Gun or no gun in Alaskan Wilderness?

HippieGangster

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Hey guys, I've been debating whether I should get myself a grizzly killing machine. I already know what I'd get, just can't decide if I'd be better off with one verses the bear spray I already carry. 50/50 Alaskans here tell me I should, but then again it wouldn't help much with a close up charging grizzly.
I've been camping deep in grizzly country for a long time and have never had an encounter, but this is Alaska, even moose are a threat. I'd like to have one for peace of mind but I'm a hitchhiker who'd be carrying a 12g shotgun in her bag..

Tell me your thoughts and reasons behind them, especially if you have had first hand encounters. Thanks
 

highwayman

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I'd like to have one for peace of mind but I'm a hitchhiker who'd be carrying a 12g shotgun in her bag
I didnt think we would have 2 threads in 1 year about hitchhiking with a shotgun. I think that this has been discussed elsewhere on the forum in depth. I don't think AK or anywhere else justifies carrying a firearm while traveling.
 
T

travmhid

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For bears, I'd definitely stick with bear spray; if I was going to carry a gun into the wilderness it'd either be an open-carried long gun--which would be more suitable vs bears but impractical when not in the wilderness, not to mention difficult to hitch with--or a Glock 20. You could stash the Glock in your pack when out in public, and carry it holstered when you think you might need it for critters.

Really though, just stick with bear spray.

As for having a shotgun in your pack... not a great idea, imho. To conceal something like that it'd have to be a pistol grip Mossberg 500 or similar, and against a bear you're going to want 12ga slugs. Ever fire one of those without a shoulder stock? It's basically impossible to do accurately at a distance, against a moving target, while shitting your pants because a fucking bear is charging you to eat your face. Alternatively you could break down a standard shotgun w/ stock to store it/carry it as needed. Either option will be unwieldy and add considerable weight to your pack.

So again, bear spray. If moose or similar are a concern, consider the 10mm Glock. But I really don't think it's necessary.
 
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klaiash

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I think it 100% depends on how you personally feel about it. Honestly I'd see more need for a gun being around people than wild animals, but that's just me and my own experiences. You don't need a shotgun to take a charging bear out, or to scare it off with a warning shot at the ground. A .44 would do just fine. But if I personally carried a firearm while travelling I would have the ammo and the mag seperate from the gun at all times anyways, so it wouldnt help with a charging grizzly. Good luck with your decision and happy travels.
 
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I you planned on residing in some shelter way out there, I wouldve said go on and get the biggest fucking gun you can. But when hitchhiking or having any interaction with people, especially when needing favors out o them (like a ride) guns are just bad news. Especially concealed. Bear mace is effective enough
 

Dmac

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I would get the gun. In many states especially on the coasts, hitching with a shotgun just wouldn't work. But it is more common in Alaska that you might think, and you shouldn't have any trouble getting rides. I would get rid of it before leaving the state, or mail it back to someplace in the lower 48, when ready to leave Alaska. Way too many benefits of having one when in the back country!
 
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HippieGangster

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Thanks for all the input everyone. I'll most likely be getting one here soon.

I am going to be doing more hiking in the wilderness than hitching up here, which is why I've even considered a gun. Bear spray I always got but want to have a backup defense. It'll help to bag some birdies along the way too.
 
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Very interesting responses. I'd say go for it. In backwoods locations where there are serious bear threats, people "get it". If you were a huge dude with a beard like me, it might be a different story.
 
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Dmac

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There are multiple types of rounds that can be shot from a 12 gauge. I'd go with .00 buck shot and some bird shot for small game. there are shells called "shriekers" that just make noise, like 120-140 db, that are non lethal but will scare the crap our of most critters, good for signaling if you are in trouble. But 3 consecutive shots from any gun (or horn I guess) is also a distress signal so its redundant.
 

Haystack

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I've had a black bear wondered into where we set up camp for the night. He came up to our tent and started clawing on it. We didn't have any bear spray or anything besides pocket knifes to defend ourselves, but basically we just got the feeble position and eventually he ran off. We got super lucky, but I carry bear spray now if I'm going anywhere known for bears. Good luck.
 

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Am contacting @railroadron on this one as well as notifying him on facebook - he's around the anchorage area and there is another oldtime hobo moving up there as well in sept and they do and will be doing a lot of outer most camping in alaska - pretty sure one of them carries though. Will get back to you.
 

iamwhatiam

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honestly, it's all up to what you feel comfortable with. i'd say pepper spray would work just fine but if it makes you feel better carrying firearm then go for it. the best thing you can do is to learn bear behavior, don't keep any food or smellies (including deoderant, toothpaste, etc) in your tent or near camp, and make lots of noise (whistles, sing, talk loudly, etc) when hiking in the backcountry and you'll be fine. source: I grew up here
 
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timetoleave

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Last post is a little old but I'll throw my 2 cents in. I grew up hunting in PA. Black bear isn't a grizzly by any means but if you're worried about self defense then the people saying bear spray are on the money. Unless you're trained, and you might be, firing a gun under stress is difficult. Police miss something like 70% or 80% of the time in life or death situations. Bear spray creates a cloud of absolute nastiness that the critter needs to run through to get to you. Its hearsay but I've heard most bears fuck right off when that cloud hits them. If you want an extra layer of insurance a .44 magnum open carried would be my choice for grizzly with heavy, lead nose semi wadcutter bullets to get past all the bone and tissue but still expand enough to cause rapid blood loss.

The idea being you spray but the bear keeps coming anyway. If you get charged and they don't react to the spray just fall backwards. Getting pile drived by a grizzly will break every bone in your body if you let them do the knocking over. Once you're on your back get that revolver out and start hammering rounds into their head. That'd suck pretty bad I imagine.
 

Ranger

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A 12g defender with a folding stock or a single shot break barrel is a very useful tool in the backcountry, bear/ moose protection, deterant with rubber slugs, shot for small game or even flares. It's easy enough to keep out of sight any top loading internal frame pack 60 litres or larger will work. If your going to hitchhike keep it out of sight and do so legally or don't bother! As has been said already without being proficient using a firearm bear spray is a more effective option.
 

Mankini

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A 12g defender with a folding stock or a single shot break barrel is a very useful tool in the backcountry, bear/ moose protection, deterant with rubber slugs, shot for small game or even flares. It's easy enough to keep out of sight any top loading internal frame pack 60 litres or larger will work. If your going to hitchhike keep it out of sight and do so legally or don't bother! As has been said already without being proficient using a firearm bear spray is a more effective option.

Yeah. Mystery Ranch makes some great gun bags.
 

creature

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well.. you know.. i'm curious..
you don't meet many bears, & i know they have bear bangers.. just loud, M-80 type detonators..

creative imagination suggests another sort of deterrent, also..

& well.. guns are heavy & all, & unless yer gonna stayed camp & eat a moose every few months, how big a caliber do you need to survive, if there were no bears, wolves, mooosesess, etc?

anyways.. look on ebay for 50 to 100 milliwatt handheld lasers..
these things are 10 - 20 times more potent than ordinary (5 milliwatt) lasers.. ever get hit in the eye with one of those *little* fuckers, eye safe & all?

they fucking *hurt*.

the nice thing about the more powerful ones is that they can be fitted with (or come with) focusable diffusers, so that instead of a pencil beam at 20 yards or less, you have an instantaneous 6" diameter (or more) blinder..

at 10 yards & 3", you shine a 50mw beam at the fuckers head, & hit the eye just once, they will fucking stop & turn.. they *will not* see..

i dunno.. this is just an idea.. something to research, but 50mw red or blue lasers are essentially no bigger than a fat cigar.. i'd advise getting one with a rechargeable 18650 battery (or 2), but AA or AAA versions exist.

just a thought.. i'm sure a lot of folks on here have played with the fuckers.. they are NOT eye safe..

anyways.. good luck, hippy!!!
 

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