"The bear, of interest, charged the person without the handgun. It was the other person with the handgun that killed it."
by Kneeland Taylor, Vice president, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Anchorage
June 1, 2010
To the editor:
A grizzly bear was shot and killed by a hiker in Denali National Park on Memorial Day weekend. This was the first bear killed by a hiker in the park in decades and is the result of Congress passing a law to allow firearms in national parks. Firearms were previously prohibited.
I was in the park on Memorial Day weekend, and I saw several bears, including one up close. I am always amazed that bears only charge people who carry firearms, and leave alone those of us who do not. I have hiked and camped in Denali and many parts of Alaska for 35 years, and have yet to have had a problem with bears. I carry bear spray, because bears can be dangerous. I have never needed to use it, but there are undoubtedly rare occasions when an effective bear deterrent is essential.
The loss of one bear in Denali is not a great loss, except that the bears near the park road are the bears that thousands of nice people see as they ride the park’s buses. That’s hundreds of thousands of nice people. These bears will quickly learn that humans and buses are to be feared because a handful of people shoot and kill when the bears disregard the humans as the bears search for roots, berries and ground squirrels. Having learned that humans are to be feared, the bears will retreat from the road, and stay out of sight. And thus the joy in viewing these animals will be lost to hundreds of thousands of nice people. Very sad. We who love to see these animals, and to be close to them, once again lose.
The National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Task Force and the Tea Party win. Politicians of both parties cave in. No one in a position of authority takes note of the fact that human-bear encounters in our national parks have been effectively managed for several decades by thoughtful, informed policies, procedures and rules. We have lost again. Something wonderful about this state which I love is being taken away. For no good reason.
grizzlybear wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 09:55 AM »
Kneely is still preoccupied with belittling other people's freedoms. Has been for years.
His knowledge of animal behavior seems on a par with most city dwellers! Bears only charge people who carry firearms? Good one!
Bear Spray: "Natural Selection in a Handy Aerosol Can!"
« CoolRon wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 09:47 AM »
This letter was already discredited in my mind when I read the heading Alaska Wildlife Alliance. Wonder what scientists think of suicidal bears that attack only persons armed with firearms? Could this be the Darwin effect at its best?
I used to carry a gun to Alaskaland when I was out in the wilderness oasis in the parking lot in case of bear attack. Now that they have cut those trees down I don’t need to carry heat to the park’s parking lot.
« JoeParks wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 09:26 AM »
To carry a gun for self defense is a constitutional right.
Whats your 'real' problem Kneland ?
« b.n wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 09:09 AM »
I work in bear country all the time and I carry a gun. I've been in some seriously sticky situations with bears but have never had to shoot or kill one. This guy makes it sound like everyone who carries a firearm and sees a bear is going to shoot it. That's a pretty sweeping generalization, and an ignorant one at that.
And was this guy there to witness the circumstances behind this incident? He wasn't there. He doesn't know. He should keep his mouth shut.
« twain wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 07:03 AM »
The LTE is wrapped up in his bambi fixation that all the fuzzy little creatures out ther will leave you alone if you just make yourself available for lunchand dont resist. All the joggers being attacked around anchorage, were unarmed. So let this fool go unarmed if it makes him feel macho, I will choose to have thje means to defend myself all the while hoping it dont happen.
« max0330 wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 07:00 AM »
Could it be that Mr Taylor is the Grizzly Man Timothy Treadwell re-incarnated? The sad part is Treadwell took someone else, his girlfriend, with him!
« Plebeian wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 06:46 AM »
The article seems to think that all would have ended peachy if it hadn't been for these evil hikers and their guns.
The likely scenario would have been a mauled and probably dead hiker. The fact that these people are alive and well should be a testament to the fact that allowing guns into the park is a Good Thing.
« Invictus wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 06:39 AM »
Taylor's synapses are not firing in order. The bear, of interest, charged the person without the handgun. It was the other person with the handgun that killed it.
« polarmark wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 06:03 AM »
with out those hikers having those guns we may have read a very differnt story that day. a headline might have read; "hiker in denali park mauled by grizzly while horrified friend looks on". keeland taylor would have preferred to see a headline like that instead of the one that did appear. to taylor those bears lives are more important than the humans who protected themselves that day.
don't give money to organizations such as alaska wildlife alliance. they are radicals and potentially domestic terrorists. we already see how little regard they have for human life in their uproar over a death of a bear versus the possible death of a human.
« max0330 wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 04:25 AM »
Kamen...I agree. The statement by Mr Taylor to that effect just moved to the top of the idiotic list. It is truly amazing that the bears have that sixth sense about them to tell who is carrying and who is not! Let's see, this one is not carrying so I won't bother him. And this one is carrying so I'll just test him and see if he is man enough to shot me and cause me bodily harm! I nominate Mr Taylor for a Darwin award!
« Kamen wrote on Friday, Jun 11 at 01:22 AM »
"I am always amazed that bears only charge people who carry firearms, and leave alone those of us who do not."
Well, all these people would disagree with that statement.
Lead in Ammunition Contaminates Game Meat
ScienceDaily (June 6, 2010) — Eating the meat of animals hunted using lead ammunition can be more dangerous for health than was previously thought, especially for children and people who consume large quantities. This is reflected in a study carried out by British and Spanish researchers that has been published by the journal PLos One.
A team of scientists from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), along with researchers from other British institutions and from the Spanish Research Institute on Cynegetic Resources (IREC in Spanish), has proven that the levels of lead in some game meat that has already been cooked exceed the maximum allowances set by the European Union, due to the presence of remains of ammunition.
"Depending on the species and type of recipe used, between 20 and 87.5% of the samples analysed exceeded the maximum level of lead set by the EU in meat from livestock animals of 100 parts per billion (0.1 mg/kg of the fresh weight of meat)," Rafael Mateo, co-author of the study and researcher for IREC (a joint centre composed of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the Community Board of Castilla-La Mancha and the CSIC), indicated.
To carry out the study, published recently in the free access journal PLoS ONE, the researchers analysed the meat of six species of game birds (red partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, grouse, woodcock and mallard) shot by hunters in the United Kingdom. "In Spain and other countries hunting is done in the same way and using the same ammunition, meaning that the issue with this type of contamination in meat is the same across the board," Mateo points out.
The pieces were x-rayed to detect the presence of pellets and minute fragments of lead. Afterwards, the pellets in the meat were cooked and removed, as we would normally do when eating. Finally, the concentration of the metal in the food was measured using atomic absorption spectroscopy.
"Although the levels set by the EU are for meat that is consumed more frequently than game, in species like the woodcock, 5.4% of the birds cooked displayed more than 10 mg/kg, which indicates that by eating 200g of this meat on a single occasion, the tolerable weekly intake of lead for a person weighing 80g could be exceeded," the researcher highlights.
The study concludes that the potential health risk of consuming game shot with lead could be greater than was thought up until now, especially for vulnerable groups like children and people who consume large quantities of this meat.
Vinegar increases lead contamination
Today at the conference of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), that is taking place in Seville this week, Mateo explained how the bioavailability of lead varies: "In metallic form it cannot be absorbed easily by the intestine, but when cooked, especially with recipes done in pickle, it transforms into forms of lead that can reach the blood more easily through the digestive system."
"In big game hunting, and contrary to what is believed, the lead bullets also fragment," explains Mateo, who, with his team, has confirmed the presence of high concentrations of lead in samples of deer and wild boar from Sierra Madrona (Ciudad Real): "Mining sites in the region can influence the results, but they alone do not explain the extremely high levels detected in some samples."
Alternatives to lead
Lead is a heavy metal that is very toxic, which explains why its use is being restricted more and more. For the same reason, lead pellets and bullets have started to be substituted by others made from different materials.
For small game hunting steel ammunition already exists, especially recommended for use in humid areas (where there is little risk of ricochet), and in cases when shooting into the air is required, like in driven partridge shoots. When you have to aim at the ground -to shoot rabbits and hares, for example-, the alternative is pellets made from tungsten or bismuth in different compounds and alloys with metals or plastics.
For big game hunting, some countries like Germany and the United States have already started to use copper bullets. This material hardly fragments and is not as toxic as lead.
Click to view image: '065f156de82f-grizzly.jpg'
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