|Rarely, black bears become predatory too (Science Daily).|
Alaska journalist Craig Medved offers some facts and figures on bear attacks — based on Alaska data, of course, but worth nothing anywhere.
“As of 2015, 75 instances of bear spray use were recorded (in Alaska) of which 70 (93.3 percent) were successful in altering bears’ aggressive behavior whereas five (6.7 percent) were not,” [Brigham Young University professor Tom] Smith and [noted Canadian bear researcher Stephen] Herrero write.And this:
“However, of the 197 persons involved in those 75 encounters only four received slight injuries (2 percent) – all inflicted by grizzly bears.”
There is a significant likelihood, the scientists add, that the spray worked on a lot more bears than are in the study. Smith and Herrero says information on bear attacks, which involve people being injured by a bear, is limited, and information on incidents, in which people are involved in non-injury incidents, even more so.
“Unquestionably,” they write, “many incidents go unreported for a variety of reasons. It is believed that many human-bear interactions resolve peacefully, are not newsworthy, and therefore underreported. This (also) includes times when persons successfully dispatch a bear with a firearm.”
Lifestyle changes are clearly reflected in the data, too. Since 1980, attacks on joggers went up nineteen fold from one to 19, and those on cyclists grew five fold from one to five.
“None of these joggers or bicyclists [was] carrying a bear deterrent, and we believe that contributed to the outcome,” the study added.And then there is the whole issue of dogs and bears, with which I have had a little experience. You should read the whole thing.
Hikers and hunters remain far and away the largest category of people attacked by bears. Attacks on hunters have been going down, though, with attacks on hikers going up, probably representative of another lifestyle change.