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Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

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Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby balzaccom » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:54 pm

Sometimes we meet someone who suggests that the best way to defend yourself against bear attacks is to carry a firearm.

Now first all, if you think bears are a significant danger in the Sierra, first read our website (backpackthesierra.com) about dangers in the Sierra. Bears are not on the list. But what we have are black bears, not grizzlies.

On the other hand...you could always read this great story from the Lewis and Clark expedition. They ran into a grizzly bear (there are no grizzlies in California): Lewis described the encounter as follows:

"…they took the advantage of a small eminence which concealed them and got within 40 paces of him unperceived, two of them reserved their fires as had been previously conscerted, the four others fired nearly at the same time and put each his bullet through him, two of the balls passed through the bulk of both lobes of his lungs, in an instant this monster ran at them with open mouth, the two who had reserved their fires discharged their pieces at him as he came towards them, boath of them struck him, one only slightly and the other fortunately broke his shoulder, this however only retarded his motion for a moment only, the men unable to reload their guns took to flight, the bear pursued and had very nearly overtaken them before they reached the river; two of the party betook themselves to a canoe and the others seperated an concealed themselves among the willows, reloaded their pieces, each discharged his piece at him as they had an opportunity they struck him several times again but the guns served only to direct the bear to them, in this manner he pursued two of them seperately so close that they were obliged to throw aside their guns and pouches and throw themselves into the river altho’ the bank was nearly twenty feet perpendicular; so enraged was this anamal that he plunged into the river only a few feet behind the second man he had compelled take refuge in the water, when one of those who still remained on shore shot him through the head and finally killed him; they then took him on shore and butchered him when they found eight balls had passed through him in different directions."

Lewis and Clark subsequently forbade any of their men to shoot at grizzlies for the rest of the expedition.
Balzaccom

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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby dave54 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:22 pm

Those were black powder muzzleloaders with 0.50 balls, quite a bit lower velocity than contemporary ammunition (~1700 fps versus 2500+). The bear would have eventually bled out though. Modern ammunition delivers a hydraulic shock throughout the entire torso and and up the neck to the head. Far more effective.

At one time a Boone and Crockett record for brown bear (#7, IIRC, since moved considerably down the list) was killed with a 7mm handgun. A lucky shot during a confrontation, but it shows that a large bear can still be killed with a handgun. Not that I would want to try it, though.
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby rlown » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:06 pm

You don't really want to get me started on hunting with handguns, do you? :)

It' about being calm and accurate. And yes we have better equipment nowadays. A deer will tear you a new one if you just tick it off and miss.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.44_Magnum I have 3. Two S&W and a Super Redhawk with a scope; good accuracy out to 150 yds as long as no coffee in the morning.. :nod:

Given the topic is about griz, it should be moved to beyond the sierra. But food for thought on the black bears in CA https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservatio ... Population

They set a harvest limit every year based on population. usually about 1700
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:06 pm

I have 3


"Well do you feel lucky punk", my favorite line with someone holding a .44 :)
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby rlown » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:08 pm

I like you, so feel lucky.. :cool: I do not condone using a gun for protection on bears, in CA; people scare me more.

Grizz might be good with spray alone. dunno, haven't tried.
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby k9mark » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:42 pm

Exactly right, it's not the animals I fear....it's the humans out there doing bad things.
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby LMBSGV » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:48 pm

Before going to Yellowstone, Glacier, and Denali, I read a lot of online information on grizzlies and also talked to rangers at the parks (including one who worked in bear management). The overwhelming evidence is that bear spray is far better than anything else as protection if one is unlucky enough to encounter a grizzly. Yet, in Denali, my wife and I ran into two parties who chose firearms. One was carrying what looked like a .357 Magnum stuck in his belt. I was thinking I hope he keeps the first chamber empty. We also ran into two guys carrying rifles. All I could think of was why carry all that extra cumbersome weight and do you really believe that you can stay calm enough and are a good enough shot if confronted with a charging grizzly (there’s no reason to use a weapon otherwise). One of the reasons why bear spray is considered best is that all one needs to do is point it in the right direction.

And, I agree, it's other people I worry about most.
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Re: Grateful for no grizzlies in CA...

Postby dave54 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:18 pm

I think the worst animal injury I have seen in the Sierra was from a porcupine, when a female companion accidentally sat on a dead one.

It is possible to kill a grizzly with a handgun, I would not want to be one trying. I doubt my skills would be up to the task and I would end up as grizzly poop.

I do not believe CA F&G has any official desire to reintroduce grizzlies into CA. A few mid level bureaucrats have hinted to the media they have personally thought about it, but as far as I know there is no serious consideration by the department. They are not real happy about wolves, but that is being forced upon them, and so must deal with it and force a happy face when talking about wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity were morons for trying to get the courts to order F&G to introduce grizzlies. I have less than zero respect for that organization, I consider them more ecoterrorists than environmentalists.

Grizzly preferred habitat is not mature conifer forest, it is open lands and grasslands. So any grizzly will quickly be in foothill backyards -- a situation that will end up badly for the bears, the local residents, and any state/local officials that get involved on either side. It would be lose-lose for everyone involved.
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