Firearms in Glacier National Park

Am I allowed to open carry a pistol in the park?

Answer:

Yes, you are now allowed to carry guns in our National Parks **sigh**

That said, don’t expect a pistol to save your life if a Grizzly Bear is charging. They reach speeds of 35 MPH.

Unless you’re a trained cop, you will not be able to pull your gun out, aim, and shoot it dead with the fear of a charging Grizzly Bear.

Instead, purchase bear spray.

Bear spray is a far more effective deterrent than a gun. Not to mention, a lot cheaper, too.

** Editor’s Update – 8/11 **

It seems time to address the comments this page has received and there is no better place to address them than from the top.

I can admit when my comments and thoughts are wrong and judging by the reaction from so many with greater firearm experience than me (but likely less grizzly bear experience), my statement regarding ‘unless you’re a trained police officer…’ is incorrect to many.

My original–and most important–point is this:

When facing a charging grizzly bear, it is far easier to shoot out a burst of bear spray that forms a protective cloud in front of you than it is to aim and shoot an effective shot from your handgun.

Many of the commentators here have spoken up that they can shoot better than a cop in a firing range. I believe you.

But accuracy in a firing range is very different than accuracy in the face of a charging grizzly bear.

That said, I’m sure that a handful of you have experience in the backwoods with a grizzly bear, cougar etc.

I’m also not here to impose my viewpoints on anyone regarding your right to carry firearms in National Parks. I have my opinion, you have yours. There’s certainly no right or wrong.

It seems that many individuals here are more scared of humans in National Parks than wildlife. To that, I’m sorry you are so terrified of your own species. 99.9% wish to do you no harm. And you’ll probably never encounter the other 0.1%

In the end, neither bear spray nor a gun will save you from the greatest killer in our National Parks: drownings. Only your brain will.

Dare I say, the same applies to grizzly bears.

Comments for Firearms in Glacier National Park

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Dec 19, 2012

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Davis 

by: Anonymous

I don’t understand all the comments about people trying to carry both bear spray and a gun. Who in their right minds thinks that if one fails, you’d have time to use the other method? And most state that if a bear charges they’d try and use the bear spray first….

Ok, so walk me through this. Bear charges or attacks around blind corner or whatever… you whip out the bear spray and use it within its 30 foot radius. It doesn’t work and you have time to pull a gun?

People, KISS (keep it simple, stupid). There’s good arguments for both, but quit trying to plan out all these goofy scenarios. Train, practice with one and get comfortable using that method.

One thing that does make sense to me is if in pairs you have one person with spray and another with a .357mag or greater.

The other crazy post was the guy encouraging people to wait until a charging bear is within 10-15 feet. Ok dude so do you realize that if a bear is running full speed, 35mph.. this equals 51 feet per second? And you wanna wait until he’s 10 feet away??? Even at half a charge he’s at 25 feet per second… come on people.

Protect yourselves, be safe. Carry one form or another if it makes you feel safer. But I think carrying two forms is kind of ridiculous. Something tells me that if someone has both a Bear Spray and a 44 Mag, they are going to be reaching for that gun every time in a real life dangerous encounter….


Dec 03, 2012

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I am the guy that originally asked this question 

by: Terry

The comment below is one of the best I have seen….keep them coming.

Thanks to all of your comments over the last years.


Dec 03, 2012

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Walk, Dont run.

 

by: MMorel


I worked as a treeplanter for over a decade, (have planted well over 1 mil trees)in BC Yukon and Alaska. I planted the Khutzameteen grizzly bear sanctuary back in 1992. I encountered many (over 100) a black bear, up close and less then 40 feet. I never carried pepper spray or a gun. I carried a shovel, a small one (though all the edges are sharpened with a grinder, its to cut thru roots, but it is plenty sharp as a hatchet). I wouldnt want to try chopping wood with it though.

Heres what I think. Plenty of people these days seem to have forgotten, that we, humans, are the apex predators of the planet. Now the bear he understands the law of jungle. You are one of two things, you are prey, or you are predator. He can smell your fear! So first, dont be afraid, second let him know it, jump up, swear, throw rocks, bash around like its you thats gonna be doing the attacking, and he will probably hightail it outta there. If he attacks, FIGHT BACK! DO NOT RUN! You see animals know what the mountaineer knows, that he cant afford to lose a finger. Loose a finger from your glove, finger is frostbitten, cant climb with one hand, now you gonna die….all because you lost a finger of a glove! Animals know they cant afford to get hurt to get a single meal. All you gotta show it is that you can hurt it, and you are willing to do so.

Black bears just an overgrown rodent, hes a scavenger and an opportunist, he isnt a hunter and rarely makes a live kill.

Now a grizzly is a land shark, no way pepper spray is gonna stop him, thats just a condiment on his lunch. I suggest 12 gauge slugs or better. If you got no gun, better get your A$$ up a tree (one he cant knock down).

But i tell you what i would be afraid of, if I saw a cougar. Cause they too are hunters, and they stalk thier prey for days. If you see a cougar, hes been watching you for several hours! If you see one, chances are hes thinking about lunch. You are also very lucky, since few are ever spotted in the wild. They are beautiful cats, and if you’ve managed to sneak up on one, you are in a very small circle of humans.

Having said all that. People ought to be able to carry anything they want into the wild, firearms are in thier rightful place in the forests. My brothers and I own two traplines in BC, I’ve hunted plenty in my time. People who work in the forest care more for it then anyone else. Dont be afraid to go into the woods, if 99.9% of all humans mean you no harm, the same can be said of the animals.

Dont be afraid. Never run. Use your head for more then a hatrack, its what made us the apex predators.


Nov 10, 2012

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Options 

by: Anonymous


I would agree with the Bear Spray first then the employing of the handgun. The spray would have to be used as a screen to deter the animal. Spray is totally dependant on wind direction , velocity of the wind , & the ability to leave the area without being pursued. While working in Yellowstone we observed a female grizzly charge a couple from over a 1/4 mile away & only stop her charge when she ( the Bear ) realized she was approaching half a hundred people in the Hayden Valley. Her Cubs remained on the other side of the river. If one has never deployed a chemical deterent , one should practise. If you have to use the firearm. Be familiar with it’s usage and be able to deliver rapid aimed fire in the preffered direction. For practicality , be licensed to carry/possess the weapon ! If none of the above apply; stay in the safe common areas alongside multiple tourist.


Oct 30, 2012

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Pick your poisen 

by: Caleb

Some great info here. I always carry, period. I carry my service .45 ACP in the concrete jungle, my .44 mag (bear rounds) on short hikes, and my .45-70 Guide (540gr) on long hikes, with groups, bear territory, camping .ect. I’ve told anyone who asked me, if you know how to utilize a firearm WELL, then it is your only defense. If you cannot bear spray is an excellent alternative. I do raise an eyebrow at the idea of carrying both. One comment regarding wind made sense. In the 5 seconds you have during the charge, you MAY have time to draw, be it gun or spray, but you will certainly not have time to change tactics halfway through the assault. I think carrying bear spray is an excellent choice, unless you are better with a weapon. I regularly use my firearms and can shoot rapidly and accurately under most conditions. I can’t claim the same with the spray. Therefore; using bear spray not as good of an option for me personally.

Regardless of that, I’m glad to see so many bear-aware people. It is frightening how many people venture off the pavement with no forethought


Oct 11, 2012

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Gun Carry in GNP 

by: Mike


Three years ago we moved to a city 15 miles from GNP. I have done a good deal of hiking in the area since then. When we first arrived I asked question relating to hiking, what to do and what not to do in a bear encounter. I found that most of whom I talked to carried bear spray. I also found that most also carried a firearm even in GNP before it was legal to do so. Most stated that the bear spray was their first line of defense with bears and the firearm was for 2 legged animals and all other 4 legged. I found this to be sound advise.


Sep 19, 2012

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Just returned from GNP 

by: Paul

I just returned from Glacier N.P. yesterday [Sept. 18]. We hiked over 70 miles of trails in a week. Saw 5 bears…4 out of 5 within 50 yards, mainly due to coming around blind corners….and yes, we were making noise. They behaved and so did I. Life was good. This was the third year I carried a .44 with me and the first year I also carried bear spray. Yup. A gun guy who carried bear spray. I decided last year that spray would be my first line of defense. Think about it. With only one week of vacation, how many days would you lose in dealing with the park service if you even discharged a firearm much less shot a bear? The .44 was my last resort, not the first. I would recommend to all of you who decide to carry a firearm to buy a can of spray and carry it where you can instantly draw it. Probably 3 out of 4 people I saw carrying spray had it stuffed somewhere on their day pack/backpack like a water bottle. Definitely not wise if you need it NOW. Oh yea, there was a black bear attack somewhere in the Bob Marshal wilderness while we were at Glacier. Don’t know the details. Thanks for letting me comment. Paul

From Perry –

Thanks for sharing, Paul! I couldn’t agree more — Don’t keep your bear spray hidden away in your pack where it is completely useless!


Sep 19, 2012

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Wow. Really? 

by: Anonymous


How about we all respect each others choice as to how we travel in the woods and mtns. I prefer to travel lightly, quietly and with respect to all that I wander upon, both 2 and 4 legged. I also have the common sense and brains that God gave me to take the Appropriate measures to protect myself and loved ones when in mother nature. Call it survival of the fittest? If some unforbid tragedy should happen despite all this, then call it Gods will. At least I can say I didn’t wander into where I’m not At the top of the food chain, ignorant and overconfident.

Peace,
Dan


Sep 19, 2012

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paranoia 

by: Anonymous


The problem with the gun-toters is that they tend to be paranoid wimps who need a gun to feel big.


Sep 19, 2012

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Give them some space, and respect 

by: Anonymous


Why do you like to visit the National Parks and Forests? Isn’t it because it is a little different from the shopping malls and freeways. Wouldn’t it be pretty boring if there were no bears or other wildlife out there? Did it ever occur to you that the forests are THEIR home, which you are intruding on. You don’t like it when someone barges into your home and messes it up, attacks you, or steals your stuff. So, how about showing a little respect for the animals remaining in our park lands and forests. Give them some space. They are just trying to make a living.


Sep 10, 2012

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please consider this 

by: Anonymous

Picture your son’s eyes – 10 years old – looking up at you while he’s being torn to shreds by a bear. I have been a hair’s breadth from this experience. The answer regarding how such situations should be handled was obvious.

You ask if I could place “perfect” shots at a charging bear. I ask you: if the bear is already charging you and your family aren’t you in so much danger that you need the means with which to attempt to keep them safe?

Maybe you don’t have enough faith in yourself or others to properly act in such a situation. I do.

BTW: I am regularly in the presence of men and women who can hit 2 clay targets launched simultaneously at 40 yards traveling at 60 mph at a steep angle. Compared to this, shooting a bear would be easy.

Do you just assume that most people become incompetent in a life threatening situation? Cynical to the extreme. Or maybe common, in the circles in which you run.

Editor’s Note

First, there’s no need to be nasty and demeaning. This is an open forum, but I don’t tolerate condescending attitudes.

Second, I’m sorry you experienced that. It must have been terrifying.

Third, it would be great if you weren’t anonymous. I’m very interested in learning more about your story. All bear attacks get published somewhere, and I’m interested in reading about yours.

Thanks,

Perry


Aug 15, 2012

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Preparedness 

by: Anonymous

I have a fire extinguisher in my home in case of fire. I carry protection in the woods as well as the concrete jungles where I roam for the same reason. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Better to be prepared for any event that may occur as opposed to being ignorant that you are immune such acts of nature. So go hug a tree if you want, I’ll respect your beliefs and glady save myself the expense of wasting a bullet on you as survival of the fittest takes it’s course. Population control via mother nature. What could be more natural than than that?

From Perry

Hi Anonymous,

‘So go hug a tree if you want, I’ll respect your beliefs…’

That’s not respect. That’s casting judgement. Please keep the conversation civil.

Thank you


Aug 15, 2012

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The statistical odds 

by: Anonymous


of any of you nitwits being attacked by a bear are infinitely lower than the odds that you will be killed in a vehicle collision on the way there. Or, judging by the some of the commenters’ apparent IQ, they stand a better chance of getting their head stuck in an empty honey jar like Winnie the Pooh than they do of actually meeting his grizzly brother. I’m not saying don’t take precautions (bear spray), but the level and detail of preparation, practicing, fretting and agonizing over the issue by some commenters is hilarious! There have been less than 16 fatal bear attacks in the entire country in the last 10 years – more people were killed by home appliances. But by all means, arm yourselves! We’re all gonna die!!!! It’s a bear invasion!!!! Aaaaaaahhggggghhhhh!!!!


Jun 02, 2012

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I carry because I can 

by: Dan

Lots of VERY valid points and comments here by both the editor and guests. I think the general concensus is that no one who spends time in the national parks, much less in any deep wooded setting, wants to fall prey to four OR two legged creatures. Less than lethal deterents are always the desirable approach, but in real life this isn’t always an option. When dealt with such a scenario, it’s our inate desire to do everything necessary to protect ourselves and those around us no matter how unfortunate it may be for the aggressor/attacker. However we all assume the risks when set foot into the woods just as we do in the concrete jungles that many of us live in. Being aware of your environment and knowing the “Do’s and Dont’s” is everyone’s responsibity.


Dec 11, 2011

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re:” you carry a shotgun while hiking?” 

by: Anonymous


If the shotgun is what a person is most confident with then why not?- That’s what we carry in the woods for deadly snakes all over the us ,so why not.You are obviously afraid of guns.I always want one that’ll do the job if one is required !


Dec 11, 2011

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proper caliber 

by: Anonymous


Any one commenting on a handgun not being as effective as a shotgun simply don’t know the proper caliber of handgun & if you want to piss off a grizzly,shoot it with a .45 or even a .44 mag for that matter! My first line of defense would be bear spray, but I carry a.450 marlin/ .45-70 pistol!


Oct 29, 2011

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Alaskans use special guns for grizzly bears 

by: Anonymous

Alaskans use specially-designed firearms, made primarily for subduing very large attacking animals. Their experience is similar to that of African hunting guides, who also use special firearms to defend their clients and themselves from even nastier critters than bears, such as Cape Buffalo.

Some of these guns are:

1. Marlin Guide Gun – this gun is actually only made for use for self-defense from large animals; lots of Alaskans carry this firearm in stainless steel;

2. Smith and Wesson Emergency Survival Kit, containing among other things a huge Smith and Wesson .50 caliber revolver handgun; this firearm comes with a video describing its use in the event of a bear attack.

Training is key to using a firearm against a bear. Try searching Youtube for videos of Alaskans practicing three quick shots with a Marlin Guide Gun, for instance. Three well-aimed and well-placed, very fast shots ARE doable after training.

Police officers across America do not rely solely on their pepper spray, which they carry routinely, but they also carry firearms. If firearms are considered necessary for trained police officers to use in life-or-death situations, it is disingenuous of you to suggest that non-police-officer humans cannot be trained to fire upon a bear.

Yes, perhaps most people are not willing to invest the time, effort, and expense to train in the use of a firearm for bear defense. But most people spend lots of money on life insurance. Why not spend $700 or $800 and some time at the firing range for some “life insurance” re: bear attacks?


Sep 23, 2011

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7 days in GNP 

by: Paul

This is an addition to my previous post. A cold front came through and in the mountains, out of the woods, the wind was blowing at a steady 30 MPH on two days and easily gusting to 60 MPH on one day [the day we went to cracker lake and saw the griz.] This meant that unless the wind was at our back, bear spray would have been virtually useless.


Sep 22, 2011

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7 days in Glacier N.P. 

by: Paul


My wife and I returned from GNP on Sept. 20 having spent a week and over 77 miles on the trails. I carried my .44 mag. exposed in a crossdraw holster on every hike. We carried no bear spray. We did the same last year. I have 45 years of experience using firearms and currently hold several national records. I’m very familiar and comfortable with firearms. You get a lot of time to think while hiking and I came to this conclusion. The next time we go to GNP I’ll be carrying bear spray as my FIRST line of defense with a firearm as backup. The reasons? 1. I don’t want to shoot a bear and then deal with the park service for the rest of my vacation. 2. unless you hit a charging bear in the head or spine, you’ll probably get chewed up even though the hit[s] are fatal. I’ve seen deer shot through the heart/lungs run 150 yards before dropping…they were dead….they just didn’t know it, and they only weighed 150 lbs. What can a fatally hit, enraged bear do to you in 5 seconds? 3. If the situation is “iffy” do you fire a warning shot to try and scare a bear? Where do you fire the shot? Into the air? Into the rocks at his feet? If you fire a shot, I guarantee you’ll deal with the park service. They’ll think you are a trigger happy gun nut unless you can prove otherwise. Bear spray would be infinitely better in this situation. Being a “gun guy” I actually surprised myself when I came to the conclusion that the firearm is the second line of defense. Like the last poster, I observed only about 1 in 5 hikers carrying bear spray, a number of solo hikers carrying nothing, and many making very little if any noise. We saw grizzly bears at cracker lake and cobalt lake. They minded their own business. So did we. Life was good. My advice: get bear spray and carry it in a place where you can draw it in 2 seconds. AND PRACTICE DRAWING IT! Carry a firearm if you want but use it ONLY to preserve your life.


Sep 17, 2011

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My Bear encounter 

by: Cosmos


My wife and I just got back from 4 days in Glacier Park, which was probably the best vacation ever and we can’t wait to go back next year. This was September of this year, so towards the end of the season.

I’ll share my Grizzly experience. As background, I had read a fair amount here and elsewhere and felt well prepared. I served several years in the Army, so naturally I brought my 45 ACP. I also got two cans of spray for us, hopefully to be used first.

We did several different hikes in the Park. What struck me was how little preparation ever one else had done. I saw plenty of people hiking alone. About half of the people hiking were not carrying bear spray. And most annoying was no one on the trail was making excessive noise except for the occasional large group. I only saw one other person in the park packing heat.

I checked in with a ranger and asked for a good bear call. He suggested “yo” so I got in the habit of yelling yo and clapping before going around corners, etc. My wife was fairly annoyed with how often I was doing this, but I persisted, confident I was doing the right thing unlike everyone else.

So, our bear encounter: We hiked Grinnell Lake which was pretty much the best hike ever. On the way down, about two miles out from camp, we came upon the two or three couples in front of us bunched up on the trail ahead. We were excited because we figured they had spotted some animals. When we got closer we saw a little lady clutching her can of spray. We asked what they saw (it was around a berm, so we couldn’t see much) and they said 4-5 grizzlies on the trail coming our way. Then we spotted one up the hill from the lake the trail was skirting. It was about 50 yards away and started jogging down towards the trail. This was enough to scare us and we quickly decided on a 2 mile detour around the other side of the lake. Our impromptu group started the other way rather quickly, and the quickly part I felt was a mistake, but we were hidden by the berm and the bears were not incited to give chase. One couple stayed put. They we heard, had done this many times and were familiar with how the bears behave. They did not get eaten. In the end, however, I felt we made the right decision by making a detour. You can never predict what a wild animal will do and it’s probably good to let them have their space.

My comments are make some noise people! All the rangers I talked to said the main danger you face is startling a bear. Don’t feel embarrassed, just do it. Bear recognize the human voice and clapping as a human noise. I would guess they recognize bells, but most of them do seem too high pitched to carry very far. I would maybe take some deeper toned bells if you don’t think you’ll remember to yell regularly.


Sep 07, 2011

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bear spray 

by: Paul


Just a reminder to people traveling with bear spray. YOU CAN’T FLY WITH BEAR SPRAY IN YOUR BAGGAGE!!!!! FEDERAL LAW. You must buy it at your destination. If that spray would leak while a plane was in flight, the results could be a disaster. DON’T ENDANGER YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS BY PUTTING IT IN YOUR LUGGAGE!!!!!!!


Sep 07, 2011

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To clarify the post below 

by: DougU4

Thank you to the editor for his gracious comments, we are headed to Glacier soon.

I feel my last post was unclear about a few things. For what they are worth, here they are:

#1. First and foremost, we plan on doing our best to avoid being placed in a defensive situation. Research reveals many valuable tips on what to look for and situations to avoid or create. I never know what “tip” may save my life or another.

#2. If the above fails, our FIRST line of defense will be Bear Spray. My wife and I both will have a can of bear spray attached to the most accessible part of outer clothing. We will continue to PRACTICE accessing and spraying at a target area(s) outside of our home. I bought an extra can just for this. If we can’t access and use it quickly, what good will it be?

The spray purchased had optimal deterent, distance of spray, and the longest spray duration time.

#3. If the bear spray fails due to fumbling, nerves, missing the bear with the “cloud”, wind speed/direction prohibits usage, or malfunction, the 45/70 rifle (with specific ammo) is my second option. As a right-handed shooter I use a “sling” over my left shoulder that allows me to quickly bring the rifle into firing position with a simple motion. The stopping power of this rifle/ammo combination far surpasses the best .44 magnum.

#3. As a final resort, both my wife and I will carry a .44 magnum (specific ammo) worn in a cross-draw holster giving fast access. Our plan is for her to use the bear spray first if time and the situation allows. I have situated the bear spray, rifle, and pistol in such a way that all can be quickly and easily accessed on my person.

This forum extolls the virtues of both firearms and bear spray, and I will carry both.

The moderator here and other forms make a lot of valid points:

    • A cloud of spray is easier to aim than a single bullet, however, it can accidentally come back in your face or be knocked “off target” if the wind is wrong.

 

  • Be aware where the spray is aimed and released, especially with multiple users in a group.

 

  • Use short blasts to conserve the supply, an empty can is useless.

 

  • A misplaced shot will make a very angry bear and it may take multiple rounds to stop it, there are only a few seconds to get this done.

 

  • Shot placement is everything and a charging bear is a tough target.

 

  • Choose the best spray, firearm(s), and ammunition; a few extra dollars well spent can be the difference in life and death.

Our “plan of action” is gleaned from people much wiser and more experienced than me. There are all sorts of variables that could make an attack unstoppable. I am just adhering to the old maxim “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. While an attack is very rare, I just hope to improve my odds of survival.

I know that neither bear spray or guns will save me if I am not mentally prepared for the unexpected and aware of my surroundings at all times.


Aug 23, 2011

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For those of us that will carry a gun… 

by: DougU4

I have read through the all the comments for information and perspective. I respect all the logical opinions, both pro & con, as there is always something to be learned from a person with an opposing point of view. That said, I am traveling to Montana this fall and will be carrying my choice of firearms in the unlikely event of a grizzly attack. I would hate to harm one of these majestic creatures, but I would rather be prepared than not.

Several excellent points have been made.

First great point (to me): If all precaution is taken as suggested to avoid an attack, and one still occurs, a person with bear spray had better have more than one can of said spray if that is their only choice for defense.

I have spent a lot of time researching firearms and ammunition, both on the internet and by discussion with people that have either hunted bears or defended themselves during an unlikely attack. I am fortunate enough to have my choice of calibers when it comes to rifles and pistols. Without research, my “guess” as to what caliber pistol/rifle(s) to carry and what ammunition would have been pretty far off base.

While there are many opinions by experienced hunters, guides, and wildlife professionals, I am placing my trust in those that have had the actual unfortunate experience of a grizzly attack and successfully survived.

With respect to all the gun owners that have posted here, please research on the most effective caliber ammunition to load your weapon with. When it comes to a grizzly, the consensus is that a pistol is not the weapon of choice. The 45/70 rifle is most often carried with a medium velocity bullet of specific weight, type, et cetera.

Pistols: Obviously the smallest caliber pistols are useless, but, due to the immense recoil of something like a S&W .500 (that “was” going to be my first choice and yes, I have shot it many times), it makes a second shot much less likely to be on target than a smaller caliber round with less recoil. It seems that a hardcast bullet of the highest quality, particular metplat, and specific velocity, that is “controllable” is the best choice for most of us. The .44 magnum with specific ammunition designed to be able to penetrate the skull of a grizzly is what many of the wildlife personnel carry. This same ammunition can also make it through the shoulder bone or ribs if that is the only shot you have.

For those of us that choose to carry a gun, I am just passing on some of what I have gleaned from lots of research. I hope and pray that I never have to use bear spray, a rifle, or a pistol. But if I do, I want to make sure I have the best possible combination available. I probably will only have one or two chances to stop the animal at best, if I get one at all. Good luck to all!

–Editor’s Note–

Thank you for the very detailed research, Doug. I know I greatly appreciate it and I’m sure that the thousands of readers of the site do, too.

Thanks again,

Perry


Aug 10, 2011

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right to protect yourself 

by: jim b

conceal carry permit citizens pay to have a backgound check to prove not a felon,we have a much better criminal record than the rest of you.we need some new laws to keep the rapist murdererer ect out of the park.as you know it is still legal for a felon to enter our nat parks,sigh.


Aug 07, 2011

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Follow Up On My Previous Comment 

by: Julie


I’m the one who made the comment just below this one about sexual assault.

I just want to address your earlier comment from last year about federal land: National Forests are federal land too! It has always been legal to carry guns on Forest Service land where state law allowed it.

I hike a lot in the the Grand Teton area. The Park is surrounded by national forest, and there are trails that connect them. There are no metal detectors on the trails or anywhere else in the parks to stop people from bringing in guns. Before this new rule passed, if I started a hike in Targhee National Forest while legally carrying a gun, I became a criminal the minute I stepped over the line into the Park. And according to some commenters (not you), the minute I stepped over that line into the Park, I became a swaggering gun nut liable to shoot up everything in sight on a whim.

I realize that the mission of National Forests differs from that of the Park Service, but I never did understand why it was legal to carry in one and not the other.


Now that the rule has been effect for most of the summer, did the predictions of the more hysterical commenters here come true? Are the trails running ankle-deep in blood?

One more thing, I think in one of your comments you mentioned that there have been no human attacks in the Parks. Well, there was a mass murder of several women in Yosemite years ago, so that’s not true. If those women had been armed that guy wouldn’t have been able to overpower the whole group and have his way with them.


Aug 06, 2011

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Humans are the most dangerous species 

by: Anonymous


Why should I not be wary of my own species? Statistics and my own personal experience (two separate sexual assaults by strangers) tell me to it’s smart to ALWAYS be prepared for this sort of assault. It seems often when I visit Wyoming, there are posters up for young women who went missing while running or hiking. I won’t let that happen o me.


Aug 06, 2011

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the second admendment 

by: Anonymous


i think the right to bear arms is our constitutional right and if your an american citizen without a felonious record you should be able to carry a gun wherever you want.


Aug 06, 2011

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the second admendment 

by: Anonymous

i think the right to bear arms is our constitutional right and if your an american citizen without a felonious record you should be able to carry a gun wherever you want.


Jul 30, 2011

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One should carry what they choose… 

by: Indy_NP_Fan


I’m a big supporter of law-abiding people being able to carry handguns in most general public areas. While I can agree to some limits (courts, jails, private property, etc.), I don’t think governments should limit the carrying of handguns in public parks.

For starters, parks are usually places where you will find the least number of cops per square mile. When you start talking about very rugged and large parks like Glacier and Yellowstone, you then also have to factor in response time.

I was in GNP and YNP back in ’07. In a local paper near YNP, they were reporting two bear attacks. The first one was a hunter in a national forest east of YNP. The hunter sprayed the bear and the bear went away. The second was actually an employee, who I believe was over safety and security of YNP. He was on foot to go hunting in an area north of YNP when he ran into a momma bear and her cubs. The bear attacked him and knocked him down and caused injury to him. She stopped the attack, but didn’t leave the area. The employee rolled over and fired three rounds from a rifle at the bear, unable to determine if he made contact or not. The bear ran away.

It would be very hard to determine which is better: Gun vs. bear spray. I don’t care about “studies,” as most are funded by people/entities with an agenda. The facts are as follows, based on the laws of physics:


If you have either a holstered gun or bear spray, neither will like do you any good if you are ambushed by any sort of animal. Both will require skills that may not be available while under attack.

If one has a chance to use their choice item of defense, both have advantages and disadvantages.

Spray has a wide pattern measured in many inches, while a .44 mag bullet is only .44″ wide. The farther away the spray makes contact with the target, you will have less concentration given the dispersal. On the other hand, a .44mag bullet will have a good amount of stopping power at a longer distance than the spray. With wind and rain, the effectiveness of the spray will be greatly reduced, no so much for a bullet. Both have limited usage: Spray only last so long, and any bear caliber load will likely only contain six bullets.

If I go to bear country, I will be carrying spray and a .44mag revolver. National parks are not some magical place where bad people can’t get into. What happened in Norway is an example of what happens if you have one bad person with a gun and no quick response by police. With the sad state of our criminal justice system, I don’t put all my trust in government to keep me safe. I would say if you stay close to the more popular areas of national parks, you likely would get a much better police response than in some of the more isolated, less visited areas.


Jul 30, 2011

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Guns & National Parks 

by: IKE


Just returned from a trip to 6 parks in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming.


What we are not talking about here is that it is a constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Many of the hikers I know carried prior to legalization of “right to carry” in National Parks.

That said, most concealed carry weapons are for menacing people, not animals. Let’s face it with millions of visitors each year, statistics say that some of them will be less than stellar citizens.

I took my family to Glacier and met many nice people, I also excercised my right to carry concealed, in case I met some not so nice people.

I carried both a pistol of sufficient caliber and bear spray while hiking in the park.

I am appalled by the thought that the right to carry makes national parks more dangerous places as is intonned in the NPS literature by the FAQ page.

The right to carry makes places safer. Period.

As far as use on a charging grizzly, I am fairly sure that the nerves of any average person will be sufficently frazzled that drawing a pistol or bear spray will be equally difficult.

As I said my pistol was primarily for human encounters, however my plan was this.

Bear spray is for stopping a charge.

Pistols are for sticking in bears ears to get them to stop chewing on you.

In the recent cases it is unfortunate that neither was available.


Jul 29, 2011

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protection

 

by: Paul


They had bear spray but panicked and tried to run………..


Jul 27, 2011

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About Alaska Attack 

by: Perry

What a travesty, but it looks like they all survived–just with some terrible injuries.

From what it seems, none had bear spray (or a firearm).

Also, this is rather unprecedented. It is incredibly rare for a grizzly bear attack to occur on a group of 3 or more hikers–and this was seven!

Stay safe out there!


Jul 27, 2011

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protection 

by: Anonymous


greetings….looks like a grizzly chewed up a group of 7 young hikers this last weekend in Alaska. Two with life threatening injuries, another two just got chewed on a little.. The clapping and yelling that they were instructed to do when encountering a bear didn’t work. I don’t know if they had bear spray. Since they were all 17 years old or younger, they probably didn’t have a firearm. I hope to God they all recover. Would spray or a firearm have been better? We’ll never know. I do know that at the very least, there should have been 7 cans of bear spray in the group since they were probably too young to have any [or much] experience with firearms. Geez….what a shame. What ever you do people….expect the best, but PLAN FOR THE WORST!!!!


Jul 22, 2011

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Torn 

by: HP

I have been trained in use of firearms and have used them for 30 years having grown up in western NC. For last 20 years I have camped and hiked in numerous National Parks, National forest and BLM lands. I have hunted in Alaska. Normally I would not open carry in National Parks. I am scheduled to take my 20 year old daughter for a 5 day back country trip and GNP is a possible venue. I am inclined to carry my SW 629 44 mag and bear spray. I worry about freaking out other hikers because I will carry it in a cross draw to afford immediate access but because of my daughter being with me I feel safe is better than sorry.


Jul 20, 2011

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protection 

by: Paul


Greetings editor

On the other web page it is stated that in your opinion, “a firearm will not protect you against a grizzly bear attack”. I guess it could be implied that firearms have never protected anyone against a bear attack. Obviously we both know that this isn’t true since firearms have been used against bear attacks ever since the Lewis and Clark expedition [with varying results!] Here is something that a lot of people don’t realize. There are bear attacks that happen that are never reported [when the bear is killed]. The reason? If you report that you killed a grizzly bear that attacked you, there will be an investigation with possible charges, attorney fees, possible fines, etc. Maulings are reported for obvious reasons. A good friend of mine built a cabin way out in the Wyoming back country and stays there from late summer through hunting season. He related 2 stories that were told to him first hand by 2 of his neighbors who went through bear attacks. The first guy was hunting elk on foot and emerged from the forest onto the shore of a small lake about 100 yards in diameter. He immediately noticed a bear on the opposite shore. The bear stood up on his hind legs for a good look at him, dropped down onto all fours and instantly started running around the lake at full speed towards him. He started firing when the bear was 30 yards away and fortunately killed it. The other neighbor was on a walkabout with his dog. He took a lunch and his 30-30 rifle. He said he almost left the rifle but took it anyways out of habit. He was sitting on a rock eating lunch with his dog when the dog started growling and looking at something behind the man. He swiveled around to see a griz charging him from about 30 yards away. All he had time to do was grab his rifle and fire from the hip. As luck would have it, the bear was distracted by the dog long enough for him to finish off the bear. Did they report these attacks? Nope. Why? Because they didn’t want some wildlife biologist who wasn’t there determining whether or not an endangered species really was killed in “self defense”. My friend told me that he has found griz hair from them scratching their backs stuck to the support poles that hold up his front porch. He said that all his neighbors know that they live in bear country, accept it at face value, and always have a firearm within reach. It’s just the way it is. Thank you


Jul 18, 2011

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Guns vs Grizzlies 

by: Troy


If you are trained and confident with a gun then carry a gun if you aren’t familiar with one and carrying a gun then you are more dangerous than the bear. By the way your statistics on how many Grizzly bear attacks there have been since 2000 aren’t consistent with Wikipedia stats.


Jul 18, 2011

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protection 

by: paul

first of all, I appreciate the opportunity to comment. I hate when a civil discussion turns into a name-calling contest. Obviously the editor has one point of view, I have another. But that’s OK. This is America. I have carried my .44 mag while hiking in Glacier…plan on doing it again this September. Nothing macho….just what I’ll do. I’m sure I can draw and fire my pistol as fast [or slow!] as the average person can draw and deploy bear spray. As you probably know, the mountains can get pretty windy…I don’t think bear spray carries very far upwind or crosswind…you either gas yourself or it blows sideways….not at the intended target. You also can’t fly [legally] with bear spray. I’m not too partial to buying a $45.00 can of anything and then giving it to somebody when I leave. Just imagine a can of that stuff letting go in the baggage compartment of an airliner at 30,000 feet. Not good. I realize that this post won’t change anybody’s mind, I’m not paranoid, and believe me, the last thing on earth I want to do is shoot a bear and then have to deal with the park service. I’m not sure which would be worse! I’ve been hunting, shooting, and competitively shooting for 45 years and I’m pretty familiar with how to carry and use a pistol. Trying to dream up scenarios of when or how a bear will attack and what you will do is rather pointless. It will happen when you least expect it….or never. I guess in the end it’s up to each of us to decide what is best for them….and not wind up dividing into the bear sprayers vs. the gun people. Name calling just polarizes people. Thank you.


Jul 11, 2011

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Beware of misleading statistics 

by: Anonymous


Firearms are not affected by wind or cold weather, but bear spray is, and the East Side of Glacier National Park is notoriously windy.

Firearms require far more skill than bear spray. Some firearms users probably overestimate their skill, but bear spray advocates & the anti-gun crowd routinely pass judgement on the firearms skills of people they know nothing about.

There’s no basis for comparing statistics on bear spray to statistics on firearms.

There have been two peer reviewed studies on bear spray published in scientific journals: Tom Smith’s Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska(2007) and Stephen Herrero’s 1998 study on bear spray. Neither study includes any data on firearms.

No peer reviewed study on bear spray has ever been published in a scientific journal. You can’t compare statistics on bear spray to statistics on firearms, because there’s no data of firearms.

Bear spray advocates often refer to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service “fact sheet” on bear spray vs. bullets as a “study.” Well, that study was written by an anonymous author and does not include sources/references. Nor does it provide numbers on how many people used bear spray vs. firearms.

Herrero’s bear spray study does not include information on what people were doing when they used bear spray. Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska does. About 35% of the people who used bear spray were agency personnel involved in bear management & research.

We can assume they had have more experience with bears than typical people, and some bear spray training. The data shows that in most cases they were dealing with curious or food conditioned bears making a slow approach–not charging grizzlies. It’s no surprise they (and their bear spray) had a high success rate. In the same circumstances, you have to think agency personnel trained to use firearms would have a high success rate, too.

The bear spray studies on include data on whether or not bear spray worked after a bear was sprayed. There’s no data on how often people got charged by a bear and did not have time to use bear spray.

Several years ago a trail runner in Glacier Park went out early one morning and got nailed by a grizzly–but he was able to get out his bear spray and drive the bear away. Bear spray advocates say this is proof bear spray works.

It really proves bear spray ain’t brains in a can. Bears tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. Don’t hike (or run) alone. Pay attention to your surroundings, not your feet. Make noise to alert bears of your presence.


Jul 10, 2011

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Guns VS. Bears in State Parks 

by: Mike


There seems to be some hot debate on whether or not a gun is a good idea to carry while hiking in areas known for bear populations. I have to say that I plan to carry pepper spray and a 44 magnum. Just last week several people were attacked by a grizzly that charged them from over 100 yards away. A gun would have allowed them to fire at the bear and possibly scare it or injure it before it was upon them. Bear spray would have not worked in distances over 10 yards. I’d prefer to keep a lot more distance between myself and a bear than 10 yards.


May 15, 2011

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A charging Grizzly 

by: Anonymous


If I was one person hiking and a bear was to charge me the pepper spray would be my first defense, it should stop the attack, but if it only slowed down the attack, my handgun would become a viable second option at that point.

More likely is the scenario that I am with my family (4 of us) or a bunch of friends hiking. If a bear was to attack, it would not be attacking all of us simultaneously at which point it is no longer charging me at 35 mph. My handgun is definately a viable option and possibly the only thing that could keep someone alive.

Pepper spray that is easily accessible (not in the bottom of your pack) is the best deterrent.

BTW: Now that the laws are the same in the park as outside the park, do you worry about the woman at the grocery store with her kids that is also carrying a handgun concealed to protect her family from thise that do not follow the laws and carry concealed handguns wherever they want and mostly where it is prohibited and they know other people will not be carrying guns??

Just wondering…


Apr 28, 2011

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Weapons in Glacier Park 

by: Anonymous


I live next to Glacier Park. I have hiked all over the place. I have never had a bear encounter. The odds of getting hurt/killed by a bear are extremely low. I carry pepper spray at all times. However, I have never felt safe knowing I did not have every chance to defend myself and possibly others. I am a former Marine. I have fought for my country and resent anyone telling me that I do not have the right to protect myself. After all, I put my own life on the line defending all citizens of this country. I will be carrying a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs in the park from now on. My pepper spray will always be my first defense. I have no interest in killing a bear. Timothy Treadwell was a very foolish person. However, he or his girlfriend might be alive today if they had a weapon and knew how to use it. The surviving tape shows that the bear took at least three minutes to kill one or both of them. I have no doubt I could have responded very effectively in that time. The authorities who responded to that attack carried weapons. If they had not then more would have died. If one chooses to depend totally on bear spray then that is fine. However, I like to have every chance to survive. The idea that every gun owner is crazy and has no ability to use his/her weapon is insulting to the millions who have served this country and to the millions of responsible capable gun owners.


Apr 05, 2011

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Aftermath 

by: Mark S.

I understand the debate, but I may have missed the comments, if any, about ‘after’ the use of bear spray. If a bear is sprayed successfully without the need to use a gun, it may run off only to return later in a very angery mood, or even if that bear never returns you are still out there in bear country without your bear spray since you used it, a gun should be along for the hike in .45 minimum or larger.

I have been camping many times in the past, before we were ‘granted’ permission to have guns with us, guess what, I always carried a large caliber handgun, but thankfully never had to use it.

The point is, pinhead ‘lawmakers’ will never ever be able to devise a law that will force me to put the lives of my loved ones in jepordy. You can be assured I will break that law every time.


Jan 31, 2011

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Bear Spray 

by: Anonymous


Being born and raised in Montana, and working for the National Park Service for over 10 years, I agree with the protection of Bear Spray. I was raised with guns and hunters all of my life, ran thru just about every trail in Glacier and in many other mountains in Montana with lots of bears. I think the point is are you going to be quick enough to draw out your gun and get a for sure shot to bring that charging bear to it’s knees before it mauls you out of anger because you wounded and scared it? I don’t care if your G.I. Joe it’s not going to happen. But bear spray will work within a 30 foot radius. I would suggest maybe letting that bear get alittle closer like a good 10 to 15 feet away. That is a for sure thing Iv’e done it myself. They choke, cough, gag, etc… That gives you enough to Get out of Dodge!


Dec 31, 2010

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Second Amendment 

by:

Every free man and woman who obeys prevailing gun ownership laws is guaranteed the right to bear arms by our Constitution. Of course, on the other hip should be a cannister of bear spray. No problem being prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones while enjoing our national park system. As an aside, when I am in the wilderness expanse with my wife and children, deterring attacks from “four-legged” animals is not my first concern.


Dec 06, 2010

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firearms 

by: Cody


In regards to someone not having the proper accuracy I say you are wrong. I have military experience with firearms and experience with bears and the outdoors. You are partially wrong where accuracy on the range is different than accuracy in a situation. Making such a comment would say that you are familiar with how everyone reacts or the knowledge/accuracy they posses. You cannot say that the accuracy is different at the range then it is anywhere else because you don’t know every single person in the world. I can speak with experience because some time ago I was hiking with some friends and I had brought my sig .45 and some else was packing bear mace. We surprised a bear, he charged, the spray was deployed but it only pissed him off more, he shook it off, and continued to charge, I drew my pistol, fired four shots and dropped him and all within seconds. So you tell me my range accuracy is different. If you do something enough times and bed it in your head your mind you make your body react as if it were a natural reaction.


Aug 25, 2010

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have common sense 

by: Anonymous


No obviously the chances of drawing, aiming, and shooting accurately at a charging grizzly is slim, but what if by chance a bear actually gets a hold of a person in your group. Do you think bear spray will work to get the bear to stop? I doubt it now you throw a couple 44 mag slugs into its soft tissue which I admit there isn’t a lot of I bet you find a dead grizzly and a member of your group that escapes with their life. Not a dead person and still pissed off grizzly that just got pepper sprayed.

**Editor’s Note**

You clearly have no experience with grizzly bears and have no idea what you’re talking about.

There has never been an instance of a ‘pissed off’ grizzly bear attacking someone after getting sprayed.

The bear spray disorients the bear, causing it’s face to swell up, eyes to tear, and partially blinds it for a period of time.

What if a bear actually gets a hold of someone in your group? Well, that’s happened only twice in the last decade.

How many drownings have happened in Glacier National Park in the last decade? At least one a year.

Again, you have a lot more to fear from a river than from a grizzly bear or another person.


Aug 18, 2010

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Firearms in GNP (or any other NP) 

by: Lee

Firearms are Absolutely Appropriate. So is Bear Spray.

Bear spray won’t work worth a darn if the wind is blowing. Since no one can control the wind (that I’m aware of anyway), a firearm makes a good backup.

People who carry firearms, for the most part, know how to use them. Your casual hiker isn’t going to suddenly decide to go to Glacier or any other park and decide on a whim to buy and carry a pistol. If they don’t already have one, they aren’t going to go buy one, law or no law. So you aren’t going to have a bunch of amateurs out there brandishing .25 autos. They also know that the venerable 9mm is not an appropriate weapon so you won’t have a group out there with .38 specials and 9mm sa’s. Instead you’ll have a few with Glock .40’s, but more with Colt .45’s, Remington .44 magnums, and more substantial firearms. Any of these will do more than aggravate a b’ar if needed.

As far as being able to draw, aim and effectively shoot an animal that is running at 35 mph, I would contend that most times a bear will not come with a full-out charge. Instead they’ll do a bluff charge but stop several feet from their intended target. So the probability will be that the bear will be walking or trotting at best – a much easier target than a bouncing ball at a full run.

Discharging a firearm above a bear is also a wake-up call to the bear that he is dealing with a human instead of prey. A loud BANG gets their attention as does a loud shout. The firearms carrier may have to do nothing more than that to preserve both his own life and the bears.

Spray will put out a nice cloud and will deter a bear from a final attack – usually – but if the wind is blowing, spray won’t do squat. At that point, having a large caliber handgun, rifle or a shotgun will protect your life, where reasoning with the bear will, in all probability, fail to do so. Spray is also some 40$ a pop and is a one-shot-wonder. A firearm carries 5 or 6 shots minimum and can be reloaded at relatively low expense. You can practice with a firearm, then reuse it. Try that with spray and you won’t reuse it.

Firearms don’t have an expiration date. Most sprays I’ve seen do.


My evaluation is that most people who carry in grizzly country aren’t going to be rank amateurs with firearms and can use them effectively. People will carry them for protection, not to aggressively go after bear, so there should not be an increase in problem situations.

6 dead from attacks in 30 years isn’t bad odds, that is, except for those 6 who died.


Aug 15, 2010

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Dennis, your comments are completely irrelevant. 

by: Perry (Editor)


Dennis, your comments are completely irrelevant to the discussion.

This is about guns in National Parks–not about the importance of being prepared to withstand a catastrophic attack (by man or nature).

Any additional off-topic comments will be deleted.


Aug 15, 2010

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nope 

by: Dennis K

To assert that there are no bad people in the world is the height of stupidity. To assert that because the bad people are outnumbered by the good people means that one should not bother to be prepared to be met by bad people is approaching the first assertion.

It is not paranoid to be prepared. In fact, because of the fact that I and my entire family are prepared for the worst possible scenario – as much as is possible in this world – I have very few worries or concerns.

Preparedness for me involves many things. One son is an EMT, another and myself are first responders, my wife is versed in firearms and weapons of all sorts, we all maintain good physical condition, we have annual checkups from our family physician, we hike, we store food by freezing, canning, and freeze-drying. We’ve enough water to last at least two weeks, stored in different locations, we’ve food in multiple locations, we store stabilized fuel in case of extreme emergencies and have vehicles located in three places, including a four-wheeler. We keep a supply of medicines, bandages, and otc supplies available. And, yes, we’ve firearms, ammunition and reloading supplies. We also have fishing rods, lures, hunting blinds, various attractants for game, etc.

Preparedness is not paranoia. We live in an area where there are killer tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, etc., any of which can interrupt a persons normal ability to get supplies. Should that happen, we are prepared.

Ignoring the fact that things can – and do – happen, seems to me to be foolhardy, even when a person is in familiar civilized surroundings. When a person is in the wilderness, ignoring these things will get you killed in a hurry and cause others no end of expense and pain to find your sorry tail – or what’s left of it


Aug 14, 2010

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Paranoia 

by: Perry

Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get me…


Aug 13, 2010

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Doing the math 

by: Dennis K


Lets’ see – there are 7 billion people in the world, give or take a billion or so.

So 99.9% mean you no harm. That leaves just what??? 7 million people in the world who want to kill you. Or rob you, assault you, etc.

And given that the number of criminals in the world (as a percentage of the population) is greater than 0.1%, I’d say that number is actually very low.

But, who’s counting…


Aug 12, 2010

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2 legged bears 

by: Dennis K

To point out the problems one might have in National Parks, at the present time a convicted murderer and his girlfriend are being sought in Yellowstone Park, as I understand the news. Why? Because it’s remote, hard to get into and out of, and it’s easy to disappear in the wilderness, of which there is a substantial amount in YNP.

Example of ‘farmer problems’: In the Winona Wildlife Management Area in Southeastern Arkansas, an Arkansas Game and Fish Information officer was going on a turkey hunt with some friends when he stumbled into a ‘farmer’s trap’ – he was shot in the face by a shotgun trap. While being armed didn’t help him, if the ‘farmer’ had been around the fact that his companions were all armed to the teeth would have stood them in good stead.

In Central Arkansas over the past summer, the greatest number of assaults on women have come as the result of home intrusions. Rape, assault and battery, theft, have all been common themes this past year.

In Little Rock, a young lady, Anne Pressley, was assaulted, raped and murdered (she died five days later). While a firearm may have not prevented her death, it would have given her a chance that she did not have.

Two legged bears are more dangerous predators than four, but either can kill quickly.


Aug 12, 2010

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Just Start Over 

by: Anonymous

This page is a mess. Just delete everyone’s comments, including your own and just stat over.

Your answer doesn’t need to be longer than one word; “yes”.

I’d suggest making a separate page weighing the merits of bear spray vs. gun if you feel that strongly about it.


Aug 12, 2010

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Get a clue 

by: BambiB


>> Unless you’re a trained cop, you will not be able to pull your gun out, aim, and shoot it dead with the fear of a charging Grizzly Bear.

Actually, most cops don’t shoot worth a damn. Once past their basic training, they typically shoot only once or twice a year, and only 50-100 rounds total.

That’s not much.

I’ve had years when I’ve put more than 8,000 rounds down range in a single year – not for competition or anything, just for fun.

Now, if you do the math, you’ll soon realize that I’ve had more practice shooting in a single year than most cops get in an entire career.

When it comes to shooting, cops aren’t much of a standard.

As for whether guns are effective against grizzlies… wasn’t there already one case this year where a hiker had to take out a charging grizz?

** Editor’s Note **

Please read more than 2 lines and you’ll see my response about cops.

And yes, there was a case this year when a hiker in Glacier had to take out a charging grizzly bear.

He used bear spray.


Aug 11, 2010

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Color me puzzled… 

by: PavePusher

I am not sure how it is that one will not have time to draw/aim/discharge a firearm, but will have time to draw/aim/discharge bear spray.

I am further confused on how the bear spray’s “protective cloud” would keep me safe but bullets can not.

I don’t carry either when I’m in the water.

Just sayin’….

** Editor’s Note **

The drownings are primarily due to people jostling for a better angle to take a picture and then slipping and falling into a rushing creek.

Happens every year.

And please read up on what bear spray actually does and then you won’t be colored so puzzled anymore.


Aug 11, 2010

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You missed the point entirely 

by: Anonymous


Just another libtard who can’t separate “gun ownership” from “hunting”.

Because in his mind guns are only used for hunting, therefore if you want to carry a gun in the park you must be trying to kill something. This is further evidenced by the “only the police” mentality, as if they are the epitome of marksmanship and responsible gun ownership.

Self-defense? This idea never even crossed his mind. Run into trouble in the middle of a Nation Park? No problem! Just as soon as you run to a place with cell phone coverage the Park Ranger is only hours away!

** Editor’s Note **

I’ve been trying to keep this discussion civil, so please keep the childish name calling to yourself.

If you’d take a few minutes to actually read the discussion, you might realize that I in no way believe guns are carried into National Parks for hunting.

The discussion is about the effectiveness of bear spray vs a gun.

Further name calling and assumptions of me being a tree hugging, libtard (which are 100% false), will only result in me deleting your comment and banning you from the discussion.

Again, drownings cause far more deaths in National Parks than anything else–including all those scary humans lurking at a campsite, biding their time for the perfect moment to rape you and your family.

Get a grip on reality.


Aug 11, 2010

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BEAR WARNING 

by: Anonymous

Bear Advisory

The Forest Service has issued a BEAR WARNING in the national forests for this summer. They’re urging everyone to protect themselves by wearing bells and carrying pepper spray.

Campers should be alert for signs of fresh bear activity, and they should be able to tell the difference between Black Bear dung and Grizzy Bear dung.

Black Bear dung is rather small and round. Sometimes you can see fruit seeds and/or squirrel fur in it.

Grizzly Bear dung has bells in it, and smells like pepper spray!


Aug 11, 2010

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What makes you think a cop 

by: Otter

What makes you think that only a cop would be able to draw, fire, and kill a charging bear? Most cops have never drawn their weapons and some are rusted in the holsters.


Aug 11, 2010

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Talk about out of touch! 

by: Anonymous


Hey *Editor*

When people ask if they can carry a firearm, it’s not because they are concerned about bears. It’s the two legged predators that concern us. I don’t want to encounter someone who’s cooking meth or wanting to rape someone who happens to be miles away from civilization.


Aug 11, 2010

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Bear spray is illegal  

by: Dave Y

You do realize that bear spray is illegal under 36CFR regulation 2.4 right?

So notwithstanding the controversial assertion of its effectiveness, chemical irritants such as mace, pepper spray, bear spray are outlawed by NPS


Aug 11, 2010

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BEARS??? 

by: Anonymous


What Exactly makes you think that a bear might be the reason someone would want to carry a weapon? Bears generally stay away from people. My primary concern is a small percentage of other people.

But if a bears shows up with bad intentions, I assure you it will be very sorry, and if it gets away better educated.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I was shooting “distinguished Expert” before and after, I became a cop. But as a rule most cops don’t shoot well because they don’t practice and most of them don’t.


Aug 11, 2010

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I don’t want to kill a bear 

by: Anonymous

Ranking high on the list of things I don’t want to do is killing a griz. They are wonderful, majestic creatures, symbols of our shrinking wildlands of the western US and Canada. One thing I have concern with is hikers shooting at a bear that they think poses a threat, but does not. My previous encounters with bears have been from a distance (I make noise in griz country), and they have moved away, or I have skirted them. In a way, I view these bears as adding a very important element to these western lands, and Glacier, Yellowstone, etc. would simply not be the same without them. The parks would be just a bit more sterile.

That said, I did back-country hiking in Denali not too long ago. I carried a S&W 629, loaded with 320gr hard-cast flat-points in front of 23grains of H110. I know that bear spray has been used more effectively to deter bears than firearms have. That’s just the truth, but it’s hard to convince many people that they are better off with ONLY bear spray than a firearm.

As to the original comment about “unless you are a trained police officer” … come on. You obviously have an inflated sense of police training and police officer’s abilities to shoot proficiently. In pistol matches across the country, I outshoot law enforcement officers 90% of the time. And I am just a “regular guy.”


Aug 10, 2010

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Sigh All Ya Wish To, Fella… 

by: Fits


…But you’ve as much say as the bear when it comes to telling anyone what they can or cannot do in order to protect themselves and their loved ones.

I’ve seen cops shoot. Their accuracy is the laughing stock of the entire country, but that isn’t what’s important here and now.

It’s you presuming to give life and death advice to others, when you are far from qualified to do so. I’ve shot charging bears and I don’t get to make that choice, either.

But at least I KNOW that I don’t.


Aug 10, 2010

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guns and bears 

by: Anonymous


I just love these comment sections, especially the ones from you liberal, tree hugging, anti-gun, bear and wolf lovers. Most of you talk about reports and polls as if they really mean something. Most of them are written by people just like you, with barely any experience in the outdoors and almost none in the bear and guns dept.

I hate to see anyone have a deadly encounter with a bear, 2 days ago I saw another grizzly that was put down by the local game & fish dept. It’s a no win situation on both sides. But I have finally reached a point where I hope more of you stupid city dwellers end up on the receiving end of your own belief system. If you really believe that gentle ben won’t harm you, great! Be another Timothy Treadwell. Cleanse the gene pool by sacrificing yourself first, for the good of science and ecology.
But above all, have the common decency to stop telling other people what they can and cannot do. If you hate guns, by all means, stay away from them. But do not ever, ever again tell me I cannot have or carry one on my person. I refuse to subscribe to your brand to stupidity and will not place my life in jeopardy to become a statistic in tomorrows newspaper.

Wyomarine


Aug 10, 2010

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unless you’re a trained cop…. 

by: Scott


I am not here to argue about the effectiveness of bear spray or guns, what i have a problem with is the following statement. “Unless you’re a trained cop, you will not be able to pull your gun out, aim, and shoot it dead with the fear of a charging Grizzly Bear.” I would tend to disagree with you. I am not a police officer, but i do train with my firearms on a regular basis (2-3 times per month minimum). Most police departments only require qualification with firearms 1 or 2 times per year, which means some (not all) officers only practice 1 or 2 times per year. What I am saying is that not all police officers are trained better than all civilians.


Aug 10, 2010

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It isn’t just bears we have to watch out for. 

by: Chris Mallory


There are two legged predators who are just as dangerous as any bear. The two who are on the run from the Arizona prison break and are/where thought to be in the Yellowstone area are just the latest example. A prudent person will carry both the bear spray and a handgun.


Aug 10, 2010

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Bad role model 

by: Anonymous

“Trained cops” are perhaps not the ones whose standards you want to uphold…

They kill more bystanders and injure themselves more often than arms-bearing civilians. Training is good, but don’t train to those standards.


Aug 09, 2010

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guns 

by: Anonymous


the fed govt has no authority to ban guns anywhere anytime, the 2nd amendment prohibits fed govt from putting any restrictions or limitations on firearms


Aug 09, 2010

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Thank You 

by: Dennis K

Thank you.

I simply wanted to assert that BOTH the spray, which is effective in many situations (but not always under certain conditions) and firearms, were appropriate and I, for one, am delighted to see that the government has pulled back just a little from the affairs of it’s citizens.

Over the years I have taught survival and Hunter Safety, I have advised using the sprays available except when conditions do not give them a chance of being effective. They aren’t worth a darn when you’ve wind blowing.

The best world is avoidance of the situation by remaining ever aware of your surroundings. You may not avoid ALL close encounters, but you can avoid most. If you do see a bear, be content watching him from a distance via binoculars and be willing to back off, rather than advance into his personal space. And for the love of God, watch out for cubs.


Aug 05, 2010

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Senseless, indeed. 

by: Gordon D.


First and quickly, to “Good for you, Editor” No where did I say someone is “taking my guns”. Your comment is a mirror image of yourself; you are the one with the closed mind, impossible to see anything beyond your own agenda, proven by resorting to insulting those who think different.

There is no hope for you, because you are closed minded.

To Perry, I think you’ve misinterpreted the whole thing. and if my rambling made my position unclear I apologize.

You may consider the different scenarios as “assumptions” but they only go to show that the summary the USFW wrote on the page you linked to, is inconclusive, and without the DATA is meaningless. No facts are stated, it’s too vague. There are too many different variables that affect the outcome. You can interpret it how you want. Simply law of statistics.

I won’t waste yours or my time with it any longer, after this post. But I will end with this:
Bear spray is the a great choice when hiking on trails, and if you surprise a bear and he attacks out of fear.

But, what if a bear stalking you? What if he views you as a food source? Spray may slow him down, but you are dinner.

Consider this if a bear enters a campground and only get into your food cache or garbage, Why is the standard plan of the wildlife biologist to trap/incapacitate and relocate the bear? If a bear attacks and kills or injures a Person, do they seriously consider destroying that bear?

Spray versus firearm? Both. Depends on your situation.

Think this way- an analogy. I need a gallon of milk do I take my 1 ton chevy truck 1/2 mile to the corner store, or my chevy aveo?

I need 50 sheets of paneling to finish my basement; do I take my 1 ton chevy truck 1/2 mile to the hardware, or my chevy aveo?

The right tool for the right job.

Lastly, I admire the fact that you are fortunate to have the drive, ambition, and perseverance to do what you love, and to make your dreams come alive. Not many have or take advantage of that opportunity.

I’ll keep you in my prayers. At 23 years old, and a year and a half of it in Glacier National Park, You have a lot to learn and experience in your life.

If, and God forbid, you are ever attacked by a grizzly bear, I hope you’ve made the right choice.

Please be careful.

May God bless you,
Gordon

P.S.
Have you considered going back to school to study Wildlife Biology? I think you might be a great candidate! Your young, now is the time!


Aug 05, 2010

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Anti Gun Editor 

by: Anonymous

Mr anti gun, tree huggin editor,

If you can convince all the park rangers to lay down their firearms and go out with mace only, when dealing with bears in the park, then I will not show up with my gun on a hike.

But that won’t happen.

So I will have my 44 Mag on my hip along with my can of Mace.


Aug 05, 2010

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Assumptions, Assumptions… 

by: Perry


Gordon,

The number of assumptions in your dissection of that report cannot be counted on both hands.


Aug 05, 2010

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These gun folk are crazy 

by: Good for you, Editor


These gun rights folk sure are crazy.

Good for you, Editor. But you can’t expect to win with them. They are too passionate and delusional to see facts when laid out in front of them.

Maybe their paranoia makes them think everyone is bias. Or maybe because they are gun rights folk, they are paranoid that everyone is out to take away their guns.

I dunno, it’s sorta the what came first, chicken or egg, kinda thing. don’t you agree?


Aug 05, 2010

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Senseless arguing 3 

by: Anonymous

So, the study? Can’t be taken as a gospel generic conclusion, because, it depends on the situation you are going to present yourself.

The individual must decide. If your going hunting, Take both. You will need to be 10 times more careful, because regardless of what you use for a deterrent, YOU ARE FOOD.

Going hiking? Count on the spray. You most likely going to surprise a bear and he is only trying to get you to leave, rather than eat you.

Camping? Sleep with one eye open, and a gun under your pillow. If a bear comes in your tent he’s not bluffing. He’s hungry.

Perhaps it’s time to close this topic and open a new one, Guns vs spray” and let the mayhem begin.

Good luck.


Aug 05, 2010

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Senseless arguing 2 

by: Anonymous


CONTINUED:

Back to the USFW “study”, again, going back to the comments of “perceived bias” where is the bias? In the study.

I am a Quality Control Engineer. I work with statistics everyday, as I study machines and processes to improve costs and reduce scrap.

What is the biggest hurdle? Bias. Opinions of operators, engineers, supervisors, and management.

Even my own technicians who collect the data. All data, in one way or another is skewed. Look at political polls. How come two similar polls have different conclusions? Because it depends who conducted the poll, where it was done and who the participants are. They can’t be trusted.

But we all tend to accept those we agree with, and discount the ones we don’t. The study by the USFW may appear to be benign, but again, as I said before, they just looked at past reports (read the report, it says so!).

Here are conditions that were not considered:

1. Attacks on hunters/fishermen. Hunters leave the beaten path. They are in the bears ground zero. that’ puts them at much higher risk than say hikers or campers who are more likely (though not always) to stay on or close to known trails. Hunters are also more likely to carry firearms vs bear spray.

Most hunter attacks I’ve read about (both black bear and grizzly) occur when A. the hunter is cleaning a downed animal or fish, B. leaving with the meat or hide.

This means this category of attacks will more likely ATTRACT a bear attack, (no bear bluffs there!)with the bear being successful. Score: guns must be ineffective

2. Attacks on Hikers. Hikers more than likely stay on known trails. Bears (Per wild life experts) tend to avoid people, and trails carry people.

However they do live there and travel across and sometimes use the trails. So, an encounter with a bear will more likely produce a bear bluff, meaning the bear doesn’t intend to attack, thus lowering the likelihood of a injurious attack.

Also, Hikers are very less likely to carry a firearm, more likely to carry spray, thus giving the impression that spray wins!

3. Campers. Bears who inhabit camping areas, are more attuned to people. They quickly learn people=food, and are less afraid. Most attacks occur at night, while campers are asleep.

In these cases, the likely scenario is the bear is hungry, and is attacking to feed. The camper is asleep and by the time he realizes the bear is attacking it is to late.

You’re in a tent, so spray is going to affect you more than the bear. It is most likely to be dark so a gun would be difficult to use. Neither choice is effective.

Then there is the generator of the report. The USFW, who as a law enforcement agency, view civilians with firearms as a potential enemy.

By preference, they would prefer park users ran around with pepper spray rather than guns. Easier to sort out those “drug running” criminals.

Had the NRA conducted the report, I’m sure firearms would be recommended as the best choice.

TO BE CONTINUED


Aug 05, 2010

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Senseless arguing 

by: Gordon D.

Despite your denial, yes, you are anti-gun. See your original comment, answer to the real question:

“Yes, you are now allowed to carry guns in our National Parks **sigh**”

Note, the sigh. And, it is all over your Website, that you do not favor firearms, especially in the National parks.

That’s cool, you are entitled to that position and I respect it, after all, Glacier National Park is your backyard. But don’t kick everyone else who disagrees.

**Editor’s Note**

The **sigh** is because people actually think guns will keep them safe in National Parks from grizzly bears and will probably fail to follow appropriate hiking and backpacking safety precautions to avoid a grizzly bear attack

**End (Pesky) Editor’s Note**

Remember, the original question, “Am I allowed to open carry a pistol in the park?”? Not “What’s the best protection against bears?” or “can I kill an attacking bear?”.

Your answer to the question brought on the gun vs spray issue, and you have to expect differing opinions.

TO BE CONTINUED.


Aug 04, 2010

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Senseless arguing 

by: Gordon D.

This forum has lost it’s point. The original question was simply “Do you believe firearms should be allowed in National parks?”

It has become nothing more than a bitch slapping session over who thinks they know more than the other guy about guns or bears. Everyone has their right to an opinion.

So, readers, just state your opinion. if some one has a different opinion than yours, so be it.

And, Mr. Editor, I realize you are the owner of this forum/site, and you can do whatever you want with it, but it is obvious you are anti-gun, (which is OK for you) and this forum appears to be a platform for you to to amplify your position, by discounting every pro gun opinion posted.

You asked people for their opinion, so be quiet and listen. Nothing is more annoying or rude than editor injections into an opinion poll. It brings into question the maturity and intellect of the editor.

By the way, who conducted the study to determine which is more effective gun vs, spray? Nobody. If such study exists, it was written by some biologist justifying his/her position and maybe just looked back through reports of some past attacks to see who used what. Not controlled conditions.

**Editor’s Note**

Hi Gordon,

I am not anti-gun. What I am in favor of is people knowing the truth and not thinking that they are safe while hiking through grizzly bear habitat because they have a gun.

The truth is that bear spray is more effective at deterring a grizzly bear attack than a gun.

A study done by the US Fish and Wildlife Service proves this. Some will automatically discount this study due to perceived bias, but this quote I’m about to share cannot be argued with. It is just fact and it proves that bear spray is more effective than a gun in preventing an injurious grizzly bear attack:

“…based on their (Law enforcement agents of US Fish & Wildlife Service) 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 (bear spray) escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries.”

Argue as you wish. But the facts are the facts. Bear spray is more effective than a gun.

USFW Bear Spray vs Bullets Study


Aug 03, 2010

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Assuming… (Part 1) 

by: Dennis K

**Editor’s Note**

Clearly, you haven’t spent any time around wildlife. Don’t underestimate a bear (or moose, or bison or other creatures that have been evolving for 1000s of years). Unless going down a steep hill, they can and do stop on a dime.

**End Editor’s Note**

I find that this more irritating than amusing. I have been a hunter safety instructor for over 30 years, and a hunted for 55. I have no doubt whatsoever that I have been around more wild creatures, spent more time with, and been in more situations involving wildlife than you have dreamt of. I have instructed primitive weapons hunters, modern firearms hunters, and period hunters. I have taught survival courses for over 20 years. I have difficulty seeing this attempt at belittling someone you do not know amusing.

**Editor’s Note**

OK, in the anonymity of the Internet Age, I’d believe your claims… but your original statement about a bear charge shows you do not know what a bluff charge is or how grizzly bears act in the wilderness

**End Editor’s Note**

**Editor’s Note**
Yeah, you’ve definitely never been in a threatening situation in the wilderness.

**End Editor’s Note**

Perhaps I am not an idiot, stumbling through the living room of a grizzly with no clue as to why I am there. I have been close enough to Brown Bear on Kodiak to smell their breath. In both the Smoky Mountains of West Virginia and the back woods of Maine, I have been close enough to Black Bear to see individual hairs. I did not have the vaunted bear spray, but I did have both a rifle and a backup pistol each time. I did not kill bear. I do not hunt bear. To this point, I have never had to destroy one of these animals because I did something so incredibly stupid.

Perhaps I have not been in a ‘threatening situation in the wilderness’. I did not believe myself to be threatened, but I was quite wary of these magnificent beasts.


Aug 03, 2010

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Assuming… (Part 2) 

by: Dennis K


**Editor’s Note**
I never dismissed handguns to a role as a flyswatter. You know what assuming does, don’t you?
As most people who have experience in grizzly bear encounters will tell you, bear spray is a more effective deterrent. We speak from experience.
Besides your rear end, what do YOU speak from?
**End Editor’s Note**

Is that a royal ?WE?? What experience are ?WE? speaking from? Tramping in the backyard of the grizzly together with a million others every year and calling it ?wilderness?? I know wilderness exists in Yellowstone and Glacier, but the person who was killed was in a campground, or have you forgotten?

**Editor’s Note**

They were killed outside of Yellowstone in a National Forest. It was also the first fatal bear attack in over a decade. Park Rangers believe everyone stored food properly.

Both a tragedy and an anomaly.

**End Editor’s Note**

Yellowstone and Glacier are essentially open fence zoos in my opinion.

The question was if firearms were appropriate for National Parks. The answer is absolutely yes. I never said that spray was not appropriate, but you insist on denigrating everything I have said that is contrary to your opinion, citing your ?experience?. I have said repeatedly that both are appropriate, one as a backup for the other. Obviously one would try the spray first, but if it fails and you?ve no other recourse, the bear would have little problem eliminating your future tracks in his living room.

My approach is a reasonable and reasoned one, and I have not been obnoxious when stating my response. What say you?

**Editor’s Note**

I agree with you, Dennis.


Aug 02, 2010

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Putting Bears Aside… 

by: Daniel

I’ve never had an encounter with a bear before, but if you do pack a handgun smaller than a .44 magnum for these magnificent creatures, here’s a tip: File down the gun sights. This way it won’t hurt as bad when the bear shoves it up your “you know what”.

All jokes aside, I do support the possession of firearms in National Parks–but not really because of the bears but the two-legged creatures. I know, you’re probably not going to run into a lot of folks in Glacier while hiking, but they are your most common threat no matter where you are. And unfortunatly, I do speak from experience on that one. It’s why I now carry a .357 Ruger SP101 with me on walks around the neighborhood.


Aug 02, 2010

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Commenting on the Comments 

by: Dennis K


“* Easier and quicker to use against a charging bear coming 35 MPH.”

Reader Comment: If a bear is running at 35MPH until he gets within the effective range (8-15 feet – that is 96 to 180 INCHES!) of the intended victim, the likelihood that contact will be made is quite high. In all downplays of the use of firearms, the comment is made that you have to shoot when the bear is doing 35 MPH, so let’s at least do equal comparisons here. I don’t think the bear has that good a braking system. After all, 400# of meat dropping down on you at 51.3 feet per second has a lot of momentum.

**Editor’s Note**

Clearly, you haven’t spent any time around wildlife. Don’t underestimate a bear (or moose, or bison or other creatures that have been evolving for 1000s of years).

Unless going down a steep hill, they can and do stop on a dime.

**End Editor’s Note**

“* Most bear charges are bluffs. If you shoot the bear during a bluff, this will enrage them and provoke an attack. Bear spray does not enrage, just confuse and scare”

Reader comment: If he’s gonna ‘bluff’ when charging you when you’re holding spray, will he not ‘bluff’ when you’re holding a firearm? If the bear ‘bluffs’ why would someone with a firearm be more apt to go banging away than someone with a can of bear mace? If you can hold your cool with a can of pepper spray, you can hold your cool with a firearm in your hand just as well.

**Editor’s Note**

Yeah, you’ve definitely never been in a threatening situation in the wilderness.

**End Editor’s Note**

“* A handgun won’t do much against a grizzly bear. You need a shotgun to be effective. How many people will carry a shotgun while hiking?”

Reader comment: “A lowly Colt .45 from the days of the frontier will penetrate something like 16” of pine. Now, I know that bears are tough and hard and mean as all get out, but to say that such a handgun won’t harm a bear is a little to Disney-like for me. A .44 Magnum is not unreasonable to handle, nor is the venerable .44 Special (which most ladies can shoot quite well). A .357 is a little light, but a .40 SW, a .41 Mag or a .45 ACP is capable of making lots of noise and being relatively effective. We haven’t even mentioned the .450 Ruger or the .500 S&W. I would avoid 9mm and .38 specials and anything smaller, but any reasonable handgun will do as well as a shotgun.

I believe it is a disservice to dismiss handguns to a role that is little more than a flyswatter, ineffective, useless and with no more power than a hand-held noisemaker and no more speed than a matchlock from the 14th century.

**Editor’s Note**

I never dismissed handguns to a role as a flyswatter. You know what assuming does, don’t you?

As most people who have experience in grizzly bear encounters will tell you, bear spray is a more effective deterrent. We speak from experience.

Besides your rear end, what do YOU speak from?


Aug 02, 2010

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Bear Spray Cannot Be Relied On 

by: Bill G – Tulsa

Bear spray is not a cure-all for bear country hiking, and it is not 100 percent reliable. How can you gurantee that the bear will always be downwind for example? Remember Murphy’s law? I was in Glacier Park three weeks ago and on several days there were winds gusting over 40 mph.

As the previous poster stated, either carry bear spray in your hand (that is the best method) or in a container on your chest for ready access. In windy conditions or in thick brush, you can be surprised by a bear at close range, and have little time to react. I recommend carrying two cans of bear spray in case the first one doesn’t work, or it runs out before you have subdued the bear. By all means, resist the urge to discharge the spray before the bear is within range (15 feet or less) as you very well may run out of spray before the bear has been subdued. As a law enforcement officer, I have used pepper spray on many occasions on dogs and humans and understand its limitations.

Remember, in the event of a grizzly charge, the vast majority of people will begin spraying too soon, before the bear is within range, wasting valuable amounts of the bear spray. That’s what Jack Hanna did in his recent encounter with a charging grizzly in Glacier Park. He was lucky that he had enough spray left to counter the bear’s charge when it actually got within range, as he had sprayed twice at the bear before it was actually within range.

I recommend practicing with the bear spray before you go into bear country so you can see how it works and what kind of range it has. That would be cheap insurance in the event of a bear attack. I recommend buying three cans of bear spray. One to practice with and two to carry while hiking. Don’t ever carry a partially emptied can of bear spray in grizzly bear country. Every adult member of a hiking group should be carrying bear spray. Carrying bear spray should be required by law when hiking in grizzly country. To do otherwise is foolhardy and irresponsible. It can save your life and the bear’s life. Remember, if you are injured by a grizzly, the Park Service Rangers will hunt the bear down and kill it.


Aug 02, 2010

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Bear Spray Works: Take It From a Wildlife Photographer 

by: A Wildlife Photographer


It works, but get the larger canister Comments about Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Spray – 230g.

I’m a wildlife photographer and I can tell you from personal experience that this stuff works, but only when used properly.

Get the larger canister. For a few bucks more you get a few seconds more of spray and that can mean all the difference.

When deployed, the canister will put out a decent sized fog cloud that your target will either run into or have it blown into its face.

In Grizzly country, carry it in your hand (best) or pocket on your chest or front of pants where you can get to it IMMEDIATELY.

DO NOT carry it in your backpack. I do not recommend using a belt holster. Too difficult to draw in a hurry and more of an opportunity to drop it when you need it most.

Practice popping off the trigger safety. Deploy at the distance recommended on the can (very important).

If you deploy too early (this is hard to refrain from doing) the fog is less likely to deter the bear.

This product will (obviously) not protect you if the wind is blowing towards you or you are in a crosswind situation.

Make sure the wind is blowing towards the bear, into its face.

Once you discharge the canister, even part way, do not reuse, buy a new one.

Also toss the canister after the expiration date.

Talk loud, make noise, use a bell, and most likely you’ll never use bear spray and will toss it out after it expires.


Aug 02, 2010

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Carrying Guns & Bear Spray in National Parks 

by: Anonymous

I have carried a firearm in the national parks since 1971 (yes, I know it wasn’t legal until recently).

I also carry bear spray and it is my first line of defense.

I carry a firearm as a backup to the bear spray. I am a law enforcement officer and have earned the master marksman badge with a pistol.

I am glad that it has finally been made legal to carry a firearm in the national parks. However, it is my right to protect myself, whether the Park Service likes it or not, and whether it is legal or not.

I’m not going to be killed by a grizzly bear or a thug just because the Park Service doesn’t like guns.

There is an old saying in law enforcement – “I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.”


Aug 02, 2010

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Firearms / Spray pros and cons 

by: Dennis K


If you choose spray instead of a firearm, here are some pros and cons from the link provided by the editor of this guide.

Let me give you some pros and cons about firearms:

Pros: Built in noisemaker. Not absolutely necessary to kill a bear to discourage it (noise-human association). Will terminate an attack when properly employed. May be quickly reloaded. Holsters are made to facilitate rapid deployment. Safeties are made to be easily manipulated. Modern firearms are made to be user friendly and point and shoot will put you on target at close ranges.

Cons: expensive (one time expense). Not always accepted by people who do not understand the reality that there are things in the world that will HURT you and those you love and do not care HOW you “FEEL” about it. Heavier than spray. Does require some practice for extreme efficiency.

**Editor’s Note**

Good pros and cons list, but few people in this argument have clamored on about ‘touchy feely tree huggy’ crap.

I suspect those that do have have 0 experience hiking in grizzly bear habitat. Likewise, I suspect those that blabber on about ‘it’s your god given right, my country gives me the right’ crap have 0 experience hiking in grizzly bear country, too

**End Editor’s Note**

–Comments on Spray —

We had to use this on a black bear in California. It was completely ineffective at 25 feet. Only at about eight feet did this act as a mild deterrent.

We got the impression that the bear simply found it annoying, and that it would be totally useless in an assault situation. In the end, it saved our food cache and an expensive backpack from total decimation, but I would absolutely not rely on this stuff as a deterrent against attack.

I give it a 3 for saving our food/gear, and I’ll probably carry it in the future, but I would prefer a spicier version!

**Editor’s Note**

Just like a gun is useless in the hands of an untrained user, bear spray is useless in the hands of someone that does not know how to use it.

Bear spray is rarely effective from that far out. It’s supposed to be used within the range on 5-15 feet, which is as close as a bear would get when charging you.

Terrifying, right? Well, thankfully most grizzly bear charges are bluffs, so even if it gets that close to you, it had no intention of actually hurting you–just making sure you’re not a threat.

At that range, bear spray works and it will deter the bear from coming closer. A gun on the other hand might enrage it further and result in a vicious attack.

**End Editor’s Note**


Aug 02, 2010

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Did they have bear spray? 

by: Bear Spray

What percent of people who get attacked by bears have bear spray? Is it really a 100% way to chase a bear away?

**Editor’s Note**

There are no official statistics out about the percentage of people attacked that used bear spray.

Also, there is no 100% way to prevent a grizzly bear attack.

However, bear spray has been found to be a more effective deterrent than a handgun in preventing an attack.

This is due to the fact that:

  • Easier and quicker to use against a charging bear coming 35 MPH
  • Most bear charges are bluffs. If you shoot the bear during a bluff, this will enrage them and provoke an attack. Bear spray does not enrage, just confuse and scare
  • A handgun won’t do much against a grizzly bear. You need a shotgun to be effective. How many people will carry a shotgun while hiking?

In short:

Carry bear repellent.

Know how to react during a grizzly bear attack

And always follow the appropriate precautions for hiking through grizzly bear habitat

If you listen and follow these instructions, you will have a 99.9% chance of being perfectly fine while hiking in Glacier or Yellowstone.

Remember, you have a better chance of drowning in these parks than being attacked by a grizzly bear.


Jul 31, 2010

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Guns in National Parks Means Responsible Stewardship 

by: Gordon Dowen

Every American citizen, under the Second Amendment has the right to bear arms to protect himself, and his family from all forms of danger, whether it be military, criminal or natural.

In cases involving animals, I believe when human life is in danger, one should be allowed to protect himself or others regardless of the government protection status of the animal. This is not wanton disregard of the animals life, but protection of human life, which is far greater in importance.

God gave man stewardship of all his creation including animals, intending that we are to protect, respect, and manage in the manner that best suits the needs of man.

We are not to waste or destroy such resources, but protecting oneself from, and harvesting for food of those resources is responsible stewardship.


Jul 31, 2010

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Bear Spray 

by: Dennis K


Check out the USER comments (not the ‘studies’) of the people who have reviewed bear spray (pepper spray) on the website cited in the first comment on this page.

**Editor’s Note**


Yes, please do read user reviews of bear spray.

**End Editor’s Note**

I’d rather use a drum and beat on it than have to rely on a fog and ‘pfffttt’ when a bear is 15 feet from me doing 35 mph. Maybe I could shove the drum in the bear’s mouth and beat on his head with the sticks.

**Editor’s Note**

Wow. This guy’s good. Have you ever even hiked in your life before?

Doubtful that you’ve ever seen a grizzly bear outside of a zoo.

**End Editor’s Note**

Any Idea what amount of time it takes a full-tilt bear to cover 15′? No? Well, let me tell you. Calculations show that the Bear will cover 35×5280/3600 feet per second. That is 51.333… feet per second at full charge. 15/51.333 equals 0.29221 seconds, give or take two or three 100,000ths of a second.

Sweetheart, that is not much time for a bear to run into a cloud of spray (if you even got it activated) and make a decision that he didn’t want pepper with his meat for that meal.

**Editor’s Note**

First, don’t call me sweetheart.

Next, the vast majority of grizzly bear charges are bluffs. This means that the grizzly bear will stop before reaching you. It is just testing you to see if you’re a threat.

Since you’re so into statistics and all, why not read up and learn about what causes grizzly bear attacks

**End Editor’s Note**

‘But the bear won’t be running full speed when he reaches you…’ you say! So, if that is the fact, then you have a better chance to snap off a couple of rounds into the ground in his direction, making a heck of a loud human-generated noise, and if that fails, to take a bit better than random shot at the bear himself.

In other words, in the realm of potential life-saving devices, I would still take a firearm only over pepper spray only any day, anywhere, any time.

And btw – there is a difference between NPS lands which are public, and Air Force One. All a matter of security. Should the President come to a National Park, the likelihood of restrictions being as high on the NPS lands as on AF1 are quite high, and the likelihood of being able to step into that particular NPS arena are consequentially quite low. That doesn’t change the fact that NPS lands are Federal Lands owned by the Taxpaying Public and supported by their tax dollars and use.


Jul 31, 2010

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Make mine a double. 

by: Doug

I know that a handgun is a poor choice for a bear attack. I’m saying that as one who loves to hunt with a handgun. Hitting a vital organ at something coming at you at 35 mph while bouncing up and down as it charges would be a mighty tough shot. There is also the possibility of small trees deflecting the bullet as well. IF attacked by a bear I would much rather have a shotgun with slugs, or my .45-70 lever gun. Nonetheless, I will have at least a .41 or .44 mag with me.

I get sick of the stupid argument that bears like pepper spray because it adds spice to their meal. If you have a good bear spray like UDAP, www.udap.com/ it will be a much better deterrent, and the fog (not spray) comes out with a good deal of force and sticks to the critter.

I admit that I have more fear of 2 legged varmints in the National Park setting than I do of 4 legged ones. Meth labs, marijuana crops . . . yes they’re out there. And criminals will be armed. One reason why Rangers carry guns. In Big Bend you also have to worry about coyotes (the human kind) smuggling illegals across the border. Back in the early 70s when I first go in to backpacking, everyone you met on the trail was your friend and more than willing to help you out. Today, forty years later, things have changed. It’s a dangerous world out there. Those who have their heads buried in the sand and refuse to accept this will learn the hard way.

So I carry both. UDAP and a Colt Anaconda loaded with 300-gr. Federal CastCores.

The age old question: If an environmentalist is being attacked by a bear, do you shoot the bear, or let nature take its course?


Jul 30, 2010

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Gun or no gun . . . 

by: Anonymous

If you are in a National Park, and you see a bear attacking one of these anti-gun folks, should you shoot the bear, or let nature take its course?


Jul 30, 2010

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No Guns in National Parks 

by: Anonymous


No.


Jul 29, 2010

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Hate to, but it’s unlikely I’ll play dead 

by: KCToon


I just arrived from Glacier and will be in Yellowstone for the next few days. Sure, I’ll carry($40)bear repellent; but I’ve been chased by a grizzly (at Norris campground in Yellowstone – where grizzlies hadn’t been seen in 20 years) and know that there are no ‘safe’ places in this Park and no predictable grizzlies.

Therefore, when hiking, I will probably carry my .45 on my belt at the small of my back, just under my pack. This will minimize my fear that a hiker will easily see the firearm and grab for it – either out of a misguided sense of responsibility or because he’s a closet gun enthusiast.

**Editor’s Note**

You can’t be serious.

**End Editor’s Note**

It’ll also be there to protect my wife and myself when the bear repellent fizzles out. I’d like to be able to play dead under an attacking grizzly bear, but I’m a man and thus lack the steady practicality of Deb Freele who was able to use good sense while her arm was being broken in the mouth of a grizzly.


Jul 29, 2010

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Gun Opinion 

by: Anonymous

Absolutely, guns should be allowed in National Parks! Rely on local gun laws for regulation and guidance.


Jul 29, 2010

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People kill, not guns 

by: Coop


I just got back from Yellowstone. Packed my .40 along with bear spray for every hike, every day. I didn’t get caught and don’t know what would have happened if I did get caught. It is a right that we citizens have….I think as long as you have taken a concealed carry class, that all parks should recognize your license and right to pack heat.


Jul 29, 2010

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No camping; No firearms. 

by: Anonymous


Yellowstone and Glacier N.P. = Grizzly Country. Camping belongs in lower elevations, and firearms belong in the gun safe.


Jul 29, 2010

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No Guns in National Parks 

by: Anonymous

I am absolutely against allowing guns in National Parks. It should be a sancutary from all firearms except those carried by law officials and is unnecessary for tourists, joggers, hikers, etc., who should carry other non-lethal defenses.


Jul 29, 2010

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We all have rights 

by: Dennis K


It is apparent that the owner of the page does not agree with firearms in the park or any other park.

**Editor’s Note**

My belief, which has been backed up through numerous studies, is that bear spray is more effective at deterring a charging grizzly bear (and thus, preventing an attack) than a gun.

**End Editor’s Note**

There is a place for firearms in National Parks. National Parks are part of Federal Lands, Federal Lands are lands owned by the Federal Government, ergo owned by the proprietors of the Federal Government, which derives its just powers from (drumroll please)…. the People. Therefore, Federal Lands and National Parks are in fact, Public Lands.

National Parks were, until this year, the only Public Lands where firearms were not permitted. This was (thankfully) changed this year when President Obama signed the change into law. There are still places in National Parks where restrictions exist, but in your tent isn’t one of them, nor are hiking trails in the backwoods restricted.

Firearms make loud noises (substantially louder than the ‘pfffftt’ of pepper spray or the tinkling bells on your anklets). Wild animals – even predators – tend to avoid humans and loud noises. Ergo, humans causing loud noises with firearms tend to avoid being eaten by predators.

Yes – humans in Glacier or any other western NP are invading wild predators space. Therefore, why are you there? Why do 10 million idiots insist on tramping through their homes? And, why do many of those idiots insist that the back to nature approach be followed, if a better way exists? Makes no sense to me, friends.

A person hiking in the backwoods or camping in the living room of griz should carry pepper spray (check). He, she or it should also carry a firearm (check). He, she or it should also be sure to make noise (check). No surprises are nice.

If you carry a firearm (and it is a CHOICE, not a COMMAND) do all of your hiking companions the honor of knowing how to use it efficiently and of having practiced with it enough to know which end the bullet comes out. That said, those of you who choose NOT to carry a firearm, do those of us who DO the courtesy of limiting your snippy remarks to your own tent – keep them out of mine. I have rights that I choose to exercise, you have rights you choose to ignore.

I do not condemn you for choosing as you wish. You should offer the same courtesy to me. We will all get along with no problems, and, should I see you being attacked by a predator – 2 or 4 legged – I will come to your aid in a proper manner, exercising self-restraint and minimally invasive / damaging techniques.

Can I trust that you will run 100 yards brandishing your pepper spray and yelling should you see me or my wife or my four-year old daughter in trouble?


Jul 29, 2010

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A case for carrying a firearm 

by: Dennis K

Firearms are Absolutely invaluable tools in any location. Having a firearm at least gives a human being a chance of surviving an attack by a large predator such as a cougar or bear..

You must understand that in most cases, predators are simply looking for a meal – it isn’t a malicious thing. However, if, for example, a cougar attacks a human, it is usually from the back and you might have 2-3 seconds warning if you’re lucky. If a friend is nearby and sees the attack and the friend is armed, there’s a chance of rescue. Otherwise, if the cougar is well experienced, you’re dead moments after he or she hits your back, drives you into the ground, and bites through your spinal cord.

Bears are nearly as fast as a cougar, exponentially more powerful, but more deliberate in an attack. They’re opportunists – omnivores who will eat anything, humans included – if the opportunity presents itself. Having food out, food trash around (food wrappers, etc.) is a known invitation for bear intrusions which can have fatal consequences. That said, a firearm doesn’t have to be lethal to a bear if it is discharged near them. Often the report of the firearm will “shock” a bear into awareness that he is dealing with a human being, and the bear will break off the attack.

Sprays – pepper, bear repellent, etc. – depend on contact with the bear. Digging a spray container out, enabling it, directing the spray as recommended by its manufacturer (usually into the eyes) and doing all these things as a bear is dragging your hind end out of a tent with your thigh in his mouth at 4 AM when it is as dark as pitch, is somewhat difficult at best. Discharging a firearm into the air is simpler and easier, and if simple discharge is not effective, sticking the barrel against the head of the bear and discharging it again is quite persuasive.

The likelihood of being attacked by a bear or any other wild animal is low, albeit horrifying in concept and reality. A firearm is useful to repel attacks, often without harming the animal. On the other hand, sprays require relatively specific placement to have any effect at all. Not only can firearms provide some protection from animals, they can also provide a level of protection from other human beings, who are every bit as rapacious as any four-legged predator.


Jul 29, 2010

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No guns 

by: DF


Guns would introduce people who panic, can’t shoot straight and all kinds of dangers to the animals. The bear spray would be better.

I am totally against allowing guns in the park.


Jul 29, 2010

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Wilderness Protection 

by: Duncan Hagemeyer

I live 15 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Ground Zero for gizzlies and mountain lions.

I totally agree with those that do not want guns toting tourists in the NP system, but I support the legalization of carrying firearms anywhere in the National Forrest or park system when one is in the backcountry.

It might be a good idea to require a person to possess a permit for backcountry hiking, which allows a firearm. It could be as simple as submitting a form at the trailhead that is left in a secure box.

This permit would inform others of who is on the trail and where they are going. In addition, the permit states you possess a firearm.

I always leave a note on my car that states my phone numbers and the time of day I left and my expected return. I am not talking about allowing guns on a walking path to a natural attraction.

I also think that a gun is a last resort.

It is pretty well established that bear pepper spray is the best first line of defense. I have conditioned myself to use the bear spray first, then the gun only when the attack enters the proximity zone of about 15 feet.

In general it must still be about personal responsibility, not a government program.

Frankly, I would fear armed tourists far more than the grizzlies that live in my region.

**Editor’s Note**

Well said, Duncan. And a fine idea about the permits.

It is very annoying reading people in this discussion argue that guns should be carried simply because it is their right. The truth is, these same people have probably never seen a grizzly bear in the wild.

Education is your best weapon, people.


Jul 29, 2010

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SUE THE LIBS 

by: Anonymous

WHY IS ANYONE SURPRISED? THE PRO GRIZZ ANIMAL RIGHTS WACKJOBS ARE RESPONSIBLE. I HOPE THE SURVIVORS SUE THE CRAP OUT OF THE SIERRA CLUB AND THE REST OF THE CRAZY LIBS.

HELL YES EVERYONE SHOULD BE ARMED.

**Editor’s Note**

First, why the Capslock? Nobody enjoys reading anything in all caps. It just makes you look like an idiot.

Next, I have no idea what you’re talking about and I think you have no idea what you’re talking about.

The law permitting handguns to be carried in National Parks was passed under the Obama Administration. Are you saying this is a stupid rule and that people should sue the Government if someone is shot in a National Park?

My impression was that you’re saying people should sue the ‘crazy libs’ for not allowing handguns in National Parks–but the ‘crazy libs’ were the ones who allowed handguns to be carried in National Parks.

**sigh**


Jul 29, 2010

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NO to firearms in national parks 

by: Bob G


I do not want to allow park visitors to carry guns.


Jul 29, 2010

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Wheres my gun! It’s a ground squirrel !!!  

by: Joe

Who are these mental midgets that came up with this idea? Now “I” have to carry a gun to protect myself from idiots carrying GUNS!!! In a National Park, no less.

Grizzly bear attacks now take a back seat to butt heads with guns who wanna steal my backpack or worse yet, some city slicker who thinks I look like or sound like “A BEAR!!!!!!”.

My family and I have been to Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks at least eight times since 2001 and there is nothing more exciting to experience then a Bear Jam.

To have so many people at one time in one place be able to watch such a majestic animal in the wild.

The sound of hundreds of camera shutters clicking away is suddenly interrupted by the deafening sound of a gun shot.

Hundreds of people with guns, one dead bear. Let’s not forget the magnanimous Bison. Mom tells little Johnny to get closer to the Bison so she can get a cool picture of him. Suddenly the kid gets tossed like rag doll and two seconds later, the Buffalo is dead from a bullet to the head. Little Johnny’s dad was packing a heater.

Way to go National Park Service. You have no way in hell of ever being able to police this.

**Editor’s Note**

The National Park Service was against this law. This law was passed in late summer 2009 under the Obama Administration.

**End Editor’s Note**

So now we can begin the painful task of writing the final chapter in the fate of the wildlife in our National parks. Maybe we should allow guns in our petting zoo’s too. You never know about those crazy sheep.

Well, I could go on and on and on but somehow I don’t think any of it would make any difference. We as humans just don’t like it when the scales aren’t tipped in our favor. All we need to do now is teach the wildlife how to read. “BEWARE OF THE HUMAN IDIOTS CARRYING GUNS”.

Kind a makes you wanna teach the animals how to use guns doesn’t it.


Jul 29, 2010

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Guns in National Parks 

by: Anonymous

Yes, however, the gun should be no less than a .38 / .357 caliber.


Jul 29, 2010

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Side Arm as a Backup to Bear Spray 

by: Jeffrey Bates


I have hiked in Glacier. I will always carry bear spray and this would be the first line of defense I would use.

However, as in the Jack Hanna case, he would have been defenseless if the grizzly bear cub would have continued or if the Mother Grizzly Bear had decided he or his party was a threat and the pepper spray was exhausted.

I have seen on television that Rangers use shot guns with rubber bullets (of course the guns are very loud), as well as a recent incident of a wildlife photographer using a gun shot (not aiming at the bear) to scare off a mother grizzly bear charge in Glacier National Park.

Seems to me that a sidearm would be an effect back up to bear spray.


Jul 29, 2010

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Guns in Glacier  

by: Anonymous

NO!!!! Never. We are encroaching on their territory. A better idea would be no tent camping where bears frequent.


Jul 29, 2010

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No Guns Should Be Allowed In National Parks 

by: Anonymous


No guns should be allowed in the National Parks.

When people go to visit the National Parks, they are well aware of the dangers as signs are posted thoughout.

The animals are wild and in their home; a home that is supposed to be protected and safe from hunting, hunters and guns.


Jul 29, 2010

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Guns Should Be Allowed In National Parks: It’s Common Sense, People 

by: Anonymous

Absolutely! Guns should be allowed in National Parks.

Don’t get me wrong, bear spray should be carried. However, to depend on a can of spray, with a expiration date is insanity.

A fire arm, preferably with a lanyard, makes me feel more comfortable even though bear spray is carried.

As long as I have been traveling in the back country or camping in a structured campground I have always carried a 44 Magnum with me, illegal or not.

After all this is my country and my life.


Jul 29, 2010

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People Travel To Glacier For Nature, Not To Kill It!! 

by: Anonymous


No!!! Absolutely no guns should be allowed in National Parks!

People go to Glacier National Park to be part of nature, not kill it.


Jul 29, 2010

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Of Course Guns Should Be Allowed In National Parks 

by: Anonymous

Of course, guns should be allowed. A person should be allowed to protect their loved ones.

Apartment dwellers dictate way to much policy and opinion.

**Editor’s Note

Not sure what living in an apartment has to do with this…


Jul 29, 2010

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July 25th 1970: A Bear Attack A Gun Would Have Stopped 

by: Roy hedlund


Rangers carry guns because they know the danger.

If I would have had mine in 1970 I could have saved myself and wife from a lot pain, suffering, and money.

Bears like this have attacked before and will again.

Like these folk,s we had no food and were on our Honeymoon sightseeing the country. This law needs to change and if I had it to do over again I would have broken it and taken my chances.

This area is like sleeping in a zoo without the cages.


Jul 29, 2010

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Firearms Should Be Allowed In National Parks For Emergencies 

by: Harry

I think people should have the right to carry arms in National Parks for emergencies; however I would prefer that if the firearm is used against a bear that it would be used only if bear repellent didn’t work first and as a last resort.


Jul 29, 2010

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No Guns in the Parks 

by: Dave Garber


“Amercia’s Best Idea” was the creation of our National Parks. Allowing guns in the parks would be America’s Worst Idea.

**Editor’s Note**

A law passed last fall made it legal to carry guns in National Parks

**End Editor’s Note

People would start shooting them: at each other, at animals, at trees, at rocks and formations. The peace and tranquilty would be gone forever.

People go to National Parks to explore Nature on it’s own terms. Guns would sway the balance in favor of people, ruining the concept of Wild and Open places.

There are many steps people can take to make themselves feel safe in the parks, among them hiking in groups and making noise, keeping children close at hand, carrying bear repellent spray, not bringing odorous foods into National Park campgrounds and keeping all foods in a hard sided container at all times.


Jul 29, 2010

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Shall not be infringed. 

by: ROb P.

All peoples of the world have inherent right to life, liberty, and property. Key to preserving and protecting ones rights is the natural right to defend oneself using the appropriate means. Our rights being inherent are unalienable, not granted by, nor taken away by government. There should be no question, there should be no debate.

Guns make us safer from predators that come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of the costume that they may adorn.

Burglars, bears, bureaucrats, choose the predator, choose the appropriate weapon, and increase your odds of survival.


Jul 29, 2010

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No Firearms in National Parks – Just Follow Park Guidelines 

by: art nadeau


No firearms should be allowed in National Parks.

Continue with current policies regarding food storage and anything that smells must be put into storage.

It will only take one person to feel so secure with a gun that they want bears visiting and leave food out to attract bears.

This exposes the next camper at that site to suffer the consequences.


Jul 29, 2010

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Just say NO to guns 

by: Anonymous

NO. NO. NO guns in National Parks. Please.


Jul 29, 2010

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Glacier national park bear attack and firearms 

by: Anonymous


I don’t think that firearms should be allowed. I do think that campers should be prepared for wild animals as they are in their territory. Campers should have pepper spray or bear repellant handy and rig a string of cans or something to alert them of an animal approaching the tent…

Editor’s Note**

Rigging a string of cans would scare a bear and result in a terrible outcome.


Jul 29, 2010

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Bear Spray Is Effective, But Guns Should Still Be Allowed 

by: Micah

I agree that bear spray is a strong defense in a bear attack; however, I vote that guns and firearms should be allowed in National Parks by those USA citizens that choose to carry them and are licensed to carry them.


Jul 29, 2010

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Grizzly bear attacks 

by: Anonymous


Absolutly–no firearms should be allowed in the national parks. Bear spray has been proven to be effective, and no firearms are needed.


Jul 29, 2010

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No firearms in National Parks 

by: Janet Penk


Sure. “Halt or I’ll shoot!” That’ll work!


Jul 28, 2010

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Firearms in National Parks 

by: Doug Davis

Guns should be allowed in National Parks as long as the people with them have been trained and licensed to carry them.

People should be allowed every opportunity to protect themselves and their families. National Parks are becoming more and more dangerous, not just from dangerous animals, but from drug smugglers, drug labs, and those smuggling illegals aliens into the US.

These people know the park visitors are unarmed and if they wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time they are helpless.

Gee, the Rangers carry guns. Wonder why?


Jul 28, 2010

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Bear attack 

by: Anonymous


Although bear spray is somewhat effective to repel bear, especially in the hands of people not experienced with firearms, firearms are far more effective.

In the hands of an experience shooter (not just someone who owns but has rarely shot a firearm) the bite of a slug or shot along with the loud noise will be more effective to deter a grizzly bear.

**Editor’s Note**

This is not true according to research done about the effectiveness of bear spray versus the effectiveness of a handgun

**End Editor’s Note**

For a grizzly the proper firearm would be a shotgun with 00 buck and multiple shots fired at the upper torso.

Unless it is a mother protecting her cubs, this will effectively repel any bear.

**Editor’s Note**

How do you hike with a shotgun?


Jul 28, 2010

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Allow Guns 

by: kim

I believe anyone who has a concealed weapons permit and tests out to be sane should be able to carry a firearm any place of their choosing-INCLUDING National Parks!

Thanks:)


Jul 28, 2010

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Do you get it? Why Guns Are Allowed In National Parks

 

by: National Park Fan


Yes, we should allow firearms for law abiding citizens. Guns are already in the National Parks.

All park rangers carry or have access to fire arms, for good reasons. I have brought fire arms into National Parks many times, but I always keep them secured and follow the rules. I don’t bring it because of bears, most bears want nothing to do with you. I never bring it into areas not allowed, and make sure I am out of natures way when walking or hiking or staying overnight.

Bear pepper spray is a very effective way to scare off a bear, and safer for most people. There are too many ignorant and stupid tourists in Yellowstone and Glacier National Park that put too many animals in danger.

I have been going there all my life and never had a problem. I had some close encounters, but that’s part of why I go.

Remember to give the animal the right-of-way. Too many visitors make the Park Rangers job way to hard. I have witnessed situations where the Park Ranger had to put his life on the line or the animals or risked injury because of a situation caused by a stupid tourist.

Remember a Park Ranger has a family they need to go home to, so make there job easier and follow the rules.

They are there for a reason. To keep everyone safe, including the wildlife, it’s their home not ours.

Do you get it?


Jul 28, 2010

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Guns in National Parks Should Be Allowed 

by: Anonymous

Yes, people should be able to defend themselves.


Jul 28, 2010

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No Guns In National Parks 

by: Anonymous


No Guns in National Parks. Why was this law passed?


Jul 28, 2010

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coburn’s guns…….. 

by: HumbleGrizz


No, to guns in National Parks; no to antennas in National Parks; no to 10 story modern luxury hotels in National Parks.

Coburn, you did everyone wrong here – this IS NOT a debatable topic…YOU lead the effort to repeal this stupid gaffe……


Jul 28, 2010

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Guns in the National Parks 

by: Anonymous

While, pepper spray is generally the best deterrent, if bear is entering your tent at 4am, SHOOT IT.

**Editor’s Note** – The 4AM reference is to the fatal bear attack that occurred outside of Yellowstone National Park on July 28th, 2010


Jul 28, 2010

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Forest Service hasn’t prohibited firearms 

by: Anonymous


Just to clarify – “With firearms now allowed in National Parks and National Forests” should read “With firearms now allowed in National Parks.” Firearms possession in National Forests has always defaulted to state laws, with no regulation by the US Forest Service. The Forest Service has regulations available which restrict discharge of firearms in certain locations but their regulations are silent on possession. The agency works closely with sportsman’s groups to identify shooting areas and the national forests remain a significant contributor to big game and water fowl hunting across the US.


Jul 28, 2010

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Duh 

by: Karen V. Stefanini

A great solution in my opinion is to have campers pitch tents in bear proof enclosures. This should have been done decades ago. Human invasion of bear habitat must be disturbing to them and from time to time it ends up in tragedy for the campers involved in these incidents. Why hasn’t this solution been broached before? Duh….

Generally bear spray is more effective than guns according to reports by forestry personnel.


Jul 28, 2010

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Happiness is a Worn Gun

 

by: Ned


Pepper Spray would probably be a better choice for dealing with a Grizzly but not nearly as sexy as “packing”…swaggering around…flashing a little black holster and nodding to fellow NRA’rs. The thought of a terrified camper firing at a grizzly bear at 4:00am in the middle of a crowded campground is kinda scary but, hey, just one of the freedoms we enjoy while the grinning investors in our arms factories retire to play golf in their gated communities…passing gas in our general direction.

**Editor’s Note**

The 4 AM reference is to the fatal bear attack that occurred outside Yellowstone National Park on July 28th


Jul 27, 2010

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GO ARMED 

by: 2nd ammendment

Bear defense or not shouldnt make any difference. Its your constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the USA. I carry a firearm with me no matter where I go. You never know when you might need it to save someone elses life or perhaps your own. There are no grizzly bears in walmart but I go armed even there. You dont NEED to have a reason so lay off the grizzly bear talk already. I am looking forward to hiking in Glacier and carrying my AR-15 like I do wherever else I go hiking.


Jul 20, 2010

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Bringing both 

by: Anonymous


Why not both? Bears aren’t the only dangerous animal there…


Jul 09, 2010

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My Opinion on Pistols and Grizzly Bears 

by: elkaholic


I have been charged by a grizzly bear.

You can make as much noise as u want while hiking, but if you’re next to a creek river or windy out and u come around a corner and a sow is there with a cub or two shes gonna run u over, so I’m all for the carrying of fire arms.

People talk about aiming of a pistol.. what about the length of time it takes to rip out your can of bear spray, taking off the safety then pulling the trigger.

Maybe when a company makes a good holster for the can then it would be good.

A pistol in a bear attack/ bluff charge is almost useless, but when he/she is on you, I’d rather have the pistol.

In my experience a bluff charge stops with in 20 feet.

It’s more weight then a pistol but a shot gone is the best defense if it keeps coming.

I would hate to shoot a grizzly bear, they taste like crap, and I would never hunt them to have a rug or a blanket.

But when push comes to shove I’d rather kill then be killed.


Jul 01, 2010

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Fair point, but… 

by: Perry

Hi El Patron,

As sad as the idea of a grizzly hunting expedition is, you do make a fair and logical point about the grizzly hunters in Canada who have guides accompanying them with guns.

Here’s the difference though and why that does not apply to hiking in Glacier National Park, or other places that are grizzly bear habitat.

You said:

” These guides _always_ pack a .44 Magnum pistol….and so would I in their shoes. A big Magnum will indeed stop a grizzly, if one hits him well.”

The purpose of these guides is to accompany the hunter and keep him safe. They likely always have a gun drawn or in an incredibly easy to draw location.


Plus, they’re hunting grizzly bears, so they are always on the ready to draw their gun.

For folks hiking in National Parks, they are out enjoying nature, not on edge about a Grizzly Bear around every corner.

A guide also has a steady arm and experience with grizzly bears. How many people hiking in Glacier National Park have had a firsthand encounter with a grizzly bear?

I highly doubt those same people would be able to draw, aim, and shoot with the necessary precision to stop a grizzly bear, like a guide on a grizzly bear hunt would.

For that reason, bear spray is more effective.

You don’t need a steady hand or great aim. You just need to have it accessible.

Remember, even though you can now carry guns in Glacier National Park, it is still a crime to kill a grizzly bear.

~ Perry


Jul 01, 2010

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I think you’re mistaken on one point 

by: el Patron


Grizzly hunters (yes, there are some suicidal pinheads left) in Canada are always accompanied by a professional guide or outfitter. These guides _always_ pack a .44 Magnum pistol….and so would I in their shoes. A big Magnum will indeed stop a grizzly, if one hits him well. That would be brainpan or center chest.

Save the round to put in his mouth at point blank.


May 20, 2010

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Shooting a Grizzly Bear Is Illegal 

by: Perry


Hi Parent Backpacker,

Even though you are now allowed to bring a gun into the backcountry, it is still illegal to shoot a grizzly bear.

The only time it is legal to shoot a grizzly bear is if it’s a life or death situation. A grizzly bear charging is not a life or death situation. The vast majority of charges are bluffs.

By you drawing a gun instead of following the basic precautions of what to do in a grizzly bear attack, you risk further provoking the bear and exposing you and your children to greater harm.

For the millionth time, bear spray is more effective than a gun. Period.

Here are some statistics from the National Park Service…

“Between 2005 and 2009, park visitation totaled 9,835,188. During that timeframe, three visitors were injured by grizzly bears in Glacier.”

3 VISITORS.

That’s 3 out of nearly 10 million. Do you swim with a gun because you’re scared of being attacked by a shark? Come on.

Don’t be so scared of grizzly bears. You will be fine. Just make noise while hiking.

“According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) investigations of human-bear encounters since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffered injury about 50% of the time.”

So, you bring a gun, you expose your children to greater danger. That’s not what you want, right?

Bring. Bear. Spray.

Bear spray is the most effective deterrent against grizzly bears.


May 19, 2010

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shotgun? 

by: parent backpacker


I am not a big fan of carrying a gun while backpacking, but will have two children in the backcountry. I agree that you better be trained to hit a bear with a pistol while being charged. What about a 12 gauge? They sell folding stock gns that could be carried in handy locations. My bigest concern would be about weight. Any thoughts?


Apr 11, 2010

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Guns & Law in National Parks 

by: T. Comins


I am still at a loss as why we have people against carrying firearms in National Parks. You are allowed to by law & the 2nd amendment. If you don’t like it, why not move to Canada or Australia where you do not have the right to carry or own hand guns. Then you will have what you want.

However please keep it in mind that you then need to find another way to protect you & yours.

**Editor’s Note**

There has never been a physical attack in a National Park that would necessitate a handgun to protect yourself

**End Editor’s Note**

In the US we are very lucky to have that ability, to protect yourself & loved ones, never forget that, or give it up. F

Following on that, just how could any sane person complain about carrying in the park ? It’s not just grizzly bears, it’s your right!

**Editor’s Note**

You were not allowed to carry firearms in Glacier National Park or any National Park until President Obama signed a law in the fall of 2009.

Previously, this was not your right. This land is Federal Land. Previously, carrying a gun into a National Park was the equivalent of carrying a gun onto the White House lawn (Federal Land).

There’s no way to spin this. It’s just the facts.

**End Editor’s Note**

The argument about bear spray being better, better for what? Bear spray vs hand gun?

There is no way bear spray will help you protect yourself & family.

**Editor’s Note**

Against a grizzly bear, bear spray is more effective.

Your opinion is your opinion, but statistics are statistics. Please don’t mistake opinions as facts–facts are facts.

Guns versus Bear Repellent

**End Editor’s Note**

The best idea is if you are against the law, don’t go to Glacier National Park or any where else people carry.

Leave law abiding citizens alone.

**Editor’s Note**

I’m just informing people of the facts and promoting an open, honest, truthful discussion.

I am not imposing my opinion on people nor trying to influence them regarding my personal beliefs on what is right vs wrong with firearms in National Parks.

Please keep this discussion civil.

**End Editor’s Note**


Mar 30, 2010

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You betcha, it is U.S. Soil 

by: Anonymous

“Am I allowed to open carry a pistol in the park?”

If you are a U.S. Citizen, then yes you are allowed. The park is part of U.S. Soil, and is Public Property. The Constitution grants you to keep and bear arms, period.

**Editor’s Note**

National Parks are not public property. While National Parks are designated areas designed to provide public access to wilderness areas, all National Parks are on Federally Held land–not public domain.

**End Editor’s Note**

There are those who think (really “want”) it to be otherwise, but that is The Law. There are lessor laws that contradict it, but it is illegal to create any law, local, state, or federal, that violates any Constitutional law. Glacier National Park is Public Property, don’t let anyone deceive you thinking it is theirs (like a Park Stranger might act like) it belongs to The People of The United States, who are Its Government, by the way. The Elected body of That Government work and serve for The People.

**Editor’s Note**

Again, National Parks are on Federal Land. They are not public property.

**End Editor’s Note**

All that said, bear spray is a very effective deterrent of grizzly bears.

All the hype people have with bears is way out of proportion. All this “charging” at you stuff, while of course possible and does happen, is all these “worst case” type deals. Too much fear of bears!

Bear spray will be good for what it is good for. It is a deterrent, not a lethal weapon.

You don’t shoot to kill a bear anyway–you shoot to stop it. I always bring a gun. I would also use pepper spray too if all I need to do is deter some sniffing around bear. I never had to.

Every bear I have ever encountered (and there have been many) all ran on off.

Also, remember that, unless it is a black bear, most pistols are not going to do much to a bear.

Pepper spray might even bother it more than the little flea bite from a pistol bullet.

The gasses will obviously make it further inside the bear!

If you are shooting to stop a bear, you have to use a heavy bullet, that is designed to penetrate deep, and smash and break through bone when hit, not fall apart, deflect, or stop…like most pistol bullets will.

Lastly, stop worrying over grizzly bears. Don’t listen to the .1% of the bad stuff while forgetting about the 99.9% – be prepared of course for it, as with anything, but don’t be so driven by fear over it.

**Editor’s Note**

Still be prepared and have proper knowledge when hiking through grizzly bear habitat

**End Editor’s Note**

Too much about all these bears its much more dangerous in the city with all the evil criminals than it is out in a forest with bears.


Feb 01, 2010

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Guns 

by: T Comins

I say go for it, carry & protect !

Bear spray, perhaps it is less cost, but what is your life worth ?

With a pistol, a warnin shot may change the Bears idea’s, however if not u sitll have at least 5 + chances to survive.

Good luck with your fly spray (Bear)when the Bear comes from up wind, u get a face full yourself. Then the Bear really knows u are silly….LOL.


Jan 30, 2010

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Gun’s vs pepper spray 

by: Zmac


I enjoy the gun debate. I am heading to Thru-hike the Park and beyond this spring and will carry a pistol (my choice in bear spray). I always enjoy hearing the argument that those who do, would not have time to fire if and when the need arises. This could be said for bear spray and gun alike.
I Hope like hell I never have to use it (and probably won’t) but as far as what works better at stopping a charging bruin, the Gun wins hands down.

Wind in your face and bear in your face will mean pepper and bear in you face. The Gun (in the proper hands) will cut through the wind and be more effective in all situations. That is just a fact.

Having hunted bears for many years it should also be noted that there is no guarantee. These critters can and will continue an attack no matter which measure you choose to employ. I however want that bruin bleeding profusely before he/she/it begins trying to finish me off, for obvious reasons of course.


Jan 07, 2010

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Guns 

by: Anonymous


I do not believe the wish to carry a pistol has any thing to do with which party one supports !

To carry or not is a personal matter.

In the US one has that option, with out “tree huggers” dictating. So why not simply get “off yor high horse” & get with the program, for get the old party line.


Dec 30, 2009

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About Politics and Assumptions 

by: Perry

My original comment was by no means meant to be a political one.

The truth is, bear spray is more effective of a deterrent than a gun against a grizzly bear.

For what it’s worth, I am not a member of a political party, so ‘Just because your political party tells you something you don’t need to follow it or believe every little thing they believe in.’ is an unjust assumption.

The other assumption is that I should turn off the television. Hard to turn a TV off if you don’t own one, sir.

Finally…

Another truth is that physical attacks that would necessitate someone drawing a gun on another individual are incredibly rare in National Parks.

Can you point to a single instance outside of the tragic shooting in a Virginia National Forest earlier this year (when a concealed weapon by the victims would have been of zero benefit to them)?

Please do not make assumptions about individuals you do not know. And please keep this discussion civil.

To T. Comins: I have corrected your spelling errors.


Dec 30, 2009

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GUNS 

by: T Comins

You really do not like guns do you?

Guns have never been a problem. So why are you so against a law abiding person carrying?

We, the public would love a balanced response…


Dec 29, 2009

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no political statement 

by: Anonymous


You are very unlikely to be accosted by a criminal while visiting Glacier National Park. Thus, he probably assumed that you wanted to carry the gun for protection against bears. I doubt that any political statement was being made; however, you sure took a simple miscommunication and jumped down his throat to push your political views. Try to be less sensitive.


Dec 08, 2009

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Sigh? 

by: Freedom


Why sigh? I really don’t understand why people have such a problem with open carry in a forest preserve.

I understand if you have a political affiliation that you need to follow lockstep in everything they believe but I fail to see the argument for not allowing law abiding citizens to carry in a forest preserve….

Just because your political party tells you something you don’t need to follow it or believe every little thing they believe in.

And you are right, a handgun will not stop a bear but a shotgun with a slug will….but most of us do not carry for bear protection, we carry for self defense against CRIMINALS that don’t care about gun laws or park rules.

Please be a little more opened minded, turn off the T.V. and become informed. Good website otherwise.


Oct 23, 2009

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Better purchase 

by: Perry


Buy bear spray instead.


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Comments

  1. If you are just going to spout hypotheticals and make stuff up based on 0 facts maybe you shouldn’t have a blog

  2. Ive been trained to draw and rapid fire. Ill be carrying my 44 and bear spray. spray 1st then rapid fire if it comes back for more. thank you

  3. I almost didn’t read the short article after the *sigh*. What it made me do is………. *sigh*. Just another anti gunner….. *sigh* ….

    And then what we get is how a gun owner isn’t able to draw his gun, then shoot the bear dead. That is true 99% of the time. BUT, the chances of drawing your bear spray and creating a ‘fog’ of spray he isn’t willing to continue charging through in the same amount of time is also not going to happen.

    I live amongst black bears and travel amongst grizzly, usually with a pack on my back. And I can report, the only time I was ever charged was by a black bear that had followed me for over a mile. Yes, followed me and when he finally made his decision to charge me (he’d been inside heavy timber as he paralleled me), he KNEW I was a man and stood with his head down as he watched me since I wasn’t going to run. Then with head down and ears laid back, here he came. I can tell you with absolute certainty, I am glad I had my everyday carry gun with me, a heavy loaded .44 mag with hard cast bullets.

    He charged from ‘about’ 35 yards away. Yes, I was able to draw the pistol my hand was on and hit him twice, turning him and then one more in the seat of his pants as he decided I wasn’t what he wanted for lunch. The game dept tracked him with hounds and found him dead not too far from where the incident occurred and found it was a boar that weighed 460lbs and was healthy and in the prim of his life with no reason to have attacked me.

    Would bear spray have done the same job? I don’t believe so in my heart of hearts. I believe the bullets impacts combined with the noise from the gunshots are what did the job. The fact that I shoot competitively and shoot upwards of 20K rounds per year also doesn’t hurt.

    Those who love to tout how they hike in bear country for years and have never had a problem, that they have never needed a gun or bear spray, I have only one thing to say. Good for you, Mr or Ms Lucky. If I hadn’t been armed that day, I’m as certain as I’m sitting here, I wouldn’t be here today. The old axiom that its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, applies to everyone every day of their life.

    So when I’m in grizzly country, I have both my pistol AND bear spray. I want the noise of my firearm with the obvious firepower if needed, but if I can possibly use bear spray, that is where I’ll start. But until you’ve been charged and know with absolute certainty you are about to be food, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    • “Ive been all over the woods and never encountered a single bear.” -I love it when people say this.
      You know why they havnt seen a bear? They are complacent and naive. Just because you dont see them, doesnt mean they arnt there. Logical fallacies from illogical tree huggers

  4. I am a conceal carry person. First I think if we were all just willing to look out for one another we would all be much safer. I will carry my handgun on my trip to Glacier next week. Fact of the matter is none of us knows for sure what we would do in the face of an attack by a bear or a human, we can only hope that we can react. The human body’s first reaction is to fight, or flee, its third is to for the brain to shut down and play dead. This is built into our DNA, most of us can’t control it. Story’s of this happening to police officers are all over the net. Of course there are exceptions, but not all of us are combat trained marines.

    My thoughts are if the bear is busy chewing on someone else, at least I might be able to help them, and then hope that someone else with a firearm would reciprocate.

    Also a topic that I haven’t heard discussed is the piece of mind of knowing that I could at least do something to protect myself and my wife and others.

    This is a long thought out conclusion.

    Thanks for letting me speak my mind.

  5. Sorry perry you are so misinformed. Federal lands are here for the use of Americans. BLM, Dept. of Forestry, National Parks, its managed by the federal government for us. We pay these people and that is part of the problem. Anytime the fed gets involved they screw it up. Keep on carrying your own seasoning and dont worry about what real amearicans have been doing for hundreds of years.

    • Perry Rosenbloom says:

      Misinformed? Where is the data? I provided data… I am informed. Where is your data?

      Look up the definition of misinformed and then come talk to me…

  6. If your afraid of getting mauled by a bear stay out of the woods. If you need to carry a gun to go on a hike you shouldn’t be there. Yes I do believe that. All of you that think your better at handling a hand gun than most police officers…..well I might agree with you on that but that’s still not saying much. In Portland Oregon where I reside and most cities with police shootings, it’s often reported that anywhere from 20-100 rounds were fired. Often from multiple officers. So I can just see some one getting shot in a hailstorm of bullets in our national parks someday. Guns make us safer like smallpox makes us safer. I own guns but when the day comes that I feel I must carry these with me everywhere to “protect” myself then I’ll get rid of them and move to a much safer place.

  7. WhackyWaco says:

    I am not a hunter nor do I have a need to carry guns. If I go hiking in a NP I prefer to go with a small group of other people or guided Ranger tour. If I was alone I would carry both, bear spray, and a gun. If the bear spray doesn’t work then I would use the gun on myself. 🙂

  8. Phil Duane says:

    I do not understand why folks get so wound up and defensive if another person wishes to carry a firearm while hiking in wilderness. If you want to rely on bear spray that’s fine. I may carry that as well. But permit me the freedom to make my own choices.

    In May 2014 I was backpacking with a party of 8 in Aravaipa Canyon near Safford Arizona. It’s a beautiful place and this was about my eighth trip into the canyon. It was Sunday morning around 7:30 and we were packing to leave when a brown bear came within 75 feet of our camp. Hearing our commotion, the bear rambled down to the creek and proceeded away from our campsite. Three of us kept an eye on the bear’s progress while the women and children fled in the opposite direction. That’s when the bear turned, looked at us and began a full charge in our direction. Pepper spray at 250 feet – I don’t think so. Instead we fired two rounds into the ground and she stopped dead in her tracks, turned, waited for her two cubs and preceded away from our camp.

    Thank you for your concern, but I’m glad we had a firearm. I can tell you from experience that no one is going to stand there looking at a bear coming their way and wait until it’s close enough to use pepper spray.
    Phil
    Phoenix AZ

  9. Can you carry a shotgun into Glacier National Park. I was hiking there last summer with bear spray and realized that it was so windy the spray would have served me no good. It was a little unnerving.

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