Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Solo Wilderness Security
Display Avatars Sort By:
Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
carrying on 08/31/2011 14:24:24 MDT Print View

I think I've said this in the past, and hope it makes the point again.

Bear spray for backpacking and her for kayaking around Admiralty Island, which has the largest concentration of Brown Bears in the world.


I had a carry permit when I lived in New York, don't need one in Alaska because we can carry without a permit.

Edited by Umnak on 08/31/2011 14:25:05 MDT.

Fred Thorp
(BFThorp) - F
Desert Eagle... on 08/31/2011 14:29:07 MDT Print View

Finally, a good light weight response. :0

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Begin Rant on 08/31/2011 14:42:13 MDT Print View

"Nonetheless, despite my thoughts on all of that, I rarely carry a gun- because when I evaluate the risk I find it to be so very low. Bear spray IS probably more effective for bears, unless you carry a high-powered rifle or shotgun slugs or something, and those are simply too heavy. (I did carry a .45-70 on my Alaska trip a while ago- because all of the locals warned me that I should. And I didn't see a single grizzly.) No HANDGUN is going to be remotely reliable in stopping a charging grizzly- I don't care what magnum round you're considering- because shot placement is just too difficult. Even PEOPLE who are shot almost never drop dead immediately, contrary to Hollywood. Frankly, if you MUST use a handgun against a bear a high-capacity automatic might be better than the magnum- that's what the rangers often end up using on the bears when they must put one down and a rifle isn't available. More shots = better chance of hitting something vital. I've seen footage of a grizzly being shot behind the shoulder TWICE by a .300 Weatherby Magnum and still fighting, so do you really think your .44 magnum is going to stop one? For that matter, we don't have grizzlies in Colorado. We also don't have the pot-grower problems in Colorado that you all have in California, nor do we have the coyote and Mexican mafia problems of the border states, all of which I think is just a tad overblown, anyway."


For arguments sake-

Here is an old paper by USFS on firearms (more correctly cartridges, as the results
were more a factor of bullet construction and loading than caliber).

Note how one of the 44 mag revolver loads has similar penetration to your
mentioned .300 Weatherby rifle and even better than your 45/70 and one of the 375 H&H rifle loads?

Even an old 45 colt six shooter beats 'em.

In brown bear attacks I have read about where handguns were used to stop the attacks,
the person was already in the bear's grasp. A rifle may not have been able to be
brought to "bear". Seems a one handed option (spray?) would be preferred.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Solo on 08/31/2011 15:14:13 MDT Print View

"@ Randy Nelson, (rlnunix)

In a car, I wear a seat belt, and the car has air bags. I have never needed either to save my life, but I still use the seat belt.

Surprisingly, I have not had a need to use my trail first aid kit in over 20 years, but if I get injured, I carry a kit to mitigate the risk of further serious injury.

When stealth camping with a buddy, I leave the hardware at home, but there is increased risk when solo and far away from the busy trail crowds."


The point I was making about the helmet was that it was extra protection. People still get killed from head injuries in car wrecks even with seat belts and air bags. If you're trying to minimize your odds of being killed, a helmet in a car is a better bet than a gun in the backcountry.

That is surprising about the first aid kit. I used mine on Saturday for myself (got pretty scraped up) and on Sunday for somebody else.

Most of my trips are solo. I don't change anything either way. And I don't feel any more vulnerable than going with others. (Actually, I don't feel vulnerable at all.) I still bring my normal kit when going with others and I don't add a gun when going alone. I just don't see the need here in Colorado. But I didn't when I lived in SoCal either. I do see people with bear spray and bear bells occasionally here. When I ask where they're from, they're never from Colorado. They're on vacation and they've heard where there are bears you need that stuff. But you don't here.

The scariest animal I've encountered recently was a squirrel in Zion last weekend. We were on a paved trail after coming out of the Narrows and he was running along with a lollipop in his mouth. Still in the wrapper. It took 2 of us to take it away from him using walking sticks. He was p!ssed! Kept looking over my shoulder to make sure the little bugger didn't run up behind me and bite me in the ankle. Give me Bubonic Plague or something.

Now if somebody comes up with some portable, lightweight, lightning protection, THAT I'll carry!

Bottom line for me is: Whatever works for you. It's your kit.

Edited by rlnunix on 08/31/2011 15:15:58 MDT.

Ernie Fuentes
(askernie) - F
I am a GUN LOVER and... on 08/31/2011 15:22:21 MDT Print View

I am also a Scout Master. I am not an experienced Hiker like many of you here. BUT I have met experienced Scoutmasters/hikers that go where there are Black, Brown and even Grizzleys.

It has been told to me various times that the weapon of choice is not a handgun but a 12 gauge Stainless Mossberg Cruiser with a pistol grip or folding stock.

It seems the person who posted their girlfriend or wife with the same weapon in a previous post has the same opinion.

As most gun lovers will tell you " Its better to have a gun and not need it, then to need a gun and not have it"

If I was going into Bear territory...I would STRONGLY consider it.

ernie the eyeball

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Solo Wilderness Security on 08/31/2011 15:49:32 MDT Print View

Rog wrote, "....Holy cr*p! 3 grand for a popgun.

I can fill myself out with nice nosh and do several months backpacking for that."

Or hire a bodyguard-- one that is a little slower so the bear can catch up to him first :)

(catskilled) - F

Locale: LI, NY
Guns Guns Guns on 08/31/2011 16:32:12 MDT Print View

The first time I ever spent the night outdoors in the wilderness (not at a campground)I was afraid of bears and so brought a 12ga shotgun (Catskills, NY, mild concentration of black bears). The next morning I realized it was unnecessary and way too heavy to carry regularly. So, I no longer carry any gun while backpacking. Unless, of course, it's hunting season in which case I'll either bring the .22 or the shotgun for small game. I deal with the extra weight because during hunting season I want to go hunting as well as backpack. I often get dirty looks from yuppy types on the trail, but they can suck it.

Point is, at least around here, a gun for bear defense is not necessary, because bears are pretty rare and will stay away, but on almost all NY state land it is legal to carry a long gun (rifle or shotgun) at any time without any kind of special permission, and of course a pistol with the proper licenses, and so, if you want to carry, carry. Forget other, freedom hating, people's desire to stop you from doing something and do what you want. Just be aware of the laws for your own sake, cause the world's biggest gang comes down hard on firearms scofflaws.

Plus my dog always carries a .45 when we backpack so the whole thing is irrelevant.

Edited by catskilled on 08/31/2011 16:35:03 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
yawn. on 08/31/2011 16:48:38 MDT Print View

"Forget other, freedom hating, people's desire to stop you from doing something and do what you want."


You are on a light/ultralight backpacking forum, though maybe you didn't know that since yer new here.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Solo Wilderness Security on 08/31/2011 16:50:59 MDT Print View

There's bears and then there's BEARS.

This little pup chased a fat Tahoe black bear out of the yard. She weighed all of 29 lbs.
The bear looked to weigh as much as a smart car.


Edited by oware on 09/01/2011 12:15:07 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
the best story ever on 08/31/2011 16:58:33 MDT Print View

Randy wrote:
"The scariest animal I've encountered recently was a squirrel in Zion last weekend. We were on a paved trail after coming out of the Narrows and he was running along with a lollipop in his mouth. Still in the wrapper. It took 2 of us to take it away from him using walking sticks. He was p!ssed! Kept looking over my shoulder to make sure the little bugger didn't run up behind me and bite me in the ankle. Give me Bubonic Plague or something. "

ROFLOL! That's the best animal story ever Randy I love it.

This subject is a no win subject so it should end here everybody carry around holly hand grenades to take on all comers and use coconut shells clapping together to sound like horses. Watch out for killer white rabbits .


(catskilled) - F

Locale: LI, NY
Re: yawn. on 08/31/2011 17:01:55 MDT Print View

That's not relevant. People aren't just saying don't carry cause it's too heavy. They have a plethora of reasons, and some of them are related to simply not liking guns.

David T
(DaveT) - F
yawn no. 2 on 08/31/2011 17:24:40 MDT Print View

I admit I haven't read all of this (most recent) gun thread, but I doubt there's a whole lot of "i hate your gun-toting freedom!" talk in anyone's posts above.

so it get's a big fat YAWN from me.

(excuse me while i pack my freedom satchel with freedom food and freedom water and my freedom shelter and go freedom walking.)

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Shotgun? on 08/31/2011 17:34:05 MDT Print View

@Ernie - Shotgun? Might as well be really prepared then. Bring a pistol too for close-in work, cleaning kits for both, and wear your body armor/helmet constantly (as it simply won't do if the bad guys get the first shot and take you out). Night vision goggles as not to shoot a skunk at night next to your tent instead of a killer bear. Regular goggles for snowstorms and sandstorms, too. "Cool guy" glasses with different interchangeble lenses for changing light conditions. Also pack a GPS unit plus a PLB, satellite phone, some police tape (once the bad guys are taken out - hopefully- the crime scene must be secure), strobe markers for marking locations at night - makes the law enforcers/rescue team's job easier to find you at night, a couple smoke grenades for marking during the day, some maritime flares, leather gloves, climber's harness (in case you need a helicopter extraction is needed but there's no landing pad), crampons, snowshoes (could snow), full climbing rack, 200' of rope, some SAM splints, a double wall tent, synthetic sleeping bag, full-length Downmat 7 (will really need it hauling this kit), 3 sets of clothes, 200 wt fleece jacket (w/shoulder reinforcements), fleece pants, full rain suit, 10 liters of water (with filter and chemicals), a bunch of food, the 10 essentials plus giant first aid kit (all bombproof), a crowbar (hey, you never know) and a big 8000 cu inch pack from Mystery Ranch to carry it all.

Plus, being on BPL...make sure you wear Keds with the above.

(PS - don't forget to cut the tongue out of the Keds to shave a couple oz's)

(PPS - No toilet paper)

Edited by hknewman on 08/31/2011 17:51:35 MDT.

Fred Thorp
(BFThorp) - F
Yawn - yes on 09/01/2011 07:12:42 MDT Print View

@ Dave

"I admit I haven't read all of this (most recent) gun thread, but I doubt there's a whole lot of "i hate your gun-toting freedom!" talk in anyone's posts above."

Just a lot of down the nose sarcasm.

Hi. My name is Fred, and apparently I'm a dumbass.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
unsubscribed on 09/01/2011 08:05:32 MDT Print View

we have folks on this site that deal with bears on a routine basis as part of their vocation; we have folks on this site that routinely hike in areas of dense grizzly populations; we have folks on this site that carry a weapon daily as part of their vocation; we have plenty of folks on this site that are very serious hunters who fully subscribe to UL theories- feel free to dismiss all of their advice and instead carry a 10 + lb short barreled Mossberg so your not plucked out of your tent by a bear, lion or the boogey man

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Re: Re: Solo Wilderness Security on 09/01/2011 08:41:42 MDT Print View

I think I'll leave the Casull at home and pack my higher-caliber keyboard.

EDIT: It's lighter anyway.

Edited by AaronMB on 09/01/2011 08:44:54 MDT.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Punch the bear on 09/01/2011 18:28:30 MDT Print View

Nice story about a neighbor here in Juneau...

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Kel-Tec on 09/03/2011 21:38:04 MDT Print View

I am not a gun guy. If I were a gun guy, posed with the original question in this thread, I think I'd take a serious look at the Kel-Tec PF-9

Edited by swearingen on 09/03/2011 21:40:56 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Begin Rant on 09/03/2011 22:06:43 MDT Print View

@ Rog

Why are you arguing with me? Out of principle? I AGREE with you, you dizzy limey! :) So note the date- it must be an auspicious one. But I do think that you underestimate the human ability to anticipate danger. I'm generally not concerned about common criminals, anyway- I'm worried about crazies and morons. But I still almost never carry a gun. I mean literally maybe once or twice a year I'll cart one along, including both hiking or just about town. (Present circumstances excepted, of course. I'm never far from my M9 nowadays...)

Sorry it took me so long to respond, by the way- busy.

@ David Olsen

Page Not Found.

But, do you really want to debate terminal ballistics with me? An Army trauma surgeon? Bold.


I don't want to sound like I'm ridiculing your opinion, but I'm sorry, a .44 magnum is NOT an equivalent stopper to a .300 Weatherby magnum. Mere depth of penetration isn't all. It is an important MINIMAL requirement, but it is not everything. Certainly a bullet has to penetrate deep enough to reach a vital structure- the FBI demonstrated that. However, almost any rifle round does significantly more damage than almost any pistol round including the beloved .44 Magnum, mostly due to the creation of temporary cavities from the higher-velocity projectile. (But I will certainly agree that terminal ballistics is a VERY complex subject.) I recommend "Ballistic, Blast, and Burn Injuries" which is published by the Borden Institute. Granted it was written quite a while ago, but it is a pretty good overview of most of the relevant studies. It can be hard to find- kind of a niche subject- but I think it is online at:

If you get through that one and want some more I can make other recommendations.

Not to mention that if your data says that a .44 Magnum penetrates deeper than a .45-70 my fist instinct is NOT to say "Huh, the .44 Magnum penetrates deeper." My FIRST instinct is to question that data. That sounds like someone fudging things, like maybe using some modern and fully jacketed overpowered .44 round, but an older, cast lead, black-powder .45-70 round. I mean, the .45-70 projectile is both FASTER and HEAVIER than any typical .44 Magnum load. Also, was that .44 Mag fired from a pistol or from a rifle? Because barrel length makes a difference- from a rifle the .44 Magnum isn't far from being an acceptable cartridge.

EDITED- because that was just TOO LONG. See- I can exercise self-restraint! :)

Edited by acrosome on 09/03/2011 22:29:20 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 05/07/2012 14:44:59 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/11/2015 18:42:13 MDT.