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Old 07-02-2013, 11:37 AM   #41 (permalink)
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We haven't beaten our wilderness into submission yet, like many other parts of the developed world (and indeed most of Alaska isn't "developed" in the same way that Europe and the Lower-48 are). The primary concern is bears, both brown and black, both of which are very common here (even in town), but there is also the potential for negative encounters with moose, wolves, and other critters. Don't take that as a reason not to come here for a visit. In my opinion, the fact that this place is still wild is the reason you should come. Educate yourself about wildlife safety, and keep your brain with you at all times, and you will almost certainly be fine. Whether you carry a defensive weapon or not won't make a difference 99.9% of the time, but if you do want that extra margin of safety in case of an emergency, you can carry pepper spray, which is much easier and safer to deploy for people with little experience with guns.
Thanks for the details. Yes... "use your brain" and commons sense is the best strategy for almost every situation. Switzerland is highly over-developed. Somtimes its handy, sometines unnerving. I'd love to stay somewhere less structured/measured/planted/farmed. Where ever you turn there's an alpine pasture, fences, cable cars, mountain restaurants, aso. My dream would be to trek with horses...

Actually, there's plenty of experience and weapons in this little country here... (every 18+ doing military service has its service rifle at home and according to statistics, every second Swiss has a private gun. We're neutral but nationwide armed ) I'd know how to handle a gun or rifle but I'm sure that in the case of emergency I wouldn't have the nerve to use it properly, maybe even endangering the situation. I wouldn't feel safer. Husband needs the extra 0.1%, I guess, his nerves are better. Are alarm pistols or pepper stray available for tourist?
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:45 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Are alarm pistols or pepper stray available for tourist?
In Canada pepper spray is marketed as "bear spray" and can be bought almost anywhere by anyone. Here's the wiki section on pepper spray in Canada. I imagine it's quite easy to get in the states, especially any state that contains lots of "wilderness".

From Wiki: "In Canada all products with a label containing the words pepper spray, mace, etc., or otherwise originally produced for use on humans are classified as a prohibited weapon. Only law enforcement officers may legally carry or possess pepper spray. Any similar canister with the labels reading "dog spray" and/or "bear spray" is regulated under the Pest Control Products Act - while legal to be carried by anyone, it is against the law if its use causes 'a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person' or harming the environment and carries a penalty up to a fine of $500,000 and jail time of maximum 3 years."
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Here's the wiki section on peper spray in Canada.
Thanks for not shouting "let me google that for you" sorry for that
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:32 PM   #44 (permalink)
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In Canada pepper spray is marketed as "bear spray" and can be bought almost anywhere by anyone. Here's the wiki section on pepper spray in Canada. I imagine it's quite easy to get in the states, especially any state that contains lots of "wilderness".

From Wiki: "In Canada all products with a label containing the words pepper spray, mace, etc., or otherwise originally produced for use on humans are classified as a prohibited weapon. Only law enforcement officers may legally carry or possess pepper spray. Any similar canister with the labels reading "dog spray" and/or "bear spray" is regulated under the Pest Control Products Act - while legal to be carried by anyone, it is against the law if its use causes 'a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person' or harming the environment and carries a penalty up to a fine of $500,000 and jail time of maximum 3 years."
Wow, I knew you guys weren't allowed to have guns, but pepper spray? That's crazy! Pretty much every girl 16 or older in the U.S. has a can of pepper spray in her purse or on her keychain.

In regard to pepper spray on a bear, that reminds me of a forest service anouncement I saw a while back:

"The Forest Service has issued a BEAR WARNING in the national forests for this summer. They're urging everyone to protect themselves by wearing bells and carrying pepper spray.

Campers should be alert for signs of fresh bear activity, and they should be able to tell the difference between Black Bear dung and Grizzy Bear dung.

Black Bear dung is small and round containing nuts and berries, and sometimes squirrel fur, while Grizzly Bear dung often has bells in it and smells like pepper."
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:35 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Wow, I knew you guys weren't allowed to have guns, but pepper spray? That's crazy! Pretty much every girl 16 or older in the U.S. has a can of pepper spray in her purse or on her keychain.
We've got guns! Just really tough to get an ATC for a handgun (Authorization to Carry). I had a SIG P226 .40 cal but got bored. Only allowed to shoot it at the range...

We're allowed pepper spray, just not allowed to CALL it pepper spray! Read the wiki post again. If it's labelled Bear or Dog spray it's fine. Same shit, same concentration, different label. One is a prohibited weapon (equivalent to sub 4.1" barrel handguns, 25 and 32 ACP handguns, or fully auto assault rifles), the other you can buy in Bass Pro.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:28 PM   #46 (permalink)
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We've got guns! Just really tough to get an ATC for a handgun (Authorization to Carry). I had a SIG P226 .40 cal but got bored. Only allowed to shoot it at the range...

We're allowed pepper spray, just not allowed to CALL it pepper spray! Read the wiki post again. If it's labelled Bear or Dog spray it's fine. Same shit, same concentration, different label. One is a prohibited weapon (equivalent to sub 4.1" barrel handguns, 25 and 32 ACP handguns, or fully auto assault rifles), the other you can buy in Bass Pro.
Yeah, I was carrying a can of pepper er bear spray in full view on the side pouch of my backpack for a while. 'Course I started doing that right after a momma and cub crossed the street right in front of me in the morning.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:50 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Moose are suppose to be dangerous. They are, but they won't bother you if you don't bother them. People get to close to them and are completely unaware of the dangers. Moose kill more people than bears. They also really hate dogs. A recent attack in Colorado involved an off-leash dog. The dog went after a moose and ran back to the dog handler with the moose behind it. The dog's owner was an older women and she was attacked.

Last year I walked up on 2 moose with my dog. My dog is not as dumb as some other canines and he avoided them. We were able to walk away safely with out any incidents or aggression. They won't bother you if you don't bother them. I did not need a gun.

I carry a knife. I never seen any black bears on trails or mountain lions. those animals are going to hide most of the time. Thankfully no grizzly bears where I live.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:33 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Are alarm pistols or pepper stray available for tourist?
You can get bear spray in giant cans in any outdoor store (and many hardware stores and general stores) in AK. And you can call it whatever you want in the US.

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Originally Posted by poutanen
The best defence for an animal encounter is to travel in a larger group (as long as they're not idiots).
That's part of the issue for me: I like to hike solo a lot. I try to go places where I'm unlikely to run into bears, or at least have good visibility (i.e., not through alder thickets or giant salmonberry patches). I do talk to myself, sing (that should scare anything away), and generally make noise. My Karelian bear dog, Brewski, in addition to his talent for chasing bears away, also gives me someone to talk to, so I make more noise with him around. Good snow dog, too.

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Last edited by tigre; 07-02-2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:41 AM   #49 (permalink)
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My Karelian bear dog, Brewski, in addition to his talent for chasing bears away, also gives me someone to talk to, so I make more noise with him around. Good snow dog, too.


Yeah those buggars are bred for protecting humans from bears in Finland! If I had a big piece of property and wasn't allergic to dogs, I'd probably get one of them. They seem like nice pooches.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:47 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Yeah those buggars are bred for protecting humans from bears in Finland!
wtf that's badass.
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