have turned ugly.  Finally he gave in and exited into the bushes.

                                              In Pioneer the Lion showed up on the porch of the house.  I was 5 feet away, safely inside the house.  

                                              I mainly was thinking of the woman's blog last summer where she was so freaked out that she stayed up all night in a panic over a lion (probably not real).  Holding some pepper spray would give one enough of a feeling of security to calm down even if it would never be used.




                                            • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
                                              No mountain lions this year but I was visited at one of my camp sites by a beautiful wolf/coyote hybrid - after seeing another on the trail earlier in the day.
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                                No mountain lions this year but I was visited at one of my camp sites by a beautiful wolf/coyote hybrid - after seeing another on the trail earlier in the day. The wolf checked me out and then went on its way. It was a wonderful experience seeing one of these magnificent animals up close.

                                                Ken.

                                                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johndittli@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Just for the record, and I don't mean this in any political way, just stating facts.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > The allowance of guns in National Parks is rather new. A gun bill was attached as an unrelated amendment to Credit Card legislation in May of 2010. Prior to that, guns were, for all practical purpose, outlawed in 1936. Under the new law, the NPS must abide to state gun regulations. The NPS is still allowed to regulate other "arms" such as slingshots, traps, sprays etc.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > As for seeing 2 mountain lions in one year, yes you are very fortunate. Fifty years of working and playing in the mountains, tracks on my driveway with somewhat regularity, and I have yet to see one!
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > JD
                                                > Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                                                >
                                              • Joe MacLeish
                                                Actually the problem is likely the reverse. Deer are a natural prey to Mountain Lions in CA. Deer are everywhere. Friends build tall, expensive fences to
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Dec 3, 2013
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                                                  Actually the problem is likely the reverse.  Deer are a natural prey to Mountain Lions in CA.  Deer are everywhere.  Friends build tall, expensive fences to keep them out of their yards.  I suspect it is more that the Lions are there and have always been there and people are encroaching on their habitat.  Their prey is still there if not more abundant so they don't move on and they get used to people so they do not stay invisible as they have in the past.  I seriously doubt that Mountain Lions consider humans as prey.  Maybe as threats and maybe as competitors but not as prey.

                                                  As far as Pacifica goes there is plenty of open area around it and Pioneer is out in the weeds and probably easily accessible to Mountain Lions as well.  But so is Oakland, Livermore, and many other cities.  Mountain Lions are seen in the Oakland Hills.  A quick scan of the net shows that almost all areas in the SF Bay Area have recent confirmed Mountain Lion sightings.
                                                  They are there, we are there and were going to bump into each other.

                                                  Joe

                                                   

                                                  From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Roleigh Martin
                                                  Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 2:12 PM
                                                  To: John Muir Trail YahooGroups
                                                  Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bear Spray

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  I don't live in CA.  Where is Pacifica and Pioneer?  If those locations are near suburbs, the wildlife expert explanation is that mountain lions are more a threat to humans there because the wild game/life is not easily available to the Mountain Lions, hence the consideration of human bait.  These same experts state the problem is virtually zero on the PCT because there is so much wild game nearby.  


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                                                  _

                                                   

                                                  On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM, Byron Nevins <byron.nevins@...> wrote:

                                                   

                                                  My post was tongue-in-cheek about illogical laws.  Gun?  Sure.  Pepper Spray? No way.

                                                   

                                                  I must be pretty lucky because I had 2 extremely up close and personal encounters with Mountain Lions in 2013.  One was in Pacifica and the other in Pioneer.  In the former case we were both on the same trail going towards each other.  50 feet apart.  This Lion absolutely held his ground for a good 1 minute while checking me out.  I did the same.  I was very happy to have 2 hiking poles for defense.  If I had turned and run it may have turned ugly.  Finally he gave in and exited into the bushes.

                                                   

                                                  In Pioneer the Lion showed up on the porch of the house.  I was 5 feet away, safely inside the house.  

                                                   

                                                  I mainly was thinking of the woman's blog last summer where she was so freaked out that she stayed up all night in a panic over a lion (probably not real).  Holding some pepper spray would give one enough of a feeling of security to calm down even if it would never be used.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                • berdomb
                                                  I have welcomed and enjoyed all my encounters with black bears. I carried bear spray exactly once in an area where black bears were known to be habituated, and
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Dec 8, 2013
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                                                    I have welcomed and enjoyed all my encounters with black bears.

                                                    I carried bear spray exactly once in an area where black bears were known to be habituated, and even there realized it was not needed.

                                                    I have had them walk by me within 30 ft with cubs in areas where they are used to people
                                                    I have had them go up trees, and come down trees very close to me
                                                    Mostly, they just run away at first recognization
                                                    But they all are different
                                                    I have never had what I would call an "aggressive" encounter with a black bear
                                                    I have had encounters with bears that were not afraid, or seemed indifferent.
                                                    These have not worried me in the least.
                                                    So far so good, Im giving them the benefit of the doubt.
                                                    They want nothing to do with people, just an easy meal. Just like a raccoon.
                                                  • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
                                                    Good posting.
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Dec 8, 2013
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                                                      Good posting.

                                                      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <berdomb@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > I have welcomed and enjoyed all my encounters with black bears.
                                                      >
                                                      > I carried bear spray exactly once in an area where black bears were known to be habituated, and even there realized it was not needed.
                                                      >
                                                      > I have had them walk by me within 30 ft with cubs in areas where they are used to people
                                                      > I have had them go up trees, and come down trees very close to me
                                                      > Mostly, they just run away at first recognization
                                                      > But they all are different
                                                      > I have never had what I would call an "aggressive" encounter with a black bear
                                                      > I have had encounters with bears that were not afraid, or seemed indifferent.
                                                      > These have not worried me in the least.
                                                      > So far so good, Im giving them the benefit of the doubt.
                                                      > They want nothing to do with people, just an easy meal. Just like a raccoon.
                                                      >
                                                    • Roleigh Martin
                                                      In the parks and forests the JMT traverses I ve heard of only one mountain lion encounter, and it was off trail, involving a ranger about 20-30 years ago. She
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Dec 8, 2013
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                                                        In the parks and forests the JMT traverses I've heard of only one mountain lion encounter, and it was off trail, involving a ranger about 20-30 years ago.  She lived through the encounter.  A mountain lion would be the rarest of worries in the high sierras since there is so much wild game to occupy the focus of mountain lions.  They're far more a threat in mountain suburbs in the west where human activity has scared wild game away.

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                                                        On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM, Styllista <styllista@...> wrote:
                                                         

                                                        any mountain lion?

                                                        Sent from my iPad


                                                      • joehiker59
                                                        Last year when I picked up my permit in TM rangers stated bear spray is considered a weapon and is not allowed in the park. Unless he has a terrible fear of
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Jan 7, 2014
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                                                          Last year when I picked up my permit in TM rangers stated bear spray is considered a weapon and is not allowed in the park.  Unless he has a terrible fear of marmmots he will not need it anyway.

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