Making a Bear Horn

Antler Bear Horn

The mushroom season is on and I finally have a credible reason for wondering around in the nearby forests and mountainsides, the only problem is, that my mushroom hunting ground is also home to Europe’s largest brown bear population, an estimated 6500 to 7000 specimens live in the Carpathian Mountains, of course not all of them live in “my back yard” but extensive logging, deforestation and high numbers due to their protected status forced them to the settlements’ edges, attacks on livestock are regular in these parts and occasionally people get mauled too. Last year there were 4 bear attacks in this area, one of which was fatal and all happened when unwary people stumbled upon the, presumably, sleeping bear in the bushes.

Experts say that bears seldom target humans as prey and the vast majority of attacks happen when the bear is surprised and feels cornered, the “fight or flight response” kicks in and the bear (usually) chooses to fight, this is why it’s generally a good idea to talk loudly and make noise when moving trough the woods, so that the bears notice your presence in time and move out of your way. Talking loudly is not always an option for me, especially when I’m out alone, so I used firecrackers, I popped 2-3 on a trek, in places where the undergrowth was thick, but now firecrackers cannot be purchased without a pyrotechnician permit, so this brings me, or us, to the next option: the bear horn; and while we’re at it, why not make it really outdoorsy, out of antler and stuff…

Tools and Materials

Tools and materials used to make a bear horn

Tools:

  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Bits

Materials:

  • Antler
  • Plastic tube (a disposable syringe, pen, etc…)
  • Surgical glove
  • String or rubber band
  • Epoxy glue
  • Sandpaper

Making the bear horn

Sanding a piece of antler.Mark the part you wish to use.Cut the antler.We'll be using the middle part.Always sand after you cut.You want the hole right there.Make a hole with the 10mm bit from end to end.Like this.Make sure that your tube fits snugly.A cross section of the antlerA 10mm hole on one end.And a huge hole on the other.Carved out antler.A 20mm hole on one end.And a 10mm one, on the other.A 3mm diameter hole is made for the blow hole.This hole should intersect the 20mm one.Almost completed bear horn.Make a hole for the lanyard.Prepare some epoxy.Apply it in and around the smaller hole.Push in the tube.Smear epoxy all over the antler to seal the pores.The tube looks pretty centered.Cut off the excess tube.Sand of the excess epoxy.You can clearly see the filled pores.Cut off the other end of the tube.Let the tube slightly protrude from the antler.Make a small groove around the horn.Widen the groove.Prepare the rubber band.Wrap the horn in the surgical glove.Place the rubber band.Double or triple it.Cut of the excess glove.Completed Bear Horn

I think the 37 pictures above should suffice in explaining the whole process, if not, please post your questions in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

Using the bear horn

Maybe it’s already clear, but let me just put it straight: it’s very unlikely that this horn will deter an attacking bear, nonetheless it will alert bears in your vicinity of your presence, giving them time to move away and avoid a possible conflict; fresh tracks, piles of steaming excrement and the not-so distant sound of a large animal moving through the bushes convinced me that the horn works as intended, still, I always carry a can of pepper spray, just in case …

Also, if you don’t hike or camp in places where bears are a threat, the sound of this horn is very similar to the one marketed as the “emergency survival horn”, but it looks waaay bushcrafty-er.

Bear Horn

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