Adventure camping protection

6:44 p.m. on March 1, 2011 (EST)
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Hello, Hi and G'day all,

I am here asking a question on a topic that has in the past become a little personal and sometimes difficult for people of all thoughts to just simply answer the question.

I have just read several other threads of similar topic though not as specific as my question and even noticed an administrator post a note.  So please do read the community rules, or at least be very aware of them before posting accordingly / appropriately http://www.trailspace.com/about/community-rules.html  and if your post is a simple answer it will surely work for allowing such posts about firearms to continue in the future.

My question is,

Would a Glock 20 be a hand gun of worthy consideration for personal life saving last resort protection against attacking animals, both 4 legged and two legged.

A note before you think of adding all the don'ts of this possible choice, so you can just answer the question and maybe, please do, add another one suggestion of another hand gun to consider.

- I keep a very clean camp

- I cook away from the tent

- I air tight seal all trash & food & raise when not being used, day/night

- I research the area for info of animals possible of attacking humans

- I check the gun carry laws of areas I am visiting

- I already shoot/hunt w/shotguns, 18.5" & 28" 12GA 2-3/4, 3 & 3-1/2"

  I will take the shorty (where allowed) with 00Buck and  HV Slugs.

- I go into back country, ride in on MX bike, camp, hike, fish. (Yes, Permits)

- Destinations in the next 36mths, Alaska wilderness, Colorado Rockies, Pacific Northwest, Northern Californian National Forests, Yellowstone Backcountry, .....

- I carry Bear Spray and understand all levels of its' effectiveness

- I carry a small Freo Air Horn

- I carry a small squeeze spray bottle of ammonia

- Camp tools, axe, saw, knife, shovel, blahh , blahhh, blah

And yes, this all fits comfortably on the DS MX(plated) bike along with food for a week. Just need fuel, sometimes.

I have been referred several hand guns. The only specific one that I have heard referred more than once is the Glock 20.

I know I don't want to piss off ol'Mr.Bear if we really have to come to the ultimate decision of squeezing a trigger (as a last resort).  But for the two of us that are going on these trips (we both shoot) we are considering one shotgun (already have this) and one hand gun (?).

Good choice ?

YES or no and why ?

What would be another choice and why ?

Oh yeah, many thanks for your simple suggestions.

 

7:38 p.m. on March 1, 2011 (EST)
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Hey calahan I would say a Glock 21 higher caliber.It's a 45 round. Bears weight and size have to do with that. A 400 pd grizzly comes to mind.

11:14 p.m. on March 1, 2011 (EST)
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As backup for a 12 ga, a G20 is probably sufficient for most encounters you may have in the lower 48.  If you use full power 10mm loads, it is significantly hotter than any .45.  But for Alaskan brown bears, it would be on the light side.

Glocks are very reliable and simple, I would have no problem trusting one (I carry a G30 in town).

11:07 p.m. on March 2, 2011 (EST)
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Smith & Wesson 500. That will take care of anything and you can leave the shotgun at home. I love mine.

9:47 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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Of course a 12ga is better but will you have it on you when you need it?

Anything is better than nothing.  If it is small enough that you will always carry it and the biggest gun you can accurately handle, do it.  I carried a Glock as a cop (love them) but, yes .45 is a little light for bears. 

If you want to carry it and can stand the weight its a great gun.  Carry hollow points for two legged and solid lead or full metal jacket loads for four legs. 

12:48 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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I use to own guns, but I really do not need one in Germany. Although I am starting to rethink this after the terrorist attack at Frankfurt airport. Anyways...

A .357 revolver that is well oiled when in the cold weather-Alaska. I use to have a Colt that survived some pretty harsh temperatures. Glocks: my glock 17 was an awesome handgun, but my worries in cold weather is the freezing of the smaller mechanisms and the sliding of the barrel in the extreme. Either way you would have to have a holster that has some insulation. Oh, I have been to the Glock factory in Austria-awesome.

I would not carry anything lighter then a .357 or .44 if I was worried about anything larger than a big dog (revolver). I would carry a high power hunting rifle if I knew bears might be a problem. In Alaska and artic regions, a rifle is recommended.

The revolver is a more simple mechanism and more rugged than an automatic-and has the more  powerful calibers.

Automatics are better suited for urban settings because of more ammo, quick reloads, ease of use, and rate of fire.

1:00 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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D-Dog Thanks so much for a good review and answers to my questions.

 

Also thankyou to the others too, all are imformative and helpful. Each with valuable thoughts and information, sometimes even just a little different from one another.

 

I look forward to hearing from a few more folks.

 

Many thanks.

2:43 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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I'm a gun owner and a shooter since preteen. I love good weapons made by excellent craftsmen or engineers. I hunt game and love my 9mm and .45 hand guns. I had a lot of practice and experience in Vietnam shooting at what were considered worst than predators - more dangerous anyway.   I also backpack a lot - almost anywhere I can get to. I don't pack heat (even in the car) for the following reasons.

If a wild predator wants you, you don't stand a chance even with a quick draw holster.  They earn their living catching active well trained to survive game - from cover by stealth.  You will be out of luck if you carry your weapon anyplace but where you can get at it and discharge it immediately.  That includes a chambered round (not that smart) and safety off (duh!).  A black bear's diet is usually veggies, ant and other larva.  It does not include humans - unless very dead and very smelly.  Then it is still very rare.

If anyone deems the wilderness so dangerous as to be ready for self preservation at any second, it would seem that they should not risk their life by being away from the high density, VERY high risk, city.  Even bringing a loved family member into the wilderness with them should be out of the question. 

Compare non accidental injury and death rate statistics between wilderness environments and cities.  Very little to compare. Domestic dogs are among the highest animal risk of injury and death to humans.  Humans are by far the highest risk animal, unfortunately. A lot of humans are injured or killed each year by deer...and these hunters are well armed, considering.  Not a lot of backpackers have had their jaw torn off by a kicking hind hoof...well, not reported anyway.

Deaths and injuries due to mountain lions in the last half century can be counted on your fingers (not including thumbs).  Wilderness deaths on 2 fingers.   Bears somewhat more but it is only newsworthy because it is so rare.  Don't even start to worry about moose if you are concerned by bears.  You don't stand a chance in a shoot out with a moose.  Those are the big scary guys you have to be careful with in the wild.

It is unlikely that you will be able to even stop a determined black bear with a hand gun.  You don't have the time to aim nor perhaps the nerve to do it calmly and efficiently.  How many well placed rounds can you get off in 2 seconds?  Most can't hit a charging squirrel.  That's about the size of the kill spot.  You don't want no stinkin' injured, really pissed off large capable animal anywhere near you.

If bears were such a high risk as to be a concern, you can bet your last government dollar there would not be a wild bear alive in the USA.  100's of thousands of near wilderness cabin dwellers co-exist with bears 24/7.

Like snake bites, most bear bites can be attributed to inebriated males under the age of 30.  Usually with a cute girl (or drinking buds) near by to keep the testosterone level up as a display of manliness.

North of USA (Canada/Alaska) scratch all mentioned above and openly carry as large a bore weapon you can (or allowed) while in deep wilderness with territorial feeding grizzlies as residents.  That ought to slow you down.

There might be a really stupid reason that firearms are not allowed in US National Parks.  Especially considering a LOT of bears are in close proximity with humans in some NP.  You'd think the federal government (who manages our NP) would have better regulations to protect us.  It has only been recently that management staff at NP started being armed.  Might be the increase in wildlife incursions? Naaa, them critters have been around since I was a kid.

In the lower 48 anyone with a weapon is by far the most dangerous thing on the trail.  Potentially and accidentally.  If you know someone is packing, best place to camp is as far away from him (usually male) as you can make it before dark.  Even with the best intentions a lot of people get shot accidentally during big game hunting season.  If you want to protect against risk, by all means carry while in the parking lot, near the trial head or in public campgrounds.   Beyond the trail head they are worth less than useless...they are simply dang heavy and you can't eat 'em.

Maybe the question should be what size weapon you need to make sure you can have a high confidence kill on another human who is messing with your family on the trail.  

Now THAT is scary.

4:31 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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I use to own guns, but I really do not need one in Germany. Although I am starting to rethink this after the terrorist attack at Frankfurt airport. Anyways...

A .357 revolver that is well oiled when in the cold weather-Alaska. I use to have a Colt that survived some pretty harsh temperatures. Glocks: my glock 17 was an awesome handgun, but my worries in cold weather is the freezing of the smaller mechanisms and the sliding of the barrel in the extreme. Either way you would have to have a holster that has some insulation. Oh, I have been to the Glock factory in Austria-awesome.

I would not carry anything lighter then a .357 or .44 if I was worried about anything larger than a big dog (revolver). I would carry a high power hunting rifle if I knew bears might be a problem. In Alaska and artic regions, a rifle is recommended.

The revolver is a more simple mechanism and more rugged than an automatic-and has the more  powerful calibers.

Automatics are better suited for urban settings because of more ammo, quick reloads, ease of use, and rate of fire.

 Correct and incorrect as well D-Dog.. The reason for a revolver has to do with the Cartrige size..Meaning they have more energy do to the amount of powder and the lenghth of the jacket..revolvers actually have more mechanisms than automatics..For Bears in that region is  a 44 is reccomended..Also lubricants need to be taken into account do to the weather conditons...Go to a gunsmith and they will confirm this..

10:27 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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More important than what you choose is you're proficiency.  Go with what you feel most confident in you're ability to shoot.  You're much better off with a smaller gun that you are very familiar with than a larger one you rarely use. 

A rifle is a much better choice in my opinion, not because of the extra power, but because I find them much easier to shoot instinctively.  For a raft trip in Alaska, a rifle may be a viable option, but not worth the weight for a backpacking trip in my opinion. 

Remember, no matter how careful you are, there is always a risk in carrying a firearm.  Propper practices can minimize this risk, but it is always there.  If there is next to nil chance of needing a firearm, the risk of carrying it probably outweighs the risk of leaving it at home, not to mention the weight savings. 

I've done over a dozen Alaska trips and I have no doubt that the if you are proficient and safe, you are better off carrying up there unless you're far above the snowline. 

9:50 p.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
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I'm a gun owner and a shooter since preteen. I love good weapons made by excellent craftsmen or engineers. I hunt game and love my 9mm and .45 hand guns. I had a lot of practice and experience in Vietnam shooting at what were considered worst than predators - more dangerous anyway.   I also backpack a lot - almost anywhere I can get to. I don't pack heat (even in the car) for the following reasons.

If a wild predator wants you, you don't stand a chance even with a quick draw holster.  They earn their living catching active well trained to survive game - from cover by stealth.  You will be out of luck if you carry your weapon anyplace but where you can get at it and discharge it immediately.  That includes a chambered round (not that smart) and safety off (duh!).  A black bear's diet is usually veggies, ant and other larva.  It does not include humans - unless very dead and very smelly.  Then it is still very rare.

If anyone deems the wilderness so dangerous as to be ready for self preservation at any second, it would seem that they should not risk their life by being away from the high density, VERY high risk, city.  Even bringing a loved family member into the wilderness with them should be out of the question. 

Compare non accidental injury and death rate statistics between wilderness environments and cities.  Very little to compare. Domestic dogs are among the highest animal risk of injury and death to humans.  Humans are by far the highest risk animal, unfortunately. A lot of humans are injured or killed each year by deer...and these hunters are well armed, considering.  Not a lot of backpackers have had their jaw torn off by a kicking hind hoof...well, not reported anyway.

Deaths and injuries due to mountain lions in the last half century can be counted on your fingers (not including thumbs).  Wilderness deaths on 2 fingers.   Bears somewhat more but it is only newsworthy because it is so rare.  Don't even start to worry about moose if you are concerned by bears.  You don't stand a chance in a shoot out with a moose.  Those are the big scary guys you have to be careful with in the wild.

It is unlikely that you will be able to even stop a determined black bear with a hand gun.  You don't have the time to aim nor perhaps the nerve to do it calmly and efficiently.  How many well placed rounds can you get off in 2 seconds?  Most can't hit a charging squirrel.  That's about the size of the kill spot.  You don't want no stinkin' injured, really pissed off large capable animal anywhere near you.

If bears were such a high risk as to be a concern, you can bet your last government dollar there would not be a wild bear alive in the USA.  100's of thousands of near wilderness cabin dwellers co-exist with bears 24/7.

Like snake bites, most bear bites can be attributed to inebriated males under the age of 30.  Usually with a cute girl (or drinking buds) near by to keep the testosterone level up as a display of manliness.

North of USA (Canada/Alaska) scratch all mentioned above and openly carry as large a bore weapon you can (or allowed) while in deep wilderness with territorial feeding grizzlies as residents.  That ought to slow you down.

There might be a really stupid reason that firearms are not allowed in US National Parks.  Especially considering a LOT of bears are in close proximity with humans in some NP.  You'd think the federal government (who manages our NP) would have better regulations to protect us.  It has only been recently that management staff at NP started being armed.  Might be the increase in wildlife incursions? Naaa, them critters have been around since I was a kid.

In the lower 48 anyone with a weapon is by far the most dangerous thing on the trail.  Potentially and accidentally.  If you know someone is packing, best place to camp is as far away from him (usually male) as you can make it before dark.  Even with the best intentions a lot of people get shot accidentally during big game hunting season.  If you want to protect against risk, by all means carry while in the parking lot, near the trial head or in public campgrounds.   Beyond the trail head they are worth less than useless...they are simply dang heavy and you can't eat 'em.

Maybe the question should be what size weapon you need to make sure you can have a high confidence kill on another human who is messing with your family on the trail.  

Now THAT is scary.

 

First of all, just cause critter gets jump on you during the attack doesn't mean you won't be able to fight back, shoot, and kill the critter. I mean, give me a break. OMG! Cougar got the jump one me! I'll just lay down and take it. Just cause critter gets first blow doesn't mean that carrying a gun is not a good idea..

Oh and btw, law has changed, guns aren't banned in national parks anymore long as your licensed.

1:14 a.m. on March 9, 2011 (EST)
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Dragoro thanks for the info.  Interesting note about the carry in NP's.

Oh yeah, never give up.

 

And doing a back slam on a cougar while it is on your back is a very good option too. Just make it a good one. Cougars regularly go for the neck and quickly as their choice of attack points. So what ever you do don't mess around thinking about it too long.

 

Thanks for the post with input, appreciated.

2:39 p.m. on March 9, 2011 (EST)
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Back slam, that’s a good one!

Of course you will try to fight back, but your odds are very poor, especially if you must perform some specific set of moves regardless of the situation, like reaching for a gun, disengaging the safety, cocking and aiming, then somehow not shooting yourself in the process, or get disarmed (literally and figuratively) by the beast. 

Good luck having the wherewithal (provided you are even conscious) to operate a gun while a cougar has you by the neck.  Same goes for close quarter defense against a bear.   As for back slams, that is pure fantasy!  Your avatar makes you look like a strapping big man, But I bet a bear or cat sees you as little more than a super sized portion of Human McNuggets. Maybe you can grapple with a cub, but an adult is several times stronger than any human.  Remember these creatures hunt and kill animals several times our size and strength, and have quicker reaction times to boot.  Just keep in mind while your hand is going for the gun, the bear most likely is using this opportunity to peel your undefended face off your skull, or the cat to rip your jugular out of your throat.  You may have a slight chance to use your iron if the animal unintentionally reveals its presence, prior to jumping you, but otherwise you will have just enough reaction time to almost crap in your pants. 

Tales of fending off animal attacks are akin to tales of surviving avalanches: very very few survive either without assistance from third parties.  Gimmicks and gadgets are desperate, almost always futile, last resorts when nature decides to visit you with raw might and force.  If I think an area is prone to avalanche I just avoid it altogether, regardless whatever safety equipment I have along, and regardless I have other close at hand to assist.  The same sentiment permeates my outlook regarding attack from wild animals.  Only a fool feels safe enough equipped with a spear gun to consider swimming among piranhas.

So to answer the OP's questions: Guns are rarely effective enough to warrant bringing along for defense against large four legged foes.  As for two legged foes, a big stick is good enough.  Better yet just run away.  Just wondering; why even venture out if you are so paranoid?  The chances of getting struck by lightning are manifold times greater than getting attacked by man or beast in the outback, yet no one raises this safety topic.  I also note it is always men who bring up the subject of guns.  It makes me wonder how much we are motivated by true safety concerns versus a testosterone driven preoccupation with firearms and projecting power.

Ed 

8:36 p.m. on March 9, 2011 (EST)
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For what it's worth, here is a link to a thread titled "What gun do you take camping".

It is on the 'USA Carry' website.

http://www.usacarry.com/forums/general-firearm-discussion/17010-what-gun-do-you-take-camping.html

The more experienced members at USA Carry will tell you that a gun is no more of an asset than your own skills allow it to be.

Same goes for accuracy, all handguns are inherently more mechanically accurate than 99.9% of gun owners are capable of shooting. The right gun is perfectly capable of stopping most bear attacks, the weak link is the person using it.

Avoidance, being bear aware, and just plain using your head is way more valuable in the backcountry than carrying a weapon of any kind. If you don't know the proper safety procedures for your area and head out anyway you have already put yourself at risk, statistically speaking. Most Park websites I have visited cover this information, plus there are several books on the subject.

Being a hunter (generally speaking), skeet shooter, plinker, or taking shooting lessons at a shooting range IS NOT proper training for shooting at an aggressive moving target, in a dynamic situation while under stress.

Without a great deal of practice at moving targets while you are under stress ( wet-cold-shaky-disoriented-caught by surprise & just crapped your pants), carrying a gun will have limited potential in the very unlikely event you have a problem.

I would also say that holds true for bear spray. While bear spray is deployed in a cone like pattern and accuracy is not nearly as critical as with a gun, if you have not practiced acquisition & deployment under stress it is possible to drop the spray, spray yourself, or a whole host of other fumbles including running through the spray you just let loose.

I also wonder how many people actually know what is required to get a concealed carry permit?  At least in my state, this is not something where you simply fill out a form and pay a fee. You must pass a nationwide background check, a written test, and prove you can handle, load, draw and shoot safely, while an instructor is screaming orders at you.

Most yahoos can't, or will not go through that process, they will just carry illegally. Those are the ones I would worry about the most.

It is you that keeps you safe, everything else is just an option and nothing is guaranteed.

 

12:20 a.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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trouthunter ,  Hi there and thanks for your very level headed and seemingly non emotional response.  I do appreciate your point of views and opinions on many topics of personal defense and safety while camping in the wilderness.  With great considerations to do with firearms of any kind and particularly a handgun.

 

Maybe a few pointers on Trout Fishing would also be greatly appreciated.

 

I do consider myself to be an average guy, of average height, of average weight, with no super human senses or responses.  So what I am trying to say and to clarify as I may have been misrepresenting myself or misleading in earlier post/s is, I am no super hero but always paying good attention and willing to learn more.

 

By the way I am satisfied with the fish I caught in a previous response to another post of mine.  I was waiting patiently and hooked a goody.

 

By the way what would be your answer to my questions ?

 

Thanks.

 

12:43 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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Callan Said

Would a Glock 20 be a hand gun of worthy consideration for personal life saving last resort protection against attacking animals, both 4 legged and two legged No that is a 10 mm round just above a 9mm. Recomened minimum caliber is a 45. That is well documented.What is recomended by firearm specialsts is a 44 magnum. The cartrige is longer which means more energy for the jacket or "Bullet".Also to be taken into account because you Posted Alaska. Is the grade and amount of lubricant for the firearm. Also misconception of automatics and Revolvers. Revolvers have more mechanisms than automatics..

Also transportation needs to be discussed And yes, this all fits comfortably on the DS MX(plated) bike along with food for a week. Just need fuel. Well in some states Bikes are considered vehicles. Is a paneer which Iam sure you are useing. Is it a proper storage compartment in Certain states? Hmmm sounds like you going to have to ask state troopers in the states you plan on visiting.That may in fact be illegal..

Lets add the Concealed License your going to have to aquire.Do the states you plan on visiting have reciprocity laws? yeah might want to check into that and ALL state laws regarding firearms...Lastly. Everything you have asked an Opion for has been well documented on other sites by persons who are WELL Qualified to answer any and all these Opions your asking for...

1:16 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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This is like the guy that buys all the right mountain gear, and decides he can now climb a mountain in December. But has no expereance mountain climbing. Very unwise! A gun can, and is used as a false security. Not noticing freash cat tracks, or bear dung. Why? becouse you are packing a gun. There are those areas where a gun is a good idea. But never a trade off for good common since.

I hope you do this trip, it sounds like fun. But there seems to be alot of information yet needed.

4:08 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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Like everyone else has mentioned before; look into the states reciprocity laws you plan on going, and that sort of thing.  Do you really need it?  Probably not.  I carry on some trips though i really dont need to.  If anything I would consider it more valuable per the chance you go off trail and get extremely lost and need to hunt for food more than for protection. 

To your original question.  I prefer a Smith model 25 mountain gun.  Most N frames i consider too large, and the mountain gun has a much shorter barrel/lighter weight.  500 is way too big not to mention cost of ammunition.  Look for something in 357mag, 41mag, 44mag, and 45 long colt.  If I was serious about handgun hunting large bear or something crazy like that i might go 500.  Just about anything in the automatic range I personally consider unacceptable.  Those rounds are not made for deep penetration in thick skinned animals.  Make sure the bullet type you choose is appropriate as well.

Agree with the previous poster about good commen sense.

7:16 p.m. on March 10, 2011 (EST)
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Callahan said:

"By the way what would be your answer to my questions ?"

First of all, I am certainly no super hero either, and I don't think you have misrepresented yourself in the least. I do shoot a lot, and on private property with guys who can do amazing things, so I have learned a lot.

Well, your trip destinations are going to take you into Grizzly territory, I only have experience in Black Bear country. That's a whole different ball game than what I know about. I would certainly defer to someone more knowledgeable than me about traveling in those backcountry areas.

I see you already have bear spray and an air horn. I know that many people who travel in grizzly territory carry a shotgun or rifle. Some people prefer a shotgun with sabot rounds vs slugs. From what I have been told by people who carry a handgun in those areas they would only consider a large caliber magnum. Again I have no actual experience in these areas, this is just what I know by listening.

Another point of clarification: A 10mm auto (Glock 20 for example) with hot rounds does have more power than a 45 auto, I have both. The 10mm will cost more to buy and shoot. I wouldn't consider either one of them where you plan to go if you are carrying them for defense against grizzlies.

I know that with black bears, just making noise as you walk, or banging metal pots together will warn them of your presence. In areas where black bears are habituated to human food  however some human sounds (campsite sounds) can actually attract them. Avoiding areas with signs of bear activity is also advised, back out, or go a different way. Most animals do not want contact with humans, but on rare occasions animal attacks do occur.

Avoidance really is the key to staying safe, not that you aren't aware of that, but it really does need to be promoted.

 

 

12:00 p.m. on March 12, 2011 (EST)
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Alaska is what stood out to me with this thread. I hunt Alaska, My first thought is a semi-auto pistol(with the exception of a Desert Eagle .50) would not do much but aggrivate a large predator in this region. Not to mention that you would most certainly need to hit the animal with multiple shots to be effective. My second thought is the cost of ammo was mentioned. Well if you're going to worry about the cost of ammo you are basically putting a price tag on your life. The firearm is not being used for silhouette shooting. It is being utilized to to save ones life if the situation arises. So the cost of ammo should not even be a thought. I agree with other mentions of spray, air horns, etc as a deterrant. Back to the firearms. Nothing less than a magnum round. S&W .500 is my choice for a sidearm when I am in dangerous environments such as stated above. Also the Ruger .454 is another round that comes to mind. There are alot of big bore magnum hand cannon calibers out there. Regardless of what you decide to get by all means get something you can control accurately, and get the associated permits to be legal. An individual with the lack of self regard/common sense that posesses a weapon in the outdoors is the most dangerous animal in the outdoors. On a side note for hunting large game rifle wise I use a Weatherby 340 mag.

4:24 p.m. on March 15, 2011 (EDT)
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A quick alteration to my questions,

What do you carry for bear deterent ?

What would you carry ?

 

i.e. only refering to a firearm.

 

Many thanks.

November 27, 2014
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