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Old 23-01-2018, 21:02   #121
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Okay one more...

My brother is in charge of security at an oil field on the North Slope of Alaska. Among other things, this includes keeping staff safe from polar bears, and they have dedicated folks for "bear guard" positions. I just asked him what they carry, here is his answer:

12gauge shotgun with brenneke slugs. I also asked if they carry bear spray, he says they do, but it is usually too windy to use it. You definitely don't want that to end up in your face instead.

Lastly - NEVER run from a bear, you can't outrun them, and it triggers the "prey" instinct in their brains.
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Old 23-01-2018, 21:57   #122
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

I've lived in bear country all my life, had good friends mauled and killed by bears, both black and grizzly, some things I noticed in these threads worth mentioning; bluff charges. Bears assert dominance by charging other bears, not running is the new bear's way of saying, "I'm moving in next door, get used to it". A lot of bears die this way. I've been bluff charged a few times. Brown pants, as someone mentioned earlier is a good choice.

Secondly I wouldn't sprinkle pepper flakes on the trail; after something is pepper sprayed, bears will literally chew that stuff up. Lost seats on a quad that way.

I've only shot one bear. It was with an arrow from a bow I made.

I have seen a black bear shot in the face with a .338 magnum at distance of 8". He was knocked off the tailgate of the truck we were sleeping in, and still managed to run 20 yards before succumbing.

My experience is with blacks and grizzles. A black bear will eat you if you don't fight back, grizzlies like their meat a little more rotten (like we do, you know, ageing meat before eating it.)

People I know who have been mauled are always worse after a black bear attack than a grizzly attack.

Polar bears are a whole new ballgame. Eat people like blacks, bigger than grizzlies.

Enough choices have been provided with gun suggestions, odds of being attacked are low enough that you probably won't have to use anything. Keep your head on a swivel and trust your sense of smell.

I'm going to see if I can attach a link to a family of bears I filmed in my (former) backyard for no reason whatsoever.

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Old 24-01-2018, 00:35   #123
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

For me the interesting thing is the trip itself. Sounds like your taking family or friends DH.

From the perspective of safety.

I got all this info from National geographic, Youtube, the BBC and friends. I have absolutely, and never will have, personal experience with Polar Bears.

If the bears are hungry, you and your guests will be viewed as meat on the hoof.

If there are more than one bear and they are staying relatively close and edging closer, you may be in trouble.

You require multiple persons in the group with weapons. Whizz bangs, screaming* shells and a lot of luck.

*(Screaming is a key word)

You need to exit the area as soon as possible if the bear/bears is/are scared off. They have legs and will return if really hungry.

A polar bear is of uncertain temperament.

The recommended procedure for interior hikes is to employ the services of a local guide or two, who will arrive at your start point with a backpack full of things you dont want to know about.

You will recognise a guide because they have the ability to swivel their head 360 degrees and have ears like the Jodrell Bank radio listening devices. They tend to talk slowly without looking at you but scanning the perimeter all the time. The good ones can sense bear, its hard to find a bad one- their absence from the scene is directly related to their ability to not smell bear...

It is suggested to enjoy the holiday. That is difficult if the responsibility of protecting your guests is backed up by good, but minimal training without a lot of practical experience. The military spent thousands on me and others in ammunition to get us to a point of competence. I have spent thousands more in gun clubs over the years in training and competitions. I am usually in the top 25% (low end) which means 20% at any time are better than me.

There is also the very real issue that static shooting is for learning to use the weapon. When in the field, for some strange reason people shoot back. A lot of noise a lot of bullets all around a lot of screaming...mainly me but I digress...

I have seen active combat service and to the best of my recollection, the screaming continued to be a large part of the experience.

As for a Polar Bear confrontation, I have the gut feeling that screaming would be a large part of that adventure too.

Pointing a weapon at a Polar bear is like pointing a weapon at someone high on drugs... it means nothing. You MAY scare one bear off with loud noises, (in my case Im relying on the screaming) but more than one bear your in deep doo doo's.

If its a day trip in PB territory.. my advice is to take the guides, armed and competent in screaming..

Thinking about it right now, I hate the cold and 1600lb animals charging me, Im resisting the urge to practice the screaming..

Time for coffee..
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Old 24-01-2018, 01:45   #124
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
In case any of this is useful to you. Cheers! Bill
I think a very good synopsis.

One thing over looked by folks recommending a particular type of fire arm is the choice may not great in Greenland. The total population is 56,000 and most live on the west coast, perhaps they are all surfer dudes.

So it's not like you can pop into a downtown Seattle gun shop and buy something, all be that was a very interesting experience for my section, getting them out of the shop afterwards something else.

So arriving on the East Coast of Greenland the choice might be a sale and return of a couple of shotguns or 303 Lee-Enfields, take it or leave it.

Buying in the UK and taking them with you is also difficult, masses of paperwork, rules and costly. Then there is the problem of declaring on arrival in the Faroes and Iceland, again not insurmountable but a pain.

https://shootingshow.co.uk/

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Old 24-01-2018, 02:15   #125
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Actually it looks like a UK shotgun permit might not be a problem for a U.S. (i.e. non-European) citizen:

https://nra.org.uk/wp-content/upload...UN-PERMITS.pdf

Shotguns are apparently less strictly regulated than other firearms. So perhaps I could buy some kind of 12 gauge shotgun, or even borrow it from one of my friends here. Slugs seem to be restricted, but I could just buy the ammo in Greenland.
don´t forget to check if the shotgun has a choke on the mouth (tip) of the barrel. you have to unscrew (remove) it if you are going to use slugs. and have a pump one. I wouldn,t feel safe around polar bears with a one shot gun.
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Old 24-01-2018, 02:28   #126
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Go for the head, the fat on the body will stop the slug. On second thought, get a guide.
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Old 24-01-2018, 04:00   #127
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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The requirement to carry a rifle is a condition to getting an expedition permit, which is not required for Southern or Western Greenland, but is required for the national parks and for the remote areas we plan to visit including Scoresby Sund.

If I can buy or rent a gun in Ittoqqortoormiit, then that would solve a bunch of problems, because the Greenland authorities issue their own gun permits and I won't have to worry about trying to get a UK one, which could be impossible since I'm not a resident.

Didn't read the whole thread, but can you not just hire a guy with his gun to go with you when you're in the parks and remote areas?

I know there are places in Alaska where a guy with a rifle is recommended, but the whole tour group isn't usually required to be armed...

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Old 24-01-2018, 04:14   #128
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pirate Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Find out the cost of a guide for those occasional trips in 'Bear Country' then weigh it against the costs and hassle buying, training and transporting said weapon.
Personally I feel local knowledge and experience is the best option.. but then considering my nature, I'd likely take a gun for myself as well..
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Old 24-01-2018, 04:21   #129
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Since the liver is a detoxification organ, so you'd primarily be consuming bear spray and its users?
No, the liver of a polar bear contains toxic levels of Vitamin A. All livers are high in Vit A but polar bear livers are extremely so.

Also, in general since livers are detoxifying organs then toxins tend to accumulate there so you're also consuming toxins.
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Old 24-01-2018, 04:36   #130
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No, the liver of a polar bear contains toxic levels of Vitamin A. All livers are high in Vit A but polar bear livers are extremely so.

Also, in general since livers are detoxifying organs then toxins tend to accumulate there so you're also consuming toxins.
Husky livers are a NoNo as well.. as a well reknowned exploration party discovered.
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Old 24-01-2018, 05:57   #131
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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One thing over looked by folks recommending a particular type of fire arm is the choice may not great in Greenland. . . . So it's not like you can pop into a downtown Seattle gun shop and buy something, all be that was a very interesting experience for my section, getting them out of the shop afterwards something else.
When I was there you could buy pretty nice hunting rifles (and ammo) off the shelf in the supermarket/general store

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can you not just hire a guy with his gun to go with you when you're in the parks and remote areas?
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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="3"]Find out the cost of a guide for those occasional trips in 'Bear Country'
My read of the regulations that dock posted is that they are 'required' to have a gun on board while cruising almost all the west coast (except for two 'tourist zones'), not just while ashore in the parks.

They could have a 'guide w/gun' on board, as crew, for the whole greenland cruise - and in fact quite a number of the bigger yachts take 'ice pilots' (not official pilots, usually just people with a bunch of experience in and around ice - I'v played this role twice on the west coast) and that person could also be the gun person. But that can be expensive, and also can change the crew dynamics.
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Old 24-01-2018, 06:13   #132
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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My read of the regulations that dock posted is that they are 'required' to have a gun on board while cruising almost all the west coast (except for two 'tourist zones'), not just while ashore in the parks.

They could have a 'guide w/gun' on board, as crew, for the whole greenland cruise - and in fact quite a number of the bigger yachts take 'ice pilots' (not official pilots, usually just people with a bunch of experience in and around ice - I'v played this role twice on the west coast) and that person could also be the gun person. But that can be expensive, and also can change the crew dynamics.
Exactly this.

We will be cruising down the East coast, which is wilderness, one of the most remote and wild places on earth. We will get off here and there. I would have to find a berth for a guide for the whole cruise. I don't really want to do that, and then plus pay a bunch, just to avoid figuring out how to protect ourselves.

Contrary to what many posters have assumed, I do know my way around a gun, even if I'm not a hunter. I am very comfortable with different kinds of guns and I'm a good shot. Some of my crew are quite proficient with weapons and I think it's a good idea for more than one of us to be armed. My next step will be to go to the NRA course on polar bear defense.


One thing which was mentioned to me as being an important thing to have in the bear defense arsenal is "bear bangers". A couple of people now have told me that these are usually very effective. These are pyrotechnic devices like flares but which make a deafeningly loud explosion. I will see what they say about these in the course.
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Old 24-01-2018, 06:22   #133
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

Let us know what weapon is recommended in your Polar Bear defense class.

Like the locals I know, for Grizzlies I prefer a semi auto 12ga, w slugs and 00 Buck loaded alternately.
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Old 24-01-2018, 06:29   #134
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I haven't used the Mk 5 but if the Mk 4 is similar to the military issue version which we also called Mk 4, then at that price a box full on board would be very useful to have. Attach a small lead weight and they make excellent diver recall device too. Used in a confined space like a room they will stun an adult for some time. Outdoors some seconds and a bear a big shock, the noise is deafening.

In terms of power I have met an instructor with 3 fingers missing when he didn't let go quickly enough. They will also flatten a standard aluminium mess tin completely flat if placed on top of a real thunderflash.

I am surprised you can buy them in the UK.

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Old 24-01-2018, 06:31   #135
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Re: I Can't Believe I'm Starting a Gun Thread

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Find out the cost of a guide for those occasional trips in 'Bear Country' . . .

"Bear Country" is apparently the whole area.

Ittoqqortoormiit is the number one place in Greenland for polar bear conflicts with multiple incidents a year -- 6 polar bears killed by humans defending themselves just in 2012, just in Ittoqqortoormiit. So it's not "occasional trips"; it's the whole cruise, and the issue is not a joke.
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