Thanks for the clarification

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 07:26:47 04/06/15

In Reply to: Thanks for your input Ballpark........ posted by skyrim


I appreciate your statement regarding the purpose you are focused on. It is possible that a really loud air horn might serve as a deterrent under certain circumstances. I would not counsel anyone to lean heavily on such a device as a replacement for pepper spray or a high caliber firearm in the hands of someone who is well adept in its use.

As you have noticed, my concern is the potential for widespread use of air horns as a substitute for bear bells (AKA "dinner bells", for their poor performance record in research conducted, which showed them more likely to evoke a curiosity/investigation response from bears) or loud conversation/periodic yelling.

It is disturbing to me that the research on bear bells has not been widely distributed or widely read, which results in my seeing a large number of backcountry travelers still relying on those devices. (I cringe every time I see retailers in or close to Yellowstone marketing these things.)

One obvious advantage to having an air horn as an emergency backup device is its ease of use, and no need to aim it under an adrenalin-charged situation. I had to break down and read the article published in BACKPACKER. I can understand the use of air horns by those referenced in the article. I just shiver at the thought of park visitors on heavily traveled trails engaging in periodic "tooting" as they walk along. There remains the distinct possibility that wind and ambient noise from rushing rivers and streams could mute the effect of giving bears warning of your presence. There is no substitute for understanding bear behavior and staying mindful of Be Bear Aware protocols while off the road in grizzly country.


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