An October 19 news release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department shows that Wyoming puts hunter safety 2nd, saving grizzlies 1st.
According to the news release, “a bear that runs toward you with its head up, ears erect, and stiff legged is probably bluff charging.”
Probably? Is a hunter supposed to hold fire because the bear is probably bluff charging? Can Wyoming Game and Fish guarantee the charging grizzly won’t lower its head, flatten its ears back, knock the hunter on his butt and maul him? Probably? Who cares about probably.
In the unlikely event a hunter being charged by a grizzly kept his composure and calmly studied the bear to see if its head and ears were up, how close is he supposed to let the bear get before shooting? That’s what hunters need to know. Why doesn’t Wyoming Game and Fish provide hunters with that potentially life-saving bit of information.
In Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, renowned biologist Stephen Herrero tells hunters to shoot when a charging grizzly is 100 feet or closer.
Many bear attacks happen fast as lightning, but does Wyoming inform hunters the two-hand safe carry allows you to bring your rifle into action much quicker than if you sling a rifle over your shoulder? Nope.
An October 20th news article about an elk hunter near Cody, Wyo., who got nailed by a grizzly says that after the bear left, the hunter “loaded his rifle.”
Wyoming Game and Fish should inform hunters that if you don’t keep a round in the chamber, safety on, it’s unlikely you’ll have time to chamber a round and get off a shot, especially with a bolt-action rifle.
Instead of offering hunters these and other useful tips, the Wyoming Game and Fish news release says, “Many aggressive bears have been deterred through the use of bear spray and all hunters should carry it where it can be reached and know how and when to use it.”
You need two hands to use bear spray. In an article titled “Spray then pray,” Chuck Bartlebaugh, Be Bear Aware director for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee said, “The bear spray can must be held with two hands so it doesn’t tilt upwards.”
Hunters don’t have two hands free. Hunters need at least one hand to hold their rifle, even a rifle slung over one shoulder.
It’s true the many bears have been deterred by bear spray, but a study on the Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska shows that virtually all people who used bear spray were hikers and non-hunter who had two hands free. Wyoming Game and Fish is misleading hunters.
It’s clear that Wyoming Game and Fish puts hunter safety 2nd, saving grizzlies 1st.