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  1. #1
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    Need for a gun in the woods?

    So we just moved up to the Eastside (of Seattle) from the San Francisco Bay Area. Several people in a row in one week (including some very large, strong movers guys) tell my wife that they always have a gun in the car in case of wildlife encounters (i.e. bears, cougars, etc.) and that it isn't safe to go into the woods without a gun. FWIW, my wife's cousin's husband who is a cop also brings his gun everywhere.

    So my question is...is it so unsafe in the woods that it is necessary to have a gun at all times? I've got to admit that coming from the SF Metro area and having backpacked/camped for 20+ years, the idea of carrying a gun around all the time is a bit foreign to me.

  2. #2
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    The people that you talked to are idiots.

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    Yes, IDIOTS!

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    I've been in the greater San Fran Metro area frequently. Thats the area you absolutely should be packin!

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    yeah, idiots. Most of the time I would say that wildlife doesn't even really care about you and if they do they usually runaway from you...think about how weird you look to them, a man (probably unfamiliar as it is) on a bike.

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    In all the years there has been mountain biking in the PNW, I can only think of one or two wildlife encounters where someone got hurt. When you think about the MILLIONS of hours of riding that has happened here since the 80's, you are way more likely to be attacked by a motorist when you drive to the trailhead. Only the paranoid and fools carry heat on the trails here.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the comedic moment. That gun in the car will do wonders for you when you are out on the trail. Mo-rons...

  8. #8
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    Well apparently I am a moron, idiot or whatever you want to call me.....

    You ask if it is safe to go into the woods without a gun. Well that depends. If you do not encounter a bear, cougar, tweeker or need one for some other life threatening emergency situation than yes, it was safe. To me that is kind of like asking if it is safe to not wear a seatbelt. I have been driving for 20 years and have never been in an accident so for me it would have been safe to drive without a seatbelt, I use one because I do not think that way.

    I spend between 50-90 days a year in the woods doing various recreational activities. I carry a small lightweight revolver pretty much all the time, especially in the woods.

    In my years of outdoor activities I have been face to face with an angry mother bear, a very horny bighorn sheep that wanted to head butt me, a bison at 5 feet that made it clear I was trespassing, tweekers that were cooking meth, thieves that were stealing gear from cars and camps. I have also been lost overnight where having a gun could have fed me had I not found my way out in a timely manner. It also could have been used to signal help. I have friends that have been attacked and or stalked by cougars. A friend of mine has a cougar skin on his wall that he shot off of his fatherís back, likely saving his life. There have been dozens of bear, goat and cougar attacks in Washington over the years. A man was recently killed by a goat in the Olympic national park. The parks department has even recently changed laws allowing guns in the national park due to the risk off animal attacks.

    What are the chances of you being a victim? I donít know, probably small. I think you have a better chance to be attacked by a person. Either way I go back to the seatbelt analogy. I think I would rather just have the tools and knowledge to take care of myself if I need to.

    The revolver I carry weighs less than a pound and fits nicely in my pack. Again I see it as a tool just like my bike tools, and other gear. If having the means to take care of yourself when faced with creatures, people or situations that want to harm you makes you and idiot than so be it. I think not having the wherewithal, tools and knowledge to take care of yourself makes you an irresponsible, narrow minded human. You make your own opinion.
    Last edited by thehotrodpig; 01-12-2012 at 02:05 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    they always have a gun in the car in case of wildlife encounters (i.e. bears, cougars, etc.)
    That is silly. All you need to stave off bear and cougar attacks is a riding buddy who is slower than you.

    Quote Originally Posted by thehotrodpig View Post
    The revolver I carry weighs less than a pound and fits nicely in my pack. Again I see it as a tool just like my bike tools, and other gear.
    That is reasonable. Especially if your riding buddies are not disposable.

  10. #10
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    Sometimes I love web discussions. Like a moth to a light.... First of all, they are mo-rons for leaving the gun in the car if they are going to bring one at all. Read the inital post. Second, it's very likely IMHO that little revolver will only piss off the bear/cougar even more. IF you can get it out of the pack in time. Sure, it may be worth having. Not judging there. Only if you can get to it in time. And, I've seen way too many instances where it takes 5 minutes just to find a bike pump...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Sometimes I love web discussions. Like a moth to a light.... First of all, they are mo-rons for leaving the gun in the car if they are going to bring one at all. Read the inital post. Second, it's very likely IMHO that little revolver will only piss off the bear/cougar even more. IF you can get it out of the pack in time. Sure, it may be worth having. Not judging there. Only if you can get to it in time. And, I've seen way too many instances where it takes 5 minutes just to find a bike pump...
    Its an internet forum, discussing opinions is what they are for, not sure what moths have to do with it. Guess I could use the same comment towards your initial reply but I don't see the point.

    I don't recall giving any details about the little revolver or the caliber so I am not sure where your assumptions come from regarding its ability to do its job, whatever it may be.

  12. #12
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    Question for gun packing mountain bikers, how many times have you seriously needed a gun in the woods?

    I never have, well one time when Bob wouldn't shut up, but that's a different case.

  13. #13
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    Have been trolling around outside in this state state first on the Oly pen and now in central Wa. All year 'round. Day and night, the latter quite a lot while dog mushing. I own guns FWIW.

    Kittitas co has a fairly dense cougar population and I've only tangled up with one, and yelling at it and throwing gravel was enough. Bears... Your typical encounter will be suddenly seeing a bear butt running away. If we had a lot of moose maybe I'd change my mind, but in that case you need a serious hand-cannon anyway. I know folks who carry every time they're in the woods because of 'safety' and honestly I don't get it. I have a full survival kit perminantly in my camelbak but I just can't bring myself to that level of paranoia.

    City freaks me out though, especially DRIVING in the city. I'll take the mathematical odds of making it in and out of the back country safely without a gun ANY day over the hazards of Peugeot sound traffic!
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    It cracks me up how some folks call carrying a gun paranoia. Its a simple tool, nothing less nothing more. If you don't feel the need to carry that tool that is fine. It is your choice to carry whatever you think is necessary when you are in the woods or in the city. Paranoia has nothing to do with it.

  15. #15
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    Firstly I don't care for the name calling.
    I spend about 342 days a year in the woods riding, night riding, building trail,hiking,running. Mostly solo.I do not believe I would be able to get a gun out of a pack in enough time to be effective. I carried concealed in my twenties and stopped altogether because I am far more likely to put myself in a dangerous situation if I have a firearm. Carrying gives me a different mentality, I am paranoid when carrying, evrything takes on a different light. Guns kill...
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  16. #16
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    I was raised around guns, my Dad is like Charlton Heston...
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    Quote Originally Posted by crtlnd View Post
    Firstly I don't care for the name calling.
    I spend about 342 days a year in the woods riding, night riding, building trail,hiking,running. Mostly solo.I do not believe I would be able to get a gun out of a pack in enough time to be effective. I carried concealed in my twenties and stopped altogether because I am far more likely to put myself in a dangerous situation if I have a firearm. Carrying gives me a different mentality, I am paranoid when carrying, evrything takes on a different light. Guns kill...
    You bring up a very good reason why you should not carry a gun.

    Guns do not kill, people kill. Sometimes a gun is used as the tool. More commonly a car and alcohol are the tools.

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    Than it surprises me you would make a statement that "guns kill",, perhaps in jest?

  19. #19
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    I wouldn't say anyone's a moron for carrying a gun. They are fool-hearty in thinking they'll pull a gun out of a pack, holster or whatever in time to kill/deter an attacking cougar. If you are about to be attacked by a cougar, you aren't even going to know it happened - let alone pull out a gun in time.

    My ammunition for Bear/Cougar are two ferocious trail dogs. They make so much gawddamn noise that any self-respecting animal should be a mile away from us. I do a LOT of bushwhacking/scouting/building in the middle of nowhere....no starbucks, no golf courses, no cell phone coverage and I've never considered bringing a gun with me. That said, a buddy is building a trail where there is a lot of cougar evidence and has run across it twice (guessing a den is nearby) and has been carrying a gun when he goes up solo to work. It does give him some peace of mind, but again he's in the middle of nowhere building trail where there is nothing currently.

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  20. #20
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    The good news in most of the state is that there's active hunting pressure on these cats, so if they get overt they're likely to get creased some time in the fall if nothing else. I honestly believe over time this affects their behavior. We've also had some WSFW studies in this area where cats were treed with hounds, tranqed and dropped out of a tree, and collared/inventoried. This is a Really Bad Day for Big Kitty, and IMO reinforces their avoidance of humans. They can live, eat, and reproduce even on the edges of populated areas without folks knowing as long as they're sufficiently motivated to stay undercover.

    Most of the horrible injury/fatality attacks seem to be coming out of California, where hunting or harassing cougar is illegal. I have long speculated that this causes MORE problems for cats over the long haul as they can be completely brazen with humans without consequence.

    We've had a cat in our 'hood off an on over the last few years, but we're so overrun with mule deer that they aren't even bothering with people, livestock, or pets. The whole arrangement works fine, and I don't see a reason to change it unless it actually poses a problem.
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  21. #21
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    A gun is designed for one thing, and it ain't playing with legos.
    Yeppers i'd shoot a lot of people, cause I'm tired of stoopid people.
    ****, i'd just as soon stick a Pulaski in someones head.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimba View Post
    Question for gun packing mountain bikers, how many times have you seriously needed a gun in the woods?

    I never have, well one time when Bob wouldn't shut up, but that's a different case.
    Really?

    im not a hunter or a gun nut BUT:

    its not a matter of how many times did you need one in the woods it comes down to this:

    if you happen to roll up to a angry mtn lion, bear or other deadly animal that is showing signs that it will attack. would you want one or would you not?

    would anyone answer no?
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    *sigh* I'll retract the mo-ron name calling if anyone else thinks it's just fine to go through all the trouble just to leave the firearm in the car at the TH for some crackhead to break in and get... (That alone is where the reference applies.)

    Like many here, I carry way more tools than I think I'll ever need in my pack, just in case. But, a pistola has never been on that list. Don't see any reason.

    Might need one for the Stink Spoke ride on Saturday though. The poker card stop lines are terrible.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotrodpig View Post
    You bring up a very good reason why you should not carry a gun.

    Guns do not kill, people kill. Sometimes a gun is used as the tool. More commonly a car and alcohol are the tools.
    I don't commute during rush hour either...same reason...
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotrodpig View Post
    You bring up a very good reason why you should not carry a gun.

    Guns do not kill, people kill. Sometimes a gun is used as the tool. More commonly a car and alcohol are the tools.
    Hey wise guy, I quick drinking and driving 3 months ago.
    Well at least drinking, I still drive. Kinda sucks without a beer though.
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  26. #26
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    Our buddy Scott always carries his glock out here. *I* would have a better chance of getting to it in his pack when seconds really counted, which of course would present a problem if something was already chewing on his carcass. IMO it's far more likely that he's going to land on it and bend something up one of these days.

    Weasel has eaten a lot of my food over the years though, so go figure the usefulness-to-weight ratio.

    As far as the "what if a bear was mauling you/a cougar jumped out/an angry rhino was chasing you" scenario... I LOVE playing "what if", it's a fun game to follow to all logical conclusions!


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    What if you spent all winter building a trail and someone on a horse disregards the new trail sign and ruins it?
    Would you want a gun then?
    Not me, i'd kill 'em...and I think a gun is the lazy mans way to kill things, i'd rather use my hands.
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    Court, you crack me up! Almost as much fun as Skookum.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by crtlnd View Post
    What if you spent all winter building a trail and someone on a horse disregards the new trail sign and ruins it?
    Would you want a gun then?
    Not me, i'd kill 'em...and I think a gun is the lazy mans way to kill things, i'd rather use my hands.
    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxOverFence View Post
    Court, you crack me up! Almost as much fun as Skookum.
    Except I'm not totally sincere in my delusions..
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by crtlnd View Post
    Except I'm not totally sincere in my delusions..
    Touche! lol

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    So we just moved up to the Eastside (of Seattle) from the San Francisco Bay Area. Several people in a row in one week (including some very large, strong movers guys) tell my wife that they always have a gun in the car in case of wildlife encounters (i.e. bears, cougars, etc.) and that it isn't safe to go into the woods without a gun. FWIW, my wife's cousin's husband who is a cop also brings his gun everywhere.

    So my question is...is it so unsafe in the woods that it is necessary to have a gun at all times? I've got to admit that coming from the SF Metro area and having backpacked/camped for 20+ years, the idea of carrying a gun around all the time is a bit foreign to me.
    I was born and raised on a "woods" area of the state, and around guns.
    Have never needed a gun in the woods.
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  33. #33
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    Ahhsome thread.

    1. What the people told you about needing a gun for the woods is incorrect; ignore it.
    2. If you're concerned about people/animals in the woods, carry bear spray instead. By weight and aim, it will be a lot more effective than any pistol. I bring my bear spray when I'm going into remote areas solo. And also a decent knife (but more for cutting off clothing or digits, if necessary - or maybe skinning a meal or meeting Mike Vandeman types)


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Touche! lol
    Not a personal dig at Timmy, he's awesome really! Just being cute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crtlnd View Post
    Not a personal dig at Timmy, he's awesome really! Just being cute.
    Yeah, but it's got a wee bit of merit and I'm guessing Tim would snicker too.

  36. #36
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    I would imagine the people that needed a gun out there that didn't have one... well they wouldn't really be able to post here now would they?
    "It looks flexy"

  37. #37
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    Go ahead...make my day

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    So we just moved up to the Eastside (of Seattle) from the San Francisco Bay Area. Several people in a row in one week (including some very large, strong movers guys) tell my wife that they always have a gun in the car in case of wildlife encounters (i.e. bears, cougars, etc.) and that it isn't safe to go into the woods without a gun.
    I think there's been a misinterpretation of what was meant. The quote above is advise to have a gun in the car....but then...indicate they think it isn't safe to go into the woods without a gun. I think people have misinterpreted that as the gun stays in the car at the trailhead.

    Never leave valuables in your car at the trailhead. It causes "learned behavior", meaning that the person who steals YOUR gun, wallet camera, house keys from YOUR car at the trailhead, has now learned that he WILL LIKELY be rewarded if he breaks into MY car. I don't even leave my registration in my car, if anyone breaks into my car at the trailhead, the last thing I want them to know is my address.

    I shouldn't weigh in on the original topic, because people will heatedly argue both sides with more passion than logic. But...I say, go ahead, carry your gun, more power to you if that's your choice. I don't carry a gun, I carry a knife and a whistle, just so everybody will remember me as the one who went down fighting . Bear spray seems like a good thing. Seems to me that people who criticize others perception on how they protect themselves, whether it be from attack (weapons) or injury (helmet, body armor) or recovery (first aid kit, etc) or being lost (gps, cell phone, satellite beacon) are the ones being paranoid. Why should it be anybody's business what goes into others packs? Don't criticize them, but advise them on effectiveness.


  38. #38
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    "Guns are for show, knives for a pro"

    Yeah I'd much rather have a knife on me than a .40cal in my bag that I have to take time to pull out and than aim. At least with the knife, it's just tooth and nail combat (to an extent) and your will to live against said hungry bears/cougars/rhinos/zombies/people we don't like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    The good news in most of the state is that there's active hunting pressure on these cats, so if they get overt they're likely to get creased some time in the fall if nothing else. I honestly believe over time this affects their behavior. We've also had some WSFW studies in this area where cats were treed with hounds, tranqed and dropped out of a tree, and collared/inventoried. This is a Really Bad Day for Big Kitty, and IMO reinforces their avoidance of humans. They can live, eat, and reproduce even on the edges of populated areas without folks knowing as long as they're sufficiently motivated to stay undercover.


    Actually this is untrue. About 15 years ago Washington banned hound hunting which is the only effective method of hunting cougar. Attacks on domestic animals and humans have gone up so much that the state is now using your tax dollars to pay for professional hound hunters to track down problem cats instead of recreational hunters paying to hunt them. They have become more brazen and less weary of humans. Either way your odds of getting attacked are reasonably low. As I think I outlined previously defending yourself from an animal attack is only one of the many uses for a firearm.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1de View Post
    Ahhsome thread.

    1. What the people told you about needing a gun for the woods is incorrect; ignore it.
    2. If you're concerned about people/animals in the woods, carry bear spray instead. By weight and aim, it will be a lot more effective than any pistol. I bring my bear spray when I'm going into remote areas solo. And also a decent knife (but more for cutting off clothing or digits, if necessary - or maybe skinning a meal or meeting Mike Vandeman types)


    Cheers!]
    I agree, bear spray is a great tool in the woods. Are you going to kill your meal with bear spray?

  41. #41
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    Oh yeah that's what I'm looking for when I ride in the woods, my meal!!
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    You're more likely to get killed in your car on the way to the trail than by large furry things with teeth and claws. If you want to carry a gun just make sure you have the training to use it properly. AND DON'T LEAVE IT IN YOUR CAR WHERE IT CAN GET STOLEN!
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    The good news in most of the state is that there's active hunting pressure on these cats, so if they get overt they're likely to get creased some time in the fall if nothing else. I honestly believe over time this affects their behavior. We've also had some WSFW studies in this area where cats were treed with hounds, tranqed and dropped out of a tree, and collared/inventoried. This is a Really Bad Day for Big Kitty, and IMO reinforces their avoidance of humans. They can live, eat, and reproduce even on the edges of populated areas without folks knowing as long as they're sufficiently motivated to stay undercover.

    Most of the horrible injury/fatality attacks seem to be coming out of California, where hunting or harassing cougar is illegal. I have long speculated that this causes MORE problems for cats over the long haul as they can be completely brazen with humans without consequence.

    We've had a cat in our 'hood off an on over the last few years, but we're so overrun with mule deer that they aren't even bothering with people, livestock, or pets. The whole arrangement works fine, and I don't see a reason to change it unless it actually poses a problem.
    I agree. I have scared up plenty of bears and have seen cougars but they are usually observing me and then darting off shortly afterwards. If a cougar is truly stalking you and attacks I don't think you would have time to draw a gun. That being said I carry a M&P40C in the high country in spring but mostly for moose as a cow moose is the most aggressive animal I have come up on but so far (luckily) I have been able to back away.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyRider View Post
    ...That being said I carry a M&P40C in the high country in spring but mostly for moose as a cow moose is the most aggressive animal I have come up on but so far (luckily) I have been able to back away.
    *shudders* I'll keep dealing with the cougars and black bears we have here, thanks! I would crap my pants tangling up with a moose, esp. a cow with calves... ironic that one of the most dangerous animals in north America is an herbivore. My sister lived in AK for years and had lots of 'interesting' stories, and mushers just dread dealing with them (they're crabby in winter to begin with, then they hang out/lie down on trails, and they have an extra hatred for dogs which means they'll sometimes try to mow through a whole team, cable ganglines and all).
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Bring a chainsaw, that way if you get into a disagreement with an animal as to creating clear delineation on where you both stand on the food chain, the subsequent battle will be that much more epic.
    .~...|\
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    I spent two straight months in the back country of Yellowstone and saw plenty of wild animals. I was charged by a buffalo, encountered wolf packs, and confronted several grizzlies. The buffalo were like cattle.



    It would take a well aimed shot to stop this beast. But pepper spray would stop it in its tracks.

    I know more than one person who has stopped a charging grizzly with pepper spray.

    Pepper spray is all that is needed for animals. People on the other hand...

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    MMM screw the pepper spray, bring me some pepper and potatoes, bison burgers are back on the menu boys!
    .~...|\
    ...~.|.\
    ..~..|..\
    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  48. #48
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    Don't forget the blue cheese on that! First thing I thought when I saw that, yummy!
    More fun than an open casket funeral

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    Just read an interesting article about the effectiveness of bear spray. While it works quite well for brown bears (96% of the time) it can be considerably less so used against black bears. Especially black bears that have become habituated to humans AND forage from garbage cans. So stop throwing out your leftover Mex and Thai food. Black bears have been observed licking and rolling on patches of ground that have been sprayed with pepper spray.

    I have heard that AXE repels most living things...

    I'll carry a sidearm if I'm going somewhere I know there's a lot of coyote activity, for my dog's protection. There have been several cases here of dogs being mobbed by 'yotes while on walks with their owners. As far as freaks and weirdos, though, most of the ones I've seen in the woods were on bikes and were too out of breath to be a threat.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    *shudders* I'll keep dealing with the cougars and black bears we have here, thanks! I would crap my pants tangling up with a moose, esp. a cow with calves... ironic that one of the most dangerous animals in north America is an herbivore. My sister lived in AK for years and had lots of 'interesting' stories, and mushers just dread dealing with them (they're crabby in winter to begin with, then they hang out/lie down on trails, and they have an extra hatred for dogs which means they'll sometimes try to mow through a whole team, cable ganglines and all).
    Moose tramples Spokane neighborhood | KREM.com Spokane


    There is a cow moose with a calf on the High Drive trails right now. But its so mild this year there is plenty of food for them. Only heard of one trail runner have to haul ass when it put her head down at him

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