Laser for bear scare

The topic of bears, bear spray, guns pops up every so often on paddling/backpacking forums, but I don’t remember seeing anything about using a personal laser (pen laser?) as a possible deterrant to scare away animals. If a laser can cause problems from the ground to an airliner cockpit, I’m just wondering . . . Any input? Thanks to all.

let’s see …
Cats love them, but dogs could care less about a red light dancing around them.

Before I begin packing my laser light on my hikes do you think you could do some research for us?

I think we really need to know if a bear will react like a cat or react like a dog?

Sooo . . .
What are you going to do? You aren’t going to shoot it (you’re just kidding yourself if you think that); “bear spray” isn’t effective on black bears (or anything else except yourself if you happen to be down wind) . . . I’ve never had a problem and don’t intend to, but more people are doing idiotic things on the water and in the woods so it’s creating more potential for a problem encounter.

I beg to differ…
as I spend quite as bit of time in black bear and grizzly country every year. I’ve had numerous contact situations with both species but only a few were immediately dangerous.

I’ve found pepper spray to be quite effective on snotty black bears. Of course it won’t do you any good unless you’ve practiced with it (dry fire scenarios) and carry it readily available in a belt holster.

Most folks I’ve talked to that have had pepper spray failures have initiated their defence far too early while the bear was still out of range. This also indicates a lack of knowledge regarding bear behaviour.

I’m a handgun hunter who uses large calibres regularly and I’ve taken game as alrge as bison with my sidearms but I’d never consider a handgun as protection against a bear. You obviously are of a similar mindset. Maybe Mel Gibson will jump in and save us, eh?!

Seriously, when I get out of my kayak for the day to set up camp, the bear spray & holster are the first things installed on my belt.

I believe the best bear protection is a good working knowledge of their behaviour.

I’ve hunted bears and I love bears but I am not interested in having my anatomy rearranged by one!

Pleasant waters to ya.


For a serious thought provoking article
Check out this very controversial topic by a thought provoking article from the head of Ryan is a Ph.D., a very experienced fellow with the abilty to look at the big picture behind our policies and the balance of our needs to be safe when entering the domain of wild things.

This article is not for everyone, but it debunks many myths and helps me at least to think in new ways about this topic.


Do NOT Use Bright Light!
I was sleeping in my camper one night and heard a bear in camp. When I shined a Maglight on him he charged the truck! It was a fake charge, as they tend to do, but it got my blood rushing!

Interesting article Evan
I have to say I agree with Holmes. I too am a handgun hunter with large caliber weapens that I practice with regularly, & understand their limitations. Living in Alaska will I hunt brown bear with a handgun? Yes, but I choose the encounter. When it comes to an Oh NO kind of encounter in the bush, I wany my can of UDAP!

Most of my hunting time now is bow hunting, & I carry UDAP & keep a shotgun with slugs in camp.

By the way,
the instances I’ve heard of where flare guns were used to stop attacking bears, they were shot with the flare gun at close range. It wasn’t shot in another direction to distract them.

Laser light as mountain lion defense.
Sorry, I now have a mental picture of a mountain lion doing spins and pawing at a red dot.

Question Holmes 375
My questions on spray: If a 30-ft "cone: spray as advertised, I have a difficult time picturing no residual effect on sprayer unless conditions are by chance ideal; also, my understanding of black bear behavior is that they will charge and stop; if serious the charge continues and then spraying in close is probably going to disable the sprayer for certain. My wife and I spent considerable time in the wilderness with our small children and never really worried about bears. Now the children are grown, so often times it’s just my wife and I . . . bear incidents have also “grown” more frequent over the past few years. My only concern even now is the “odd” bear (or other animal) who has been fed, found food in camps, become agressive, etc because of human contact. So, I was looking for alternative in case of problem contact. At any rate, what type of spray do you carry?

Don’t bother
I’ve spent a good deal of time around black bears and two things I’ve learned about them are; #1. They are not stupid. #2. They don’t like surprises. Their vision is not terribly good so they look to identify objects primarily by scent. Odds are as a distraction a laser would have no effect. Although if you shined it in its eyes it may very well find it annoying, once it realizes that it has not been injured it will have no fear of it. If you do happen to find yourself in the very unlikely position of being the subject of attention of a predatory bear you’ll need something a lot more powerful than a laser to dissuade it. Bear spray is very effective if used properly. Best bet is to learn a bit about them so you will be able to recognize the signs of a bear showing predatory behavior, and also to learn how to avoid surprising or attracting one into your camp.

As you might guess, the URL for UDAP is

Flash/Bang Grenades
When I was in the Navy we had some training with some Flash/Bang Grenades. They were very effective for stunning a room full of people so I would think that they should work pretty well against bears if you had the time and distance to use one. They are a non-lethal device (usually), that depending on the distance would either scare him off or stun and temporary blind him. I bet it would also help answer the age old question “Does a bear poop in the woods?”

Magnifying glass
Laser batteries can go dead when you need them most. I carry a magnifying glass so I can shine a tiny dot of sunlight on a charging bear’s nose.

I’ve never had to use it on a bear yet, but it works great on charging ants.

Easy …
As I live in black bear country here’s what I’ve learned over the past 25 years:

  • Watch your step as they can leave some really serious scat deposits full of gross, half-digested objects that makes dog crap seem like a walk in the park!

  • Don’t feed them (i.e. lock up the garbage)

  • Don’t let the dog out when it goes bezerk each evening;

  • Don’t go hiking at dusk or dawn; and most importantly,

  • Leave them alone! After all, they were here first.

    It’s sort of a variation on the “Where does an elephant sit?” scenario.

You could just turn it around
so you look bigger.

Lots of “Learn about bears” advice…
From a few posters… recommended sources for this?


– Last Updated: Feb-16-06 7:40 AM EST –

Yeah I think it would work as long as it was attached to a 12 gauge "Slug gun"

Wait, wait!

– Last Updated: Feb-16-06 8:31 AM EST –

Hold still bear, while I shoot you in the eye with my trusty laser.

Try this
I personally carry an eyedropper and some Tobasco sauce. All it takes is one drop in the eye and man do they go runnin’!