View Full Version : Bear Mauls 2 Backpackers

07-16-2003, 08:30
The article is from the Denver Post:


Blue Jay
07-16-2003, 13:56
Yes, don't go outside, hide under your bed. Bears are going to kill us all, aaaaaaaah.

07-16-2003, 14:53
geeez that's spooky. sounds like they did everything right. I'll definitely sleep w/ my bear spray at night. probably wouldn't help in that situation anyway, but it will help me sleep better.

I'm certainly not taking a handgun on my planned 2004 AT hike, but if I ever hike the more remote CDT I think I would definitely consider taking a hand-gun as a last resort defense against bears.

07-16-2003, 15:04
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted]

07-16-2003, 15:40
Bear pepper spray just makes you a spicy meal for the bear :) Spooky article, but it also mentions that this was the first attack on a human in that area by a bear since 1971..think the odds are that if you do most of the right things (the article didn't mention if the hikers hung the clothing they cooked in with their bear bags)..., you will be safe in the backcountry. As far as the AT, we didn't even GET to see a bear the entire trail, and I would have welcomed the opportunity (from a distance, of course!) :)

07-16-2003, 15:54
meBrad - thanks for that link. I don't really know anything about guns so i don't understand all the technical details of what they were talking about - but i will definitely save the link and LEARN those details before the CDT. But, i will stick with bear-spray on the AT. Also, Jumpstart - that's a good idea about having specific "cooking clothes" you hang w/ the food. Never thought i would need to go to that extreme but after reading that bear-attack article it seems like a prudent precaution.

07-16-2003, 15:59
Bear spray is definitely NOT needed on the AT. Of course, everyone is free to carry whatever they like. That doesn't change the need any however.

07-16-2003, 16:03
Bear spray may not be needed for bears on the AT - a loose aggressive dog on the other hand ...

07-16-2003, 17:07
Hiking poles and a loud yell works just fine on dogs. It did in my case anyway. I can yell with the best of 'em however.

07-16-2003, 17:12
I found bears on the trail didn't scare me one little bit. I fact I thought the looked cudley!

However the cougar I saw in on the Skyline Drive scared me down to the bone! I don't think I have ever been that scared!


07-16-2003, 19:52
Cougars are coming down along the powerline rights of way from Canada. Not a lot of them, but they are definitely back in the East and Northeast.

A lot of folks hike perfectly safely along the CDT without anti-predator weapons. That happy statistic won't help you much if you are the unlucky bloke who runs into a grizzly, black bear, cougar or rabid wolf with an attitude though.

9 times out of 10 merely shooting AT the critter will make it take flight, but that's no guarantee. I've seen deer give a hunter three shots with a muzzleloader no less, to kill it. IT looked around for the source of that loud bang until the hunter got the range right and put the next round right through the kill zone.

Getting shot at from short range is another matter altogether though. The muzzle blast alone is a physical force (an overpressure wave) that can rupture your eardrums and cause substantial pain and permanent hearing damage. It's fairly intimidating even if you know it's coming.

If you are going to carry a gun on your backcountry adventure, I highly recommend a stainless steel revolver. Smith and Wesson and RUger make good ones. .357 magnum or .44 magnum calibers are best bets. You can practice with downloaded calibers in both, using the .38 special cartridge for the .357 and the .44 special for the .44 magnum. That way you can practice and develop confidence with your handgun without subjecting yourself to the recoil of full-powered magnum loads.

Practice a lot with any gun you plan on carrying. Know where you will be carrying it and practice rapidly presenting it from that concealment position. If you can't present your gun from concealment and put a reasonably accurate round on target in under 2 or 3 seconds, you need to rethink your concealment position or put in some more practice. A charging bear isn't going to give you ANY more time than that.

It'll take literally hundreds or even thousands of rounds to achieve true mastery of a handgun. I strongly suggest getting professional training. There are a variety of defensive shooting schools that will train you under pressure to achieve superior marksmanship skills under pressure, including techniques for presenting your weapon from concealment quickly and efficiently.

Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, SIGArms Academy, American Small Arms Academy and Lethal Force Institute all leap to mind. Gunsite and Thunder Ranch are in the southwest, SigArms is in Exeter New Hampshire, Lethal Force Institute is also in Southeastern NH, but offers programs at remote sites across the country. American Small Arms Academy is also run at remote sites.

Animal or human, defensive shooting is defensive shooting. You've got very limited time to make the decision to shoot, draw your weapon, aim and shoot, so learning to cope with that pressure is critical.

Defensive shooting courses will typically consume between 3 and 5 working days straight and will cost between $500.00 and $1,000 dollars including ammunition (which will usually be betwqeen 250 and 500 rounds).

Probably more information than you wanted, but carrying a concealed weapon, for any purpose is a heavy responsibility requiring commitment and training. Just buying a gun and ammunition will not immunize you against attack. You need to incorporate safe and responsible weapon handling skills into your muscle memory so you almost have to make a conscious decision to create an unsafe condition.

be safe.

Blue Jay
07-17-2003, 07:35
Iceman, your entry scared me light years more than the one about bears that started this thread. I still believe that getting killed in a car, on the way to the trail, is far more dangerous than bears and guns combined, while actually hiking it.

07-17-2003, 13:12
For my upcoming 2004 AT hike i'm also planning to do the IAT as well (Maine to the coast of Quebec Canada). Does this trail face any more danger from bears than the AT?

07-17-2003, 14:25
Bears are in general, not a danger east of the Mississippi River. If you want to be really concerned about an issue that might affect your health, you'd be better off concerning yourself with not getting hit by lightening. That is a much bigger risk than a bear attack. In other words, watch yourself on the SOuthern balds, and above treeline up north if the weather is sketchy.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

07-17-2003, 17:06
you're probably right mowgli16 - there are other health concerns more pressing than a bear attack, but not as scary. Lightning, giardia - those are all more likely but just not as nightmarishly frightening as the thought of another mammal really doing its best to get me in its belly. Although perhaps irrational, I still think it's quite human to fear and prepare for a bear attack.

07-17-2003, 17:09
Just worry about the Lymes baby! Bears, smears who cares.....now those ticks, they scare me.


07-17-2003, 17:18
yeah - i can't find the Lymerix (sp?) vaccination anywhere now. I guess there weren't enough buyers so it went off the market. And since i'm hiking alone i'm not looking forward to awkwardly asking a stranger "hey bud, can you check my ass for ticks?".

07-17-2003, 17:22
What I did is see my Doctor before I set out on the trail. Due to the stupid cost of things medical in the states I got him to prescribe me 1. Anti-imflams of incredibly stupid strengthand 2. Anti-biotics to deal with Giardea! Thus when things went wrong (they didn't thank gosh) I was ready to rock!

Therefore antibotics deal to lymes so it might be an idea to get some from your doc before hand!


07-18-2003, 00:13
Originally posted by Blue Jay
Iceman, your entry scared me light years more than the one about bears that started this thread. I still believe that getting killed in a car, on the way to the trail, is far more dangerous than bears and guns combined, while actually hiking it.

Getting killed in a car wreck or by medical malpractice or error is MANY times more likely than being attacked by a bear or shot accidentally or intentionally. The vast majority of shootings in our society take place between criminals...criminal on criminal attacks. So as long as you aren't a criminal and do not engage in criminal activities like purchasing illicit drugs, getting shot is not much of a risk factor for you.

As far as my post scaring you is concerned, I can only see a few reasons why it should, 1 is rational, the rest are not.

Here's the one rational reason:

Any discussion of self-defense that is not sobering and scary is unrealistic. I've been in some situations that could have gone real bad and I know people who have been in situations that did go real bad. Sometimes it's because you make a stupid decision that puts you someplace you shouldn't be, other times it's just dumb luck. Either way, once you are there, you don't have time to figure out what you are going to do.

If you spent your life thinking that these things don't happen to people like you, or that you are too smart and too evolved to get into such a situation, you've got a real steep learning curve to climb and only about 2 seconds to climb it. The fact of the matter is that 99% of the people who find themselves in self-defense situations having never thought about it before, end up seriously injured or talking to Saint Peter all of a sudden. Predators don't care whether you empathize with them, they don't care if you present them no threat...well, actually they do, that's why they picked you. All they really care about is that you may have something they want, and hurting or killing you to get it is OK by them.

Contrary to what animal activist will tell you, wild animals will attack humans if the right (or wrong) conditions present themselves. There is a reason why they put chain link over the openings of the shelters at GSMNP and spend a lot of energy trying to get hikers to change their behaviors to put food sources out of reach for bears so that bears stop thinking of people as a food source. There is a reason why rangers and game wardens destroy bears that go after hiker's packs or wander through towns. Grizzly bears do kill people from time to time, and will eat them if allowed the leisure. It's rare, but it happens. It can happen. Cougars attack and sometimes kill people who wander into their territory at the wrong time. It happens, and they don't care if you think that habitat destruction is evil or not...if they perceive you as either A. an imminent threat to them or their young, or B. food, you are in deep doo-doo.

So what do you do? Well, most people do OK doing nothing, because, like I said, the incidence of animal attacks on hikers are REAL minimal. I've had two near strikes from lightning on my thru-hike (one close enough to knock me off my feet). The worst animal problem I had on the AT was an unleashed pit-bull on the road into Suches, GA and a few rattlesnakes along the trail in PA. I never saw a bear. But I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do if that threatening pit bull decided to attack, and the pit bull and it's owner weren't going to like the outcome.

Bottom line, it'll probably never happen to you, 99.99% certain, but it doesn't hurt to put some real thought and training into figuring out what to do if you do happen to lose the hungry bear lotto.

Lone Wolf
07-18-2003, 00:26
Blue Jay is a wuss. That's all.:D

steve hiker
07-18-2003, 03:00
Icemanat95, out of curiosity: What would you have done if that pit bull outside of Suches had come at you? Did you have a weapon other than your hiking poles?

A pit bull is the worst preditor I could imagine.

07-18-2003, 10:15
The vaccine for Lymes went off the market because the company claimed there weren't enough people using it. HOWEVER, there is a reason. Apparently a large portion of the population is predisposed to get permintent damage from the vaccine. Not sure what that means, but there was a lot of law suits against the company, most of which settled I believe.

Anyway, I believe it is a good thing that it no longer exists.

As for getting a pre-written perscription for lymes, that's a little sketchy. It likes a long course to get rid of it (6 weeks, or possibly more) so I wouldn't try to convince your doc to give you that much antibiotics.


07-18-2003, 22:28
In the past ten years I can only remember a handful of days when I wasn't carrying a pocket knife, two of those days were when I had to go into a courthouse first for a divorce and second for jury duty. I had a pocket knife out and ready to go within about 5 seconds of when the dog began moving in. I probably would have been hurt, but the dog would have been dead. I carry a pocket knife as a utility tool, and I use it daily whether just to cut tape or whittle wood, or what have you, but I also choose pocket knives for their defensive utility, which means a locking blade that can be opened with one hand, and has a blade length of at least 2.5 inches. Stout construction is also important as is a shaving sharp edge.

But virtually ANYTHING can become a weapon in an emergency. There are two major classifications of improvisiational weapons, damaging weapons and weapons of distraction. Handfuls of dirt, piles of leaves, lightweight branches, a splash of water from your water bottle or fuel from your fuel bottle, are all weapons of distraction. Add a flick of your bic to the fuel and you've got a damaging weapon. Throw an ignited stove at an attacker, a bottle of boiling water, grab your full nalgene bottle by the carry loop and swing it as hard as you can...al those weapons will cause damage. So will a rock picked up off the trailbed and held in your hand when you punch, or thrown forcefully. There are sticks and larger fallen branches, THe pen you use to write in shelter registers, your camera on it's strap. Your pack. Your tent poles, tent stakes are good for stabbing. Obviously your fingers, fists, knees and feet are effective tools when used properly. Head butts, while cinematically "tough" looking can leave the butter just as dazed as the buttee, or even worse, but if it's all you've got and the alternative is defeat, give it a shot. The top of your forehead is the toughest part of your skull for the purposes of this technique. The weakest part of the opponent's skull is the indentation behind the eye and in front of the ear. Chances are they won't give you that target. The nose is a great target. Ultimately your own ability to fight agressively as if your life depends upon it (because it does) is critical. In all reality, it may not be enough, but your chances are better the harder you hit and the faster you start inflicting real damage.

If you want to explore effective self-defense in greater detail, research Krav Maga. It is an Israeli fighting method (not a martial art) that emphasizes aggressive counterattacks oriented around fairly easy to learn techniques. It was developed to be taught and learned quickly and effectively by military troops rather than seasoned professional martial artists. Central to it's character is an aggressive, no-nonsense do or die mindset which is applicable to all defensive situations.

Ultimately the mindset that your life and welfare is more valuable than that of anyone or anything that would attempt to victimize you, is the foundation of all effective self-defense. Empathy has no place in practical self-defense. Once the attack is stopped or escaped, then you can entertain those thoughts, but you've got to survive to do so.

07-19-2003, 00:17
Thought i was on sherdog.com for a second! :-) I love to fight and love to train to fight. My recommendation - skip the Krav Maga. Stick to the proven 3 techniques for becoming a dangerous fighter: wrestling, brazilian jiu-jitsu, and muay thai. If it's weapons fighting you're interested in, go the Dog Brother's route.

I do have to say though, i feel pretty embarrassed about posting this on an AT forum. I don't know why we're talking about head-butting and martial arts. Although i dig that stuff, I don't know how i'm gonna head butt a pit bull or a bear.

You seem eager to fight iceman, like you're not just preparing for it but anticipating it. Don't get me wrong - i don't necessarily see anything wrong with that. Like i said, i like to fight and train to fight. But I know that stuff is completely inappropriate on the AT so I know to leave it behind and at home when i'm on the trail.

07-21-2003, 00:04
Nope, I am far from eager to fight. I have seen enough physical conflict to know that when adults square off in earnest, someone is going to get hurt REAL bad. So I don't want to get into a fight and will avoid it. However, I have no intention of allowing myself to be a victim of ANYTHING. If I'm going to go down, I'm going down fighting. Practically speaking, the best defense is a strong offense. If forced into a fight, you're best hope at surviving to walk away is to go aggressively on the offensive. So I tune my thinking, planning and training in that direction. I also don't waste time on progressive scaling up of force. If someone or something attacks you, you go all the way from the word go and attempt to end the attack as fast as possible. The longer it goes on the more likely you are to get tired or make a dangerous mistake, or just fall victim to a lucky shot. This philosophy lends an edge to my discussions on the subject. I perhaps seem FAR more aggressive than I am.

07-21-2003, 00:16
One more thing and then I'll refrain from pursuing this further. I also find it uncomfortable to discuss these issues on a forum like this, but I will answer questions when asked to the best of my ability, even if the subject matter is grim or distasteful to people. Sometimes, despite our best efforts and wishes, life is nasty and brutal, and you've got to look that head on and deal with it, not try to wish it away.

Of the time being, if anyone wants to discuss such matters further, I'm willing to discuss off line.

07-21-2003, 10:07
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-21-2003, 10:48
Brad, I don't have any data to refer to, but I do indeed think it is more likely that you'll be hit by lightening than attacked by an animal. Animal attacks are indeed rare on the trail. Yeah, I had an unaccompanied dog come after me, but I ran it off with an aggressive display of my own.

In my opinion, you'd be far more likely to be attacked by a person in New York City than on the trail, and the chances of you being attacked in NYC are VERY VERY slim. Of course, there are neighborhoods that you should avoid in NYC. Similarly, there are situations to avoid on the trail. That takes steet smarts and instinct however, and not everybody has that.

For the newcomer. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to carry a firearm on the AT - PERIOD. Has there been violent crime on the AT? Yes, but do the numbers. 3-4 million visitors a years, and 10 (or so) murders in the last 40 years. I'd be willing to bet that far more than 10 folks have been killed by lightening along the AT in the last 40 years.

Anybody got any time on their hands to research this? I sure don't.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

07-21-2003, 11:10
Little Bear is right about firearms on the AT, given current conditions, political, social, and the threat level, carrying a gun on the AT is not quite a complete waste of energy, weight and mental stress. It is also completely impractical for anyone but a serving law enforcement official to legally carry a firearm throughout a thru-hike. This is not to say that people don't do it. I am confident that some thru-hikers do carry handguns during their thru-hikes and do so without every letting anyone know it was there, but in so doing, they broke a whole pile of laws along the way. Getting caught breaking many eastern states firearms laws would be a rotten way to end a thru-hike.

That said, I am strongly pro-firearms rights, but there are a multitude of federal, state and municipal laws and regulations restricting citizen's rights to defend themselves and their neighbors. We have to live with that and it dictates the range of options we have to choose from when considering defensive tools for a thru-hike. Fortunately the threat level on the AT is low enough that this handicap isn't that big.

Brad is right also, that it doesn't take too much time or effort to assess the threats in your surroundings and perform some basic preparations to mitigate them. Ignoring them is naive. Just as you don't intentionally climb up onto an unprotected 20 mile ridgewalk in a thunderstorm, you don't walk into a shelter where a bunch of drunken yahoos are partying and hope not to be the focus of trouble. In both cases you will probably be OK, but doing either ups your risk by many, many many times. A simple change in decision keeps the risk down, but you need to be aware of the threat potential to avoid it.

07-21-2003, 12:54
sad to see hikers (or anyone for that matter) mauled or attacked by bears in the wilderness...I saw the camper that was attacked on CBS This Morning show...he seemed to tell the tale that the campers were innocent of all blame.

later, i found out, in more detailed info....the campers, had food in their tent, the bear, like an earlier post mentioned, had lost his "fear" of humans...was just doing what bears do....searching for food....later found in a nearby dumpster.

a shame, another "nuisance" bear has to be put down because we humans cant seem to keep from "feeding the bears."


07-21-2003, 12:55
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-21-2003, 13:45
I can't believe that there's actually anyone left who would actually keep food in his/her tent. Once, while camping in Yosemite for a month to hike/rock-climb i woke up to a terribly loud racket outside my tent. I got out to see a black-bear 30 yards away from camp munching down on a huge pile of food.

Apparently, one of my neighbors decided that he didn't need to put his food inside the bear proof steel boxes like everybody else. He kept all his food in a big wooden box he brought along. And that bear just swatted that wooden box 30 yards up a hill and then just sat down and started munching.

The guy who's food was getting munched wanted to call the ranger station so that they would chase the bear off and he could salvage his remaining food. We explained to him that was a death sentence for the bear - they would probably kill it, and should the bear die because you're an idiot and didn't follow the food storage rules like everybody else?

Every night, black bears would come into camp and roam around looking for food. We'd see their tracks every morning and spot them when waking up for a midnight bathroom break. But in the month I was there, the only bad incident was caused by a human not following common sense rules.

So, I do agree, most all human/bear problems are caused by lazy, filthy, dumb-ass humans who aren't responsible enough to follow the rules. That being said, one day when I do tackle the CDT I am definitely going to learn all I can about fire-arms and carry what I need to in order to defend myself. Don't care if i'm more likely to die on my car-ride to the trail head - you can quote statistics to me all you want but the last thing in the world I want is the nightmarish situation of being out in the middle of the wilderness with an angry/hungry bear coming at me, and with no way to defend myself even though I followed all the rules in the bear/human relationship.

07-21-2003, 14:11
Everything that I have read about the Rocky Mountain incident indicated the campers did in fact hang all their food.

Not sure where this additional information is coming from.


07-21-2003, 21:53
AT hikers are typically HORRIBLE about bear-bagging. Most of us hung our food in the shelters.

Taking numbers of Lightning strike deaths from the US in general is misleading, so is taking the homicides per 100,000 statistics. Because those figures are compiled mainly for populated areas. The sparseness of population on the AT slants the statistics well away from those averages/figures. Most lightning hits take place in populated areas, most murders take place in town/city and are criminal on criminal or domestic violence issues. The number of murders on the AT or on adjoining shelter trails and blue-blazes numbers something less than 10 in the past twenty or thirty years. The fact of the matter is that there is little motive for homicide up on the AT. Why kill a hiker? They aren't carrying anything of liquidatable value, they aren't around long enough to piss anyone off (usually). They are so mobile that actually tracking down an individual hiker is difficult. The trail itself is generally remote making it tough to get to a hiker to kill them, etc. All murders on or near the AT that I am aware of were random acts of violence perpetrated by homicidal psychopaths. One chose a pair of lesbian hikers just off the road in the Shenandoahs...crazy and homophobic. The other notable murder was another double at a shelter north of Pearisburg where the killer picked a couple and proceded to torment and kill them.

You don't find gang-bangers and three time losers looking for homicide marks on the trail, there's no money in it.

You need to be no more concerned about human attack on the trail than you do walking down the streets of your home town, probably a lot less. You don't want to ignore it, but you don't need to fixate on it and obsess over it either.

Lightning you should worry about. Stay the heck off the ridges in thunderstorms.

Blue Jay
07-22-2003, 07:36
Excellent post, Iceman.

07-22-2003, 09:13
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-22-2003, 11:43
Statistics have no value/meaning to the 1 in 100,00 that are struck by lightning or murdered. Best you can do is be prepared, be aware of your surroundings, and make decisions accordingly.

07-23-2003, 11:14
Statistics play a role in how one chooses to prepare. Statistically it is possible to be struck by a re-entering satellite or meteorite. Sucks to be you if it happens. You can even defend yourself against that by living in a bunker and never leaving it. It would take a pretty big chunk of space-junk to get you in there. But the countermeasure is entirely out of scale with the threat. Likewise wearing body armor and carrying an M4A1 carbine while hiking the AT because there is a possibility that a cougar, bear or psychotic human could attack you is a countermeasure completely out of scale with the actual threat. It sucks to be you if it happens and you aren't armed and ready for it, but are the costs and difficulties of being armed against that extremely slim possibility of a threat worth the extremely slim potential of a benefit?

Knowing the statistics and the real chance of such a thing happening is part of making the informed choice as to what you will do to defend against it. Generally, preventing all but the most random attacks is a simple matter of adjusting your habits and routines slightly...keeping your food, toiletries, etc. sequestered from your campsite, being aware of yours urroundings as you hike, teaming up with other hikers at road crossings and in town, etc. If your assessment of the threat is such that you feel you need to carry a firearm to counter it, I'm not going to fault you on that. But I will caution you to be aware of the MANY potential legal and practical issues.

07-23-2003, 13:30
If your assessment of the threat is such that you feel you need to carry a firearm to counter it, I'm not going to fault you on that.

Iceman, perhaps you wouldn't fault someone for making that decision, but I would. That sort of logic opens the door to any paranoid individual to carry a firearm. It's fear-filled, well intentioned, paranoid individuals like that that get folks like me injured or killed.

There is NO reason to carry a firearm on the AT. If you're too scared to venture into the woods without a firearm, please stay at home. You'll be doing the hiking community a tremendous service.

Lone Wolf
07-23-2003, 13:36
Nobody should carry cell phones, mace, pepper spray, whistles or knives either then. That shows fear and paranoia too.

07-23-2003, 13:37
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

squirrel bait
07-23-2003, 13:55
So what your saying is that shaking my hiking stick with bell attached will not bug everyone after a 100 miles nor scare off bears.

07-23-2003, 15:20
Originally posted by meBrad
BTW, you should read the second ammendment.

Brad, I'm quite familiar with the Second Amendment, and also quite familiar with the AT having walked all of it. There are laws prohibiting carrying firearms on the AT. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with those laws, or better yet, why don't you walk all of the AT. Perhaps then each of us can hold an informed conversation.

07-23-2003, 15:23
Originally posted by lone wolf1
Nobody should carry cell phones, mace, pepper spray, whistles or knives either then. That shows fear and paranoia too.

Agreed! I would make an exception for a swiss army knife.

Lone Wolf
07-23-2003, 15:29
Many, many more hikers carry illegal drugs than handguns. The illegality of either ain't the issue.

07-23-2003, 15:41
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-23-2003, 16:02
Brad, you better find a solar night light, and a light-weight teddy bear for your hikes along the AT. Then again, you can always bring your Momma or girlfriend along with you to hold your hand.

I can be sarcastic too ya know!

07-23-2003, 16:32
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-23-2003, 16:52
The AT is not a wilderness trail, and bears are not a threat to hurt you along the AT. You'll be lucky to see a black bear along the trail, and richer for doing so without a firearm or any other weapon.

I do get tired of these conversations where someone who has not hiked the trail seeks to lecture me on how naive I am.

Brad, walk the walk, and then talk the talk. Until then, the more you type, the sillier you sound.

07-23-2003, 17:31
Yes, this thread is starting to sound pretty silly to anyone that has hiked long sections of the AT.

This just isn't a real discussion on trail. At least not among the thruhikers I was with.

Gravity Man

Blue Jay
07-24-2003, 07:34
Braaad, you are by far the King of BS.

07-24-2003, 09:35
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

Lone Wolf
07-24-2003, 09:40
I'm with Brad. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Y'all can take your chances at being a helpless victim.

07-24-2003, 09:41
Originally posted by meBrad
Perhaps I might learn a few decent escape moves for breaking holds in a beginners martial arts course (in my case I have done this and more just to feel safe walking around my rural new hampshire town).

Yeah, those rural NH towns sure can be rough & tumble.

If y'all don't feel safe walkin' around on the streets of a rural NH town, then you definitely do not belong in the woods with all them thar dangerous critters.

07-24-2003, 10:09
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-24-2003, 10:13
I'm just toying with you Brad. I'm sure you're a nice guy.

Blue Jay
07-24-2003, 10:15
It must be the Apocalypse. Lone Wolf actually typed the words "I'm with Brad".

07-24-2003, 10:49
(AP) Bear Mountain, NY - July 23

In an event that has astounded scientists and hikers alike, butterflies have attacked a number of long-distance hikers along the fabled Appalachian Trail in Harriman State Park. Thus far, no explaination has been provided for this unusual phenomenon.
No serious injuries have been reported thus far, but several hikers have been treated for painful welts, and several others are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Apparently it all started a few days ago when word spread throughout the Animal Kingdom that many hikers harbored unfounded phobias about being attacked by bears while hiking on the East Coast. Although inter-species communication has rarely been chronicled by wildlife behaviorists, apparently the docile Black Bears that inhabit the forests along the NY/NJ border somehow have communicated with butteflies.

Our correspondent reporting from Arden Valley Road near Lake Tiorati, NY caught up with several long distance hikers who encountered viscious swarms of butterflies in the past few days. Here are some of there first hand accounts;

Lone Wolf, a grizzled veteran of both the Marine Corps and hiking along the AT told our correspondent, "I'm just Hiker Trash. Got a beer?" When pressed Lone Wolf informed our correspondent, "See that pack over there? Inside is a 12 Gague Shotgun. I took out about about 30 of the bastards yesterday with one pull of the trigger!"

Youngblood, a veteran AT thru-hiker from 2000 looked calm, cool and collected as he recounted his encounter with a swarm of angry Monarch and Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies. "I was approaching the Lemonsqueezer, when all the the sudden, the sky grew dark. I knew what it was right off, so I took out my handy-dandy umbrella, and fending the buggers off." Youngblood seemed to think that the cause of the insect attacks had something to do with a fellow named Jardine. "Yeah, there's way too many lightweights out on the trail these days."

Blue Jay, a homely man whose stench we could barely tolerate stated matter of factly "Yeah, maybe this'll keep those pansies who don't belong out on the trail hiding under their beds where they belong. Butterflies, HUH, bring 'em on."

To that, Lone Wolf responded "Blue Jay is a wussie".

A prospective AT thru-hiker in 2004, Brad from NH responded by enrolling in pesticide school. "Yeah, I'll have me a tank filled with DDT when I pass through there next year. You never can be too prepared you know."

Wingfoot, the famous author and expert on the AT was quoted as having said "I'm not familiar with that section of the trail. There were always forest fires in that area during my 5, um, er, 6, uh, I mean 7 thru-hikes." To that, TJ aka Teej stated "I told ya so!"

At last report, the Pentagon had been notified, and Stealth Bombers had been mobilized to carpet bomb the affected area. To that, Lone Wolf replied, "Damn right! Kill 'em and grill 'em. Ever taste a butterfly? Tastes just like chicken! Pass me another cold one Son."

07-24-2003, 11:07
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-24-2003, 12:30
To *!&*@$* funny:D

Blue Jay
07-24-2003, 12:45
Tuxedo, NY??? (I believe the rest of it).

07-24-2003, 12:57
Tuxedo is about 5 miles south of where the AT crosses Rte 17.

07-24-2003, 15:43
according to mowgli, since i have thru hiked i am now qualified to say my little piece on this whole subject. dont know what anyone else was able to see on the trail but i personally saw 7 bears and heard one other on my thru hike. the one i heard made me wish i had carried a gun because it sounded rather pissed off. unfortunately it was a momma bear and its cub came rolling out of the woods to land 3 feet in front of me. little bugger looked like a hairy 2 year old. fortunately for me the mom perceived me as little threat because i started to back away up the trail slowly for about a half mile. if the bear had attacked i would have been in serious trouble. to say that there is absolutely no bear threat on the a.t. is absolutely ridiculous. as for my next thru hike though i plan on carrying an ar-15, several rpg's, and am thinking about hiring a little bird (helicopter) to hover overhead to lay down suppressive fire if needed. lol

07-24-2003, 16:20
Very funny bulldog. As long as you have a Little Bird keeping station overhead, don't bother with the RPG's, the miniguns on the littlebird or the 2.75 inch rockets will handle anything you run into. For the AR I'd recommend going with Fulton Armory's ultralightweight upper receiver group mated to a Cavalry Arms lower receiver. The Cav Arms lower is made from high strength plastic, so you'll save yourself a pound or two over the standard aluminum receivers.....

But seriously folks, no one is saying that black bears are not dangerous or a potential threat. It is a threat that can be, mostly, managed through prudent practices and situational awareness. Be aware and prepared, but don't obsess over it, or you won't be able to enjoy your hike.

07-24-2003, 16:32
Originally posted by bulldog
...if the bear had attacked i would have been in serious trouble. [/B]
If of course is the important word in this sentance. It sounds like you felt threatened by a bear Bulldog. That happens - perhaps fairly often along the AT. Black Bears will sometimes bluff charge a person. Bears can be big, and intimidating creatures. I'm sure you'll agree with me that its a powerful experience to encounter one on foot in the woods.

I'm not doubting that you felt threatened Bulldog. Heck, I felt intimidated by a bear this past April on the Benton MacKaye Trail. Lets look at the facts though. With 3-4 million users of the AT annually, how many folks have been attacked by bears in the past 20 or so years? How many of those attacks were unprovoked (ie: not feeding the bear or not getting close to take a photo)?

Yeah, in 2000 when I was thru-hiking, a woman was killed in GSMNP by Black Bears. That was a sad situation, and it happened well off the ridges where the AT runs. It was also nearly the first time in recorded history that anyone had been killed in the US (East of the Mississippi) by a Black Bear. (Yeah, I know, Bears don't carry maps)

If you took my posting to mean that there is absolutely no threat from bears EVER on the AT, then you either misread my post, or I was not clear enough. Black Bears are wild animals, and as such, are unpredicable. They need to be respected. It certainly is possible that a Black bear could injure you. What are the chances though? Nearly infinitesimal.

That does not warrant carrrying a firearm on a thru-hike. It simply serves as an excuse for someone that either wants to carry a gun in the first place just because, or it allows someone who doesn't belong in the woods in the first place to have a false sense of security.

Just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions...

I think I'm done with this topic. I'm certainly not gonna change any zealot's mind about guns. I was just trying to reassure the Newbies that danger from Black Bears was being WAY overblown.

Little Bear

07-24-2003, 16:33
i'll need the rpgs if the little bird decides to turn on me. can never be to prepared.

07-24-2003, 16:36
Originally posted by MOWGLI16
The AT is not a wilderness trail, and bears are not a threat to hurt you along the AT. You'll be lucky to see a black bear along the trail, and richer for doing so without a firearm or any other weapon.


maybe i did misread it but i dont think i did. i agree bears are a minimal risk but nonetheless they are a risk.

07-24-2003, 16:40
i to thru-hiked in 2000 and remember reading about the woman in the smokies. if i recall correctly they were investigating whether her estranged husband actually killed her and the bear was just eating free grub.

07-24-2003, 18:37
As one of the newbies you are referring to Mowgli, I agree w/ you. There does not appear to be *enough* of a threat to warrant me carrying a gun on the AT. No gun, but I will carry bear spray.

One day though, when i do hike the CDT, I will carry a gun powerful enough to fell a black bear. And no, I won't oggle and oogle over my gun and show it to my friends and talk in highly ritualized militaristic fashion about how cool my gun is. It will just be another piece of equipment I will hopefully never use.

But from everything i've read about the AT so far, I think anyone who carries a gun on the AT just really wants to carry a gun and black bears are a convenient excuse. And with the AT so heavily populated with humans, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to throw a gun into the mix.

But I do not want to have to kill a black bear while on the CDT. I've researched it a bit and it seems like a good semi-lethal alternative when hiking a remote trail (not the AT) is to carry a light 12-guage shotgun. Have the first shell inserted be a rocksalt shell. You can fire it at the bear without fear of killing it but it will be *extremely* painful for the bear. Have the next 3 shells either buckshot or slugs in case the bear keeps coming. This would allow you to pop one off on the bear even when it's wandering around your camp and being more of a nuisance than a threat but you want to teach it that you are bigger and badder and he should not screw w/ you anymore.

Of course, the hard part of that plan is strolling into town w/ a shotgun strapped to your back - will probably get you attention from the law real quick. It's too bad, because that seems like the most nature-friendly way to deal with the problem of man vs. bear out in the wild.

squirrel bait
07-24-2003, 20:13
Having grown up in Iowa during the spring/winter/fall and spending my summers in Cripple Creek CO I have run across my share of black bears. On horseback or walking in rather high country. above 8000 ft, or hiking about the bluffs of northern IA southern MN we relied on one thing, learn to sing a song or get a bell. I have never surprised a bear other than at a trash dump. If you get to see one try not to scare it. And try not to be scared yourself. Good luck on your hike.

07-25-2003, 11:59
I've done a fair amount of hiking here in the rockies (granted, not in grizzly country). NEVER SEEN ANYONE WITH A GUN that was backpacking.

One data point for you there...

Have only talked with two CDT thruhikers. Neither carried a gun. Both are well and fine.

That's the only two data points that I personally have. I don't think hiking with a gun is a good idea, even in grizzly country.

Gravity Man

07-25-2003, 12:07

07-25-2003, 13:12
Thanks gravityman. Good info. Just want to let you know i am NOT a gun loving freakazoid NRA member. Although I own 3 guns I feel it was just WAY too easy for me to buy those guns and i think it's unreasonable that i was not forced to take ongoing gun safety classes (like a driver's license) in order to keep on owning my guns.

Also, I do not get off on talking about guns or helicopters firing missiles at bears or anything else for that matter. I am about as enamored with my guns as I am with my gardening tools.

So, just wanted to let you know there actually are some reasonable minded people who contemplate the possibility of taking a gun into the wilderness for defensive purposes. Not everyone who thinks about taking a gun is a whacked out lunatic Rambo wannabe. Many are, perhaps even most, but not all.

07-25-2003, 13:38
In 2000 I was caretaker at iceH2o shelter inthe smokies when the lady was eaten bythe bear down near elkmont9 which is also where my apartment was)

yes she was hiking with her trout fish ex husband but he has been cleared of any wrongdoing....the bears seemed to just attackand eat the lady....there had beena mast failure the fall before and the bears had a lack of food ...maybe one of the reasons that they attack...an unprovked black bear atack is VERY rare and not a reason for concern..

now the thunderstorms and lightning strikes on top of the roan highlands are a concern esp. later in the season (summer)

I always carry a lightning rod so as to make sure that I get some excitment ....I always expalin to new hiker the importance of a lightning rod and let them carry mine if the weather looks threatning.....hiking poles are a good subsitute

07-28-2003, 15:32

Whoa, there, Lone Wolf 1, whoa.

Cell phones are for getting pizza delivered or calling your shuttle at the top of the mountain before walking down to the Trail Head.

Whistles can probably be left at home, as very few hikers know how to use one correctly (how many whistles for help, stop, come back, etc) and fewer still know International Morse Code. When I hike with people, I always give them a short lesson in "whistle" so that we're all using the same code. (You can make up your own code.)

Mace and Pepper Spray seem to anger an attacking dog more than they help to disburse him. And a hiking pole is probably more effective than Mace or Pepper Spray anyway.

Knife? If we don't take a knife, how can we cut the cheese? (pun intended) How can we cut the moleskin without the little scissors that come with the knife? Everyone needs to carry some sort of knife (small is lighter) for those times when one is needed. Like maybe making a new alcohol stove from a cola can. You just never know. As A Weapon, I'm not sure how effective a knife would be without some training in its use as a weapon.

:banana I do not carry a gun when I hike, but I tend not to take my estrogen and that is more a potent weapon than any old gun, rifle or shotgun. :)

Most Bears don't mess with a woman who hasn't taken her estrogen! And the few that do are very very sorry they did so. Few men are willing to challenge an estrogen-deprived woman, too.

:) Coosa
and Casey the BearDog (She did scare one off here in North Georgia, near Dick's Creek Gap.)
<yes, I'm kidding about not taking the estrogen>

07-28-2003, 15:36
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-28-2003, 15:53
MeBrad, I'm turning 59 this October and must take my estrogen or I transform into a "mammoth-bear" -- gnashing, gnarling, growling and chewing up and spitting out anyone in my way.
even the WonderDog stays clear of me!

07-28-2003, 15:54
For the record (once again) I do not believe the threats on the AT justify carrying a gun. I also believe that the threats on the western trails (while somewhat greater than on the AT) do not rise to the level of requiring a hiker to burden themselves with yet another tool that they won't likely use.

That's my opinion.

I also agree that folks who fixate too much on bears and such on the AT are just looking for an excuse to carry. That's not a good enough motivation. There are a whole lot of practical reasons not to carry that outweigh the reasons to carry on the AT.

As a gun owner who has thru-hiked the entire AT AND lived in the field with a variety of different firearms both as a hunter and an ex-soldier, I feel confident in saying that carrying a firearm on the AT is more of a problem for you than a solution. It's just extra weight and worry.

07-28-2003, 16:03
Iceman, this topic of carrying or not carrying a gun seems to be one of those topics that is never resolved. It comes back around every so often with many posts pro or con and tangent discussions of other "non-essential" items like cellphones, televisions, radios, CD players, tire irons, jackhammers, and the like. Because of various State and Federal Laws, it'd be better to carry that tire iron or jackhammer than a gun.

:D Coosa

07-29-2003, 16:39
It's a question that arouses a lot of passion on both sides of the argument. As such discussions surrounding guns tend to get polarized pretty quickly and become counterproductive. You can actually agree with someone on a fine point (such as the fact that carrying a gun on the AT is un-necessary and impractical) and still end up in an argument because you do NOT agree with the other person that guns are always hateful and evil things. Likewise you can end up in just as serious an argument if you don't agree that guns are wonderful and innocent tools and that people should not have to suffer any governmental restrictions in their ownership and carriage at all.

When you've got such passionate and disparate views, it's almost impossible to avoid going down a rat hole.

07-30-2003, 10:55
I think I found the solution to this pesky bear problem. Actually the answer has been in front of us all this time. Look at GSMNP, how do they protect the shelters? They use chain link fence! All we need to do is create a protective tunnel of chain link fence around the trail itself. We can paint it green as part of the "long green tunnel" theme. Of course we still have those pesky mosquitos, but we can add screening to the tunnel too. And there is rain which can really be a downer, so if you are going to build it, might as well add a roof. The next problem would be town stops, wouldn't it be better if all the stores you needed were directly on the AT? I figure we could add a food court here, some large department stores there, and a bunch of miscellaneous store in between. With all theses stores there, we'll just have to build a few parking lots to accommodate all the visitors. Now you might be thinking, sounds great, but how are going to pay for such a massive construction project. You're right, we are going to have to adjust the length of the trail a little to accommodate. Perhaps if we made it about 2000 feet long and just let people walk back and forth from store to store that would work. It shouldn't be too hard to change that 2000 miler patch to 2000 footer. It just so happens I know a similar type of trail that has already been built, so perhaps I'll put on the old pack and see if I can take a few notes and some pictures to share. Let's get this idea moving.

07-30-2003, 10:59
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-31-2003, 13:33
Iceman, I was never around guns as a child. My Dad was in WWII and that was all the guns he needed to see. My Mom's Dad had a 22 rifle until someone stole it. I only go to shoot it once before it disappeared (I was around 14 yrs old). I didn't bring my kids up around guns. My son and son-in-law are both hunters -- shotgun, rifle and bow. My daughter has a permit to carry her handgun. My daughter-in-law has a 22 pistol.

And ME? I have a Mossberg 20 gauge shotgun.

But the shotgun is just too heavy to tote around when I backpack.


Lone Wolf
07-31-2003, 13:40
Glock has some nice sub-compacts. The .357 is very nice. Just under 20 ounces.

08-01-2003, 14:54
Unfortunately some of the more powerful Glocks don't stand up to heavy use well. The .40 S&W's built on older 9mm platforms like the 22 and 23 have not been fareing all that well for shooters who really put a lot of rounds through them. Lots of rail seperations and a few catastrophic KABOOMS!. I believe the later designs have worked some of those problems out.

By heavy use I mean thousands of rounds per year.

I never really liked Glocks. I've owned a couple of them and found the grip angle un-natural for me. I'm beginning to gravitate toward the old 1911A1 style pistols.

My current shotgun is a 1938, 16 gauge, Winchester Model 12. It's set up for upland game.

A long gun is too much for hiking, it gets in the way, it's too heavy and too conspicuous. For a pack pistol, the Glocks are close to ideal since they are so low maintenance. HK USP sub compacts as well as SIG Sauer's SIG-Pro pistols. I've heard good things about the Springfield Inc. XD series, but they haven't been out long enough.

All that aside, I still don't see a reason for carrying a gun on an AT thru-hike that outweighs the potential disadvantages.

08-02-2003, 17:17
But, Iceman, my Uncle (9th great) Daniel Boone carried his long rifle with him on all his hikes. Remember, this is a man who thought opossum and bear were 'good eatin' too.

9th great granddaughter of Samuel (and Sarah Day) Boone, the eldest of the "Boone Boys" who traveled with Daniel through Cumberland Gap.

08-04-2003, 17:26
Dan'l didn't have to worry about hysterics calling the police on him.