During my pre dawn run this morning my mind was filled with images of having my face chewed off by one of our local black bears or mtn lions, I couldn’t help but remember a bear encounter I had last year.
You see I was walking out of my house, armed with bear spray, which is often necessary due to the large numbers of ursines as well as their lack of fear of humans. Any how as I walked down the path to my vehicle I noticed a cub about 6′ up a tree no more than 10′ from where I was standing! As my mind wrapped itself around this sight I noticed movement and grunting on my other side. Yes I was in fact standing directly between a sow and her cub. Not a comforting feeling.
I am not sure what exactly happened, but I do know that the sow started to approach me as her cub started a very eerie moaning call to her, which was no doubt a distress call. Well apparently without a second thought I squared up to the approaching sow and started talking to her as I removed the safety to my bear spray. Fortunately I was familiar with the spray canister and was able to deploy it where I needed to when I needed to. Then I hauled ass back into the relative safety of my house.
Granted I came off of subject with that story but it only strengthens my tip of the day.
When in bear country carry your spray within easy reach. On your hip belt or somewhere where you can get to it and deploy it rapidly. Its place is not inside your pack. If you cannot reach it as you hike, it is not going to help keep the bear from chewing your face off!