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Discussion in 'Alaska' started by speedracertdi, Jul 16, 2012.
The most experience was going to the circus. There I didn't need anything.
Ok I will tell a story gather round back in the late 70s I was up gold mining up around the chicken area with a old couple Harry and Helen Wilson. Harry and I had went to town for some supplies and Helen was holding down the fort we came back Helen said there was a brown bear in the goose house Harry grabbed the shot gun to go dispatch the bear when he got close to the goose house the bear lunged out at Harry and he shot the bear lung at him again he shot again Harry could not understand why the bear didn't go down he shot again the bear still didn't go down and some how didn't get to Harry Helen came out with the 44 mag Harry did the bear in with that.
Well the reason the shot gun didn't do the job is Harry had been out bird hunting and didn't change the shells back to bear loads:eek1:eek1 and the reason the bear didn't get to Harry is Helen had set a snare in the goose house and the bear had one hind paw in it that was all that was holding it back:eek1.
The bear had scared the cat Albert so bad he would come out for a week Harry had a rug made out of the bear and every time he would bring out the rug the cat would run one day Harry was going convince Albert that bear wasn't going to hurt him he picked the cat up petting him taking him over to the bear "see Albert" then the cat peaed on Harry that was the last time Harry tried to convince that cat that bear wasn't going to hurt him.
You need to bite that guy, ThatGuy.
I think we should all go see the movie "Ted". After that we can have an informed discussion about bear behavior and defense.
I thought it kinda funny, being that NPS and ADF&G agree as to the efficacy of bear spray - that NPS issues their backcountry workers up here 12 ga. pumps. "Don't do as I do, do as I say" saith the government.
To aquadog: Bear spray may work just fine to repel a charging bruin 99 times out of 100. But if I happen to be #100 I'd rather avoid becoming a statistic , hence the firepower.
Back in 1957 I gave myself a Ruger Blackhawk, cal. 44 Magnum, as a Christmas present. Shot factory loads (at the then-gosh awful price of $ .15/round), .44 Specials, and some pretty hot handloads. But finally realized that in most cases that 44 round was only gonna irritate the heck out of any good-sized grizz if it saw me before I had a chance to pull the trigger. Like Mark, I've done lots of competition shooting, starting as a teen - both large bore rifle and pistol on various teams in the Army, along with some combat courses, so I can usually hit whatever I aim at, looking at it over the sights or from the hip. But once a bear has you located, stopping it is a whole different story.
Friend that guided down on the Peninsula told me about a large brownie that came into the cabin where the supposed hunters were relaxing prior to taking the chase to the bear the next day (impatient bear, I guess) and absorbed three cylinders full of 44 mags before one of the guys grabbed a rifle and dispatched it. And yet, some 30 or 40 years ago a couple of GI's managed to sneak up on a sow grizz near the Knik River and dropped it with one shot from a .357.
For a survival weapon the 44 was replaced by a .22 target pistol - much better for knocking off a rabbit or spruce hen and still being able to find enough meat for a meal. For ultimate stopping power, 12 ga slugs are hard to beat, and when on a trail through thick brush or trees it hangs on a sling in such a position that I can get it into action very, very quickly.
The best tactic, I reckon we will all agree, is to not surprise a bear, and never have an encounter that requires extreme defensive measures.
So if i camp a couple hundred feet off the Dalton, should I worry? Since i rode this road last time and didn't see diddly, I'm assuming the truck traffic scares the wildlife away?
I did hear about and saw warning signs about a lone wolf that followed a lady jogger. She barricaded herself in a campsite bathroom.
Here is a pic of my first experience with a Kodiak griz. He was a lil guy, maybe 2yrs old, but smart enough to hide in the alders at the bend near the fishing hole and wait for unsuspecting fishermen like myself. This bear learned that he can chase guys off their fish, when my friend and I didnt move, hey started huff'n and a puff'n and walked towards us. We were yellin "GET AWAY BEAR!" and kicking rocks n such. Just making a scene. He apparently new this tactic and just kept pushing us away from my two reds It didnt help that the tourist fisherbabies that were next to us backed away at the site of him and tried to scramble up the river bank opposite us. :huh I shouldve smacked him on the nose with my rod!
(bear is about to get one of my fishies!)
I used to carry a .44mag blackhawk AND the pepper. Nowadays I just throw rocks, bears HATE rocks.
mind you these are kodiak bears and they are not as starved as the interior bears. The ADF&G still recommend you carry a 12g if you are going to carry a firearm, you can even buy these sweet rubber bullets for them!
this is the fish he stole
Let me say I believe EVERY bear story is only an anecdote and every one is different because every bear is different, and many of my experiences actually contradict each other and some of them contradict my philosophy which is:Carry a 12 Guage.
I was a firm believer in the 44 Mag for a while. Bought me a nice stainless one and still have it. Never had to use it. Then one day I got a call to see a patient in our ER who was shot in a Talkeetna gunfight. Oh Brother. Expecting the worst, I met the man, who had two 44 Mag rounds embedded in him, one in his abdomen and pelvis, one one in his DOMINANT shooting arm. The incident involved him defending his home and his wife, and I was surprised what a nice guy he was, and we have remained friends all these years. But the point of the story is that AFTER he was shot twice with what I considered a pretty adequate gun, and one of the rounds was in his shooting elbow, he pulled out his 357 and killed the perpetrator. Not a fun day for either of them. I've never trusted the 44 since.
My friend, also an Orthopedic Surgeon, was hunting birds on the Kenai with 7 or 8 shot, I do not remember which. His dog retrieved a big brownie and he had practically no time to react, but he did shoot it, aiming for the face, if he had time to really aim at all. It kept coming. The bear grabbed him by the arm and thew him high enough up that he remembers being airborne, and he fell in a great blood spattered mess in the leaves and thought he was done for. BUT the blood was mostly the bears, and the bruin ran off and was never seen again. He had big puncture marks in his arm and they were able to determine that it was a very large bear. Definitely not a bluff charge, repelled by a single shot to the face. This reinforced what I heard from very experienced guides whose feeling was that if you disable their sensory mechanisms, ie their nose and eyes, plus break their jaw, they are going to lose their momentum and you win.
My own experience was being charged while unarmed in Katmai Nat Park walking in the woods to a fishing hole. We later deduced she had cubs nearby, based on the observations of others. She charged right to me. I could have easily petted her nose (not my first instinct) she was so close. I can still recall her bad breath as she snapped her jaws and growled. Never left her all fours, just stood there and scared the shit out of me. It would have been a WAY worse day if I was armed, I believe, because it was a bluff charge and I was able to back away and avoid eye contact and utter nonsensical words in a calm voice. I really do not believe I had time to react and save my ass if I would have had a gun. Any gun. The shot would have been a bad one and who knows. BUT it is not the sudden charge situation that convinces me to carry. I was hunting with my son, about 16 years old at the time, and he ran smack into a griz in the alders out in the tundra south of King Salmon while trying to stalk a group of caribou with a bow and arrow. I was his rifle-armed backup. The encounter did not result in contact, but if it had, how would I ever feel, not being armed and unable to help him as he was mauled. In that situation a person has time to think and place a shot, and I cannot concieve of being unarmed and living with the consequences of a bad outcome. Come to find out, that bear was protecting a killed caribou which he had buried very close to where we were. We were lucky. We discovered the kill a little later when we were leaving the area and again got too close to it. That time we watched the bear zero in on us and walk towards us aggressively. We had to back up up a hill and from the hill we saw the antlers of the kill. Again, there would have been time to watch him drop down and hopefully place a shot, or shots.
Last story. Thirty minutes spent listening to a Palmer couple tell their story would convince many people to carry, I think. I met them as patients. They are both prison guards, fit and fairly large framed individuals. They were attacked by a sow with cubs and mauled over the course of a half hour or so, and were helpless. The bear would chew on her, and all he had was a stick with which to hit it, which would piss the bear off so she would turn and go after him. Then his wife would do the stick thing, and on and on back and forth for a very long time. They both survived but with significant injuries. Made a believer out of me.
Most times I when I have been within 100 yards of a bear there is NO problem and everyone leaves everyone else alone. But there are times........
Even though a 12ga has an impressive hole in the business end, there are better options. 12ga slugs are not as potent as most would think. The slugs are big and slow and typically are made of soft lead which doesn't hold up well against hard stuff. A much better option is a shorty high power rifle like a 30.06 or bigger. Their penetrating power is considerably higher than shotgun slugs. Maybe not as cool to look at as a pistol grip 12ga, but I'd take a rifle over the scatter gun any day.
Just my $.02 (from a gun nut POV anyway)
If you want to play in the woods and never see a bear, buy a grizzly tag.
So I should carry my camera at all times ready to capture wildlife pics? I didn't see much last time. Sounds like my camera will work better than bear spray....
Ya'll have GREAT advise on what weapons to carry but he initially said he CAN'T carry a firearm. Plenty of folks have been in the woods w/o firearms. It's like anything else we do in life.....a measured risk.
If all thats in your shot gun is slugs for bear its loaded wrong to began with and deer slugs are way wrong they just flatten out soft lead. My preferred setup is OO then a round called a brenneke its a harden rifled slug no hollow base alot more punch then back to OO to me that is important the stager of slug and OO. Rifles are great for hunting not so great for surprise you just can't get then into play as fast and even a shot gun can't be brought to bare (so to speak ) fast enough that is one of the reasons I have been thinking of carrying both the shot gun and bear spray the spray could buy me those few seconds I mite need to bring the shot gun into play. to tell the truth I hate that pistol grip it hurts too much to shoot very much it but it make it short. Alot of the time I don't carry a gun in the woods but I know certain places and certain times of the year you just don't go in the woods without one. Also just my $.02 your results may vary.
Well, near Emerald Lake in the Kootenay's, BC, while fishing on a little stream I saw this black cub scurry by my feet ... it took less than a second for me to realize what I'd seen and look up. I saw mom on her haunches about 20 feet away from me. All I had heard was rain on my rain hood before that but I used the one tool I had, a very soothing monotone voice. As I talked I saw the sow sit down on her haunches and relax. When that happened I backed away very slowly but I kept talking. The next thing I remember was being on the road madly looking for my van. Bottom line, it's good to be boring. BTW, I don't remember seeing the cub again but I knew it went behind me at first.
These days I carry an air horn on the bike and road flares when I hike. I'm not sure about the road flare, in an Eagle, AK, campground I encountered one of their big bears on a trail, again on it's hind legs and again my monotone voice soothed the beast while I stumbled trying to light the road flare which when I did captured the bears attention like a fourth of July sparkler.
I also appreciate having a shot gun but aiming any gun at a charging bear is problematic. Best advice, have that will and last testament up to date before you leave home and good luck. BTW, moose are worse.
Y'know... every spring we spend a lot of time and words on this forum telling tourists not to worry about bears up here, 'cause it's doubtful they'll ever see one close enough to count, if they see any at all. Then we start telling bear stories... :eek1
Its fun to drive them crazy Jack it seems no matter how many times we have to say it do worry about it avery year it starts again. I will make it easy if you are that worried about it don't camp get a room there problem solved.
I have done lots of research about balistics, muzzle energy, and penetration preparing for boar hunting, and I agree that a .44 mag would be marginal at best for north country grizzlies. It comes down to shot placement and bullet shape. In the case of large bear, the skin is very hard to penetrate, so you would want a max load, with a full metal jacket bullet. In the case of boar, the skin can be penetrated, but closes back to stop blood loss, so you would want max load with a flat nose bullet to punch a hole in the skin that stays open.
Back to the OP's situation: No guns allowed in Canada, so none of the above is an option.
Here is an idea: Does anyone know if there is a gun shop just inside Alaska that would accept shipped guns from the lower 48, then ship them back to lower states when the trip is over? If not, I think there is a market for one if someone is interested.
Outside the door to our room in Hyder this past May................
well then stay in and order out for pizza I see its even a victory bear.
"Awwwww, but ain't he a cute lil feller!" said the naive tourist