More on Bears and Firearms

Posted by: Doug_Ritter

More on Bears and Firearms - 08/13/19 01:52 PM

https://www.ammoland.com/2019/08/handgun-or-pistol-defense-against-bear-attack-73-cases-96-effective
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/13/19 02:48 PM

Good read!

I do carry a pistol (where it's legal) when I'm out in bear country, as well as bear spray, always with avoidance as my primary tactic.
Posted by: wileycoyote

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/14/19 06:38 PM

not just bears, but for huge wild hogs that are everywhere in west texas.

i don't roam our property without a 45 Colt in my hip (265gr hard-cast wide flat nose in front of 8.5gr Unique). for that matter, neither does my wife (same combo).
Posted by: clearwater

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/14/19 11:19 PM

Sounds like some Canadian campers could have used a firearm in a wolf attack.

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-new...pground-reopens

"Wolf dragged man from tent as wife held his legs"

Friend on mine was followed back to his truck by a couple of wolves last fall. He wished he hadn't left is pistol in the cab when he strolled out to pee.
Posted by: Roarmeister

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/15/19 06:11 PM

Perhaps a rifle or shotgun could have been used. Handguns in Canada are only allowed at authorized ranges to shoot targets; everywhere else is a big no-no.

That said, a wolf attack is extremely rare. I sighted one by the roadside on a recent road trip to the Arctic Ocean.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/16/19 04:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Roarmeister
Perhaps a rifle or shotgun could have been used.


Not in this circumstance. In almost all national parks, a firearm must be disassembled while in the park to be legal. I suppose this is a response to poaching problems in the past.

As noted, handguns are not an option here.

I regularly tent camp in the Canadian Rockies, and because of the tight control of garbage, attractants, and tourist idiocy, the wildlife is actually wild. (This does not apply around remote northern work camps outside the parks, though it's getting better.) But in the Rocks, I sleep quite well ... with a hatchet or machete close at hand to drive home the point that I'm not "easy prey" in the event of an extremely unlikely attack. But honestly, my near-death experiences have been on the highways, not in camp.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/17/19 12:49 PM

No mention of bear spray as an effective deterrent against bears. I understand that spray has been shown to be just as effective, if not more so, that firearms (although clearly not as macho0.

Comments??
Posted by: DaveL

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/17/19 08:28 PM

Too each his own,I will take the firearm. Always works wind, rain snow etc. excellent record as shown in the OP.
As a side note I believe that bear biologists are influenced toward save the bear. MTC
YMMV
Posted by: hikermor

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/17/19 11:44 PM

https://www.adn.com/uncategorized/article/are-guns-more-effective-pepper-spray-alaska-bear-attack/2011/08/17/?page=0,0

The above is an interesting read on the subject of guns vs bear spray, generally favoring bear spray. The author claims, without citing statistics, that more people are injured or killed by firearms carried to defend against bear attacks than are damaged by bear attacks themselves.

It is worthwhile to point out that there are something like 3 fatal attacks by bears annually in the US. Five times are many people are killed by dogs. Something like 50 people per year perish from bee attacks.

For that matter, the number of fatalities from animal attacks of all types is dwarfed by the number that die as a result of falls or drowning. Although one should certainly take precautions in bear country, there are greater dangers present.

I would be willing to bet that tweaking data is not unknown on either side of this debate. I suspect that serious tinkering would be called out; there is no faster way to establish one's own reputation in scientific circles.

Bear in mind (!) that the article was published in something called "Ammoland," probably not a peer reviewed journal and possibly, just possibly, a biased source.

In the end, we all select our own respective security blankets and depend on them. For me, in the places where I am spending most of my time, bears are not present. We have to be concerned with sharks.

Firearms always work??? That is news to me.
Posted by: Russ

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 01:19 AM

For the average guy out there who rarely or never trains with a firearm, bear spray is the only realistic option. For a trained person with the skillset, a firearm may be a more reliable option.

Problem is those are two separate groups of individuals and in their Venn diagram the circles donít overlap. Yet these ďstudiesĒ make it seem as though everybody has equal skillsets and the only difference is the chosen tool ó firearm or bear spray. Itís not a valid study group.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 01:55 AM

Russ is certainly correct, that the untrained should not carry pistols. I am well-trained in firearms, with most of my training and practice efforts dedicated to the pistol.

While I carry a pistol in bear country, itís less about the bears than about other potential threats. I also carry bear spray. Both are available for immediate use. I think in general that bear spray is preferable against bears for many reasons, including not running the risk of killing the bear. I am convinced that neither are a one-size-fits-all solution.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 03:52 AM

There were three grizzly attacks last year in Montana alone! None were fatal but I'd say that comes down to luck more than anything. One was a college kid rushed from behind by Ol' Grizz- knocked the kid flying into a tree. By some miracle he was able to retrieve bear spray from his backpack (!) as the bear was on top of his back; with the spray he was able to drive the bear off.

Playing devil's advocate and living in two states with a lot of bears (black and griz) I will tell you flat out that a lot bear attacks and aggressive bear encounters are never reported. In ID and MT they call it the 3 S's (shoot, shovel and shut the heck up).

There was a meta-analysis a year or so ago that wasn't so favorable towards bear spray. I will see if I can find it. It seems that as humans and bears have more contact the bears are learning that the spray is painful but not debilitating. There are a couple of well documented cases where black bears stalking humans were run off by spray only to return repeatedly when the spray began to wear off. And the guide in CO killed by two grizzlies had spray; when game officials shot the bear to death its skull was saturated with bear spray to the point where it was dripping off. The guy was still killed.

I will continue to carry bear spray but I will back it up with lead spray since that's legal here. I suppose each of us will have to determine the risk themselves. To me it's not so much the odds but the stakes. Plus, I would feel naked without a firearm in the woods!
Posted by: hikermor

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 02:06 PM

Mercy sakes, we certainly don't want you running around naked in the woods!!

"To carry or not to carry, that is the question.." Certainly we are in different situations which clearly require different preps. I spend more and more time on the northern Channel islands, mostly hunting fossils, which usually don't fight back or offer resistance.

But even on the mainland, where locally we do have black bears, many of which are reportedly problem bears imported from the Sierras, I carry less and less. My experience was that there were many items that were much more useful in emergency situations than my hand gun.

I still have that firearm, a classic S&W wheel gun, which I cherish greatly. There have been two occasions in which I was really glad to have it along - one a strange encounter on a lonely Texas highway (brandished, no shots fired) and a situation with a rattlesnake just outside my living quarters in a national park. My baby daughter was just inside the trailer, so I didn't mess around, firing a shot cartridge at Mr. snake (didn't faze him) . i turned to a shovel and quickly sliced him up.

In contrast, there have been countless (at least twenty) occasions where a 60 to 100 foot length of climbing rope has been critical, including the time when it was destroyed in extricating a stuck vehicle.

Many other items (tarps for shelter, etc) have been equally useful. But I spend most of my time in thinly populated black bear country. Different situations require different measures.
Posted by: Russ

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 02:43 PM

Those snake shot cartridges only work well with short barrels. In a longer barrel the shot spins up and the shot goes everywhere except in the center of the doughnut. They patterned okay with my S&W M-12 Airweight.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 03:50 PM

4" barrel, but my handload which generated holes in the pattern but not in Mr. Snake. Anyway, the shovel did the job.

I thought i read somewhere that firearms "worked every time"...
Posted by: Bingley

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/18/19 07:07 PM

What a polite discussion on the topic! Can someone tell me the best caliber for bear defense?
Posted by: gonewiththewind

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/19/19 01:16 AM

Large
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/19/19 02:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Montanero
Large


grin True! I have a buddy that's killed more bears than anyone else I know. He asserts that for Grizzlies a 454 Casul is his personal minimum. In his mind the 44 mag lacks the power to reliably stop dangerous animals (he's hunted Asia and Africa as well). He doesn't dismiss the 44, just prefers something heavier.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/19/19 03:41 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor


"To carry or not to carry, that is the question.." Certainly we are in different situations which clearly require different preps. I spend more and more time on the northern Channel islands, mostly hunting fossils, which usually don't fight back or offer resistance.

But even on the mainland, where locally we do have black bears, many of which are reportedly problem bears imported from the Sierras, I carry less and less. My experience was that there were many items that were much more useful in emergency situations than my hand gun.


As I have! Luckily I never just carry one item with me in the woods. wink Very often a knife is useful and a gun is not. Other times a flashlight is the needed tool. I have found that since you're never 100% certain which tool will be the best option, it pays to have as many tools as you reasonably can. A firearm is simply one of those tools.

Originally Posted By: hikermor
I still have that firearm, a classic S&W wheel gun, which I cherish greatly. There have been two occasions in which I was really glad to have it along - one a strange encounter on a lonely Texas highway (brandished, no shots fired) and a situation with a rattlesnake just outside my living quarters in a national park. My baby daughter was just inside the trailer, so I didn't mess around, firing a shot cartridge at Mr. snake (didn't faze him) . i turned to a shovel and quickly sliced him up.

In contrast, there have been countless (at least twenty) occasions where a 60 to 100 foot length of climbing rope has been critical, including the time when it was destroyed in extricating a stuck vehicle.



Again, if you found occasion to use a firearm even twice a long life that's perhaps twice more than many folks have! Bet you were glad the firearm was along. I expect that folks may have said the same thing to you then that you are saying now! Maybe the odds are slim yet twice your number came up. I too have been glad to be armed on two or three occasions. Better to be armed and not need to be 3,000 times than to need and not have even once.

Certainly having rope can be useful. But having rope does not preclude the need for a firearm, and vice versa.

Perhaps the biggest overlooked point is that it's not a huge burden to carry, at least for me. With a quality gunbelt and holster you can almost forget you're wearing a sidearm. True, I wouldn't carry an M60 machine gun as my EDC (even if it were legal) because that weights 30 lbs. But a 28 oz firearm with a high quality holster system is little more effort to carry than a knife or phone, and actually a lot less cumbersome than a huge ring of keys.


Originally Posted By: hikermor
Mercy sakes, we certainly don't want you running around naked in the woods!!


I suppose it's hard to explain the feeling to someone not accustomed to daily CCW. The closest thing for you might be a quality pocket knife, or your phone. Maybe a FAK or spare glasses. But if you're used to habitually carrying certain tools with you daily it can lead you to feel 'naked' without them.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/19/19 02:06 PM

It is worth noting that my two instances of firearm use occurred in essentially developed areas, not in the wild. Living currently in a placid SoCal urban neighborhood, I keep my firearms ready, but inconspicuous.

Venturing into the outback, weight is critical; too many pounds can be just as bad as too few, so items have to be selected with a fair degree of thought. Years ago, I could easily tote a fairly heavy bag (40+ pounds); nowadays, not so much.

I routinely carry items which I seldom use, but which are invaluable when deployed - FAK, signal mirror, compass,(indeed, typically most of the ten essentials). My most common failing has been to not have enough water, which is generally about the heaviest item one can carry. I have learned over the years, and now I usually have enough fluids. It also helps to be in a less arid climate.

Usually when I encounter rattlesnakes. Mr. Snake goes off in one direction, and I go in another. Everybody is happy that way and the mouse population is kept in check.

Reading Herrero's book, it seems that a common factor in many bear encounters is an unclean, slovenly camp which ten attracts bears. I have spent exactly one night in grizzly country (Sunshine Pass in Denali NP) and boy, did we keep a clean camp! No problems....

Actually, there was one other situation in which I used a firearm. We encountered a flash flood which stranded several people during what would have been a routine SAR operation in a popular area. We had two ladies stranded on a rock in the middle of a raging torrent and no idea of what might have coming our way from upstream. We had received a demo of the line gun, and the rule was that only a sheriff's deputy would fire one inf and when it was needed. The problem was that both deputies were on the far side of the raging stream, so I picked up the firearm, loaded it correctly, and fired it successfully, eventually resulting in a successful rescue.

Firearms definitely do have a legitimate role in our life, but like anything else, one has to consider the probable circumstances and needs of the situation.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/20/19 03:05 AM

Bingley, not sure of your firearms background, but the decision is dependent on a couple of things...

auto loaders...typically have much lighter trigger pull (especially one handed) but due to the breach locking design are limited to bullet weights less than 250 grains (7000 grains per pound), and a velocity of around 1600 feet per second... they do offer more rounds in a magazine than a revolver...a hot rodded 10mm Glock would be my choice, though a good friend carries a .460 Roland conversion when elk hunting

wheel guns (revolvers) come in two varieties, double action where the trigger pull both rotates the cylinder and raises the hammer, and single action where you must manually raise the hammer... the single action trigger is much lighter, but is best put into service by two hands... the stronger revolver action allows much higher pressures to be generated by the cartridge, but limits the number of rounds to five or six in .45 caliber models... most dangerous game cartridges use a monolithic bullet with blunt nose as they are not used in an auto loading pistol.... additionally a .454 Casull can handle a 350 or so grain bullet at velocities pushing 1900 fps, but the firearm can still shoot lower powered .45 Colt cartridges for practice... that would be my choice in a Ruger Redhawk
Posted by: clearwater

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/20/19 04:43 AM

Looks like Aspen Colorado has had three bear attacks recently.

https://www.denverpost.com/2019/08/19/third-bear-attack-aspen/


When we went huckleberry picking a couple of weekends ago we were in black bear, wolf, cougar country with a small dog and kids. We just brought spray. All those critters are hunted there, so the chances of attack are slim, but still there is the occasional cougar attack of dogs or kids, If it was just adults we wouldn't have bothered with anything.


The wolf pack there has killed about 30 calves in the last year or so.http://nwsportsmanmag.com/wdfw-releases-more-info-on-removal-of-opt-pack-court-case-impact/

Friends of a friend's family also lost livestock to another wolf pack nearby
http://nwsportsmanmag.com/togo-pack-to-be-removed-due-to-livestock-attacks/

I look for the lightest gear I own that will work for the conditions.

For wolf, cougar, black bear that means spray or a Ruger LCRX 3" revolver with hard cast handloads. The grizzly country means bear canister for food, spray and at least 1 44 mag in the group.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/20/19 05:48 AM

The LCRx 3" is a fine little revolver! I never carry it afield anymore but I really should. Living in Montana it's a bit underpowered for bigger threats here but it would still be fine for small game hunting, etc. Or of course to ward off 2 legged threats.
Posted by: Burncycle

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/21/19 06:30 AM

Thanks for sharing that.

I'm in public safety as a firefighter, and under ordinary circumstances when seconds count, help is just minutes away -- but they can be the longest minutes of your life. In the outdoors, the problem is exacerbated and help could be hours away. Consequently, I do carry a firearm whenever possible and my interest has led me to become an instructor as well.

Firearms are of course no panacea and are only part of a comprehensive strategy to help avoid a potentially dangerous encounter in the first place, along with other best practices such as announcing your presence, securing your food and carrying deterrents like spray. Even as a last resort though, a firearm has it's place as a tool in the toolbox, and I'm glad they have statistically shown to result in positive outcomes generally speaking.

As with anything else, the one you'd be willing to consistently carry (so that you'll have it with you if you ever need it) is among the top considerations with selection. I generally find that the firearm I carry with me outdoors is the same as the one I carry in daily life -- typically a 9mm subcompact, for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it's light and I've trained with it exhaustively, and along with a realistic assessment of potential threats (two legged and four) I've found it a reasonable trade-off.

This goes against conventional wisdom where some will claim you need a beefy revolver firing quite a powerful round or you might as well not even bother. My issue with that is threefold -- they're generally larger and heavier, and knowing my own capabilities and limitations, I'm not as confident that I can place follow up shots as accurately and quickly under stress as I can with other alternatives. Finally, statistically it hasn't turned out to be as critical as some would claim.

Long arms are in a whole different category of course, but outside of a few situations it's not a practical option for a lot of outdoor activities.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/21/19 06:45 AM

One definitely needs to choose a sidearm that can be used effectively. More gun than you can manage won't be ideal. Alaskan guide Phil Shoemaker used 4 x 147gr Buffalo Bore 9mm hard cast to kill a 1,000 lb grizzly that attacked his clients but I'd say that there was more than a little luck involved. I know someone personally that used a 9mm with 115 ball ammo to defend himself against a black bear. He expended all 30 rounds that he had on his person and the bear...ran off. Literally, he watched it run hundreds of yards away from him, up the side of a ridge and vanish on the other side! The conventional wisdom is that you don't need to kill a black bear to end an attack, just have enough gun to dissuade it. I'm not sure how valid that is and certainly leaving a wounded animal for someone else to deal with is less than ideal.

I don't presently have a big bore handgun but it's on my to-do list.
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/21/19 11:44 PM

Originally Posted By: LesSnyder
Bingley, not sure of your firearms background, but the decision is dependent on a couple of things...

auto loaders...typically have much lighter trigger pull (especially one handed) but due to the breach locking design are limited to bullet weights less than 250 grains (7000 grains per pound), and a velocity of around 1600 feet per second...


Somewhat of a generalization and there are exceptions. For example, there's the Desert Eagle in .50 AE. Love to shoot it, would hate to carry it. ;=)

In large calibers, generally a revolver is also much lighter and capacity is more closely matched to what a similar sized semi-auto would be. All my clients going to or residing in AK have carried large frame revolvers, if they carry a handgun.
Posted by: gonewiththewind

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/22/19 01:48 AM

It is about the combination of penetration and damage it will cause. Large caliber with high velocity for heavier targets. There are many options with bullet type as well. I am not sure I would want a hollow point for a grizzly, may not penetrate deep enough.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/22/19 03:30 AM

Yeah, I think (generally) hard cast is the way to go for handguns for dangerous game.
Posted by: Bingley

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/23/19 04:57 PM

Question: what kind of bear is best?
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/23/19 05:07 PM

Do you mean which bear is best to encounter? My first reaction is either a koala or a panda. However, if I do encounter either in the wild, that is a sure indication that I am indeed lost.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: Herman30

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/23/19 05:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Bingley
Question: what kind of bear is best?


https://untappd.akamaized.net/site/beer_logos_hd/beer-111070_a8605_hd.jpeg
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/23/19 05:27 PM

The image is not working.

Edit: Now it is.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: gonewiththewind

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/24/19 01:13 AM

To eat?
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/24/19 02:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Bingley
Question: what kind of bear is best?


The kind who cares about personal grooming, of course.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/a-bear-cub-walks-into-a-barbershop-in-slave-lake-1.5257007

... or appreciates concierge services ...

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/bear-wanders-into-lobby-of-northern-alta-hotel-1.4563821
Posted by: Bingley

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/25/19 08:10 PM

I found an answer from a TV program:

https://youtu.be/WaaANll8h18?t=24
Posted by: clearwater

Re: More on Bears and Firearms - 08/27/19 09:51 PM

Australian Drop Bears.