Rick Sinnott- On bear spray and guns.

Losthwy

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I decided to post for Wyodog post had over 30 pages. Thanks to Wyodog.

Rick Sinnott former Alaska DF&G wildlife biologist

LINK- Are guns more effective than pepper spray in an Alaska bear attack? | Alaska Dispatch News

Some highlights from the article
Of the handguns tested, only the .44 magnum was powerful enough to be considered minimally effective, and it ranked well below most of the rifles and the shotgun with slugs. The authors deemed the .44 magnum a backup weapon, useful primarily in that it can be strapped to your body whereas a rifle or shotgun may be out of reach when the attack occurs. The .357 magnum and .45 were not adequate. The authors did not test the .454 Casull or any .50 caliber handguns, recommended by some advocates....
Does carrying a gun prevent serious or fatal injuries by bears? Not according to Kaniut’s list. In 86 (70 percent) of the 122 maulings where enough information is provided, either the victim or someone else in the party had a firearm. Of course, some bears are shot before they can do any damage. These encounters aren’t included in Kaniut’s list and aren’t necessarily reported. A firearm can be useful, as Herrero attests, but obviously firearms don’t prevent maulings. Many of the victims in Kaniut’s list were injured before a firearm could be discharged, or the shots missed the bear. In 40 (36 percent) of 110 maulings someone in the party had wounded the bear before or during the attack.

How about Herrero’s contention that a firearm may increase the likelihood or severity of a bear attack? Based on Kaniut’s list, in 30 percent of the 40 attacks where the bear was wounded before or during the attack, the bear killed at least one person. In 24 percent of the 86 attacks where someone in the party had a firearm, a person died. That seems like a high fatality rate to me.

Is a firearm better protection than bear spray? Bear spray -- a concoction of propellants and capsaicin (from red pepper) that burns the eyes and mucous membranes -- is effective up to about 30-35 feet. Dr. Tom Smith, Herrero and others assessed the effectiveness of bear spray in 72 incidents in Alaska where someone used it in defense. Bear spray was effective in 92 percent of the 50 cases involving grizzlies and 90 percent of the 20 cases involving black bears. No one who used bear spray was killed. In the nine instances where a grizzly charged a person, the bear broke off the encounter after it was sprayed, and only one person was injured. The injury was relatively minor, deep scratches requiring stitches. Eventually, someone who uses bear spray will be severely injured or killed by the bear. But it seems clear that bear spray promises to be at least as effective at preventing maulings as a firearm.
 

WildRose

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I'm not one to consider a guy who cares more about bears than he does people a legitimate source. Just reading his statement should be a signal to anyone that he's not an honest broker of information.
 

JakeL

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Exactly what Wildrose said. Studies like this can be very prone to having the results cherry picked.
 

MontanaRifleman

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I agree, the guy clearly has a biased agenda and therefore his conclusions are questionable.

However there are some undeniable facts to be gleaned. Bears are not always turned or put down by guns, or even by high powered rifles before they can seriously injure or kill.

Bear sprays have been effectively used and so have guns. Which is best? From all the articles I've read and my personal experience (which is very limited) I prefer spray. There are some cases where I believe a gun is better, such as inside a tent. If you carry both, you've got all the bases covered...still doesn't mean your safety is guaranteed.

And, if you do choose a hand gun, pick a large cal and hard cast wad cutter type bullets. I posted a story in the other thread where a bear was shot at point blank range with a 30-06 and not stopped and there are instances in the article cited here where bears are not stopped by high powered rifles. Leave your 357's and 40 S&W's at home.
 
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