Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Central Missouri
First of all you need to know how to tell Grizzly scat from Black Bear Scat.
Grizzly scat has bells in it. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All joking aside, we've ridden in bear country in the Rocky Mtn every year since 1998. Encounter many bear, both too close to be comfy and at a distance. Yes, the bells will help. Last thing you want to do is surprise a Momma griz with cubs. That's dangerous. But, remember they don't want to be close to you anymore than you want to encounter them.
If you should happen to have a close (less than 25 ft from you) and it is not a sow with cubs, you have to be the aggressor, YES AGGRESSOR. In the bear kingdom size is dominant. You and your horse are much larger then they are, normally, not always but 95% of the time. There are some larger.
What does aggressor mean? It means you chase if off. Get your bear maze out and take the safety off of it. Be sure you know how to use it. Directions are on the can. Stop your horse, don't wait more than a few seconds, then turn your horse so it faces the bear. Then ask your horse to take a couple very slow steps toward the bear. Mace ready. If the bear does not move, a couple more slow steps. Never been any closer than this, so I don't know the next step. I've been within 10 feet of them and the first 2 steps usually does it, they leave.
Now if it's a sow with cubs, that is totally different. Only had this happen a couple of times. The sow will protect those cub(s). Very, very slowly, back you horse, DO NOT TURN AROUND, until she stops having a canary, then just stand there, DO NOT MOVE. She'll want to get out of there worse than you do.
Most of the time this will never happen, if they hear you coming, they leave the area.
And DO NOT TRY AND OUT RUN THEM, they can reach speeds over 40 mph for short distances in bad terrain. You don't have a prayer if you run.