Saturday, June 15, 2019

Woman Bit by Bear Shows How Useful a Handgun Could have been

Black Bear that Killed and ate New Jersey Hiker in 2014
On 31 May, 2019, at about 1 p.m., a woman hiking with her husband on a popular trail near Aspen, Colorado, was bitten in an unprovoked attack by a black bear. She was bitten on the thigh and required hospitalization for a short period.

Most bears that show no fear of humans have become acclimated to humans. Bears that have no fear of humans are likely to test humans to see if humans are potential prey. Eventually, the bears have a good chance of causing harm.

The case illustrates how effective a pistol could be at stopping bear attacks, especially black bear attacks.

The bear had to be stopped, because it had become a danger to humans. If the woman or her husband had been carrying a common pistol, they could have stopped the bear attack and terminated the bear before any harm was done.

 The bear was an adult male of about 224 pounds. The woman who was attacked understands the necessity of killing the bear. From
But she understands why CPW had to put the bear down.

“It breaks my heart, but I do (understand) because in this case, the bear was not afraid. I found out this is a path used by kids, it’s close to the city, thank goodness an old gnarly lady, not a child... could’ve been disastrous," Jansson said.

CPW found the bear within 100 feet of where it attacked Jansson.

“We have to be more respectful, give them their space and not put things out in our yards that are going to attract them and get them used to humans and these kinds of attacks become more common," Jansson said.
The couple saw the bear a significant time before the attack occurred. They had time to step off the trail and watch the bear as it approached to within mere feet of them. There was plenty of time for them to draw a pistol, take aim and fire, if they had understood the dynamics and the necessity.

No wild bear should be allowed to approach so closely to a human without consequences. If a bear approaches this close, it is a danger and should be put down.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife understood the necessity of killing the bear as well. From
Authorities said they will be forced to put the bear down when it is captured.

"This is an aggressive bear and by policy, we will put it down if found," said CPW Officer Matt Yamashita. "But until we find it, the public should remember what to do if they see any bear. If it appears aggressive or shows no fear of humans, do not approach it. Haze it away by yelling or banging pots and pans, then call CPW or 911 immediately."

There are fears that the bear, described as light brown and weighing around 200 to 300 pounds, may enter Aspen's city limits before it is found.

The authorities found the bear and killed it.

 DNA tests confirmed the bear killed was the one who bit the woman.

When bears are in common contact with humans, there will be conflict. Bears will need to be killed to prevent human injuries and death. 

In 2017, Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said over a hundred bears a year had to be put down in Colorado, and the number was rising.

It makes sense for the person who is put in harms way to be the one to stop conflicts and attacks by bears. Pistols have been shown to be adequate to perform the task. The skill level required to shoot bears, to stop an attack is not high, especially for black bears. Black bears are often seen at very close range as they set up for a predatory attack, or test the potential prey to see if it is a danger.

When a person who has been tested or attacked by a bear fails to kill it, a situation is created where the authorities are required to hunt down and kill the bear. It takes  time, money, and resources. It more people are put at risk. It creates the potential for the wrong bear to be killed.

The obvious solution is for the person who is initially in the situation to kill the bear.

That is a primary advantage of handguns over bear spray. A handgun, used in defense against a bear, is very likely to kill the bear. Bear spray simply discourages the bear momentarily. Many black bears have continued to attack after being sprayed. Bear spray does not decisively stop future attacks.

Bear populations must be controlled by humans.

Bear populations are increasing. The surplus population will be involved with human conflicts as they spread out into human occupied territory.

Bear attacks are very rare. If all bears involved in human bear conflict were killed, it would not have any detrimental effect on overall bear populations.

The situation today is most aggressive bears are killed. Most of them are are killed by the authorities, after the fact. It would be better if they were killed during or before the fact.

Surviving bears are likely to be somewhat less aggressive, as bears that easily habituate to humans are removed from the population.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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