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Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 10:38:12 MST Print View

Not looking to debate, just will state why I carry a firearm.

I live in Alaska, and hike in areas with high bear and moose populations. I've also, as a woman that hikes solo, had some sketchy experiences with men, particularly when they've been drinking. I have had two men come up on me openly voicing what they would do when they got to me, only to change their attitude entirely when they saw I was packing. I never had to even touch the firearm, it's mere presence on my hip was a deterrent.

I pack both openly and concealed, depending. Both are 100% legal without a permit in Alaska. Long time Alaskans don't get concerned when they pass someone with a gun. Granola type imports from California give us dirty looks though. If I know I'm hiking a trail high in that type of personality, I'll conceal my firearm to keep them from being scared. Mostly I try to get off the beaten path, however.

I do also carry bear spray, and which option I choose to use would depend on what my circumstances turned out to be.

Is it UL? Absolutely not. Do I think it's prudent? Yes. If I were hiking in a group, I probably wouldn't take a gun. I would be less likely to have problems with wildlife or people in a group. But since I hike primarily alone, I do think I have to consider my personal safety and take steps to ensure it.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Wonderful World, Beautiful People on 02/20/2013 10:58:12 MST Print View

"Granola type imports from California"...

"Illegal invaders from Southern countries"...

Even a little talk about whether or not to report killing a person and face the legal consequences or leave their corpse in the woods.

What a wonderful thread, rife with stereotypes galore, boogeymen, closeted xenophobia, and all that wholesome stuff.

Gun talk continues to bring out nothing but the best in people.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 11:02:57 MST Print View

I fully support the 2nd amendment...
but here's an idea
Maybe if hiking so dangerous that one feels they need a gun -they should think about finding another hobby? Something safe?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 11:37:08 MST Print View

I could say the same thing about a personal locator beacon. If you feel that you might need it, then maybe you shouldn't be doing that hike.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 11:48:47 MST Print View

"I could say the same thing about a personal locator beacon. If you feel that you might need it, then maybe you shouldn't be doing that hike."

You could, but it wouldn't be a good analogy. A PLB isn't so much for you, it's for those who might have to come looking for you.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 11:53:00 MST Print View

A person needs to identify a potential risk,
assess the risk severity and likelihood,
and mitigate that risk by:
a) accept the risk and do nothing to mitigate, accept the consequences.
b) accept the risk but do something to mitigate, lowering the potential severity.
c) don't accept the risk, stay home, then nothing to mitigate.

The risk likelihood is very low =
what are the odds that a mountain lion and drug farmer will cause me harm?


The risk severity is very high =
if a mountain lion, drug farmer or serial killer intercepts me, the harm to me would be catastrophic.

(Risk likelihood probability) x (Risk severity) = Risk score.

My personal situation assessment is that some solo trips have a higher probability and severity of risk, and those specific trips I mitigate the risk. Most trips with a trip partner are low severity and low probability that I do not need to carry.

Edited by RogerDodger on 02/20/2013 12:00:24 MST.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 11:55:51 MST Print View

@ Brian UL-

There's a difference between feeling it's a dangerous activity and simply going in a manner in which you feel prepared. That level of preparation varies by person. As Justin pointed out, some people take PLB's or SPOT's, some don't. Some take minimalist gear, some take the kitchen sink. Some places are, technically, safer than others. East coast hikers are pretty unlikely to encounter a Grizzly bear, for example. Even many west coast hikers are unlikely to ever see one unless they go to Yellowstone. A lot less likely than I am, where I have seen Grizzlies on hikes just a couple miles from my house, and where I've encountered black bears on my road. A wolf pack in recent years had to be eliminated because they were coming into residential areas and killing people's dogs and finally went after a couple of women who were walking on a road. Being prepared doesn't equal being afraid- it's just being prepared. I feel quite confident in the woods.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Being prepared beats having to vomit on an attacker. on 02/20/2013 12:04:13 MST Print View

"An updated advisory on the website of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offers female students new tactics to fend off rapists, including vomiting, urinating and telling an attacker they have a disease.
The new recommendations came Monday evening, hours after the Colorado House passed a package of gun safety bills, including one that would ban the concealed carrying of guns on college campuses."

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/02/colorado-college-advises-students-to-urinate-vomit-to-stop-rapists/

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 12:12:07 MST Print View

EagleRiverDee-

Do you think pepper spray would work as deterrent for a wolf pack? We have twice as many wolves in our part of WA state as
last year. More than in Denali National Park now it is estimated. They attack peoples dogs and livestock, but haven't been any threat to people. If I am hiking with my dog and need to dissuade several animals, have you heard if pepper spray has been effective,
IE using up the can on one or two wolves and the rest leaving?

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Re: Being prepared beats having to vomit on an attacker. on 02/20/2013 12:32:47 MST Print View

So now the rapist knows the law abiding student won't be armed? Disarm the potential victim ... that make sense to someone.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 12:36:22 MST Print View

Dena,

"I've also, as a woman that hikes solo, had some sketchy experiences with men, particularly when they've been drinking. I have had two men come up on me openly voicing what they would do when they got to me, only to change their attitude entirely when they saw I was packing."

There are certainly safety concerns peculiar to women which men cannot relate to. After reading one chapter in "Wild," the author described one incident on the PCT where a predator/day hiker (calm down folks! Not saying this is mutually inclusive!) came after her aggressively. Based on her description, I'm surprised that he didn't try to rape her.

I made an analogy in an earlier post that I've worn my seatbelt my entire life and I've never needed it. I wear it because the unlikely but potential consequences are so dire. I carry 100% around town for reasons unrelated to this thread or OP. I rarely carry when I’m hiking in Washington because I’m not overly afraid of black bear and mountain lions only concern me when I’m with my kids. There aren’t any moose in my area and I don’t know enough about the re-emerging wolf packs to understand if I should be concerned about them or not. I finally saw my first wolf last year near Chinook Pass.... but I digress.

People like Andrew Skurka hike the Alaska Wilderness all the time without a gun and live to see another day but the between the moose and grizzlies I personally wouldn't be one of them.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 12:37:39 MST Print View

David-

The women that were nearly attacked had pepper spray. They backed down the road 1/4 mile spraying the wolves with pepper spray with the wolves following them snarling and trying to get to them. The pepper spray was only partially effective and it seems the wolves were waiting for them to run out. If memory serves, what scared the wolves off finally was a vehicle that came to the women's rescue. The pack became such a problem that there was a concern that children waiting for school buses would be harmed. The local native tribe took care of the issue. This particular pack had lost its fear of humans.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
RE "Solo Wilderness Security" on 02/20/2013 12:47:14 MST Print View

Ian-

Thanks for understanding my point.

And I agree with your final sentence, too!

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Wolf concerns on 02/20/2013 12:55:52 MST Print View

"The pepper spray was only partially effective and it seems the wolves were waiting for them to run out. If memory serves, what scared the wolves off finally was a vehicle that came to the women's rescue."

Wow! After watching a video where a wolf pack took out a young moose while the mother was agressively trying to fight them off, I'd be toast if they thought I looked like lunch! They certainly are tough and persistant.

I've spent some time researching black bear and cougar but almost none researching wolves as I never expected to see one in the wild. I'll admit that when I finally saw one, it was very exciting but my new reality is that I should expect to encounter them and that I need better knowledge of how to react to them. Off to hit the books!

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Being prepared beats having to vomit on an attacker. on 02/20/2013 13:07:54 MST Print View

"An updated advisory on the website of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs offers female students new tactics to fend off rapists, including vomiting, urinating and telling an attacker they have a disease.

Charming.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Wolf concerns @ Dena on 02/20/2013 13:15:02 MST Print View

Dena, I googled your words about the wolf attack on the women and only came up with a Fort Richardson incident where wolves attacked dogs being walked by 3 women (as opposed to attacking the women on their own). Is that the same incident, or a different one from the one you are talking about? Neither scenario sounds like fun...

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
@ D K on 02/20/2013 13:32:57 MST Print View

d k -

I had recalled it as two women, but I do recall they were walking their dogs and it was on a road on Ft. Rich so I would say that is very likely the same incident. It's been a few years so my memory on the people count must have been faulty. The same pack had also started encroaching on Eagle River (which is adjacent to Ft. Rich and is the town I live in) and coming into a residential area there. It was for both of those reasons that the local Native tribe (actually called a Native Corporation, up here) took the issue into their own hands. People's lives were at risk.

Here's a link to articles in regards to this wolf pack:

http://www.adn.com/2008/01/02/243761/dec-21-wolves-blamed-in-two-eagle.html

http://www.adn.com/2010/11/07/1542141/bolder-wolves-fray-residents-nerves.html

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 02/20/2013 13:36:35 MST.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: @ D K on 02/20/2013 14:11:38 MST Print View

It makes sense to carry a riffle if your in grizzly country, and I can see woman packing pistols, in fact hand guns are traditionally associated with womans self defense and it makes sense.
Im just not impressed with the grown men that seem to need to carry all the time.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Brian on 02/20/2013 14:31:43 MST Print View

By all means, don't carry a gun; there is no mandate which would require you to do so. I didn't grow up in a house with guns so this is something I've adopted as a result of my profession. In all likelihood I doubt I'd carry a gun today if I'd grown up to be a Dr. or teacher (slowly fade in Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys..). Having a front row seat to human depravity will warp your perception of the world and feelings of security.

I realize that to someone who has no interest in ever carrying a gun and who has never needed one, the act may seem odd. What I can tell you is that the weight of the gun disappears after a while (like a bulky wallet or watch) and it seems stranger when it's missing. My pistol is very concealable and I don't even notice it any more.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
hole-y on 02/20/2013 15:12:39 MST Print View

I'd consider taking a gun backpacking, but it probably wouldn't work after I drilled a bunch of holes in it.