_S9A8164 2-Edit-2-Edit.jpg

Polar Bear Safety & Firearm Handling

Course Segments Outline

Non-lethal Polar Bear Safety

The Non-lethal Polar Bear Safety component is delivered by world-renowned polar bear specialist, Dr Nikita Ovsyanikov. His delivery is the product of 25 years of studying polar bears. This study includes polar bear behaviour in encounters with humans and polar bear's social and hunting behaviour. Please note that due to current travel restrictions for Russia, this segment is delivered by Nikita either in person or, via a live video link in the classroom. 


This segment is aimed at: 


  • Avoiding and preventing terrestrial polar bear encounters

  • Avoiding and preventing the escalation of an encounter into conflict

  • Stopping aggression in extreme cases

  • Factors that cause conflict encounters

  • Drivers and basic features of polar bear behaviour

  • Briefing and managing guests for operations in Polar Bear habitats.  


This segment is approx 8 hours.

A two-day intensive course in non-lethal polar bear safety and firearm handling. This course is designed for new and existing expedition guides, scientists, and field staff operating in polar bear habitats.


Participants will gain a greater understanding of safe operating procedures and practices in polar bear habitats such as Svalbard, Greenland, Canada, and the Russian Arctic. The aim of this course is to provide the tools needed to operate safely, respectfully, and with confidence in polar bear environments. 

Course Content

  • Techniques for avoiding/ preventing polar bear encounters

  • Learning about polar bear behaviour and key drivers

  • Guest briefing & management

  • Firearm handling/ maintenance 

  • Shooting technique (stationary & moving targets)

Please note: course structure may vary depending on the course you book. Some courses run with Firearm Safety & Handling followed by the Non-Lethal Polar Bear Safety. Other courses run in reverse order. Content is the same for all courses. 


Language: English Proficient 

Age: 18+

Previous experience: None required

Who is the course for?

Seasoned guides and those new to the industry.

The course is designed for anyone looking to become more proficient and confident operating in polar bear terrain and with firearm handling.  

Ratio practical firearm training: Maximum 1:6

Ratio non-lethal theory: Maximum 1:24

Course minimum: 8

Price: USD 899 per person

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Nikita (stick)with Polar Bear .jpg
page0 2.JPG

Firearm Handling & Safety

Participants will train at a state-of-the-art indoor facility in Copenhagen with professional instructors. The shooting range utilises data projectors and infrared technology to display and track moving targets for live firing exercises. Participants receive instant visual feedback from every shot allowing for instant adjustment in technique. It is also during this segment that participants get to familiarise them selfs with a variety of weapons, including stripping and maintaining firearms for expedition operations. The focus of this day is to take participants beyond minimal competency and give them the knowledge and skill to handle firearms safely, confidently and respectfully.

Prior to the course, participants will complete an online learning component. 



  • Rules for firearm safety

  • Introduction to rifles used in expedition operations

  • Basic servicing/maintenance of firearms for expedition operations

  • Preparation, transportation, and storage of a firearm

  • Firearm carrying strategies

  • Procedures for land-based excursions

The classroom session will also be 'hands-on'. Participants will strip and service a variety of firearms (calibre/models) used in expedition operations. The intention is to allow guides the ability to become familiar with a wide variety of firearms to best prepare them for field excursions from a ship or land-based operation. 

Cinema Range

With two instructors (1:6 ratio) for the firearm training segment, we have the ability to customise the delivery of the course to suit a variety of experience and confidence levels.

After the classroom session, participants will move to the cinema range where they will undertake live firing with a variety of weapons.


  • Firearm safety (continued)

  • Introduction to cinema range

  • Shooting positions

  • Shoot/ review stationary target

  • Shoot/ review moving target

Participants will shoot with a variety of riffles. Those who have tried shooting a 30-06 calibre rifle before will know it can be a little hard on the body (shoulder). To maximize your training, you'll have access to, and be able to shoot with low and high calibre riffles so as to maximise your learning time at the range. Participants can expect to shoot up to 80-100 rounds during the training. 



Pre-Course Learning

We realise that participants will have a range of experience levels and come from different backgrounds. To ensure we maximise our learning during the actual course, there will be an online learning component to be completed prior to the course. We find it important to have all participants on the same page in regard to terminology and basic concepts around the course segments to maximize our time focusing on practical training and theory, best done when together.

Additional firearm training

For participants who are new to firearm handling or looking to build additional confidence. We're able to offer an additional half-day of training with an instructor at the range. This will enable participants to further lock-in and build on firearm handling confidence and competence. This option would be available the morning after you finish your course. Minimum participation: 3. Cost USD$249. This addition can be booked from our bookings page

Practical Course Information

Once you have booked

Once you have booked you will receive a welcome letter and specific pre-course information. This will include location details, accommodation suggestions and timing for the days.

Certificate of Training

On completion of the Polar Bear Safety & Firearm Handling course, you'll receive a 'Certificate of Training' from the Expedition Guide Academy outlining the course content covered.  

Arrival and Departure

We highly recommend participants to arrive the evening prior to the course at the latest and depart the morning after the final day at the earliest.



Participants are responsible for organising their own accommodation. 

Course delivery & structure

Due to current travel restrictions for Russia, the Non-lethal Polar Bear Safety segment will either be delivered by Nikita in person or, via a live video link in the classroom. This is dependent on COVID travel restrictions into Denmark. Both our Polar Bear Safety & Firearm Handling courses in 2021 were subject to these restrictions, meaning Nikita couldn't attend in person. Participant feedback from his live video delivery was fantastic and didn't detract from the learning and course delivery.