Grizzlies are moving north of the Park in anticipation of the remains of the hunt-

This happens every year,

Hunter mauled by grizzly north of Gardiner. By Jessica Mayrer Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.

Update: I found out today the incident was in Eagle Creek. That’s hardly “north” of Gardiner. It’s between Gardiner and Jardine, just up the hill from downtown.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

105 Responses to Grizzly mauls Montana hunter on first day of big game season

  1. avatar John says:

    It was a predictable action on the bear’s behalf.

  2. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    This story sure doesn’t give any information. The man’s legs were injured . . was he up a tree, running away, stepped on a bear? It doesn’t help the rest of the hunters out there to not know how it happened . . and the headlines conjure up a horrific scene. Typical.
    – – – –
    See my update. RM

  3. avatar caleb says:

    How did the Hunter only get away with injured legs? The story doesn’t say, but i’ll bet it wasn’t by shooting the bear like retarded hunters like to say is the only thing that works.

  4. avatar jerry b says:

    Was he carrying, and if so, did he use bearspray??

  5. avatar vicki says:

    perhaps he laid spread eagle with his hands cupped behind his head and she bit his legs, or maybe she knocked him down and bit him….or maybe, maybe….who knows? We’ll hear more I ams ure. Butthe man was obviously lucky and for the bear’s sake, and his, I am glad.

  6. avatar Layton says:

    “It was a predictable action on the bear’s behalf”

    Are you kidding me?? What was “predictable”?

    Why?

    Are you somehow so “all knowing” that you KNOW what happened?? Or is this just one of those cases where the man shouldn’t have been in the woods?

    Give me a break!!!

  7. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    Maybe because it had a cub? Or because it is the time of the year when they are trying to pack on the pounds and the hunter was in her territory.
    Either way, there is one certainty you can predict, with bears…YOU CANNOT PREDICT THEIR BEHAVIOR! That is the one constatnt. SO if you hunt where there are bears, you take on a calculated risk.
    That doesn’t mean I think the guy did something wrong, provoked it, or deserved it. But he was hunting in bear territory, so he did take a chance.

  8. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Vicki I say it is the human animal whose behavior is unpredictable. Bears are more predictable than a dog, for instance, in that they have not learned to be manipulative. The behavior you see is what IS going on. There is no way in this case to understand this incident because they only gave us a few things, which may or may not be true. It was a man, he was hunting, and his legs were injured by a bear and cub. That’s it. Not much you can say about that. Bears are responsive, not unpredictable in my experience. They respond to human actions, non-actions and conditions. If you know what those variables are, then bears are very predictable.

  9. avatar Mike says:

    Sounds like it’s time to end the hunting season north of Gardiner,or at least have some sort of system in place to prevent more hunter/bear encounter.

  10. avatar vicki says:

    Linda,
    No we sure do not have much info. But I don’t know that I would agree that bears are predictable. Perhaps your experience would lead you to believe otherwise, but the reports I have read by various sources differ in how they tell you to react to a bear. So that says that every bear may react differently to the same situation. Therefore their behavior cannot be accurately predicted, and any prediction would be made in a few seconds worth of time. Not many people I know think that quickly under duress. Even the most educated person could easily panic when being charged (bluff or not) by a bear, and do the wrong thing. And doing everything right, according to what 9 out of 10 experts tell us to do, may still not be enough to save you if a bear attacks.
    No two bears will be alike, just as no two people are. They have different temperments.
    Yes, man can be very unpredictable. But I doubt the man was hoping to cross paths with a sow and cub, and lose.
    I am concerned that saying bears are “predictable” can cause them harm. If every bear is predictable, then we will cause them to fall withing guidelines of what behaviors we consider reasonable, standard, acceptable…predictable. Those that do not, and most won’t, will have a price to pay under the laws of human dominion.
    This is an area where I feel we (those who actually like animals, and seek to preserve them) lose many of those who are on the line between supporter or foe. If you make a man, who is out in the woods doing his thing (presumably legal and not menacing), responsible for predicting the behavior of a wild animal, you place more value on the animals’ rights than the humans. Asking most people to see the animals as innocent and worthy of our advocacy and protection is a stretch, especially when we also tell them that there is no value on the lives of people who are attacked or killed.
    I am not saying you don’t place value on the man. But it is a fine line we walk when we say that people cannot go into the woods, and those that do get what they deserve.

    I am certainly not blaming the bear, it is an animal that reacts on instinct. But I am also not prepared to say that the man could be at fault, even if he didn’t do everything right. Or that he should have seen it coming, or known what the bear would do. He took a risk. He lost. You cannot blame a bear, or a person, for what happens in a moment of panic.. It was a tragedy, no matter what info we get, because it has already had an effect on perception of bears and humans.

  11. avatar chuck parker says:

    “It is recommended that hunters mentally rehearse a worst-case scenario with grizzly bears.” How to hunt safely in grizzly country, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

    To prevent accidents and injuries to big game hunters in grizzly country, Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) should

    1. give hunters a recommendation on the minimum caliber rifle to use, just as the FWP tells hunters to carry EPA approved bear spray that weighs at least 7.9 oz, sprays a distance of 25 feet, etc. I’d recommend a .260 Remington or something more powerful. The .243 and .25 calibers are legal for deer and elk, but don’t have enough power for confrontations with grizzlies.

    2. tell hunters to shoot when to shoot at the charging grizzly, just as FWP tells hunters to use bear spray when the charging bear is 50 feet away. In the Bear Encounter Survival Guide, author/hunting guide James Gary Shelton recommends that hunters shoot at 75 feet. That would result in a lot of bears getting shot that would have stopped their charge if the hunter stood still and waited till the bear got closer. I recommend waiting until the bear is 15-21 feet away. So does Joe Nava.

    3. tell hunters where to aim, just as the FWP tells people with bear spray to aim a tad below the bear. I’d aim just below the head, high up on the bear’s chest. Heart shot.

    4. tell hunters there’s no research showing that bear spray is an option for hunters facing a charging grizzly; there’s not one documented case of a hunter armed with both bear spray and a firearm successfully using bear spray as a 1st line of defense against a charging grizzly.

    5. Tell hunters that if they carry their rifle on a sling over one shoulder, they probably won’t have time to use it if they’re charged by a grizzly. In grizzly country, hunters should always use the two-hand safe carry, safety on.

    6. I’d tell hunters they’d be nuts to let go of their rifle with one hand and try to deploy bear spray with their free hand. The technique recommended by Great Bear Foundation President Chuck Jonkel.

    These tips will save lives and prevent maulings. The bear spray cult doesn’t want hunters to get killed or injured, right? If it’s OK to tell people how to defend themselves with bear spray, it’s ok to help people defend themselves with a firearm, right?

  12. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck,
    You know, if you are being attacked by a bear, do whatcha gotta do. If you think that you are ‘the rifle man’ and can manage to shoot a raidly charging bear, kill it and not just piss it off…so be it.
    My guess is, most people would have a better chance with the bear spray, but maybe not everyone. Most people I know are only proficient with a firearm, rifle especially, when they have a minute to ready, steady, aim.
    I have actuallt watched them give a small spray of bear spray in th egeneral vacinity of bison. They were instantly deterred and backed off. The bison’s sense of smell is no where near as acute as a bear’s. So I would have to say a bear would be atleast as sensitive as a bison. But hey, I have never been attacked by a bison, or a bear, thankfully. And with any luck and much precaution, I hopefully never will.

  13. avatar Mike Post says:

    Vicki, you have made some of the few intelligent comments in this string. Thanks for measured comment.
    Chuck, I am a “rifleman” and am very confident that I could hit a vital spot on a charging bear with a snap shot. I am just not confident that the bear would die from his fatal wound BEFORE he did me some serious damage. I don’t want a tie, I want a win.

  14. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Chuck I just don’t get this “pepper spray cult” thing. Could you explain where that came from.

    Vicki, nice answer.

  15. avatar vicki says:

    thank you Miss Linda and Mike, it’s nice to get positive feed back from like minded folks.

  16. avatar chuck parker says:

    Vicki–when facing a grizzly that charges as a result of a surprise encounter at close range, neither hunter nor bear spray advocates often have ” a minute to ready, steady, and aim.” Hunters generally point their rifle in the general direction of the bear and shoot. Contrary to popular belief, if hunters have a nanosecond to “aim,” it’s not a matter of squinting one eye and aiming through a scope. If you “scope” the bear like this, all you’ll see in your scope is a brown blur. Keep both eyes open, and you will be able to see the scope’s crosshairs on the bear.

    You say “most people” facing a charging grizzly would have a better chance with bear spray. A hunter facing a charging grizzly is one issue; “most people” facing a charging grizzly is a seperate and unrelated isse. Unlike “most people,” hunters tend to have a rifle in their hands, which precludes using bear spray. Bear spray is generally not an option for hunters.

    But I could be wrong. Perhaps all the bear spray advocates here can provide 57 documented cases of a hunter facing a charging grizzly using bear spray rather than a firearm. Herrero couldn’t in his 1998 study on bear spray. T. Smith & Herrero didn’t in their 2008 study on bear spray. Maybe they’re just dunderheads and piss-poor researchers who need help.

  17. avatar chuck parker says:

    Linda–I’ll take credit for coining the phrase “bear spray cult.” In case you haven’t noticed, bear spray advocates tend to be more fanatical than Muslim extremists or Christian zealots. We don’t need no stinking facts. Science is for unbelievers. Research is a commie plot. Bear spray is holy, holy, holy.

  18. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Just as areas and/or trails for hiking can be closed because of bear activity, it would make sense, at least to me to do the same during hunting season. Maybe even closing “hot spots” every other year to change the bears “conditioned response” to hunting season.
    I do not know a thing about hunting procedures/areas/number of tags etc., in Montana.

    In Alberta, Canada when a bear or bears are frequenting an area, there has to be at least six persons in a group to hike in the area. It is common for people to hang out at the posted signs to wait for others who are planning on going that way. However, i doubt that would “fly” with the hunting crowd. It has been a few years since i was able to still go hunting, but when we did hunt in bear areas we did not go alone. That being said, i am unfamiliar with the hunting habits in those areas.

    Vicki, great answer.
    Email soon okay?

  19. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Being able to think fast on one’s feet and accurately is not a talent that everyone possesses. There are folks that no matter what will never be able to keep a cool head in emergency situations. Carrying a rifle and bear spray, and knowing which to use in any given situation requires multi-tasking, which not everyone is accustomed to. It is just part of being human. Some are naturals, some can learn, and for others it’s not within their reach.

  20. avatar chuck parker says:

    dbaileyhill–Closing backcountry areas in Yellowstone NP to protect grizzlies from excessive human disturbance while keeping all U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the park open all the time is a ludicrous, hypocritical policy. How many backpackers in Yellowstone Park have beat grizzly bears to death with their backpacks? None. There hasn’t been a legal hunting season on grizzlies in the Yellowstone region since 1973 or 4, but how many grizzlies on U.S. Forest Service land adjacent to the park have been killed by big game hunters and commercial hunting outfitters? Dozens. If preventing grizzly bear mortality is the issue, keep the national park open, close huge chunks of public land outside the park. Alas, it’s not about what’s best for grizzly bears, it’s about money, and power/politics. Some of them thar commercial hunting outfitters go golfing with U S district court judges in Wyoming, so whacking a few grizzlies ain’t no crime no matter what that pesky Endangered Species Act says.

  21. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Chuck, You mention the “bear spray cult”, the same could be said for the hunters that say we don’t need no stinking bear spray. A person either doesn’t want to do one or the other for whatever the reason may be, or simply lacks the skills.

  22. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck,
    Okay, I will give you that closures of grizzly habitat is definitely about money. Too bad. It shouldn’t be.

    But, I can tell you, I am no greenhorn when it comes to hunting. I have known how to shoot since I was old enough to hold a gun up. I have been hunting for over thirty years, and not once have I ever seen anyone walking wih both hands on a rifle. That seems to be a bit dangerous.
    Usually, while not in use, they are hung over the shooters shoulder, via a rifle strap. Your description brings Elmer Fudd…hunting them wasquerry wabbits, to mind.

    Yes, time would be of the essence, and scopes don’t keep you from shaking either. The first several years I hunted I used a 30.30(it was my grandpa’s, handed down after he passed away) and it had no scope.

    But you made my point. If you have a grizzly charging at you, and you choose to shoot, you are taking a huge leap of faith. You cannot assure accuracy,let along a vitals hit. That is a huge risk to take.

    I am not a memeber of a “bear spray cult”. My card reads ‘Common sense and desire to survive member”. If that means spray and dash, I am okay with being placed into an overly generalized grouping. I don’t think anyone here is saying “No one should ever shoot a bear and if you shoot first and don’t try pepper spray you should be imprisoned for all time.” But I would hardly say that people who advocate for a differnet approach to defense against animals could rival Islamic militants or those who threw people to lions.

    A dead bear is always dead, but a sprayed bear will live to avoid other encounters with the spray can….would be the approach of some. I am more on the side of those who think that trying to pul your rifle up and shoot at a target heading straight for you is not very darn practical.

    But, hey, this thread shoulb be about the fact that this guy lived. That says something for him. It also says that perhaps people who hunt where they may encounter predators need to be taught how to avoid conflict, and what to look for to do that. It won’t help prevent every adverse interaction, but might help some.

  23. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Good grief Chuck!!
    I didn’t say anything about closing back country areas in the park. Nor did i mention grizzly hunting, the ESA, or for that matter just about everything you wrote. You have read a great deal into my post, as well as making a lot of assumptions.

    It’s like this Chuck–The bears would not go to that area year after year if they were not guaranteed a free meal EVERY year. If one year they go and get nothing, then the hunters next year would not only be safer, but also bag a freezer full with a bit less difficulty. Then the next year rotate the closed zone to a different area. The bears will realize that the gut piles are not a sure thing and go trolling somewhere else.

    Since there is no hunting allowed in the park for any animal, it doesn’t matter whether the park is closed for the winter or not. What IS “ludicrous” is the open areas for hunting adjacent to the park are not rotated to keep animals from becoming habituated. It would also keep the game animals from habitually leaving those areas as soon as the bullets begin to fly.

    Heaven forbid a few acres go untouched for a season….

  24. avatar Mike says:

    I think it’s fair to say that a grizzly sow with cubs during the last eating binge of fall is fairly predictable, as in “get the hell out of the way”.

    Anyone who goes creeping around off-trail in heavy grizz areas during this time is asking to be smacked by a grizz.

  25. The area of the mauling, Eagle Creek, is just across the Yellowstone River from the Park (not that they weren’t being careful or careless). Don’t know!?

  26. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck,
    Maybe if more hunters did have bear spray, and knew how to use it, we could get that research done.
    Though, I am quite certain that most hunters, being non-equipped with bear spray, who were injured or killed by bears, may have been happy to have had another option.

  27. avatar vicki says:

    The numbers of hunters who actually hit what they have time to aim at is probably lower than 90%. SInce every thing I have read about bear spray says it is effective and no serious injuries occured in over 90% of it’s use, I think this becomes an arguement about saving human lives with the simplest of tools.
    We don’t know, maybe this guy had bear spray. Maybe he shot. WHo knows? What we do know is he was in grizzly terratory (Thanks for the location info Ralph) and he encountered a grizzly. He lived, and that’s great. Now how do we prevent this type of problem in the future, and perhaps save more people, and more bears?

  28. avatar Mike says:

    I sometimes camp at Eagle Creek before heading into Yellowstone proper. It’s definitely a good grizz area.

  29. avatar Layton says:

    Just FWIW– It seems to me that, of all places, fishing streams in certain parts of Alaska have MANY more bears, grizzly as well as black, than just about anywhere else.

    Wouldn’t it stand to reason that, if bear spray were the preferable alternative, it would be in wide use by the fishing guides that work there for five months a year??

    I guided out of Bristol Bay, close to Katmai Nat’l Park (anybody remember a guy named Treadwell?) for two years.

    I spent a lot of the first year as an “assistant” which basically means you do most of the work while the senior guy gets the tips. Part of that “work” was carrying the shotgun. Our lodge had a policy that said if we had clients on the beach we also had a shotgun on the beach.

    Now I just did what the guys that supposedly KNEW what to do told me to — there was NO mention of bear spray, I never saw a can of the stuff. It was a 3 1/2 in. 12 gauge with 00 buck and that was it!!

    I saw many bears, lots of them quite close — close enough to have the safety off and BOTH hands on the gun at the ready — they were mainly interested in the salmon and pretty much left us alone, I was glad for that!

    But the point is still that I think those folks would use bear spray of there was a chance it would work even as well as the firearm — let alone better.

  30. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    Maybe, but old habits die hard. Some of what I read were studies done in Alaska.
    Guy, I am not saying br=ear spray is for everyone, but it is better for most…not everyone has the dirty harry thing down.

    Yet, I do see a similarity in the arguements. You say that the guides (yourself included) carried a shotgun. That is because a rifle or pistol would be less appropriate when accuracy is a must. That same thing can be said about the way bear spray works. It is more of a ‘scatter’, a shield.

    There are studies saying side arms work, where people have only used side arms. There are studies saying that deterrant sprays work, where they are used. But the facts remain, there is no substitute for common sense, no pound of cure better than an ounce of prevention.

    You will never get everyone to agree on what works best. But I think we would all agree that being conscious of your surroundings, having knowledge of what sign to look for, and having a healthy respect and understanding that when you hunt, you are no less a part of the food chain than the animals who live there every day.

  31. avatar Save bears says:

    Layton,

    How many years ago was your work as an assistant?

    Just curious

  32. avatar vicki says:

    p.s.
    we all know you will argue your point to the death, admirable, but still…
    there are report and study upon report and study posted on line, some even from Alaska. I have yet to read even one that says bear spray doesn’t work in the vast majority (90+%) of the time. So I guess your arguementthat people would use it if it works is about as good as saying people would give up eating fat because it is proven to lessen heart desease! We don’t always do things because they work, or might be of use or be a better solution.
    By the way, a lot of guys would rather carry a shotgun, because they may see it as more macho…butthen guys often think with their Y chromasome (that part was a joke.)

  33. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Layton and Chuck, I have spent approximately 2,400 hours watching bears interact with each other close enough to see what was going on. Not many researchers get a chance to do that, unfortunately. The debate here is, as far as I am concerned, not about whether pepper spray or guns work better because if bears wanted to kill us neither one would be very effective. If bears had a nature that made them as vicious, mean and violent as humans there would be a whole lot of hunters, hikers, guides, tourists and fisherman dead. When bears charge each other, it is always after one was intentionally rude to the point where the bear had to charge. The number of times they made contact with each other, in the 2,400 hours I watched them was exactly zero. So for me, when hunting season comes along it means that people are going to get hurt and bears are going to die or get wounded and I know there is something wrong in our thinking. Perhaps it is unreasonable for a hunter to use pepper spray and perhaps it is unreasonable for a person to understand a bear just wanting you to leave it alone or not make it leave a fruitful food source and perhaps there have been too many horror stories made up by guys who want everyone to think that they are big bad men challenging a very dangerous wilderness for humans and bears to ever get along but I will continue to be one small voice for this. . we don’t know yet what hunters are doing wrong, but statistics tell me it is something. And Layton just because your employer thought that a firearm was needed doesn’t make it right thing. We had a rifle too, only no one knew where the bullets were. We had pepper spray too, but so what. Hundreds of people work around bears safely all the time and don’t use either even though they carry both. Didn’t the behavior of the bears make you wonder just a little bit why they didn’t eat more people as they certainly did have the opportunity. Are the bears that hunters run into in the fall a completely different species? In the time I watched bears almost everything I have studied in the research on bears came into question. This summer I saw an orphaned cub walk up to the dominant male bear and rub noses and then they fed together. How does that fit in to the theory that female bears are so mean because they have to protect cubs from male bears? I have seen a black bear stand off a big male brown bear by pretending he didn’t care . . how does that stand up in the theories put forth by researchers? So what is it that hunters do to get charged . . and mind you I think Chuck says there is no such thing as a bluff charge even if every bear who has ever charged me has stopped short, and hunters must shoot them in the first few seconds of the charge or they die? I just don’t understand this unless hunters just shoot any bear they see, no matter what it is doing, just so they won’t die, and then they get attacked. I have stopped believing everything I read because when I go in the outdoors and look for myself, it is usually wrong.

  34. avatar Chuck says:

    I wouldn’t even ever consider trying to fend off an attacking grizzly bear with a gun, I will take my chances with bear spray any day over a gun. I know I am not capable of being able to hit and stop a grizzly bear with a gun. I think it should be mandatory that everyone who enters bear country carry bear spray.

  35. avatar vicki says:

    you can lead a horse to water…or make a person carry bear spray…but you can’t make’em use it. (sorry, I couldn’t resist. I took a rambuncious pill today.)

  36. avatar cobra says:

    Vicki,
    I must be in the top 10%. It was just a black bear that had been wounded the week before by a bad shot from some other hunters but he fell 7 feet from my barrel. I wasn’t shaking until it was over but then I about sh*& myself. I don’t care to hunt bear although I see many every year. I don’t want to eat them so I don’t hunt them. Can’t imagine a grizzly in full charge and until it happened I don’t think anyone would know how they would react. I had about a 50-75 foot warning and once he figured out where I was and started his charge I couldn’t tell you what went through my mind up to the shot, all I know is I’m here and he’s not. Thankful for that. It seems to me that maybe they could make a cannister that would fit under the forestock or barrel on a rifle that wasn’t to cumbersome or heavy that could be used. I know it might sound weird but if it was another line of defense for the hunters and the bears could be worth it. We have very few grizzlies in north idaho but if I hunted where the were I could see myself carrying a rifle with an extra 12-16oz. attached to it if it meant a safer hunt.

  37. avatar chuck parker says:

    Vicki–“I have been hunting for over thirty years, and not once have I ever seen anyone walking wih both hands on a rifle. That seems to be a bit dangerous.”

    Interesting, because there are several perfectly legit ways to carry firearms, but at Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education, Shooting Safely Rules, Ten Commandments of shooting safely, it says, “handle the firearms, arrows, and ammunition safely . . . try to use the two-hand carry whenever possible because it affords you the best muzzle control.”

    Most states and firearm safety instructors give the same advice.

  38. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck Parker,
    I’ve been educated in two states…neither say arry a gun that way, excepting a shotgun. Interestingly enough, most injuries from firearms while hunting occur when hunting birds. Hmmn?
    I have had several police officers tell me that people should have shotguns as weapons for defense in their house, because you are more likely to hit what you aim at, at a close distance, when the attacker is charging you. I can’t say they’d say the same if a bear were the attacker, but it does warrant some thought.
    Most people I know that actually get a deer or elk do so from sitting still and watching, having spent months studying herds. Not walking around pointing like a soldier in a covert sweeping operation.
    If you are walking about with your loaded gun ready to fire and pointed ahead, you are a bit of an accident waiting to happen to someone else. Or the wrong game. One little twitch and lights out to whatever you were looking at. Scarey.
    Funny that you’d sight Texas’ education, since Texans are the butt of hunting jokes country wide, being known for accidents and lack of good education-including identifying prey.
    I guess, Safari Guy, we will have to disagree here, because no matter what you say, I KNOW that a huge amount of people who hunt can’t hit the broad side of a barn without sitting still and having a few moments to take aim, let alone hit a charging bear.
    Maybe some hunters will opt to try to shoot, fine. But let’s not kid ourselves, sometimes stepping out of the dark ages is just hard for folks….and that has nothing to do with common sense. However, a gun is certainly better than nothing. I happen to carry both.
    By the way, commandment numero uno….Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. I’d say walking with a gun pointed is a bit of a contradiction. And saying shoot them no matter what, even when there is another option that shows you can non-lethally defend yourself and (gives you a better chance at getting away when a non-direct hit happens) , is not my idea of good rationale…in my personal opinion. It negates common sense. But again , just my opinion.
    But these things are simply not the point Chuck Parker, the point is, if you hunt, and may chance upon a bear (The area around Gardner, MT certainly makes that chance a good one) you should be prepared to defend yourself against an attack sure, but mostly by avoiding bears at any cost—know your surroundings, use good precautions. You should also realize that the bear has just as much right to be there as you do. So should you do what ever possible to avoid interaction and allow the bear to live.

    Cobra,
    You are very fortunate, and thank goodness your situation ended will you unhurt! I’ve never been charged. I once landed a few feet froma bear when I fell out of a tree-black bear. I had no interest in me what so ever, but if it had, I am sure I couldn’t have gotten to a gun, or bear spray considering I had the wind knocked out of me and could hardly move. Had it been a grizzly, I don’t want to think of the possible different outcomes.
    I have shot at many moving targets, but never one running at me. That would make me nearly “s*#@” myself too.
    Your idea has merrit, you should design a proto-type and test is out. If nothing else, and you had fired and missed, it may have been an excellent back-up plan.

  39. avatar chuck parker says:

    Vicki–Montana FWP, Montana Hunter Education, Chapter 4: Firearm Safety . . . p.35 field carries, “six commonly used methods are shown below . . . Two hand/ready carry . . . this gives you the best control and can be one of the safest carries.”

  40. avatar chuck parker says:

    “Two-hand (ready) carry—the firearm is carried with the muzzle end up and across the body. This is one of the safest carry positions, offering good muzzle control while allowing you to get into shooting position quickly.” International Hunter Education Association

    “I’ve been educated in two states…neither say carry a gun that way, excepting a shotgun.” Vicki

    So Vicki, which of the 6 commonly used carries would you recommend for a big-game hunter in grizzly country?

  41. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Cobra I like that idea of a canister of pepper spray incorporated into a gun. It would be interesting to see if that would work. It would deploy the pepper spray in a definite direction and it would be away from your body with less chance of you wearing it as well. Although Chuck Parker thinks there is a cult of people who push pepper spray, those of us who do carry it eventually find out just what that stuff does. I have used it on a swarm of bees which were after me after I slammed an iron gate they lived in. It was very effective and then I rubbed it into my eyes later by accident so having the can away from your body would be good. Then if for some weird reason the spray was ineffective you would already be pointing the gun in the right direction to perhaps get off a useful shot. If we could make hunters safer it would go a long ways towards general bear tolerance.

  42. avatar Layton says:

    Somebody up above on the thread asked:

    “So what is it that hunters do to get charged .”

    IMNSHO it’s because they (hunters) are usually “sneaking” around and surprise the bear rather than the bear being able to see them coming. In my situation (fishing) we were usually out in the stream or on a gravel bar in plain sight and the bears could see us — mostly before we saw them.

    Linda,

    “And Layton just because your employer thought that a firearm was needed doesn’t make it right thing.”

    I would agree, if it were just my employer that used that theory. But it wasn’t, I talked to a lot of guides from a lot of places, and without fail it was the shotgun, the only argument was what kind of ammunition was in it. As I said, I didn’t see one can of bear spray while I was up there.

    Save Bears,

    My first year was 2002, then I worked full time again in 2003.

    Vicki,

    ‘Scuse me here, but I’m not even arguing (for once) I really don’t know the answer. I’m simply adding a little “FYI” cuz’ I had the opportunity to see it first hand.

    I guess if I had to do it again I’d use the shotgun — I’m familiar with it — and the extra Y chromosome is probably kicking in a little. 8)

  43. avatar jimbob says:

    Chuck (aka rifleman),

    You’re missing the point about pepper spray. Most hunters cannot make a surefire killshot in a panic situation. Want to take a chance at an injured Griz? Too many historic accounts of po’d grizzlies turning to killing grizzlies when the bear is shot has taught people there has to be a better alternative. An alternative where the attacked person can come off without a scratch AND the bear doesn’t have to be killed for acting like a grizzly bear. I have been trained in firearms, have a concealed weapon permit for which I must qualify, and have extensive experience with firearms. I trust my family’s safety much more to pepper spray than to a firearm. With pepperspray you only need to spray it in the general direction of the bear. This usually invokes a flight response. Historically what is the response to a gunshot? Your attitude about firearms will only serve to get more people and grizzlies killed. Pepper spray can be more effective because it spreads like a shotgun shooting birdshot–which covers a wide range. Try using birdshot on a grizzly and see what happens. I know it probably won’t change your position to know this info., but hopefully some of you will at least look up the facts on pepperspray.

  44. avatar jimbob says:

    Sorry, Chuck—my above post was directed toward Chuck Parker.

  45. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Layton, I hear you about Alaska and the guns. I saw that too when I got there in 2002. My boss had both. I had lots of guests who weren’t comfortable unless there was a gun handy. One guest wouldn’t get on a boat with me unless I had a gun and was not mollified by a can of pepper spray in the console. He wanted to know what I was going to do to protect his family if pepper spray wouldn’t work so I pulled out the fire extinguisher and told him I thought that would put out any situation that go out of hand. In reality, it was the black bears where we were that were more dangerous and I had over the four years, three instances of very aggressive actions on the part of black bears where there was no doubt they intended to be predatory. It is hard to fly around in Alaska with pepper spray as no pilot in his right mind would allow it in his plane and it must be properly boxed and stowed in the floats. This summer when I was up there pepper spray was starting to show up more and be trusted more. The pilots were used to carrying it and some of the fishing guides I know, who I thought would never change, had both guns and pepper spray.

  46. avatar chuck parker says:

    Wounded bears. Gee, I had no idea that shooting and wounding a charging grizzly would likely mean the bear would get POd and tear you a new a-hole. I should listen to you guys and the Sierra Club, not the author of a popular book about bears who wrote: “Barney Smith, the Yukon territorial game biologist in charge of bear management, has examined many cases of hunters shooting grizzly bears. He believes that wounded grizzlies normally don’t charge hunters; rather, the wounded bear runs for cover.”

  47. avatar chuck parker says:

    “So what is it that hunters do to get charged?” Linda Hunter

    Same thing as hikers–they suddenly encroach on the personal space of a nearby grizzly, which forces the bear to fight or flee. Which makes you wonder if hikers shouldn’t just stay home and take virtual hikes on their computer or watch reality TV. 1. Hikers are told to make noise in bearish situations; hunters can’t make noise. They travel as quietly as possible so they don’t spook game. 2. Hikers are free to broadcast their scent to bears, which is the best way to alert bears of your presence. Hunters move into the wind so wildlife does not get their scent, and many hunters use scent blocking products. 3. To avoid spooking game, hunters travel solo or with a partner. Hikers are free to travel in large groups, and in some parks groups of 4 or more are required. If you surprise a bear, it’s not as likely to make contact with a group of 4 people as a solo hunter. 4. Hiker numbers peak in summer; hunter numbers peak in fall, when bears are packing on calories; hyperphagia. Etc.

    There’s not much excuse for all the hikers who surprise bears and blast the poor bruins with bear spray, which has to be a painful experience for the bear. It’s cruel. It’s needless. Are hikers just perverts who enjoy inflicting pain on grizzly bears? Is it some kind of macho thing? Maybe we should just ban hikers from grizzly country. Or ban bear spray in grizzly country. Hikers would pay more attention if they didn’t think bear spray would save their butt.

  48. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    “Hikers would pay more attention if they didn’t think bear spray would save their butt.” Ah, now I see were the bear spray cult thing comes from. And I have to agree with you! Hikers do go at a pace that is unnatural and heedless to get that workout in or to get to that view spot before lunch and they don’t pay attention. Unfortunately, if we ban people from grizzly country the next thing they will want to do is drill for oil there, put in coal mines, or housing developments. . . as much as would like to keep clueless lurkers out of MY backcountry, we need people to become more connected with it instead so they have the motivation to save it. As for hunters, if they really did know how to track it would help them. (I will get a barrage for that one I bet) It happens every time you generalize.

  49. avatar chuck parker says:

    Linda–how are hunters AND hikers supposed to track grizzlies. Do tell.

  50. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Well since you asked . . they can start by going to Dr. Halfpenny’s excellent tracking school, right there in Gardner
    http://www.tracknature.com/mm5/

    Hikers who are not stalking game have it easier. They should take a Kamana Naturalist’s course from Nature Awareness Schools which there are quite a few of now and read my book, LONESOME FOR BEARS, which talks about learning to track bears. To be really good at it you could also take a man tracking course from Universal Tracking Services or Joel Hardin, who lives in Idaho now and learn to trail and see subtle sign like turned over leaves and small broken sticks and grass. It is really easy to know if there is a bear near if you can read bear sign in the vegetation. Once you are aware of a bear you can crack a stick .. one of the only noises I have seen them pay attention to every time. If you want to know more you can go on the ISPT website, ispt.org or ask me. Of course, if a hunter cracks a stick the game will be gone too so they really need to track.

  51. avatar miensa says:

    Most people who are mauled were not carrying bear spray. It is easy for people to hike and get distracted by nature, conversation or the goal in mind. It has nothing to do with bear spray. As a matter of fact when I carry bear spray while hiking, which is all of the time now, I am more alert with regards to bears and looking for sign. I am reminded that I do not want to have to use it and so it keeps me clear (not fogged up). I’ve had my share of “dream state” walking delimmas. Usually that happened when I first started. When I had not yet learned about the importance of bear spray and only one in the party carried it. So I would drift and the person carrying it would be alert. Kind of like the designated look out. Bad idea.

  52. avatar chuck parker says:

    “hopefully some of you will at least look up the facts on pepperspray” Jimbob

    What does the data in “Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska” (2008) tell use about bear spray? What does the data in Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska tell us about firearms. What does the data in Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska tell use about the success rate of firearms compared to bear spray? Jimbob–just in case you don’t know the facts and need to look up the study, it was published in the Journal of Wildlife Management and Tom S. Smith was the principal author. Another great source of facts about bear pepper spray is a 1998 study by Steve Herrero & Andrew Higgins: Field use of capsicum spray as a bear deterrent.

    These studies are peer-reviewed, published research that will give you the “facts” on bear pepper spray.

  53. avatar chuck parker says:

    Disturbing facts from 2003 US Fish & Wildlife Service “fact sheet” on Bear Spray vs. Bullets: Which offers better protection?

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service states that based on U.S. FWS “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.”

    The FWS investigations of human-bear encounters tell us that an unknown number of people who used bear pepper spray escaped injury most of the time. In contrast 50% of an unknown number of people who used a firearm for self-protection during a bear encounter suffered injuries.

    Those are useful facts, eh? Based on those facts, hunters are supposed to drop their guns are reach for bear spray?

    But wait, there’s more. After giving us the “facts” on bear spray and firearms based on FWS investigations, Bear Spray vs. Bullets claims, “Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero reached similar conclusions bases 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.”

    Is that a fact? Will someone please post the actual data and facts from Field use of capsicum spray as a bear deterrent, Herrero & Higgins, 1998.

    This is gonna be fun.

    “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” A few good men

  54. avatar JB says:

    Chuck,

    From time to time, researchers actually reach different conclusions. Which of the assertions are objectively “correct” can only be substantiated with multiple investigations.

    No one study owns the “facts.”

    JB

  55. avatar chuck parker says:

    JB–seems like a pathetic cop-out based on semantics about facts vs conclusions or whatever the hell the your evasive point is, but here are the facts/data from Field use of capsicum spray as a bear deterrent, Herrero & Higgins, 1998.

    Herrero & Higgins reviewed 66 cases of bear spray use in North America. There’s no data on firearms. That’s not a typo: there’s no data on firearms. Does anyone need clarification on the facts/data? There’s no data on firearms.

    It’s also important to know the study does not say if the 66 people who used bear pepper spray were hikers, hunters, certified public accountants, or people who dress up as Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

    So here’s the million dollar question: what facts/data did the FWS have for claiming “Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen” Herrero’s research concluded—”a person’s chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used.”

    I’ve concluded that the FWS flat-out lied about Herrero’s 1998 research on bear pepper spray. What’s your conclusion JB/Jimbob? Anyone else?

    “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth?” A few good men.

  56. avatar JB says:

    Chuck,

    Are you on some kind of mad mission to prove that guns are better than bear spray? Sheesh?

    Since you want to talk about “facts” and you seem to believe these are equivalent to peer-reviewed research, here are a couple for you: (1) You’ve left out the fact that Herrero and Higgins (1998) found that bear spray ended unwanted behaviors in 94% of incidents (15 of 16), and (2) you’ve also left out that Smith et al. (2008) found that pepper spray ended unwanted behaviors in brown bears 92% of the time (46 of 50).

    In my view, that’s a successful outcome (end unwanted behavior) for pepper spray 92% of the time (61/66 brown bear incidents). These results, by no means, indicate that pepper spray is better than using a gun. I’m not being “evasive” or a “pathetic cop-out,” I’m simply relaying what I found in a cursory review of the literature. If you want to believe guns are more efficacious, you’re entitled to your beliefs. Frankly, I could care less. I was simply tired of listening to your tirade.

    I suggest a Xanax for your anger; I’m reasonably certain that research HAS substantiated its effectiveness.

    Good night.

  57. avatar JB says:

    FYI: you might also be interested to know that Stephen Herrero also published a book “Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance” in 1985 (Revised in 2002). It is possible that FWS was citing this work, or a conference presentation (pure speculation). It is too bad that they didn’t provide a citation in the piece.

  58. avatar chuck parker says:

    JB–I’m delighted you admit that Herrero’s 1998 study on bear spray “by no means, indicate that pepper spray is better than using a gun.”

    If what you say is true, and I agree that it is, then the FWS had no basis for claiming that Herrero’s research concluded—”a person’s chance of incurring serious injury from a charging grizzly doubles when bullets are fired versus when bear spray is used.”

    The FWS lied about Herrero’s research. There’s no data, no facts, no research that supports the oft-repeated truism that bear spray is more effective for self-defense from bears than a firearm. Why does that drive you crazy, JB? Perhaps you should consider Xanax. I’m just presenting the facts/data . You’re the one going nuts. Are you on some sort of mad mission to prove bear spray is better than guns?

  59. avatar chuck parker says:

    JB–given that you gave me a condescending lecture about not knowing the facts, don’t tell me “perhaps” Herrero’s book Bear Attacks or perhaps something Herrero said in a conference presenatation provides “facts” we don’t know about concerning the bear spray vs bullets debate. Give us the damn facts.

  60. avatar chuck parker says:

    We’re getting uncivil here, self included. My apologies.

    Ralph–I’d be happy to provide links to the 2 peer reviewed published studies on bear spray if you want to post them. Way back in about 1984, Lynn Rogers published something on pepper spray, but it’s about mace type products, so I don’t think it has anything to do with the current never-ending debate about bear spray. If anyone is aware of peer-reviewed published data on firearms for self-defense from bears, please post it.

    I know there is unpublished information available on firearms for self-defense from bears. I put the unpublished information in one category, and the published data in seperate category. I think it requires a certain intellectual dishonety to cherry pick facts from one category or the other to make your case. That kind of cherry picking takes the bear spray vs bullets debate to the level of a playground fight between 1st graders.

  61. avatar vicki says:

    Layton,
    No arguements, I think we have agreed more than three times in three months, or not thrown stones anyhow! Wow, aren’t we playing well with others. ;), I hope I get a gold star!!!
    Seriously guy, even when we don’t see eye to eye, I admire your tenacity and conviction. That speaks to your character, and is really admirable.
    I am not expert here, and I too have seen guns being used in Alaska. I even checked into a hunt on Kodiak once, and everything I had read recommended that your guide be armed with a pistol and a shotgun. (Ofcourse that was twenty years ago.)Just incase they had to go in after a wounded bear. I never went, but I did check.
    Thanks for taking the ribbing well, I don’t realy hold your Y chromosome against ya! You can’t help it after all. Joking again.
    I do really think that men who hunt are still very old school. They do the ‘macho’ thing a lot. Carrying a gun as opposed to a can of spray is far more macho. It is a part of the whole culture and lure of hunting. But I have no scientific evidence to back that up.

    Chuck Parker,
    Why do you care if people would rather use bear spray? How is it having an effect on you?
    Listen, if a study says that you are twice as likely to be attacked and caused serious harm, it is because what numerical data is available shows that twice as many people who shot at an attacking bear were hurt as those who used bear spray, based on percentages.. SO if 50% of those who used a gun were harmed, as opposed to 6% with bear spray, it is easy to see how they would say “twice as likely”, as the percentage is nearly twice as much in the previous as opposed to the later. I don;t know if they “lied”, but I know that they had specific data and people to back up what they concluded about the use of bear spray.
    I am a damn good shot, actually I am better than damn good. But I wouldn’t take my chances at 50% over my chances at 90+ when it came to my life and health, or that of my companions. I have had very well trained and highly educated men/women challenge my stand on things before, Chuck, and if they didn’t phase me, you sure won’t.
    I won’t argue the facts, because you are only interested in being prooved wrong with a study that hasn’t ever been done. If they haven’t done an extensive stuy on how effective guns are in defense against bears, how is that the fault of people who use bear spray? How does it negate the effectiveness of bear spray?
    Heck, maybe we can recruit some real dumb folks to antagonize a charge from a bear and try to pop off some rounds from a rifle. Then we could get your data. Yes, that sounds super logical. Let’s do that—or not!
    The simple sum of it all is, preferring to use a gun is just that, a preference. Bear spray is proven effective. Does that disprove the effectiveness of guns? No, but it doesn’t prove their effectiveness or superiority of bear spray either.
    So what if people want to use bear spray instead? All that tells us is that people choose the method of deterant proven effective in over 90% of studied instances. Or that they accept the spray as a better fit for them, or a better option because they would rather leave a bear alive and use non-lethal defenses.
    No matter what, it doesn’t make a darn bit of difference if you hike, or hunt….it only matters that you are comfortable and proficient enough with whatever you use (gun or spray) to live to tell how you used it.
    I am done arguing over this…I have no desire to be in a pissing contest over what you ‘prefer’ and what has been proven. It is quite irrelevant, as the only real fact is that the best thing to do is avoid being attacked to begin with, no bear can predict or prepare for running into you, so it is really your responsibility. It is up to you and only you what you choose. Have a good night.

  62. avatar jerry b says:

    From Montana FWP website…….BEARSPRAY
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    Montana Outdoors

    Firearms, Bears, And Bear Spray
    By Tom S. Smith, PhD, Bear Research Biologist, Plant and Wildlife Sciences Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
    Friday, August 22, 2008
    Hunting
    This article was Archived on Monday, September 22, 2008
    Print
    I’ve been studying bear-human conflict for the past 17 years, and have heard all sides of the ‘firearms versus bear spray’ debate among big game hunters. The issue is: If you’re hunting and you encounter an aggressive bear—is it better to shoot it, or use bear spray to repel it?

    Many die-hard hunters say they would never rely on bear spray to do the job of a gun. Others counter that a gun can possibly maim a bear, causing it to ferociously settle the score.

    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.
    I frequently hear hunters say: “I’m unwilling to let a bear within the range necessary for bear spray to be used.” Unfortunately, a hunter generally doesn’t get that choice.

    In my research, hunters were generally unable to fire a shot before the bear slammed into them. Some hunters couldn’t get the safety off, others short-stroked the bolt and jammed the cartridge, yet others, out of habit, tried to ‘scope’ the bear, losing critical seconds while failing to zero in.

    With a can of bear spray on one’s hip or pack strap, it is simply a matter of pointing and shooting. In areas of poor visibility I always have a can of spray in my hand. It is easily carried over a finger and isn’t as clumsy as a firearm is in the field-ready position. All that is required is pointing the nozzle in the general direction and pushing a button. Accuracy is not nearly as critical as it is with a firearm. You can’t ‘wound’ a bear with bear spray. It also eliminates problems with sticking bolt actions, jamming shells, and hard-to-find safety mechanisms.

    One thing bear spray and a rifle have in common is that success does depend on practice and learning how to use bear spray for its optimal effects, including being able to adjust for weather and wind direction.

    Why not carry a can of bear spray on your hip or pack strap? Unless you are bear hunting, why take on the complications and possible legal ramifications of killing a bear out of season or without a license, especially a grizzly, if it can be convinced to go somewhere else in a non-lethal manner?

    My suggestion to my fellow hunters is to pack bear spray and keep it ready for those times when you simply can’t bring a gun into service: while hiking, while butchering the meat, while packing it out; times when a gun simply isn’t convenient to have in one’s hands. Your family will thank you!

    For more on hunting safely in bear country, visit FWP’s at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Be Bear Aware.” Hunters can also p ick up a copy of ” How to Hunt Safely in Grizzly Country” brochure at any FWP office.

  63. avatar JB says:

    Chuck says: “The FWS lied about Herrero’s research.”

    Chuck, you’ve missed my point entirely. A LOT more research is undertaken than is ever published in peer reviewed journals that can be accessed online. Some of it ends up in books, some ends up in the so-called “gray” literature (e.g. state or federal reports), and some ends up being presented at conferences (e.g. the annual meeting of the Wildlife Society). So to lay things out in the most simple terms possible:

    (1) The existing peer-reviewed literature establishes that bear/pepper spray is effective in ending aggressive incidents 92% of the time with brown bears. Bear spray IS effective.

    (2) It is quite probable that FWS is citing other work, not published in a peer-reviewed online journal that is easily accessed from your home computer. As I said, I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems a more reasonable conclusion then: “they lied”.

    Rather than debate with you any more on the subject, if you’re really interested in the “facts,” then I suggest you send an email to the good folks at FWS or to Dr. Herrero and ask for a clarification.

    For the record, I could care less what you find (I don’t hunt in grizzly country). My strong reaction was to your decidedly one-sided presentation of the issue and your unsubstantiated claim that FWS “lied.”

  64. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    I hiked many kilometers and many days in eastern European bear country without even knowing that something like bear spray exists. Sometimes my guides carried firearms, sometimes not, I´m not carrying a gun anyway. This was never a go or no-go criteria. Nobody is running around there in the woods with bearspray dangling ready around the trigger finger! But in these countries only a few hunters and hikers are out there anyway and human/bear encounters are rare! It has maybe something to do with the american “hunting hype” with seemingly the whole nation out, even with the kids, intending to shoot something. No wonder that you encounter that bears! I seriously doubt that, when surprised by a charging bear on short distance, I ´ll have the nerves to grab the can from my holster, western style, pull the safety pin, aim the can in the proper direction, judge the distance and pfffffffff. All this in split seconds! And be sure, with a gun in hand, I´d maybe point it into the general direction of the attacker and……..find out the hard way that the safety mechanism is still on. The only situation where a can of bear spray could have been useful occurred to me on a trail in Yellowstone ……and on that day I left it back in the cabin! Nevertheless, nowadays I carry along a can of bear spray or two – just in case……I also doubt that my guides on that foot safari in South Africa, carrying guns of course and a determined expression on their faces, would really offer some protection if an angry lion would suddenly jump out of the long grass…You´ll only see that in movies! He, there is always a basic risk level involved when you go outdoors. Sorry, but the guy in that article above seems to be “normal attrition”. If he complains about his fate he should really have stayed home and not ventured deliberately into bear country “to shoot somethin”.

  65. avatar chuck parker says:

    JB–I asked Herrero about firearms a couple weeks ago, and he said there’s “no published data” on firearms. He hasn’t said anything about firearms, published or otherwise. I’ve already asked the FWS to document its claim about Herrero’s research, reports, etc. on firearms–no response. I’ll stand by my “claim” that the FWS lied about Herrero’s research.

    For what it’s worth, it looks like Chuck Bartlebaugh at the Center For Wildlife Misinformation started all the BS about firearms. In 1998, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee asked Bartlebaugh to review the literature on bear spray. In 1999, the IGBC/Bartlebaugh issued a “white paper” on “bear pepper spray.” It says, “Our review of reports and newspaper articles covering various types of bear encounters indicate that, in as many as 90% of bear encounters, bear pepper spray worked extremely well. In the remaining 5-10% of encounters, the bear pepper spray has not worked as well but seems to have diminished the severity of the mauling and shortened the attack.”

    That’s wonderful, but were any of the people who used bear spray hunters? No telling, right? That doesn’t stop Bartlebaugh and the IGBC from concluding, “No deterrent is 100% effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, bear spray has demonstrated the most success in fending off threatening and attacking bears and preventing injury to the person and animal involved.”

    So there are no real facts on firearms, we just have to take Bartlebaugh’s word for it. And we don’t know if he found 4 newspaper accounts of hunters using a firearm for self-defense during a bear encounter, or 40 incidents.

  66. avatar chuck parker says:

    “Chuck Parker, Why do you care if people would rather use bear spray? How is it having an effect on you?” Vicki

    Vicki–I think you’ve got it backwards. Hunters aren’t telling hikers or anyone else to use bear spray; it’s hikers, anti-hunters, and the bear spray cult insisting that hunters must use bear spray.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t women who support the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion respond to anti-abortion fanatics by saying, “if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.”

    My response to bear spray fanatics who insist hunters in grizzly country should not use guns for self-defense is, “If you don’t like guns, don’t use them.”

    Mind your own damn business. But no, the bear spray cult insists on telling hunters what to do. This blog provides countless examples. Every time a hunter shoots a bear in self defense, a mob of bear spray fanatics starts screaming, “he should have used bear spray. He killed the bear needlessly.”

  67. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Heeeee, friends there, is no mob of bear spray fanatics! Or is there a hunting mob? It is simply that a bear lost to somebody crawling around in the woods and killing it in (Provocated)self defense is a bear killed needlessly, which should be avoided. They are no longer plenty and not free for taking!

  68. avatar caleb says:

    Chuck Parker,

    It has an effect on me because if the hunters that want to kill all of the bears succeed there will be no bears left for me to see in the wild. Remember that the wildlife of the states belong to every citizen of the state that means when you kill a bear you are destroying my property. It is the same as if you and i both owned a car and all you wanted to do is go out and crash it. How is that fair for the other owner? Of course you will cry that it was self defense and what not, but there are many more places to hunt that don’t have Grizzlies anymore that you could choose to hunt in. These types of situations could be avoided if people (especially hunters) would bend and compromise a little bit. Why do people think that all of wildlife must bend and break to the will of people. The fact is that it has an effect on every non-hunter or even a hunter like me who watches wildlife. There wouldn’t be any wildlife left for us to watch if the out-of-control hunters had their way. Its effect is that that bear is no longer out there to see. Oh wow instead of seeing a bear i get to see ten people dressed in hunter orange instead, oh lucky me.

  69. avatar jimbob says:

    Chuck Parker,
    Like alot of others above I don’t know why you are on a crusade about pepper spray, but here’s a little bit more info. The research I’ve found shows that not all pepper sprays are equally effective. There are various factors that affect the effectiveness of the spray–expiration date, the power of the co2 charge, type of pepper, etc. Obviously, though, there are variables that affect safety with a firearm: skill of the user, position of the user, caliber and charge of the ammunition, and most importantly where the bear is shot. The most obvious difference again, though is WITH PEPPER SPRAY, BOTH HUMAN AND BEAR HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF BEING UNINJURED! If your hope is that the woods will again be sterile and safe enough so that you and your gun are the “baddest thing in the woods” I think most of us wish you would hunt in Michigan or Illinois. What makes the areas and animals you hunt special is that they have developed alongside and with the large carnivores you fear so much. Please understand that.

  70. avatar chuck parker says:

    Jimbob–I’m elk hunting near Eagle Creek and I’ve got the world’s greatest bear spray in a hip holster on my belt, and I’m holding my rifle in my hands with the popular and safe two-hand/ready carry, round in the chamber, safety on. I get charged by a grizzly. Tell me again how I use bear spray while I’m holding a rifle in my hands?

    1) Do I drop my loaded rifle on the ground and reach for bear spray?

    2) Do I hold my rifle in one hand and attempt to deploy bear spray with my free hand?

    I’ll give 100000000/1 odds, nobody gives a direct answer to those questions. You should go to tracking school so you don’t surprise the bear in the first place. I wouldn’t hunt with someone who keeps a round in the chamber, safety on, even though this is a perfectly acceptable firearm practice. Not all hunters carry a rifle that way, some have a rifle slung over one shoulder, Etc. What a hoot!!

  71. avatar jimbob says:

    I’d say I can get the spray out in the same time it takes to jack a round into the chamber (and I don’t consider myself Johnny Quickdraw) When the spray is out it will SPREAD. The lead will enter a very small diameter target. I like my chances with the spray. You said yourself you don’t carry a rifle with two hands. Sorry you don’t agree, Chuck. I just hope no more grizzlies get killed by hunters and that nobody gets hurt. I think there’s a good chance both will happen again. I do know more grizzlies get killed than people get mauled—by a large margin!

  72. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Chuck Parker .. thanks for distracting all of us from the up-coming election . . you are on rare good rant. I must say I am enjoying this and some good points have been made. But, I have one question for you personally. Have you ever been charged by a bear, black or grizzly?

  73. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck Parker,
    Maybe what you need to do is go back to all of the studies listed on bear spray and firearms (I would guess-but just a guess that most of those with firearms in those stats were hunters). Take a look at names, read about the dates, explore whatthe subjects identified were doing.
    Either way, what the difference is….well there are more hikers that come across bears, and they make noise, (as opposed to hunter who uses stealth to hunt, ) and are still charged/attacked….and they are succesfully defended with pepper spray. All that says to me is that they are smarte enough to kow pepper spray works. That’s it. No more, no less. More hikers have been in the situation, and are succesful in their defense courteousy of use of pepper spray.

  74. avatar chuck parker says:

    Linda–I confess I have been charged a couple of times. Which is embarassing. I’ve been surprised by bears, and I’ve made a conscious decsion to push bears I was aware of until they had to fight or flee. Shame on me.

    Sound like you were dealing with habituated bears in Alaska, and now you’re making a Tim Treadwell type mistake.

  75. avatar chuck parker says:

    “Chuck Parker, Maybe what you need to do is go back to all of the studies listed on bear spray and firearms (I would guess-but just a guess that most of those with firearms in those stats were hunters). Take a look at names, read about the dates, explore whatthe subjects identified were doing.” Vicki

    Obviously, you have not read “Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska.” I have. It says, “In 96% (69 of 72) of bear spray incidents the person’s activity at the time was reported.”

    Your guess that most of them were hunters is wrong. You’ve just done a classic, Insert foot in mouth.

  76. avatar chuck parker says:

    Jimbob–read carefully. I said, “I’m elk hunting near Eagle Creek and I’ve got the world’s greatest bear spray in a hip holster on my belt, and I’m holding my rifle in my hands with the popular and safe two-hand/ready carry, round in the chamber, safety on.”

    You replied, “I can get the spray out in the same time it takes to jack a round into the chamber.”

    I’ve got a round in the chamber, Jimbob.

    I said, “I’m holding my rifle in my hands with the popular and safe two-hand/ready carry” That’s hands, Jimbob. Plural. Two-hand/readay carry. Both hands–get it. No. Because you replied, “You said yourself you don’t carry a rifle with two hands”

    This is just what I expected.

  77. avatar jerry b says:

    From Montana FWP….Worth reading although I realize some people are “legends in their own mind” and feel this isn’t worth reading.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 22, 2008
    Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Information Officer, ( (406) 542-5518 *vcrowser@mt.gov Web: fwp.mt.gov/r2

    Hunters, Be Prepared for Bears

    Bears are still out and active through big game hunting season. Hunters should think ahead about what they would do in an encounter with a bear and carry and know how to use bear pepper spray.
    “This is the time of year when bears are in a constant search for food before their winter sleep, and hunters should be particularly careful and avoid dense cover where bears may be eating or bedding during the day,” said Jamie Jonkel, FWP Region 2 Bear Management Specialist ”
    Hunting is a prime time to encounter a bear, especially if your are calling game, using scents or have harvested an animal.
    Here are a few inportant safety tips for hunting in bear country:
    · Always carry bear pepper spray, have it close at hand and know how to use it.
    · If you are going to be alone in bear country, let someone know your detailed plans; better yet, don’t go alone.
    · While hunting, pay attention to fresh bear sign.
    · After making a kill, get the carcass out of the area as quickly as possible.
    · When field dressing the carcass, keep your can of bear pepper spray within easy reach.
    · Use special precautions if you must leave and then return to a carcass, including placing the carcass where you can easily observe it from a distance when you return.
    · Do not attempt to frighten away or haze a bear that is near or feeding on a carcass.
    For details on how to hunt safely in grizzly country, check the Deer, Elk and Antelope Hunting regulations available online and at FWP offices,or go to FWP’s Living with Wildlife web page.

  78. avatar chuck parker says:

    Jerry B and Montana FWP say “Hunters should think ahead about what they would do in an encounter with a bear”

    Hey, that’s exactly what I was doing in my post this morning at 9:40 am: I’m elk hunting near Eagle Creek and I’ve got the world’s greatest bear spray in a hip holster on my belt, and I’m holding my rifle in my hands with the popular and safe two-hand/ready carry, round in the chamber, safety on. I get charged by a grizzly. Tell me again how I use bear spray while I’m holding a rifle in my hands?

    1) Do I drop my loaded rifle on the ground and reach for bear spray?

    2) Do I hold my rifle in one hand and attempt to deploy bear spray with my free hand?

    I would not attempt to use bear spray. I’d flick off the safety as I swung my rifle on the bear, put the crosshairs on its chest, and if the bear got within 20 feet, I’d pull the trigger.

    Last I heard, elk hunting in Montana is legal, and so is shooting a bear in self defense.

  79. avatar jerry b says:

    Go get-em Chuck Parker! Cool hat, by the way.

  80. avatar chuck parker says:

    cool hat–straw safari hat, very useful for protecting my old bald head while volunteering for the Arizona Bald Eagle nest watch program. That bird in the pic is a just-banded baby bald eagle. The baby and its parents were pretty calm during the banding process. I was not.

  81. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    “Sound like you were dealing with habituated bears in Alaska, and now you’re making a Tim Treadwell type mistake.” That is a good way to dismiss anyone who has a different view on bears. I don’t live in Alaska. The bears in Alaska at bear viewing spots are not habituated or we would all be dead. . habituated bears are bears who have learned to get food from humans. The bears there are co-habitated. . . or use to people being around as long as they don’t do anything different . . and the bears there are FULL. Big difference in the bears hunters are dealing with in the western states and I have dealt with all kinds of bears, in Alaska, here and there. I suppose a Tim Treadwell type mistake is someone who thinks bears are cute and could be pets. That’s just about the most insulting thing you could say to me, but, my publisher told me to expect that some people would not believe a woman can have serious thoughts on animal behavior. . . and as you will recall Tim Treadwell was male. Take care hunting and don’t drop your gun . . dropping a loaded gun is not a good idea no matter how you slice it.

  82. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    oh yeah I forgot, Chuck Parker, the reason I think you should carry pepper spray is that when a close up mad bear charges you and you aim towards it and fire at twenty feet and the bear hits you and you both go tumbling down and then the bear gets up and comes at you again after knocking the rifle out of your hands you can grab that pepper spray, grab the bear by the chest hairs with one hand as it stands over you, pull off the safety tab with your other thumb and then pulling yourself up towards the bear, shoot the sucker in the nose with pepper and it will fall down and rub it’s eyes with it’s paws and you will crawl away and it will roll away and then get up and get out of there as fast as it can go with it’s bullet wound. You will have saved your head from being bitten and just have a few deep cuts and cracked ribs and things. . . sound good?

  83. avatar SAP says:

    “I’ll give 100000000/1 odds, nobody gives a direct answer to those questions.”

    Chuck, I’ll go out on a limb and say that, under the scenario you laid out, I would — if I was not putting hunting companions in danger of accidental discharge — go ahead and drop the rifle and get my bear spray.

    Caveat: I cannot say for certain that my brain-stem reaction in the field would be the same as my frontal-lobe musings here at the keyboard.

    My logic: dropping the rifle on the ground is not likely to put ME at risk of accidental discharge, and the odds that the bear would catch a bullet are fairly low (slim probability of discharge in the first place; slimmer still that the bullet would hit the bear), and hey, I’m trying to preserve myself from imminent harm so I’m willing to deviate from the rule against dropping a loaded firearm — again, so long as it doesn’t endanger others to do so.

    Keep in mind that this is my plan because I really really don’t want to shoot a bear, and I have a lot of confidence in bear spray. If those conditions don’t apply to someone else, well, then, like you say, they can choose lead.

    Also keep in mind that I STILL belong to the empty-chamber-until-game-is-detected school, so this is all an academic discussion for me.

    Regarding dropping a loaded rifle: on at least three occasions, I saw horses buck off riders as well as buck the rifle out of the scabbard with great force. In one case, the rifle probably arced up to about 10′ above the ground before clattering down. Round in chamber in each case, with no discharge. I’m not saying that “don’t drop a loaded firearm” is bad advice, but I am saying that it’s not guaranteed to cause a discharge.

    Also, I appreciate Chuck’s badger-like persistence about facts. It’s important that our statements not go beyond what’s really proven, and it’s this kind of skepticism and criticism that should lead to further research and product development.

    There are a lot more bear spray skeptics out there besides him; if bear spray advocates want to improve their attempts to persuade those folks, they’d thank Chuck for whipping them into shape.

    Or is feeling righteous & superior the real goal, rather than convincing people to try bear spray?

  84. avatar jimbob says:

    By the way, Chuck I’ll be in grizzly country again this year and I’ll be depending on my spray. If I’m killed and would have been saved by a gun (doubtful scenario) I won’t hold it against you if you have a hearty laugh! I won’t be carrying a weapon. Since I’ve gotten older I actually only carry a weapon when I’m likely to meet two-legged predators.

  85. avatar chuck parker says:

    SAP–Dropping a loaded rifle is a mortal sin–that’s why hunters are told to unload before crossing fences, etc–but I know some people would agree with you that mortal sin or not, dropping a loaded rifle and trying to use bear spray would pose less risk of injury than trying to stop a charging grizzly with your rifle.

    Obviously, you know a thing or two about guns. And since you know a thing or two about guns, you know that drop your rifle and reach for bear spray will never ever ever be taught at NRA firearm safety classes or state fish & game dept. hunter ed. classes.

    Your logic also told you, correctly, that dropping a loaded rifle and reaching for bear spray is not an instinctive more. It runs counter to the instincts of hunters used to pointing their firearm at whatever they’re going to shoot, be it a charging grizzly or a pheasant that just flushed.

    So my guess is, hunters will never ever ever practice dropping their rilfe and reaching for bear spray.

    SAP–thank you so much for your willingness to have an honest discussion about the nitty-gritty details on the real world practicality of hunters using bear spray. It’s a 1st, and it’s refreshing.

    Now, hunters often carry a rifle slung over one shoulder. They have a free hand. They could just reach for bear spray. If a hunter with bear spray in a hip holster and a rifle slung over his shoulder gets charged by a grizzly, what should he do?

    I can tell you from long experience that if you’ve got a rifle slung on your shoulder, it takes at least 1.5 seconds or more to get ready to shoot. My mauser-action big game rifle and my bolt action .22 have both have safeties in the exact same location on the right side of the receiver, and that’s by design. The .22 is quiet, inexpensive, and easy to shoot. I’ve spent decades “plinking” with that .22 slung over one shoulder, which helps prepare me to use my big game rifle.

  86. avatar chuck parker says:

    Linda Hunter–never heard of co-habituated. Habituation and food conditioning are not the same. I googled
    “habituation food conditioning not the same” and here’s what popped up. John Neary is the US Forest Service bear man at the Pack Creek bear viewing area on Admirality Island in Alaska. If I remember correctly, there are more brown/grizzly bears on Admirality than in all of the lower-48 states.

    “What exactly is a “habituated” bear?
    How is it different from a “food conditioned” bear?
    A brief explanation by John Neary, US Forest Service, Admiralty National Monument
    For years I have been hearing about all the problems that “habituated” bears cause. This confuses me
    because I regularly work around habituated bears and they rarely cause my coworkers any problems at all.
    In fact, they are fairly predictable in their actions and are much safer for untrained visitors to be
    around. Why then does a myth persist that habituated bears cause problems that “wild” bears do not?
    It stems, I think, from a misunderstanding of the word “habituated”. People in general don’t understand
    that habituation is not the formation of bad habits like dumping garbage cans at night. That’s something
    entirely different. But since the word contains the root “habit” many people assume this to be the case.
    The real meaning of habituated is simply the loss of a certain response to a stimulus. In this case the
    stimulus is the presence of people, and the bear response is normally to flee. Bears are wary around
    humans, an uneasy relationship that has developed over the eons largely due to competition between two
    species for food and space. This uneasiness normally results in bears who run from people, or who come
    out only at night so as to avoid confrontation.”

  87. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck Parker,
    See guy, I did read it. I was talking about YOU actually reading all the reports you can, and then adding up how many injuries (what percent) were those who used bear spray, and those who used a gun. I know what I have read, and it favors bear spray.
    Really, I could care less what you use, except that the bear has to pay for your need to have machismo. One way or another, if you shoot it, it dies. If it kills you it dies. Sucks to be the bear.
    You are the one who is boo hooing thatthere aren’t enough studies on how effect firearms are against bear attacks and how there isn’t enough info on hunters being attacked. Not me. I know that if I have to choose between a 50% chance of being seriously injured or killed, and a 10% chance…you can bet your rifle slinging butt I am going for the pepper spray.
    Face it guy….we can all see that you don’t want to have to let go of your rifle and use pepper spray. Given your obvious attatchement to your weapon, I doubt you would have the mental where-with-all to let go and grab the spray anyhow….you are preconditioned to think that having a gun makes you some how invincable. SO have at it. But people with that type of thinking are the very reason that we have search and rescue teams billing out hundreds of thousands of dollars for services, and why animals are lost because people cannot be bothered to change or even consider changing, why we see such distorted perception of the true nature of animals. The “I had to shoot it because it was so close’ crap doesn’t fly with me. You DO have a choice. You just refuse to acknowledge it because you’d have to say your all mighty fire power may not be the best darn option.
    Hundreds of animals a year are destroyed, needlessly, because of human behavior. Between being shot for behaving like an animal, eating trash, and crossing roads, they have it a bit harder than they should. These are all human causes for animal mortality rates. It also means there are less animals for hunters to hunt.
    You and I will not agree on this. That is fine. Do what ever it is you think you have to do. But don’t blame bears, and for goodness sake, stop blaming everyone else!

  88. avatar chuck parker says:

    On Oct. 27, 9:20 pm, Linda Hunter said, “When bears charge each other, it is always after one was intentionally rude to the point where the bear had to charge. The number of times they made contact with each other, in the 2,400 hours I watched them was exactly zero. So for me, when hunting season comes along it means that people are going to get hurt and bears are going to die or get wounded and I know there is something wrong in our thinking.”

    Like Tim Treadwell, you’re making the mistake of pretending your experience with habituated bears in Alaska translates to non-habituated bears in the lower-48. That’s nonsense, and it puts people at terrible risk.

    The issue isn’t your gender–I don’t care if you’re an androgynous Martian–it’s your dangerous, misleading, inaccurate statements about bears.

    With habituated bears in Alaska, you could run a day care center at Tim Treadwell’s hangout at Hallo Bay. That’s not a good idea at Doug Peacock’s grizzly hilton in Glacier Park. Different animals.

  89. avatar vicki says:

    Who here besides me wonders why it makes any damn difference if you were in the woods hunting or hiking? Ultimately what counts is how you can best avoid, and if necessary, escape a bear attack! How does being a hunter somehow make your ability to survive by using bear spray less probable? If you hunt, and are charged and use bear spray, you would still be 90% more likely to not be seriously hurt or killed. Your activity does not change the effecacy of bear spray. You mentality may effect your ability to use it though.

  90. avatar chuck parker says:

    Vicki said: “How does being a hunter somehow make your ability to survive by using bear spray less probable? If you hunt, and are charged and use bear spray, you would still be 90% more likely to not be seriously hurt or killed. Your activity does not change the effecacy of bear spray. You mentality may effect your ability to use it though.”

    Evidently, you missed my previous 827 posts on this topic, including this one on Oct. 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm.

    Jerry B and Montana FWP say “Hunters should think ahead about what they would do in an encounter with a bear”

    Hey, that’s exactly what I was doing in my post this morning at 9:40 am: I’m elk hunting near Eagle Creek and I’ve got the world’s greatest bear spray in a hip holster on my belt, and I’m holding my rifle in my hands with the popular and safe two-hand/ready carry, round in the chamber, safety on. I get charged by a grizzly. Tell me again how I use bear spray while I’m holding a rifle in my hands?

    1) Do I drop my loaded rifle on the ground and reach for bear spray?

    2) Do I hold my rifle in one hand and attempt to deploy bear spray with my free hand?

    I would not attempt to use bear spray. I’d flick off the safety as I swung my rifle on the bear, put the crosshairs on its chest, and if the bear got within 20 feet, I’d pull the trigger.

  91. avatar chuck parker says:

    “In 96% (69 of 72) of bear spray incidents the person’s activity at the time was reported. The largest category involved hikers (35%), followed by persons engaged in bear management activities (30%), people at home or in their cabin (15%) campers in their tents . . .” Efficacy of Bear Spray Deterrent in Alaska, The Journal of Wildlife Management 72(3) p.641

    Hey Vicki, what percentage of the bear spray users were hunters? The answer is on p.642, and you’ve read the study, right?

    chuck parker Says:
    October 29, 2008 at 11:58 am
    “Chuck Parker, Maybe what you need to do is go back to all of the studies listed on bear spray and firearms (I would guess-but just a guess that most of those with firearms in those stats were hunters). Take a look at names, read about the dates, explore whatthe subjects identified were doing.” Vicki

    Obviously, you have not read “Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska.” I have. It says, “In 96% (69 of 72) of bear spray incidents the person’s activity at the time was reported.”

    Your guess that most of them were hunters is wrong. You’ve just done a classic, Insert foot in mouth.

  92. avatar JB says:

    Chuck says: “SAP–thank you so much for your willingness to have an honest discussion about the nitty-gritty details on the real world practicality of hunters using bear spray. It’s a 1st, and it’s refreshing.”

    –Okay, here’s where you’ve lost me? I pointed out (above) that it takes multiple studies to reach the kind of conclusion you seem to be advocating and my response was labeled a “pathetic cop-out”. It seems to me that one’s “willingness to have an honest discussion” with Chuck Parker is dependent upon their willingness to agree with Chuck Parker’s unsubstantiated conclusions?

    Chuck also says: “Your logic also told you, correctly, that dropping a loaded rifle and reaching for bear spray is not an instinctive more. It runs counter to the instincts of hunters used to pointing their firearm at whatever they’re going to shoot, be it a charging grizzly or a pheasant that just flushed…So my guess is, hunters will never ever ever practice dropping their rilfe and reaching for bear spray.”

    –It is also not instinctive to hold your ground in the presence of a charging bear. Should we also summarily dismiss this practice? The instinctive behavior is not always the one that will save your life.

    Look, I agree that we need more research to substantiate the effectiveness of fire arms for preventing bear attacks (although, see Jerry B’s post). But when peer-reviewed studies indicate bear spray is between 92 and 98% effective, why would anyone in their right mind choose not to carry it? At the very least, you could have it at your hip when your gun is out of reach. You don’t work for an ammunition manufacturer, do you? 😉

  93. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    “Like Tim Treadwell, you’re making the mistake of pretending your experience with habituated bears in Alaska translates to non-habituated bears in the lower-48. That’s nonsense, and it puts people at terrible risk.”

    Now you are really losing it . . are we starting to get to you? . Treadwell got killed in ALASKA, not in the lower 48 and I am not pretending anything. The nonsense is to put Treadwell’s name on any of your arguments at all . . he didn’t carry a gun or pepper spray and didn’t believe in either. He said pepper spray was too harsh a punishment for bears and refused to have any. So, if you think your imaginary pepper spray cult came from Tim Treadwell, you are not correct.

  94. avatar chuck parker says:

    JB “But when peer-reviewed studies indicate bear spray is between 92 and 98% effective, why would anyone in their right mind choose not to carry it? At the very least, you could have it at your hip when your gun is out of reach.”

    Who said hunters armed with a rifle should not carry bear spray? Not me. Not once.

    I’m the one who keeps trying to focus exclusively on a handful of real life, what if? scenarios for hunters when it comes to using bear spray or a firearm. People avoid the issues by going off on tangents.

    In particular, the bear spray cult seems to believe that chanting bear “spray is 92% effecitve for non-hunters, bear spray is 92% effective for non-hunters, bear spray is 92% effective for non-hunters,” answers the question, is bear spray a realistic option for hunters who have a gun in their hand(s) when they get charged after startling a nearby grizzly.

    I know bear spray is 92% effective for non-hunters. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

  95. avatar chuck parker says:

    Ralph–thanks for letting things go for so long. When you cut to the chase after 92 comments, we know

    1. bear spray works over 90% of the time for non-hunters

    2. that doesn’t mean bear spray is a practical choice for hunters, because a hunter with a rifle in his or her hands would have to drop their rifle to use bear spray.

    3. Vicki has not read Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska. Vicki has not taken a course on firearms safety, and has no familiarity with how to handle firearms in the field. The two hand/safe carry is not voodo magic. It really does exist.

    4. Linda Hunter doesn’t know the difference between habituated bears and food conditioned bears. Her term “co-habituated” bears reminds me of hunting guide James Gary Shelton claiming that bears are “semi-territorial.” I’ve always said that’s like a 15 year old high school girl telling her parents she’s semi-pregnant.

    5. With the exception of yours truly, most everyone here belongs to the bear spray cult. Let’s all turn off our brains and chant together, “bear spray is holy, holy, holy. Bear spray works 92% of the time for non-hunters.”

  96. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    I believe that one should do their best to be prepared for anything. When one risks his/her safety, it seems to me that it would be just common sense to have as many options available to keep oneself from harm. So it seems to me the smartest approach would be to carry both during hunting season. Why limit yourself to just one option, one line of defense?

  97. avatar JB says:

    “I’m the one who keeps trying to focus exclusively on a handful of real life, what if? scenarios for hunters when it comes to using bear spray or a firearm. People avoid the issues by going off on tangents.”

    Chuck’s question: “…is bear spray a realistic option for hunters who have a gun in their hand(s) when they get charged after startling a nearby grizzly.”

    –Okay, let’s avoid those nasty tangents! Since I can’t experimentally release grizzly bears on unsuspecting subjects (I’m pretty sure the IRB wouldn’t let that study fly), I decided to try and address your question by determining how long it would take a hunter to put down his/her rifle and remove a can of bear spray. Seeing how I have neither bear spray or a rifle in my home, I had to improvise…[caution this might cause you to laugh].

    Methods: I carried a household broom with both hands, stock (or bristles) on the right shoulder, as I would carry a firearm when getting ready to aim. I then placed a trial-sized shampoo bottle in my left back pocket so that it wasn’t sticking out. At this point, I asked my bewildered wife press “start” on the stopwatch while I sat down the “gun” with my left hand and removed the “bear spray” with my right. Remember, I had to reach around to the back pocket on the other side (right hand to left back pocket) and dig out the bottle. I called out “stop” when the bottle was in my hand, ready to…em…”fire.”

    Results: The average of three trial runs was 3.32 seconds.

    Conclusions: My answer to your specific question is: Yes, a hunter with a rifle (or at least a broom) in his/her hands could realistically use a can of bear spray (shampoo?) to stop a charging bear, as long as the hunter had 3 to 4 seconds to put down his/her firearm and remove his/her can of spray. If the bear is inside this range, I suggest shooting while yelling, “yee haw, die you damn bear, die!”

    I will be seeking publication for my “study” in the Journal of Really Unlikely Scenarios. Given the current time it takes to get a review, I expect it will be published sometime in 2040.

  98. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Geez Chuck! Now you are resorting to insults, accusations, and assumptions. Have you tired of entertaining yourself?
    Why do you even bother when you have given the impression that you aren’t even interested in understanding what anyone else has to say? Now that was a silly question since i think you are posting for your own entertainment…..

  99. avatar Barb says:

    I know this is “old news” but wondering if anyone knows the status on this???

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/27/AR2008022703131.html?hpid=sec-nation

  100. avatar Save bears says:

    His name is actually Dave Smith, Not Chuck Parker, please people know who your dealing with, take some time to read his blog

    http://bearinformation.blogspot.com/

    there is several months of this (mis) or information, depending on how you choose to judge it, posted on his blog…

    But his name again, is Dave Smith, the author of “Back Country Bear Basics.

    He has also worked in the Flathead in Montana as a fire lookout and says he spent a great amount of time in Yellowstone..

    Read through his blog and decide for yourself..

  101. All right, JB. A real experiment amidst the scenario building and citation talk!

  102. avatar vicki says:

    Chuck Parker,
    Man, go back to grade school guy. I said, and I repeat, read as many studies as you can! Draw your own conclusion. I doubt many people will agree with what you conclude.

    Thanks for lying about me, it just further justifies my personal conclusion that you are a self motivated person. I do have training, I do read, I do know how to shoot. If you even knew me a tiny bit, you’d know how stupid you sound to those who do.
    But maybe lying about people, or at very least making ridiculous and straight up rude and false statements was all anyone needed to figure that out.

    Ralph,
    I am sorry about the attitude. I go head to head with some people around here a lot, but no one quite so intent on absolutely alienating everyone who reads their posts. I will try to keep it out of the gutter.

    This guy makes me miss Ryan and Layton. They atleast make logical contributions.

    Thanks Save Bears for the info. I will check it out. (Cold yet in your neck of the woods?)

  103. avatar JB says:

    Thanks, Ralph. That was way too much fun. Just for the record (and because I figured someone would call me on it), I re-ran the trial 10 times, starting and stopping the watch myself in order to ensure a conservative estimate.

    Here are the results:
    –Mean time to readiness: 3.65 seconds (+/- 0.3 sec.).
    –Range: 2.9 to 4.7 seconds (bottle got stuck on the 4.7, no other score was above 4 so its a bit of an outlier).

    My conclusion is the same: If you estimate that you’ve got 3-5 seconds, put down your rifle and use your bear spray. If not, fire away.

    Can we talk about something else now? 🙂

  104. avatar vicki says:

    Save Bears,
    Wow, that was enlightening. Thanks again for the link. It was a bit frightening. At first I had to question it’s legitimacy…but it wasn’t a joke. No wonder he changed his name for this blog.

  105. Yes JB,

    Lets talk about about something else.

    I’m closing this thread. Thank you all for your comments and not getting too riled up.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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