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"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)
...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)
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.
"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."
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.
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.