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A friend of mine is going elk hunting and was advised to bring a back up weapon for safety from bear and mountain lion. What ha

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  • A friend of mine is going elk hunting and was advised to bring a back up weapon for safety from bear and mountain lion. What ha

    A friend of mine is going elk hunting and was advised to bring a back up weapon for safety from bear and mountain lion. What handgun would you guys/gals suggest?

  • #2
    Something persuasive...with larger bears, something like a Ruger Blackhawk in .41 Magnum or a Redhawk in .44 Magnum. For mountain lion, a .357 Magnum would make sense to me.

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    • #3
      A .44 would be ok if you run Buffalo Bore or HSM bear loads in it. A 454 would be my choice.

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      • #4
        Bad advice. It's just extra weight. Your friend has a much better chance of getting struck by lighting or tree falling on him than needing a "backup gun" for bears or mountain lion. Is he going to wear a lightning rod on his head? I hunted elk hard for more than twenty years and even had my own pack string. Could always tell the greenhorns. They had a useless hog leg strapped to their thigh. I kept a .357 Highway Patrolman in the saddlebag. If I had a problem on the trail it was easier to get it out of the bag than pull rifle out of scabbard. Also, I never wanted to take a rifle on fishing trips. For fishing a handgun is definitely the way to go (not a "backup" weapon though). But big game hunting, no! Your friend will just advertise his dude-iness.

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        • #5
          OH, you should tell that to the guys that got charged last year elk hunting by my house.

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          • #6
            I take a Glock 20 10mm. It holds 15 plus 1 rounds and hits like a sledgehammer.

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            • #7
              As Ontario says, save the weight. Get in the habit of keeping your rifle handy at all times.

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              • #8
                I won't pretend to know it all about this topic, but I can tell you that ANY deer or elk rifle is a better self defense tool than any handgun caliber. What? You are going to lay down your rifle to draw a pistol? I seldom carry both although I do take a .357 or .41 magnum revolver along when checking cameras, placing or retrieving stands, etc. when carrying a rifle is not practical or allowed (regs). Also, I don't carry a big rifle to kill deer or even elk, it's those other critters that I match my rifle to. Accordingly, anytime I hunt whee there are bears of any flavor or big cats, a .30-06 is bare minimum for me.

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                • #9
                  I think the question pertains to bow hunting.

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                  • #10
                    Hmmm, the original post did not state bowhunting but if I were bow hunting in big cat or bear country, I would consider one of the above firearms as a backup.

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                    • #11
                      I would not care what other hunters thought of me. An extra gun is a plus if dangerous game is around, and my choice would be a .44 Magnum revolver.
                      But I would not lay down a rifle to use a handgun. There are plenty of times that a rifle is out of reach.

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                      • #12
                        I agree with 99. +1

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                        • #13
                          If rifle hunting I don't usually carry a hand gun but when bow hunting I often carry a 10mm 1911, .475 Linebaugh, or .44 mag (when legal) It all depends on where i will be hunting and what big predators are in the area. In AZ I take the 1911 because it is lighter than the other 2 , hold more rounds, the bears tend to be smaller, and lions are pretty thin skinned. When in Upstate NY I carry the .44 because bears are bigger and I will not be hiking very far or over super rough country(I also leave the .44 with my uncle in NY so I don't have to deal with TSA). Then the .475 is for Brown/Grizzly country.

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                          • #14
                            I cannot imagine hunting elk with some big pistol strapped to my side. For you guys who sit in a tree stand or ground blind, you really have no concept what it's like to go after elk. I mean really go after them. You're on your feet all day, day after day, going up and down mountains, through brushy gullies, across streams, wading snow drifts, etc., etc. Besides being a lot of extra weight that you'll be cursing before the day is half done, a sidearm will pull your pants down and gets caught on brush, etc. Just a damned nuisance. I always had a pistol with me when I was elk hunting - K22 revolver stuffed in the daypack and loaded with .22 longs for blue grouse. Not a showpiece and entirely functional. It more often than not brought home five times its weight in meat (often times to my regret by the end of the day!)

                            And for those who are going elk hunting with a bow, the bears and big cats will be the least of your worries. Elk are pretty savvy about tree stands and I don't know of anyone who's had much success hunting them that way. Most try bugling bulls and do it from the ground. But be ready to shoot or die! Unlike a bull moose, bull elk completely lose all sense of reality when they get worked up. When they are on the prod they are literally blinded by passion. You will not have time to reach for a sidearm if a bull is coming full tilt. Bow hunting for bull elk is perhaps every bit as dangerous as for bears. It's not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced.

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                            • #15
                              There are numerous studies that show that bear spray is a much better deterrent than a hand gun. You can attach the spray to your waist backpack for easy access. There was a big article in a recent Bugle (RMEF) about this and the bear spray was close to 100% effective while handgun protection was pretty low. Hard to hit a charging grizzly with a shot good enough to stop it. The spray covers a much bigger area. I'd recommend reading the article if you can find it, had some good scientific evidence.

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