Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So you are now hiking in grizzly country

A few years ago, I was hiking in the northwestern US, during huckleberry season, and found myself, well, in the middle of a huckleberry patch. Lo and behold, there before me, a fresh, steamy pile of grizzly excrement. The bear could not have been far away, and was perhaps even watching me. I did not want to find out the hard way if it was a mother and her cubs, so I hauled ass out of there as fast as I could, and made it back safely to my car after an hour.

I was not carrying any bear defense spray, and my only weapon was a crappy folding knife purchased at an equally crappy Ames store - clearly, no match for an adult grizzly.

I then went on an information gathering quest to identify the best possible bear defense weapon for use by hikers and campers.

I've read several article from so-called 'experts' (just google them, they seem to abound), and the most sensible information I can gather seems to indicate that the best choices are:

1. Don't hike alone in bear country. Stay in large groups. (duh!)
2. Canisters of bear defense pepper spray. (They have a range of up to 30 feet, but cannot be reloaded once discharged. Don't miss! Also, hope you don't meet a second bear on the way out!).
3. A rifle (although not necessarily practical when hiking).
4. A very, very large magnum caliber revolver. (So large, you might as well just carry a rifle.)

What are your opinions on the matter?

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