One of Those Once-in-a-Lifetime Chances warning: mild language

tellner

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I swear by all the gods that this is absolutely true and can take no credit for it since it was an act of Divine Grace that provided the opportunity.

Some years back I worked as a Sysadmin for the Engineering and Computer Science School at a local university. My wife and I were teaching the Women's Self Defense classes and were known to do a bit of shooting. Everyone in the Department knew it. We were the go-to guy and gal for anything involving self protection or martial arts. I have to say that our prominence was due to the flatness of the terrain. These were generally not people comfortable in their bodies or with any experience in physical violence.

One day the infosec professor said "Todd, I know you've done some shooting. I'm interested in a gun for self defense."

I asked him what sort of self defense. He explained that he was going fishing in Alaska and had heard of people having trouble with bears.

There probably wasn't time between now and then to get him the skills to do what he needed. I told him so. The guide would probably be armed just in case. The best advice I could give him was that if the bear wanted his fish he should let the bear have the damned fish. Just back away slowly and make sure not to get anywhere near cubs.

Yes, he said, he understood that. But just in case...

Alright, I said, there's a reason they call that particular Marlin lever action the Guide Gun. It's the absolute minimum for the job. I suggested some things with a little more authority that you could still carry while fishing and mentioned a few hunters who might be willing to lend him what he needed.

Somehow I knew where the conversation was going.

He asked the question.

"If I wanted a pistol what kind would I carry?"

No choice about it. It was like a Greek tragedy. The Chorus has already told the King that he's screwing up. Blind Tiresias has been abused. I had to play my part. If I didn't answer lightning would strike me dead, and the Earth would open to swallow my body.

"It doesn't matter what kind of handgun you use. Just remember to file off the front sight."

"Why should I do that?"

"So it won't hurt as much when the bear takes it and kicks it up your ***."
 

Deaf Smith

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I've been asked many times about what to take to Alaska for those who are not going to hunt but want some protection.

Usually I tell them to either carry a 12 guage shotgun with slugs or an AK-47 (yes, it's not PC, but the AK a 30 shot 30/30 with FMJ that will go through any bear's skull, easy to fire fast and strait, plus it's real reliable!) And added bonus is both are good for two legged animals as well as four.

When they ask about a pistol, I tell them if they rely on a real big one, the recoil will only allow maybe 1 or 2 shots. Miss and you are done for. If you take a small one, well what's the point? I also tell them to carry the pistol if they want, but carry one of the above long arms to.

Deaf
 

MA-Caver

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They say that pepper spray does really well against bears... disorients them enough for you to GET AWAY from the area... having a gun... even a nice one like a .50 cal desert eagle which I've read some people have carried up there before isn't going to do much good unless you get the bear in the skull and that means letting that 1000+ lb animal with teeth and BIG claws get close enough for you to hit it there... and you not panicking during it's charge (which can be upwards to 30 mph in a short sprint). But bears tend to charge because they've been startled or feel their territory has been encroached even in plain site...
As annoying as it may sound carrying a loud cowbell on your pack while hiking helps warn the bears in advance and they'll do what they can to avoid you... even with cubs... but the minus of it is that you won't hear well enough of what's going on around you because of the bell.

Better to have the guide who isn't going to be distracted by fishing and will be experienced enough to know when to leave an area should bears show up.
 

Blindside

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Standard issue for Fish and Wildlife or Forest Service personnel working in bear areas in AK is a 12 gauge with slugs.
 

sgtmac_46

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I've always wanted to hunt a Kodiak.......fair chase, not from a boat. Time and money prevent that at present as it does my safari trip to Africa......guess i'll just have to read my warn-out copy of Death in the Long Grass instead.
 

hafoc

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I went on a pack trip into the mountains in Montana a couple of years ago. The wranglers all carried pistols, one a .41 magnum, another a .44 magnum. I didn't get a close look at the one the third carried, but it was a real cannon. I asked one of wranglers what the pistols were for, being a clueless rube. He said bears.

I found that hard to believe, but there are press accounts out there in the web about bears being killed with .44 magnums.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Standard issue for Fish and Wildlife or Forest Service personnel working in bear areas in AK is a 12 gauge with slugs.

Makes perfect sence does it not!
icon6.gif
 

jks9199

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I went on a pack trip into the mountains in Montana a couple of years ago. The wranglers all carried pistols, one a .41 magnum, another a .44 magnum. I didn't get a close look at the one the third carried, but it was a real cannon. I asked one of wranglers what the pistols were for, being a clueless rube. He said bears.

I found that hard to believe, but there are press accounts out there in the web about bears being killed with .44 magnums.
You might kill a black or brown bear, or maybe even a small grizzly, with a pistol -- or at least deter it from attacking you. But I suspect a pistol is better for another predator entirely... man. And, unfortunately, at least here on the East Coast, there is plenty of reason to carry in the larger national parks, like Shenandoah National Park. Apart from some folk still living in the hollows up there that don't exactly cotton to strangers, unfortunately drug dealers have taken to using the parks as areas to cultivate marijuana.
 

MA-Caver

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Originally Posted by Blindside
Standard issue for Fish and Wildlife or Forest Service personnel working in bear areas in AK is a 12 gauge with slugs.
Makes perfect sence does it not!
icon6.gif
Yeah... if you can hit it... it's a big, fast MOVING target (and moving towards you) and you gotta make sure it's a one shot thing to at least knock it down so you can pump a couple more into it.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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You might kill a black or brown bear, or maybe even a small grizzly, with a pistol -- or at least deter it from attacking you. But I suspect a pistol is better for another predator entirely... man. And, unfortunately, at least here on the East Coast, there is plenty of reason to carry in the larger national parks, like Shenandoah National Park. Apart from some folk still living in the hollows up there that don't exactly cotton to strangers, unfortunately drug dealers have taken to using the parks as areas to cultivate marijuana.

That is interesting info. and some thing good to know.
 

jks9199

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That is interesting info. and some thing good to know.
I don't know how extensive, but that's been going on for the last several years in different areas of the country. Here are a couple of links:
http://home.nps.gov/applications/release/Detail.cfm?ID=814
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/10/12/eco.nationalparkpot.ap/
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news...ng-Operations-Hurting-US-National-Parks-.html
http://www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2003/marijuana-growing-called-to.html

Incidentally... it doesn't seem to be limited to one part of the country.
 

elder999

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I worked with a guy who spent 12 years in Alaska with the Air Force, and hunted A LOT. Tim was funny, and about as white-bread, flat inflected midwesterner as I've ever known-said things like "golly," and "boy-howdy," but he was awfully smart. Anyway, the subject of hunting browns and grizzlies came up-and a lot of people in New Mexico hunt black bear with pistols, and someone asked "what kind of pistol do you take for grizzlies?"

To which Tim replied, with a perfectly straight face, "A .22"

WHich, of course, was met with some incredulity, "A .22?!! What good is that against a grizzly?

And, of course, Tim replied-with a perfectly straight face, "Oh, it's not for the bear-it's to shoot my partner in the foot so I can get away." :lfao:

We carry 10mm's or a .40 for bear around here-they're easier to carry when riding a mountain bike, and, now that we have CCW,they're easier to conceal and keep from scaring any people we encounter on the trail,biking or hiking. We only have black bears, though-and, so far, all of my bear encounters have been relatively benign and haven't required shooting at all-I once spent 10 minutes sharing a raspberry patch with a big old sow....I'd hate to have to shoot a bear...

I've only got one grizzly story, and it involved praying to the bear to go away all night long. Thing was as big as my truck......
 

Guardian

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I worked with a guy who spent 12 years in Alaska with the Air Force, and hunted A LOT. Tim was funny, and about as white-bread, flat inflected midwesterner as I've ever known-said things like "golly," and "boy-howdy," but he was awfully smart. Anyway, the subject of hunting browns and grizzlies came up-and a lot of people in New Mexico hunt black bear with pistols, and someone asked "what kind of pistol do you take for grizzlies?"

To which Tim replied, with a perfectly straight face, "A .22"

WHich, of course, was met with some incredulity, "A .22?!! What good is that against a grizzly?

And, of course, Tim replied-with a perfectly straight face, "Oh, it's not for the bear-it's to shoot my partner in the foot so I can get away." :lfao:

We carry 10mm's or a .40 for bear around here-they're easier to carry when riding a mountain bike, and, now that we have CCW,they're easier to conceal and keep from scaring any people we encounter on the trail,biking or hiking. We only have black bears, though-and, so far, all of my bear encounters have been relatively benign and haven't required shooting at all-I once spent 10 minutes sharing a raspberry patch with a big old sow....I'd hate to have to shoot a bear...

I've only got one grizzly story, and it involved praying to the bear to go away all night long. Thing was as big as my truck......

LOL LOL LMBO, now that's one smart dude.
 

David Weatherly

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You might kill a black or brown bear, or maybe even a small grizzly, with a pistol -- or at least deter it from attacking you. But I suspect a pistol is better for another predator entirely... man. And, unfortunately, at least here on the East Coast, there is plenty of reason to carry in the larger national parks, like Shenandoah National Park. Apart from some folk still living in the hollows up there that don't exactly cotton to strangers, unfortunately drug dealers have taken to using the parks as areas to cultivate marijuana.


Unfortunate but quite true. A friend of mine had a run in with such characters about two years ago and narrowly escaped.
Thankfully it's legal to carry in parks now.

David
 

Deaf Smith

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The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

And that is what pepper spray is worth on a mad Grizzly.

Deaf
 

sgtmac_46

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You might kill a black or brown bear, or maybe even a small grizzly, with a pistol -- or at least deter it from attacking you. But I suspect a pistol is better for another predator entirely... man. And, unfortunately, at least here on the East Coast, there is plenty of reason to carry in the larger national parks, like Shenandoah National Park. Apart from some folk still living in the hollows up there that don't exactly cotton to strangers, unfortunately drug dealers have taken to using the parks as areas to cultivate marijuana.
A gun is always good in the wild for a variety of reasons and threats, four legged AND two legged.
 

sgtmac_46

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The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

And that is what pepper spray is worth on a mad Grizzly.

Deaf
WARNING! Some folks have found out the hard way that, while a face full of pepper spray can deter brown and black bears.......spraying around the camp ATTRACTS THEM! They like to roll in it like cat-nip!

PROVIDENCE, Utah, March 27 (UPI) -- "U.S. scientists have determined pepper spray is a viable alternative to the use of guns in deterring bears although spray residue actually attracts bears." http://www.applesforhealth.com/Exerfit/spsdab9.html

"Red pepper spray, commonly used by people in bear country to ward off aggressive bear attacks, may actually attract brown bears if used improperly, according to preliminary research by a wildlife ecologist at the USGS Alaska Science Center in Anchorage." http://www.3bears.net/yosemite/beare/pepper.htm

Just a little warning for anyone who thinks spraying a little around the front flap of their tent will work to ward off bears!
 

searcher

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I'm telling you, nothing gets rid of bears like a S&W 500 magnum or a good ole 12 guage slug. And if that doesn't work, get oneof these:
 
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elder999

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I'm telling you, nothing gets rid of bears like a S&W 500 magnum or a good ole 12 guage slug. And if that doesn't work, get oneof these:


Kinda hard to ride a bicycle with a 500 mag or shotgun strapped on, though....:rolleyes:

The utility of pepper spray is debated quite a bit, as well. Just like people, if the bear has been sprayed before, it might just be somewhat "used" to it. THis isn't that unlikely-bears will mostly avoid people, and one that approaches people may well have before. I once encountered a sow and a cub, fleeing a male; sometimes males will kill cubs to put females back into estrus, and to lower pressure on food supplies. The female "barked" at me to warn me off, and tore through the bushes behind me. ...of course, just as my heart rate reached something like normalcy, I came across the male-who totally ignored me, intent upon the female and her cub.....
 
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