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Studies Show Bear Spray More Effective Than Guns Against Grizzlies


With all the debate lately over whether visitors should be allowed to carry weapons in national parks, much has been said about the need for protection against wild animals, bears in particular. Well, studies show bear spray is a much more effective deterrent than a speeding bullet.

Evidence of human-bear encounters even suggests that shooting a bear can escalate the seriousness of an attack, while encounters where firearms are not used are less likely to result in injury or death of the human or the bear. While firearms can kill a bear, can a bullet kill quickly enough -- and can the shooter be accurate enough -- to prevent a dangerous, even fatal, attack?

The question is not one of marksmanship or clear thinking in the face of a growling bear, for even a skilled
marksman with steady nerves may have a slim chance of deterring a bear attack with a gun. Law
enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have experience that supports this reality --
based on their 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.

That snippet was taken from a report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You can find the entire document attached below.


This issue isn't about protection from bears. Why do people on this site want to confuse the issue. This is a constitutional issue. Everyone wants to debate on what the founding fathers meant by the second ammendment but no one wants to accept what the thought of the second ammendment and why they wanted it in there. Read this and tell me what there is to debate?

*First, Thomas Jefferson: No Freeman shall ever be disbarred from the use of arms.
*Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self-defense, John Adams.
*The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed with Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, where the Government are afraid to trust their people with arms, James Madison.
*Arms discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe and preserve order in the world as well as property. Horrid mischief would ensue if the law-abiding were deprived the use of private arms, Thomas Payne.
*Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined, nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. They serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides from an unarmed man, may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man, Thomas Jefferson.
*A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves. They include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike how to use them, Richard Henry Lee.
*The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms, Samuel Adams.
*I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them, George Mason.

Stop trying to teach an agenda contrary to the constitution just because you were taught that guns are bad and you look a news story and feel that this "agency" is your great affection for truth. Ask yourself, Why wasn't I taught these quotes in grade school? Why do we not discuss medical malpractice as the big killer it is? Why do we not outlaw french fries? Why are we ok with alcohol as a legal substance? How can we not see that freedoms are only enjoyed when a government respects it's people? When people are able to live how they want to live? How can government tell you when you can and can't protect your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

How can you consider yourself a responsible journalist who has no bias, but repeatedly on your site you express your opinion about guns and then when the discussion reaches a point you're no longer comfortable with you'll end the discussion? I would have thought sensorship would be the last thing a journalist would every instigate.

Not about protection against bears? That's one of the issues the NRA has raised in pushing this topic, and one many previous comments have touched on.

Beyond that, though, aren't we a "people of laws"? Or should we just be able to pick and choose which laws to obey based on whether we like that law or not?

An interesting analysis of the 2nd Amendment can be found here.

Here's a snippet:

The attitude of Americans toward the military was much different in the 1790's than it is today. Standing armies were mistrusted, as they had been used as tools of oppression by the monarchs of Europe for centuries. In the war for independence, there had been a regular army, but much of the fighting had been done by the state militias, under the command of local officers. Aside from the war, militias were needed because attacks were relatively common, whether by bandits, Indians, and even by troops from other states.

Today, the state militias have evolved into the National Guard in every state. These soldiers, while part-time, are professionally trained and armed by the government. No longer are regular, non-Guardsmen, expected to take up arms in defense of the state or the nation (though the US Code does still recognize the unorganized militia as an entity, and state laws vary on the subject [10 USC 311]).

This is in great contrast to the way things were at the time of adoption of the 2nd Amendment. Many state constitutions had a right to bear arms for the purposes of the maintenance of the militia. Many had laws that required men of age to own a gun and supplies, including powder and bullets.

That said, the issue on these pages is whether the current regulation, which allows you to take your gun into a national park as long as it's unloaded and not easily accessible, is reasonable.

whoever did this study is insane . theres no way i'd go up against a bear attacking with a bear spray. i would very much like to see a real attack be staved off by bearspray. a grizzly thats mad can run faster than a race horse for short distances . also you don't know when a bear might attack. they can be silent as can be . i carried a 12 ga bullpup loaded in my cruiser when on duty as park ranger and used bronze or copper solids. i never had to use it but if i had i would've . now you could turn a curious grizzly or possibly one thats acting up some but an already attacking grizzly i doubt that very much. i left the service because of lamebrained pencil pushers not knowing what the real job entailed. what can i say.

We eventually evolve.
They are discussing a country at a time where fewer people were present.
They are discussing this between men with male mentality. I have been held up by gun point. Being a female I know that if I had had this gun you so readily rely on that I would not have had the guts or any way to pull this gun out and get out of the situation alive.
Stop relying on a document that needs justifiable readjusting.
This "gun" issue is about allowing arms in National Parks and has been used to references for protection against wildlife. I hike ALONE in the parks every year for weeks on end, I don't need to have to worry about humans also or that I have to carry a gun when I don't want to and normally don't feel the need to. I don't want to see a bear stand up on his hind legs to get a better look and have some tourist freak out and shoot the bear.
There is no need for guns in parks.
Carry bear spray, not only does it work much better on bears but it also works very well on humans. No one gets permanently damaged in the meantime. The point is taken.
People hang on to the consitution as if the world will remain the same. There are millions in our jail system because of gun misuse compared to the two or three when Adams was President. Population wasn't considered when the constitution was scribed. At least in my opinion it wasn't.


Many people have used bear spray during charges. Many people have used guns. If a bear is coming at you from 50 feet away at 35 mph what do you think your chances are of getting your gun out, aiming and shooting to kill? (Iif you miss you will definitely be mauled and possibly die, so you HAVE to kill it first shot and hope you can get off another shot WHILE he's mauling you.) You have 6 seconds or less and fear running through your system. Good luck. Now if you miss, which you probably will, the bear will be very angry, mauling probably intensified. If you play dead and the bear SEEMS to leave and you move he may come back to finish off the job. You lay, bleeding, in the wild, near a pissed off bear (but where?) and wait 30 minutes (?) an hour (?) before you crawl out HOPING he doesn't come back.
Pull out bear spray from your hip holster and shoot slightly down in a sweeping motion and that bear will most PROBABLY be scared from the sound of the spray alone but if not get a good whiff, lung full, eye full and veer off. Instead coming back to maul he will be high tailing it, suffocating and trying to rub the stuff off. Time to SLOWLY back out of there. Actually standing upright.

To Kurt,
Thank you for the information.
I believe that there is no need for anyone to carry a weapon in our national parks.
Your response to 'Anonymous' was civil and level headed.
I would really rather have 'Anonymous' and Tom (not verified) keep their guns unloaded and out of reach.
Our current law is fine.

I'm not sure Anonymous has though of all the issues. If it's a simple constitutional debate, they why are the National Parks the target for having weapons in? Why not airports, courtrooms and federal buildings too? The simple fact is that guns kill people. I know there's the whole people kill people thing, but the gun really helps a lot.

"Beyond that, though, aren't we a "people of laws"? Or should we just be able to pick and choose which laws to obey based on whether we like that law or not?"


As everyone knows the 2nd amendment question is being reviewed in the Supreme Court. That aside, you asked the above question. The precedent which has been set by our sanctuary city and state governments is if they don't agree with the law they ignore it and may even encourage the breaking of the law. I think we can agree that the answer to your question is becoming more and more pick and choose.

The right to carry in parks is being handled legislatively. At least this issue is being debated with respect to the law. For instance, Wyoming has not come out and told its law enforcement personnel to ignore the federal authority. That's what happens in our cities where police are forbidden to assist in the enforcement of federal laws. I am sure if rangers needed assistance from local law enforcement on this current law they would get it. If it was a question of an immigration law, desertion from the military, or some other law we maybe didn’t like the answer is no help to that agency.


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