A video is circulating of a man stopping a grizzly bear charge with birdshot. The attack and defense occurred before 14 October, 2018. The attack was in British Columbia. The bear was only momentarily stopped, but the shot gave enough time for the man to reach the safety of his house. If you study the screenshot of JLM firing his last shot, you can see he is aiming low, towards the legs. JLM confirms that was his intention. From Youtube.com:
I didn’t want to blind the sow by hitting her in the face so I aimed at her right side to hopefully trip her up to buy me enough time to run inside the house. I waited as long as I could, backpedalling and losing my right Croc, almost tripping me up, until she was just across the driveway and then I shot, which did trip her up so I turned and ran inside the house.
The confrontation was inevitable. The bears had claimed the man's property as their own. They refused to be run off by noise. They had been on and off the property for days. JLM has children. JLM dared not allow his children to move outside of the house with the grizzly and cubs asserting territorial rights.
Grizzly bear sows with cubs are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous.
Consider a human analogy. A homeless meth addict camps on your lawn. They are always armed with several knives. They repeatedly threaten you and your children. Their actions are unpredictable. You live in the country. The authorities will take an hour to reach you. The authorities are known to be sympathetic to meth addicts, and are hesitant to press charges against them. They are only doing what meth addicts do, after all. Addicts existed in Canada long before you were born. This gives present addicts some sort of imagined moral authority. If you or your children are attacked, mutilated, and or killed, the meth addict may be executed, but only if it can be shown that you did not provoke the attack by moving too close to the meth addict or allowing your children outside without adult protection. (sarcasm intended)
The sarcasm is only slightly off reality. In an academic paper about large predatory attacks on humans, unattended children is seen as the greatest contributor to the attacks. Stephen Herrero, the oft cited bear expert, is one of the authors. From nih.com:
About half of the well-documented reported attacks have involved risk-enhancing human behaviours, the most common of which is leaving children unattended.
Note the deep green asymmetry. Approach a grizzly bear sow with cubs, and the sow is justified in attacking and mauling you. If a grizzly bear or mountain lion attacks your children, you were at fault for “leaving them unattended”.
The person who was attacked on their property, JLM, gives a good account of what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. Most of these details are left out of media accounts. You can read the full account at the link.
The comments at most media sites are predictable, vociferous, and ignorant:
- The bear should be protected, not the human.
- The human should have been killed and eaten.
- The bears were there before humans were.
The last is particularly ignorant, as both humans and grizzly bears colonized British Columbia as the glaciers from the Wisconsinan ice age retreated about 10-15 thousand years ago.
The last glacial period in North America is called the Wisconsinan Glaciation, which is divided into the Early (80,000 to 55,000 years ago) and Late (25,000 to 10,000 years ago) glacial stages with an interglacial stage between 55,000 to 25,000 years ago. During the Late Wisconsinan glacial stage, most of Canada and parts of the northern United States were covered by two massive ice sheets, the Cordilleran, which lay to the west of the Rocky Mountains, and the Laurentide to the east.
If all bears that threaten humans in a close encounter were killed, grizzly and black bear populations would still increase. A choice has to be made about what level of bear populations humans will tolerate. If bold bears, unafraid of humans, are selected out of the population (killed), there will be fewer human/bear conflicts. A higher population of cautious bears will be tolerated.
There are many times as many black bears as grizzly bears. The number of fatal attacks by the two species is about the same. Black bears have been selected to avoid people. Grizzly bears need to undergo the same selection.
The more people have propagandized that bears are simply fuzzy people, the more bears and humans will be killed in bear/human conflicts. Humans who live in cities where bears are not a threat are most likely to call for bears to kill and eat humans. Their life and their children are not in danger.
Bears are not people. Bears do not think like people. Bears do not have human culture or morals. Thinking of bears as people is dangerous and irresponsible.
If you must think of bears as human, think of them as armed human meth addicts. Interesting and attractive at a distance, but still armed human meth addicts.
Bears want what they want when they want it. Bears do not respect property rights. Bears do not care about the lives of other creatures. Grizzly bears, especially, tend to be paranoid and aggressive, by human standards, much like meth addicts.
Bears are not human meth addicts. Meth addicts need human society to survive. Bears do not. Bears need to be valued and tolerated by humans to survive near humans.
Few people in cities would tolerate armed meth addicts camping in their yard, even if they are interesting and attractive at a distance. Do not expect people, who live where bear populations are increasing, to tolerate bears appropriating their yards as the bears' territory.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.