Would You Wear this Bizarre ‘Bear Protection Suit’ in Montana?
I get it. Bears in the wild can be scary. Certainly, nobody wants to be attacked by a grizzly while you're out enjoying a nice relaxing hike in the wilderness. The thoughts of what would surely be an extremely painful encounter as a massive bear scratches, claws, and chomps into your body parts are horrifying.
Bear attacks do occur in Montana.
In fact, a man hunting for shed antlers was killed by a grizzly this spring in Park County (source: Cowboy State Daily). And you probably recall the terrifying details of the man near Ennis, MT that was attacked not once, but TWICE by an angry bear. Here's a video refresher below.
Thankfully, bear attacks are relatively rare.
According to PawsomeAdvice.com, only 67 people have been killed by black bears in the United States since 1900. Deaths by grizzly bears are significantly higher, with 664 people killed between 2000 and 2015. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider the millions of people that recreate in bear country, the odds of being killed by a bear (grizzly, brown, black, or otherwise) is staggeringly low. Petpedia.com wrote that the National Park Service estimates your odds of being attacked by a bear are about 1 in 2.1 million. You're more likely to die from a bee sting than a bear.
That hasn't stopped a man from pitching the idea of a "bear attack protection suit" for outdoor recreationists.
Inventor Bill Jenkins envisions a body armor-type suit.
In a post on the MONTANA-tude! Facebook page, Jenkins proposed a design that appears to be a mix of motocross body armor and paintball gear. Additional protection would include chest pads with "exploding bear spray packs." His idea was widely dismissed in the Comments, with the primary concern being heat and weight.
I mean no disrespect for the gentleman's idea. I'm sure people laughed at Alexander Graham Bell too, but this idea seems generally bad. I reached out to Jeff Ewalt, Executive Director at ZooMontana for his thoughts regarding a bear attack protection suit, and here's what he said,
Creating a suit that intentionally welcomes a bear attack is just asking for trouble. A Grizzly Bear in particular has one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom. At over 1000 psi, their powerful bites are built to crush bone and tear flesh. In addition, their massive size and powerful claws/limbs would make short work of any defensive suit that would be practical to wear.
In fact, even a knight in shining armor would be susceptible. Stick with the bear spray, be mindful of your surroundings and hope you never have to fight a Grizzly Bear.
So... a bear attack protection suit is pretty much worthless. Not to mention hot and probably quite uncomfortable.
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