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#242830 - 03/09/12 10:13 PM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
Basecamp Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: Bingley
Originally Posted By: Basecamp
When you are faced with a lethal threat and ...
[quote=Basecamp]If you want to argue statistics, I don't have any handy. Let me give you an example of my thoughts on statistics: If statistics show that 6 in 7 folks survive a bear attack without a firearm and that one dies, would you want that one to be you or a member of your family?


You're saying that if you happen to the the unlucky one person, would you want to have a gun, right? What's motivated you to think about this, when what Smith is arguing is that there's little statistical difference between using and not using firearms in bear encounters? What you're thinking is "at least I'll have a fighting chance if I had a gun." Smith's research indicates that your chances aren't any better. You may still want to have a gun, perhaps because when the bear attacks you, you'll feel confident rather than helpless. This has to do with psychology than practicality. If SHTF, maybe you will be the small number of exceptions that manage to get off a well-placed shot. (And I hope you'll be able to pull this off.) Maybe you'll die trying to do that. (I hope not.) It's your prerogative to choose which path to go, not mine.

Again, I don't think this study says to disarm. Rather, it highlights the more crucial safety practices, and suggests that if you want to carry, carry a pistol and get ready for the difficulties of shooting a 500 lb charging animal.

It also says you'l have to fill out quite a bit of paperwork if you kill a bear in self defense. So pack a pen, too.

My only agenda here is to get people to understand what the research says (according to the news articles anyway). I have no inherent interest one way or the other about carrying in bear country.

My motivation for thinking about this doesn't have anything to do with being lucky or unlucky, but being prepared. It involves having been involved in training and being involved in or studying several serious situations, not specific to bears, but not excluding them. My thinking is more along the lines of "being able to handle whatever comes at me" (in a broad sense) with multi-purpose gear rather than carrying a bulky canister that may provide some protection from a specific threat. Consider the following: bears aren't the only threat in the wild, pepper spray doesn't work 100% of the time, I have been through a few chemical weapons courses (and been trained as an instructor) and know that it does affect me 100% of the time. Firearms can be used for signaling and for food, but pepper spray is not as efficient at either.

I have never shot or killed a bear, but know someone who has done so for protection ( and he was a bit disappointed in .45LC). I have shot and killed a brahma bull (~1200 lb. ) who had just charged and been shot by someone I was with. (Did I want to? No. Was it a one-shot-kill? No. Was it legal? Yes. Was paperwork done? Yes, and since the owner of the bull was a superior court judge, the paperwork was very detailed.) We all have some paradigm which shape our responses. It is good to read studies on both sides, understand what is being said and what is not (and perhaps, why) and figure out if it applies to you and how.

I think one of the things found in studies is that, if the person is using the right tool for the job and that person is adept with the tool they are using, the chances that the tool works for them is greatly increased. I don't believe that everyone should carry a gun, I do believe that if they choose to do so, they should become adept with it prior to carrying it... and, yes, become familiar with the aftermath.

I believe this, and many other articles, report dangerously misleading conclusions based on incomplete, misread or disregarded data.

I also believe that we could discuss this at length, bringing in "experts" defending different sides of the discussion, and still arrive at no defining solution.

I understand that there are other factors that matter to keep us safe, I'm focussing beyond that, at the point you are facing an attack.

We all have to make decisions based on our beliefs and what our heart and reasoning tell us to, and face the consequences of doing so. Every situation is different and every person's ability is different.

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#242834 - 03/09/12 10:34 PM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
My only real complaint with the discussions I've had on the topic are that people who prefer firearms over bear spray downplay the effectiveness of bear spray in direct conflict with the available evidence. They often use language that suggests your are taking an unreasonable risk if you choose bear spray as your primary defence tool in bear country, and yet all the available data suggests that it is your safest bet.

If a bear charges you, you have a much greater chance of being injured or killed if you try defending yourself with a firearm than if you try defending yourself with bear spray. This is what the facts from multiple sources all say and I've yet to see any substantiated argument to suggest otherwise.
_________________________
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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#242841 - 03/09/12 11:45 PM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Basecamp]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1246
Originally Posted By: Basecamp
I believe this, and many other articles, report dangerously misleading conclusions based on incomplete, misread or disregarded data


Would you care to give examples of the "incomplete, misread, or disregarded" data? If you have looked over the 200-odd cases Smith examined, I eagerly await your analysis of his data and why, based on the hard data, his conclusions are "misleading."

I have only read the two news articles. I haven't seem Smith's research article, which I assume presents his data and his findings. If you are in the same boat, then I don't see how your statement above has any worth.

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#242844 - 03/09/12 11:57 PM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
2005RedTJ Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 475
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
We don't have much for bears here in Alabama that I know if, but we were discussing this at work on day. A female coworker (who knows I carry and we've discussed it at length) asked me if I thought using a .45 would stop a bear.

I just told her I'll shoot until one of us is dead. They wouldn't find me laying dead with a half-empty magazine, that's for sure. I'd fire it dry and then shove it in an eye socket or something if I could.

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#242852 - 03/10/12 12:54 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1279
The real simple fact of the matter is this: 1000's of hikers die, get injured every year by their own undoing and mistakes as compared to those who may even see bear, let alone be charged or mauled by a bear. These are not numbers I just made up in my head, rather from years of daily Google news alerts based on key words that are sent to my email inbox, multiple times per day. All the discussion here will not change these statistics and I cannot believe that the topic of guns vs bear spray comes up so often and always leads to the same arguments.

I live and adventure in bear country on a very regular basis and the last thing crosses my mind, is a bear attack as there are 100's of more self inflicted accidents and mistakes that will cause me injury or death before a bear attack. And yes, I do carry bear spray and after decades of outdoor travels, have never had to use it once and in all likelihood, I will die of old age before having to pull the spray trigger (or any trigger) on a bear...
_________________________
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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#242860 - 03/10/12 02:20 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
sheldon Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: Bingley

Here's a paragraph that addresses your concern:

Quote:
The researchers found no statistical difference in the outcome (no injury, injury or fatality) when they compared those who used their gun in an aggressive encounter (229 instances) to those who had firearms but did not use them (40 instances).

I'm wondering whether that addressed the following potential issue: maybe the 40 instances in which no firearm was used were less aggressive than the instances where a firearm was used.

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#242863 - 03/10/12 02:32 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Denis]
sheldon Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: Denis
They often use language that suggests your are taking an unreasonable risk if you choose bear spray as your primary defence tool in bear country, and yet all the available data suggests that it is your safest bet.

I'd say that what the data actually suggests is that bear spray is an average person's safest bet. If you are sufficiently different from the average (e.g. if you are better at handling a firearm), then your personal safest bet might well be different too.

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#242864 - 03/10/12 02:35 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
Basecamp Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: Bingley
Originally Posted By: Basecamp
I believe this, and many other articles, report dangerously misleading conclusions based on incomplete, misread or disregarded data


Would you care to give examples of the "incomplete, misread, or disregarded" data? If you have looked over the 200-odd cases Smith examined, I eagerly await your analysis of his data and why, based on the hard data, his conclusions are "misleading."

I have only read the two news articles. I haven't seem Smith's research article, which I assume presents his data and his findings. If you are in the same boat, then I don't see how your statement above has any worth.

Examine and present only 260+ case studies...that should only take a couple of weeks, would you like to pay my O.T. rate? laugh
Why don't you pick out an example of what you feel is definitive case or five that you think shows your point, draw a conclusion from it and I'll try to show where it may be misleading. Sound reasonable?

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#242866 - 03/10/12 02:51 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5728
Loc: southern Cal
My go to guy for bears is Steven Herrero,particularly his publication "Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance." It isn't very macho,but the number one factor in bear country is keeping a scrupulously clean camp. I don't have the figures at hand, but the statistics demonstrate that bear spray is more effective at warding off bear attacks than firearms; again, not very macho. Frankly,I,too, feel more secure when packing a firearm, compared to carrying around a spray can, but that doesn't mean that I am actually more protected.

According to one recent study 63 people have been killed in bear attacks in 109 years, so death by bear is certainly a possibility, and worth preparing for, but that number of fatalities pales in significance to the number lost to falls,drownings, and extreme weather, both heat and cold, while in the outdoors.

Annually, there are something like fifty deaths from honey bees in the United States. What caliber is effective against this clearly dangerous animal?

Equipping ourselves against the threat we face in the outdoors is a very personal process; it is not surprising that we will make different choices. I haven't been in bear country lately, but when I am, I will probably do it with a can of bear spray, keep a clean camp, and use a bear can or hang my chow. My S&W will most likely stay home, because a good climbing rope will be more effective in the face of the threats I will be confronting.

Here's hoping we all make good choices.....
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#242868 - 03/10/12 03:04 AM Re: Bear attacks vs armed people [Re: AKSAR]
Basecamp Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
Whew...I almost hate to enter this thread. Guns for bear protection is one of those topics that always generates a lot of heat. The discussion can get quite contentious.

One article I found very interesting is this one from last summer by Rick Sinnott on myths about guns and bears. In it he points to a lot of the totally lame ideas that some people have regarding bears and guns. He also talks about pepper spray. Rick is a retired biologist who had responsibility for the Anchorage area. ...


The article referred to here is based on the study/report made by Tom Smith, the biologist, with the writer's opinions interjected and his conclusions.

This is what the State of Alaska thought of the biologist's study: "While Alaska wildlife officials questioned the usefulness of Smith's data set, they "agree 100 percent" that a firearm should not be used as a crutch. Ditto with pepper spray."

Looks like the State of Alaska feels neither firearms nor pepper spray be used a a crutch. If you're going to carry a firearm for protection, be adept with it. If you are going to use pepper spray for protection, be adept with it. Understand their limitations and capabilities.

'He points to lame ideas'; do you mean he gives statements made to him and then discounts them due to his opinion? That's what it looks like to me.

The author states: "While claiming to have fist-hand experience with guns and bears, many of the advocates proffered bad advice, apparently subscribing to the any-gun-is-better-than-no-gun rule of self-defense. It doesn’t work that way. An aggressive grizzly bear, or one defending its cub or a carcass, is not necessarily deterred by a little pain."

Does this guy understand that pepper spray is a pain deterrent?? It doesn't sever the spine, break bones or stop brain activity which ends aggressive behavior, is causes some level of temporary pain!


Here's his conclusion: "Because when a bear attacks and you have two seconds to react … and it’s raining … or dark … and you can’t see 10 feet into the brush … and your shotgun is leaning against a tree … or your rifle’s scope makes it difficult to acquire the bear … or you short-stroke your 12-gauge and jam it … or you empty your .357 magnum and the bear keeps coming … or you’ve never shot a gun before … and the ground is slippery … and your partner steps between you and the bear … or the bear straddles you, pinning your long gun in the present-arms position ... you might be wishing you had a can of bear spray."

So: ... When you use pepper spray, you have minutes to react ... and it's clear, dry and daylight conditions ... and you have unlimited visibility ... you have perfect vision and a clear shot ... you perfectly execute the safety, aim and fire sequence of the pepper spray deployment and have direct hits in the eye/nose/mouth area causing immediate incapacitation ... you have practiced with the pepper spray every month for years ... the ground is perfectly dry and level ... there is no one or nothing to get in your way or go wrong ... the bear is passive (why are you attacking it, anyway?) and stays 6' away from you and perfectly still so as to receive the full effect of the pepper spray ... and you still might be wishing you had a firearm?

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