Study: Guns not best defense against angry bear

BY PAUL FOY Associated Press Published:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- While bringing a gun to a bear fight may seem like a solid way to win, experts say guns largely provide a false sense of security.

A recent study by bear researchers from Utah's Brigham Young University found that it's not that firearms don't work, but many people can't use them quickly enough in the panic of an attack.

Lead researcher Tom S. Smith says the report analyzed 269 armed human-bear encounters in Alaska between 1883 and 2009. It found that the use of guns made no statistical difference in the outcomes, and many people were mauled or killed anyway -- 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities.

Other experts question the findings, citing limited data given the thousands of human-bear encounters and noting that each incident is different.

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