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Thread: Bear Defense: Beyond The Handgun

  1. #1

    Default Bear Defense: Beyond The Handgun


    I'vedecided to step up my game next year. I am a bowhunter exclusively, and have only carried a handgun for several years on my remote fly-in hunts. Just 6 days ago we had a grizzly hit our meat cache repeatedly, and essentially destroyed over 500 pounds of prime boned-out moose meat. This bear had also previously visited our campsite area and basically did everything possible to wreck things. I notified the wildlife troopers and followed their advice in documenting everything that happened. Tracks tell us the bear was very close to our campsite at night. Therefore....

    In an effort to improve my defensive abilities, I'm considering adding a long gun to my gear list. My instant (familiar) choice is a 12 gauge slide with loads appropriate to stop a large bear. I might also consider a centerfire rifle of some carbine configuration, as it may be as fast and lighter in weight. I'm very interested to hear opinions on suitable weapons. No offense intended, but I'm really most interested to hear from those who have some solid experience in this realm. After 2 years of trouble with this bear, I'm sensing something may be coming to a head.

  2. #2
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    K Dill,
    Ruger Alaskan in .375 or .416 Ruger is my choice.

    I had a griz problem earlier in the summer and the .375 was pretty darn comforting.

    Short, handy, relatively cheap, pretty light and very good express type sights from the factory.

    Shotguns are "OK" but not in the same league as a medium bore rifle IMHO.

    If you get to the Delta area give me a ring and I'll let you shoot it.
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Night raiders are good at what they do and are very seldom even seen. I think a bear fence would have proved useful in your situation. I too had some bear trouble, but when I brought the meat back to camp the season had opened and I solved my troubles with a couple bullets.

    In tight I like the lever guns and have 2, 45-70s with one being a Co-Pilot, it breaks down and carries very nicely.
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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    Most 12ga slugs are 1oz, or put another way 437.5 grains. Also, they don't go very fast-about 1400fps. One option is one of the Marlin .45-70s like the GBL. 6 rounds, 7-8 pounds and an inch over 3 feet. The .45-70 can out perform most 12ga slugs easily.

    Just my $.02
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  5. #5

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    I would consider a 338 or higher caliber and hunt him verses ending up in a defense of life or property. the 45/70 are nice if you like a lever, if your familiar with bolts you could buy a popular caliber hunt him and then sell the gun. Just whatever you buy practise with it. Grizzlies are a little intimidating sometimes.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    With slugs you pay for what you get. My Dixie slugs in my 12 gauge are 3" 730 grains and generate I think 3,400-3,600 foot pounds. Brenneke makes a dangerous game slug that has been used to take down water buffalo. Rifle sights, 3/4 diameter holes, 5 rounds in the 870 makes me feel pretty safe.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Troopers and F &G use the 870 with Brennke slugs. 5 rounds in a simple and easily maintained gun.
    A. 400 double would feel pretty good as well when walking through the pucker brush, but so would a.375 H&H....
    Go shoot everything you're interested in and choose the one you like the best.

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    I'd be perfectly happy with the Ruger .416 for bear defense. With the open sights and 20" barrel you've go a light, durable, and potent fire arm. The rounds are expensive!!! You should be familiar with handling a heavy recoiling firearm too. I think you would get more range from it vs. slug gun should you choose to hunt with it.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bighorse View Post
    I. I think you would get more range from it vs. slug gun should you choose to hunt with it.
    I put a receiver sight on mine and can do fairly well to 150yds and maybe a bit more. Certainly well within minute of moose.

    With factory express sights 100yds was doable but tough but for a guy used to stalking to bow range it'd be gravy.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default Bear Defense: Beyond The Handgun

    Simple, tweaked and tuned.

    Effective to 150 yards in the conditions I hunt on the river. Night-time advantage with the WWG light mount. Diamond D shell holster and sling provide additional 10rds.


    Not gonna lie, I spent 14 days hunting an area that, at times, gave me the **** heeby jeebies. Grizz scat the size of 2 footballs and 800# of meat hanging in camp.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1348719000.925229.jpg

    First kill 120yds on the drift.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1348719313.825289.jpg
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    as far as gun/caliber pick your poison lots of good choices..if your worried about being in the tent and having an issue think smaller(length) so you can swing it around,or just wait till they push in on the tent and punch them in the nose(yes it does work a friend did it) For the meat I would suggest a fence like Stid mentioned. also try to hang a couple of glo sticks on twine,and a sock or two for spreading your scent around and dont forget to mark your territory.... oh and a GOOD headlamp not the crappy ones that only shine for 10 yards or so...

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    as far as gun/caliber pick your poison lots of good choices..if your worried about being in the tent and having an issue think smaller(length) so you can swing it around,or just wait till they push in on the tent and punch them in the nose(yes it does work a friend did it) For the meat I would suggest a fence like Stid mentioned. also try to hang a couple of glo sticks on twine,and a sock or two for spreading your scent around and dont forget to mark your territory.... oh and a GOOD headlamp not the crappy ones that only shine for 10 yards or so...
    Everything Bear said,, plus a cheap radio, I was shocked at how effective a simple radio left playing was at keeping them away from meat.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Everything Bear said,, plus a cheap radio, I was shocked at how effective a simple radio left playing was at keeping them away from meat.
    Do you have to put them little ear buds in for em?
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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    I like the glow stick idea. I also run a top notch headlamp. It's enough to use in a defensive situation. I'm going after Elk in bear country next week. It's going to be impossible to carry out all the meat in one load so all these sugestions are apreciated.

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    A bear fence is the best insurance against losing your trophies and meat. I agree with the 45 70 copilot option for bear protection over a pistol and wouldnt recommend the shotgun.
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The 12ga works fine. With a rifled barrel the 1 1/4oz Rem buckhammer is a fine shell.You can also buy some bird bombs for it to try moveing the bear along but not sure thats the best answer.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  17. #17

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    Very interesting advice.

    The moose was taken in relatively dense spruce cover, and died there. The maximum view from the carcass was about 30 yards in a couple directions. Knowing there was a bear in the area, the butchering was done with an eye/ear on my surroundings. The wheelgun was close at hand, but not of much comfort really. After the meat cache was destroyed, we both slept lightly and were ready to pounce if the bear came into camp. I do truly like the idea of the .45-70 and the CoPilot looks like the ultra-trick weapon. I'm not really into dropping $2500 or more, especially when I will never hunt with or shoot the gun recreationally. It's nothing more than a tool to me, and it will sustain some rough use. Interesting that the shotgun is viewed as somewhat marginal (not sure why), considering its knockdown and deterrence capabilities at DLP distances. Any weapon I select will be a totally defensive, last-ditch effort to save butt and kill a bear. I'll never use it to actively hunt the (any) bear.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    Troopers and F &G use the 870 with Brennke slugs...
    As do state and federal firefighters who spend all summer in the bush and probably have more bear encounters every summer than any other demographic.
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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Default Bear fence

    Ditto the bear fence. Here's a write up by biologist Tom Smith.

    efencesetup.doc

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    Member Spookum's Avatar
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    the good old 870 is always usefull for keeping the two legged critters away also. I would lean towards the shot gun. Who knows, you may even get a wild hair and put some bird rounds in it and make a few birds hit the pot. It is SUPER cheap to practice with too. Just go out and kill some clays, you will get the hang of the action in no time. They also tear down SUPER SUPER easy. Just soak the guts in CLP (long brand name, i know) and you can opperate it at forty below to coverd in mud.

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