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On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank the dumbness of carrying a backup handgun for bear defense while hunting with a rifle,

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  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank the dumbness of carrying a backup handgun for bear defense while hunting with a rifle,

    On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank the dumbness of carrying a backup handgun for bear defense while hunting with a rifle, 10 being the most dumb? I'd give it an 8.

  • #2
    #1. Depends on the situation.

    I often carry one when I am in deep woods hunting with flintlock or muzzle loader (which I really enjoy) or archery. I have already had transplanted black bear follow me looking for handouts. 1 shot from a flintlock would not even slow that bear down, more likely just tick it off and make it worse.

    I usually hunt alone and with bad knees, a nasty fall could make me a coyote buffet until help arrives. Even with a deer rifle a small 10 round .22 auto can be put in your pocket weighs almost nothing and could make a huge difference when you have to crawl back to the truck at miles away (and yes that does happen).

    When search and rescue is looking for you, a who bunch of bangs may get their attention. Since I have never had to hunt BIG BEAR country, I will leave that answer up to those who have. My answer, at times and depending on your age it is prudent to do so and may save your life.

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    • #3
      I have carried a Colt Trooper III .357 for years when ever in the woods for any reason. Hiking, backpacking, camping, even kayaking. Better to have one and not need it than need it and not have one.

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      • #4
        jhjimbo's parting comment is right on, and I'd feel that way even if I hadn't watched a rerun of Deliverance the other night.

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        • #5
          I've carried a Ruger S/A 41Mag for Years while Deer,Hog hunting and now getting older(74)I carry a Taurus Mod 66/4" 7/shot 357 with candy cane loads.and my Ruger 44Mag Carbine,(When you get older you go lighter)LMAO....#1

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          • #6
            I too tend to carry a .357 (Taurus 605) back-up and I'm unlikely to run into anything more threatening than a curious black bear.
            Lot of good reasons.
            1) Two legged predators know I need to case my rifle and put it in the truck and that most hunters have a lot of pricey gear on them (not so much me).
            2) An awful lot of mauling stories seem to start with " I just leaned my rifle against X to begin gutting Y.."

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            • #7
              Treestand... what's a candy cane load?

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              • #8
                About as dumb as buckling in my kids. I mean, I've never even had an accident.

                jcarlin: I'm guessing a candy cane load is also known as a "powder puff" load. We call them mouse fart loads here .

                Although I suppose it could be a load that recoils so muck it leaves a red stripe on your forehead every time you pull the trigger.

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                • #9
                  A famous old Alaskan brown bear/polar bear guide was asked this question. His response was something along the line, better to shoot yourself than the bear

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                  • #10
                    As an alternative to pepper spray, a handgun does not compare well for defense against a bear attack. But a handgun is always a useful component of any kit for emergency preparedness in the woods.
                    I could have used one when I was lost in the woods many years ago and wished I had more ammo to give the universal distress signal of three shots.

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                    • #11
                      Universal distress signal? I thought it was just the poor shooters out there missing their targets. Good luck with that in the mountains. Set the woods on fire. Forest Service will come find you (tongue in cheek :Q)!

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                      • #12
                        Seriously, I carry a large caliber revolver when out in the woods in toothy critter territory when not accompanied by a rifle or shotgun and a high capacity handgun elsewhere. Pepper spray is probably better bear defense in most cases, but bears aren't the only varmints around.

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                        • #13
                          jcarlin: Its a variety of 357 Mag stile ammo, 3Rounds of 158GrS-JHP by Buffalo Bore,2 Rounds of 140GrFTX by Hornady,2 Rounds of CCI Snake loads.
                          Back in the Day in NYC U carried 6 shot 4" 38Spl loaded with 158Gr Round nose lead ammo, Dep.issue. The Stick-up Unit came up with the Candy Cane Loads a Mix of 38Spl Ammo,Wad cutters/HP, to better put down a Armed Perp.

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                          • #14
                            I think candy cane loads originated with law enforcement pump-action shotguns loaded alternately with buckshot and rifled slugs.
                            "If one don't git you, the other will." - Tennessee Ernie Ford.

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                            • #15
                              In September of 1979 a Colorado bow hunter killed an attacking grizzly bear with a pocket knife. This attack took place in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern part of the state.

                              If I were a guide or outfitter hunting in grizzly country in western Canada or brown bear in Alaska I would rather have a back up hand gun on my side then a pocket knife.

                              Bears can move quick in the woods and they could blindside you in seconds.

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