A study out of Brigham Young University today comes down pretty firmly against using firearms in the case of bear attacks:
Experts say the gun largely provides a false sense of security — and would be similar to trying to shoot, and stop, a small car careening toward you at speeds of up to 35 mph.
It’s not that firearms don’t work, but many people can’t load or aim them quickly enough in the panicky moments of a bear attack, according to a recent study by bear researchers at Utah’s Brigham Young University.
“It’s more about how you carry yourself than whether you carry a gun,” said wildlife biologist Tom S. Smith, the study’s lead author.
In this Smith agrees with Charlie Russell, the maverick Canadian bear researcher I had the pleasure of visiting in Kamchatka and profiling in these pages. Russell's approach in what is perhaps the thickest concentration of brown bears in the world is far more revolutionary than refraining from shooting them; he speaks to them in a friendly, disarming voice, avoids eye contact, doesn't run, doesn't carry a gun, and has never had occasion to use the bear spray he carries as a last-ditch backup.