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#228501 - 07/25/11 07:30 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: NightHiker]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
Although I have a hunch I know the answer, it would be interesting to know the real figures on:
1) how many grizzlys attacks there have been over the last few years
2) in how many of them was bear spray used
3) in how many of them was a firearm used
4) which deterrent has a higher instance of ending with a more favorable outcome for the human

As I mentioned a bit earlier on in this thread, the only study I've heard about found that bear spray was effective at stopping aggressive bear behaviour in 92 percent of cases while firearms were effective in 67 percent of cases.

This was a study of 20 years worth of bear encounters in Alaska; the bears involved were mostly (70%) grizzlies with the remainder being blacks (there were with a couple polar bear incidents included in the study too).
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#228502 - 07/25/11 07:31 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: ireckon]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1059
Loc: Channeled Scablands
What are the important differences you see?

Do they apply in Alaska too?

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#228504 - 07/25/11 07:43 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills cou [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1382
Originally Posted By: Glock-A-Roo
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
The probable real reason can be summed up in 3 words "fear of litigation" if something goes wrong. That said, I would not be surprised if there is not any litigation stemming from the bear attack.


I am confused: you would not be surprised if there is NOT any litigation from this, which means you do not expect litigation? If so, I would have to disagree.

It may not be right, but NOLS may get sued out of existence on this one, especially if any of the kids dies or has ongoing disability.

Frankly I'm surprised something this big hasn't happened to them before. I heartily approve of the outdoor experiences they provide like climbing, solo hiking, etc. but I can't imagine putting myself on the legal hook for the welfare of strangers doing those activities.


I thought I was fairly clear. I expect litigation...
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#228506 - 07/25/11 08:07 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Denis]
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Denis
As I mentioned a bit earlier on in this thread, the only study I've heard about found that bear spray was effective at stopping aggressive bear behaviour in 92 percent of cases while firearms were effective in 67 percent of cases.

This was a study of 20 years worth of bear encounters in Alaska; the bears involved were mostly (70%) grizzlies with the remainder being blacks (there were with a couple polar bear incidents included in the study too).


I think what we have here is an example of random stats being pulled out of the sky. Here is the original study:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2193/2006-452/abstract

The study does not analyze guns used in bear attacks, but the CBC article goes ahead and pulls 67% out of nowhere. I guess we're supposed to take that as the truth. I don't. Anyway, what does 67% mean? What type of gun is each person using? Are they including warning shots in that 67%? There are too many unknowns.

Further, check the source. CBC is a Canadian news source. Canada is overall anti-gun, just like Britain. I don't trust any study coming out of Canada or Britain that's related to using guns for self-defense. In Britain, it's basically illegal to use a gun to defend yourself against an attacker who intends to kill you. That's a warped mindset that completely disregards the natural right of self-defense.
_________________________
If you're reading this, it's too late.

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#228510 - 07/25/11 08:41 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: ireckon]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 893
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: ireckon
Through all this discussion, can we be mindful of the differences between grizzly and black? The original post is about a grizzly. I see people saying "bear", and I wonder if they're lumping all bears into one category. So, while the discussion seems useful on the surface, I'll have to assume someone is talking about black bears if they say "bear". That's to err on the side of caution.


I tend to lump browns and grizzlies together even though there are some minor differences with browns (kodiaks) having evolved to a larger size due to their fatty fish diets. Blacks are smaller than either (although some blacks in Alaska can also get very large due to rich diets).

One thing I've read is that even though grizzlies can be more lethal than blacks because of their greater strength and size, they tend to maul their victims but not necessarily kill them outright. Most people are actually survivors of attacks. Blacks have a bit more tendancy than grizzlies to stalk a person and they tend to finish the attack to the end rather than maul and leave as the grizzly would. These are tendancies, not written-in-stone behaviours, mind you. There are two three situations where bears are most dangerous -- when a sow with cubs is involved or if you come between the bear and it's food or if your dog gets aggressive with it. Otherwise they will most likely leave the area to avoid an encounter or they will huff and bluff charge in an effort to get you to move.

When I saw the follow-up articles about the first one or two people encountering the bear AFTER crossing the stream, it makes a far more sense. The bears may have not have known there were more people or a group which explains the idea that there were 7 hikers. And as others pointed out, the sounds of the stream and air currents could have masked the sounds and even the smell of the hikers as they approached which lends to the idea that the encounter was a surprise to the grizzlies. The first two individuals may not have had one of the 3 bear spray cannisters.

In any case, I wish the hikers a speedy recovery and all the best going forward.

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#228511 - 07/25/11 08:52 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: widget]
Andy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 378
Loc: SE PA
A link to the NOLS press release here.

I've hiked some in the Chugach National Forest in SW Alaska. Our tactic was to constantly make noise just on the off chance we would come across a bear. The real problem may be that since the bears don't make noise you can get surprised. We were walking a well used trail when, with no warning at all, a very large dog ran up on us. He was friendly so no problem, but we never heard him coming. I doubt we would have heard a bear and in some of terrain we wouldn't have seen one either.

National Park trail and ADFG crews (fish & game), on which my DD has worked, always have a member whose job it is to provide protection against bears. She ends up carrying the 12 guage most of the time. The NPS does provide firearms training to all crew members before allowing them out on the trails.

DD's said that the crews worry more about black bears than grizzlies, but that may be because of her location in SW Alaska (Prince William Sound).

Sounds like all the kids will survive which is great news. And, NOLS did provide them with a PLB, which they used. It would be interesting to read the first person accounts of what happened.
_________________________
In a crisis one does not rise to one's level of expectations but rather falls to one's level of training.

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#228512 - 07/25/11 09:14 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"They weren't talking themselves out of the situation they were calling out - ie. making noise to ward off the precesnce of the bear".

Oh, I read it and understood it perfectly. But it DIDN'T WORK, did it? What was Plan B?

Lots of people go out into the wilderness every day and don't have a bear problem. That's probably because there aren't any bears around. What's the death and injury rate when there are?

Granted, feeding the bear one of the group would only incur a 20% loss (if there were five), or a paltry 14% loss if there were seven. Is that considered acceptable?

NOLS seems to have the same kind of planning mentality that governments usually have for their disaster plans: They prepare for the best-case scenarios instead of the worst-case scenarios.

NOLS is a non-profit organization with 14 on their board of trustees. Next time, send one of the trustees across the river first. That way, I'll bet company policy will change more quickly, unless their donors and grant sources do it first.

Glock-A-Roo: I can't find anything online regarding the NOLS accident and death rate history. Can you help me with this? The Wikipedia entry is more an advertising spiel than anything else, obviously written by themselves.

And I am not downplaying the response of the victims. It appears that they did an incredible job in all respects. I would say that they probably did a better job than most adults.

Sue

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#228513 - 07/25/11 09:28 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1059
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: Susan


And I am not downplaying the response of the victims. It appears that they did an incredible job in all respects. I would say that they probably did a better job than most adults.

Sue


Exactly, if they are undertaking a "real" challenge they
should have all the tools and training an adult would.

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#228515 - 07/25/11 09:34 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Teslinhiker]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Originally Posted By: clearwater
[ Noreal reason they can't teach how to safely use firearms in thebush just like many Alaskans do.

The probable real reason can be summed up in 3 words "fear of litigation" if something goes wrong. That said, I would not be surprised if there is not any litigation stemming from the bear attack.

I can think of a couple reasons why a course like this wouldn't include firearms for personal protection.

First, the study I referred to earlier is fairly well known by outdoor people who have to deal with the risk of bears but do not have a pre-existing affinity with firearms. This study (or at least how it has been interpreted) shows that they are not increasing the risk to their lives or others by foregoing a firearm and opting instead for bear spray.

I've heard this study referred to both by in online forums as well as in real life by my wilderness first aid instructor who was involved with the gun vs. bear spray debate with his SAR unit (he was on the bear spray side).

The second reason is training. To send a group of people with no prior firearms experience out with guns but no training is (I'd hope) a non-starter to begin with. If a program were to provide firearms for protection they'd have to provide a decent level of training first; something I assume this group feels falls well outside its mandate.

This second point links in to the first point: if you are convinced bear spray is more effective in repelling an attack than a firearm then your risk management strategy doesn't need to incorporate firearms; on paper they become more liability than benefit.
_________________________
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#228521 - 07/25/11 09:49 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: ireckon]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 893
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: ireckon
Originally Posted By: Denis
As I mentioned a bit earlier on in this thread, the only study I've heard about found that bear spray was effective at stopping aggressive bear behaviour in 92 percent of cases while firearms were effective in 67 percent of cases.

This was a study of 20 years worth of bear encounters in Alaska; the bears involved were mostly (70%) grizzlies with the remainder being blacks (there were with a couple polar bear incidents included in the study too).


I think what we have here is an example of random stats being pulled out of the sky. Here is the original study:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2193/2006-452/abstract

The study does not analyze guns used in bear attacks, but the CBC article goes ahead and pulls 67% out of nowhere. I guess we're supposed to take that as the truth. I don't. Anyway, what does 67% mean? What type of gun is each person using? Are they including warning shots in that 67%? There are too many unknowns.


Forget the fact that its a CBC article. It is irrelevant. They did not participate in the study, they only reported on it. Second, the study as published may prove to be an interesting read. I have a couple other of Dr. Herrero's books and have read several others. I might pick this one up to. Third, these are not stats pulled out of the sky they are based on 83 bear spray uses where they analysed the encounters to the minute details (which way the wind was blowing, how hard, what brand of sray, particulars of the encounter.) The gun statistics are likely from another study or part of this one, its difficult to say. But when a I hear a stat like: "Smith pointed out, and his data suggests that it takes an average of four hits to stop a bear" tells me that there was some research behind that comment.

I do know that Dr. Herrero has documented all the reported bear attacks in NA from the start of when Yellowstone was created to at least when he wrote his first set of books on bear attacks. No word of whether he has been comprehensive of all the attacks since then. It may be that Herrero was relying on his previous studies. Lastly, while I take a bit of exception to the CBC article - it mentions US and Canadian researchers but Thomas Smith is from Brigham Young and Dr. Herrero is an American living in Calgary so it isn't as if this is an Canadian anti-gun agenda being pushed here.

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