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!
It's effective, and many times not, but better than a holstered pistol. Handgun not being my first choice.
I carry my .500 Linebaugh revolver when in bear country. I practice often and compete in cowboy action shooting and will not hesitate.
By all accounts, they are scary fast. I chuckle when I see a man being chased by a bear in a movie...I always think “No Way.”
Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! What these stupid anti-gun zealots won't come up with to stop people from carrying a firearm!
These same idiots who conducted the study have never encountered a bear in their stupid lives! I personally chased a black bear with cups from our back porch, she did not stand her ground until she reached the edge of the woods, this is when I knew she would would not budge no further and left her alone!
Most bears are more afraid of you than you are of them, if you respect most animals they will respect you. Having a firearm with you is always excellent insurance inspite of some liberal crap trap study that suggests other wise!
Reminds me of an article in which the author recounts his family's trip to Yellowstone.
His father stood underneath a bear, holding up an open jar of honey, while the bear steadied himself with his forepaws on the father's shoulders to get at the jar.
The L&C Party ate dogs.
I think pepper spray is more effective than most people think.
Still I think I would prefer a hot loaded S&W model 29 (hard cast Keith style 240 grain bullet) with a 5 inch barrel.
I would rather have an even more powerful handgun but then you start talking about so much weight, one might not carry it.
You can carry your pistols - if I’m in bear country, it’s my 7.62mm M1A/M-14 with 20-round magazine or nothing!
Pepper spray is more effecitive on bear than a gun....after the bear is shot, dressed and cooked.
What kind of cups? Tea, measuring, sports?
A local person wrote recently of his and his wife's experience falling when about five miles down the trail and breaking bones and ribs in the process. It's not an easy trek back to the vehicle in that event (they had bicycles they could not ride because of their injuries) and iffy if any cellphone coverage. Two-way radios are a good back-up plan for such woodsy excursions.
Those who have bear spray should note the cannisters have expiration dates. I wouldn't want to "test" the efficiency of this product when it is most needed.
You will notice the warning didn’t say anything about brass or weapons in the grizz scat.
If I knew I was going to run into a dangerous brown bear, I would carry nothing less than rifle in .375 H&H. I might take one of those Marlin Guide Guns in 45-70 if I had tested it enough to know it was reliable.
There should be a shell with pepper spray and buckshot.
Personally, I want the biggest and baddest cannon I can carry: .44 or .50 S&W Magnum, or a self-loading rifle with a magazine full of .308 Win. 180-grain or 220-grain .30-06 jacketed hollow points, or a Saiga shotgun with a 12 round magazine loaded with Brenneke slugs. If you're going to a bear confrontation, bring a gun. Better, bring two guns. Better still, bring all your friends with guns.
Who wants to deter a bear? With the right weapon, you can eliminate the problem and cook dinner at the same time.
One simply cannot derive the conslusion they presented, based upon the facts in evidence!
Someone pointed out that all you need is a .22 pistol. Shoot your partner in the leg so that you can out-run him.
Those are FUN to shoot. And yeah, it would hurt a bear in a serious way. The ammo resembles rifle rounds, LOL!
Another government/environmentalist study that only lacks the stamp of approval by Mann, Hansen, Jones or other self acclaimed and infallible expert!
Spray and pray?
Google “Dragon’s Breath” ammo.
Of course with sea bears, you need an anti-sea bear circle.