We recently had the privilege of working with author, Jeremy Johnson and helped him to build his perfect “10mm Bear Spray” setup. He was kind enough to check in with us and share not only his 2018 Oregon Elk harvest, but also a piece that he wrote for his local newspaper that detailed his decision to get more proactive with his “bear deterrent system”.
“10mm Bear Spray
By: Jeremy Johnson
As a kid I remember my mom chasing garbage can raiding black bears off our back porch with a broom. On her lead (less the broom), that’s typically what I do when I catch one sniffing around the elk kill that I’ve made. This last elk season, about 15 minutes before daylight, I heard a critter rustling around the snag I’d hung my meat sacks in. I unzipped the door of my backpacking tent and peered out. Twenty yards away, two green eyes reflected head lamp rays back at me from amidst my meat, confirming a theft was in progress. Infuriated, I scrambled out of the tent, slid my boots on and chased after the vermin, yelling and grabbing my bow on the way out. He bounded over the deadfalls with the 120 lb. sack of meat like it was a kindergartner’s lunchbox. Hot on his tail, in nothing but my skivvies and unlaced Kenetreks (brand of boots), the thought occurred to me, “you know, if this bear is hungry enough and gets half as fired up at me, as I am at him, this might not end well – for me that is!”
Most of the time, bears are more scared of you, than you are of them. Typically the only time they will get aggressive is when they’re wounded, defending their cubs or food is involved. In this case my better judgement dictated that I call it a loss and try to locate the bear after I could see. Defeated, I strolled back to my tent to wait out the remaining 15 minutes until daylight. The good news, is that I was able to follow the bear after day break and get most of my meat back. Back at home, upon debriefing my wife about the season’s adventures in the backcountry, the bear situation came up. She wasn’t impressed, because “getting dead” is against our family rules.
That’s when I remembered a seminar I attended in Sandpoint, Idaho at our annual NOWA (Northwest Outdoor Writers Association) conference. A gentlemen by the name of Luke Johnson was talking about grizzly bear protection and challenging the status quo of big bore revolvers, in favor of a more lightweight and faster acting option – the Glock 10mm. His reasoning was that even a big bore pistol isn’t enough to drop a bear instantly, unless you’re good (or lucky) enough to brain shoot them. With the Glock chambered in 10mm, there is still plenty of potency along with the other benefits such as less recoil, faster follow up shots and a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. His most compelling selling point for me, was the light weight. When backpacking I’m counting every ounce, which is why I haven’t considered carrying a pistol up to this point.
Over the years, while packing elk meat I’ve had a number of encounters with bears sniffing for a free meal. For the most part I just shoo them away. Next time I won’t be so cordial. On Luke’s recommendation (and my wife’s), I had Lone Wolf Distributors build a custom lightweight Glock model 20, chambered in 10mm. Next time a bear tries raiding my meat sacks, he’s going to find himself in one of his own! For more information about custom Glock parts and machine work, and to see the complete specs for this pistol build, visit their website: www.lonewolfdist.com.”
You can read out Jeremy’s custom built Glock 20 in a previous blog post.
You can find more info about Jeremy Johnson and his book “Can’t Lose Bowhunting” here.