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Kytroutbum
05-05-2009, 09:04 AM
I finally recieved this response this morning from GSMNP headquarters. It looks like an exact copy of what I remember from '06. This is not someone's Blog!!

"Sorry for the slow response time -- we were waiting for clarification from
Washington about whether or not bear spray is legally considered a weapon,
but finally gave up and decided to apply the regulations as we have in
previous years. In this park we are not prohibiting carrying bear spray at
this time. However, please be aware that pepper spray requires specific
training to use effectively. When used improperly, pepper spray may act as
an attractant to bears, or may incapacitate the visitor, making fending off
an attacking bear difficult. Therefore we do not recommend the use of
pepper spray in Great Smoky Mountains National Park."

Again, Don't put yourself in a position where you have to use it. Follow good bear protocol, etc. The Spray is for WHEN AND IF all else fails. If you carry it, learn and follow directions before going out. I'VE HEARD AND READ SO MUCH FALSE INFO OUT THERE IN "CYBERLAND" ABOUT IT!

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

kytroutman
05-05-2009, 11:21 AM
Thanks for following up with this Randall. In lieu of waiting for the federal response, the Park Superintendent made his own decision, which is wise. Hopefully this will be communicated to the Rangers as well to avoid any conflicts with the CFRs and what the Superintendent has allowed.

BlueRaiderFan
05-05-2009, 01:22 PM
Save this...Someone may have to legally defend themselves at some point since this their stance is so vague as a government entity.

cardfly
05-05-2009, 02:15 PM
Randall,

I got the same email today as well. I'm printing it off and taking it with me next trip.

Kytroutbum
05-05-2009, 06:57 PM
This was almost an exact copy of my march of '06 email from them. My wife and I have had our licenses checked, been in Ranger Stations, talked with Rangers (not volunters) about a problem bears sitations, paused to talk with back country Rangers patrolling, etc. We've always carried it openly in all situations, I off a wading belt, she in the mesh on the side of her daypack. I've never had anyone even question it. I've noticed that Head Rangers in different parks have the latitude to alter some policies.


Randall Sale
The Kytroutbum
The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a good fish back, and who knows if the fish you caught isn't someone else's gift to you?---Lee Wulff

yoursmokies
05-07-2009, 09:36 PM
I finally recieved this response this morning from GSMNP headquarters. It looks like an exact copy of what I remember from '06. This is not someone's Blog!!

"Sorry for the slow response time -- we were waiting for clarification from
Washington about whether or not bear spray is legally considered a weapon,
but finally gave up and decided to apply the regulations as we have in
previous years. In this park we are not prohibiting carrying bear spray at
this time. However, please be aware that pepper spray requires specific
training to use effectively. When used improperly, pepper spray may act as
an attractant to bears, or may incapacitate the visitor, making fending off
an attacking bear difficult. Therefore we do not recommend the use of
pepper spray in Great Smoky Mountains National Park."

Again, Don't put yourself in a position where you have to use it. Follow good bear protocol, etc. The Spray is for WHEN AND IF all else fails. If you carry it, learn and follow directions before going out. I'VE HEARD AND READ SO MUCH FALSE INFO OUT THERE IN "CYBERLAND" ABOUT IT!

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

I need to know who sent this to you and I would like a copy of the email if that is possible.

This is 100% not what I was just told by Steve Kloster the TN District Ranger yesterday after being ducked for 2 weeks by him. He backed up Kim Delozier who was the first to tell me the spray was illegal.

When someone from the backcountry office said some bear sprays were legal I immediately asked asked for clarification at which time I was turned over to Steve Kloster who took more than 2 weeks to answer me.

The deeper I am looking onto this the more disgusted I am getting especially after the US fish and Wildlife reports I have been reading.

kytroutman
05-07-2009, 10:03 PM
The CFRs (Code of Federal Regulations) state that the repellent (or any pepper spray) is illegal in the national park systems. There are exceptions to these rules for those parks in AK and areas of Yellowstone are excepted by the Park Superintendent. From reading the CFRs, there are some latitudes granted to the Park Superintendents to make exceptions to the regulations on a limited scope basis, such as the repellent issue. From what Randall was able to obtain, it is apparent that the GSMNP Superintendent has exercised some of that latitude to allow the possession but in the same breath, states that it is not recommended.

yoursmokies
05-07-2009, 10:06 PM
it is apparent that the GSMNP Superintendent has exercised some of that latitude to allow the possession but in the same breath, states that it is not recommended.

Need the source of the email.

Kytroutbum
05-08-2009, 08:16 AM
THE PROBLEM WITH WHO SAID WHAT MAY BE THE SOURCE. The US Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture, The National Park System is under the Department of the Interior. Two different Branches of Government with different policies. Juristictional Boundries for GSMNP lie with the National Park System- Department of the Interior.

I am NOT SURE of the working relationships between Tenn Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife, and GSMNP-Dept. of Interior but assume that they overlap greatly. With my knowledge of Governmental Agencies I also, feel safe in assuming that in the Park proper Dept. of Interior policies would be followed.

Aside, I find it extremely ironic that Forest Service personnel are telling you its illegal, when it was Forest Service personnel at the Headquarters Shoshone National Forest in Cody, Wyo. that very very strongly reccommended I carry it backpacking in their forest and require their personnel in the field to carry it. The USFS Ranger even went as far as suggesting the brand and giving the location of store to purchase it.

I believe what is preceived as a "run around" and the warning language is C__ Y___ A___ carefully worded by a legal consultant someplace to reduce liability, etc. I know there was some legal action taken against the Park, and /or (MAYBE?) park personnel from the mauling death above Elkmont, approximately 10 years ago. Remember we live in a "sue" crazy world where most liability insurance companies have found it less costly to settle out of court.

It is my belief if Bear Spray were made illegal, we would have some folks exercising their "right to bear arms" whether or not they have had the training. Bear Spray, with all its issues, IS NON LETHAL, where someone untrained, and undergunned weapon in their vest is LETHAL. I wish Yogi and Boo Boo were wild and all park visitors treated them properly. But having been indirectly the recipient twice, of someone else's interaction with the bears, I feel we need to be realistic about bear spray.

I contacted Park Headquarters both times through their OFFICAL website www.nps.gov/grsm
Where upon I used the "contact us" on the side bar. Below is an exact copy of what I recieved! It appears to me to exactly or almost exactly what I recieved in March of '06.

As I stated in my earlier post on this thread, we've carried it openly "VISIBLE" around the park, had contact with rangers, trail crews, etc. and NEVER EVER been challenged. I've seen others carrying it openly also. I would believe I had some credability looking at my history of accuracy and high quality posts of my many years on this forum. I have to wonder if it is not, nor has not in the recent past been an issue for GSMNP-NPS personel, is there some other underlying motivation behind this issue?

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum




From: GRSM_Smokies_Information@nps.gov

To:
Subject: Re: From NPS.gov: Bear Repellant Legality
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 8:16:34 AM [View Source]
Hello,

Sorry for the slow response time -- we were waiting for clarification from
Washington about whether or not bear spray is legally considered a weapon,
but finally gave up and decided to apply the regulations as we have in
previous years. In this park we are not prohibiting carrying bear spray at
this time. However, please be aware that pepper spray requires specific
training to use effectively. When used improperly, pepper spray may act as
an attractant to bears, or may incapacitate the visitor, making fending off
an attacking bear difficult. Therefore we do not recommend the use of
pepper spray in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The most effective defense to protect yourself (and bears!) is to read and
carefully follow all food storage regulations listed at
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/campregs.htm and
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-regs.htm. (It will also
save you a hefty fine because food storage regulations are strictly
enforced in the park.) Bears learn to associate humans with food when
visitors accidentally leave backpacks or food in reach of bears. Once bears
learn that humans are a source of granola, apples, and sandwiches, they can
become dangerous and may have to be destroyed.

The park's trail map contains information about food storage in the
backcountry. If you don't already have a copy, I will be happy to send you
one -- just reply to this email with your postal mailing address.

Best regards,
C. Bloom
Great Smoky Mountains National Park


EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American
people so that all may experience our heritage.




To
04/25/2009 05:07 GRSM_Smokies_Information@nps.gov
PM cc

Subject
From NPS.gov: Bear Repellant
Legality

Email submitted fro[/email] at /grsm/contacts.htm

yoursmokies
05-08-2009, 08:29 AM
Can't believe it but it's right there in black and white.

Please edit your post at once to remove part of your email to avoid you getting tons of spam or have the mod do it at once.

There has already been an employee in back country giving out what the called "bad information" this cliches it in my book.

If bear spray is not legal , based upon all of the documents I read from the US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as other government sources, I will do all in my power to to get it so in a park where the density of bear is 2 per mile.

Proper bear behavior is far more important than bear spray. Though I drive carefully I still wear a seat belt, have anti lock breaks and airbags.

Knothead
05-08-2009, 08:40 AM
Interesting post and threads. If attacked by a bear, would an oak limb or a rock be considered a weapon? If we can't use a bear spray, rock , limb, etc., to defend ourselves, what then, would be legal? Sounds like a can of worms.

mcfly
05-08-2009, 07:36 PM
C'mon guys. Those black bears in the park are more mild mannered and tame than my labrador retriever. Unless you regularly carry New York strip steaks duck-taped to your waders, I'm not sure what everyone is so worried about. And in the exceptionally rare event that one charges you while fishing, use that 6-9' whippy pole we call a fly rod. Seriously? And that same labrador mentioned above ate 5 habenero pepper and 2 jalepeno pepper plants, with mature peppers on them, when he was 4 months old with no ill effect whatsoever. Didn't phase him. Do you really think that pepper spray is going to stop a starving 500 lb. black bear? Seriously?

yoursmokies
05-08-2009, 07:41 PM
Do you really think that pepper spray is going to stop a starving 500 lb. black bear? Seriously?

According to an internal memo and public reports from the US Fish and Wildlife service it works better than guns do.

mcfly
05-08-2009, 08:48 PM
Spray works better than guns do? I have two things to say to that: 1) look at the source of the memo 2) Re-read that sentence and think hard about it. I'll help you while you think about it. Pros of guns= 1. loud scary bang 2. fast moving, deadly bullet. Pros of Spray= 1. very tasty to animals apparently. Gives an extra jolt to that human flesh that they are about to eat 2. Kinda hurts their eyes a few minutes.

Survey most bears and I think they'll agree that they would enjoy eating capsasum flavored flesh more than dying while attacking a stupid human that did something incredibly ignorant to provoke an attack by a almost domesticated black bear.

I read a lot of internal memos at work that were created by morons. The company would never release these internal memos to the public because it would make it look like it was being ran by a troop of monkeys. The fact that the US Fish and Wildlife service actually published this proves that they are being ran by a group of people with an IQ close to that of a troop of monkeys.

How would you test that (pepper spray works better than a gun)? Get two people, one with a gun and one with spray, do something moronic to provoke a black bear, then see which person dies first?

yoursmokies
05-08-2009, 08:58 PM
Excerpt from 1 report

since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time. During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries

Give me pepper please...

BlueRaiderFan
05-08-2009, 09:13 PM
According to an internal memo and public reports from the US Fish and Wildlife service it works better than guns do.


I've SEEN it on Grizzlies...It works big time. You may have to use a little more depending on the situation (e.g, a sow and her cubs, vs a territorial male that you didn't surpirse..The sow will be much more ticked off). Of course, the best thing to carry is the spray, a gun and a knife in a sheath on your side all at once. Start with the spray and work your way down!;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-n51xxF8K8

Have you seen the bear guy in Alaska that owned "bear haven or heaven?" I saw him use it on a griz and it worked just fine. Having said that, this bear was attacking another bear, but still, it was obvious that the bear did not like it at all.

yoursmokies
05-08-2009, 09:15 PM
Start with the spray and work your way down!;)

I like your style.

The fish must quake when you wade into a stream!

Kytroutbum
05-08-2009, 10:24 PM
Seriously? And that same labrador mentioned above ate 5 habenero pepper and 2 jalepeno pepper plants, with mature peppers on them, when he was 4 months old with no ill effect whatsoever. Didn't phase him. Do you really think that pepper spray is going to stop a starving 500 lb. black bear? Seriously?

Spray works better than guns do? I have two things to say to that: 1) look at the source of the memo 2) Re-read that sentence and think hard about it. I'll help you while you think about it. Pros of guns= 1. loud scary bang 2. fast moving, deadly bullet. Pros of Spray= 1. very tasty to animals apparently. Gives an extra jolt to that human flesh that they are about to eat 2. Kinda hurts their eyes a few minutes

Mcfly- 1)These two statements show that there is a need to research the proper use of Bear Spray repellant. The canisters carry detailed instructions on usage, spraying around your campsite is not one! The second line on my can of Counter Assault states not to use it on tents, clothing etc.

2)I usually spend 3 to 5 weeks 2 of every 3 summers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem- Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests fishing the Beartooth Mountain High lakes and Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone drainage. I have more concern over Yogi, Boo-Boo and their Smoky Mt.s friends who have lost fear of humans than I do the those brown bears.

3)To test the preference of bears to the Capsaicin, I would suggest going to Cades Coves smearing yourself with Honey and another person with Capsaicin and letting the cute little furries lick it off ya! Some tourist could get some good pictures.

mcfly
05-08-2009, 10:27 PM
Excerpt from 1 report

Notice that is says "1" report. I'm guessing the source is the aformentioned monkeys in the Fish and Wildlife Service.

since 1992, persons encountering grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time.

Meaning 50% survive, with no injuries to beat!

persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time

No percentage given, meaning that the report was glamorized to convey a preset goal of supporting the use of spray, the initial purpose of the report. Again, probably written on the order of one of the Wildlife service monkeys. And, on the reports admittance, spray does not work 100% of the time.

those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks
Sounds great! Nice way to spend the evening!

Give me pepper please...
I believe Darwin says it best.

I've SEEN it on Grizzlies
I've seen it not work, and ironically, end with a firearm. And that is no lie.

Having said that, this bear was attacking another bear, but still, it was obvious that the bear did not like it at all.
Enough said. Obviously, the bear was not attacking the person with the spray in the first place. And ironically, the grizzly was being attacked by another grizzly. Obviously, neither grizzly was carrying spray. Of course, if either grizzly were carrying spray, he would have been protected.

Some more points:

1)Grizzly hunters use guns, not pepper spray.
2)Carrying firearms in the park is a felony and will result in a prison attack by a big hairy man who looks like a grizzly!
3)A Grizzly bear and a cute, friendly smokies black bear are two totally different animals. Grizzlies attack unprovoked. You have to be carrying food or do something stupid to provoke an attack by the Smokies black bear. If you are doing either on a regular basis, then, again, Darwin said it best.
4) If you fish in Grizzly country, then carry something! Spray, bazooka, something!

Not trying to be mean or knock on anyone, but my point is please use your head when around ANY animal in the wild. I'm afraid people will start spraying black bears that are not attacking, and will unlikely attack, and thus will end-up provoking an attack. If a black bear is attacking, you have done something to cause it! Again, not the same thing with grizzlies.

mcfly
05-08-2009, 10:53 PM
Mcfly- 1)These two statements show that there is a need to research the proper use of Bear Spray repellant. The canisters carry detailed instructions on usage, spraying around your campsite is not one! The second line on my can of Counter Assault states not to use it on tents, clothing etc.

I never mentioned spraying bear spray on a tent! Why would you spray bear spray on a tent? That is stupid! If you are really that stupid, read those instructions twice or more! And stay away from me while I'm fishing!

3)To test the preference of bears to the Capsaicin, I would suggest going to Cades Coves smearing yourself with Honey and another person with Capsaicin and letting the cute little furries lick it off ya! Some tourist could get some good pictures.

I'm guessing the bear will go for the food. This is one of my points. Be careful with food! And if he is licking, he isn't attacking. Now, on the other hand, if the bear is provoked, he could attack either person. Likely it would be the one provoking, regardless of what he is wearing. And I decline your offer; I don't spread food on myself for bums from kentucky!

As I said before, I witnessed an uprovoked grizzly attack. Been around literally hundreds of smokies black bears, sometimes while carrying food. Never even been close to an attack.

Kytroutbum
05-08-2009, 11:22 PM
Having wasted time that last two weeks tying dries, due to the rain and high water, I am leaving my computer to return to my tying desk. I've go some heavily weighed nymphs to replenish.

I hope we established by the documentation that carrying spray IS LEGAL! With a density of 2 bears per square mile, the increased number of park visitors many of who DO NOT follow bear protocol as far as food, etc. You DO NOT have to be the one causing the problem- food, harassing cubs, etc. to be the beneficiary of someone else's stupidity.

mcfly
05-08-2009, 11:29 PM
Trout bum from kentucky:

Well said! So the next question is, how do we reduce this behavior and make it safer for everyone?

If you can't tell from my posts, I am passionate about this, so please don't take offense to my smarta** comments! None was intended.

BlueRaiderFan
05-09-2009, 12:02 AM
I like your style.

The fish must quake when you wade into a stream!

I've learned not to wade in the Smokys unless I have to;)...and I don't really carry the gun.:smile:

kytroutman
05-09-2009, 08:24 AM
"'I hope we established by the documentation that carrying spray IS LEGAL! "
I don't know that I would say it is LEGAL but PERMITTED per the email received. The email also elaborated that it is not RECOMMENDED to carry the repellent in the GSMNP. The CFRs (Code of Federal Regulations) are the basis of regulations applied to governmental and federal public properties, including the national park system. These regulations are still the edicts but do allow the Park Superintendents to make exceptions or waivers to certain portions of the CFRs. The situation with the GSMNP is an exception to the CFR has been granted for the possession of bear spray by the Park Superintendent.

Kytroutbum
05-09-2009, 10:10 AM
(:>) Too much Kentucky Rain lately!!

kytroutman
05-09-2009, 10:26 AM
I hear ya. I think we're starting to mold.

jross
05-11-2009, 11:04 AM
wow! this is the most excitement I've ever seen about bears on this board!

I remember when I rode bikes as a kid. The dad I rode with said just to spray a charging dog with your water bottle. (And for back up on really really mean dogs, he carried a form of pepper spray.) It's a deterrant. If just water to the face will stop a charging rottweiler (it will) then pepper spary to the eye will throw a critter off enough to disuade it (skunks do it, right?). So, yes, pepper spray will work. And to say a firearm will work better is a very open statement! What caliber? What bullet? Hunters don't use .22s on bears.

Arctic Grayling
05-11-2009, 01:48 PM
The State of Alaska Department of Fish & Game recommends a minimum of a .300 magnum rifle or a 12 gauge shotgun for bear protection:

http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bears.bearfax

BlueRaiderFan
05-11-2009, 05:24 PM
Bears say we taste good with pepper.:biggrin:

sammcdonald
05-11-2009, 09:54 PM
i suggest every bear use a great deodorant spray.....won't smell as bad and we won't worry as much

bears say we taste like chicken.

sammcdonald
07-28-2009, 04:25 PM
i got this at work on sunday:

in response to recent conflicting information, we want to clarify the park's posture regarding the possession and use of bear spray.

under 36 cfr 1.4, an "irritant gas device" is considered a weapon by legal definitionh and is therefore prohibited under 36 cfr section 2.4. items marketed and sold as bear repellent would typically meet the legal definition of a weapon. the superintendent does not have the discretion to authorize the possession or use of a weapon for this particular purpose. as with any regulation, the degree of enforcement is a discretionary function that the individual ranger makes in each instance based upon the totality of the circumstance and the possession and/or use of bear repellant would be evaluated in the same manner as any other violation.

this is a direct copy of the memo which was at the information desk...except the typos are mine.

Kytroutbum
07-28-2009, 04:42 PM
Sam- ???? Does that mean ?? The buck has been passed to the individual ranger??

Do I need to get a permit and buy me a Bear Gun?

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

sammcdonald
07-28-2009, 04:49 PM
i am just relaying the information exactly as it is written....

Kytroutbum
07-28-2009, 05:36 PM
I just shot off another email for clarification (:>)! I wonder if the same applies to Yellowstone, funny thing is that I bought 2 cans of UDAP at Sportsmans Warehouse in Lex last night. Less than $20 bucks each. Huge savings. They have more there if you live in LEX area.
What is the magic word used lately on CNN? STUPIDITY.