Inventor's hiking stick can fend off bears

A Thunder Bay man has combined his interest in martial arts and hiking to create what he thinks is an effective bear deterrent.

Thunder Bay man looks to martial arts stick for inspiration

A Thunder Bay man has combined his interest in martial arts and hiking to create what he thinks is an effective bear deterrent.

Thunder Bay's Jim Morris shows off what he calls The Bear Stick, which people can use while hiking or walking through bear country. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Jim Morris is marketing what he calls The Bear Stick, which was developed from an idea he had while hiking. He said it's similar to a Jo, a weapon used in the martial art Aikido.

"About 12 years ago my wife and I started hiking and we both used a Jo as a walking stick," he said.

"It helped with balance up and down hills and in the back of my mind I thought 'well if I've got the Jo, [if] a bear attacks, I can fend him off.' Then I started thinking 'well the Jo is a wooden staff, and that is not gonna do much good."

That’s when "the light went on, and I took a dowelling and made a bear stick," he said. "[It] is basically a Jo, but the top handle comes off and there is a 6- or 8-inch ardox nail or spike sticking out."

The Bear Stick is a hiking stick with a long nail inserted into its end. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Morris said the Bear Stick should be useful for anyone who spends a lot of time walking in bear country.

"If … people find it useful, and they are willing to pay for it, then you are doing some service and spreading your idea."

The sticks are stained black, brown, or left their natural colour and preserved with teak oil.

Morris shies away from claiming the stick will save lives during a bear attack, "but I'd like to think — especially if there were more than one of you with a Bear Stick — you've got two people with a sharp object pointing at the bear."