For the woods, add me to the heavy bullet crowd. For regular self-defense I prefer 125ish gr JHP (usually Gold Dots or Hornady Critical Defense for .38+P). Hiking in the woods, you don't know what you may encounter, and you may need to smash through some underbrush/branches to get to the threat, so heavy and solid is my preference. My first preference is a stout 158gr hard cast lead SWC. Heavy enough for penetration should you be unlucky enough to have to face a bear (and as someone else mentioned, bring bear spray as your first line of defense), but a sharp shouldered SWC makes a good self defense load against a 2-legged attacker as well. My second preference is a stout hard cast lead WC. Full caliber wound channel, good penetration. My third choice (all of these are pretty close) is the 158gr hard cast lead SWCHP. The 158gr SWCHP is great for 2-legged attackers, and the hard cast version should give adequate penetration for most wildlife attacks. For all options, you would be best off if you handload and can load them pretty stout. If you don't handload, Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, and Underwood are probably your best bet.