Brigham Young study supports belief that carrying a weapon in BEAR country doesn’t make you safer ~ FLORIDA physician concerned about MALARIA cases ~ MISSOURI confirms two more captive DEER test positive for CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, RHODE ISLAND, TEXAS (2), VIRGINIA (2), & WEST VIRGINIA (2).

Dr. Tom Smith of Brigham Young University, bear expert and lead author of safety study. Photos of Dr. Smith courtesy of Brigham Young University.

Utah 03/05/12 byu.edu: News Release – Carrying a gun in bear country doesn’t mean you’re more protected in the event of a bear encounter, according to new research out of Brigham Young University. A study led by BYU biologist and bear expert Tom S. Smith found that firing a gun is no more effective in keeping people from injury or death during bear attacks than not using a firearm. “It really isn’t about the kind of gun you carry, it’s about how you carry yourself,” said Smith, who has researched bears in the field for 20 years. “We need to respect an animal that could potentially take our lives.”

Dr. Tom Smith

Smith and his colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of bear-human conflicts in Alaska for the study, appearing in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. Those incidents involved 444 people and 357 bears, 300 of which were brown bears. The researchers found no statistical difference in the outcome (no injury, injury or fatality) when they compared those who used their gun in an aggressive encounter (229 instances) to those who had firearms but did not use them (40 instances). The implication is that firearms should not be a substitute for doing the right things to avoid unwanted encounters in bear habitat. Although a shooter may be able to kill an aggressive bear, injuries to the shooter and others also can occur. This finding is especially relevant given the 2010 law allowing guns in national parks. “We’re seeing more and more people in bear country with guns,” Smith said. “Yet guns, for most people, are not their best option. You don’t even need a gun if you behave appropriately.”

Behaving appropriately, according to the authors, means following the conventional wisdom for avoiding bear encounters:

  • hike in groups
  • avoid areas of poor visibility
  • make noise as appropriate
  • avoid startling mothers with cubs
  • be more cautious in brown bear country

“This study provides statistical, quantitative support that following the conventional wisdom actually is the most effective way to be safe in bear country,” said co-author Randy T. Larsen, a professor of plant and wildlife sciences at BYU. “Because once a bear charges, the odds of a successful outcome is seven times less likely, regardless of whether or not you have a firearm.” Smith and his co-authors write that using firearms in bear encounters is difficult even for experts due to the need for split-second deployment and deadly accuracy. People should carefully consider their ability to be accurate under duress before carrying a firearm for protection from bears, they write. “People should consider carrying a non-lethal deterrent such as bear spray,” said Smith, a gun owner himself. “It’s much easier to deploy, it’s less cumbersome and its success rate in these situations is higher than guns.”

In a 2008 study, Smith found that bear spray effectively halted aggressive bear encounters in 92 percent of the cases. Bear spray is a liquid pepper spray that comes in an 8-oz can and retails for $30-$40. The hissing sound and sight of the expanding cloud of the spray are often enough to frighten away bears. However, the intense burning of red pepper juice is debilitating and derails bears from continuing an attack. “If you act appropriately and you carry bear spray, you are much better off than just blundering into bear country with a large firearm,” Smith said.

Smith’s co-authors on the study are Stephen Herrero of the University of Calgary, Kathryn R. Johnson of the Alaska Science Center, and Larsen. Cali Strong Layton, an undergrad biology student at BYU, was also a co-author.

Anopheles Mosquito

Florida 03/07/12 local10.com: by Kathleen Corso – Dr. Ian Russinoff, an ER doctor with Broward General Medical Center has recently seen a few cases of malaria. “I wouldn’t say we have a increased incidence of malaria but it needs to be something that’s kept on our radar because sometimes it’s a hard diagnosis to pinpoint and it’s potentially fatal,” Russinoff said. Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed from one person to another through the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria can also be transmitted from a mother to her unborn baby and through blood transfusions. Symptoms include abdominal pain, headache, joint pain, nausea, sweating vomiting and fever.  The fevers tend to come in cycles.  It’s going to come about every six hours,” said Russinoff. A diagnosis is confirmed through blood work “Once these parasites migrate to the liver you will get some break down of red blood cells which relates to the anemia we see in some of the lab findings,” Russinoff said. Malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical areas and though not typical in the U.S., it has been introduced here from infected mosquitos that are transported into the country via airplanes. Malaria will not resolve on its own and needs to be treated with antibiotics. “It’s like any other infection if it runs its course and affects other parts of the body so it could be very serious,” said Russinoff. Before traveling to warm climates outside the U.S., including the Caribbean, check with your doctor about taking an anti-malaria medication to prevent infection.

Missouri 03/08/12 infozine.com: The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received two additional positive test results for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer harvested at a captive wildlife facility in Macon County. Depopulation is continuing at the facility, operated by Heartland Wildlife Ranches, LLC, with approximately 320 animals harvested and tested since the facility’s first positive result was found in October 2011. MDA has received negative test results for approximately 280 animals, with results pending from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for the roughly 40 remaining samples. The current harvest and testing protocol requires the facility to remain under its current quarantine until all animals have been harvested and tested for CWD, which is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans or non-cervid animals, such as livestock and household pets.

Massachusetts 03/08/12 Beverly, Essex County: A raccoon killed by an unvaccinated dog earlier in the week has tested positive for rabies. The dog has been euthanized.. See http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/beverly/2012/03/dog_euthanized_in_beverly_afte.html

New Jersey 03/07/12 Gloucester, Camden County: A raccoon trapped in the Glendora section earlier in the week has tested positive for rabies. See http://gloucestertownship.patch.com/articles/rabid-raccoon-found-in-glendora

New York 03/07/12 Augusta, Oneida County: Health officials have confirmed a second case of rabies in the county this year, the most recent in a raccoon that entered a barn and attacked and killed a cat. See http://oneidadispatch.com/articles/2012/03/07/news/doc4f57a96ddc848166260873.txt

North Carolina 03/02/12 Newton, Catawba County: A dead raccoon found on in the Mount Olive Church Road area east of Newton has tested positive for rabies. Two dogs were exposed. See http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2012/mar/02/third-case-rabies-confirmed-catawba-county-ar-1996708/

Rhode Island 03/07/12 East Greenwich, Kent County: A raccoon killed by police in the backyard of a Barrows Drive residence earlier this week has tested positive for rabies. See http://eastgreenwich.patch.com/articles/raccoon-killed-on-barrows-drive-tests-positive-for-rabies

Texas 03/07/12 Lewisville, Denton County: A man riding his bike near Edmonds Lane and Bellaire Drive was attacked and bitten several times by a skunk that has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Rabies-Reported-in-Lewisville-Denton-County-141790433.html

Texas 03/08/12 Brenham, Washington County: A skunk found earlier this week in the parking lot of Walgreen’s on South Day Street has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.brenhambanner.com/news/rabid-skunk-found/article_c82b4984-6942-11e1-8022-001871e3ce6c.html

Virginia 03/02/12 Newport News: Peninsula Health District officials warn Bellwood Road residents that a raccoon captured in that area has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/health-officials-warn-of-rabies-in-nn

Virginia 03/07/12 Ringgold, Pittsylvania County: Health officials  issued a third rabies alert this year after a raccoon in the Hillside Rod area tested positive for rabies. See http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/mar/07/third-rabies-alert-2012-issued-pittsylvania-county-ar-1747402/

West Virginia 03/02/12 New Creek, Mineral County: A raccoon found in the Ash Spring Run Road area has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.newstribune.info/breaking/x587869746/Rabid-animal-confirmed-in-New-Creek-area

West Virginia 03/07/12 Pendleton County: West Virginia officials want the public to help them find a person apparently bitten by a rabid raccoon while trying to remove it from a highway. The Department of Health and Human Resources says the incident occurred Sunday in Pendleton County. Dr. Marian Swinker says an unidentified white male was seen holding an injured raccoon on U.S. Route 220, accompanied by a woman and a child. The woman told the witness that someone in the car had been bitten. The group then left, headed south between Franklin and Monterey, Va.

Dr. Marian Swinker says an unidentified white male was seen holding an injured raccoon on U.S. Route 220, accompanied by a woman and a child.

The witness took the raccoon to a veterinary clinic, and it tested positive for rabies Tuesday. Swinker says rabies is almost always fatal by the time symptoms appear, so the person needs immediate medical treatment.

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One response to “Brigham Young study supports belief that carrying a weapon in BEAR country doesn’t make you safer ~ FLORIDA physician concerned about MALARIA cases ~ MISSOURI confirms two more captive DEER test positive for CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, RHODE ISLAND, TEXAS (2), VIRGINIA (2), & WEST VIRGINIA (2).

  1. I really like this info on the bears…my son lives in Montana..and he carries bear spray…

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