Animal Danger

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Born to Hike

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Jan 14, 2017
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Is it just me? It seems like I m coming across more and more stories fatal and other serious encounters with wild animals, bears and mountain lions particularly. This is more true out west, where I prefer to travel. When I do I take all the right precautions, but I am starting to wonder if hiking solo in places like Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. is such a good idea. Does anybody else feel the same, or am I worried needlessly?
I've come across a few people packing one of these which seems to alleviate their concerns with big animal encounters:
https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-329pd
 

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Outdoor_Fool

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I've come across a few people packing one of these which seems to alleviate their concerns with big animal encounters:
https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-329pd
Too much gun for most people to handle, a lightweight .44 Mag is brutal to shoot, even a full-frame .44 Mag hurts. Bear spray is much better.

@MVS It's a valid question. But as others have noted, the real dangers out there (lightning, alcohol-related stunts, falls, drowning, car accidents, etc) far outweigh the likelihood of an animal attack.

Just don't tell these people:


 

Born to Hike

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Too much gun for most people to handle, a lightweight .44 Mag is brutal to shoot, even a full-frame .44 Mag hurts. Bear spray is much better.
I completely agree about those lightweight guns being so brutal to shoot (I quite enjoy shooting a full-frame .44 though - surprisingly accurate even at 50 yards). I've asked these people who pack those lightweight 44's about the possibility of dislocating a shoulder and/or severe bruising if they had to use them shooting at a charging bear: Their response was pretty much the same : bruising a hand or dislocating a shoulder would be the last thing on their minds if they had to use it and that its more of a peace-of-mind trail equipment for them.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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Are you for hire as a guide?:lol:
Lol..... I'm like you.. in 40+ years of backpacking and hiking I can count how many rattlesnakes I've seen in one hand. I see more working on wildland fires
 

Carcass

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Aug 8, 2018
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I completely agree about those lightweight guns being so brutal to shoot (I quite enjoy shooting a full-frame .44 though - surprisingly accurate even at 50 yards). I've asked these people who pack those lightweight 44's about the possibility of dislocating a shoulder and/or severe bruising if they had to use them shooting at a charging bear: Their response was pretty much the same : bruising a hand or dislocating a shoulder would be the last thing on their minds if they had to use it and that its more of a peace-of-mind trail equipment for them.
If you have to use a lightweight .44 on a charging bear, the last thing you will notice is recoil.

Facing a grizzly with any handgun less than a .44 is pretty much useless, so you have to use something powerful enough to do the job and compact enough to carry "comfortably." Sometimes a 12 gauge with 3" slugs or a 45-70 lever action is too much to carry.

I carry mostly a snub nose .357 for the critters living where I hike. Mtn lion and black bear being the biggest predator. If I was hiking in grizzly country, i would carry either a .44 or a .454.
 

Rockskipper

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The Univ. of Montana has done research on which is most effective and found bear spray results in fewer human maulings. Can't provide a link as I'm in my rig in front of McDuck's and it's hot, but you can search on it.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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If you have to use a lightweight .44 on a charging bear, the last thing you will notice is recoil.

Facing a grizzly with any handgun less than a .44 is pretty much useless, so you have to use something powerful enough to do the job and compact enough to carry "comfortably." Sometimes a 12 gauge with 3" slugs or a 45-70 lever action is too much to carry.

I carry mostly a snub nose .357 for the critters living where I hike. Mtn lion and black bear being the biggest predator. If I was hiking in grizzly country, i would carry either a .44 or a .454.
Not me....I'd carry bear spray.... works Griz, blacks, even moose .... Probly others as well. I've heard MTN lions don't like Metallica played loud
 

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Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
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Apr 15, 2015
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272
It’s human nature to worry a bit about bears for sure. We were sitting in a desert canyon a couple weeks ago, in our Helinox Ground chairs back on our heels sipping some Lychee Green organic tea freshly brewed when I saw a strange thing about 30’ in front of us. It did not move like a javalina and the wrong color for a lion. At the sight of rounded fuzzy ears I said Is That a Bear? It raised right up and gave us a long, hard stare as girlfriend said Oh My God!

This place is truly wild and we have been in there a lot, many dozens of rattlers, had a javelina walk up within 10’ of us in those same chairs but sipping fresh squeezed prickly pear fruit, tastes like watermelon.

This is the first bear we have seen down this low, seen them on all of the mountain ranges and even had one come up within arms reach one night 35 years ago but none down in the desert till now. It was a yearling and took off before we could get the camera or say boo. It does give you pause.
 

John Goering

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Sep 30, 2014
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I've come across a few people packing one of these which seems to alleviate their concerns with big animal encounters:
https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-329pd
I'm another who is in griz country just about all the time. And the 329PD is exactly what I carry but my wife always has bear spray. The trouble I have with the gun versus bear spray statistics is that all gun encounters are weighed the same, whether it was a 22 or a S&W 500 mag (I have one of those too but it isn't something you want to pack to many miles). Another huge factor in those statistics is the proficiency of the user. If you don't have time to stay proficient with a hand gun by all means leave it home! Black bears? Problem? I've been face to face with at least a half dozen on our own place and have never had to use either spray or a gun.

All that said and as noted in prior posts, you're way more likely to die in a car wreck on the way to the trailhead. But like buying insurance for auto, home, life, I'm not going into griz country without any bear insurance.
 

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