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Thread: Dumb question alert: Bear gun

  1. #1

    Default Dumb question alert: Bear gun

    Gents,

    Cold and snowy in Colorado as well and a bit bored but I am easily amused and thought I’d toss this out:

    So, I am notionally planning my third trip to Soldotna for Kenai area fishing. Fished 25 days or so in the past and had only one bear encounter, a smaller one on the Russian, who took off after a brief stare. Btw, the bear was suddenly just "right there" and had the drop on me and there was no way I could have gotten the pistol out if he had wanted to have me. FYI, I have never shot a bear. Got ready to once but the bear decided to take off at about 20 yards.

    I also have been close…. in a vehicle, to a couple of very large bears. I have used the term “Chevy Suburban” to describe them. Seems to be that a truly big bear is far different from the smaller ones. On my first trip, my wife, bless her heart, followed me around some with a 45-70 and on the second I carried a 629.

    I am not a great shot, but I can hit with the 44 mag. I am much better with a Sig 40 cal or 45. I’m talking to a guy, an outdoorsman, who had lived in Alaska for 24 years and he carries a Colt 45 semi auto. I of course asked why and he said he can’t shoot very well with the larger revolver calibers and subscribes to: “a hit is better than a miss” and “shoot until the bear doesn’t want to get shot any more” camp. He has never had occasion to shoot a bear with a pistol.

    So, there are maybe four choices:

    Bear Spray

    Smith 629 with Buffalo Bore Hard cast 305 gr, LFN … box says 1325 fps

    Sig 45 ACP with Buffalo Bore HC 255 gr… box says 925 fps

    Sig 40 cal with Buffalo Bore HC 200 gr …. Box says 1000 fps

    I am a bit better equipped now with a chest holster for the 629. Can get chest holsters for the semi-autos.

    Your comments please:

    Slim

  2. #2
    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Fishing the Kenai and Russian ..... Your better off not packing at all. In doing so, should you take a shot and wound a bear, your endangering the lives and safety of everyone around you. Use your common sense. Get educated. Bears on the Russian are nothing new. There should be a lot less of them this year, since they opened baiting for brown bears and registration hunts in that unit. Don't waste your time worrying about bears. If a bear shows up, walk away and fish somewhere else. If you have a fish on and bear shows up, cut your line and walk away. Keep your pack close, don't carry smelly food items, don't leave your fish on the bank. Common sense man. They aren't there to eat you or cause trouble, they are jus fishing too.



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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slim Wallet View Post
    ...my wife, bless her heart, followed me around some with a 45-70...
    At some point she must have decided you were a keeper...
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    I'm not a ballistics guy so I have no valuable input on which gun to use but the general rule is whichever one you are most comfortable and proficient with.

    That being said, in all my years fishing the Russian I have had many bear encounters and none that really concerned me. The advice above is good. Common sense prevails. Gear close, no flopping fish on the bank, give them space, etc. Those bears are very used people. Best advice if you get worried is follow the lead of the locals fishing around you.

    I carry spray, but have never carried a firearm while fishing there and have never used my spray. Seeing those bears is a treat to be enjoyed. Good luck.

    Scott

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    This question has never been asked on these forums before.

    Bear gun? Please discuss.

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    While I do not fish as much as I used to, I do carry a weapon with me all of the time. Years ago it was either a Ruger Super Blackhawk in 44 mag or a Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag. I used to shoot them a lot and I was comfortable with them. Now days I carry a Glock G20 with BB 220 grain hard cast. ?Something about having 15 rounds in the gun. Like most here, in all of the years that we have been in the outdoors here, we have never had an issue with bear. I just do not want and want to be as ready as possible.

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    It is prudent to carry a firearm, in Bear Country, which includes most of the State.

    Handguns are in order when you're fishing.

    I would discount the advice given by Hunt&FishAK .

    I'd go with 44 Mag. if it was ME.

    Smitty of the North
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Many say the 357mag is minimum for such use. Of course many carry 38specials in the 357 for small game plinking. I have been reading how the new .380 ammo equals the 38spec in 2" gun. I now carry in sig p-238 everywhere insted of my 454. Never kilt a bar in fear and none kilt me.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    It is prudent to carry a firearm, in Bear Country, which includes most of the State.

    Handguns are in order when you're fishing.

    I would discount the advice given by Hunt&FishAK .

    I'd go with 44 Mag. if it was ME.

    Smitty of the North

    I carry a .450 marlin guide rifle whenever I am on the water. With the exception of Russian and Kenai rivers, and a few other places where there is alot of people around me. I don't want to be the cause of someone getting hurt, including myself. I just feel it's safer to use common sense, and watch my back. 20 years of fishing both those rivers, have never felt threatened by a bear, brown or black. When on crowded water, I worry much much more about inexperienced or inconsiderate people and hooks flying around than anything else. So discount it if you want, it's your right to carry ill back you up on that! But please, use proper common sense and gun safety and be considerate of others nearby. Enjoy.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    I carry a .450 marlin guide rifle whenever I am on the water. With the exception of Russian and Kenai rivers, and a few other places where there is alot of people around me. I don't want to be the cause of someone getting hurt, including myself. I just feel it's safer to use common sense, and watch my back. 20 years of fishing both those rivers, have never felt threatened by a bear, brown or black. When on crowded water, I worry much much more about inexperienced or inconsiderate people and hooks flying around than anything else. So discount it if you want, it's your right to carry ill back you up on that! But please, use proper common sense and gun safety and be considerate of others nearby. Enjoy.
    I've already discounted your Other Advice.

    But, I will "use proper common sense and gun safety and be considerate of others nearby."

    SOTN
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    I think it's a good idea to carry a gun when fishing. I use a heavy loaded 41mag. But, I also think it's a really good idea to practice a bunch and to not shoot until there is no other choice. I have seen bears, both black and brown, while fishing the Russian but have not yet thought they needed to be shot.

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I've already discounted your Other Advice.

    But, I will "use proper common sense and gun safety and be considerate of others nearby."

    SOTN

    No need to be bitter and senile about it. Relax .



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    I always carry my 44 when fishing everywhere in AK. I don't fish the Russian as much as I used too because of the crowds, but I do carry when I decide to fish it. I usually fish later in the evening and thru the night if I am fishing at the russian, and that is prime bear time and less human time on the river, making bear encounters more of a one on one probability vs. one on 50 during the daytime hours. I am confident with and can shoot the 44 accurately, but follow up shots are slower due to recoil. I sometimes carry my 40 when hiking, loaded with 180 HC; it is lighter and less cumbersome when carrying a pack, camera, and hiking poles. Either way, I would carry whether at the Russian or in the wilderness because you never know when that one bear that is used to people is gonna get tired of sharing the riverbank with humans and decide to establish its dominance over everything around it, not to mention momma bear with cubs that you just happen to get between. I do think the 40 and 45 are a little under powered, but more bullets and better accuracy kind of balance that out. Bear spray is another option and is lighter that a firearm, but I wouldn't trust it if I were all alone.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Quote Originally Posted by OKElkHunter View Post
    I always carry my 44 when fishing everywhere in AK. I don't fish the Russian as much as I used too because of the crowds, but I do carry when I decide to fish it. I usually fish later in the evening and thru the night if I am fishing at the russian, and that is prime bear time and less human time on the river, making bear encounters more of a one on one probability vs. one on 50 during the daytime hours. I am confident with and can shoot the 44 accurately, but follow up shots are slower due to recoil. I sometimes carry my 40 when hiking, loaded with 180 HC; it is lighter and less cumbersome when carrying a pack, camera, and hiking poles. Either way, I would carry whether at the Russian or in the wilderness because you never know when that one bear that is used to people is gonna get tired of sharing the riverbank with humans and decide to establish its dominance over everything around it, not to mention momma bear with cubs that you just happen to get between. I do think the 40 and 45 are a little under powered, but more bullets and better accuracy kind of balance that out. Bear spray is another option and is lighter that a firearm, but I wouldn't trust it if I were all alone.
    I'll buy into THAT.

    SOTN
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    Default Air Horns Rule

    Quite frankly, when you're in a popular fishing hole and the bears are used to people, your best bet is a noise maker such as a small air horn. It's the only thing I've ever had to use and it's always effective. I've yet to meet a human-habituated bear that will stick around after a ~120 dB air horn blast. It's cheap, effective, reusable as often as needed and you don't endanger yourself, other fishermen, or the bears. After use, you can keep on fishing instead of skinning out a bear that you then have to haul down to F&G and turn in to the state, fill out a bunch of DLP paperwork, and get interrogated by a Wildlife Trooper who is trying to find out how to charge you with a crime. Screw all that. Blast 'em with an air horn and go about your business.

    Pepper spray is good for curious bears, further off the beaten path that may or may not have seen people before. It requires training and good weather conditions. Further, once you use pepper spray you have to get the heck out of the area as soon as possible as the scent of the pepper is highly attractive to bears and from a long distance away. It only works as a deterrent with a bear that is checking you out and you're able to hit 'em square in the face (eyes & nose) with a good blast of spray at close range. Basically, you have to let the bear get closer to use pepper spray than you do to use an air horn.

    Save the guns for bear hunting and actual defense against a predatory bear (which is such a rare occurance that it is hardly worth mentioning). Not that it's bad to carry as a Plan B or C, but you need that Plan A first. And big noise is one of the best options out there. It's also the cheapest and easiest option for a tourist to get ahold of without legality and transport problems.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I should also point out... you don't have to use the type of air horn with a compressed gas cartridge (though that is what I've been using for several years... it works at hockey games, too). Last year I ran into a fisherwoman on the beach in Valdez that had one of these hand pump air horns. It worked just as well as a gas powered horn and I even watched her run off a bear with it quite effectively.

    Can't beat the price (about $4) and it can be carried in your luggage on the airplane without any problems. Here are a couple examples...

    http://www.amazon.com/SUPER-BLAST-Ha.../dp/B0083CMKK0

    http://www.amazon.com/Jordans-YEARS-...5GQPK1HQWAH78R

    Though I do prefer the much more compact compressed gas powered mini air horn you can get at your local marine supplier. Easy fit into your pocket or with a belt clip that is usually included.

    Like this one... http://www.amazon.com/Falcon-Safety-...ref=pd_sim_t_2

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  17. #17
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    JOAT,
    I'll have to try the air horn. Never thought of that as an option, but I like it. However, I'll still have a handgun someplace in my possession, it's kinda part of my clothing and I never leave home naked or partially dressed, even when traveling in non-bear territory.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    I did a search of Air Horn Bear Deterrent, and found this site.

    http://hikinginthesmokys.blogspot.co...revisited.html

    I've not found anything definitive about it's effectiveness, so far, except from JOAT.

    Bear Spray can be a detterent sometimes, but I dunno if it would be a good idea to carry both and try the spray before the gun.

    With the Horn, maybe trying it first would be less problematic, than the SPRAY, but I DUNNO. I think I'll stick with the GUN. FIRST.

    I've heard MANY stories of bear attacks repelled, killed, with firearms, and although there are exceptions, my impression is that they've worked well.

    I don't always have my handgun on me when I fish in crowded spots, but I expect that somebody there does. On some occassions where I have, others have said they feel safer and appreiate it.

    JOAT:
    I'd rather have to skin a bear, or hire it done, THAN be killed or maimed. To avoid having to skin a bear seems to me, a poor reason to take risks with an unpredictable bear. Granted, there are risks no matter what you do in the presence of a bear.

    When you recommend something as the "best bet" or "always effective" you will share some of the responsibility if things don't work out as you say.

    Smitty of the North
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  19. #19

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    Thanks men, some very helpful suggestions.

    My plans are changing as my wife has decided to come and she wants to bring a 16 yr old grandson. If this hangs together I'll carry the 44, she can have the blast horn and the grandson can have the bear spray. I guess we can "gang up" on 'em.

    Y'all will hear us!

    Thanks,

    Slim

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    Slim if you should happen to have bear trouble please use progressive action against said bear and let us know which method worked!

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