11 replies [Last post]
Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Black Bear Defense???

This past weekend I was by myself 2 miles from the nearest road looking for muleys and elk. I ran into a black bear at about 75 yds. Once I saw him I just stood my ground and after a short standoff he wondered off in the opposite direction. This has happened twice already this year and I ran into a mountain lion once.

Do you guys feel the need to carry a self defense weapon in non-grizzly country?

I never have and never really worried about it. But with the increasing population of cats and bears I'm starting to wonder if I should.

If you do carry a weapon what to you carry if grizzly is not on the plate? I have a 9mm and have been thinking about carrying that but not sure if its enough as I've never hunted blackies or cats at all.

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Location: SW Washington
Joined: 06/24/2004
Posts: 38
Black Bear Defense???

The old standby for an anti-bear sidearm is a .44 Mag. I'm not really sure that much is needed, but since I have a 5.5-inch Redhawk in that caliber that is what I carry. I should say when I carry which is very rare.

Typically I'm bow hunting and no firearm is allowed in your possession when hunting with this method.

I don't really feel the need for the protection with the exception of fishing during the heavy runs steelhead and salmon. You are next to a noisy river and have half the possible escape directions blocked so the insurance is a nice feeling.

A 9mm would be better than nothing, but a 175-pound cougar is pretty tough and would probably take multiple hits to stop. How well do you shoot in true high stress situations?

What part of Utah? I lived in Ogden for many years (many years ago).

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Black Bear Defense???

I live in Riverton. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it but its in the southern part of the Salt Lake valley. I'm assuming by your screenname that you are\were in the military and were stationed at Hill Air Force base?

I've never really felt the need to carry anything in Utah but I'm starting to feel that its better to be safe than sorry. I am going further back in and scouting alone.

The cougar I walked up on was at only 20 yds drinking in a stream. Probably why he didn't hear me coming. I expected him to bolt but instead he stared at me intently for about 3 minutes and then actually went back to drinking in the stream. I was at 20 yards!!!! After another minute or so he finally got nervous and went up the hill about 50 yds and laid down.

I figured any of these animals could've had me for lunch and since I was alone and unarmed there wouldn't have been a thing I could've done.

I thinking about getting a .357 revolver??

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Location: SW Washington
Joined: 06/24/2004
Posts: 38
Black Bear Defense???

I was a Marine Corps tanker, and years ago when I needed a screen name for and AOL account that was the first name that took (about 35 attempts). It’s hard to get a unique name on AOL when they have millions of users. I’ve used it for boards ever since. I know your area. I went to high school in Utah and know Hill AFB very well.

A .357 Mag would be much better, I would think, than a 9mm for what you are doing. The best .357 Mag load for personal defense is the 125-grain JHP. I don’t know how the physiology of a cougar or bear compared to a human when considering stopping power. I’m thinking you would want to go with a heavier bullet to ensure penetration. The more traditional 158-grain soft-point might be better. Perhaps someone else will have some ideas, but I see this site is not very active (just found it today when researching sheep hunting).

I have more ideas but I am in no way an expert. I consider myself an amateur ballistician but much of my “knowledge” is from research into others work, not first hand experimentation.

Hope this helps.

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Joined: 01/10/2003
Posts: 274
Black Bear Defense???

9mm will work great. Just let the lion or bear come up swallow your hand and pull the trigger. Make sure the gun is in that hand. LOL
No serious though I carry my rifle whenever out and about. Keeps me in shape for hunting. But there is always a possibilitiy of attack. I would rather be ready than not. Wife thinks I am nuts but like I told her if there is ever a time then I have it.
I hunt bears alot and they are my favorite animal to hunt. I have so far on my bait been 12-13 different bears. I have posted numerous pics of them. But I have seen bears materialize out of no where and just be there. It is a spooky feeling to have them not there then there. I have followed there trails and they go threw some thick stuff. So does make me worried sometimes. Ifr you ever found an area that a bear travels they make little indent in the ground. This is why they are so quiet when they walk. It is awesome feeling nd a huge rush.

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Joined: 10/29/2003
Posts: 241
Black Bear Defense???

Last year, while getting ready for bear season, I happened upon a sow w/ 2 cubs. Before i knew it, the cubs were treed and the sow was charging. She closed the gap to about 15 yards, stood up, tore the bark off the tree, huffed, blew, & grunted. All of the hair on her back was standing up and she kept "popping" jaw. She was a good sized sow too, probably 200lbs ish...I had my 357 with me and had the hammer back and the sights on her head as she was doing this. After coming close to soiling my pants, I yelled at her and waved my arms. She would then take a step towards me and then look back at her cubs as I slowly walked back wards.
She made one more quick charge to about 10 yards from me and the cubs came down the tree and scampered down the hill behind her. She stood there and watched me for a minute and then turned and started to follow the cubs. She would stop every 10 yards or so and peer back at me to make sure I wasn't threatening.
Thank God she turned away... I was going to fire a warning shot in the ground ahead of her. I always bring either my 357 or my lever action .44mag with me during the summer to this area. There are lots of berries and other feed for bears and I have seen lots up there. Chances are I will never again need a gun for protection, but I'd rather carry a gun than risk it...

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Black Bear Defense???

I would say one of the cans of pepper spray is probably better than a 9mm. A .357 loaded with 158 grain bullets would be better still. Personally, I carry a .44 (special, not magnum, but loaded with fairly hot handloads).

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Location: Sunny San Diego
Joined: 09/02/2003
Posts: 165
Black Bear Defense???

Reminds me of a newsletter from Montana.

Hikers and naturalists were encouraged to bring Mace and wear bells on their clothing so as to scare away/ not suprise/ defend themselves from black bears. There were also told to be aware of bear tracks, and to know the difference between black bear scat and Grizzly bear scat. Black bear scat is elongated, and layered, with seeds and berries. Grizzly bear scat is bigger, smells like Mace, and has little bells in it.

I'll be here all week... try the lobster!

Seriously, though, .357 GP100 with Core Bon's will more than do the trick. Pepper spray is good too - but you'd be even more screwed than the animal if you used it up close and personal!

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Location: International Falls, Minnesota
Joined: 06/29/2004
Posts: 59
Black Bear Defense

I have guided bear and baited for years here in Minnesota , Wisconsin , and Upper Michigan. I have alway carryed protection, as you never know when your going to encounter a sow with cubs,that can become very, very serious. I carryed a 12 ga, shot gun with slugs and later the Rugar Vaquaro 5.5" in 44 mag with Garrett ammo. and all times I had large pepper spray from Alaska,that is always on my belt holster when Im in the woods.Its a lot smarter to have protection ,than to ask after the encounter has happened. Remember a wild animal is very unpredictable.

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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
Black Bear Defense???

RBH,

In the last 35 yearsI have never carried protection anywhere I have been if the reason I was there was not to hunt. I have felt the need more in down town Seattle that the swamps of the Everglades or along the banks of the salmon spawning rivers here in Alaska. I have found myself in situations over the years with grizzlys in Montana, aligators in Florida as well as brown bears in Alaska. It's always seemed with knowing how to handle ones self around these perdators in a close incouter situation's and a little luck has always gotten me by.Much like yourself I have found myself thinking about bringing a gun along on some of my outtings the last few years.This may be due to growing older and wiser or maybe it's just because I don't know if I am as quick as I once was. I think if I was to start packing iron on a regular basis I would have to choose a short barreled, pistol grip style 12 ga. With a sling they fit across your back and will not hang up in the brush. And they are light weight. But the best reason for this choice would be the stopping power at point blank range. I'm not going to shoot a bear because he get's with in 50 feet of me. It's going to have to be a situation where he's way to close and we all know that nothing is going to walk through a 12ga at point blank range.The bear spray don't work,I don't care who tells you other wise. I have been there when a bear was sprayed by some guys just seeing what the effect would be and sure he left...... for about five min.'s and then he was back and very pissed off. That bear is a rug today, The test made a guy have to tag a bear he didn't want. I guess it could save you if you were less than five min.'s from your pick-up but I don't want to find out if the five min's is a rule that can be broken.

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Location: Na Hamsha
Joined: 03/03/2006
Posts: 26
Black Bear Defense???

I am retiered and spend ALOT of time alone in remote forests.
When bearhunting i always carry my 357 on my hip for quick access
particularly when carrying 2 bait buckets. when i go fishing i carry a snubnose
38 in my back pocket. Ya never know when you may run into that once in a lifetime rogue critter...2 or 4 legs. A friend of mine came over from Scotland
last spring and while fishing a remote stream, he noticed the 38 in my back pocket. He was amazed that the Americans can walk around with a pistol in their pocket. I could see he was in deep thought and was concerned that he was worried about the situation he was in. After a couple of minutes he said
"There is a new thing going on over in Scoltland " it seems that a carload of city kids will pile into a car and cruise the countryside for a lone fisherman
flyfishing in a meadow. with a thousand dollars worth of gear they make a good target. The carload of guys get out with baseball bats and beat the fisherman and rob him of his gear and money....several have been killed.
My friend always has a fillet knife on his hip when he fishes over there now.
I told him to rest easy, if a carload of guys with bats show up i'll smile and tell them..."you boys better go get more help"

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