The Silver City Sun News published my letter today. They left out a most important citation. After describing our bear attack, I had included "A Can of Spray, A Lot of Luck"; Anchorage daily News; 9/29/96). That was important for tow reasons: one, it substantiates the account; and two, the title showed us to be fortunate to have survived a bear attack relying on pepper spray. They also left out another very important point: I referred to Glacier National Park as having the most bear attacks in the contiguous U.S. That is important because the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) runs right through it, and also because of firearms now being legal there. The letters appearing before and after mine
are clearly there to manipulate the reader towards a different opinion.
It is published under my first name Chris--my full name is Christopher Bruce Deile--I most often write on this forum using my middle name Bruce.
There were three bear attacks in Arizona's Tonto National Forest last year - all occurring within one month's time. One involved a bear attacking a man in a tent, partially removing the man's scalp from his head. His fiancée and 1-year-old child were in the tent, and although probably traumatized by witnessing the attack, both escaped unharmed.(ABC News; Connor Burton; 6/25/12). Also, a young girl received minor injury to the back of her neck by a bear as the girl and her mother lay sleeping in a tent near Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico last year. Attributed to persisting drought conditions, further bear attacks may be incurred this year.
A problem exists as Silver City's National Forest Service office distributes "Be Bare Aware" pamphlets advising pepper spray for bear attacks even though pepper spray may not be enough to stop a charging bear.
Force is needed - not merely a stinging sensation. I learned this when using pepper spray on a charging grizzly in Alaska - watching it not stop the bear from using a side arm swipe to my chest knocking me on my butt. The bear was growling and snarling in my face while swinging its paw threateningly at my head. It ran away; I jumped up; it made a U-turn, charged again - knocking fishing partner Keith Benner against a tree before leaving.
Northbound Continental Divide Trail hikers will be misinformed should they read "Be Bear Aware" when coming through Silver City. And although the risk is low in New Mexico, it increases when hikers reach Glacier National Park - where park officials too advise pepper spray for the general public yet respond with firearms themselves when bear attacks inevitably occur.