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#293019 - 08/18/19 01:55 AM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Doug_Ritter]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3161
Loc: USA
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, it’s 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.

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#293022 - 08/18/19 03:52 AM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2332
Loc: Big Sky Country
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!
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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#293035 - 08/18/19 02:06 PM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6941
Loc: southern Cal
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.
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#293037 - 08/18/19 02:43 PM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: hikermor]
Russ Online   content
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5169
Loc: SOCAL
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.

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#293039 - 08/18/19 03:50 PM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Russ]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6941
Loc: southern Cal
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"...
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#293045 - 08/18/19 07:07 PM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1408
What a polite discussion on the topic! Can someone tell me the best caliber for bear defense?

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#293046 - 08/19/19 01:16 AM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Bingley]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1509
Loc: North Carolina
Large

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#293047 - 08/19/19 02:59 AM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Montanero]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2332
Loc: Big Sky Country
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.
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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#293048 - 08/19/19 03:41 AM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2332
Loc: Big Sky Country
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.
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#293049 - 08/19/19 02:06 PM Re: More on Bears and Firearms [Re: Doug_Ritter]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6941
Loc: southern Cal
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.
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