Predator Defence and Firearms Handling

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Predator Defence with or without Shotgun Handling is a 16 hour course designed to minimize negative interactions between people and wildlife. This program is also considered as entry level training for persons seeking employment as Bear Monitors. While defence of people is always the highest priority in any wildlife encounter, this training strives to minimize stress, injury and death of wildlife through situational awareness, knowledge and pre-planning and skills.

Arctic Response offers two variations of this program: Barren Land and Boreal Forest, each covering the high risk species of each ecosystem. Both versions of the program include core animals such as bears and wolves.  Clients then have several region specific electives to choose from such as cougars, muskox, moose or arctic marine mammals.  Additional threats such as anthrax, rabies and hantavirus are covered.

This program can be taught with or without the shotgun handling elements, depending upon the client agency’s training preferences and policies.  Arctic Response strongly advises that firearms handling be included if firearms are kept on site; even if responsibility for their use is assigned or contracted to specific individuals.

The firearms training is conducted under strictly controlled and safe but also realistic conditions.  It includes a full range of both lethal and less-lethal ammunition options, including: rubber bullets, bear bangers, buckshot and slugs. The training practices shooting from static positions; moving both individually and in pairs with loaded firearms and switching from lethal to non-lethal rounds in close proximity to a bear.  Although holding a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) for firearms is preferable, it is not a legal prerequisite for this program.

This program includes one day of classroom based knowledge training and a half day of outdoor practical training in a wilderness setting.  The field portion includes practical exercises using non-lethal defensive tools such as pen flare style bear bangers and bear spray.  Candidates also practice physical and verbal posturing skills and receive an introduction to erecting temporary bear fences and audible sensor alarms.

Course Content

  • Bears (Polar, black and grizzly)
  • Felines
  • Canids (includes dangerous domestic dogs)
  • Ungulates
  • Wildlife interaction strategies for each species covered
  • Wildlife policies and regulations
  • Physical and verbal posturing
  • Deterrent sprays
  • Handheld launchers
  • Work site defences
  • 12 Gauge shotgun
    • Safe handling techniques
    • Load / Unload / Make safe
    • Changing between lethal and less lethal ammunition
    • Lethal rounds
    • Less-lethal rounds
    • Static and moving targets
    • Safe movement over ground
    • Searching ground

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