Out of Jackson today, we get a report that a man, one Stephen Westmoreland, was found guilty of shooting and killing a grizzly bear.
Of all the stuff I've heard about from first hand accounts to tales related around a campfire, this (and they let you know right up front) is the first successful prosecution of somebody killing a bear in self defense.
From what I've read in the linked article, what got him convicted was the fact that the bear was 40 yds away. Now, I'm no genius here, but 40 yds is nothing when you stop to think that your average wide receiver in the NFL can do 40 yds in around 4 seconds. The fastest human runs at around 20 mph and the average pissed off bear can outrun them hands down. There's a reason why they tell you never try to run from a bear. If you do, they'll only chase you down and kill you, and you don't want to die tired.
So to set this straight, according to those in the know, even though they fall all over themselves telling you it ain't so, you've got about 2 seconds to figure out if the bear you've come across on your nature hike is going to come after you for dinner or is just trying to make an impression. Of that 2 seconds, there's that little thing drag racers like to call reaction time. The bear's already made up its mind what it's going to do, so you've got about .5 seconds to figure out what YOU'RE gonna do. And you had better hope it's the right decision, or you may well wind up in jail over it.
The prosecution wanted everyone to know that "This should not be interpreted as a message that you cannot defend yourself." Yeah right. Given the make-up of Teton County over the last 10 yrs, I think that's exactly the message they wanted to convey. Signed, sealed, and delivered.