During my recent vacation to Glacier National Park I heard the same thing over and over again: you only have to worry about mother bears protecting their cubs. Only? That’s like saying you only have to worry about armed criminals who want to rob you. Who cares why the damn bear wants me dead? It’s PC BS: the bear doesn’t want to attack you. It feels it has to. It’s not the bear’s fault. It’s yours for entering its territory. Again, this is important because . . . ? You bet I was strapped-up when hiking to Avalanche Lake and elsewhere with my cubs. And now that bear attacks have caught the MSM’s eye, we learn that yes, bears want to eat you . . .
“The common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate,” according to a University of Calgary study in The Journal of Wildlife Management. “Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts.”
University of Calgary professor emeritus Dr. Stephen Herrero, U of C graduate Andrew Higgins, and colleagues from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and Brigham Young University conclude that situational awareness is all. Until it isn’t. “With training, people can learn to recognize the behaviour of a bear that is considering them as prey and deter an attack by taking aggressive action such as fighting back.”
So how do you fight a bear that considers you protein? In Glacier National Park the majority of tourists put bear bells (a.k.a., dinner bells) on small children and . . . that’s it. If that. OK, some folks carry bear spray. As for what gun to carry, I felt majorly under-gunned with 31 rounds of nine. (I need to change residence to buy a new gun or take possession of my RI firearms). Blogger Herschel Smith reckons it’s all about high-cap mags.
But this is one case where caliber counts. As a fellow hiker open carrying a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum 629 explained, you don’t want to annoy the thing. She might have said something about using the Caracal to shoot a nearby tourist whilst running but I don’t rightly recall. Still, you have been warned.