Bear Canisters

I hear ya…

– Last Updated: Mar-15-10 4:26 AM EST –

I have one of those "bear cache" canisters and I barely got enough food in there for my 3 night trip, let alone this long Allagash one I'm planning...I guess my plan is to rent another from EMS for this upcoming trip.

And bear bags are not allowed anywhere there's grizzlies...You can only bring canisters. I heard that from the guy I bought my canister from off of E-Bay...He used to be a Yellowstone guide and only canisters are allowed there...But where there are no grizzlies, you can do the bags and I still choose a canister. On a related note, pretty cool that my canister has scratches on it from real grizzly bears!

Btw, I had heard just the op about bears...It's dogs you don't look in the eye cuz they hate that...But looking away from a bear says, I'm scared of you...So you're actually supposed to look them in the eye and show them, yeah that's right, I could take you down! But yeah right, I couldn't even take down a koala!

I also heard a little something else...That advice about just lying there is great for grizzlies and what you need to do to survive...Because grizzlies beat you up just to beat you up, not to kill you and certainly not to eat you...So on one hand grizzlies worse, cuz they're jerks and attacks from them are more likely. But on the other hand, black bears are worse because IF a black bear is coming after you, it's because he's starving and it's to eat you, so with a black bear, if you do NOT fight back, you're dead! So you really need to stop and check out just who's about to attack you...And it may be a little harder than you think, esp if it happens so fast, cuz black bears can be brown and brown bears can be black...But grizzlies have that big dish face and hump that isn't too hard to miss, but still.

I also know this interesting little factoid...If a grizzly is coming after you, climb a tree, highly unlikely he'll climb it to get you, they rarely climb trees, doesn't mean he won't though, if he's really that upset with you! If it's a black bear coming after you, go into the water, they will rarely go into the water to get you...But don't climb a tree, cuz they love to climb trees! So grizzlies will rarely climb trees but love the water...Black bears will climb the tree but prbly not head into the water.

And I always yell "coming bear", esp when heading down the trail to the ouhouse and also esp at night! "Coming moose" too, heehee!

I know you said you got the bear stuff down but I just wanted to add my two cents of all the things I've learned for anyone else reading this.

And honestly, it's the moose that I will be fearing more come my Allagash trip...I already made a mental note, tent by a tree or two so I do not get stepped on as I sleep! And before I even knew of the water getting low come Aug., I was already moving my trip to July as I heard late Aug. is when the moose go "in to season" and therefore get real mean! I read a blog about a guy coming around a bend on the river and one moose pushed another moose almost right into him...Too scary for me!

And I also found that so odd how people think "bear spray" is for spraying around their tent, duh and d'oh!

you’re a beginner
taking an advanced wilderness trip. I’d say you are more likely to run into trouble on water than on land. I’d spend all my waking hours building my kayaking skills. Be careful and enjoy, I envy you your trip!


Read the book by Dr Stephen Herrero
Bear Attacks, Their Cause and Avoidance. For any travel where Griz occurs, it will be most useful. Not only that, the advice comes from a lifelong bear and bear attack researcher, not a “handle” on an internet forum. My best advice regarding bear canisters is to portion out your meals and remove as much packaging and the accompanying air in them. You should be able to get a week per canister. I’m not petite, either. The Garcia is not water proof so you will need to waterproof your food before you put it in there. When I go on a trip where canisters are needed, I plan meals and package carefully. You probably do, too, but every air pocket counts when you aren’t benefitted by resupply.


heavy sidearms …

– Last Updated: Mar-17-10 12:43 PM EST –

..... these are two rounds that are used for both handgun hunting and self-defense of large dangerous animals such as Grizzys .

The .500 S&W Magnum has as much ft.lbs. of shock energy as the high power rifle cartridge .30-06 ... about 3000 ft.lbs at muzzel velocity . The .30-06 of course will carry that energy much farther in terms of yards distance , but within a range of 25 yds. there would be almost no noticable difference . Smith and Wesson have a 4" barreled revolver for the .500 S&W Mag. round .
To fire this round from a handgun requires practice experience to understand the severe recoil and shock the shooter must endure ...

The .454 Casull mag. would be my round of choice as it can deliver more than sufficient ft.lbs. energy to bring down a Grizzly in close range ... 2000 ft.lbs. at the muzzel . There is a heavy sidearm offered , the Ruger .454 caliber "Alaskan" designed specifically as a self defense weapon to be carried in Bear country and used as a self defense weapon against large dangerous animals ... it is the lightest and most compact available , having a 2-1/2" barrell .... essentially the Alaskan is a barrel shortened Super RedHawk . Again to shoot a .454 Casull round you must do some practice first , to understand the extreme forces the shooter must endure .

Both of these rounds are basically canons held in your hand , but very controllable once you understand how to discharge them .

The .500 S&W Mag. would not be my first choice for quick deployment in a self defense situation ... basically because the percussion of firing the round from one the revolvers designed for it has the ability to cause severe eye and ear damage without wearing the protective gear which is doubtful you would take the time to put on first ??

You can fire the .454 Casull mag. w/o eye and ears gear on , it will be nasty but doubtful of causing any severe ear & eye damage from the percussion .

A sidearm like either of these would quickly find a new owner if put up for resale in the Yukon , or similar big Bear country territories .

There are aprox. 6-7000 Grizzlys and another 10,000 Black bears in the Yukon . They can and have mammed and killed many people ... by percentage odds your chances of being another victim is slim ... although if such an encounter that will take your life befalls you , these side arms can and will change the outcome , they could be your only chance at that time . And on that basis is why I would be carrying the .454 Casull Alaskan , I doubt it would ever be fired except for practice proficiency , but they "are" designed to save your life if required .

A few thoughts
a) Canisters - I made my own. You can buy deep-drawn aluminum cylinders, then weld on a lid and access with a marine-style port. You can custom make them to fit your boat. They’re not ‘legal’ in the parks, but effective in the wild.

b) Stuff on your deck - I would avoid it. It makes rescues, towing and reentry much harder.

c) Human urine - it’s a powerful anti-bear perfume. The bear trails will be obvious at your camp. Find a spot where the trail crosses a log, or hump, or rock. Piss all over it as soon as you begin setting up camp. Make a perimeter around your camp and a separate perimeter around where you store your food. I have heard many a brown bear approaching my tent, stop roughly where I peed, then run off into the woods.

d) Training bears with a shotgun - I’m no animal psychologist, but I think a slug to the chest counts as negative reinforcement. Not very effective. Stay away from conditioned bears and the parks in which they live.

What exactly is wildlife’s “place in the scheme of things?”

I’m a little foggy on that one.

Bears and food

– Last Updated: Mar-18-10 11:59 PM EST –

Getting back to your question about odor free bags, bear canisters and food storage in the sub arctic. Just where in the sub arctic, I am not certain, and location does have an impact on what approach you should use.

When we paddled in Greenland and Baffin we really didn’t do anything special with the food. Kept them away from camp, but not far and just inside a garbage bag and dry bag. There were always 8 plus people on these trips and a dog along on a few of those. Yes, the german shepard rode inside one of the kayaks. Good guard dog.

In Southeast Alaska we always carry our food inside an OPSak and then in Ursaks – others use canisters, but they are too heavy for my tastes. This area has the highest concentration of brown bears anywhere, so prudence dictates that type of response from spring through fall. We take greater precautions because we travel farther and don’t stay in dedicated camps. We, then, are in the bear’s country and act accordingly; as any guest should.

In winter, I’ll just put the food inside of an OPSak.

I think you could get away with an OPSak but urge you to purchase Ursaks as well. They cost $65 a piece and you have got to be spending a hell of a lot more than that on other gear. Put the really smelly stuff in the Ursask. If you are only three days from a mail drop – just where is this sub arctic country – you can easily fit your food in a couple of bags. Think about the type of food you are bringing. We pack 24 days of food for 2 people into 4 Ursaks, and we eat well.

I know a lot of people who live and hunt along coastal arctic and sub arctic waters. They typically don’t do anything with their food aside from trying to keep the voles from running away with it at night.

I think you can get away with this depending on where you are going.

“I'm going to look into that 30-gal drum that was posted and see if maybe i could just leash that onto the top of the kayak with bungee cords or something, just presuming that wouldn't fit into a kayak's hold.”

A 30 gallon drum has almost as much volume as your boat and would turn it into a barge. You should not go on the water if you are considering this as an option. Drive north and car camp.


Read your profile. The Yukon is not sub arctic, you will be inside the tree line almost the entire distance if you are going from Whitehorse to the mouth. The last 100 miles is sparsely treed past St. Marys. I was there last week.

I cant believe anyone would consider
a 30 gal barrel and even thing about putting it on their kayak. A canoe yes, a yak yes, a kayak NO WAY!!

The big reason for the bear canisters is that they cannot open them. If you put your food in anything that they can open you risk losing all your food. My wife and I did six nights in Alaska in our kayaks and we had two large canisters and a small one. We split our food (nine days worth for a safety margin) into the 2 big ones and the small one held our snacks.

1. Purchase (1) 12 gauge pump shotgun. Inexpensive model with poly stock and forearm are best. It will get wet and beat up as any camp gun tends to.

2. Load one #6 birdshot in magazine. Cycle pump to load bird shot into chamber

3. Fill the rest of the magazine with OO Buck. (If this is a stock stockgun, remove the 3 shot plug that they often come fitted with so you can completely fill your magazine with goodness

4. Strap pump shotgun in boat of choice, and keep close by while in camp. If there are children around, they should have already been taught firearm safety and to never touch a firearm unless with an adult.

5. This is the important step. Fire at any bear you see with your first bird shot round. I dont care if it’s innocently walking away. Bears smell and hear us WAY before we see them. They should take their leave at first wiff. If it runs off like they usually do, great. You just taught or reminded him that humans and human scent are nothing it wants to associate with. If it charges or disagrees with your attempt to teach, your next few rounds are OO Buck, so kill the varmint. If it’s willing to charge humans after being peppered, we didn’t need that one around anyways.

If everyone follows this, we’ll soon end up with a generation of bears that are afraid of humans, and will avoid at all costs. They’ll also teach their young the same. This will create much healthier, happier bears in the future. Humans have been teaching bears NOT to be afraid of us, and that we’re a great food source for over 50 years. Now we need to teach them differently.

There are just…

– Last Updated: Mar-19-10 10:19 AM EST –

too many humans now...And we have taken over too much of the bears land and therefore food...It'll never happen. Plus, I heard, forget where, some tv show prbly, that bears, well grizzlies, are starting to come running when they hear gunshots...They've gotten smart and realize that a gunshot means a dead deer...That's why they're on hunters as fast as they are, they come running to that sound...So not sure that would work very well, not nowadays. And if it did scare away the first one...It'd just bring in another! Not to mention, one or even two shots do not take down a grizzly, even if he did die from his wounds, he could still kill me before he does! I heard it's the powerful bear spray that stops them in their tracks and if they don't leave after that and still try to attack you through it, then shoot him cuz that's a damn mean bear! But bear spray sounds like win/win all around...It stops him and even faster and lets you and the bear get away without any damage to either you or the bear. And peeing around your camp is good advice, I heard that too!

bad advice
Carrying a shotgun is a good idea in brown bear country – though bear spray probably is smarter and a better defensive measure given the level of fear that commonly results from a charging bear. However, putting 00 shot in for the kill is stupid. Slugs kill brown bears, not 00 shot. We carry the Mossberg marine version shotgun with a pistol grip when paddling near Admiralty Island and other areas with a high concentration of brown bears, and we also each have our own bear spray.

Also, given that this person is planning on paddling the Yukon, bringing a shotgun into Canada is s chore.

An American in Canada is going to
have this arsenal?


Anyone who doesn’t think OOBuck will take down the largest bear made, needs to take some OOBuckshot out and play with it. Bring some wood, a cinder block, other hard items to a safe range and test fire. Ma nature doesn’t make a bear tougher than OOBuck at close range. Dead bear.

it’s difficult to get ballistics data …

– Last Updated: Mar-19-10 10:13 PM EST –

...... for buckshot (any shot for that matter) , but you can determine some things from what info. is available .

For instance , 000 buck shot in a mag. case could be 8 pellets weighing 67 gr. each , with a muzzel velocity of 1225 ft/sec. (I chose a very heavy 000 buck) ,

that would come out to about 200 ft.lbs. of energy (plus or minus 50 ft.lbs.) for each shot pellet ...

True you are delivering 8 pellets at the same time , but not with any great force . The ballistics for each pellet fall somewhere inbetween a .22 cal. (rim fire) and .380 cal. (ACP) ... sorta like 8 people shotting a Bear at the same time with rounds in that range .

Absolutely no comparison to one single shock from a 2000 - 3000 energy round .

00 and 000 buckshot are deer size shot in close range at best . Just not very much ft.lbs. of energy delivered per pellet .


found this ballistics calculator …

– Last Updated: Mar-19-10 9:33 PM EST –

...... it's close enough I'm sure to explain what I have said about 000 buckshot .

fill in the blanks ... 8 pellet 000 buck (mag. brass) averages .23 cal./pellet , muzzel velocity 1225 ft./sec. , pellet grain weight .67 gr. ,

In comparison consider the slug or sabot round as Umnack and others have mentioned when they are speaking of shotguns as a dfensive weapon against large dangerous animals (Bears) .

fill in the blanks ... a single 546.87 gr. slug (1.250 oz.) , muzzel velocity 1600 ft./sec. , (don't recall the cal. but not needed to use ballistic energy calculator) ...

You can see that a 12 ga. mag. load sabot delivers 3000+ ft.lbs. at the muzzel (comparable to the .30-06 rifle round) ... and would still carry about 2500 ft.lbs. at 25 yds.

Even if you were to add all 8 pellets in combined energy ... at 223 ft.lbs. each , that's still only 1784 ft.lbs. total ... but it doesn't work that way with 000 buck , only the single mass projectile will give you the shock power it delivers individually .

yeah but a grizzys skull …

– Last Updated: Mar-19-10 9:52 PM EST –

...... is not a cantalope . The little 000 buck pellets may well bounce off his skull ??

Hitting a Griz in it's body mass with 000 buck would probably be very ineffective energy wise .

Hit him in the ass and I'd bet he's going to get very mad at you after he licks his butt once .

This video proves that buckshot is perfectly capable of killing a bear.

at times like this …

– Last Updated: Mar-20-10 11:36 AM EST –

...... I almost think the anti-gun activist might have a valid point .

There are just some people who should not be allowed anywhere near a firearm .

So you’re on the fence about being an American vs. being an antigun advocate?