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.
Geezer in Chief