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Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 6:47 pm
by maverick
Those of you who carry while backpacking, have you ever had to pull a gun in self defense against another human or animal? Has anyone here had a gun pulled on them while backpacking? Has anyone had a close call during hunting season from either end of a gun?

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 6:52 pm
by rlown
I never carry unless it is hunting season and that is my intended purpose. Did run into two women, which one was carrying a 9mm. I didn't see it or I would have turned her in. My friends saw it. That was when the ranger was checking permits on the lyell fork. They were on their way to Whitney. They didn't remember to bring their permit. :)

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:02 pm
by maverick
What year was that Russ, on your last trip?

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:17 pm
by rlown
Last September 25th. In Yosemite none the less. I think she was carrying for personal protection against men and not animals (draw your own conclusion with that last part of the statement.)

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:29 pm
by Tom_H
The backcountry is where I feel more safe than anywhere else. A gun would be nothing more than unnecessary weight to haul around. I've run into some rednecks at trailheads, but never met anyone in the backcountry who was anything but nice. I've dealt with bears, boars, rattlesnakes, alligators, and bobcats and never needed a weapon.

I will say that I never go into mountain lion or grizzly country unless in at least a small group and only with lots of bear spray. Whomever is running drag has a responsibility always to be looking over his/her shoulder in those territories.

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:53 pm
by Wandering Daisy
Years ago when I backpacked from Bear Valley Ski Area down to the Mokolumne River to spend the night,during hunting season. I was wearing hunter orange vest and hat, thank goodness, because as I returned I ran into a hunter's camp where they were totally drunk and shooting at beer cans. I stopped to talk with them; at least I figured they would not accidently shoot me then. They asked me if I lost my gun, then complained about no deer. I ran into all the deer down on the river, 3000 feet below. Have honestly never seen a backpacker in the Sierra toting a gun.

Run into quite a few backpackers with guns in the Wind Rivers. The backpackers mainly carry hand guns. There are grizzlies there, but a hand gun probably would not do a lot of good. Everyone carries bear spray. Just about anyone on a horse has a rifle. Quite a few wolves, so I think they are trying to protect their horses. Not much different than in town. Lots of gun racks in the back window of trucks. It is just very much a gun culture there. Also, hunting season starts really early (mid-August for some game and bow hunting) and overlaps with prime backpack season.

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 8:17 pm
by apeman45
40 years ago I used to throw firecrackers at aggressive bears. I've never once ever had a need for a gun anywhere, especially in the backcountry. I once had a gun pointed at me by a miner that claimed I was fishing on his claim. He was placated by the fish I gave him. There used to be a lot of squatter "miners" living in the remote sections of the American River. A retired ranger wrote a book about the crazy stuff that used to happen down there when they were planning on building the Auburn dam. It's called Nature Noir.

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 2:01 am
by rightstar76
What happened to apeman45 reminds me of these two passages in the Tahoe Sierra by Schaffer, 1987, page 57:
The few in active use today are sometimes guarded by gun-toting miners. Therefore, avoid active claims…
Page 111:
…and the gun-toting owners mean it. Hundreds of small mining claims dot the lower Tahoe Sierra, and the prospectors that work them…

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 7:34 am
by balzaccom
Last year we met a hiker in Emigrant Wilderness--single male, mid-twenties, with a military style rifle strapped to the outside of his pack.

We don't carry firearms, because we don't want the weight, and have never seen a need in 50 years on the trail.

Re: Backpacking Gun Owners

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:25 am
by Wandering Daisy
That reminds me that when I climbed Tower Peak, while returning, I ran into the Marines in training. They have a mountain warfare training base up at Levitt Meadows. They were fully loaded with rifles, ammo and huge packs and fighting their way through the brush. Are you sure your guy with rifle was not part of that base?