We all know that Squatchin can take you into the woods; sometimes really deep into the woods. Into areas where not only Sasquatch live, but wild animals such as bears and mountain lions call home.
Are you prepared to defend yourself against a wild animal attack?
To date we have only speculation, as far as Bigfoot on human attacks go. But we do know that mountain lions (cougars) and bears will, at times, attack humans.
Now, many people will say that a gun is your best choice of defense against a big animal. And sometimes that may very well be the case; but what kind of caliber would you need to take down a full-grown grizzly? A gun could be as effective as an Air Horn in some cases. Now, if you are going to take a gun into the field, you should be sure to check your local ordinances so that you know the legal implications of being armed in your area.
Another tactic that has been used against nosey bears is simply to yell and wave your hands above your head, to appear dominate to the bear. Try not to show fear.
As I prepare myself for Squatchin' season... all these things come to mind...
What about mace or pepper spray?
I think carrying a can of spray is a great idea. The big cans can be holstered to your side like a gun, and the smaller ones will fit in a pocket or on a key-chain. After doing some research, it seems that there are advantages to both the large canisters and the small ones. The large canisters (10oz) spray upwards of 30-35 feet, which is a little farther than the small 1.5-ounce cans. The small cans are easy to carry and according to bear researchers, have proven very effective against bears.
In the early 1980's, Ely, Minnesota bear researchers did close-up field tests of pepper spray on wild black and polar bears. One of the brands they used was "Halt", which is primarily used against dogs and has a weaker concentration of capsaicin and shorter spay distance than the large canisters of Counter Assault.
Counter Assault is an EPA-approved bear spray that has a good track record with outdoorsmen. Carl Ramm of Alaska said he was "astounded at how Counter Assault instantaneously stopped a charging mother bear and turned her away."
What brand to buy?
Counter Assault Bear Deterrent contains 2% capsaicin, the maximum amount allowed by law. The spray leaves the can at 70 miles per hour, and gets in the bear's eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs for maximum effect. Experts consider it more effective than bullets against charging mother grizzles. Milder products like HALT Spray are not EPA-approved as bear spray, but these products have consistently worked on all the bears tested by Ely bear researchers. They claim that it is more effective than yelling or banging pots and pans. Despite the spray being limited to around 20 feet in distance, the small cans do have an advantage in that the stream of spray is less likely to blow back on the user.
In conclusion; we should always be prepared for the unknown when we enter the territory of wild animals. Whatever your weapon of choice may be, you should have a plan, just in case you do happen to encounter an aggressive animal.
Here's to a safe and happy year of Squatchin!
Remember to always check your local laws for rules and/or regulations on these products.
Source: North American Bear Center