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#37827 - 02/21/05 07:27 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?

Cam, welcome to the board. IMHO you did goof by firing into the air. I understand your adrenaline was pumping. No one was hurt, don't let it happen again. Next time could end up with someone hurt or dead.
As for the "other guys" they could well have been Forest Service employees. I was a seasonal worker on Helena NF in Townsend, MT and the only uniforms we ever wore were our yellow and green nomex when we were on a fire. The rest of the time it was whatever was comfortable. Trails are optional. We took many shortcuts cross country at the end of a shift. As for the guys appearing nervous - well I would be too. You've got a group of folks in the dark, yelling and shooting at who knows what. Not a scenario to walk/ride into without keeping your guard up at least a little.

That's my $0.02

#37828 - 02/21/05 07:34 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
brian Offline

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1468
Loc: Texas
Did you not carry any ID to identify yourself as a forest service employee with the authority to police campers? Seems awefully careless and hard to believe that the forest service would have people riding around with that type of authority with no ID.
Learn to improvise everything.

#37829 - 02/21/05 08:29 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

Heck, I've been trying to stay out of this thread... anyway, the very most important thing is that no one was hurt and no damage was done.

Out of curiosity - did anyone in your party happen to smell the bear at any point or was the bear downwind from everyone? They have a pretty distinct odor.

IMHO if one carries a means of self protection into the wilderness, keep it on you at all times. Really really at all times. Doesn't matter if it's pepper spray, a shotgun, a walking stick, or a blaster. It's useless if it's not on you or at arm's reach (literally). That is a habit and it takes discipline to develop.

As for the rest of your questions (and what others have posed) <shrug> I wasn't there. I would not have deliberately loosed a round off as you reported doing and have refrained from doing so in somewhat similar circumstances, but I am not fearful of shooting when it's required - but AT the identified threat to kill it, not to make a noise. That's me and that's my advice.

FWIW, a 45ACP is perfectly capable of killing a bear, as has been amply demonstrated many times. A 45ACP is unlikely in a do-or-die close range situation to prevent the bear from maiming and/or killing one or more folks before the bear expires. Ditto for a 357 magnum or any lesser handgun calibers, and I spent quite a bit of time discussing a horrible incident with a man who was severely maimed while up a tree by a smallish black bear that he had whacked 5 times with a NAA 454 Magnum pistol AFTER he put a broadhead thru the bear and thought it had expired... I've personally taken two grizzlies in Alaska and have seen several other (black) bears taken - all with rifles. If I carry a pistol in bear country, it's either a 44 Redhawk or a well-used and familiar very-heavily-loaded 45 Colt Blackhawk and they comfort me only a little when thinking about in-my-face bears. An inexpensive single shot 12 gauge doesn't weigh that much more and would be a lot more effective if ever needed - I say that as food-for-thought.

OTOH, a 45ACP is fine for protection against two-legged monsters - see above caveats.

As for the horsemen - who knows? The arrogant, thoughtless, and abusive behavior of so many "local" western horsemen on public lands that I have witnessed over the years has whipped me into such a froth that I refuse to hunt several western states any longer. I've met some really decent and considerate folks perched astraddle a horse, but that sort of person seems to be a vanishing breed. I tend to agree, however, that the folks who rode into your camp probably had no bad intentions, whomever they really were.

Again, no one was injured and you're braver than I am - you posed the questions here...



#37830 - 02/21/05 08:54 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
brian Offline

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1468
Loc: Texas
and you're braver than I am - you posed the questions here...
LOL... I think we can all agree on that one. Kudos to you for your bravery. It takes guts to post a question like that in this forum. Especially for a newcomer. Welcome to the forum! <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Learn to improvise everything.

#37831 - 02/21/05 09:32 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
plsander Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 39
On playing dead...

Last time I was in New Mexico (Philmont... ) we were told that Black Bears were opportunistic feeders. The advise we were given was to fight back if attacked.

#37832 - 02/21/05 10:37 PM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 835
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Black bears are They are very gullible, so if you come at them as if you think you can beat them in a fair fight, they run away. Make noise, stand tall, wave your arms, and throw things at them.

Don't try this if there are cubs around, or with a Grizzly.

Edited by Chris Kavanaugh (02/21/05 10:47 PM)
- Benton

#37833 - 02/22/05 03:41 AM Got to agree with all Tom said
widget Offline

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
Big critter, big iron! I prefer to let the bears know I am around and not tempt them with any food items or smells. If I needed a gun, a 12ga with slug loads would be the choice. Probably a 18" riot type without a stock. Just my 2cents. Cheers!
No, I am not Bear Grylls, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and Bear was there too!

#37834 - 02/22/05 04:20 AM Re: Got to agree with all Tom said
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 835
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Actually, I've found the opposite to be true sometimes- we were canoeing in the BWCA of MN, (black bear country), and we heard people noises from the other campsites at various times. Typical noisy campers, and they don't know how much noise carries on a lake. Starting at around dusk, we heard bear-scaring noises from each campsite consecutively. But because my wife and I are very neat and quiet campers, the bear never stopped at our campsite on his rounds.

But this doesn't always work, of course. I was on one canoe trip where we had 3 bear encounters, 2 at the same campsite! And they didn't come raiding at the typical time. They've learned that in the middle of the night, the food pack is in the trees where they can't get it. But there's a window just after mealtime, when the people are down by the water cleaning up, and the pack is unguarded. All 3 times, that's when the bear came. And we caught him, and scared him off.
- Benton

#37835 - 02/22/05 04:54 AM Re: In your opinion did I faux pas?
camerono Offline

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 146
First let me say thank you for all of the responses.

So that you know your advice and opinions have not gone without serious consideration and appreciation let me tell you what I have learned.

1) Do not discharge a firearm without knowing exactly what it is that you are shooting atÖEVER!

2) Always keep your protection with you. This prevents both not having it in a real time of need and helps eliminates the potential for accidents.

3) Never run from bears, or is that always run from bears or is that make yourself look bigger than the bear or is that play dead or was it beat it over the head with a stick or was that Make a lot of noise ..er..no be completely quiet Ö..Oh heck next time if in fact it really is a bear I think I will just invite him into camp for a hotdog and a sip from my Boda Bag.

4) Donít borrow guns. If you donít know the gun it probably wonít do you much good.

5) Shooting in the air vs. ground. Iím not even going to touch that one.

6) Iím still up in the air about horsemen. I seem to always run into them on the trails out west and in S. Indiana where I do a lot of hiking and honestly I always have a great time meeting other hikers but donít really enjoy equestrians.

7) Look and listen. Donít jump to conclusions that lead to adrenal decisions. Essentially keep a cool head as much as humanly possible in a given situation. (Not bad advice for all aspects of life.)

8) Be a better teacher. Donít take people into the woods without thoroughly appraising them of the ďrealĒ dangers and the reality of those dangers. I honestly believe that the whole situation would have never happened if I had dispelled the fears they were having about ďBEARSĒ before we set a single foot on the trail.

Finally I think the consensus is that yes in fact I did Faux Pas. However and this is the reason I posted this question in this forum. I wasnít made to feel like a jerk and for that thank you. I learned a lot from the experience and everyone that was kind enough to share there opinion. You can bet that I will handle any similar situation in a much more informed manor.

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