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Anti-gun spin: Study claims carrying a gun in bear country doesn’t make you any safer
Bluegrass Pundit ^ | Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Bluegrass Pundit

Posted on 03/11/2012 11:06:28 AM PDT by Askwhy5times

An article in the Daily Mail, and other places, cites a study by BYU biologist and bear expert Tom S. Smith that claims carrying a gun in bear country does not make you safer.

Many people have wandered into bear country reassured that their trusted gun would keep them safe if they ever come face-to-face with an aggressive grizzly.

But experts have shattered that myth after carrying out a study of hundreds of animal attacks.

A Brigham Young University study found using a gun is no more effective at keeping people safe than not using a firearm.

The study is published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. The full study is hidden behind a membership wall. I can only comment on the details provided in a lengthy press release posted on BYU's website. Most of the articles add this spin line which is directly from the BYU press release.
This finding is especially relevant given the 2010 law allowing guns in national parks.
Here are some other relevant excerpts from the press release.
Smith and his colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of bear-human conflicts in Alaska for the study, appearing in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. Those incidents involved 444 people and 357 bears, 300 of which were brown bears.

The researchers found no statistical difference in the outcome (no injury, injury or fatality) when they compared those who used their gun in an aggressive encounter (229 instances) to those who had firearms but did not use them (40 instances).

There is a serious problem with this comparison. The people involved in these encounters are not bear hunting. It seems reasonable to believe they only used a gun if they felt severely threatened. It is apples and oranges to compare 229 encounters where people felt threatened enough to use a gun on a bear to 40 instances where people had guns, but the threat level never rose that high. The bears in the second group were likely less aggressive. The press release then makes the claim  non-lethal deterrent such as bear spray is actually more effective against aggressive bears than a gun.
“People should consider carrying a non-lethal deterrent such as bear spray,” said Smith, a gun owner himself. “It’s much easier to deploy, it’s less cumbersome and its success rate in these situations is higher than guns.”
In a 2008 study, Smith found that bear spray effectively halted aggressive bear encounters in 92 percent of the cases.
Is this claim valid? Here are some excerpts from the BYU 2008 press release for this study which is also by Mr. Smith.
Hikers and campers venturing into bear country this spring may be safer armed with 8-ounce cans of bear pepper spray than with guns, according to a new study led by a Brigham Young University bear biologist.[...]
Concerned about hikers' and campers' persistent doubts that a small can of liquid pepper spray could stop half a ton of claws, muscle and teeth, Smith and colleagues analyzed 20 years of bear spray incidents in Alaska, home to 150,000 bears. He found that the spray effectively halted aggressive bear behavior in 92 percent of the cases, whether that behavior was an attack or merely rummaging for food. Of all 175 people involved in the incidents studied, only three were injured by bears, and none required hospitalization. Smith and his research team report their findings in the April issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management.
Again, there seems to be an apple and oranges situation. The 2008 study includes bears that were  merely rummaging for food. It is reasonable to believe the most people wouldn't use a gun because a bear was rummaging for food. Gun use would be reserved for the most aggressive encounters. Additionally, this was a fairly small sample of only 71 incidents where bear spray was used. BYU biologist and bear expert Tom S. Smith claims to not be anti-gun. That may be true. However, he is very pro bear. In this audio recording of an interview, Mr. Smith concedes there are some bears pepper spray will not stop. In those cases, only a gun can settle the issue.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Politics; Science
KEYWORDS: banglist; gunrights; guns; partisanmediashills; science
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1 posted on 03/11/2012 11:06:36 AM PDT by Askwhy5times
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To: Askwhy5times

Its not the bears I would be concerned with.
I carry as protection against two legged predators.


2 posted on 03/11/2012 11:09:34 AM PDT by RitchieAprile
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To: Askwhy5times

Carrying my Kimber keeps me safe from predators be they animal or man or gub mint.


3 posted on 03/11/2012 11:09:47 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) Hey Mitt, F-you too pal)
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To: Askwhy5times

I dispute that Smith is a bear expert. Timothy Treadwell was a bear expert. He lived with bears. They ate him.


4 posted on 03/11/2012 11:11:59 AM PDT by namvolunteer (Obama says the US is subservient to the UN and the Constitution does not apply. That is treason.)
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To: Askwhy5times

I don’t carry because of bears. I carry because of zombies—leftist, criminal, probably Democrat zombies.


5 posted on 03/11/2012 11:13:44 AM PDT by Bryanw92 (The solution to fix Congress: Nuke em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure!)
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To: Askwhy5times

A gun sure as hell beats a rock or stick.


6 posted on 03/11/2012 11:14:04 AM PDT by True Grit
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To: Askwhy5times

You don’t need a 44 Mag or any of those large calibers. When I go to Grizzly country I take a 22 and a Liberal with me. If I encounter an angry Griz, I shoot the liberal in the knee cap with the 22 and run like hell.


7 posted on 03/11/2012 11:14:55 AM PDT by fish hawk (NAACP = Native Americans Against Corrupt Politicians)
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To: Askwhy5times
bear spray is actually more effective against aggressive bears than a gun.

Fine. Spray 'em. Then shoot 'em. Then nuke 'em just to be sure.

8 posted on 03/11/2012 11:17:15 AM PDT by EternalVigilance ("Si vis pacem, para bellum.")
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To: Askwhy5times
And as usual, the study ALWAYS covers only a fraction of the ACTUAL encounters. Why? Simple.

You are hiking through a remote area. With no warning a large bear suddenly appears. By it actions and the fact that it is charging straight at you, you know you are in immediate danger. You hand goes to your side and reaches for your trusty 629. You draw, fire twice, and the bear drops. At this point you:

a: Examine the fallen bear to make sure it is dead, find the nearest authorities so you can make a full report as well as expose yourself to any kind of bureaucratic nut that may have a problem with people defending themselves.

or

b: Get the hell out of there and say nothing to nobody.

That's why the statistics about guns being used for self defense are never correct - they are grossly under reported. Knowing the kind of problems people have gotten into by reporting their use of a gun for self defense, if you can leave quietly, who wouldn't? I would for sure.

9 posted on 03/11/2012 11:17:55 AM PDT by I cannot think of a name
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To: Askwhy5times

More bunk from so-called scientists.


10 posted on 03/11/2012 11:19:34 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Askwhy5times

I completely agree: this study seems to have taken a predetermined conclusion and then interpreted the data in such a way as to support the conclusion. That kind of study is not scientific, but, unfortunately, shows up far too often in the scientific literature. I usually see that kind of non-science in clinical studies, where researchers set out to prove something is bad (e.g. soda), and collect their data in such a way that they can never show otherwise.

It could be that bear pepper spray would be more effective than a gun at stopping a charging bear. But supporting or refuting evidence is not contained within either of the studies mentioned in the article.


11 posted on 03/11/2012 11:23:06 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Askwhy5times

There is a lot more to carrying a gun to keep you safe in bear country. How many of the instances of people using a gun but still being attacked were based on their own stupidity in not avoiding situations or poor choice in weapons such as using too small a caliber.


12 posted on 03/11/2012 11:24:01 AM PDT by mnehring
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To: fish hawk

“If I encounter an angry Griz, I shoot the liberal in the knee cap with the 22 and run like hell.”

That’s a great idea. They love mother gaia’ so might as well turn them into fertilizer later..


13 posted on 03/11/2012 11:24:14 AM PDT by max americana
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To: Askwhy5times
And where is the joke about what is the best defense against bears being pepper spray and little jingling bells?

And the way to identify bear droppings is that they smell like pepper spray and have little bells in them.

14 posted on 03/11/2012 11:24:14 AM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys=Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best for you.)
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To: Askwhy5times

Naturalist science is dead.
This doesn’t even make any sense.
They just print these - to give their followers support.
Rational people read the fine print, realize it is a joke, and laugh at him.

The problem is - our society is chock full of idiots.


15 posted on 03/11/2012 11:25:51 AM PDT by Eldon Tyrell (question,.)
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To: Askwhy5times

My first thought was “how threat-aware were these people?”.

Whatever you pack—pepper spray, a .44, even a bazooka—won’t help you if you’re in your own little world with your iPod or Bluetooth on, instead of being aware of your surroundings.


16 posted on 03/11/2012 11:33:32 AM PDT by M1903A1 ("We shed all that is good and virtuous for that which is shoddy and sleazy... and call it progress")
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To: Askwhy5times
Bear Pictures, Images and Photos
17 posted on 03/11/2012 11:33:56 AM PDT by Snickering Hound
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To: Askwhy5times

IOW, as long as you don’t have a pic-a-nic basket you’re safe...


18 posted on 03/11/2012 11:34:54 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1146 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: Askwhy5times

I was out walking in the woods when I got between a grizzly sow and her cubs. She charged me. I’ve had years of martial arts training, so I screamed at her and assumed a defensive stance. She stopped about six feet away, pulled out a 38 and shot me in the leg. She said, “Take that Karate Kid!” and then she ate me.


19 posted on 03/11/2012 11:34:59 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Askwhy5times
I grew up in a family who ran pack strings of mules and horses.
We packed most of the time from spring thaw till the first of Dec. We worked in the Rockies most of the year and encountered black bears at least a few times a week. A black bear is a chicken $hitt and will turn and run instantly unless you are in a position of threatening cubs. I only had one incident with a black bear where I had to take defensive action.
Grizzles are very different. If see one you are already on his mountain and he isn't going to like it. The best way to handle a big shag nasty is to get out of his way before he knows you are there. If he decides he is interested it is time to grab the shotgun full of slugs, get off your horse and get ready. Bear spray works if you have nothing else but it only works at close range. My slug gun starts working well at 50 yards. If I know a big bear is coming for me waiting for him to get within bear spray range is totally stupid. Did this study note or separate the data according to what kind of bears that were encountered? If not it is skewed and worthless. Unless you are threatening a black bear sows cubs the only part of that bear you will see is his butt as he runs away. A big Grizzly will get upset that you are on his mountain and be looking to make you dinner. Get a good picture of this, they will kill you and eat you. This does not happen every time but it happens a few times every year. But at least you brought your own pepper.
20 posted on 03/11/2012 11:35:15 AM PDT by oldenuff2no (Rangers lead the way...... Delta, the original European home land security)
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To: Askwhy5times

I think the bears might tend to disagree...JMHO

.


21 posted on 03/11/2012 11:35:34 AM PDT by flatfish
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To: Askwhy5times
If you are going to shoot a brown bear, you better damn well be sure you are using serious lead, velocity and CONTROL. You still have to hit vitals to stop them...and they need time to bleed.

You have to kill the brain, either with a head shot or by bleeding them out and denying oxygen.

Same with humans.

There was an incident in Seattle 9 years ago. Two gang-bangers shooting at each other over the hood of a car. Each fired more than 10 shots. Each took AT LEAST 5 fatal wounds...and each emptied the clip.

Both died at the scene.

Now the FBI and many state agencies teach officers to shoot AT the hip or the head...drop 'em on the first shot and keep shooting to ensure they bleed out. Even someone shot through the heart can keep shooting for over 3 seconds.

22 posted on 03/11/2012 11:37:08 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Askwhy5times

Cheers!

23 posted on 03/11/2012 11:42:47 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Askwhy5times

The even more interesting thing is that to use pepper spray effectively on an attacking bear, the bear is supposed to be inhaling when you spray it. There are only a few seconds of spray in the canister. I’d much prefer something a bit more effective.


24 posted on 03/11/2012 11:42:54 AM PDT by finnsheep
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To: exDemMom
I agree that the "study" seems designed to reach a pre-determined conclusion. Very poor "science."

I'd be embarrassed to be either the author of the "study" or the publisher.

25 posted on 03/11/2012 11:46:57 AM PDT by susannah59
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To: Askwhy5times

This may be true if you have trouble acquiring the target.


26 posted on 03/11/2012 11:47:37 AM PDT by TsonicTsunami08
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To: Askwhy5times

Even if bear spray is 92% effective, like this guy claims, it still stands to reason that you should carry a gun for the 8% of the time that it is not effective. Otherwise, if the spray doesn’t work, you could be SOL.


27 posted on 03/11/2012 11:50:22 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: I cannot think of a name

You left out:

c. Eat the evidence!


28 posted on 03/11/2012 11:51:48 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: oldenuff2no

“Get a good picture of this, they will kill you and eat you.”

Though, not necessarily in that order.


29 posted on 03/11/2012 11:56:05 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: susannah59

These same “scientists” probably spent the past few years “researching” global warming. Fools.


30 posted on 03/11/2012 11:59:30 AM PDT by ogen hal (First amendment or reeducation camp?)
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To: True Grit

check out the photos of this bear from a similar thread the other day. (Post #50)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2856693/posts


31 posted on 03/11/2012 12:01:32 PM PDT by Typelouder
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To: Askwhy5times

BYU????

Mormon scientist????

Ha! Good one!!!


32 posted on 03/11/2012 12:03:04 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (I wouldnÂ’t vote for Romney for dog catcher if he was in a three way race against Lenin and Marx!)
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To: Askwhy5times

Yea, and neither does walking on the sidewalk, instead of the middle of the street.
.


33 posted on 03/11/2012 12:04:07 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
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To: exDemMom
this study seems to have taken a predetermined conclusion and then interpreted the data in such a way as to support the conclusion
Holy Hide-The-Decline, Batman!
34 posted on 03/11/2012 12:09:32 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: Askwhy5times

>>...claims carrying a gun in bear country does not make you safer...<<

Not sure about that study, but (to borrow a phrase), if a bear ever gets me, it will have to do so through a hail of bullets.


35 posted on 03/11/2012 12:15:22 PM PDT by jaydee770
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To: Askwhy5times

I live in bear country, even have them sleeping on my porch on once in a while. No way I would expect pepper spray to be effective on anything but a bear not intending me harm in the first place. A charging bear or a pissed off bear trying to get to my fresh baked apple pie in the window will need the force of a heavy firearm. I keep a 44 magnum for home and hiking defense.


36 posted on 03/11/2012 12:15:49 PM PDT by CodeToad (NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!)
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To: I cannot think of a name
or b: Get the hell out of there and say nothing to nobody.

Sounds like a good policy when having to draw on two-legged predators, when the outcome did not involve actual bodies on the ground for police to have to account for.

37 posted on 03/11/2012 12:16:06 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: fish hawk
You don’t need a 44 Mag or any of those large calibers. When I go to Grizzly country I take a 22 and a Liberal with me. If I encounter an angry Griz, I shoot the liberal in the knee cap with the 22 and run like hell.

I disagree -- a .44 should be just fine for knee-capping a liberal!

38 posted on 03/11/2012 12:35:28 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Askwhy5times

I’ve hiked in MT grizzly country. My question to those that support bear spray. Does wind stop while a bear charges?

My gun’s ammo, regardless of caliber, is not affected much by wind direction 30 yards and in.


39 posted on 03/11/2012 12:36:39 PM PDT by roofgoat
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To: Askwhy5times

Very dishonest. Very few people carry firearms that will put down a bear or develop the skills and anatomy study needed. I live in bear country. The old timers were right. For a revolver, it’s big bore, hardened, wide, flat-nosed, heavy lead traveling at near 1100 fps or faster. A Ruger Blackhawk with such a .45 Colt custom load described above (if you are an experienced and conscientious handloader) or something like this Buffalo Bore load.

http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=41
(only safe in Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk, and certain other pre-2005 models only—read the info!)

The truth about ballistics and bear defense:

Shooting Holes in Wounding Theories:
The Mechanics of Terminal Ballistics
http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/ballistics/wounding.html

(need at least a long, .60-inch hole through a central nervous system/major circulatory area—something capable of blowing all the way through such and animal)

And folks, don’t try to depend on pepper mace in the mountains. It will blow downwind fast. It’s windy up here much of the time. And don’t get that close to any bear.


40 posted on 03/11/2012 12:46:25 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: EternalVigilance

How do you tell if you’re in black bear country? The bear scat will have berries in it.

How do you tell if you’re in grizzly country? The bear scat will have little bells in it and smell like pepper spray.


41 posted on 03/11/2012 1:02:57 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Askwhy5times

By the way, the report (bang) of any loud firearm will very likely scare a bear away, even if a bear is wounded (most cases). The information in my last comment was more for the purpose of humane defense (avoiding leaving bears wounded and suffering).

In my case...? There’s a bear that regularly walks by near me to get a drink from a creek. No problems from that bear at all (all black, smaller bear). He’s just another neighbor. It helps that the area is not treed.

There were problems at another location, far from here and several years ago, where neighbors left food in their trash. ...a couple of large males (both unusually large, brown and long-haired) that became too familiar with people there. That area was also heavily treed.

One last thing. In at least some states, local wildlife employees will lean toward prosecuting you for shooting a bear except in cases of local livestock owners doing so because of predation. So they lean way against new residential arrivals, and especially, tourists.


42 posted on 03/11/2012 1:05:34 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: Askwhy5times

How do they define a bear attack? If I shoot the bear before it actually injures anyone, how is that categorized? Is it thrown out because no one was killed or injured? If the bear doesn’t press the attack and turns tail, how is that categorized? This is a study where you can completely bias the outcome simply by how you define a bear attack.


43 posted on 03/11/2012 1:14:51 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: oldenuff2no

That is the real world!


44 posted on 03/11/2012 1:24:56 PM PDT by ssschev
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To: Askwhy5times

Tell you what, let’s take these “scientists”, force them into a bear pit, and give them the option to either take a gun with them, or not.....let’s see how many of them take the gun.


45 posted on 03/11/2012 1:26:31 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: familyop

“Very few people carry firearms that will put down a bear or develop the skills and anatomy study needed”
____________________________________________________________

This is the entire point of the study.


46 posted on 03/11/2012 1:58:52 PM PDT by free me (heartless)
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To: Askwhy5times
I recall a story from last year:
Greg Brush, an Alaskan fishing guide, was ambushed with no warning by a charging bear. All he had time to do was pull out his .454 Casull and fire as fast as possible, while falling backwards after tripping on a branch. The Anchorage Daily News reports:

He drew a Ruger .454 Casull revolver. There was no time to aim, barely time to squeeze the trigger. He’s not sure whether he got off two shots or three, but one proved fatal.

“Total luck shot,” he said.

“It doesn’t get any closer. He slid by me on his chin when I shot him,” Brush said. “I was backpedaling as fast as I could. I wasn’t even aiming. I tripped over my own feet as I pulled the trigger.”

He estimated that the animal weighed 900-plus pounds, and was 15 to 20 years old. It had grass packed in its molars and little fat on its bones.

“It was starving to death and saw an opportunity,” Brush said.


I also read this article about two unarmed people killed in yellowstone by different bears within a month or so of each other.

WP story

In Alaska, people expect problems from bears and are normally armed. In Yellowstone, people are not allowed to be armed. In National Parks, you can be eaten alive for the crime of Political correctness. In Alaska, you eat bear. That is my study on the issue.

Guess which one I chose?

47 posted on 03/11/2012 2:06:55 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: blueunicorn6
I was out walking in the woods when I got between a grizzly sow and her cubs. She charged me. I’ve had years of martial arts training, so I screamed at her and assumed a defensive stance. She stopped about six feet away, pulled out a 38 and shot me in the leg. She said, “Take that Karate Kid!” and then she ate me.

That's just silly. A bear wouldn't carry a 38!

48 posted on 03/11/2012 2:12:03 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear (No More RINOS!)
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To: exDemMom
I completely agree: this study seems to have taken a predetermined conclusion and then interpreted the data in such a way as to support the conclusion. That kind of study is not scientific, but, unfortunately, shows up far too often in the scientific literature. I usually see that kind of non-science in clinical studies, where researchers set out to prove something is bad (e.g. soda), and collect their data in such a way that they can never show otherwise.

Research is not generally performed for knowledge anymore. Research is done to satisfy grant funding. As such, a researcher who wants to continue to get funding will report what will result in further funding down the road.

The big exception is research which is done to find information that will result in a profitable product.

49 posted on 03/11/2012 2:52:18 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: namvolunteer

“I dispute that Smith is a bear expert. Timothy Treadwell was a bear expert. He lived with bears. They ate him.”

Treadwell was a bear expert. He has studied them from inside and out.

Carrying a firearm may not make me safer, but it also doesn’t make the bear safer, either.


50 posted on 03/11/2012 3:08:33 PM PDT by eartrumpet
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