hiking survival

9:24 p.m. on January 16, 2011 (EST)
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should i take my marlin 30-30 hiking in colorado incase i take a wrong turn and get lost or for protection on a 2 or 3 day journey?

10:48 p.m. on January 16, 2011 (EST)
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Protection from what, bears? Don't forget your license if you do. Whats the hunting season during the time of the hike? I hunt with rocks and sticks, not guns. Mainly game birds. Even a wrist rocket would be lighter and easier to pack. I used to use one and used candy ball's for ammo, that way if I missed they simply melted away.


Wrist-Rocket.jpg

3:50 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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If you are worried about taking a wrong turn and running into me, a gun is unnecessary, I don't bite.  Nevertheless I may bore you to death, but simply running in the opposite direction should be all you need to do to save your butt. 

Ed

4:35 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Good point whomeworry about being bored to death by others on the trails. Everytime I say hello to a fellow hiker anywhere here in Europe, they find out I am an American. Not addressing someone is rude. I have to hear about our political decisions. I thought I was getting away from everything. Geez...ctrub, bring your 30-30. LOL

10:24 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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If it's wild and remote where your going, why not? I know I do everytime I go out real deep where the only help is me and my friends. I bring a 12 gauge shotgun with a load out of half bukshots and slugs. I dont want to hunt, mainly defend if we cross dangerous animals. Last time out we found traces of a wolverine and heard a wolf pack two nights later! I personally would of bring a firearm in a national park or anywhere that I could meet other hikers, unless it was recomended by the park keeper. Meeting an armed man in the woods can be scary for some people.

10:56 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Say, do we have a no fire arms discussion policy on this web forum?

Ed

12:35 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Hike with bear spray please instead of firearms.  It's very effective and it doesn't kill.  Can be used if charged by a bear or other animal like wolf or moose.  Remember bears (black) will bluff charge if they feel threatened, they just want you to leave the area.  Just always be aware of your surroundings when out hiking, make noise when going around blind corners, and enjoy viewing wildlife from a safe distance.  BTW, you can bring a firearm into a U.S. national park due to a change in the law last year, if allowed under the individual state's gun laws, but you still can't discharge it in any of the parks.  Happy trails!

12:54 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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I've re-read the rules Ed and it doesn't seem so. None the less, if there was one I'd support it. I think it will be up to us to remember that trailspace is a family oriented website and use caution in our post.  

1:54 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Excuse me, but Moose do not ...charge... hikers and Wolves will run away the second they detect a human anywhere close to them; this is not suburban fantasy, I have lived my entire 64.5 years in Moose, Wolf and Grizzly country and spent much of my working life in resource management.

As a VERY experienced user of the tools mentioned in this thread and while not trying to subvert the policy concerning them, I will simply say that carrying what the OP referred to while hiking is not necessary, rather heavy and quite ineffective in any case.

It is extremely rare to even SEE a Wolverine in the wilds and I have seen exactly TWO in my years in the BC bush, they are secretive, wary, afraid of humans and DO NOT ATTACK people. So, learn to recognize where a bear has been recently, may be now or could be if you enter that area and also carry a freon horn to make lots of loud, hideous noises....and, your chances of injury through an animal attack are about like winning your state lottery...or, less.

2:09 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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A cow moose in Denali Park in Alaska charged me when I came around the corner on a wilderness trail. She had two calves and as soon as she saw me gave chase. She ran fast and I ran faster! I got over a litlle rise and ducked under a pinetree hugging under it as close as I could get with the branches sticking out all around. She ran down to where the tree was and stood for about a half hour before slowly browsing away. After an hour I got brave enough to get out and head back to the trail, but as soon as I left the cover fo the tree I saw her, she saw me and the chase was on again. I ran all the way about a 1/4 mile to a road and she was still on my tail. A car came by and I went around it waving my arms. They slowed and got between me and the moose. Eventually she lost interest and went back to where her calves were.

It was very difficult running thru the Tundra and I even had to cross a couple luckily shallow ponds. That was in the summer of 2006.

I have seen what a grown moose can do to a car and didn't want her to test those long legs and hooves on me! Once in Denali back in 1978 I saw a Bull Moose come out of the forest where a car with dogs in the back were. As soon as the dogs saw it they started barking. The moose turned and started ramming into the side of the car with it huge antlers. In a few minutes the dogs stopped barking and were under the seats trying to get away from the moose. Afterwards the car looked like it had been in a side collision as it was all smashed in and the windows were broke.

2:35 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Say, do we have a no fire arms discussion policy on this web forum?

Ed

We did place a moratorium on gun talk about a year ago. The policy was put into place because every time the topic came up the discussions eventually devolved and became uncivil.

It's such a contentious issue it can become a huge distraction and ends up requiring a lot of moderation attention.

I'll leave this thread open for now. Consider it a test case and please stick to all Community Rules and Guidelines.

3:18 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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A cow Moose CAN be aggressive toward humans and I should have been a bit more precise in my usage concerning this; HOWEVER, Moose do NOT attack humans as a Grizzly will simply because he is an "apex predator" with highly developed predatory instincts. That, is the point I wished to make and I apologize for any confusion my earlier post engendered.

Bull Moose in the "rut" WILL attack vehicles, however, I have walked up to a bull with cows to within 35 yards in remote northern BC wilderness, while hunting and had no indication of either fear or aggression..

What I am trying to get across here is that Moose, Wolverines, Wolves and other animals are NOT "dangerous" to humans, except in very rare and unusual circumstances and carrying a firearm when hiking is very seldom necessary.

I have never known of a Moose killing or injuring a human in BC and the vast majority of injuries to humans from animals come from dogs, horses and other domestic animals. I am FAR more afraid of an old "range bull" left out all summer and meaner than hell than any Grizzly I have ever encountered and while I avoid females ungulates with young, I do not consider them "dangerous" in the sense a Grizzly or Polar Bear is.

3:39 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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I will add to the foregoing that a Moose can outrun any human and while a lactating cow with calves may well run up to a human, as other animals also may, the best course of action is to stand your ground and wave your cap/hat and scare them off. I have done this with wild range cattle here several times and consider running from any wild animal to be the worst alternative as they can/will chase you and then may injure you.

Had the Moose in Denali been "attacking", she would not have started to browse while you hid behind foliage; she knew precisely where you were and what you were and her "charge" was simply to chase you off, not to actually attack and injure/kill you.

You will see bull Elk in the rut sometimes "hook" their antlers at a human, this is NOT an "attack" as a Grizzly would do and only those careless enough to get within close range may get hurt....hikers are safe by simply standing firm and allowing an animal they surprise to quietly leave the vicinity..again, a freon horn works wonders with animals and is well worth carrying, as I always do.

5:56 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Most wild animals want nothing to do with you. Bears come for your food. Hang you food stuff. The only animal that is worrysome to me is Mt. lions. Becouse you will never see them coming if they want you. So I carry no weapon at all, not even bear spray.

7:13 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Say, do we have a no fire arms discussion policy on this web forum?

Ed

 Not exactly. Dave and Alicia are willing to let this thread continue as long as people are civil. As soon as they are not, it will be taken down. See Alicia's response above.

Personally, I think the danger from animals is far overrated. Are there incidents where campers or hikers are attacked? Yes, but very few, not enough to justify carrying a weapon. A canister of bear spray would serve just as well in most cases.

I consider inexperienced hunters and other people with guns far more of a threat to me than wild animals.

Dewey-I saw a documentary on wolverines on tv not too long ago. Apparently they are incredibly scarce and these people were out looking for them in Alaska. They set up cameras and spent a lot of time in wolverine territory trying to track them down. They saw maybe one or two in the whole time they were looking and considered themselves lucky to see them. The show also showed someone who had a couple in captivity and was trying to breed them.

Michigan is the "Wolverine State" but they are so rare there that in 2004, someone spotted one for the first time in over 200 years,  so I wouldn't exactly be worried about being attacked by one.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4374309/

On the other hand, there are been fairly recent bear attacks near Yellowstone-

http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2010/07/bear-attck-campers-grizzlies-montana/101635/1

btw, this story also mentions Jack Hanna, the guy you see on tv all the time showing off wild animals on talk shows and on his animal shows who was hiking not long ago with his wife and some friends when they got charged by a small black bear. They were backed up against a cliff on a narrow trail and he used a can of bear spray to chase it off, apparently it works pretty well, at least with smaller bears.

7:50 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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I'm a CHP holder and probably a pretty big gun advocate.

But I don't hike with a gun. I have bear spray. I don't really see a need for a gun in the parks in defense of animals. I think the only real danger is typically from another person, but statistically speaking, most murders or assaults in National Parks occur within 1-2 miles from the trail head. The further in the back country you are, typically the safer you are, from other people.

My personal opinion, I'd only take a gun into the wilderness of Alaska. Bush pilots and many others do carry guns there. Same thing with carrying them in Africa.

But those two scenarios are nothing like where most of us are going to do our backpacking.

Then again, I don't' claim to know it all. 

9:41 p.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Actually she did try to get at me under the tree but the branches were thick enough that she could'nt she stood right outside the tree and it took her about 20 minutes before she seemed to lose interest and wandered off to browse.When I came out she was only about 30 feet away. I was suprised that she had not gone back to her calves about a 1/4 mile back on the trail where I first encountered her. When I did run back to the trail and the road and the car got between me and her, she seemed to lose interest and wandered back then to her calves which had laid down in the brush.

While bike touring across Alaska I saw many hunters and nonhunting guides with tourists out in the bush with large calliber hand guns and rifles which they said they needed for staying safe. They told me I was foolish to be bicycling down the Dalton Highway many hundreds of miles from the closest town without a gun.

The only bears I saw were fishing along the many hundreds of side streams and rivers along the way. None took little notice of me riding by or looking thru my camera and binoculars at them. The Salmon run was in effect and they had a fat belly for hibernation on thier minds. One old looking male came within 20 feet on the Dalton Highway but he was just crossing the road to get to the stream on the other side. he may have glanced at me but never made any motion towards me.

I also saw lots of Moose, Bison, Wolves and other animals especially at night but none ever came into my camps and I didn't stay in many established camping areas or roadside parks.

I have spend many a night in the Teton Wilderness of Northwestern Wyoming in springtime when the grizzly bears are coming out of hibernation with and without cubs, 9 times out of 10 when a wild bear see's you he runs the other way. He maybe 10 times bigger than me, but he does not know what I am capable off. Generally just a "Hey Bear" is enough to get them running.

I have seen these wildlife reality shows where someone comes around the corner on a trail and startles a bear and the bear attacks. But I came apon a big Brown Bear once in Denali in 1978. He looked at me and turned and ran before I could register what had just happened. I am a tall guy at 6 ft 7 inches but I dont think my hieght was what startled him.

In the back country of Glacier Park Montana they have campgrounds surrounded by tall chainlink fences as there are many more bears there than even in Yellowstone and they have been know to be more aggressive towards humans.

2:47 a.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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Well I personally cant say if you should carry a weapon when in the backcountry...If I were in Alaska I believe I would because from what I understand thats the norm..BC in parts as well.. But I havent had the oppertunity to experiance that. I have been less than 5 ft from a blackbear...All I had to do was make noise and they ran...I have read that some animals will charge, but do I not think bear spray is an answer either.. Why because everything I'v read lately is that it may just aggrivate the animal and create a situtation worse..I dont know like I'v stated I have not experinanced it and I just read it..

9:09 a.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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If I did hike with a gun no one would know it until I had to save your life or mine with it.

11:41 a.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks Alicia for the heads up. And just like Dewey said, those tools are heavy for nothing in all but the rarest case. Make noise.

4:00 p.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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I would carry handgun at most, and only where legal to carry. I own a .357 but have not yet carried it on an outdoor trip (hunting trips excluded). The only situation I can see taking it is if I take my kids into an area with the possible threat of predatory animals. I'd stand a better chance of protecting them/thwarting an attach with my S&W and hollowpoints. In most all other cases an airhorn and spray would suffice. Being prepared and being knowledgeable about the area is the best survival tool, even against predators ( both animals and humans).

Frankly, walking with 70 pounds of gear in a backpack that extends a foot plus above my head when packed makes me look like I'm over 7 1/2 feet tall...my 7 year old has told me I look scary when fully packed to go. Maybe I'll attach a small orange flag to the top to look 11 feet tall! Who knows.

Mtn Lions are about all I encounter here in SoCal, once while on my MTB and another when trail running. If you're worried about them attacking you from the back (someone referenced earlier), then put eye stickers on the lid of your pack facing backward or on the back of your hat. It is a tactic used in foreign countries in areas where predatory cats frequently attack humans (they'll wear masks on the back of their heads). Of course cats have the ability to learn...

I haven't dealt w/ black bears in CA since going to Yosemite as a teen w/ my dad (who always carries a handgun - being a prosecuting attorney made him a leary traveler). The bear quickly ran when our small group came upon it on trail.

8:30 p.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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I don't know the laws because they are making new ones everyday. This is an interesting book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwsLAqjqnxo

1:31 p.m. on January 20, 2011 (EST)
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How about a small .22 pistol  which would be great for small game or a distress signal (groups of 3 shots spaced 60 seconds apart).  A small fishing kit would be even lighter.  A 30-30 is a bit heavy for a just in case scenario. 

Check on the local laws of course, but in most cases a small game liscence should cover you. 

Really the most practical thing is a couple of extra days of food and make sure people know where you're going and when you're supposed to get back.  Worst case scenario, most people can survive 2-3 weeks without food.

4:23 p.m. on January 20, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey -

 

most animals with 4 legs are faster than humans, because we only run with 2 legs. What 2 legs allows us, along with our ability to motor plan and the executive function to plan ahead, is faster lateral action and better agility. Granted, I can't move too quickly with 10 lb boots and a pair of crampons on, but it's not likely a moose will be too agile either on a slope of ice haha.

 

I hope I never have to use anything for self defense against another person, but I carry a 4" tactical knife around my neck when hiking. It's got rings for my fingers to go in so I can't lose my grip on it, so if it was used for survival purposes as well, it would be able to do some heavy work with no worries of slipping or dexterity problems.

 

I also have bear spray for animals, and worse come to worse, if an animal came at me, I might pull the knife out - necks and eyes, no matter how big the animal, are particularly vulnerable areas, so use knives or spears there.

8:19 p.m. on January 20, 2011 (EST)
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I wouldn't want to hike with anyone carrying a loaded gun and I'm wondering, would you even have time to load it if being attacked by an animal?  Just a thought. 

10:04 p.m. on January 21, 2011 (EST)
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Excuse me, but Moose do not ...charge... hikers

No, but they sure can scare them!  :)

I recall in the late 70's camping at Moose Brook State Park just outside of Gorham, NH.  I don't know if this is still possible, but at that time the park officials allowed "rustic" camping in the "overflow" area.  The so-called "overflow" area was about a half mile from the park office up a small dirt road, where there were some small clearings in the woods alongside the road.  There were no other improvements, and it was quite isolated.  I liked camping there because (1) I think they gave me a discount, and (2) it gave me the feeling of backwoods camping.

One time when I was camping there, in the middle of the night, I awoke to what sounded like a truck driving through the woods approaching my campsite.  I don't mean it sounded like it was on the dirt road.  It sounded like it was driving through the brush & trees in the woods.

It turned out it was a moose ... not sure why it was doing what it was, but it sure scared me!  :)

5:53 p.m. on January 22, 2011 (EST)
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I wouldn't want to hike with anyone carrying a loaded gun and I'm wondering, would you even have time to load it if being attacked by an animal?  Just a thought. 

You certainly would not have time to load a weapon if the attack had ensued. I can understand your concern and position on a fellow hiker carrying a loaded gun. Proper training and a the gun's safety (should be checked regularly during the hike) are effective at mitigating risk to others. I do carry a 15" bladed Machete on a regular basis when going deep into the backcountry - not a handgun.

3:42 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I do carry a 15" bladed Machete on a regular basis when going deep into the backcountry...

WTF Rambo!  What do you use that for?  I hope not for whacking out a trail, that is all wrong!

Ed

3:46 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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(If) ..worse come to worse, if an animal came at me, I might pull the knife out - necks and eyes, no matter how big the animal, are particularly vulnerable areas, so use knives or spears there.

Ha ha that's funny.  Most animals have much quicker reactions than humans.  The notion you can jab the eye of an attacking lion, tiger, or bear, oh my, is analogus to ducking bullets.  Good luck!

Ed 

9:56 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Has anyone seen the movie "The Edge"?  What one man can do so can another!!!

11:39 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Ed -

I never said I'd be good at it, but I'm sure as heck gonna fight rather than lay down and die...wouldn't you?? The animal might grab ahold of you and start mauling you, but most people try to block the bites, and if you can keep your wits just enough to give a couple good stabs, it just might save your life. I've read plenty of stories where people are about to get their throats ripped out by pit bulls and they actually bite the dog back, causing the dog to run away.

And I guess I never knew we were speaking about lions and tigers, I was speaking mainly about smaller bears (not brown) and other creatures of that general size/disposition.

And don't cut humans so short on reaction times - humans are animals too, in case you forgot where we evolved from. And while most people don't train to use fast reflexes because we don't need them any more, some do train those reflexes.

Special ops dudes have some of the fastest combat reflexes and reactions compared to anything else on earth, and that's under stressful conditions when they're cold, hungry, tired, and have adrenaline pumping.

1:12 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Excuse me, but Moose do not ...charge... hikers and Wolves will run away the second they detect a human anywhere close to them; this is not suburban fantasy, I have lived my entire 64.5 years in Moose, Wolf and Grizzly country and spent much of my working life in resource management.

As a VERY experienced user of the tools mentioned in this thread and while not trying to subvert the policy concerning them, I will simply say that carrying what the OP referred to while hiking is not necessary, rather heavy and quite ineffective in any case.

It is extremely rare to even SEE a Wolverine in the wilds and I have seen exactly TWO in my years in the BC bush, they are secretive, wary, afraid of humans and DO NOT ATTACK people. So, learn to recognize where a bear has been recently, may be now or could be if you enter that area and also carry a freon horn to make lots of loud, hideous noises....and, your chances of injury through an animal attack are about like winning your state lottery...or, less.

Amen, Dewey - -

The last 30 years, I've  lived in bear, cougar, "official" wolf-pack, wildcat, coyote, and wolverine country -- the Methow Valley of Washington State.  Got deer and moose, too.  somewhere in my files, I have a picture of a cougar standing in my carport.  I moved here after spending my first 38 years living in the wilds of western Colorado -- well, it was wild-er when I was growing up there.  I seem to remember the most dangerous thing we worried about when out in the woods back then was out-of-state hunters and out-of-the-city folks.  I've had more domestic cattle charge me than any wild creature, and I've had more hassles with human weirdos than lions, or bears, or wolverines.

One time I carried a firearm when we taking a long walk across the Northern Territories in the 60's.  Couldn't carry all the food we needed, and had to provide some meat.  The guns selected were a .410 skeleton-grip pistol with assorted loads and a .22 survival rifle with both bullet and shot-shell ammo.  As it turned out, we ate mostly fish, grouse, and rabbits and they were so tame we could have gotten by with  our fishing tackle, sticks and stones.  The bears ran when they saw us, or just ignored us.  The moose also ignored us. BUT we did not encounter any mama mooses with calves, or sow bears with cubs.  Any momma with babies is dangerous -- I'm married to one and I know!

 

I do always carry pepper spray.  I have considered carrying my 2-pound Nine when out with my family -- especially after one of my granddaughters was "approached" by  a scary guy.

3:10 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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..I never knew we were speaking about lions and tigers...

..And don't cut humans so short on reaction times - humans are animals too, in case you forgot where we evolved from. And while most people don't train to use fast reflexes because we don't need them any more, some do train those reflexes.

Special ops dudes have some of the fastest combat reflexes and reactions compared to anything else on earth, and that's under stressful conditions when they're cold, hungry, tired, and have adrenaline pumping.

 

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! - just having fun here.  (Look out for that falling house!)

Of course we would give self defense the old college try, but man with knife versus a bear or pack of wolves is not even close to an even match.  Carry spray, bells, and a air horn, they'll do more to keep you safe than a knife.  

Seriously humans are animals, and so are tree sloths.  I need not say sloths will have slow reaction times, no matter how much they train.  Likewise humans are slow compared to predatory animals.  Training may improve our speed, but all predators that are a threat to us have faster reaction times than the fastest human.  Our best defense is anticipation, and as Gary alludes with his moose and tree story, thinking on our feet.

Ed

3:54 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I like the air horn idea. Gotta get me one of those.

4:45 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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humans are the greatest predator on earth, and we don't need to get into a discussion about our destruction of this planet and many species to get that point across.

 

What then, would your explanation be of African tribes who's hunters still kill these predatory animals with their hands, sticks sharpened into spears, rocks, and bows and arrows?

 

While we may not have as fast of a reaction time as some animals we have a bigger brain. We have the ability to predict, plan ahead, and adjust plans, as well as make tools and use them such as weapons.

4:49 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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and don't take me wrong. I'm not about to fly out to Tanzania and fight a lion with my knife..

 

But I don't think we have as deep of a connection as we should with our predatory instinct sometimes. We play victim. We run or hide or stay indoors. If these other animals were so much better than we are at hunting and killing, then our ancestors never would have been able to kill them for food as they used to do. And the funny thing is, the animals that our ancestors used to kill with only rocks, spears, and arrows, were even BIGGER than they are now!!

 

If our reaction times were so slow, none of us would be here today! Our species would have been wiped away.

 

get my drift??

5:18 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I do carry a 15" bladed Machete on a regular basis when going deep into the backcountry...

WTF Rambo!  What do you use that for?  I hope not for whacking out a trail, that is all wrong!

Ed

LOL Ed! You're one of my favorites in this place. Hope you are doing well. Sorry, I meant a 16 1/2" bladed Machete. Jk. I carry a big blade to compensate for the fact that I don't have a mountain bike to ride at the beach or an blinged out H2 to park near the boardwalk (I don't remember how that reference came up originally, but I do remember that we had fun with it).

I have the machete for survivial if I were to get really lost and needed to carve some giant wild pumpkins to scare away would be predators. Seriously though, never for whacking out a trail unless my life depended on it. I'm with you. That offense would be all wrong. I just retired my old beast and will now carry a more reasonable blade (in edition to my SwissArmy Knife), a Gerber Gator Jr Machete with serrated saw blade on the back. Only a 10 1/2" blade ;) Great posts though people!

5:21 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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(If) ..worse come to worse, if an animal came at me, I might pull the knife out - necks and eyes, no matter how big the animal, are particularly vulnerable areas, so use knives or spears there.

Ha ha that's funny.  Most animals have much quicker reactions than humans.  The notion you can jab the eye of an attacking lion, tiger, or bear, oh my, is analogus to ducking bullets.  Good luck!

Ed 

 Ed, no one told you? We're in the Matrix. You can dodge bullets if you believe you can.

-Neo

6:32 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I do carry a 15" bladed Machete on a regular basis when going deep into the backcountry...

WTF Rambo!  What do you use that for?  I hope not for whacking out a trail, that is all wrong!

Ed

There are vast areas of the Appalachians where the established trails are not hiked or maintained frequently enough to prevent significant overgrowth of scrub and brambles. A machete is about the most effective tool for dealing with those circumstances. I don't often carry a machete, but when I know I will be hitting some of those less-traveled overgrown trails I will bring one along.

10:17 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I do carry a 15" bladed Machete on a regular basis when going deep into the backcountry...

WTF Rambo!  What do you use that for?  I hope not for whacking out a trail, that is all wrong!

Ed

There are vast areas of the Appalachians where the established trails are not hiked or maintained frequently enough to prevent significant overgrowth of scrub and brambles. A machete is about the most effective tool for dealing with those circumstances. I don't often carry a machete, but when I know I will be hitting some of those less-traveled overgrown trails I will bring one along.

Your point is well taken Caleb, more verdant regions may require some clearing of un-maintained trails; however XTerro is from So Cal, where lack of maintenance results in slides obliterating trails, not overgrowth.  Reading his responses to my remarks, however, I think I missed his satire, stupid me, score one for the XTerro!

Ed

11:16 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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..I don't think we have as deep of a connection as we should with our predatory instinct sometimes. We play victim. We run or hide or stay indoors. If these other animals were so much better than we are at hunting and killing, then our ancestors never would have been able to kill them for food as they used to do. And the funny thing is, the animals that our ancestors used to kill with only rocks, spears, and arrows, were even BIGGER than they are now!!

 

If our reaction times were so slow, none of us would be here today! Our species would have been wiped away.

 

get my drift??

I get your drift, but I think it skidded past some salient points.

Yes African tribesmen do slay lions, but the tribesmen are acting as hunters in these instances, not as tourists.  When the tribesmen hunt these beasts they are on full alert, and have a plan of attack. We are usually in tourist mode on our hikes, and probably wouldn’t enjoy our outings if we were in perpetual combat mode.  That mindset is a critical distinction, but not the only one.  The tribesmen are trained with the skills specifically required for the hunt whereas we are not.  These hunts are often coordinated team activities, whereas no group of hikers I have ever been with took the time to preplan a defense against a predator, let alone have the wherewithal to design a plan of defense.  Yet despite the tribesmen’s acumen they still get killed by these beasts all the time.  Our primitive brethren didn’t fare much better, given the abundance of skeletal injuries in the human fossil record.  In any case neither contemporary African tribesman nor our prehistoric ancestors purposefully took on these creatures head on, under the beast’s terms, even a Neanderthal would consider that suicidal.   

As for the comment about slow reaction times and our survival: again I point to the tree sloth; it is much slower than we, yet it survives.  Alas nature permits a variety of ways to survive.  Human survival has little to do with physical strength and reaction times, but was/is reliant on three other attributes: endurance, intelligence, and the ability to adapt.  Primitive hunters traditionally used poison tipped spear and arrows to slowly kill large prey, but they had to be able to chase the wounded animal, sometimes for days, until the prey eventually weakened and succumbed to the hunt.  Endurance.  We also survived and prospered by using our brains, devising kill zones, running prey off cliff tops, or into box canyons and traps where they can be attacked safely from above, etc.  That’s using intelligence to exploit opportunities.  I for one would like to think my species is at the top of the food chain due to predatory skills borne out of our smarts, and not reliant on our skinny, weak, hairless, fragile, slow moving bodies.  Who needs predatory instincts anyway when you have a brain.

Ed         

1:17 a.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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Your point is well taken Caleb, more verdant regions may require some clearing of un-maintained trails; however XTerro is from So Cal, where lack of maintenance results in slides obliterating trails, not overgrowth.  Reading his responses to my remarks, however, I think I missed his satire, stupid me, score one for the XTerro!

Ed

Ed, I truly hope to meet you on a trail someday. Slides obliterating trails? How about obliterating bridges and roads, like the 74 up into Idyllwild last year and the 330 to Big Bear now? Maybe if I upgrade to a Gerber Gator Sr Machete I can help Caltrans clear the path for traffic. What a mess. 

I have gone into the SoCal wilderness solo w/ a locator (and orienteering tools) and ended up needing to use a machete to get access out of some dead-end areas. I've never created my own trail, but out of necessity (and in some cases, admittedly due to some poor judgement) I've had to leave a few divots in the backcountry that I'm quite certain would never be discovered (seasonal but THICK shrubbery).

5:35 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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Ed, good call, I didn't even think about where Xterro was from.

I wasn't really trying to "correct" your statements, so much as offer some clarification for others who might not be aware of how different some environs are than those they are familiar with.

Speaking of landslides, we had an impressive rockslide take out a section hwy 64 in the Ocoee river gorge. A smaller slide closed the road, then a news crew got footage of a second and larger slide later that day. We were experiencing the heaviest rains in many years, which spawned slides all over the region. About 14,000 cubic yards of rock came off the side of the mountain in the fall. Yeepers.

Here's the video:

 

6:25 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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ed -

notice I didn't say we survive because of our giant molars. I mentioned our brains and their development somewhere in there. Our abilities to adapt, plan ahead, and plan attacks are the product of our brain, the reason we can fight back against "beasties" if necessary, and something I already mentioned.

 

And sure, we are "tourists" compared to the tribesman - my point exactly - that we have the same instinct and abilities as these tribesman, the difference is our modern adapted lives have prevented us from using them and honing those skills.

 

broken down to teeth, claws, and brut strength, is there a comparison between men and other species? No. But I didn't make that comparison, so much of the argument is pointless.

 

I merely said that when in certain situations our abilities need to not be underestimated. I am highly educated on evolution, brain development, neurology, and more, so your points are taken but well learned already.

7:41 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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we should really get into a discussion about current and past cultural zeitgeists and the impact they have had on the destruction of our innate instincts, social awareness, and our capacity to help each other. Our brain, which is our best asset, is also our worst enemy. We are more socially and morally empty and irresponsible than at any other time in humanity.

 

but that's for another time and place so I don't hijack the thread any more than I already have :-)

7:42 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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gonzan -

 

I could totally take that rock slide out with my knife.

10:58 a.m. on January 27, 2011 (EST)
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Well...I could take it with my bare fingernails! ;)

2:35 p.m. on January 27, 2011 (EST)
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Why try to take it out? Just hop on and go with the flow.

Ed

3:29 p.m. on January 27, 2011 (EST)
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In answer to the original question, by all means take your 30-30 and any other weapons you can possibly carry. Praise the Lord and pass the bullets.

7:03 p.m. on January 27, 2011 (EST)
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Machetes, commando knives with fingerholes, .30-.30s, and all kinds of other weapons, geez, this forum is getting scary!

Seriously, though, what any of us would/should carry is really dependent on where and when we backpack and whom we trek with. I seldom carry when alone, do in some areas at certain times of year and just decide this issue based on previous experience.

I ALWAYS am armed whenever I take my wife anywhere off pavement, due to a number of truely horrific, lethal attacks upon innocent families and women that have happened in BC in the past 20+ years. I am not going to be concerned about anything other than my wife's safety whenever we go camping, fishing or simply exploring.

So, lots of good points here and it is an individual decision, depending on the laws in your area; the major concern is safety and then packing  more weight than I have to, IMO.

7:41 a.m. on January 28, 2011 (EST)
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Another good argument for off trail hiking and stealth camping. If you blend in then the criminals that are hiding behind every tree and rock won`t spot you as easily. Then perhaps one could eliminate at least the automatic weapons.

2:04 p.m. on January 28, 2011 (EST)
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A fantastic thread full of passion, respectful discord, humor, considered advice, resolution, honesty, wisdom - all Hallmarks of the Trailspace experience. Kudos fellow members!

2:11 p.m. on January 28, 2011 (EST)
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You are welcome XterroBrando. Gun play always makes me giddy.

4:33 p.m. on February 4, 2011 (EST)
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I love that movie and that quote. Or how about "Why is the rabbit unafraid? Because he's smarter than the panther."

11:22 a.m. on February 7, 2011 (EST)
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If I could I'd bring a SERE specialist, Katherine Heigl and Emeril on trips but since I can't I just bring a small firearm.  I work out so I can carry more gear and hike farther faster.  I hike with kids so I gotta keep up.

If a .30-30 is worth carrying to you, do it.  Soneone asked me upon seeing my small firearm on my hip if I was afraid of something. I told him, "heck no, I'm the one with the gun." 

Poineers always knew the value of having one on a trip.  I used to carry four in my patrol car.  There is no use in getting killed for lack of shooting back.  Can you have too many?  Carry what you can afford to.  GPS, solar charger, spare shoes, inflatable pad, rubber raft?  Go ahead, just dont ask me to help carry your gear. 

10:58 p.m. on February 7, 2011 (EST)
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I've brought a wrist rocket camping before...

7:12 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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Good point whomeworry about being bored to death by others on the trails. Everytime I say hello to a fellow hiker anywhere here in Europe, they find out I am an American. Not addressing someone is rude. I have to hear about our political decisions. I thought I was getting away from everything. Geez...ctrub, bring your 30-30. LOL

Try Norway. People are not generally inclined to talk on the trail, and would never be so rude as to start a political discussion with a stranger.

Q: How can you tell a Norwegian likes you?

A: He looks at your shoes instead of his own.

3:03 p.m. on February 17, 2011 (EST)
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BigRed,

    Actually my wife has been to Norway and she loved it. We have been talking about visiting the area. I looked at your website, thanks for putting it up on your profile. Any suggestions or general advice for a hiking vacation? Nice to here from fellow Americans enjoying Europe's natural wonders.

5:45 p.m. on February 17, 2011 (EST)
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Hi D-Dog

Still haven't finished the Jotunheimen page, but that's always a priority because it has most of the highest peaks in Norway and is very beautiful. The hits can get very busy in summer and especially Easter week -- Besseggen in Jotunheimen is by far the most-hiked piece of trail in Norway, but for good reason. When we crossed Jotunheimen in summer 2004 we never had a problem getting a room, but then we also had kids with us which gives you an edge. Expensive even for Norway.

A bit more off the beaten track -- look at Tafjordfjella (a.k.a./overlapping with Reinheim) -- possible to hike to or from the much-admired Geirangerfjord with its "hanging farms".

Finally (and I almost hesitate to recommend such little travelled places) take a look at our Romsdal/Sunndalsfjellet hike -- great cross-section from the rugged, wet west to the higher, (somewhat) flatter and "drier" Dovrefjell plateau. (In all cases you takes your chances with the weather...)

And if you don't really want to do the hut-to-hut thing, consider doing some day hikes or one-nighters in Helgeland or Lofoten, both astonishingly beautiful.

5:06 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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BigRed,

  Looking at all the pictures, I really would have trouble picking one area. The whole area is beautiful. I would have my family with me to include 10 and 14 year olds. What is one area you would recommend that is geared for the whole family with day excursions into the wild. Basicly, if I could visit Norway only once with my family, what is the ideal place. We would like to rent one of those small Norwegian houses and get the full experience of the vacation. Thank you very much for the information and pictures.

4:16 a.m. on April 12, 2011 (EDT)
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A very contentious issue for some people.  I've unfortunately have had the experiance of spending time around a person that was issued a concealed weapons permit for no other reason than he wanted one.   It was his right and he wanted one, which made it legal once it was issued, but I had to end my friendship with him due to the fact that he seemed to me to be a rather unstable person esp w/ a gun.  I'm ignorant of the laws in national forest/parks though I belive it is now legal to pack, though I would think that one would still need a concealed weapons permit to do so.  To stay on subject it can be a little disconcerting knowing that only thing beween you and the world is a tent wall.  Back in the early 90's I live in Buena Vista CO where I met my exgirlfriend of 20 yrs. On August 10, 1993 a guy she went to school with (Colin McClelland, 24) was killed by a black bear that ripped the door off of the trailer he was sleeping in and killed him and  then came back to feed on him.  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1993-08-15/news/9308150530_1_black-bear-mcclelland-bear-suspected (this is just a cover article, couldn't find the original) also listed in Wickopidia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America#Black_bear_4  His fellow loggers only found him after a few day's.  Now granted this is a very rare occurance.  But it does give one pause for thought regarding what a wild animal is capable of.  It was not listed in the artical but this was a problem animal that had previoulsy bothered the camp (it was a logging camp).  The bear had been reported but nothing had been done about it.  This changed my mind on packing in the back country.  As a much debated constitutional right I'm glad we still have the right but must be used with much forthought .

Alicia-Thanks for leaving this thread open

Everyone thanks for being civil so that  Alicia could leave this thread open.

10:45 p.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Personally, I probably would not 'pack heat' on the trails.

 

To / for those here that have safety concerns, or fear to something attacking ... I would suggest a flare-gun.

 

We use these as standard-equipment on sailboats here on the Chesapeake Bay.  Small-ish and handy.

 

They are orange plastic or Nylon (not sure), very light.   A 'clip' of about 6 shells (look like .20-gauge or smaller ... but, larger than .410) is attached to the pistol (sometimes called a 'very pistol'.

Could definitely be used in an emergency to summon help ... or, if fired into a living thing, I could not imagine it would continue attacking.   It would probably die from the incendiary projectile.   I think (?) the load has phosphorus and sulfur ... maybe magnesium, also.   DOES NOT extinguish rapidly, I can tell you that.

 

r2

11:21 p.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Just make sure you don't miss and  it says in the live thing or you'll have to worry about a forest fire.

4:29 a.m. on April 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Personally.. ... I would suggest a flare-gun...

 

Just make sure you don't miss and  it says in the live thing or you'll have to worry about a forest fire.

I doubt it would penetrate the beast. so you're still likely to start a fire. 

Good news: Warded off an attack.

Bad news: Couldn't out run the fire.

Ed 

6:03 a.m. on April 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Personally.. ... I would suggest a flare-gun...

 

Just make sure you don't miss and  it says in the live thing or you'll have to worry about a forest fire.

I doubt it would penetrate the beast. so you're still likely to start a fire. 

Good news: Warded off an attack.

Bad news: Couldn't out run the fire.

Ed 

 

 

  ( insert laughing smilie icon )

 

 

r2

7:45 a.m. on April 14, 2011 (EDT)
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You MIGHT scare off an aggressive Black Bear by using a flare gun, but, after decades of experience with them, I would not try it. This implement certainly has it's uses and we always carried them in our boats when I was in the Canadian Coast Guard, but, a flare shot from one is not going to kill a Black Bear and may well make him even more aggressive.

Grizzlies are not really much of a concern in the Lower Fortyeight, but, are in Alaska and BC, in particular and shooting a flare at an attacking Grizzly is, IMO, not a very wise idea.

One aspect of this that bothers me and it is that I notice a concentration on defence from bears, etc, that are munching or preparing to munch upon the tender carcasses of hikers and very lttle concern for avoiding such encounters, which, IMO, is a far more useful approach to one's safety.

4:38 a.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Protection from what, bears? Don't forget your license if you do. Whats the hunting season during the time of the hike? I hunt with rocks and sticks, not guns. Mainly game birds. Even a wrist rocket would be lighter and easier to pack. I used to use one and used candy ball's for ammo, that way if I missed they simply melted away.


Wrist-Rocket.jpg

 

 

I have a couple of these.   Never used candy-balls, though.   Exactly which ones do you use?   I have become pretty accurate, with much practice.

 

BTW -- Strange / 'Believe-It-Or-Not department:   You can't buy these in New Jersey.    Even in hunting / fishing / outdoor stores, where they sell guns and archery.   Go figure (?) ....   (* note-  Lotsa Democrats  putting weird laws on the books ).

 

 

r2

2:37 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I think that if one makes a choice to carry a weapon for protection and/ or survival purposes. Then more power to you. But, a high level of responsibility is tied to the carrying of those weapons. 

It's a right we have as American citizens and hey, exercise them if you want to. But be careful with that right.

I support your choice to carry and your choice to not carry.

7:29 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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30/30 yes or M887Tact or G20 (hot)

but, always remember the responsibility and licenses associated, hunting or not.  A big responsibility that you must stand beyond and live with.

11:32 p.m. on April 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The adrenalin speed of a wild animal is too swift for probable human response to draw and fire a weapon including bear spray. I support iClimb's claim about animal speed. I spooked a young bear a number of years ago. I didn't know what I spooked until a few minutes later when I saw the bear about 15 feet up a tree, fortunately more concerned about me than vise-versa. If you're constantly prepared with a weapon you have a better chance of responding. On the other hand, will your response be successful in saving your life? At least you've made an effort. Being constantly prepared is no way to live nor a way to enjoy your purpose for being out there. I prefer to learn about an area I intend to hike and decide what risk(s) I'm prepared to take if any.

9:18 p.m. on April 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Ahhh, no.  Don't take a heavy rifle hiking, it'll just slow you down.  If you have to resort to survival tactics whist hiking, you failed miserably.

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