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 habitat.


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

  • Excursion planning

  • Firearm handling/ maintenance 

  • Shooting technique (stationary & moving targets)

Day 1 - 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 studying polar bears. This study includes polar bear behaviour in encounters with humans and polar bear's social and hunting behaviour.


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 


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).


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.  

Date: May 2021 (exact date to be confirmed)

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Price: USD $595 per person

Dr Nikita Ovsyanikov

Day 2 - Firearm Safety and Handling

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.

Learning the gear


  • 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

  • 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 calibre rifle before will know it can be a little hard on the body (shoulder). To maximise your training, you'll have access to, and be able to shoot with low and high calibre weapons 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 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 maximise our time together in the classroom and at the range.

Due to the dynamic situation globally, we'll confirm the date for the course once we have a clearer picture of the 2021 season(s). Once the date is set then the course will be open to book on a first-come, first-served basis. If you'd like to be on the course and don't want to miss out, register your interest with us and we'll let you know when the booking page will go live. 

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