Skip to comments.Study: Guns no more effective than pepper spray in bear encounters
Posted on 03/25/2012 5:11:10 PM PDT by SJackson
LANDER As bears begin to emerge from dens in the greater Yellowstone National Park ecosystem, a new study says carrying a gun into bear country doesnt make you any safer.
Tom Smith, a professor of wildlife conservation at Brigham Young University, and fellow scientists studied 269 bear-human conflicts in Alaska for a paper appearing in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Those incidents involved 444 people and 357 bears, 300 of which were brown bears.
The team found firing a gun is no more effective in keeping people from injury or death during bear attacks than not using a firearm. Research didnt find a statistical difference in outcome injury, fatality or noninjury when they compared those who used their gun in an aggressive encounter (229 instances) to those who had guns but did not use them (40 instances).
Smith found many people didnt want to shoot a bear and often went through a decision-making process that took too long when a bear charged, Smith said.
That reluctance is a built-in problem for this deterrent, he said.
In his study, 24 percent of people who used guns were injured and of that group, 17 people were killed.
In a paper he wrote in 2007, after analyzing the use of bear spray as a deterrent, Smith found only three of 156 people involved in bear encounters who used spray were injured (less than 2 percent). And all of the injuries were minor, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at trib.com ...
I know there will be disagreement, but the author's underlying conclusion is correct. If you're not going to use a weapon, don't carry it. At least a bear won't take it away from you, though that's not much consolation.
Amen. And if you can, call for arty and an airstrike. There is no reason to be cheap if you have to use force. Don't hesitate, use it all, until the threat doesn't exist.
I prefer guns with bullets coated with pepper spray.
Don’t forget to tie little bells on your shoes . . .
I’ll take the gun, thanks.
And I *will* use it!
It isn’t less safe if you are shooting a .460 S&W Magnum at the bear instead of a 9mm.
Person to self...”I don’t wanna shoot the poor widdle cuddly bear. Maybe he won’t hurt me.”
Bear to self...”Yum...easy dinner”
You still need to be cool and good enough to hit that roaring, charging, bouncing bear between the eyes.
I tend to agree. A firearm (or any other defensive tool) is useless if you’re not willing to use it when the moment arrives to do so. I don’t know how effective Bear pepper spray is, but it’s got to be better than a holstered pistol.
Remember to always be on the look out for bear poop.
You can tell it’s bear poop because it’s got little
bells in it and it smells like pepper spray.
I loved the story about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and their encounters with the BIG grizzly bears back then as related by Stephen Ambrose in his book Undaunted Courage.
He talks about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and when they went further west, they began to encounter enormous grizzly bears, the likes of which they had never seen. I don’t doubt this, because being the apex predator that they are, they had probably grown to enormous sizes without a lot of interference from humans.
They made it clear to the Indians who befriended them that they were going to go out and hunt these bears, the Indians were astonished, and communicated to them in every way possible that doing so was an extremely risky and foolhardy endeavor. Apparently, they couldn’t believe these white people were crazy enough to do that.
Lewis and Clark were undaunted by the admonitions, and made it clear that they were perfectly confident because of the advanced weaponry that they carried with them, that the Indians did not have their rifles.
I imagine that if I were there, I could just see the Indians turning to each other and shrugging their shoulders, saying the equivalent of Well, I guess it’s their ass
When they came across a particularly large specimen of these grizzly bears by the side of a river, they set upon it and begin shooting it. The way the story goes as I recall, at one point there were 12 guys firing away with these black powder guns, and ended up throwing down their guns and running into the river to try to escape while this massive grizzly bear chased after them into the water.
I do believe that there was illustration that one of the party had drawn of this incident at the time, and it showed a grizzly bear standing on its hind legs in the middle of a large spread out ring of frontiersmen all firing their weapons in what looked for all intents and purposes like a circular firing squad, except that all their rifles were pointed up at what looked to be at least a 45° angle. The bear, standing erect on its hind legs, with the perspective of the amateur artist looked to be, oh, say, 30 feet tall, with both of its forepaws straight up in the air with claws extended! I think I’ve always been surprised that the artist didn’t make the bear appear to be 100 feet tall, rivaling Godzilla
What was really funny though, was the dry log entry by one of the guys that basically said We decided to avoid encountering those types of beasts in the future
It reminded me of the other entry later on their journey, when they reached the Columbia River. Now anyone who pays attention to these things knows that the Columbia River in those days was a particularly wild River, so when Lewis and Clark made it clear to the Native Americans out in that area that they intended to take their funny looking (funny looking to the Indians at least) wooden boats down the river, the Indians again must’ve looked at each other in astonishment and said These pale faced white people are absolutely insane
Sure enough, on the day went down the river, there were hundreds and hundreds of Indians lining both sides of the river to watch the spectacle of these white guys completely destroy themselves it promised to be a real show. This has to be one of the times though, where Lewis and Clark really did know what they were doing, and the Indians were extremely impressed and again, astonished in a positive way, that these guys in their buckskins and funny looking wooden boats actually made it down the boiling white water river.
Hesitation is a common problem when stressed and something they try to train out of people in the military. It is easy to stand there too long thinking when a decision needs to be made in a heartbeat. While the premise of the article seems silly at first glance, I found I could see what they were saying about the hesitation.
Read the story of Hugh Glass trapper and scout.
Interesting that one of the men left with him
was a very young jim Bridger.
You are probably familiar with Parkman’s “Oregon Trail”, which has a similar account of plains grizzlies encounters in the late 1840s.
I live adjacent to prime griz habitat(Purcell Conservancy) and see grizzlies and their cubs most summers. They are magnificent creatures.
And fast. Faster than you would think.
I’m with you on that, but...I would feel better with that gun in my hand rather than the can of pepper spray as the charging, bouncing bear advances!!!
Yes it is. And if you're going to wait till he (or she) is upon you, bring a couple friends with spray.
Yes, they don't stand still do they. And the sholders move the head.
“...give advance warning to any bears...” WTH??
Give me a Beowulf .50cal over “little noisy bells” or pepper spray, any day!