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New Law Pits Guns vs. Grizzlies in U.S. Parks

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posted on May, 10 2010 @ 06:07 PM
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With the changes enacted by Congress, it is now legal to carry firearms in US National Parks (see here for further information) but there are unanswered questions, concerns and yet to be realized consequences of this new law with regards to both people and wildlife.

Many would argue that carrying firearms in the back-country is a wise choice for various reasons, both Nature and Human related and if this discussion were centered on Forest Service or BLM land, I would tend to agree. However, this concerns the National Parks - places that attract millions of visitors yearly and many of those visitors are not to be considered experienced or even competent wilderness persons. I have to wonder how many will now rely on their "weapon of choice" in situations that they may otherwise have not? How many people will be emboldened to venture places they may otherwise not have ventured? How many who do, should?


"Experience shows that putting firearms and grizzly bears in the same place ends up with dead grizzly bears," said Steve Cain, senior biologist for Grand Teton National Park.

"Time will tell. Of course there is the potential for unintended consequences — injury to bears, injury to people," said Glacier spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt.

The advent of the new law focused not on bears but on Second Amendment rights. Even so, three national parks — Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton — are waiting to see what will happen once hikers and campers begin venturing into the backcountry in the weeks ahead.(1)


There are many what-if's and of course, we will not know how this pans out until we see a full season or two, but I have to wonder how many animals will be needlessly injured or killed because of inexperienced, gun-toting, weekend warriors. Or worse, how many people will be needlessly injured or killed because of the mistaken belief that carrying a gun will now offer them more protection against wildlife? How many will forget the "rules" of bear country now that they believe they have a reliable defense?


...park rangers in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier are still telling visitors that a pressurized can of hot-pepper oil — bear spray — is their best defense.

Their reasoning? Studies show that in most cases, putting a cloud of bear spray in a grizzly's face works better than trying to stop a moving 400-pound animal with a perfectly placed bullet.

"You've got to be a really good shot with a gun," said Yellowstone bear biologist Kerry Gunther. "That's the beauty of bear spray. You don't really have to aim it. All you have to do is pull it and pull the trigger."

Bear spray, of course, also happens to be better for bears. (same source)


On a personal note: I had two very close encounters with bears (and a moose) in Glacier National Park. Both encounters happened in the same day, on the same trail and this was considered a "day hike" not far from the lodge so I do know what that feels like.


Bear spray stopped charging grizzlies 12 out of 14 times, a success rate of 85 percent. The other two times a grizzly charged, one person was deeply scratched and the other was spared when the grizzly moved off after stopping just a few feet away.

"Simply put, if you're just a hiker, you're far better off with the nonlethal deterrent like bear spray. The numbers just speak for themselves," Smith said.

It's also more practical, Smith said: In thick trees and brush where a grizzly could surprise you, hiking with a lightweight can in your hand with the safety off is much easier than holding an unholstered large-caliber handgun.


Of course, there are situations in which using a firearm would be the only/best choice, but is it the majority of cases? I would say no. What are your thoughts? Do you have concerns?




[edit on 11-5-2010 by LadySkadi]




posted on May, 10 2010 @ 06:29 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Take both.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 06:39 PM
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There is absolutely no place for firearms in national parks. National parks should be kept wild and a healthy fear of the wilderness is a good thing. It detracts idiots from venturing out into the wilderness where they don't belong. I've backpacked through many of our national parks and have seen many dangerous animals including grizzlies. Not ONCE did I ever fear for my life or wished I had a gun.

Now the other day I just stepped out my front door here in SoCal and was greeted by a great big rattler.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 06:46 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


First-Person-Shooter hide and go seek anyone?


I am of course, being completely saracstic, please note that.

Because, proper gun and knife safety, are things I take far more serious than a heart attack, since they are tools, that can kill people, if used improperly.

I noticed once Bush let the semi-automatic weapons law lapse that the "terror" threat never went down, in Washington D.C., and people began thinking that this was a good thing, because America was going back to the "Old West" mentality, in some senses, but I did not agree.

Am I against guns, hunting, and or defending my civil rights?

No.

I am not.

But, knowing how Government works, I smell a trap, of monumental proportions.

Think for a moment, where all of those people the new Arizona law, about Illegal Immigrants, will go once they cannot remain in Arizona?

I know your title of this thread, LadySkadi, is about grizzlies, but it made me think of illegal aliens, because of the nature of hatred for our fellow men and women.

I am wholeheartedly against "Illegal Aliens", because they are here, illegally.

However, having stated that, I'm not going to be stupid enough to join in a lynch-mob.

With guns no less.

Because, I assure you, there will be a clause and or change in the laws.

Which will catch people with their britches down around their knees.

And I see no reasons for a change in gun laws either way because if you know the law, and know how to not only stay within it, you have no reason to break it.

I used to hate bureaucracy, but now I see it as a means to not only hamper criminals, out in the streets, but those in Washington D.C. as well.

Know your rights, or you have no rights, and will get no rights.

Besides all of the above, National Parks are places where Boy Scouts camp out.

And there's no way I want lunatics toting guns around Scouts in the woods.

[edit on 10-5-2010 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 06:56 PM
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yep, like the post up there about 3 or 4 spots....carry both a rifle for primary, .44 mag for back-up...after the fast draw hotpepper oil spray. and the night time belongs to them because they're feeding.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 09:33 PM
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Bears are easy to handle. When confronted with a bear just get down on all fours and slowly approach it. Don’t look into the eyes of the bear keep focused on the ground. Slowly lower you head and place it under the bears neck. You will have to be forceful because the bear will not accept this and try to move away. lean into the bears shoulder with your shoulder and really push yourself into him. Eventually they bear will place his head over yours and push you down. He will then place his teeth on your head but will not bite.
At this point you and the bear have an understanding. The bear will be the dominant one in this new found relationship. And I forgot to add. This only works if it’s a male bear and he isn't hungry



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 09:49 PM
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reply to post by Darkice19
 

Lol.

Ssshhhh, there are those out there that will take you seriously.

Any thoughts on the National Parks carry issue?



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 09:49 PM
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My guess is that you wont see much change in bear encounters because a lot of people were carrying concealed weapons before this new law. I know for one that I was.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 10:20 PM
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Well here's one reason guns in the national parks were approved:

"Why the need for weapons in parks? According to the Department of Interior, in 2006, there were 11 murders, 35 rapes, 61 robberies, and 261 aggravated assaults in our national parks. These are so called “gun free zones,” which translates to the fact that criminals know that in these places, law-abiding citizens are unarmed and easy targets."

and

"Much has been written about how dangerous parks will be when the new law goes into effect. About how the animals will be more likely to be shot, and poaching will increase. This law has absolutely nothing to do with rifles and shotguns. The old laws still pertain, and these firearms must still be rendered inoperable in national parks. The law only allows concealed handguns, hardly the weapon of choice for shooting big game, and these being carried by persons who have been checked and determined by law enforcement to be trustworthy citizens."

Source: www.bigbendgazette.com...

Note: Big Bend National Park is located on the border of Texas and Mexico, and is considered one of America's most remote and desolate national parks.

Here's a short quote from the same source from the Department of
the Interior:


"Q: Aren’t parks safe places? Why allow people to carry concealed firearms?

A: …current statistics show an alarming increase in criminal activity on federal lands managed by DOI, especially in areas close to the border and in lands not readily accessible by law enforcement. We do not believe it appropriate to refuse to recognize state laws simply because a person enters park boundaries"











[edit on 10-5-2010 by manta78]



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by manta78
 


You are alluding to a similar line of thinking that SpartanKingLeonidas is and that has to do with interactions with people in the Parks. An understandable concern. I don't believe that concern actually had to do with Congress revising the law, though. I believe that review was pushed by the gun-rights lobbyists using the 2nd Amendment as leverage.

It seems it is entirely possible that our National Parks are becoming more dangerous due to the illegal activities taking place within them - given the obvious strain on the Park's resources (financial, employment, etc) it is no wonder that managing them is becoming more and more difficult.

Who loses?

Those who would seek to enjoy the Parks for what they were meant to be for.

As well as protected sanctuary for of those who are meant to live with in them.




[edit on 10-5-2010 by LadySkadi]



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:18 PM
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There is an old joke at Glacier National Park: Do you know the difference between Black Bear poop and Grizzly poop? Grizzly poop smells like pepper spray and has bells in it!

The Blackfoot Indians who staff Glacier NP don't mess around with Grizzly's. They will shoot them if they come up to their home or cabins in GLP.
While in Lewis and Clark NP, I came face to face with a small 8 foot tall Brown Bear. It was chasing down an Elk that came crashing through the brush in front of me about 15 yards away. Fortunately there was a stream between me and the Bear. It stopped, looked right at me standing up on his hind legs. I drew my 45 and chambered a round. The bear spun around and continued to pursue the Elk. I hiked back to my truck and was thankful that I had a firearm with me. The next day, while working in ER, I told the story to some of the locals. They told me that they always bring a rifle and 45 or 44 magnum when they go out into the woods.
Oh yes, they are the ones who told me the joke about the bear poop.



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by Violater1
 


Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, 'eh?

*I hate the bells, too*




[edit on 10-5-2010 by LadySkadi]



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:44 PM
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we have a problem in Calif parks with pot growers.

And the black bears are little problem.
But as a firefighter/EMT in a little old mining town in the Sierras i can tell you pepper spray does not always work.
Our fire department took care of bear problems in town as the animal control officer for the county was over a hour away.

We sometimes had to use the fire hose at about 200 psi pressure to drive bears from town.
The only firearm we used was a .12 gage with rubber balls and those also worked on bears that had entered homes.(you did not want to use pepper spray indoors where someone lived.)

No one carries long guns in national parks when hiking. they are to heavy.
and no one is going to try to shoot a grizzly with a handgun unless its absolute the last resort.

Few hand guns would stop a grizzly. but firing a gun in the air would be more likely to stop a attack then pepper spray.

So far this is a propaganda story by the anti gun people as no one has had to shot a bear.

99% of people with guns in national parks are just passing through and will never take there guns out of there RVs.

I have always carried weapon in my motorhome.
I just hid them when i went through national parks.
And to search a motorhome is not like searching a car.
As its a home the cops must have a search warrant unless you give them permission.
and since a motor home is a home you do not have to give permission and they can not use probable cause to search it they must get a search warrant.

And they must list what they are searching for on the search warrant.
If they get the search warrant to look for illegal drugs and find none but find the guns they can not legally take the guns.(or anything else that is not illegal)

In Calif its legal to have a weapon in a motor home as long as its outside the reach of the driver when he is driving.


"Why the need for weapons in parks? According to the Department of Interior, in 2006, there were 11 murders, 35 rapes, 61 robberies, and 261 aggravated assaults in our national parks. These are so called “gun free zones,” which translates to the fact that criminals know that in these places, law-abiding citizens are unarmed and easy targets."


How many people were murdered raped assaulted or robbed on there way to or on the way home from national parks and how many would have had a gun if the had not left it at home because they were going to a national. park. These numbers do not take that into account.


[edit on 10-5-2010 by ANNED]



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:17 AM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 



On the whole National parks carry thing im all for it. Im not worried about bears im worried about people. The only place I don’t carry is on the way to and from work because it’s a nuclear power plant and our rules supersede everything else. But if im not at work im carrying.
If im in a national park and a bear walks passed me the last resort is to shoot it. 90% of what bears do is just posturing unless something is seriously wrong with the bear.
Just because you can bring firearms into national parks doesn't mean you need to load up with some hi powered rifles. I would think only self defense weapons would be needed. A nine mil will work great in a defense against a bear if the situation dictated. Just need some steel core fmj.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:41 AM
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I am a hunter, but I wouldn't carry a firearm unless hunting... and I hunt for food, not sport... people who kill animals for horns, hides, etc... you deserve to be shot, your skull would look good on my shelf! So what would I do if attacked?

0. Try to slowly back off.

It continues forward...

1. Put my arms up swinging them around like a mad man, squawking, yelling, growling, screaming, making goofy noises to try and frighten it away.

It continues forward...

2. Toss it a snickers bar to try and distract it...

It continues forward...

3. Perform the Dance of Death...(no weapons)
- A bears nose is highly sensitive, a direct blow will hurt it greatly.
- Gouge or throw dirt/sand in the eyes, a blind Bear isn't going to be able to catch you.
- Get it to stand on it's hind legs and go for the genital shot...not sure how well this will work with female bears, but it should bring down a male... works on humans at least.

4. I always carry a good boot knife on me... jump on it's back and repeatedly stab at the neck and throat.

That's what I would do... stand my ground. If it kills me, so be it, it's nature, if not... I earn the title, "Bearsbane". Playing possum/dead might work, but it's not me. As for the new exception for carrying guns in National Parks... it just gives people a chance to shoot up everything... "I thought it was a bear!"

If you can't handle a bear without a firearm, don't go into the woods.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 11:20 PM
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reply to post by ForestForager
 





1. Put my arms up swinging them around like a mad man, squawking, yelling, growling, screaming, making goofy noises to try and frighten it away.


Come to Alaska sometime, our bears need some mirthful entertainment and distraction!

In the bush of Alaska people who carry are more common than those that don't so no one pays much attention and nobody gets hurt. Rarely do bears get hurt either.

A grizzly tried to get in the boat with me last summer but they apparently know what 357 Mags are for because as soon as I pointed it at him he and his buddy took off running. So did the one beside the BBQ yesterday morning at 5:10 AM! Smart bears! Gotta love em!



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 02:55 AM
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Originally posted by Zosynspiracy
There is absolutely no place for firearms in national parks. National parks should be kept wild and a healthy fear of the wilderness is a good thing. It detracts idiots from venturing out into the wilderness where they don't belong. I've backpacked through many of our national parks and have seen many dangerous animals including grizzlies. Not ONCE did I ever fear for my life or wished I had a gun.

Now the other day I just stepped out my front door here in SoCal and was greeted by a great big rattler.


You think all ppl with guns are idiots ?

I think all ppl with big mouths are idiots.

We have the right to defend ourselves and we have the right to
travel through our national parks.

The bear mace is the better choice but it is not 100% and when it
does not work I want a firearm as a backup option.

You want to defend the rights of wild animals, and I will defend the
rights of the ppl whose forefathers fought and died so we do not
speak german or japanese here.

The human haters can take their self loathing and end their lives
and do the rest of us a favor.



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:07 AM
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reply to post by ForestForager
 

"I am a hunter, but I wouldn't carry a firearm unless hunting... and I hunt for food, not sport... people who kill animals for horns, hides, etc... you deserve to be shot, your skull would look good on my shelf! So what would I do if attacked?"

I do not agree with sports hunting either, it is a total waste.

It is either for self defense or for food.

If you kill it you eat it or have it processed and given to
a homeless shelter or friends and family that will eat it.

"If you can't handle a bear without a firearm, don't go into the woods. "

This statement makes no sense, this would basically tell
the boy scouts and girl scouts they have to stay home.

We have a means to defend ourselves and we should use it.

The bear mace works best, but as even the forest service says
it is not 100% and you are not going to beat a bear with a knife.

Very common for them to rip your jugular vein out of your neck.

Have the firearm as a backup.

The anti-gun crowd is so obvious these days.

They are pathetic.





[edit on 12-5-2010 by Ex_MislTech]




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