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Interesting New Study of Bears vs. Guns

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bhk, Mar 6, 2012.

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  1. bhk

    bhk Member

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    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
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Use bigger gun or curl up in ball is how I read it.
     
  3. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    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.
     
  4. OTR

    OTR Member

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    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.
     
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Tax dollars are magich dollars!
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    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:
    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.
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    That's a good point. In 2009 I was at the Fur Rondy and they had 117 DLP hides up for auction.
     
  9. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    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.
     
  10. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    "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.
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
  12. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    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.
     
  13. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    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.
     
  14. sirgilligan

    sirgilligan Member

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    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.
     
  15. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Member

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    That right there is probably the BEST advise I have yet to ever see on ANY of the many Bear defense threads!!!!
     
  16. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    You forgot, bears head is fat and bone (and small in comparison brain)
    shoulders and chest heavily furred, with alot of fat and muscle...
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Member

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    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...
     
  19. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Member

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    "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...
     
  20. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    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.'
     
  21. vito

    vito Member

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    What I really fear is a bear with a gun. Remember the 2nd amendment gives the right to arm bears or something like that.
     
  22. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    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
     
  23. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    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.
     
  24. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    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--

    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.

    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.

    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
     
  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.;)
     
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