Recent bear attack studies find that using a gun is not effective in protecting a person from injury or death. Research is being conducted by Brigham Young University, led by bear expert Tom S. Smith. Researchers found that the outcome (meaning injury, no injury or fatality) was the same whether a gun was used in an aggressive encounter with a bear, or if the person had a gun and did not use it.
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.
Smith and his team concluded that using non-lethal deterrents, such as bear spray was much more effective. In a 2008 study, Smith found that bear spray halted bear attacks in 92% of the incidents. From Science Daily .