START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Guns Not Best Defense Against Bears

Guns Not Best Defense Against Bears

A study conducted by BYU professor Tom Smith has generated a rather surprising result. He studied reported bear attacks in Alaska from 1883 to 2009 and said the outcomes of 269 attacks were similar regardless of whether a weapon was fired or not.

“We look at those who never fire a shot and they had about the same ratio of injuries as those who did fire. We found no difference in the outcome. We did find a difference in the outcome for bears though; 172 were killed when firearms were used.” (Source: Herald Extra)

Of particular concern for the safety of people is the false sense of security carrying a gun provides, because it may lead to a belief a gun is all that is necessary for defense, and cause a disregard for learning important things like the appropriate and inappropriate behavior when encountering a wild bear. Some of the things that are advised when walking in bear habitat are:

  • constantly make noise to prevent startling a bear, which is one of the main causes of bear attacks
  • don’t walk in known bear country alone
  • don’t feed bears or knowingly camping in areas with bears that have been fed, and stay out of areas where it is known mother bears with cubs frequent.
  • don’t run when a bear charges

If you still think a gun might be useful, consider the fact that some people can’t aim and fire accurately when being charged by a bear due to fear, which may cause trembling or a loss of concentration. Also, guns sometimes jam, or gun operators fumble with the safety to switch it off, and lose their best chance to fire. The BYU research found about one-fifth of the gun carriers couldn’t bring themselves to fire at a bear that was close to them, because they didn’t want to kill it.

With pepper spray on the other hand, people had no hesitancy to use it. And bears may learn to stay away from humans if they associate the tremendous pain of pepper spray in the eyes with them. It seems the most sensible approach is simply to stay out of their territory altogether and leave them in peace.

Image Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Related Links
Yellowstone Bear Tragedy
Bear Cub Shot by Hunter

Read more: Animal Rights, Conscious Consumer, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Wildlife,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love


+ add your own
6:59AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

sad that you have to remind people not to feed the bears. would hope that it's common sense by now.

6:44AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

thanks for sharing, do agree with just staying out of their territory :)

3:43PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

I agree, just stay out of their territories and everything should be fine.

7:30AM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

I think I'll just stay out of bear country!! :-)

6:11AM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

I'm with Shelia M on this one....

3:59AM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

thank you

1:13PM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Stay away from places where wild animals are & why the hell do people have guys ? In the UK only police have them & that's the way it should be !!!!!

2:35AM PDT on Mar 18, 2012


1:02AM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

We should try to avoid bear territory...

7:58PM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

Good information. Thanks.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I Am gloria from United State Join me celebrate this day which my Lord God has made for using this g…

I am not sure I agree with it all, but I will look into it more.


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!