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Plans for new RV park near Bondurant gas site on hold

Mar 15, 2012 - The Associated Press

A lodging company is holding off on plans for an RV park near a proposed gas drilling site in northwestern Sublette County.

The RV park would have room for 10 recreational vehicles or several small cabins, or enough for about 20 workers. Timberline Lodge Company had been scheduled to present the idea to the Sublette County Planning and Zoning Commission this week.

Timberline manager Melanie Peterson says her company has decided to wait until there is more information about plans by Plains Exploration and Production to drill in the Bondurant area.

PXP proposes to drill 136 gas wells from 17 well pads in the Upper Hoback Basin in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Forest officials are reviewing the proposal.u carry yourself than whether you carry a gun," said wildlife biologist Tom S. Smith, the study's lead author.

The report analyzed 269 armed human-bear encounters in Alaska between 1883 and 2009, and found that the use of guns made no statistical difference in the outcomes, and many people were mauled or killed anyway -- 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities.

Other experts, however, question the findings, citing limited data given the thousands of human-bear encounters and noting that guns can be just as effective as pepper spray, and that each incident presents a different scenario.

"The bottom line of his research is correct -- guns are not a crutch, but we do have a problem with his limited data," said Larry Van Daele, an Alaska state biologist on Kodiak Island.

Smith's report, published online in the Journal of Wildlife Management and set to appear in print in July, found that when guns were fired, they were effective at dissuading or killing a bear about 80 percent of the time in the cases studied, but at a cost. In nearly half those encounters, the people using guns or their companions were injured or attacked anyway, with 12 percent left fatally mauled.

Researchers found people trying to use guns to defend themselves against an advancing bear often couldn't fire them effectively in an instant of panic -- 27 percent had no time to fire, and 21 percent were hesitant to discharge their weapons.

In addition, a jammed gun, a missed shot, a safety mechanism that couldn't be unlocked in time or a bear too close to shoot -- among other problems -- kept guns from being effective in some cases, the study found.

"If anything, our findings raise a cautionary flag about what we should do for protection in bear country," Smith said. "If we know we're not experienced with a firearm, don't even go there. It's probably not going to be any help at all. A charging animal is like a small car running at you. The odds are not good."

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