December 12, 2018

The Bear Spray That Didn’t Work

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It was November 15, 2007, when I wrote an article on my former blog titled, “Bear Spray Versus Bullets.” This article came at a time when government authorities and members of so-called conservation groups (environmentalists) were claiming that bear spray was a better deterrent to saving your life than a gun when being attacked by a bear – specifically a grizzly bear. This difference of opinion has never really been resolved and probably won’t be.

I recall that it was only a couple days after I published that article I got a phone call from one of those “authorities” who was pushing the bear spray for protection meme. I assumed, and still do, this person had a financial stake in bear spray among other personal agenda reasons.

Regardless, I agreed to give him my mailing address and he promptly sent me a garbage pail full of propaganda that upon reading no more convinced me that spray was better than bullets than playing in the middle of Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania would be.

Most have heard by now that an experienced guide and an elk hunter were attacked by two grizzly bears in Wyoming. Both men were heading back into the woods to retrieve an elk the hunter had downed. The guide, Mark Uptain, was killed in the attack. The hunter was injured but not with life-threatening injuries. Exactly what happened at the scene remains to be known.

As is typical, reports as to what happened began making their rounds and what is also typical many of those reports turned out to be false. However, according to a report published in Ammoland, one thing is certain: “Mark Uptain appears to have relied on a can of bear spray to deter the attack. A can of bear spray, with the safety off, was found at the site. The adult sow grizzly had bear spray on her at the scene.”

So, the guide discharged his bear spray, and it got on the bear (although this report doesn’t say what part of the bear had spray on it, one would assume that bear spray placed anywhere except the face would be ineffective.)

Again, we come back to the burning question as to which is more effective in warding off a charging bear – spray or bullets. Maybe the real answer is contained in this same article: “The bear was shot and killed as she attacked investigating Fish and Wildlife personnel.”

It certainly looks like that while authorities were at the scene investigating this event, at least one of the two bears attacked Fish and Wildlife personnel. Why, as I pointed out in my 2007 article that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was heavily promoting spray over bullets, didn’t the FWS officials whip out their cans of bear spray and ward off that attacking bear? Did officials even have bear spray with them? Whether they intended to kill the two bears or not should have been of little concern. How did investigators know this particular bear was the bear that attacked and killed Mark Uptain?

Obviously, the agents doing the investigation believe bullets are better than spray.

Unfortunately, we now have evidence that in this one incident bear spray did not save one man’s life.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the irresponsible claims that spray is better than bullets. As I said in 2007, it depends upon many circumstances and each person has to decide for themselves how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, our own government is doing all that they can to force us to do it their way. Not necessarily the way they would and do it but how the government demands we do it.

The big question then should be this: If bear pepper spray is better for warding off an attacking bear, why did a government official(s) use a gun to do the job?

 

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