Originally Posted by jtliving
I just spent about a week in the area of Glacier National Park, stopping here and there to look for fishing spots. Thats another story. But in Kalispell, the gal at the sports shop told us about the benefits of bear spray vs fire power against Mr. and Mrs. Griz. I guess unless you aim your bullets just right they might just ricochet off the beast. Apparently, the bear spray hits the sense of smell, which is quite sensitive. "I pine needle drops in the woods: the eagle sees it, the deer hears it and the bear smells it." My local friend bought the large size bear spray canister and carried it on him on our next outing into the back country. Before that, he did carry a legally owned assault style rifle when we went into some isolated areas looking for fishable waters. According to Park reg's, you are allowed to carry into the park arms that you legally own in your state. If you you tube the fishing expeditions out in Kumchaka you can see that those guys are escorted by armed guards for the sake of bears too. Yes, I know I was in the bear's territory and not the other way around. Yes, we did talk loud as per conventional wisdom for the sake of prevention. No, I don't even own a gun myself. But yes, I did feel safer having some one there who could pull either a trigger or a release button at a bear in case one got too close.
The ruling to allow firearms inside National Parks was made two years ago. Fortunately, nothing has happened yet...that I've heard of.
Not to be overly critical of you and your friend, but carrying an AK while hiking in Glacier is, in my opinion, way over the top. Like I said, it was illegal to carry a firearm - or even take them into - the National Parks up till two years ago. And the number of bear - human conflicts that resulted in injury are statistically rare. Take into consideration the sheer volume of visitors hiking the trails in Glacier (probably a few million a season) and that a high percentage of them are virgins when it comes to being in bear country, the need for an assault rifle is a bit obscene.
Like you said, you were in the bear's world. Places like Glacier and Yellowstone Parks are The Last place that these animals have to their own. Every person that goes there is a visitor. These places are set aside for the wilderness.
Again, I don't mean to be harsh on you personally, but this is the kind of thing that I and many others that live around these places have feared. Carrying a semi-auto rifle while hiking in a National Park is dangerous stuff.