Sidearm or Not?

bbkick25

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
14
I had an encounter with a mountain lion at less than 20 yards on a rifle hunt. I can’t say I would have been comfortable in that situation if I was bow hunting and did not have a gun. Even if it’s just for piece of mind.
 

Gapmaster

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
338
Location
Arkansas
Personal preference. I don’t carry in Black Bear country. I hunt with guys who did their first few hunts but they have since abandoned it for weight reasons. But I know guys who carry during rifle seasons which seems odd to me.

I’ve skinned a few elk that had already had bears on the carcass when we returned, was a little nerve racking. One particular instance was in the dark with the bear popping his jaws and woofing at us from 40-50 yards. But other than that no issues. I definitely wouldn’t carry it everyday, maybe just for pack out or returning to carcass situations.
 

PaBone

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
137
Location
Western Pa.
I like revolvers and carry a Colt King Cobra 3 inch 357 mag. Hardly know it's there and I just feel better knowing I have it especially when you're hunting alone.
 

Dave0317

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
242
Location
North MS
Bear spray is cheaper, lighter and more effective against bears than a sidearm (go look at the data). As for people problems, if you haven't got enough sense to get out of the way of a crazy man and prefer to shoot your way to safety, well, I wish you luck.
I’d say the data is not just inconclusive, it is outright flawed. Those studies have been pretty well proven to be irrelevant.

I’ll try to find the article to post, but basically the stats that people point to are based on two studies that were done using completely different parameters. The spray study included non-violent encounters like spraying a bear that is simply foraging for food near a campsite. The firearm study only included cases in which an aggressive bear actually charged a human.

The other thing to keep in mind, is your individual skill with a pistol. I’ve carried a handgun for more than 13 years (military and local LE) and have been to several combat shooting schools. If I go to grizzly county, I’ll bring a handgun. If my grandmother wanted to go pick berries in grizzly country, knowing her level of shooting skill, I’d recommend she bring bear spray.
 

Dave0317

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
242
Location
North MS

One article, of several out there now, that shows why the data just doesn’t support the “bear spray is better” statements.

The other problem with studying statistics is that the incident has to be reported for it to count. I’d bet many hunters that have a bear encounter fire a shot or two in the air or in the ground near the bear, bear runs off, hunter shrugs shoulders and goes back to hunting. Many incidents like that probably never make to the Fish and Game folks desk.
 

Sgtusmc14

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
166
Bear spray is cheaper, lighter and more effective against bears than a sidearm (go look at the data). As for people problems, if you haven't got enough sense to get out of the way of a crazy man and prefer to shoot your way to safety, well, I wish you luck.
You have obviously never had to use said bear spray or pepper spray for that matter. Cool thing about pepper spray is when that “crazy man” comes at you and you spray him, he cant see and is pissed, you can’t see and are pissed and it just gets worse from there…carry a gun. A Sig 365 or a Glock 43 don’t weigh anything.
 

highcountrymuley

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
170
i carry 9mm while muzzleloader hunting. more for peace of mind than anything, and it works! I had shot a deer and packed it 5 miles back to car, returned for camp - got stuck in thunderstorm. sleeping that night with deer head and cape in tree closeby, smelling like fresh meat, i hear weird noises outside tent. MZ was wrapped in contractor bag outside tent, unloaded. i banged my tiny titanium pot and lid together for all it was worth for about an hour before i was calmed enough to try to sleep. Mtn lion scat in trail about 10 yards from tent next morning. A couple weird encounters with people and was glad to have open carry / very visible 9mm in holster in front, right side of hip belt. i can't shoot very well with it, but it is there to ease my worries!!
 

Datchew

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
23
I always carried a 9mm for 2-legged critters and rabbits, etc. Never worried about black bears in Texas, Maine, Carolinas, etc., But this past Sept elk bow hunting in Eastern Oregon I was having a late night visit to water a tree and had a close encounter with a mountain lion in my shorts while armed with a headlamp and a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth.

The pistol was in my tent. 9mm. 😳

I'm sure the cat sensed my deadly prowess with said toothbrush that turned the tide in my favor. He retreated without me having to teach him a lesson. I stood there like an idiot.

Next morning we found a 180-lb whitetail doe about 100 yds up trail stashed in a small creek with an entire ham missing. Both front legs and neck clearly broken. Fresh.

My 10mm Glock 40 is on my chest holster now at all times.
 

hobbes

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
2,035
I have to ask, where are you guys hunting for elk that you find tweakers and heroin junkies on the trail or wandering in the woods. I've ran across some hunters, yuppie hikers, old folks in terrible shape, horse packers, parents with kids, ATVs, pets, etc. Some of them would even qualify as dumbasses or even assholes, but I've yet to see a junkie wandering around in elk country.
 

WeiserBucks

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
1,618
Location
Weiser, ID
I have to ask, where are you guys hunting for elk that you find tweakers and heroin junkies on the trail or wandering in the woods. I've ran across some hunters, yuppie hikers, old folks in terrible shape, horse packers, parents with kids, ATVs, pets, etc. Some of them would even qualify as dumbasses or even assholes, but I've yet to see a junkie wandering around in elk country.
There's roads in elk country and we typically leave our vehicles parked on em. Tweekers/junkies love to pillage unattended vehicles, on back roads, at 3 AM. Perfect timing for when you're showing up with your last load of meat and completely exhausted.
 

hobbes

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
2,035
There's roads in elk country and we typically leave our vehicles parked on em. Tweekers/junkies love to pillage unattended vehicles, on back roads, at 3 AM. Perfect timing for when you're showing up with your last load of meat and completely exhausted.
Have you ever had that happen?
 

Maverick1

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 1, 2013
Messages
837
You have obviously never had to use said bear spray or pepper spray for that matter. Cool thing about pepper spray is when that “crazy man” comes at you and you spray him, he cant see and is pissed, you can’t see and are pissed and it just gets worse from there…carry a gun. A Sig 365 or a Glock 43 don’t weigh anything.
Have you ever had to draw some sort of protection (gun, spray, other) while out hunting? If so, have you ever used it?
 

wtrbrdm

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
70
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
I think the "have you ever had that happen" or "have you ever had to draw" questions are irrelevant (if used in an argumentative sense).

I've never been in a car accident where my seat belt came into play....nor have I had a flat tire while underway. Having said that, I still buckle up when I leave the house and carry a spare and a jack....

If those questions are to solely hear instances of......then carry on.
 

Rock-o

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 15, 2019
Messages
554
I carry bear spray - though I'm not sure why - and a pistol. Having never used spray before but I've used my pistol a hell of a lot I'm going for the pistol. I'm likely going to start leaving the spray at home.
 

Chuckybmd

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
131
Location
Southern Idaho
Yes, S&W 329 PD. Only time I have drawn was when charged by a cow moose while scouting. Fortunately she changed her course and rounded up her calf.

329 pd is so light It’s no burden to carry.
 

Where's Bruce?

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
6,053
I'm strapped daily and while I haven't brandished during an elk hunt, I did encounter over 30 illegals in a culvert while doing ADC work on a cattle ranch in AZ. They looked like the cast from MJ's Thriller music video. Drew when they began to encircle me. Got outta there quick, property owner had BP on speed dial.
 
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