pump action 12 ga versus 45-70 lever rifle for alaskan bear defense

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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Anchorage Alaska
To answer the "which one would I choose" I have to go with either. Obviously, the first shot is the most important thing to me. A good hit on a bear with either a shotgun or a 45-70, with good loads, is going to make it alter it's behavior long enough to put more shots in it, if needed.

I shot a charging grizzly with a .375 and it just sat down. I put another round into her but it wasn't needed. I had been skinning a wolf at the time and I'm sure the bear thought I was a wounded animal and smelled of blood. She seemed pretty dedicated to the charge until the 270 grain Nosler changed her mind!

Beautiful blond bear...hanging on my wall!
 

tim

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Jun 4, 2011
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north idaho
AFTER:)
I was in a small raft and mom and her 3 cubs come running down the bank of the river at me. We each closed the distance for a couple of seconds, i spun the raft to the opposite shore and she spun the opposite way and took off thru the brush. I got out of the boat and took a piss.

Same trip, later on, my buddy goes. cover me with a big rock. We had a grizz come thru camp. Lots of caribou piled up(mulchatna herd early 90's).
This trip is a scenic float with the wife, not a hunting trip. So i will probably bring a shotgun, but those lever guns have a sweet spot in my heart.
 

NE69

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Jan 6, 2013
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In 2015 my brother-in-law and I took a float plane trip to twin lakes, north of Lake Clark. The female game warden met us when we landed to warn us about a black bear that was causing problems. Bill carried his Winchester 45-70 and I carried a 12 gauge SS pump with pistol grip and slugs. They were always in hand or on our shoulder. One other guy was camping there too. We saw grizzlies from a distance, but never encountered the black bear!FBB6CE7D-2FBE-4CD9-8301-C12D281DF679.jpeg
 

tim

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NE69
Did you visit the Dick Proenke cabin?
My wife and i are getting dropped off there and floating the chilikadrotna river.
 

NE69

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Jan 6, 2013
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Southwest Nebraska
NE69
Did you visit the Dick Proenke cabin?
My wife and i are getting dropped off there and floating the chilikadrotna river.
Yes, that was our main reason for going. My brother in law hunted in that area in the 70s before Dick was there and wanted to go back and visit Dick’s cabin. He read his book and had some other connections from his earlier trips he took to Alaska up on the Yukon. We spent 3 weeks in Ruby area on the Yukon in 91.He is 79 years old and wants to try to go back once more. The warden at Twin Lakes gave us a great tour! She has kept in touch though letters and is Stationed in Colorado now. I am hoping to go back soon too.
 
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taskswap

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I'm a fan of Ayoob's "Immediate, unavoidable risk of death or grave body harm to the innocent."

For everything else I reach for bear spray. Works on bears, works on humans, no lawyers needed after.
 

RICMIC

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Feb 21, 2012
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Two Harbors, Minnesota
In the bears defense, if you have a gun in your hand during a "bluff charge', then you are likely to use it. I have been charged three times by black bears, the first time I was 17, and had a .357 on my hip. Dead bear, shot at 5'. The other two came close to that distance...close enough to hear their teeth popping and I swear that I smelled their bad breath. I don't think I would have the resolve to wait out a griz to see if it was only bluffing.
 

tim

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Jun 4, 2011
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north idaho
I'm a fan of Ayoob's "Immediate, unavoidable risk of death or grave body harm to the innocent."

For everything else I reach for bear spray. Works on bears, works on humans, no lawyers needed after.
Flying with bear spray is not that easy. It can be done, but not as easily as a firearm.
 
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taskswap

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Jul 9, 2018
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Colorado
Flying with bear spray is not that easy. It can be done, but not as easily as a firearm.
True. I forget people actually fly ;) as I drive any chance I get. But it's readily available and cheap anywhere there are bears. When it's not suitable, I carry a 10mm auto, 12ga shotgun, or a 44 rem. mag. revolver... But I'd still reach for bear spray first if I can get it.

We had a ranger near Yellowstone tell us they're actually encouraging people to use bear spray more often whenever there's a situation. As in, don't wait for the charge. If you have more than one can (and they advise parties to carry one can per adult), use it right away if a bear is paying attention to you. Their reason was they're getting a lot of negative bear/human interactions as people get slobbier every year with their food and trash. When they have an issue they usually have to put down the bear and they don't want to do that. So the ranger said by giving bears more negative (but not deadly) memories of interactions with humans, it helps reduce those cases a lot.
 

tim

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north idaho
taskswap

in this particular instance, flying to alaska, than taking a float plane to a lake and getting dropped off, getting picked up 2 lakes and 80 river miles 10 days later.
 

RICMIC

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Two Harbors, Minnesota
You can't drive into Canada from the US with "Mace" or bear spray. I don't know if it is available for non-residents to buy there either. I can see why airlines, both big and small have restrictions on flying with a pressurized bomb. It might kill the Coronavirus though.
 

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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You can't drive into Canada from the US with "Mace" or bear spray. I don't know if it is available for non-residents to buy there either. I can see why airlines, both big and small have restrictions on flying with a pressurized bomb. It might kill the Coronavirus though.
I usually drive through Canada a couple times per year and so far, they have always allowed me to transport bear spray. But, it has to be bear spray, not mace or pepper spray designed for people. I go thru boarder crossings in Washington and Alaska...British Columbia and Yukon.
 
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RICMIC

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Feb 21, 2012
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Two Harbors, Minnesota
I usually drive through Canada a couple times per year and so far, they have always allowed me to transport bear spray. But, it has to be bear spray, not mace or pepper spray designed for people. I go thru boarder crossings in Washington and Alaska...British Columbia and Yukon.
Thanks AK for the clarification. We are always asked at the border if we have Mace or bear spray. Just like when they used to ask if we had any potatoes...if we did have real taters (instead of processed ones), they were forfeited. It is kind of silly that they don't allow a 1-3 oz. can of spray, but they do allow a 12-32 oz. can of the same ingredient.
 
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AKaviator

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Anchorage Alaska
Thanks AK for the clarification. We are always asked at the border if we have Mace or bear spray. Just like when they used to ask if we had any potatoes...if we did have real taters (instead of processed ones), they were forfeited. It is kind of silly that they don't allow a 1-3 oz. can of spray, but they do allow a 12-32 oz. can of the same ingredient.
It is silly and even some of the boarder guys just shake their heads. But they always let me take the bear spray.