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#228530 - 07/25/11 10:18 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: ireckon]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: ireckon
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.

...

Further, check the source. CBC is a Canadian news source. Canada is overall anti-gun, just like Britain.

True, the CBC is anti-gun. However, the 67% seems to be accurate, the article just isn't clear about where it came from. While the article makes it seem like the study compared bear spray to guns, it was actually the study's author (or at least his University) who appears to have drawn the line between the study you linked to and his previous work.

The following is from the University's press release:

"... 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 ... Smith's previous research found that guns were effective about 67 percent of the time."

The CBC article did not make it clear that the 67% figure came from a previous study, not from the bear spray study.

It seems that similar numbers are quoted by other researchers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have a fact sheet Bear Spray vs. Bullets which says:

"Law enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have experience that supports this reality -- based on their investigations of human-bear encounters since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time. During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries. Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero reached similar conclusions based on his own research -- a person’s chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used."

I have nothing vested in these results, but everything I find seems to indicate that bear spray is more effective than firearms as a general rule.
_________________________
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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#228531 - 07/25/11 10:18 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2531
Loc: Big Sky Country
I will claim no expertise on the matter, but the summaries I've read do seem to indicate bear spray is more effective than a gun (statistically). Obviously there are lots of variables. Many people seem to think of the .44 Magnum as a very formidable handgun but realistically it's a pop gun vs a large bear. How many shooters have the skill to drop a bear moving 30 mph with a handgun? I consider myself pretty skilled with firearms (Dad had an FFL and sold guns thru his sports club when I was young, and we had 80 personal firearms in our household) but I wouldn't feel great at all about facing an angry bear with a handgun. A person with limited training with a handgun would probably be much better off with a canister of bear spray. For a skilled shooter with a 12 gauge (with appropriate ammo) maybe the gun would be better. Of course, if the pepper spray works it's a win/win situation, whereas if the gun works it's win/lose.
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#228532 - 07/25/11 10:21 PM Not a firearm OR pepperspray choice [Re: Denis]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1158
Loc: Channeled Scablands
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 is their world view. You could say they have a pre-existing dislike with firearms too.

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).

---It is not a vs. situation. Choosing one over the other is kind of like choosing whether to have airbags OR a seat belt in your car.

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.

---Bet most of them haven't used and ice axe either. They are dangerous if used incorrectly, but you
can be sure they train and carry them on glaciers. If their
mandate is to travel in the Alaska wilds, they also have a
mandate to protect the students as well or better than the
local population protects themselves.

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.

---It is no longer on paper. Green ideology comes up against
children's safety.
If omitting a firearm component makes the students
less safe than similar groups traveling in that area
(fishing guides, NPS, NFS etc.) they are leaving themselves
open for criticism, or worse.

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#228535 - 07/25/11 10:27 PM Re: Not a firearm OR pepperspray choice [Re: clearwater]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

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#228536 - 07/25/11 10:28 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Why would anyone carry a handgun as protection against bears???

The phrase "armed for bear" has a meaning to it, you know.

If you're just carrying a handgun, you may be "armed for squirrels or a raccoon", but not a large predator.

Sue

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#228541 - 07/25/11 10:47 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Denis]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1401
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
I think one could argue all day about which study is accurate, what statistic is correct etc. I work with numbers and statistics all day and can massage them into any interpretation you want. Speaking of statistics, more people who are out trying to enjoy the outdoors in many related sports die each year from getting lost, falling and other accidents then all the known bear attacks on record. Do a search on Google for "hiking deaths".

The simple fact of the matter is that all those studies go out the window when it comes to encounters with bears. Every bear is going to react different, every person or group is going to react different also. The foremost important thing when confronted with any wildlife encounter that may cause you or others harm is to keep your head about you by being aware of your environment beforehand and to keep your wits about you when it is most critical.

Again with this particular bear attack, none of us were there to able to accurately analyze what occurred before and after the attack etc. As I always tell people, when it comes to wilderness accidents and survival situations, it is never one mistake that is the root cause, rather a whole sequence of events that lead up to the problem.

As for the bear spray vs gun debate. I carry bear spray and that does not mean I am anti-gun in any shape or form as I do own firearms also. If I ever get in the situation of having to pull the trigger on the bear spray then perhaps I might be wishing of having a firearm instead.
_________________________
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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#228543 - 07/25/11 10:51 PM Re: Not a firearm OR pepperspray choice [Re: clearwater]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: clearwater
It is no longer on paper. Green ideology comes up against children's safety. If omitting a firearm component makes the students less safe than similar groups traveling in that area (fishing guides, NPS, NFS etc.) they are leaving themselves open for criticism, or worse.

In principle I agree with you. However, the key phrase in your statement is "[i]f omitting a firearm component makes the students less safe..."

All the evidence and studies I have heard of suggest that pepper spray is an effective defence against bear attacks; a more effective option than firearms. Based on this, the only data I have, I can't say they are putting their agenda before the kids' (or their own) safety.

As you correctly stated, many groups, maybe even these guys, hold a worldview that would prevent them from using firearms even if the evidence showed they were more effective. It just so happens that, in this case at least, the data appears to support their preferences.
_________________________
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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#228548 - 07/25/11 11:55 PM Re: Not a firearm OR pepperspray choice [Re: Susan]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1158
Loc: Channeled Scablands
If I were going to hike in Alaska I would carry pepper spray.
And likely it would be my first response.

Some if's. How would one us it if:

If one were attacked in a tent?

Strong wind in the face?

If it goes off accidentally while driving the car?

If it goes out of date after 2 years?

If the temp dips low and the stuff won't work?

If the temps get hot and it explodes?
http://www.survivalreviews.com/index.php/articles/selfdefense/130-really-bad-deal

When a bear is already mauling a friend?

--

One study alone is not enough. And both the park service and the
national forests in Alaska say bring more than one kind of
protection.

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#228556 - 07/26/11 12:44 AM Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: clearwater]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1401
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Originally Posted By: clearwater
If I were going to hike in Alaska I would carry pepper spray.And likely it would be my first response.

Some if's. How would one us it if:

If one were attacked in a tent?


From the Glacier National Park website:

Contrary to your behavior on the trail, if a grizzly bear is aggressive while you are sleeping in your tent, you must fight back with all your might.

Use anything you have as a weapon and go for the eyes and face. Outside of encountering a grizzly bear on the trail, this is the most dangerous situation to be in as the grizzly bear's aggression is likely due to hunger.


Originally Posted By: clearwater

Strong wind in the face?

Don't pull the trigger on the spray, you will incapacitate yourself and make a bad situation much worse. On the other-hand, many bear attacks/charges are bluffs...just hope this is one of those times otherwise follow the recommended guides for black or grizzly attack.

Originally Posted By: clearwater

If it goes off accidentally while driving the car?

Don't keep it in the car interior, rather in a trunk and closed container. The can I have states in capital letters: DO NOT STORE IN CAR PASSENGER COMPARTMENT.

Originally Posted By: clearwater

If it goes out of date after 2 years?

Inadvertently if it is all you have, take the spray and use it if need be. It would be better then none as the spray would still have some effectiveness.

Originally Posted By: clearwater

If the temp dips low and the stuff won't work?

The bear spray I have says on the can that is good to 0C (32F). Chances are most bears are not out by time the weather gets this cool. I would (only) guess if the can is kept warm inside a jacket pocket etc, the temp range might be extended.

Originally Posted By: clearwater

Can states: Safe to 50C, see above about not storing in the car where summer temps can climb above the safe zone.

Originally Posted By: clearwater

When a bear is already mauling a friend?

Tough call on this one. Do you attempt to distract or confront the bear with a bear banger, whistles, yelling, rocks, sticks etc and risk having the bear next turn on you. If you had pepper spray, would it be worth spraying your friend along with the bear? I probably, maybe would? Chances are you will recover completely from the spray but the bear attack may be a different story..
_________________________
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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#228559 - 07/26/11 12:56 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Susan
Glock-A-Roo: I can't find anything online regarding the NOLS accident and death rate history. Can you help me with this?


Sure, call them at 800-710-6657, express your concerns, and go from there. They are above-board people.

This should put you on the right path, unless of course you're just running your suck instead of genuinely looking for answers.

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