Learn Grizzly Bear Defense Tactics With MeatEater’s Clay Newcomb

In one of MeatEater’s latest films, expert bear hunter Clay Newcomb digs into the efficacy of defending himself against grizzly bears.

Clay Newcomb is no stranger to the bear woods. For years, he’s headed up Bear Hunting Magazine. And he recently joined the MeatEater squad where he kicked off his Bear Grease podcast.

But, his ursine curiosity takes a different bend in this video. And it’s one of those things that many of us — including myself — constantly wonder about in grizzly bear country: How do I keep myself safe if a bear does decide to charge? What can I do to stay safe if I am actually attacked? Bear spray or sidearm — and when should you use which?

So Which Is It — Bear Spray or Pistol?

Newcomb talks to Todd Orr, a bear attack survivor who seemed to do everything right. And if doing things right means making it out alive, then Orr is an expert.

The pistol range is next, and Newcomb meets with an expert to figure out the ins and outs of the reality of shooting a bear in self-defense. Hint: it ain’t just a point-and-shoot effort.

Finally, Newcomb talks to Jeremiah Smith, a grizzly expert from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Here, they get into the grittier details of situational encounters.

This is worth a watch if recreating, hunting, or just being in grizzly country is in any way on your radar.

Nicole Qualtieri
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Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.

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