Polar Bear Safety & Firearm Handling

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 behavior and key drivers

  • Excursion planning

  • Firearm handling/ maintenance 

  • Shooting technique (stationary & moving targets)


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.  

Practical firearm training: Maximum 1:6

Non-lethal theory: Maximum 1:20

Price: USD $649 per person

Course Segments Outline

Non-lethal Polar Bear Safety (Day 1 for PBS02 and Day 2 for PBS01)

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 behavior in encounters with humans and polar bear's social and hunting behavior. During this segment, we merge participants from PBS02 and PBS01 for some great learning and discussions.


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 behavior 


Participants will also receive practical training on the delivery and application of safety rules for operating in Polar Bear habitat. Participants will cover scouting and terrestrial excursion planning while taking into account landscape features, ecology, polar bear density, and polar bear activity in an area (approx 8 hours).

Firearm Safety and Handling (Day 2 for PBS02 and Day 1 for PBS01)

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. 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.

polar bear training and firearm safety


  • 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 (1:5 ratio) for the firearm training segment, we have the ability to customize 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

  • A sequence of transitioning from flare pistol to rifle

  • Shooting positions

  • Shoot/ review stationary target

  • Shoot/ review moving target

Participants will shoot with a variety of weapons. Those who have tried shooting a 30-06 caliber 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 caliber weapons so as to maximize 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 maximize our learning during the actual course, there will be an online pre-course learning component to be completed before attending the course. This will allow participants to cover basic concepts and terminology around firearms so as to maximize our time together in the classroom and at the range.

Practical Course Information

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 the earliest.



Participants will organize their own accommodation. We are happy to point you in the right direction if in doubt. 

Course structure

Due to COVID and the changing restrictions in Denmark, the structure of the course might change. We will try our very best to work around numbers and adjust the course segments to the Danish COVID guidelines at the time of the course. At this point, each of our PBS courses will have a maximum of 10 participants during the Firearm Safety and Handling day (the cinema range being a 1:5 ratio) and a maximum of 20 participants during the Non-lethal Polar Bear Safety segment. Please do only book this course with us if you understand that flexibility is important.

Dates & Location:


September 27-28, 2021 in Denmark, Copenhagen

(Available for booking - Sold out)

September 28-29, 2021 in Denmark, Copenhagen

(Sold out)