Constant recommendation for bear country: 12 gauge shotgun?


PDA






Macchina
April 26, 2012, 03:29 PM
It seems there are a few constant sayings around here, and here are two of them:

1. Buy carry sized guns, you won't carry a gun if it's too big.
2. "If I ever find myself in bear country, I'm bringing a 12 gauge with slugs"

These two statements STRONGLY contradict each other. I agree with the first one, and am clueless as to the second one. This leads me to believe two things about the people who say they would only ever enter bear country with a 12 gauge:

1. These people have probably never really backpacked or stayed in the back country for an extended length of time.
2. It would appear these people have never even gone upland bird hunting or rabbit hunting.

I say this because lugging a shotgun around at-the-ready is not the same as bringing an extra pair of socks. As someone who's backpacked quite a few times through northern Canada (seen plenty of moose and bears), I can tell you that having a shotgun in my hands the whole time would have made the trip pretty miserably. It's a big deal to lug a 40 pound pack through the woods for a week, adding 8 pounds to that load is not something you do just because someone on the internet says to.

I do carry a Sig or SP101 when hiking in Michigan (with plenty of bears), but that's just for general protection and because nobody else in my group of hiking friends carries. I would never consider lugging a shotgun just for protection.

My point is there are so few bear attacks that I don't understand the hysteria and need to carry a shotgun around when in the woods. It feels like this belief is propagated by people who have never spent a peaceful day or night in the woods. I'd be surprised to hear of one person who has actually lived out of their pack for a week or more and found it necessarily to bring a 12 gauge along for the ride.

If you enjoyed reading about "Constant recommendation for bear country: 12 gauge shotgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
allaroundhunter
April 26, 2012, 03:35 PM
1. Buy carry sized guns, you won't carry a gun if it's too big.
2. "If I ever find myself in bear country, I'm bringing a 12 gauge with slugs"

These two statements STRONGLY contradict each other. I agree with the first one, and am clueless as to the second one.

You are talking two different applications. The first statement is dealing with an everyday carry gun (CCW or OC) when we understand that chances of us using our weapon are slim but want the added protection just in case, and the second is dealing with defense when you have reasonable suspicion that you will need it.

I do go on week long hiking/camping trips and I hunt upland game every year, but if I am going into bear country, yes, I am taking a 12 ga with slugs. Here in Texas we don't see too many bears, but out on my farm we have plenty of run-ins with feral dogs. I do not go out on the farm without a 12 ga or my AR, and have lugged one around for 7 hours while we were searching for a lost horse. Was it pleasant? No. Would I do it again? Absolutely. We have been attacked by these dogs, and pistols are not always one shot stops on them; but we have never had one make a second move after being hit with a Vmax, slug, or load of buckshot.

Heck, if I was going into a bad part of town and had a reasonable suspicion that I was going to be in some serious danger I would take more than my usual 9mm carry gun.

ApacheCoTodd
April 26, 2012, 03:53 PM
Another not so artfully executed baiting thread.

MtnCreek
April 26, 2012, 04:01 PM
As someone who's backpacked quite a few times through northern Canada (seen plenty of moose and bears), I can tell you that having a shotgun in my hands the whole time would have made the trip pretty miserably.

What did you carry while in Canada? Unless I'm mistaken, US residents can carry a shotgun for bears, but not a pistol. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Hypnogator
April 26, 2012, 04:37 PM
As someone who's backpacked quite a few times through northern Canada (seen plenty of moose and bears), I can tell you that having a shotgun in my hands the whole time would have made the trip pretty miserably.

Not as miserable as the first few seconds of being turned into bear scat! :what::eek::neener::neener::neener:

Carrying a short-barreled shotgun slung over the non-firing shoulder muzzle down in a "hunter's carry" makes it ready to fire in a split second, but not too much of a burden to carry while backpacking.

YMMV.

Owen Sparks
April 26, 2012, 05:02 PM
There is absolutly nothing light and easy to carry that will stop a charging bear. At minimal you will need a stout .44 Magnum revoler.

Vonderek
April 26, 2012, 05:36 PM
While this would be more effective on brown bear, for woods carry the 12 gauge is a couple pounds lighter.
http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k98/dreamcatchermedia/venturea-predator.jpg

Macchina
April 26, 2012, 05:42 PM
What did you carry while in Canada? Unless I'm mistaken, US residents can carry a shotgun for bears, but not a pistol. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
You are correct about USA citizens not being allowed to bring pistols into Canada. I have never brought a firearm to Canada and have never been attacked by anything. I have seen dozens of bears and moose and they usually just kept on eating berries.

Macchina
April 26, 2012, 06:09 PM
You are talking two different applications. The first statement is dealing with an everyday carry gun (CCW or OC) when we understand that chances of us using our weapon are slim but want the added protection just in case, and the second is dealing with defense when you have reasonable suspicion that you will need it.

I do go on week long hiking/camping trips and I hunt upland game every year, but if I am going into bear country, yes, I am taking a 12 ga with slugs. Here in Texas we don't see too many bears, but out on my farm we have plenty of run-ins with feral dogs. I do not go out on the farm without a 12 ga or my AR, and have lugged one around for 7 hours while we were searching for a lost horse. Was it pleasant? No. Would I do it again? Absolutely. We have been attacked by these dogs, and pistols are not always one shot stops on them; but we have never had one make a second move after being hit with a Vmax, slug, or load of buckshot.

Heck, if I was going into a bad part of town and had a reasonable suspicion that I was going to be in some serious danger I would take more than my usual 9mm carry gun.
My point about the carry gun is lugging a 12 gauge shotgun around while backpacking is not practical. The rest of your post pretty much backs up my point.

You stated that lugging a shotgun around for 7 hours was not pleasant. My point is: put some mountainous terrain under your feet, 40 pounds on your back, 7 nights of sleep in a tent, and multiply that time by a week and lugging that shotgun just became (not pleasant)^2

My point is the chances of a bear attack are so remote that the addition of 20% to your pack weight is ludicrous to prevent something so rare. Let's do the math (2011 figures):

Fatal bear attacks: 3
Fatal lightning strikes: 40-50
Bee, Wasp, or Hornet Sting: 43
Accidental Shootings (Latest Stats 2007): 613

Looks like if you're truly concerned about your well being, you'll bring a mobile lightning rod, bee suit, and not a gun. What many people TOTALLY FAIL TO REALIZE is how much safer you are in the woods than in the city. If you have a decent head on your shoulders, then you'll be just fine. I'm obviously not anti-gun and I'm all about spending time in the woods. I'm just strongly against the belief that you need to lug around a shotgun for bear protection. As your post shows, this suggestion seems to always come from people who have not backpacked through real bear country. Not trying to bait or troll, just pointing out the facts.

Robert
April 26, 2012, 06:26 PM
Ok. Enough bear threads for one week.

If you enjoyed reading about "Constant recommendation for bear country: 12 gauge shotgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!