Interesting New Study of Bears vs. Guns


PDA






bhk
March 6, 2012, 03:39 PM
Study of over 200 Alaska bear vs. gun encounters indicate guns are relatively ineffectiven against attacks. The study also indicated that handguns actually were a little more effective than long guns, and explains why. Interesting. At the very end of the article, it references the author's previous study on the positive effectiveness of bear spray.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53651498-78/bear-smith-bears-gun.html.csp

If you enjoyed reading about "Interesting New Study of Bears vs. Guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Certaindeaf
March 6, 2012, 03:55 PM
.Study of over 200 Alaska bear vs. gun encounters indicate guns are relatively ineffectiven against attacks..
Use bigger gun or curl up in ball is how I read it.

Vonderek
March 6, 2012, 03:58 PM
They found the gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of these encounters, which resulted in 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities
I found it hard to get past this sentence. If there were no statistical difference with a gun being used, how were there 172 bear fatalities??? With no guns I would expect there to be 323 human injuries/fatalities instead of 151.

OTR
March 6, 2012, 04:06 PM
I found it hard to get past this sentence. If there were no statistical difference with a gun being used, how were there 172 bear fatalities??? With no guns I would expect there to be 323 human injuries/fatalities instead of 151.
I agree Vonderek.

I don't go out in to the Bush or on a simple hike up here unless I'm carrying some protection. I carry both a gun and bear spray. I will point both at the bear, at the same time, and if the wind is correct and I think the bear will retreat, I'll use the bear spry. If the bear spray doesn't work the gun is already drawn and pointed at the bear. The problem with shooting at a charging bear is that it is very hard. Imagine trying to hit a bouncing ball that is charging at you, and the "ball" bites and claws at you when it arrives.

Certaindeaf
March 6, 2012, 04:07 PM
I found it hard to get past this sentence. If there were no statistical difference with a gun being used, how were there 172 bear fatalities??? With no guns I would expect there to be 323 human injuries/fatalities instead of 151.
Tax dollars are magich dollars!

Cosmoline
March 6, 2012, 04:11 PM
analyzed 269 incidents of close-quarter bear-human conflict in Alaska between 1883 and 2009 in which a firearm was involved.

So they didn't compare these results with the many incidents where no firearm was involved? How can they conclude the firearm made no difference?

The study itself isn't published yet, so it's not possible to know what editorial decisions went into selecting their database, either.

Another question--that database number is extremely low considering how many bears are shot in DLP every year here. How many of those instances would have resulted in a mauling absent the use of the firearm? Nobody knows. So homesteader Brown shoots a bear, or three bears, on his property DLP, can his use of the firearm be ruled in or out of the study? It sounds like this study may have focused only on those encounters on public lands or on trails, and excluded the shooting of bears on private property or by authorities. But the line between the two is pretty artificial.

Think of it this way--how many times has the use of a firearm PREVENTED A CLOSE QUARTER SCENARIO before it started? And what constitutes "close quarters." If the homesteader shoots a bear before it gets to that point, he's saved himself injury though it's impossible to know for sure what the bear would have done if it hadn't been shot.

Furthermore, did his study on pepper spray exclude ALL uses of pepper spray including in lieu of a private property DLP shooting?

I do agree that ONCE YOU GET to a point blank ambush encounter, the firearm is far less useful than it is in more common DLP shootings. But how useful is anything but the grace of God in that scenario anyway? Firearms in bear country are for PREVENTING an attack. Preventing contact. Once you're actually getting mauled, you can't count on anything saving you. It sounds like the study only looked at cases where there was physical human-bear contact, and so really doesn't tell us the overall effectiveness of the firearm in human-bear relations.

KodiakBeer
March 6, 2012, 04:25 PM
While Smith said his data set was not perfect, it did tease out some surprising findings. For instance, handguns slightly outperformed long guns, resulting in a positive outcome (meaning the gun stopped the bear’s aggression) 84 percent of the time versus 76 percent.

One of the points I've tried to make (and perhaps getting to be a bore on the subject...) is that most hunting rifles are set up poorly for bear encounters simply because of the optics. People are out there with 3x9 or 4x12 scopes which leave them blind at the 10 to 20 yard range these encounters happen. If they get a shot off, it's just a slug thrown in the direction of the bear.

This is also interesting:

"Guns are great, but for a gun to be great you have to be very, very good. No one ever practices on a 500-pound animal charging at you through the brush at 10 meters. They practice on paper targets," he added. "That’s a big, big difference from being in the moment of stress."

People are prepared for the Hollywood bear attack - the bear stands and roars for a while, etc, etc. They are not prepared for the way these things actually unfold.

I think this study is largely accurate, though they may be missing the nuances. Having a long gun with long range optics is as poor a choice as having small bore weapon. Having any kind of defense whether it's pepper spray, rifle or handgun doesn't mean you'll get an opportunity to use it, much less use it effectively.

KodiakBeer
March 6, 2012, 04:27 PM
Another question--that database number is extremely low considering how many bears are shot in DLP every year here.

That's a good point. In 2009 I was at the Fur Rondy and they had 117 DLP hides up for auction.

Alaska444
March 6, 2012, 04:39 PM
That is the entire issue at hand in the gun vs. pepper spray bear prevention studies. Certainly two issues at hand. First, faillure to capture all of the events where a gun saved a person from a bear attack. From the number DLPs documented in just a few years, their data is suspect to start.

Secondly, the number of bluff charges considered succesful pepper spray epidsodes is not recorded nor is it likely that they could know for sure once the pepper spray is deployed.

Many prudent people believe it is a gun and pepper spray and more than one person bear defense strategy instead of the one or the other sort of deal. Ask the silly kids in the Alaska bear attack last year how that pepper spray worked for them? Why isn't that failure listed as much more than just scratches.

Sorry, I don't have much trust in this so called data just by virtue of the DLPs in Alaska alone and the fact that they don't include the 7 kids attacked and some terribly hurt in their so called data. Garbage in, garbage out is all that I see with all of these studies.

ApacheCoTodd
March 6, 2012, 06:16 PM
"Long time bear biologist" and colleagues...

It reads like yet another conclusion in search of a supporting study. The un acknowledged or deliberately ignored additional factors and scenarios fairly scream out at the open minded and questioning reader.

I'm sure this sham will play well to banquets, dinners and seminars where the "facts" will not be questioned and the experts will count their income for speaking in the thousands.

Cosmoline
March 6, 2012, 06:25 PM
I wouldn't say there's nothing to learn from it. Maybe there is good reason to reassess the choices you make. Like maybe go around that patch of thick vegetation instead of charging in because you have a firearm.

I think firearms are at their best against bears when you have some yardage and the time to aim and make basic choices. In that scenario you have excellent odds against a bear. They are of limited value if you're getting bushwhacked. So I suppose if you're going to be pushing through thick devil's club on a day hike maybe taking the belly gun instead of the rifle isn't a bad idea. Or maybe just don't push through the devil's club LOL Food for thought anyway.

gunnutery
March 6, 2012, 06:39 PM
Having any kind of defense whether it's pepper spray, rifle or handgun doesn't mean you'll get an opportunity to use it, much less use it effectively.

Very well said, and also applies to two legged critters as well.

Perhaps the study as a whole is new "save the whales" type thing. Someone looked at the number of bears being killed and sought to discourage people from even being tempted to kill an aggressive bear. I don't know I'm just speculating here.

Shadow 7D
March 6, 2012, 08:01 PM
Um, Alaska is upping the number of bears taken, this winter has been hell on the moose and maybe?? caribou (haven't heard that issue come up yet)

and moose calves are a favorite of the bears, so they decrease the number of wolves and bears to up the moose numbers.

Point is, it's definitely not that, but...
if these are federal biologist (controlling 60+% of the state of Alaska...) then maybe yes.

sirgilligan
March 6, 2012, 08:09 PM
It is hard to hit a charging animal. I had an incident with a dog.

Open terrain, no cover in 100 yards, charging German Sheperd.
Can not imagine a charging bear.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 6, 2012, 08:21 PM
So I suppose if you're going to be pushing through thick devil's club on a day hike maybe taking the belly gun instead of the rifle isn't a bad idea. Or maybe just don't push through the devil's club LOL Food for thought anyway.

That right there is probably the BEST advise I have yet to ever see on ANY of the many Bear defense threads!!!!

Shadow 7D
March 6, 2012, 08:22 PM
You forgot, bears head is fat and bone (and small in comparison brain)
shoulders and chest heavily furred, with alot of fat and muscle...

Vern Humphrey
March 6, 2012, 09:54 PM
While Smith said his data set was not perfect, it did tease out some surprising findings. For instance, handguns slightly outperformed long guns, resulting in a positive outcome (meaning the gun stopped the bear’s aggression) 84 percent of the time versus 76 percent.
I would say a stop rate of from 76 percent to 84 percent would be highly significant -- but then I'm not a University professor trying to prove black is white and up is down.

Spaceman Spiff
March 6, 2012, 10:19 PM
I found it hard to get past this sentence. If there were no statistical difference with a gun being used, how were there 172 bear fatalities??? With no guns I would expect there to be 323 human injuries/fatalities instead of 151.
you can't add the two numbers and come to any conclusion...human injuries and bear fatalities aren't mutually exclusive events in this analysis...you can have an injured person and a dead bear in a single incident, for example...

Spaceman Spiff
March 6, 2012, 10:23 PM
I would say a stop rate of from 76 percent to 84 percent would be highly significant -- but then I'm not a University professor trying to prove black is white and up is down.

"significant" in this context is based on statistics...it's essentially a mathematical definition based on error probability...and when you have small sample sizes (a few hundred cases may still be considered small depending on the methods used) it's hard for trends to reach statistical significance, although that doesn't mean the results aren't worth paying attention to...

Dr.Rob
March 6, 2012, 10:34 PM
Note the author said if you're using handgun theres a good chance you're on your back shooting it in the mouth.

:what:

Yeah in that case a rifle is useless and pepper spray is 'seasoning.'

vito
March 7, 2012, 09:25 AM
What I really fear is a bear with a gun. Remember the 2nd amendment gives the right to arm bears or something like that.

DM~
March 7, 2012, 09:40 AM
I guess i'll stick to my own study, of what i learned, living with and hunting them, over the 25 years i lived in the Alaskan bush...

DM

JustinJ
March 7, 2012, 10:21 AM
A better article relating to the thread can be found here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325171221.htm

It also addresses the myth about bear spray being useless in wind.

Science has a niftly little thing called peer review which does an excellent job of verifying the validity of studies, such as this. The general public on the other hand tend to dismiss science when its not convenient in supporting their opinions and biases.

Panzercat
March 7, 2012, 10:36 AM
It's not just the study that comes across as broken, it's the entire article failing to put these statistics in context and perspective. If there has to be blame laid anywhere, It's whomever authored this crap masquerading as prose and less the researcher. Taking the most debated numbers first--

Longtime bear biologist Tom Smith and colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of close-quarter bear-human conflict in Alaska between 1883 and 2009 in which a firearm was involved. They found the gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of these encounters, which resulted in 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities.

So is are we to assume a human-bear conflict involves the use of firearms or simple encounter with a bear? Without knowing that simple, vital piece of information, this statistic is worth exactly nothing to anybody looking to gain anything from it. I'm sure the researcher has the information, but the article fails to deliver. Assuming a human-bear conflict is merely an encounter with a bear and not indicative of the carrying a gun in itself, you can conclude that carrying a firearm upped your chances to escape without injury by at least 50%.

Of course, even that is somewhat broken because you then have to ask what happened in the other 50%? Sure, the human was injured, but what was the actual outcome of the encounter? Did the person have a gun? Did he fire? Injury implies he's still alive, so was he able to drive the bear off with a point blank shot, if not kill it? Was he ambushed, unable to get a shot off?

There's simply no possible way you can derive a meaningful conclusion based on this poorly constructed article. You can twist the numbers to mean anything.

While Smith said his data set was not perfect, it did tease out some surprising findings. For instance, handguns slightly outperformed long guns, resulting in a positive outcome (meaning the gun stopped the bear’s aggression) 84 percent of the time versus 76 percent.

Kodiak already beat this one into the ground. Your rifle is more than likely not set up for close encounters, you're not going to bring it on target as quickly, etc etc etc. because this obviously isn't a matter of penetration; assuming that you brought enough rifle to hunt whatever your hunting for in Alaska, that is to say not bambi. Again, another statistic without relevant supporting data rendered meaningless by the hack author of this article.

"Once a bear charges, the odds of a successful outcome is seven times less likely, regardless of whether or not you have a firearm,"
A fact directly contradicted in the second paragraph of the article.

This is one case where I'm not going to blame the researcher. I'm going to place this bucket of suck squarely on the shoulders of where it belongs: Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune

Vern Humphrey
March 7, 2012, 10:43 AM
"significant" in this context is based on statistics...it's essentially a mathematical definition based on error probability...and when you have small sample sizes (a few hundred cases may still be considered small depending on the methods used) it's hard for trends to reach statistical significance, although that doesn't mean the results aren't worth paying attention to...
By my calculations, a success rate of from 76 percent to 84 percent is statistically significant. Unless of course unarmed people had a success rate of somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 percent to 83 percent.;)

Panzercat
March 7, 2012, 10:55 AM
A better article relating to the thread can be found here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325171221.htm

It also addresses the myth about bear spray being useless in wind.

Science has a niftly little thing called peer review which does an excellent job of verifying the validity of studies, such as this. The general public on the other hand tend to dismiss science when its not convenient in supporting their opinions and biases.

Yeah, about that...

Smith believes one of the primary reasons bear spray works is that it gives users a reason to stand their ground. Running is the worst response to an aggressive bear...

On the rare occasions bears get close enough to warrant a spraying - about three times a year in Alaska, the study showed - the hissing sound and sight of the expanding cloud are often enough to frighten away the animal. "I have data to show that if you sprayed water, they often would run," Smith said.

Once you get past the statistical flash of a 92% stop rate and read further, you realize that it really has very little to do with the effectiveness of the spray at all according to this 'nifty peer reviewed scientific article'. Especially realizing that you can achieve all of the very same deterrents with a firearm and preserve the ability to employ lethal measures if they don't work. There is literally nothing in this peer reviewed article that determines the effectiveness of the actual spray itself. It merely confirms the primary stimuli and triggers a bear will react to in any given situation and absolutely fails as bear spray advocacy.

Vern Humphrey
March 7, 2012, 11:15 AM
This really isn't peer review -- true peer review is when another researcher either studies the collection and analysis methods, or attempts to duplicate the results. This is just a summary of the study.

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 02:32 PM
"Once a bear charges, the odds of a successful outcome is seven times less likely, regardless of whether or not you have a firearm,"

Uh yeah... Until a bear charges, the story is "I saw a bear today", after it charges you've been attacked by a bear.

I wish I could see the original study because no doubt my attack was in there. Did my rifle prevent the attack? No. Did my friends rifle save my life? Yes.

brickeyee
March 7, 2012, 02:41 PM
Longtime bear biologist Tom Smith and colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of close-quarter bear-human conflict in Alaska between 1883 and 2009 in which a firearm was involved.

This is called 'stacking the deck.'

By not counting ALL incidents the data set has been compromised to the point of uselessness.

Like saying 'In a study of water encounters, drowning victims showed a poor ability to swim.'

Loosedhorse
March 7, 2012, 04:35 PM
It also addresses the myth about bear spray being useless in wind.Heck, anyone who's ever sprayed OC into a headwind knows that it is marvellously effective.

On you. ;)Science has a niftly little thing called peer review which does an excellent job of verifying the validity of studiesSo those anti-gun studies by Kellermann, Hemenway, and Miller are actually TRUE? :rolleyes:

I apologize, but I will continue to be skeptical of any study that says I should not have a gun, or that it is "useless" for defending against attacks, bear or otherwise.This is called 'stacking the deck.'
Agreed. I bet the researcher never even gave any unarmed or OC-toting hiker who was eaten by a bear a chance to fill out a survey form!

;)

JR24
March 7, 2012, 04:44 PM
I'm gonna still go ahead and carry the .44 mag on my hip and a 12 gauge in the boat.

blarby
March 7, 2012, 05:07 PM
Note the author said if you're using handgun theres a good chance you're on your back shooting it in the mouth.


Lending a little more credibility to the the " you can kill a bear with a handgun" camp.

I think this kinda illustrates the point of the : " Preparing for trouble, have time ? Bring a rifle" Dialogue.

When a rifle wont or cant do, thats what sidearms are for.

If theres a good chance your handgun defense is going to be at "drool" distance, I think that does provide some useful data : A small maneuverable weapon of significant capacity is going to be far more useful than a large cumbersome sidearm of limited capacity.

I'll take kodiaks word above all else.... but that statement from the author might be the most useful piece of information snuck in there.

Alaska444
March 7, 2012, 05:10 PM
These studies utilize selected data that is in my opinion biased to support their views. I simply don't believe we know how effective guns or pepper spray is with bears. I believe that we have enough evidence to endorse a combination of both depending on conditions. Both pepper spray and guns have saved lives. That should be enough, but studies like this don't add to the information needed when I can recall several episidoes of pepper spray failures not even mentioned.

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 05:30 PM
Here's the real problem.

You don't know if a bear attack was thwarted by a gun or spray or anything else because you simply can't know how many of these "events" are actual attacks. Just because Penelope Treelover squirted a bear near her camp with some spray or Chester Hairychest whacked one with his .338 near his camp doesn't mean an attack was thwarted.

I guarantee you that 90% plus of "thwarted" bear attacks are just bears making a threat display or just getting too close in nuisance mode.

Conversely, you can't know how many threat displays were turned into attacks by somebody shooting a bear that had no intention of attacking until it got shot.

In short, you can't base a study on anecdotal information.

Still, it would be interesting to see the actual study instead of some journalists cherry-picked synopsis of the study. Stephen Herrero's name is on this study and he is a respected authority in the field which leads me to believe that if you could see the actual study, it probably makes sense on some level.

newbuckeye
March 7, 2012, 05:40 PM
Heck, anyone who's every sprayed OC into a headwind knows that it is marvellously effective.;)

That's one thing I remember from the Police Academy. OC works on YOU too!

rugerman07
March 7, 2012, 06:22 PM
I think, and I could be wrong, that a short barreled 12 gauge loaded with 00 buck shot would be the best defensive weapon against bears of any size. You'd have a much better chance of hitting a charging bear in the face blinding him to ward off the attack.

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 07:21 PM
I think, and I could be wrong, that a short barreled 12 gauge loaded with 00 buck shot would be the best defensive weapon against bears of any size. You'd have a much better chance of hitting a charging bear in the face blinding him to ward off the attack.

I think you could be right, though 000 buck might be a better choice. If you hit the bear in the face, he's going down. There is very little bone between your shot and his brain.

For some reason, my coach shotgun throws buck high, but with old fashioned Foster slugs it hits under the golden bead. So, I use Foster slugs when I carry it. It also throws modern sabot slugs high, so go figure... Yet, throws birdshot right on the money. Even Dave McCracken was unable to figure that one out, and he's forgotten more about shotguns than any of us will ever know.

I feel pretty confident with a shotgun. I can hit a running rabbit or flying ptarmigan without much effort, so I don't think a bears face is a much greater challenge.

Alaska444
March 7, 2012, 07:39 PM
Not to disagree for the sake of disagreement alone, but I don't believe buckshot is a great bear defense at all when you look at two issues: Penetration and spread.

If you look at tests for both, you see that buckshot is a very limited option even at close ranges.

I will stick with the biggest, fattest piece of lead I can throw at the critters as fast as they can go.

rugerman07
March 7, 2012, 08:04 PM
Not to disagree for the sake of disagreement alone, but I don't believe buckshot is a great bear defense at all when you look at two issues: Penetration and spread.

If you look at tests for both, you see that buckshot is a very limited option even at close ranges.

I will stick with the biggest, fattest piece of lead I can throw at the critters as fast as they can go. I disagree. In a close encounter situation with a charging bear, I don't care how good of a shooter you are with a rifle, you're gonna be scared to death. Your chances of dropping him in his tracks is much better with a face shot of 00 or 000 buck shot.

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 09:31 PM
I think a good case can be made for buck or slugs, depending on how you look at it.

If you miss that face shot, you'll sure wish you had a slug. However, you have a better chance of making that face shot with a ten or twelve inch spread of 000 buck.

Six of one, half dozen of another.

I carry slugs, because that's what hits under the bead of my preferred shotgun.

exavid
March 7, 2012, 09:47 PM
In 1968 I backed up a handgunner who wanted to take a bear with his .44mag on the Upper Kelly River in NW Alaska. I'd flown the man in and backed him up with a 30-06 while he stalked a bear we'd seen just before landing on an adjacent river bar. (This was before the days of no hunting and flying on the same day.) After the hunter got within 50yds of the bear it made a couple false charges then made a serious one at about 30yds. I was behind the hunter and a bit to his right when he fired twice with his .44. Both were pretty much frontal chest shots and the bear went down. One more close up final shot did the job on a fairly decent grizzly. In those days I wasn't much into handloads or ballistics so I don't know what kind of ammo he used but that .44 did the job though I fully expected to use my rifle and just about did because he let the bear get closer than I'd have allowed. I know one other guy in Juneau when I lived there that got a black bear with a .44mag. and have heard of one killed with a .357 but don't have personal knowledge of that. All in all I find it hard to believe that a handgun won't make a difference in a bear attack.

Alaska444
March 7, 2012, 11:44 PM
Today, 04:04 PM #39
rugerman07
Member


Join Date: April 6, 2007
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 389
Quote:
Not to disagree for the sake of disagreement alone, but I don't believe buckshot is a great bear defense at all when you look at two issues: Penetration and spread.

If you look at tests for both, you see that buckshot is a very limited option even at close ranges.

I will stick with the biggest, fattest piece of lead I can throw at the critters as fast as they can go.
I disagree. In a close encounter situation with a charging bear, I don't care how good of a shooter you are with a rifle, you're gonna be scared to death. Your chances of dropping him in his tracks is much better with a face shot of 00 or 000 buck shot.
__________________
Help support concealed carry in Illinois, show your support. http://www.cafepress.com/sicc


For close encounter, let's say 15 yards or less, you still have to aim your buckshot at the bear. Beyond 15 yards, it begins to spread so that by 25 yards, you will be lucky to get half of the pellets on target. Once again, spread of the buckshot for most loads is rather rapid.

Secondly, the sectional density of spherical shells are rather pitiful. You don't get the penetration needed to do the damage needed to drop a bear. Take a look at a test of buckshot vs slugs on car doors. Granted, not a bear, but you get the idea on penetration and spread from this video. I will still go with big chunks of lead for myself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWRToW2d1XU&feature=plcp&context=C4ba9308VDvjVQa1PpcFMlqWREy9MwPDmuMBUa7lwi2QJCvIXs0uw=

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 11:46 PM
There's a huge difference between hunting a bear and being hunted by a bear. In hunting you're ready, your gun is leveled, you stalk in and make the shot.

When they come after you, you just hear some breaking brush (if you're lucky) and then they're on you. If you hear them or see them coming in you'll have one or two seconds to make the shot. If you don't hear or see them, they just take you down.

KodiakBeer
March 7, 2012, 11:53 PM
Beyond 15 yards, it begins to spread so that by 25 yards, you will be lucky to get half of the pellets on target. Once again, spread of the buckshot for most loads is rather rapid.

If they're that far away, you're hunting or poaching. That's not how these attacks unfold. Mine was from under ten yards. Rarely they begin their rush from as far as twenty yards and then only because it's open ground between them and you.

Bears are ambush predators. They either lie on a game trail or stalk in from downwind and then rush from very close range. Or, just as commonly they're sleeping and somebody walks up on them and they spring from close range.

Whatever the case, it would be extremely rare to shoot a bear (in self defense) from 25 yards.

Alaska444
March 8, 2012, 12:15 AM
Dear Kodiakbeer,

I have great respect for your knowledge and your courage in the way that you handled your own bear mauling and I do look forward to the last free offer of your book that I believe has one more chance to come.

Grizzly bears are a frightful creature and I hope to only see them up close in a zoo. My only encounter with a bear was when I was three years old near Fairbanks when a black bear came and brushed up against our umbrella tent back in 1961. My dad yelled when he saw the bear paw come within a foot of his head. That is when I awoke and can still remember the silhouette of the bear standing on his hind legs with the ever present sun in early morning summer Alaska.

I am aware of many bear encounters documented in books and other sources and to say that you would not likely have a chance to shoot a bear in self defense at 25 yards and then be charged with hunting/poaching is not the case with several encounters documented. I don't wish to test any of these theories in person as you have, but bear attacks come in wide variety of shapes and presentations. Yes, the ambush attacks are pretty much impossible to defend against no matter what your choice of gun/pepper spray since you can't react and deploy that quickly. At 10 yards, you have 1-2 seconds at best.

Several factors come into play. Two of the most important are numbers of people in a group and visibility. Most attacks occur with only 1-2 people and in dense brush. Attacks on 4 or more people are rare, but do occur. The avoidance of these two factors increases the avoidance factor. Playing in dense brush in bear country is asking for an encounter. Unfortunately, there are many places where it can't be avoided, in that case, rule number two on numbers applies.

Once again, I have great respect for your knowledge on these issues, but attacks do come in a variety of circumstances and there are many documented attacks thwarted by shots at 25 yards and sometimes more that are ruled DLP's. Once again, 25 yards for a bear is 2-3 seconds, not much time at all.

My main issue with buckshot is the lack of penetration, the low sectional density and the need to still aim the gun.

KodiakBeer
March 8, 2012, 12:57 AM
I just can say that over the last ten years I've personally talked with a variety of people who have had the experience, and read far more accounts than I can recall. When it comes to grizzly/browns, the attacks almost always unfold as I describe - from extreme close range. Some of those accounts are related in the book.

I'm not talking about legality or being charged if you shoot a bear doing his threat display at 30 yards, because for the most part the state will give you the benefit of a doubt. Yet, few (if any) of those are actual attacks or would have turned into attacks... in my opinion. It's only my opinion, based on my experiences. I take no offense with you or anyone else who disagrees.

orionengnr
March 8, 2012, 01:00 AM
Quote:
They found the gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of these encounters, which resulted in 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities

I found it hard to get past this sentence. If there were no statistical difference with a gun being used, how were there 172 bear fatalities??? With no guns I would expect there to be 323 human injuries/fatalities instead of 151.
Yes, the art of actually reading, or analyzing what one reads, is a skill that is mostly obsolete. Thank our "public education" system.

Most people have devolved into absorbing sound bytes without thinking.

Alaska444
March 8, 2012, 01:40 AM
Dear Kodiakbeer,

I found a great study done a while back by Stephen Herrero that had some interesting stats:

In 64% (14 of 22; G1 = 1.62, P = 0.203) of incidents involving grizzly bears, the inferred motivation was “startled”. Of these incidents where the bear’s inferred motivation was “startled,” the initial encounter distance was <50 m in 100% (11 of 11; G1 = 14.6, P < 0.001) of the incidents where the initial encounter distance was known.

http://www.macecanada.com/downloads/AB_injuries.pdf

Most attacks are by startle reaction of an unsuspecting bear. In this study, he used 50 meters or less as the measuring stick. 50 meters gives you 3-4 seconds of a headlong charge right at you to respond. That is not much time to comprehend and react as you have stated. Herrero didn't break down the distances less than 50 meters, but of course, many will be that type of distance and less in these startle attacks.

The take home message is to have more than one type of defense and more than one person running around in bear country.

chute2thrill
March 8, 2012, 01:54 AM
Imagine if we had tigers......

KodiakBeer
March 8, 2012, 02:27 AM
Most attacks are by startle reaction of an unsuspecting bear.

I certainly agree. As to less than 50 meters, I also agree. I suspect if you broke those down in increments less than 50 meters, the great majority would be less than 20 meters.

When you break down the other 36% of attacks (at least where brown/grizzlies are the culprit) you'll find the majority of those are stalk or ambush attacks. You're packing out a deer or caribou and the bear stalks in and rushes you. Or, the bear is laid up on a game trail to ambush game and you happen along. Again, from very close range when the final rush begins.

The problem always, is that you have so many anecdotal "attacks" that are ended with a gun before they really begin. I could relate two or three of those told to me for every actual attack survivor I've spoken or emailed with.

I don't know how well this will illustrate the issue, but here's a short video I shot below my house a couple summers ago. This is about 5am and a bear is acting like an idiot in the surf. I decided I'd be an idiot and go down and film him. I was armed, but what I did at first was get in between him and the woods/brush behind me. I cut off his escape route.

So, if you watch closely, he gets nervous a couple times and begins to run at me. Just short lopes to tell me to back off - it's particularly apparent at 1.41 seconds into the vid. What you can't see is that during the entire vid I keep edging to the left to give him an exit route, but then he keeps running my way and cutting himself off.

I'm holding the camera to my eye, and every time he looks my way I drop my face in submission. When the camera pans to the ground or looks left or right, I'm turning my face or bowing my head to tell him I'm not a threat. Each time I do that, he immediately looses interest in me.

A different person having this bear take even a short lope at him might have shot him, and you'd have another case of someone being saved by a gun - at fairly long range, because the bear is at least 40 or 50 yards from me.

Anyway, typical bear behavior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt86lKjaA7c



.

Chris-bob
March 8, 2012, 02:56 AM
No one ever practices on a 500-pound animal charging at you through the brush at 10 meters. They practice on paper targets

We would, but PETA gets mad at us for it...

I like a Pump 12ga loaded with a slug, then 00, then slug, then 00, and so on.

Granted, we have mostly blacks here in KTN, but on the Cleveland Peninsula(short skif ride away), there are lots of purty brownies.

brickeyee
March 8, 2012, 02:02 PM
Most attacks are by startle reaction of an unsuspecting bear.

So be sure to wear your little bells.

It will make finding the bear scat easier ... It will smell like pepper spray and have little bells in it.

KodiakBeer
March 8, 2012, 03:05 PM
So be sure to wear your little bells.

It will make finding the bear scat easier ... It will smell like pepper spray and have little bells in it.

That joke is a bit too old to be funny anymore.

Bears do attack (sometimes) when startled. Both in my anecdotal experiences (such as they are) and in biological studies it is the most common reason for attacks. It would be foolish to disregard that.

JellyJar
March 8, 2012, 05:51 PM
I wonder how many times someone has either shot and killed a charging bear or just shot at one that stopped the attack and then never mentioned it to the authorities?

If the event is never recorded anywhere than that would skew the statistics and make them worthless.

Alaska444
March 8, 2012, 06:09 PM
Today, 01:51 PM #54
JellyJar
Member

Join Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Alabama
Posts: 936
I wonder how many times someone has either shot and killed a charging bear or just shot at one that stopped the attack and then never mentioned it to the authorities?

If the event is never recorded anywhere than that would skew the statistics and make them worthless.
__________________
I don't live in fear, I live in Alabama!
The great purpose of Law is to preserve and protect the innocent.
Mencken's Law “For every complex problem there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

That is the issue entirely and additionally, Kodiakbeer noted the fur rondy that had over 100 DLP's in one year alone. The stats just don't add up making hte results of this study irrelevlant.

ORHunter79
March 8, 2012, 08:27 PM
Real question here for you Alaska folks. Do you use the 45-70 lever like the Marlin Guide gun? Would that be more or less effective than a 12ga?

rugerman07
March 8, 2012, 08:31 PM
I'll take my chances with a short barreled 12 gauge loaded with 00 or 000 buck shot. In a close encounter situation (20 yards or less), even a face shot with a quail/dove load will blind him. It may not kill him instantly, but it will stop him.

Alaska444
March 8, 2012, 08:37 PM
Dear Rugerman,

I don't believe it is likely that you are going to have a great chance of blinding a bear with buckshot at 20 yards. There are many excellent tests showing the amount of spread at that distance and the randomness of the pellets going where ever they feel like going with in a certain limit such as on my prior post. Anyone considering buckshot as a bear defense should review this test closely first.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 8, 2012, 09:01 PM
Anyone even remotely considering buck shot for Brown Bear defense should not only review that Test Alaska444 but up, they should also review their sanity! They just simply do not have the penetration needed. Now maybe if you let the Bear eat the gun and you then pull the trigger, you may then have some effect on it :D Not really a situation I would personally wish to find myself in.

Cosmoline
March 8, 2012, 10:17 PM
I wonder how many times someone has either shot and killed a charging bear or just shot at one that stopped the attack and then never mentioned it to the authorities?

There are a great many of what we call "DLP" (defense of life or property) shootings every year, that are reported. Of course many are not reported, particularly if the bear runs off and you can't tell if you did hit it. These typical bear shootings could not have been included because the number of incidents would have been much larger in the study. In a single year in AK there could be many hundreds of incidents involving shots taken against bears. Without knowing the selection criteria, it's really difficult to say how valid the study is. By selecting only point-blank encounters the authors would bias the results against firearms, because they are least useful when there's insufficient time to aim.

But on the flip side, by including even mere defense of property shootings you'd risk slanting the results the other way, since you'd be showing the firearm's effectiveness in protecting chickens and such from bears posing no immediate threat to the person.

What we can say is that if you have time to aim and have a powerful long gun you stand a very good chance of being able to stop the bear from living much longer. Whether that's going to be enough to stop it from getting to you and clobbering you is another matter. The closer the bear and the more intent it is on doing you harm, the less useful any defense you have will be. But the further it is away and the more time you have to aim and fire, the less likely it is that the bear ever posed a real threat to you.

Ultimately you're taking your chances and what you do to prepare is a personal choice. Me, I run away because I am a raw unabashed coward.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 8, 2012, 10:34 PM
Me, I run away because I am a raw unabashed coward.

UhOh Cosmo, you're "raw"!! Too bad for you as that is just how Bears like their meat! Raw and running away!

Hocka Louis
March 8, 2012, 10:38 PM
You forgot, bears head is fat and bone (and small in comparison brain)
shoulders and chest heavily furred, with alot of fat and muscle...
OMG, I just realized I'm a bear!

BTW, lotta people hunt (offense) bear with buckshot. But not in Alaska. They're Browner and bigger. But they do carry shotguns with slugs or buckshot (defense). I prefer a handgun but bigger hard buckshot, same as required of bullets for penetration, from a bigger shell like a 3" 12 ga. (or a 10 ga.) are devastating.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 8, 2012, 11:26 PM
Been hunting and fishing in Alaska many times and know several of the guides up there. I have YET to see a single one of them loaded up with buckshot in their defensive shotguns.

Panzercat
March 8, 2012, 11:46 PM
been hunting and fishing in alaska many times and know several of the guides up there. I have yet to see a single one of them loaded up with buckshot in their defensive shotguns.
Thank you!

KodiakBeer
March 9, 2012, 12:15 AM
Well, I certainly know people who use buckshot. I lean towards slugs myself, for the reasons I mentioned earlier peculiar to my favorite shotgun. I think even if I had a shotgun that shot both to point of aim, I'd still lean towards slugs.

A slug gives you insurance should you miss that face shot. If a slug goes into the torso you have a good chance of slowing or knocking the bear down for a second shot. Buck, not so much...

Yet, I'm firmly convinced that making the face shot with buckshot will end the threat right there. You just have to make that shot... and that's the problem.

dirtengineer
March 9, 2012, 01:13 AM
One thing is for sure, you have a near zero percent chance of killing an attacking bear if you don't have a firearm. I don't go into the woods unarmed.

This article reeks of agenda. Just because guns don't save you in all encounters doesn't mean that it is ineffective.

A gun in this context is a safety device, like a seat belt. I see this as analogous to firearms for bear protection. The best avoidance of injury is to avoid crashing your car. Of course you should practice bear avoidance. The seat belt won't save you every time, but you still put it on if you are prudent. I carry a firearm for a low probability occurrence that might have dire results to improve my chances of survival. Perhaps some drive more haphazardly when they wear a seat belt, but I would guess most don't. I am still prudent in bear country (pretty much everywhere I hunt, hike, or camp) and practice bear avoidance.

Alaska444
March 9, 2012, 01:23 AM
Avoidance is the key to bear defense. When in the woods, be VERY careful in dense brush and have more than 4 in a group. Not done that way for hunting and that is why many hunters are victims of bear attacks.

Franchise42
March 9, 2012, 01:34 AM
Like many who have no experience in this area, I too would have assumed that buckshot would be good bear medicine assuming a shot to the face would do the trick of atleast stopping the bear. But, the more I've read and thought about it, slugs and a good aimed shot would definately be the way to go.

gym
March 9, 2012, 11:53 AM
Bears eat guns

KodiakBeer
March 9, 2012, 01:36 PM
You only know what the last bear did. You never know what the next one will do. You also can never know what the same bear will do on another day.

rugerman07
March 9, 2012, 09:21 PM
I don't believe it is likely that you are going to have a great chance of blinding a bear with buckshot at 20 yards. There are many excellent tests showing the amount of spread at that distance and the randomness of the pellets going where ever they feel like going with in a certain limit such as on my prior post. Anyone considering buckshot as a bear defense should review this test closely first. What about small game loads, dove, quail, rabbits, etc. for close encounters with bears? How many bb's do they have, 200+? Wouldn't that increase your chances of a face shot? I'm not talking about a well placed shot with a 375 H&H magnum or 458 Winchester under stress in hopes of killing the bear, I'm talking about stopping his charge and if you take out his eyes you may not kill him but I think it would stop his attack.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 9, 2012, 09:56 PM
What about small game loads, dove, quail, rabbits, etc. for close encounters with bears? How many bb's do they have, 200+? Wouldn't that increase your chances of a face shot? I'm not talking about a well placed shot with a 375 H&H magnum or 458 Winchester under stress in hopes of killing the bear, I'm talking about stopping his charge and if you take out his eyes you may not kill him but I think it would stop his attack.

Yeah OK that's what I really want, an already pissed off 1000 pound set of teeth and claws even MORE pissed off :what: Does everyone think that shotgun patterns come out in 20+ inches? Nope, they stay pretty much the same diameter of the bore for a good 5 or 7 yards according to the choke. So you are pretty much just going to POSSIBLY take out one eye. So lets review. Mr. Brown decides he is going to bust you. He has already started at you with cruel intentions. He has a full head of steam heading that 20 or so yards at 30+mph in about 2 steps. You fill his face full of BB's. Who do you think is going to win in that particular scenario? Me? I'm betting on Mr. Brown.

Vern Humphrey
March 9, 2012, 10:34 PM
What about small game loads, dove, quail, rabbits, etc. for close encounters with bears? How many bb's do they have, 200+?
None.

BB is a specific shot size, and dove and rabbit loads use a smaller shot (number 9 to 7 1/2 for dove and qual, 8 to 6 for rabbits and squirrels.)

Regardless, blinding the bear is a bad idea -- because bears have very good hearing and smell, and if you pepper them with Number 9 to 6 shot, they're going to be really mad at you.

4v50 Gary
March 9, 2012, 11:05 PM
What dirt engineer says.

Alaska444
March 9, 2012, 11:34 PM
Very little data available on bears and buckshot in real life and EVEN less on birdshot. One of my childhood friends, Mike Morlein hit a bear on its nose with a walking stick and lived to talk about it as written up in a bear encounter book. He was 14 at that time and saved his friends life who took the brunt of the attack.

Buckshot in the face or birdshot may indeed turn some bears just as shooting a gun in the air above the head of charging grizzly saved a BC photographer. Not any data on that line of defense either.

JohnBT
March 10, 2012, 09:13 AM
"I guess i'll stick to my own study, of what i learned, living with and hunting them"

Bears or government biologists? :)

Hocka Louis
March 10, 2012, 11:56 AM
Look, in a bear attack any gun you are holding will suddenly feel inadequate and inaccurate.

I would not deny the buckshot proponents for DEFENSIVE purposes against brown bear. A point is that you don't have to hit the bear with ALL the pellets, however nice that'd be. And don't presume or rely on hitting it in the face or blinding it with any pellets, just as I am hesitant to rely on hitting it properly with a slug in a split-second event that lasts a lifetime.

However, penetration is a critical issue. Bears are tough and big. Slow soft lead pellets for a grizzly should not be used. Some don't think ANY buckshot should be used but I think they are misguided. I have carried a short, slung, 500 with six rounds (five rounds of 3" Winchester fit in the tube) of buckshot in Alaska for defense against predators, but they were 3" Magnum copper-plated 000 (the largest that loads well in a 12 ga. hull) buckshot.

For bear, grizzly at least for darn sure, you should always use plated or hard shot and please do not use 2-3/4" rounds other than with slugs (which really should be hard too IMO).

General Geoff
March 10, 2012, 01:56 PM
I might get some flak for suggesting this, but.. hypothetically speaking, wouldn't full auto be particularly useful against a bear charge? I'm thinking full auto 12 gauge with slugs, something along those lines. Preferably with a muzzle brake to help control recoil.

flyskater
March 10, 2012, 03:18 PM
I've seen in a video by discovery or some network, where a grizzly charge at a group of people. The people did not run, they just sat and kept still. The grizzly sniffed at them even touching them and just walked away.
That's alot of nerve.

Alaska444
March 10, 2012, 03:43 PM
There is a lot of gamesmenship with bear behaviour, but yes, that would take a lot of nerve, or a lot stupidity depending on the circumstances. That is the situation where pepper spray is the most beneficial and I believe should have been deployed. If one of those people had panicked and ran, the story would be quite different.

Better to teach the bear to stay away from people with two or three folks engaging their Counter Assault or whatever brand they use. I wouldn't let a grizzly sniff me or my kids. No thank you. I will impose a self protective distance barrier either by pepper spray or lead spray from my .444.

fish2xs
March 10, 2012, 10:48 PM
"Smith’s findings could have policy implications as more people carry firearms into national parks under a May 2010 rule change that lifted the National Park Service’s long-standing gun ban. In previous statistical studies, Smith has demonstrated that pepper-spray is effective in deterring aggressive bears."

This study from BYU is anti gun - period. I've met a bear in the wild (thank God), but I've met plenty of anti's and know where they are coming from.

exavid
March 11, 2012, 12:09 AM
When you consider #00 buckshot in a 12ga. consider that's not all that much different than nine shots from a .32ACP.

Alaska444
March 11, 2012, 12:16 AM
Today, 08:09 PM #82
exavid
Member

Join Date: December 22, 2010
Location: Medford, Oregon
Posts: 475
When you consider #00 buckshot in a 12ga. consider that's not all that much different than nine shots from a .32ACP.
__________________
"...extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice... moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue..." Barry Goldwater.

+1. Great comment and absolutely true. You must have penetration to reach the vitals. I have yet to see any study showing that kind of needed penetration with buckshot. If you are going to use buckshot, then bring a friend with a big rifle to rescue you once you get in trouble. Really not a good choice from all the objective data I have been able to see.

Agsalaska
March 11, 2012, 01:15 AM
I have spent a fair amount of time in the Alaska wilderness and have a little different take on it. Just like home protection, skill with your weapon is the most critical factor in bear defense. I can't tell you how many times I saw people using a firearm as there only protection who couldn't hit the back side of a barn door with it if you only gave them 2 seconds. Very few people are fast enough, confident enough, and practice enough to adequately defend themselves from a bear with a firearm. I had a friend from the lower 48 come visit one year. He went fishing while I was at work and took my 44. he had never shot a 44 in his life. These aren't bobcats we are worried about was my response.

That is why I think it is very important for even gun advocates to highly encourage people to use bear spray. It is at least a lot easier to use and a lot more forgiving. Especially in an area like portage valley or the kenai river where there can be a lot of other people around. But I have found that it is very important to remove the arrogance from a lot of people when they go out. I always encourage bear spray to everyone except the most experienced.

I include myself in that category. I don't shoot enough or practice enough to rely entirely on my gun. I usually carry both. The last two summers I used a combination of 44mag, mosin nagant, and Winchester 12 gauge. And occasionally just my dogs. But I always had bear spray.

lloveless
March 11, 2012, 03:35 AM
I agree with KodiakBeers #34 post. I was in Alaska for a year working. Only bear I saw was in the Anchorage zoo. Still when out and about on the tundra(kotzebue area) and forest(anchorage/fairbanks areas) I carried a .44 mag. A most perfect talisman that kept the evil bears away. The National Park Service acutually issues 12 ga shotguns with 00 buckshot for the first shot and slugs for subsequent shots to archeologists working on the tundra/coast in 2010/2011. I practiced with what I carried and was confident I could shoot if I had too. I was lucky and didn't have to test my belief.
ll

Alaska444
March 11, 2012, 03:37 AM
I guess the NPS doesn't like archeologist much do they. LOL

Bruno2
March 11, 2012, 04:25 AM
Is it true that a bears heart rate is only 1/3 of ours? I have heard this , but , cant find any data to back it up with. If it is true I can certainly see how a gun would get you mauled in an attack regardless if you got nice placement or not.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 11, 2012, 05:49 AM
Is it true that a bears heart rate is only 1/3 of ours? I have heard this , but , cant find any data to back it up with. If it is true I can certainly see how a gun would get you mauled in an attack regardless if you got nice placement or not.

No thats not entirely true. While in hibernation, their heart rate will drop to approximately 10 bpm but during normal operation it is in upwards of 70bpm. I am sure that their cardio is far greater than ours so I don't think I would wish to test any theories about "outlasting" a Brown Bear.

KodiakBeer
March 11, 2012, 07:09 AM
I don't want to start a debate on slugs vs buckshot, but I can at least see the reasoning behind buckshot.

A bears brain is about the thickness of a softball, but it's oblong in shape. In size, it's not much different than a skinned rabbit. A bears face, at least the central area behind the nose and mouth where the bulk of the brain lies, is not bulletproof by any means. A few thin sheets of bone is all that lies between you and the brain. So, if you can reliably hit a running bunny at 15 yards with #6 shot, you can reliably hit a bears nose at the same distance with 000.

So, I guess the question you'd ask yourself is how often you miss that running bunny because he's at an awkward angle when he breaks cover or there's brush between you and it, or you're just caught by surprise. There's no doubt in my mind that if you make the shot at close range with heavy buck (under 20 yards?) that bear is going down right there.

I'll stick with slugs because I think you get extra insurance with a near miss because of the great penetration, but I still think a shotgun with buckshot is a much better choice than a handgun, or the typical hunting rifle topped with a 3x9 for that matter.

bhk
March 11, 2012, 12:08 PM
Heck, if you are really gutsy, you can do what this guy apparently did with bird shot:

http://www.outdoors-411.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=37023

There are several articles on this incident you can Google. The killing shot was made at about 1 yard.

scaatylobo
March 11, 2012, 01:08 PM
I am of the firm belief [ read,you cant change my mind ] that if you train to shoot and do it with the mind set that you will NOT turn from the threat and do what is needed,you have the best chance with a firearm AND bearspray.

I have been shot at and did not turn my back,I cannot shoot very well over my shoulder!.

If there is the remotest chance that the bear spray will work [ I have used it on the streets - it works REAL well on people ] then I will not shoot as it's most likely out of season and shooting a bear in S/D is a big deal to the DEC.

I carry a Ruger super blk hawk that was cut to 4 3/4" barrel with blackhawk grips,in a El Paso chest rig.

AND yes I carry a rifle or shotgun [ slugs ] but there are many times I will leave the gun and be a few feet to a dozen yards from it.

I am not interested in a 'man' test to see who has THE opinion here.

Just sharing my beliefs and practices.

jchico28
March 11, 2012, 01:09 PM
I've come to the conclusion after a lifetime in the wilds of the western lower 48, some in British Columbia and on a bear research project in N. Idaho that many people are way too eager to carry only a gun for protection against bears.
The idea that one must be anti-gun if he carries spray is non-sense. The idea that one must have a high degree of respect and regard for the life of a bear in order to carry spray is perhaps not far from the truth.
I don't think most people want to kill a bear unless of course they are hunting bears.
I believe spray is effective and in many ways more effective on preventing injury from bear attacks.
Having said this, when I am in bear country I carry a can of spray up close and readily available and an extra can in my pack. I also carry a .44 revolver as last resort.
I hope I never have to use either.

gym
March 11, 2012, 01:18 PM
They have the right to Bear arms, so they must have their own gun store.

Spaceman Spiff
March 11, 2012, 02:09 PM
They have the right to Bear arms, so they must have their own gun store.

that joke was just unbearable...

Redneck with a 40
March 11, 2012, 02:11 PM
As they always say......save the last round for yourself. I'd much rather carry an 870 12 gauge, 3 rounds of slugs to hit the bear at a distance and 3 rounds of buckshot if the bear gets in close. At the very least, a buckshot round to the face will blind the bear.

The wildlife troopers in Alaska carry 870's with slugs out in the bush.

scaatylobo
March 11, 2012, 02:27 PM
I totally agree.

BUT if'n your bout to exit the outhouse or squatting in the woods,the handgun is an option if the bear spray dont cut it.

I go with the 870 also,as that is a great tool for most problems in life.of this nature !.

Loosedhorse
March 11, 2012, 02:44 PM
Well, let's see:

1) Only a CNS hit will dependably stop a bear charge; but maybe pepper spray will, and maybe a non-CNS hit with a "big enough" caliber (which might be as small as a .44 Magnum, as big a a 12 gauge slug, or maybe some .35-.45 rifle caliber).
2) You won't have time to shoot the bear anyway, because his charge will surprise you and unslinging a long gun or unholstering a handgun takes too long. Pepper spray may be faster for some reason?
3) People in general don't have the required skill to defend themselves from bear attack with a firearm. Pepper spray apparently takes less skill. So maybe you should carry pepper spray and NOT a firearm (even though I carry a firearm and so do the uniformed guys with badges).
4) Long guns (particularly 12 gauge shotguns) are preferred rather than handguns. Perhaps because shotguns launch a bigger slug (even though some handguns launch 1-oz slugs at 1300+ fps) and they are easier to aim at a quickly moving target at close range. Not sure if this takes into account that a handgun might be quicker to deploy. But pepper spray might be better than either.
5) Alaskan "wildlife troopers" apparently carry slung shotguns any time they head into the wild on foot, indicating that so should Alaskan fishermen and hikers. Unless they carry pepper spray.

I think I've got it now...:uhoh::confused:

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 11, 2012, 03:39 PM
Yep Loosed, you got it down now! :D

To help address your confusion on one part, the reason MOST people would be better served by a shotgun/long gun of some sort verses a handgun is aiming. The site line on a long gun, to put it simply, lends to better aim for the most part. Honestly, most people aren't like some of us who have had a handgun in their hands for the better part of 40 years and practicing with one every other day. Most people don't put thousands of rounds downrange every year. Some in here, Kodiakbeer being the leader of this, has opened my eyes to this. I used to be a strong proponent for the carrying of a large bore handgun for Brown Bear defense. Simply because of my own experiences with bruins in the wild. They showed me that most people aren't as skilled or as confident as I am with a handgun.

As far as Bear Spray is concerned. It has it's uses and CAN be quite effective. But swirling wind can be just as big of a threat as that 1000 pound ball of pissed off. 99% of the time, if you have come across a bruin in the wild, that bruin will be making tracks to another county. As Kodiak stated, most every time is a surprise encounter up close. The sow that I had to put down, we had crossed paths and she had cubs. No amount of yelling and screaming would have turned her, and the wind was about 20mph right in my face so spray would have done nothing except season my face for the mauling. Part of the reason we crossed paths was because of the wind direction. Had she scented me, they would never have come across me. Hence why Bear Spray, a LOT of times would be rendered useless. Most of your bruin encounters will be with the wind in YOUR face which is why you surprised the bruin in the first place. Simple logic.

Hocka Louis
March 11, 2012, 04:01 PM
Don't get me wrong, backpacking on the tundra where I had some visibility my big bear-spray would be in a holster on my pack belt strap.

KodiakBeer
March 11, 2012, 06:46 PM
Bear spray is a no-brainer.

90% of the time (or more), the scary encounter is a bear just suddenly standing up surprised on the side of the trail, or perhaps puffing up and making aggressive movements. It's almost certainly not going to attack, but why take the chance? And why shoot if it means you have to skin and pack out 200 pounds of head and hide and then get anally probed by the F&G people? Just blast him with pepper spray.

Weirdly though, even though I've almost always carrying pepper spray I've never had opportunity to use it. Mostly because I'm not willing to drop my shotgun to employ the spray. :) I just talk nice and back away.

.

BLB68
March 11, 2012, 08:52 PM
2) You won't have time to shoot the bear anyway, because his charge will surprise you and unslinging a long gun or unholstering a handgun takes too long. Pepper spray may be faster for some reason?


The reason is that if you don't have to unholster pepper spray to use it. Not that most people know this or bother to carry the spray for fast deployment. But it's possible.

I think a lot of people put too much thought into what to carry and not how to carry it for these types of situations.

exavid
March 11, 2012, 11:06 PM
A dog or two is probably the best early warning system in the bush where bears are around. Besides giving early warning a dog can slow a bear down and divert it long enough to get a rifle or heavy pistol in action. In most of the time I spent in NW and SE Alaska it was with an airplane that really didn't have room to take a good sized dog along. Bears can be bothersome critters, twice I've flown parts to pilots whose aircraft were damaged while the people were fishing. The worst was a Supercub whose tail and aft fuselage fabric was pretty well torn off by a grizzly at the confluence of the Noatak and Kelly rivers.

Alaska444
March 11, 2012, 11:27 PM
Today, 07:06 PM #102
exavid
Member


Join Date: December 22, 2010
Location: Medford, Oregon
Posts: 477
A dog or two is probably the best early warning system in the bush where bears are around. Besides giving early warning a dog can slow a bear down and divert it long enough to get a rifle or heavy pistol in action. In most of the time I spent in NW and SE Alaska it was with an airplane that really didn't have room to take a good sized dog along. Bears can be bothersome critters, twice I've flown parts to pilots whose aircraft were damaged while the people were fishing. The worst was a Supercub whose tail and aft fuselage fabric was pretty well torn off by a grizzly at the confluence of the Noatak and Kelly rivers.
__________________
"...extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice... moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue..." Barry Goldwater.

I had considered dogs as viable defense option especially with the early warning barking and growling a dog would give us. However, I have been impressed by the number of bear attack stories that began with a dog encountering a bear, getting scared and running back to their master only to bring the bear right with them.

There are some studies that show bears can be attracted to dogs as consideration of a food source making bear encounters more likely paradoxically. Few dogs have the training and the temperament to hold off a large bear. Fortunately, some do. As in all of these bear defense issues, the consideration of using a dog for defense is left with the answer, it depends.

CZguy
March 12, 2012, 12:09 AM
And why shoot if it means you have to skin and pack out 200 pounds of head and hide and then get anally probed by the F&G people?

I've read the entire thread, and this is by far and away the best argument to use bear spray. :D

exavid
March 12, 2012, 02:06 AM
I've wondered about how effective bear spray is in the rain or against the wind. It would tough for me to decide whether to reach for spray or firearm when you only have a second or two decision time. As I already mentioned a dog would be a good alarm. I don't expect one to stop or really slow a bear much but one could give a few moments warning that something was up. The real fact is that if a bear jumps you suddenly, close and unnoticed there isn't a hell of a lot one could do anyway.

Alaska444
March 12, 2012, 02:18 AM
Nah, don't bring the dog, just bring the little woman!!

Bear attacks man and dog; wife attacks bear; all survive

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/10/bear-attacks-man-wife-attacks-bear-all-live-to-tell-the-tale.html

As I said earlier, too many accounts of bear attacking dog and dog going back to master and bear attacking master to really want to have the average mut as my early warning system. This is a pretty extreme example, but there are more just like it unfortunately like the man near Yellowstone a few years ago as well.

Loosedhorse
March 12, 2012, 12:46 PM
even though I've almost always carrying pepper spray I've never had opportunity to use it. Mostly because I'm not willing to drop my shotgun to employ the sprayMy "wisdom detector" just went off--very LOUD.

:D

I'm seeing a marketing opportunity for a pepper spray that mounts under a shotgun like a tactical light. Running to the patent office right now...

charlie echo
March 24, 2012, 12:53 PM
I've wondered about how effective bear spray is in the rain or against the wind. It would tough for me to decide whether to reach for spray or firearm when you only have a second or two decision time. As I already mentioned a dog would be a good alarm. I don't expect one to stop or really slow a bear much but one could give a few moments warning that something was up. The real fact is that if a bear jumps you suddenly, close and unnoticed there isn't a hell of a lot one could do anyway.
Don't believe in warning shots.

I gave a bear a warning shot: No impact! (pun intended), but didn't shoot the bear since while the bruin was uncomfortably close, was not closing in.

I distinctly remember feeling that now I've blown 1/6th of my 44 ammo and only have five shots left in the dark within a canopy of trees under a cloudy moonless night. My speed loader was some where in the tent, by the boots.

I went back in our tent, trying to sleep: so it all got quiet, now I heard my wife's heart beat thus realizing under her calm demeanor was one heck of a scared pretty girl.

At early dawn, when the bears returned, I felt much better, more sober, and could at least take good front sight aim on a moving dangerous sentient being.

Since then, I bring a 44 carbine (or a slug pump) into the remote woods, with a flash light lashed to the barrel: A real comforting stick to have while sleeping softly.

Pepper sprays are a nice ideal, if I have another pair of calm hands to deploy, but most of life's troubles are solved by judicious use of cash or sturdy bullets, including having the courage not to, when that's right.

wacki
March 24, 2012, 05:06 PM
A better article relating to the thread can be found here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0325171221.htm

It also addresses the myth about bear spray being useless in wind.

Science has a niftly little thing called peer review which does an excellent job of verifying the validity of studies, such as this. The general public on the other hand tend to dismiss science when its not convenient in supporting their opinions and biases.

Your link points to a study by the same bear scientist at brigham young university.

I agree science is nifty. I disagree that peer review is effective at screening out bad papers, data and methodology. If peer review was effective then in that respect then the reproducibility rate of drug papers wouldn't be so pathetically low.

Peer review is one tiny step in a long series of steps that need to occur in order to have confidence in any theory.

As a scientist, I can say there are a lot of crappy and even corrupt scientists out there. Read up on the history of "tobacco doesn't cause cancer" or watch the documentary "Inside Job" as a primer of how corrupt academics can be.

The fact that any bears died and yet that somehow is irrelevant should make you really wonder about this study.

If you enjoyed reading about "Interesting New Study of Bears vs. Guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!