Navigation Links
BYU study: Using a gun in bear encounters doesn't make you safer
Date:3/6/2012

Carrying a gun in bear country doesn't mean you're more protected in the event of a bear encounter, according to new research out of Brigham Young University.

A study led by BYU biologist and bear expert Tom S. Smith found that firing a gun is no more effective in keeping people from injury or death during bear attacks than not using a firearm.

"It really isn't about the kind of gun you carry, it's about how you carry yourself," said Smith, who has researched bears in the field for 20 years. "We need to respect an animal that could potentially take our lives."

Smith and his colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of bear-human conflicts in Alaska for the study, appearing in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. Those incidents involved 444 people and 357 bears, 300 of which were brown bears.

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

The implication is that firearms should not be a substitute for doing the right things to avoid unwanted encounters in bear habitat. Although a shooter may be able to kill an aggressive bear, injuries to the shooter and others also can occur.

This finding is especially relevant given the 2010 law allowing guns in national parks.

"We're seeing more and more people in bear country with guns," Smith said. "Yet guns, for most people, are not their best option. You don't even need a gun if you behave appropriately."

Behaving appropriately, according to the authors, means following the conventional wisdom for avoiding bear encounters:

  • hike in groups
  • avoid areas of poor visibility
  • make noise as appropriate
  • avoid startling mothers with cubs
  • be more cautious in brown bear country

"This study provides statistical, quantitative support that following the conventional wisdom actually is the most effective way to be safe in bear country," said co-author Randy T. Larsen, a professor of plant and wildlife sciences at BYU. "Because once a bear charges, the odds of a successful outcome is seven times less likely, regardless of whether or not you have a firearm."

Smith and his co-authors write that using firearms in bear encounters is difficult even for experts due to the need for split-second deployment and deadly accuracy. People should carefully consider their ability to be accurate under duress before carrying a firearm for protection from bears, they write.

"People should consider carrying a non-lethal deterrent such as bear spray," said Smith, a gun owner himself. "It's much easier to deploy, it's less cumbersome and its success rate in these situations is higher than guns."

In a 2008 study, Smith found that bear spray effectively halted aggressive bear encounters in 92 percent of the cases.

Bear spray is a liquid pepper spray that comes in an 8-oz can and retails for $30-$40. The hissing sound and sight of the expanding cloud of the spray are often enough to frighten away bears. However, the intense burning of red pepper juice is debilitating and derails bears from continuing an attack.

"If you act appropriately and you carry bear spray, you are much better off than just blundering into bear country with a large firearm," Smith said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Todd Hollingshead
toddh@byu.edu
801-422-8373
Brigham Young University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: Nations urban forests losing ground
2. UF study: Rules may govern genome evolution in young plant species
3. Study: Quebec ban on fast-food ads reduced consumption of junk food
4. Study: Communicating health risk is a risky task for FDA
5. Study: Crop diversity myths persist in media
6. Study: Residential washers may not kill hospital-acquired bacteria
7. UF-led study: Invasive amphibians, reptiles in Florida outnumber world
8. Study: New process that can save at-risk cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly
9. Study: Severe low temperatures devastate coral reefs in Florida Keys
10. Study: Climate change to increase Yellowstone wildfires dramatically
11. Study: People at risk for panic buffered from stressor by high levels of physical activity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/6/2019)... DURHAM, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... August 06, 2019 ... ... Medicine (SCTM) identifies a computational modeling system that could have far-reaching implications for ... called partial least squares regression (PLSR), is able to predict which stem cell ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) President Sheldon Schuster has announced Martin ... , “Dean Zdanowicz is highly regarded as an innovative leader who prioritizes student success ... great choice to build on the success of the KGI School of Pharmacy and ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... , ... August 06, 2019 , ... ... and environmental concerns. One plant-based food in particular quickly entered the limelight – ... product developers use a thermogelling and emulsifying ingredient such as methyl cellulose. This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/19/2019)... ... July 18, 2019 , ... ... “Ravi Everest,” will be joining forces with California-based charity Coalition Duchenne for its ... 20-22nd. Coalition Duchenne raises awareness and funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was ...
(Date:7/17/2019)... ... July 16, 2019 , ... ... manufacturing of Zolgensma® (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi), an AveXis gene therapy treatment for spinal ... have dedicated manufacturing space at the new, state-of-the-art commercial manufacturing center near ...
(Date:7/11/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... July 11, 2019 , ... At the ... provided complimentary regenerative therapies to eight military Veterans under the R3 Heroes Program. The ... complimentary. , The R3 Heroes Program allow anyone to nominate a military Veteran, teacher ...
(Date:7/9/2019)... ... July 08, 2019 , ... Balluff has been ... recognized as the 2019 Innovative Product of the Year which highlights cutting-edge advancements ... during Sensors Expo & Conference 2019, held this week in San ...
Breaking Biology Technology: