Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 53
  1. #1

    Default Guns - Are they needed for protection from bears in WV?

    Complete noob to hiking and trails in the US of A having moved here with my VA born and bred wife. Neither of us are gun toting, and therefore have no experience of when you need a gun or not.

    In the UK and Europe the most dangerous thing is traffic, and you can wilderness hike anywhere without fear of being eaten or mauled.

    We will be in WV and plan some day hikes in Dolly Sods and other areas, and so the question is:

    Should we carry a gun for protection against bears and other predators? I have read only a rifle is effective anyway, and then you'd be lucky to get off two rounds. It seems also in WV that a rifle would have to be cased and unloaded, which sort of defeats the object if a bear is bearing down on us (pun intended).

    Any firearms would be bought and licensed in Virginia in respect of reciprocal licensing laws.

    Thanks for any serious and constructive advice.

  2. #2
    Registered User scree's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2009
    Location
    Northern VA
    Age
    40
    Posts
    182

    Default

    No.

    Unless you are in Grizzly country (e.g., Alaska) there isn't much point carrying a gun for protection against bears. It would be incredibly hard to justify shooting a black bear in self defense in a national park as that situation is usually avoidable through other means. Most handguns light enough to carry would be ineffective without multiple well-placed shots anyway. If you feel the need for something to grab on to, get bear spray, but even that would be overkill for most situations on the East coast. You should be more considered about feral pigs than black bear, especially in the South, as they are far more likely to persist in a real attack. I personally would never consider drawing on a black bear except under extraordinarily strange and unusual circumstances.

    For reference, I'm definitely not anti-gun, but I don't think what you're talking about is a good idea at all. I'm a life member of both the NRA and GOA with competitive rifle and defensive handgun experience, and possess multi-state concealed handgun permits. I carry where it's legal but not for protection against wildlife - You're far more likely (and still very unlikely) to get into a situation where deadly force is appropriate when dealing human threats. Until you're aware of and comfortable with the legal and moral issues surrounding the possibility of taking another human's life in self-defense, do not consider carrying a firearm for protection. I would, however, encourage you to take a firearms safety course before further considering gun ownership - you'd find the course very informative and the instructor would be able to answer a lot of your questions about appropriate use and the law when dealing with wildlife. http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx

  3. #3

    Default

    Don't worry about the bears if you give them space they will leave you alone, The most dangerous thing on the A.T is other Humans. But no man Don't carry guns on the trail then the dangerous level goes way up.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-15-2003
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    Guy walks into a gun shop and asks the owner "I'm planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail, what handgun would you suggest I carry?".

    The gun shop owner says "Get any handgun you want but whatever you do be sure to grind down the front sight"

    "Why's that?" asks the guy.

    "Because that way, when the bear takes it away from you and shoves it up your arse it won't hurt as bad" said the gun shop owner.

    ___________

    The short answer is no.
    Last edited by Spokes; 05-29-2012 at 18:59.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-26-2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,410
    Images
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RED-DOG View Post
    Don't carry guns on the trail then the dangerous level goes way up.
    In what way? I have yet to see someone shoot their own or anyone else's foot off. I guess you could drop it on your foot and break a toe or something.

    You are right however about the bears. Bears are not a reason to carry a gun in the east.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-29-2008
    Location
    West Palm Beach, Florida
    Age
    63
    Posts
    3,605

    Default

    You don't need a rifle for bears in Virginia.

    You need one for the Mountain Lions.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-15-2003
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    Granny, in the Beverly Hillbillies, carried a riffle..... Fer gettin' vittles fer dinner.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-28-2011
    Location
    Prince George, BC
    Posts
    56

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by scree View Post
    Unless you are in Grizzly country (e.g., Alaska) there isn't much point carrying a gun for protection against bears.
    Not that it matters much for the AT, and not to be contrary on purpose ... but I live & hike in grizzly & black bear country (BC), and there's no reason for guns for grizzlies either. Bear spray & bear smarts (knowing the difference b/t grizzlies & black bears, and how to react to both) is all that is needed.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-26-2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,410
    Images
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    You don't need a rifle for bears in Virginia.

    You need one for the Mountain Lions.
    If for no other reason so you can shoot it and prove it was actually a mountain lion and not a bobcat

    (That was a joke people)

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by scree View Post
    No.

    Unless you are in Grizzly country (e.g., Alaska) there isn't much point carrying a gun for protection against bears. It would be incredibly hard to justify shooting a black bear in self defense in a national park as that situation is usually avoidable through other means. Most handguns light enough to carry would be ineffective without multiple well-placed shots anyway. If you feel the need for something to grab on to, get bear spray, but even that would be overkill for most situations on the East coast. You should be more considered about feral pigs than black bear, especially in the South, as they are far more likely to persist in a real attack. I personally would never consider drawing on a black bear except under extraordinarily strange and unusual circumstances.

    For reference, I'm definitely not anti-gun, but I don't think what you're talking about is a good idea at all. I'm a life member of both the NRA and GOA with competitive rifle and defensive handgun experience, and possess multi-state concealed handgun permits. I carry where it's legal but not for protection against wildlife - You're far more likely (and still very unlikely) to get into a situation where deadly force is appropriate when dealing human threats. Until you're aware of and comfortable with the legal and moral issues surrounding the possibility of taking another human's life in self-defense, do not consider carrying a firearm for protection. I would, however, encourage you to take a firearms safety course before further considering gun ownership - you'd find the course very informative and the instructor would be able to answer a lot of your questions about appropriate use and the law when dealing with wildlife. http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx
    Wise and sagely advice. Thank you for the link, which I will check out.

    We live in a quiet town, and one that is not known for gun crazed loonies, but we plan on moving back to the bigger metropolises in time, so having some home protection is attractive.

    I assume the best defense against a bear is to give it room as the other poster said, and make lots of noise so it knows we are there? My wife has an amazing set of lungs, and on our last mini hike she scared a 7 foot black snake away with them, and terrified the crap out of me

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    You don't need a rifle for bears in Virginia.

    You need one for the Mountain Lions.
    Now even I know they're a thing of myth and legend :P

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BCPete View Post
    Not that it matters much for the AT, and not to be contrary on purpose ... but I live & hike in grizzly & black bear country (BC), and there's no reason for guns for grizzlies either. Bear spray & bear smarts (knowing the difference b/t grizzlies & black bears, and how to react to both) is all that is needed.
    So apart from learning how to be Bear Grylls (I'm a Brit) from reading forum posts, is there somewhere you can go to learn about dealing with wildlife when hiking? A sort of idiots night course, or do the park rangers organize anything, or perhaps I should use the hooking up feature on this board to hike with some more experienced folk until I'm ready for the Navy Seals

  13. #13

    Join Date
    07-18-2010
    Location
    island park,ny
    Age
    60
    Posts
    11,909
    Images
    218

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodric View Post
    So apart from learning how to be Bear Grylls (I'm a Brit) from reading forum posts, is there somewhere you can go to learn about dealing with wildlife when hiking? A sort of idiots night course, or do the park rangers organize anything, or perhaps I should use the hooking up feature on this board to hike with some more experienced folk until I'm ready for the Navy Seals
    theres plenty
    Of info right here if you search the forums.nothing to be afraid of,just to be understood.

  14. #14
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-12-2002
    Location
    Marlboro, MA
    Posts
    6,389
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    1

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by nodric View Post
    My wife has an amazing set of lungs
    I am happy for you.

  15. #15
    Rain Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-07-2003
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Age
    66
    Posts
    5,854
    Images
    620

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodric View Post
    So apart from learning how to be Bear Grylls (I'm a Brit) from reading forum posts, is there somewhere you can go to learn about dealing with wildlife when hiking?
    Don't harass wildlife and wildlife won't harass you, except for mice (which will eat your food), mosquitoes and ticks (which will suck your blood), and gnats (which will suck your eyeball juice!), and squirrels, raccoons, and maybe skunks (which might try to get your food). Use Permethrin on your clothing and gear and DEET on yourself (the latter only as needed), and hang your food.

    RainMan

    .
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

    www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker

    .

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-26-2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Age
    55
    Posts
    1,410
    Images
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodric View Post
    So apart from learning how to be Bear Grylls (I'm a Brit) from reading forum posts, is there somewhere you can go to learn about dealing with wildlife when hiking? A sort of idiots night course, or do the park rangers organize anything, or perhaps I should use the hooking up feature on this board to hike with some more experienced folk until I'm ready for the Navy Seals
    Don't play with the snakes and don't feed the mice. For the rest of the critters, just watch them and enjoy.

    On a serious note, for bears all you need to do is give them space, don't run from them. If you get too close back away slowly and as a last resort make yourself look big and make a lot of noise.

    Go hike and have fun.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

  17. #17

    Default

    Don't be too concerned about the feral pigs either. Unless you have a dog, boar attacks are basically unheard of. However, heart attacks from hearing them threaten could be an issue.

  18. #18
    Registered User scree's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2009
    Location
    Northern VA
    Age
    40
    Posts
    182

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodric View Post
    So apart from learning how to be Bear Grylls (I'm a Brit) from reading forum posts, is there somewhere you can go to learn about dealing with wildlife when hiking? A sort of idiots night course, or do the park rangers organize anything, or perhaps I should use the hooking up feature on this board to hike with some more experienced folk until I'm ready for the Navy Seals
    Honestly, in all the years I've been hiking I haven't found that wildlife presents much of a problem, aside from the mice/ticks/etc as mentioned earlier. It's good to learn about the wildlife, including dangerous wildlife, but I wouldn't let a lack of knowledge deter you from enjoying the great outdoors. Bears are beautiful, and oddly enough I feel like I didn't truly understand the mountains until I saw how gracefully a bear traverses the terrain - they're made to be there, they're perfectly suited to be there, and to love the mountains you can't hate or fear the bear. As a rule, whenever I encounter wildlife I use a friendly, conversational tone and just say hi - "Hi bear!" "Hi squirrell!" etc. For one thing vocalizing calmly keeps you calm, for another it's kinda funny to see how they react, and finally it let's them know you're around so they can vacate the scene.

    To directly answer your question, I can almost guarantee that parks will have formal or informal talks about the local wildlife and safety at most parks.

    You're a lot more likely to get bit by a tick, stung by a bee, and get rained on as others have said.

  19. #19
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-28-2007
    Location
    Midlothian,Virginia
    Posts
    3,016
    Images
    76

    Default

    I hiked Dolly Sods Wilderness several years back , 2009 I believe ,when there were signs posted at every trail kiosk warning hikers about an aggressive bear that wasn't afraid of harassing people for their food. That same day I met a young couple from Maryland who literally ran into my camp out of breath ,having encountered that bear.
    Long story short...

    Pepper spray, yes... a swiss army knife, yes ... guns, no.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  20. #20

    Default

    I've backpacked in the Otter Creek Wilderness and Dolly Sods Wilderness of WV and saw no bears. I've also day-hiked in several places - no bears. I've backpacked about 60 miles of the Allegheny Trail which is in WV and plan to hike an additional 110 miles of it this Fall. I never bring a weapon on my hikes including this year's planned hike on the John Muir Trail in California where there most certainly are bears.

    That doesn't mean they're not there in WV but I suspect they're not as easy to see as they are in Shenandoah NP or NJ along the AT. Unlike those latter 2 places in which the habitat corridor is narrow, the part of WV with good hiking - the Monongahela National Forest - is a vast area in itself and the surrounding area consists of small communities rather than big sprawled-out urban and exurban areas. Which is why Winged Monkey may be correct; it striked me that Monongahela would be good cougar habitat. But I still wouldn't bring a gun.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •