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#228752 - 07/29/11 03:54 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: bacpacjac]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: bacpacjac
Spray and being in a group of four or more seems to be a popular precaution

Looking at Parks Canada's bulletin, they have an added piece of advice that I tend to forget about:

The maximum distance between two individuals must not exceed 3 metres and should be less when sight or hearing is reduced by the physical surroundings.

Having a group a people doesn't do much good if you end up breaking up into pairs or smaller groups while hiking.

Also, regarding the bear spray recommendation, to be fair it is illegal to have firearms in the national parks so spray the only option that could be recommended to the public.
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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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#228755 - 07/29/11 04:43 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Denis]
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1622
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Denis
Also, regarding the bear spray recommendation, to be fair it is illegal to have firearms in the national parks so spray the only option that could be recommended to the public.


WRONG...Federal law permits firearms in national parks, provided the person complies with the firearms laws of the park's home state.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry_in_the_United_States#National_Park_Carry

Quote:
On May 22, 2009, President O.b.a.m.a signed H.R. 627, the "Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009," into law. The bill contained an amendment introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) that prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from enacting or enforcing any regulations that restrict possession of firearms in National Parks or Wildlife Refuges, as long as the person complies with laws of the state in which the unit is found.[49] This provision was supported by the National Rifle Association and opposed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, among other organizations.[50][51] As of February 2010 concealed handguns are for the first time legal in all but 3 of the nation's 391 national parks and wildlife refuges so long as all applicable federal, state, and local regulations are adhered to.[52] Previously firearms were allowed into parks non-concealed and unloaded.

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#228756 - 07/29/11 04:57 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: sheldon]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Originally Posted By: sheldon
I guess the point is that we haven't seen anything yet which supports the assertion that bear spray *is* effective for "committed" attacks. The Smith et al. study that you cited does not show it since for all we know, none of these 25 attacks was "committed" (and the reason for that is that their definition of aggressive behavior does not necessarily indicate a commitment to attack).

In an article written by Dr. Thomas Smith, one of the authors of that study, I found some additional details about bear attacks where firearms were involved (note: while the bear spray numbers are those from the 20 year study, another article I read indicated the following firearm numbers span a 100 year period):

What position do bear biologists take in this debate? I can’t speak for others, but after studying more than 600 Alaska bear attacks, I've learned:
  • In 72 incidents of people using bear spray to defend themselves against aggressive bears in Alaska, 98% were uninjured, and those that were suffered only minor injuries.
  • In 300 incidents where people carried and used firearms for protection against aggressive bears in Alaska, 40% were injured or killed, including 23 fatalities and 16 severely injured persons. Another 48 people suffered lesser injuries.

These numbers are consistent with the US Fish & Wildlife findings that:

...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.

Based on these observations I see 2 possible explanations. One is that bear spray is more effective than firearms when defending against bear attacks. The other is an overwhelming amount of bears will only commit themselves to attacking those who choose to defend themselves with firearms. The former seems more likely to me.
_________________________
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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#228757 - 07/29/11 04:59 AM 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
WRONG...Federal law permits firearms in national parks, provided the person complies with the firearms laws of the park's home state.


Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was referring to Canada's national parks.
_________________________
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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#228760 - 07/29/11 07:02 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills cou [Re: Denis]
sheldon Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: Denis
Based on these observations I see 2 possible explanations. One is that bear spray is more effective than firearms when defending against bear attacks. The other is an overwhelming amount of bears will only commit themselves to attacking those who choose to defend themselves with firearms. The former seems more likely to me.

I actually feel the second possibility is not that implausible. Of course it's unlikely that bears decide ahead of time to come after people with firearms. But it seems pretty plausible that what started as a test charge would turn into a committed attack if the bear is injured but not killed. Most people who use firearms are poorly trained and don't have appropriate firearms for killing bears. So they injure and aggravate the bear and it now feels it has to kill the human. Whether this hypothesis is true can be tested by comparing the number of injuries among general people with guns and among people who are well trained and use appropriate guns.

If that's true, then what's best depends on your skill level. If you don't know how to use the gun, then a better option is to use bear spray. If you do know how to use the gun, it may be better to use the gun.

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#228769 - 07/29/11 01:09 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Denis]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Denis
The other is an overwhelming amount of bears will only commit themselves to attacking those who choose to defend themselves with firearms.


I'd probably leave out the word "only", but I do think it is likely if you shoot a bear and do not kill it that it is going to do its best to return the favor.

"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!" -Mal

Basically, if you use lethal force when a deterrent would be more appropriate, you likely escalate the situation.

On the other hand, if you use a deterrent when a deterrent is not going to be effective, you likely are out of luck.

-john

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#228771 - 07/29/11 01:20 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Denis]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3593
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Denis
Also, regarding the bear spray recommendation, to be fair it is illegal to have firearms in the national parks so spray the only option that could be recommended to the public.


It's funny, because of this incident, I keep thinking about this issue in terms of Alaska and the US but it's an issue in Canada too, in Alberta and BC in particular. Our gun laws are very different so the debate certainly changes focus when we're talking North of the border.
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#228781 - 07/29/11 05:09 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 878
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: Glock-A-Roo
Originally Posted By: THIRDPIG
First off they DID have bear spray,that is also easy to find if one well googles the new stories and reads the accounts.


... or reads this thread.

Quote:
Second they were walking in a creek bed they came around a bend and there was the sow and cub,she charged hard right off, no time for nothing.


No way! I didn't know that... until I read this thread.


There is some descrepancy on that. The lead hiker mentioned that he didn't see any cub(s) and that he believed the rest of the group didn't see them either. So either someone is mistaken, some presumptions were made, or the signs of bear cubs were seen as an after the fact (paw prints in the mud?)

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#228787 - 07/29/11 06:56 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: NightHiker]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1027
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
I'd much rather be enveloped by a cloud of bear spray from my buddy behind me in hopes that it would prevent a mauling...and even if it didn't I don't think it would really add that much discomfort to the results of the bear attack.


+1


Kind of like hunting boar in tule reed tunnels.

But how many were injured in the attack, four or six of the seven? Something to be learned here about hiking as a group in thick brush in bear country.

Not attentive enough were Jedi those.

Or not trained or equipped enough.

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#228789 - 07/29/11 07:33 PM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 262
Loc: New York
An additional takeaway, that had nothing to do with the gun vs bear spray debate: Get training and be prepared for anything.

One of the kids is from around here, and he's getting a lot of press lately. He had recently graduated from an EMT class and had been a volunteer at a local hospital.

He managed to keep his rather severly injured friends alive until the professionals got there. According to the news here, one had a fractured skull, and one had two sucking chest wounds. Not minor injuries at all. I'm not sure how much can be done for a skull fracture in the field (I'm an EMT, but I'm usually within 10 - 15 minutes of a hospital - backboard, collar, and go!), but the chest wounds would probably need to be managed carefully, with the management having a significant impact on outcome. Seems he did a really good job.

That a member of the party had medical training probably played a role in the good outcome.

(For the record, I rarely hike without bear spray, even in New York state, and I have never hiked with a firearm, except to get to and from my hunting spots. Now that I have kids in the woods with me, I'm thinking about changing that fact, but it's hard to get the right permits around here.)
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