A Brigham Young University biologist who analyzed 269 accounts of bear-human conflict in Alaska from 1883 to 2009 says the presence of a gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of encounters, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
"It really isn't about the kind of gun you carry. It's about how you carry yourself," said Tom Smith, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Wildlife Management.
"Guns are great, but for a gun to be great you have to be very, very good. No one ever practices on a 500-pound animal charging at you through the brush at 10 meters. They practice on paper targets," he added. "That's a big, big difference from being in the moment of stress."
Among the 269 encounters he analyzed, 172 bears were killed and 151 people were injured. Smith stands by his earlier study showing bear repellent spray is more effective in deterring bears.