Archive for the 'Guns In National Parks' Category



Study Links Rifle Ammunition To Wild Fires

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

Or so they say:

A study by the U.S. Forest Service has concluded rifle ammunition may be to blame for wildfires across the west.

The Forest Service commissioned a research team based in Montana to investigate the link between fires and rifle ammunition, after several reports cited Utah wildfires caused by bullets during 2012.

The study started last year with the first test run in September. Scientists tested 16 different bullets composed of steel, copper and lead, totaling 469 rounds fired.

“We designed an apparatus that consisted of a steel deflector plate and a box at the bottom called a ‘collector box’ that we could fill with various materials that could be tested for ignition,” said research forester Mark Finney.

They found once certain bullets fragmented, they would ignite the moss in the collector box.

“The bullet by itself isn’t very hot until it strikes something very solid,” Finney said. “The process of deforming it….is what heats it up.”

Finney said this test is the first to provide proof rifle ammunition could be the cause of fires. So far, the team has only tested bullets in a controlled environment, which emulated dry conditions.

7NEWS Reporter Lindsey Sablan asked Finney if the research being done may one day have an affect on shooters on federal land. Finney said he was not responsible for policy change but said “I would hope people would just consider ignitions from target shootings as one possibility to watch out for.”

In June of this summer, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah banned “steel-core or steel-jacketed bullets” along with exploding targets and tracer bullets. Colorado BLM Director of Communications Steven Hall said they “certainly took a look at it.” He went on to say they chose not to impose an outright ban this summer because, “we have different situation and conditions in Colorado.”

The full report is found here.  It seems to me that they focused very heavily on steel core ammunition, which most shooters don’t shoot down the barrels of finer weapons (I understand the Eastern Bloc ammunition shot from Mosin Nagants is different, and I also know that we can purchase green tip ammunition for AR-15s, which I wouldn’t shoot for target practice anyway).

Nonetheless, I read some of the report, but I noticed that of the four authors, not a single one is a registered professional engineer, and so the work lacks a PE seal.  Thus, I see no reason whatsoever to read any further or lend any credibility to the report.

You can do with it what you want.

Is A Gun Protection Against A Bear?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

One would think that the answer to this question is fairly straight forward after the change in federal law allowing firearms to be carried into National Parks saved its first backpackers.  But there was a proliferation of stupid articles about a gun being no protection against bears, articles such as this one.

A well placed bullet might stop an aggressive grizzly, but not shooting could be just as effective in protecting yourself in bear country, according to a new study by Brigham Young University wildlife biologists.

Longtime bear biologist Tom Smith and colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of close-quarter bear-human conflict in Alaska between 1883 and 2009 in which a firearm was involved. They found the gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of these encounters, which resulted in 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities

“It really isn’t about the kind of gun you carry. It’s about how you carry yourself,” said 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.”

One commenter noted how bad studies like this are, observing that:

For any study to be valid, controls must be in place to make certain that conditions are identical for the options being tested.  That is patently false in this scenario and for a very simple reason:  Bear spray is carried with the full purpose of using it on a bear.  That may seem like a simple premise, but let me continue.   A firearm may be carried for any one of several reasons; small game hunting, bird shooting, etc.  In other words, the bear spray examples they give are all in preparation for those specific situations, the firearm examples may be anything from someone carrying a 12 gauge loaded with OOO buckshot, strictly on the concern for meeting up with B’rer Bruin, to a squirrel hunter armed only with a .22.  Likewise would be the case of shotgunner, out for birds and carrying only birdshot.

For this study to be valid, it would have to compare those using bear spray for protection with those carrying heavy enough firearms for the specific intent of protecting the carrier from bears.

Well, yes, but things that seem intuitive to us (e.g., that the presence of a man-killing animal requires protection) get buried by biased “researchers.”  Fortunately we have other writers who aren’t so stolid.

A predatory black bear attack on a camper in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness area illustrates why guns–not bear spray–are sometimes the best tool for self-defense.

A five-year old, 185 pound male black bear jumped on the camper’s tent at 7:30 in the morning. The bear then ripped through the tent and mauled the man in what Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials describe as a predatory attack.

The camper–who has chosen not to be identified or talk to the media–used bear spray to deter the bear, however, the bruin did not leave the area.

Since the man was out of bear spray, he was helpless. That would not be the case if he had a pistol, rifle, or shotgun because most of these firearms hold five or more rounds. The man could have killed the bear.

Incredibly, a U.S. Forest Service trail crew employee came upon the injured man just outside his camp. The Great Falls Tribune said the Forest Service employee “chased off the bear,” but no explanation was offered on how this was accomplished.

The Forest Service employee then radioed for help. A helicopter arrived, and the injured man was taken to the Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Later that afternoon, Montana FWP sent a team to dispatch the bear. The bear was killed just 70 yards from the campsite. It was in the process of moving closer to the tent.

The bruin had bear spray on its fur. It had blood on its claws. A necropsy showed that after the initial attack, the bear had been able to get into food at the campsite. Its stomach contents included bits of Ziplock bags, dried pasta, and other food.

If there’s such a thing as a typical predatory black bear, this bear “fits the mold.” A recent study shows that 92% of all predatory black bears in the past century have been males. This bear was healthy, and that too is typical.

In the 2nd edition of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, biologist Stephen Herrero writes that “If predation is the motive for an attack, the attack typically continues until the bear is forced to back down, or the person gets away, or the bear gets its prey.” (p.106)

Better to have a minimum of five or six shots from a firearm, than one 5-8 second burst of bear spray.

You can keep your bear mace.  I’ll carry my XDm .45 or some similar gun, thank you.


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