" but is any BPLer willing to go out in prime polar bear habitat and pet some cute fuzzy white bears without said firearm??? "
yes. (walked there , but not the petting the bear thing)
and i might add, they are absolutely terrifying.
so, it's been done. i also have noted that even in Jerry Kobalenko's (extremely experienced arctic sled hauler) writing you can find that he, with all his exposure and skill, is having second thoughts about la-dee-da just "being with the bears", and it's starting to weigh on his mind. Jerry packs when he's up there, no doubt about that. and he is not liking the idea at all of non-packing in the arctic.
anybody here ever sprayed a grizzly ?
range : 3 to 4 feet.
i missed it too ! (misjudged the cross wind)
and no, i was not overly nervous or shaking. i was concerned and engaged as a man can be. had plenty of time to watch this thing stroll on over to see if i was good to eat. it just kept coming on, they do that sometimes.
a very short burst (like pop'n a steam valve) of the spray, even though it shot across his bow did the trick. he was more surprised by where the noise came from than the caustic effects (it was not a total wiff of a miss)
white bear issues trend to come to about (if you read enough of them) during situations where folks are camped. not seeing a lot (if ever) of "Jane and Timmy" are walking along and eat by a polar bear. but guys get drug out of their tents often enough that it gives cause to worry, i will tell you that !
separate subject :
i do not agree in concept with David's analysis of the bear trends in Yellowstone. he relates four incidents (that's ok), and then goes on to describe how each incident may have been prevented (also Ok).
the issue i am seeing is that his work does not take into account that (in my words) "people have been doing the same stupid things for decades" and that is actually a control in the data, not a variable !
then we are told "the campground should have been closed ..." (or such to that effect), but it wasn't, was it ? and it was open ALL those years before, so it's part of the control data as well. and then we are inferred that using the control as a removable item is ok, and thusly we have no trend showing.
in my view, David's analysis is flawed in those regards, and thusly his conclusion is unsupported. (though granted, he may well be correct.)