Skip to comments.Anti-gun spin: Study claims carrying a gun in bear country doesn’t make you any safer
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.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.
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.
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.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.
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).
People should consider carrying a non-lethal deterrent such as bear spray, said Smith, a gun owner himself. Its much easier to deploy, its 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.
I think the bears might tend to disagree...JMHO
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.
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.
I'd be embarrassed to be either the author of the "study" or the publisher.
This may be true if you have trouble acquiring the target.
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.
You left out:
c. Eat the evidence!
“Get a good picture of this, they will kill you and eat you.”
Though, not necessarily in that order.
These same “scientists” probably spent the past few years “researching” global warming. Fools.
check out the photos of this bear from a similar thread the other day. (Post #50)
Ha! Good one!!!
Yea, and neither does walking on the sidewalk, instead of the middle of the street.
this study seems to have taken a predetermined conclusion and then interpreted the data in such a way as to support the conclusionHoly Hide-The-Decline, Batman!
>>...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.
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.
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.
I disagree -- a .44 should be just fine for knee-capping a liberal!
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.
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.
(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
(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.
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