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Study: Best Bear Medicine Isn't Pepper Spray

January 27, 2010.

Expecting trouble with black bears?

You may want to consider rubber shotgun slugs instead of more traditional approaches like throwing rocks and using pepper spray.

According to an article in this month's issue of The Journal of Wildlife Management, a four-year study in California's Sequoia National Park suggests that rubber shotgun slugs are by far the most effective means of running off problem bears.

"Those shot with rubber slugs or chased were about twice as likely to run away as those given moderate treatments (rocks, slingshots) or pepper sprayed," wrote Rachel Mazur of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks in California, who authored the report.

"Among the 36 food-conditioned bears, rubber slugs had far more immediate success than other treatments, causing animals to run away 92% of the time. Every other treatment caused bears to run in fewer than half of the trials."

It goes without saying that whenever dealing with either bears or guns, extreme discretion should be used. Don't risk injuring a bear with a rubber slug until all other means have been exhausted.

Rubber slugs aren't particularly easy to find, but Midway USA has some.

And The Sportsman's Guide has some rubber buckshot, which should also get a bear's attention pretty dramatically.

For the full story, see the Anchorage Daily News.

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