The most experienced person I’ve known so far as repeated close encounters with grizzlies, is Doug Peacock, author of “The Grizzly Years.” Doug liked to say that he would feel both ridiculous and arrogant if he barged into grizz country, “the only place they have to live,” carrying a “piece,” and that if you took the time to study bears it wasn’t necessary anyhow. “Big cities,” Doug, a Vietnam Green Beret, would say, “that’s where I feel threatened enough to carry.” I will add that this was before pepper spray. Doug now carries spray.
I’m with Doug. I’ve had many close encounters with black bears, like just a few feet, and never once felt threatened though perhaps I should have. I sure hope I have some more. I had a mountain lion snarl at me once from close range, as did my wife, which is what they do if you come too close to a den with cubs and sometimes if you walk up on a fresh kill. It’s equivalent to Shane’s rattlesnake encounters–they are warning us, the only way they can, to stay clear. If they wanted to cause you trouble you’d never likely see or hear them coming. Neither my 94-pound wife nor I ever carry a firearm when hunting or in the woods, unless we’re camping somewhere that’s road accessible or in serious grizzly country like AK or around Glacier, when I keep a sawed-off 12 gauge double with rubber buckshot in the tent. I “make” her carry bear spray for her daily solo walks into the woods here, which will cover all problems except maybe rattlers, which we don’t have here in the mountains. She did once have a coyote try to nip her, but our Golden took care of that real fast. I absolutely do not fear bears, lions or any or mammal in N. America. I fear people, yellowjackets, and falling trees. Generally we fear what we don’t know much about, and are comfy with what we know. That’s why city folk fear bears and lions and I fear city folk. 😆