Very pistol / flare gun vs bear?

How effective would a Very pistol be against a bear? Would the phosphorous burns madden it, enrage it, or cause it to flee? Would the flare simply bounce off?

It depends quite a bit on the bear.

A black bear would likely be scared off, but they scare off pretty easily. Unless it was very habituated to humans or felt that you were threatening it’s cubs they don’t like playing with people much. Even then, something like this would probably scare them off or make them stop.

If it was a grizzly that was charging you - not a chance. My guess is it would simply bounce off but if it managed to burn the bear’s fur/skin the bear wouldn’t take notice until well after you were dead and gone. They can take multiple large caliber bullets without slowing down so something like this isn’t going to do much, IMO.

I suspect that polar bears would be similar to grizzlies, but I don’t have any experience with them.

If there’s one thing worse than being ripped apart by a grizzly bear, it’s being rippled apart by an *on fire * grizzly bear

Ok, being rippled apart by an on-fire rocket-powered grizzly bear on rollerskates being hurled from a trebuchet, that would be worse too

The 1985 movie Silver Bullet covered this topic in detail. Sure, it was a werewolf instead of a bear and the boy shot the werewolf in the eye with a fireworks rocket instead of a flare gun but I think it is still directly comparable. The boy was confined to a wheelchair as well which ratchets up the difficulty quite a bit under a condition that wasn’t included in the OP. So, yes it would work on bears and most other aggressive natural and supernatural predators.

ROTFL! You win!

Is the bear on a treadmill?

Is it a 1920’s style flare gun?

A friend of mine spent 10 days canoeing up in the Hudson Bay region and Big Hungry Bears are a danger up there (right after the mosquito population which Mike said were the worst he’s ever seen, and he’s from a state known for the damn things). Anyhow they all had to take some turns on Bear Watch.

Standard armament for the man on watch was a 12ga shotgun loaded with solid slugs.

Not a flare gun or some anti-bear fireworks.

Grizzly (1976) illustrates the proper equipment for a successful bear hunt.

Flare guns are not designed to kill anything, they are designed to fire flares. I given the size and weight of a flare from these guns, there’s no guarantee they’d even stun a human, much less a bear. I concur with the 12-gauge mentioned above, but I’d rather have a semi-automatic rifle on .30-06 or bigger, like the Remington 750. It’s lighter, more accurate, and more powerful at almost any range than a shotgun.

True, but if you’re firing a flare gun at the bear, the intention is not to kill it but to scare it off with light and pain (phosphorus being rather nasty there). Which won’t happen if the flare bounces off. And definitely won’t happen if the bear gets enraged instead of frightened.

Surely the thing to do would be pop the flare into the ground close to the bear, so you get to play on its instinctive dread of fire without having a pain-maddened bear to deal with?

But then the bear might not notice the flare or simply rush over it.

If a grizzly is charging you, nothing is going to scare it off. If it really is enraged, nothing short of killing it (and doing so quickly before it gets to you) is going to save your sorry behind. A charging grizzly won’t even notice the flare. If it’s not yet charging you then you shouldn’t be doing anything to antagonize it; firing a flare gun at it is probably one of the single worst actions you could take.

A black bear can be scared off, usually, but they also do a lot of bluff charges and never intend to really attack. Firing a flare gun at one may escalate the situation, or unnecessarily harm the bear, or start a forest fire.

Short answer, if you have time to pull out a flare gun and aim it, you have time to take much better actions to save yourself.

Of course, then you may start a forest fire which could kill both you AND the bear, in a much more gruesome way. Should you survive the fire, you will go to prison for using a pyrotechnic device in a forest, which could hapen even if you don’t start a fire.

With apologies to Frank Drebin (and everyone else):-

‘I’ve got some bad news, I’m afraid, Johnnie didn’t make it’

‘Oh God, you… you mean he’s dead?’

‘Yes, nibbled to death by an okapi….’

‘No!’ <cries> ‘an… okap… an… okapi?’ <weeping> …’that’s no way to go… ‘<uncontrollable sobbing>

‘Ha ha, April fool! I’m just shitting you – we got past the okapis fine, it’s ok, Johnnie died a man’s death’

‘Parachute failed to open? That would be a way to go’

‘No, we landed near the secret lair safely’

‘Nuts bitten off by a Laplander? That would be a way to go’

‘No, we made short work of the Finnish cannibal henchmen.
The problems began as we got close to the walls of the secret lair; they’d got trebuchets - and they were loaded with bear.
We were spotted and the sky darkened with flying bears, but me and Johnnie, we fought them off.
We were getting low on ammo, but they were getting low on bears.
Eventually only one bear remained, loaded in a great war-engine on the battlements high above us
Then Johnnie turned to me with that mischievous grin he has, er, had…’

‘Yes I know that grin so well’

‘”I reckon I could see that big fella off with a flare pistol” he said.
But I’d seen the weak arctic sun glinting off the little crown on the giant beast’s head,- this was no ordinary bear. “That’s a ‘king grizzly!- everyone knows a flare gun is useless against a ‘king grizzly, I read it in a message board somewhere”
It was too late – with a mighty “Thwonngg!” the trebuchet hurled its terrible load toward us; I had just enough time to see the rocket-pack on its back and the rollerskates on its feet before I was blinded by the flare from Johnnie’s very pistol exploding on the creature’s chest.
When I could finally see again the rocket-pack had carried the blazing bear far away on its rollerskates – and Johnnie lay dead’

That’s a way to go; it’s what he would have wanted’

‘Yes, a real man’s death’

‘I kinda wish I’d never bought him that damn flare gun though’

Damn, Capt, do you work for the Discovery Channel or what?

Polar bear – played with the lit flare (I can’t remember who it was, though).

In any event, shooting a flare at a bear is a stupid thing to do, for if it scares the bear, and you have shot the flare past the bear, then you may be in the way of the bear running from the flare.

Actually, there’s a significant body of thought that pepper spray is more effective than attempting to kill the bear.

There are plenty of reports of bears running away from even such moderate actions as yelling or waving (happened with the only bear I’ve encountered while hiking). So firing a flare gun, though scarcely a recommended procedure, would have a reasonable chance of chasing off a bear.

But grizzlies are often, as you imply, hard to predict. There’s also the point that they are a protected species: shooting at one would be a federal offense; you’d face a stiff fine or jail unless you could show it was attacking.

What in the world is a Very pistol? Does it differ significantly from a Somewhat pistol?