February 25, 2024
Grizzly bear roaring in forest iStock-Byrdyak 914770576
Grizzly bear roaring in forest iStock-Byrdyak 914770576

Early reports are two dedicated hikers and campers, Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse, his wife, and their dog, have been killed by a grizzly bear in a remote part of Banff National Park in Canada. At least one empty can of bear spray was found at the scene. From Calgary Herald.com:

From what he was told by Parks Canada officials, it appears the attack began when the couple were in their tent, where they would have typically been poring over e-readers with Tris by their side, Colin said.

“Their tent was crushed and their e-readers were open, they were both discovered in their stocking feet,” he said.

It also appeared one of both of them might have left their tent and fought the bear to the end, he added.

“One can of bear spray had been fully discharged but this bear was not to be deterred,” Colin said.

“It’s possible one was on the outside trying to fend off the bear while the other was in the tent sending the message.”

He was also told the response team encountered the same grizzly believed to be responsible for the deadly attack, and were forced to shoot it.

“In their words, the bear was intent on killing them.”

Another source, outsideonline.com reports two empty cans of bear spray were at the scene:

Colin Inglis told the CBC that the couple had messaged him throughout the trip via a Garmin inReach. On the evening of the attack, he received a message saying the two were setting up camp. But later that evening, Colin Inglis received an SOS message from the two. “The message said ‘Bear attack bad,’” he told the CBC.

Colin Inglis said rescuers found two empty canisters of bear spray in the couple’s campsite.

Both sources cite Colin Inglis, identified as Doug Inglis’ nephew, for the information. The scenario, where two people have two cans of bear spray and a dog with them makes the potential to use the spray during an attack highly plausible. The couple’s tragic deaths increased the number of cases where bear spray was used during a bear attack, and people were killed, to eight incidents where nine people were killed.

Seven previous incidents were detailed in an AmmoLand article. Canadian National Parks ban people from carrying firearms inside its borders.

The couple had no legal option to carry a firearm for protection. United States National Parks had a similar policy until 2008.  Handguns have been shown to be 98% effective in stopping bear attacks.  A figure of “98%” has been widely disseminated for bear spray, but the calculations involved are completely different. It is extremely difficult for people to obtain permission to carry handguns for defense in the Canadian wilderness. A few permits are issued for people who are required to work in wild areas.

Bear spray has been available since 1986. Eight incidents have been documented where bear spray was sprayed, and nine people were killed by bears. Modern cartridge handguns have been available since about 1873. One person has been documented as killed in one incident where a handgun was fired in defense against bears.

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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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