Spoiler alert! I’m recanting my opinion on an issue presented in a previous column.

But first, a brief look at an article recently carried by the Associated Press originating from International falls, Minn. As a quick aside, International Falls is the Canadian port of entry where “cousin” and I embarked on our tour of the Canadian version of the Boundary Waters Wilderness so many years ago. It was one of the highlights of my life.

One of the caveats for admission to the Boundary Waters back then was no firearm of any type, style or form. All strictly verboten despite a high population of bears, wolves and muskies. Sometimes you just can’t fix stupid.

The news release I’m referring to was about a Minnesota woman who’d recently been killed by a black bear. The lady was staying with her 80-year-old parents in their cabin on Red Pine Island in remote Rainy Lake. Hearing her two dogs barking, she went outside to investigate. Minutes later one of the pups, badly injured, returned to the cabin. (Already sounds like a bad trailer for a Halloween horror flick, doesn’t it?)

After seeing the badly injured dog, the mother called the local police, who, after they finally arrived, discovered the bear standing over the dead woman’s body and shot the animal. Apparently constables can have guns, but not resident civilians – a forewarning of what extreme Democratic Party liberals want for the entire USA.

No mention was made of whether the bear was feeding on it’s victim. Police constable Jim Davis simply stated no reason for the attack could be found. Really? And after the bear had the dead woman’s body to play with for an extended period of time? Canadians can be so obtuse.

The bear’s carcass was properly sent to a university to see if they could determine a reason for the attack. That’s probably because, in an area where tourists, girl scouts and boy scouts come to camp out and canoe the multitude of remote lakes, admitting the area contains many black bears and they can be extremely dangerous and occasionally eat people would be counter-productive for the tourist trade. I’m sure our local merchants can sympathize.

Anyway my bone of contention, is that the news release in question actually said that this type of attack was extremely rare. It’s not – uncommon yes, rare no. According to records, more people are killed and eaten by black bears in North America every year than are killed in a decade by grizzly bears. Then again, there’s a lot more black bears than grizzlies out there.

Only a few years ago, a young honeymooning couple were surprised by an aggressive male black bear while they were working on their unfinished cabin up in northern Minnesota. Not having a firearm, they climbed up to the roof to get away from the bear. The bear tried to follow but was repulsed. It wouldn’t give up. The husband decided to jump to the ground while the wife distracted the bear and go for help.

Unfortunately, by the time help returned, the woman had been killed and partially eaten since she was unable to keep the bear from climbing up to the roof. Authorities never located the killer bruin. The point is black bears are extremely agile and very good climbers, but usually leave humans alone, even to the point of actively avoiding them, but not always. Then again, there’s an old saying that if you’re in the woods without a defensive weapon, you’re just meat.

Anyway, back to my opening paragraph concerning my recent change of heart. Sometime back I was endorsing the now available, totally legal, short-barreled and pistol-gripped semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun as the perfect bear defense when loaded with hardened slugs.

That shotgun is still a good bet for winning a fist fight with a bear, but even better is a new model on the market, a bullpup styled shotgun in the AR design, (the bullpup style being the ones with the extremely abbreviated buttstock), semi-auto, available in 12 gauge and with 19-round magazines. Perfect for the adventurer who delights in hunting solo in high mountain timber for blue grouse or to pack along for defensive use while fishing remote high country waters in grizzly country and can double as the ideal hallway howitzer for defending the homestead against gremlins.

The shotgun is made by Rock Island Armory and is a VRBP-100, semi-auto 12 gauge.

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