AR15.Com Archives
 Black Bear defense?
RckClimber  [Member]
6/20/2007 3:52:14 PM
I realize this isn't the best section for this, but since hunters have more experiance in this area, I figured it'd work.

We had a 11 year old get killed by a black bear in Utah this last weekend and I have a question for you guys. I've carried my 9mm while hiking mainly for protection from 2 legged animals, but was wondering if there'd be a snowballs chance in hell of it working as a defensive gun for a black bear. I have a 12 gauge shotgun that I know would be fine, but would really rather not hike/backpack with it. I would love to buy a nice Ruger Super Redhawk, but I don't have the $$ for it, and the wife and I have already agreed that the next gun related purchase should be a safe. Also, if I were to carry the 9mm, would FMJ be better than JHP's?
Shane333  [Team Member]
6/20/2007 4:02:47 PM
tag for answers
tangbang  [Team Member]
6/20/2007 4:13:27 PM
No expert here, but I gotta' think that if attacked by a black bear, the objective is to end the attack quickly, not necessarily kill the bear dead in his tracks.

I would think that a couple rounds to the face from a 9mm will significantly deter the bear's motivation to attack, between the noise, shock/surprise and the pain/damage inflicted.

I went hiking recently along AT and brought a 9mm for just such a scenario. I decided to load FMJ's with the thought that I actually want to penetrate into the bear's body.
Shane333  [Team Member]
6/20/2007 4:59:51 PM
How effective is bear spray?

I watched a program on the Discovery Channel (for what it's worth) about a bear's sense of smell. Their sense of smell is supposed to be incredible. Being hit in the face with a a strong irritant would seem to be extremely painful for them. Is this true?
TheInvisibleSoul  [Member]
6/20/2007 6:44:32 PM
lion killed w/ 38

its not a bear but a lion, and its killed with a .38

I would have no problem using one of my 9mms to stop a bear attack

I think a bigger bullet would be better, I think a 9mm will get the job done.

After all its just a bear, its not like they are bullet proof







Invisiblesoul
RenegadePhoenix  [Member]
6/20/2007 8:38:09 PM
even though i have not had much experiance in dealing with charging bears, i have outfitted 50 or so hikers planning on going into bear country not only in the west but in alaska as well. my suggestion would be get a short 18.5" barrel for your shotgun or get the mossberg 500 J.I.C if money is an issue. load it up with a slug in the chamber followed by 00buck in the tube. if you go the handgun route minimum .44 mag for you and .357 mag for your wife. these are just my opinions
skich  [Team Member]
6/20/2007 8:45:44 PM
I recommend the new Ruger Redhawk 4".
Wojo  [Member]
6/20/2007 9:39:40 PM
If you are going to keep the 9 make sure you are using something that doesn't expand too rapidly. Bear skin is tough and you need penetration, even if it is just a black bear. I don't know what is available for 9's but I think using a FMJ might be your best bet. Your first shot hitting the dirt right in front of them might scare them off, after that empty the clip into it and reload while you are running in case you piss him off.

I lived in Sitka Alaska for two years. When I got there everyone laughed that I carried a .38 with me. In real short order I picked up .357, not for the Kodiak / Brown bears but to shoot the nearest person to me so I could out run them. How much do you like your wife and how much do you have her insured for?

Pepper spray only has a range of so far. And if you drop it while disarming it you might be phucked. Give the wife the pepper spray for back-up.

+1 on the Mossberg with slugs and triple Ohhh.

Mr45auto  [Team Member]
6/20/2007 9:52:18 PM
A well built .45acp loaded with .45super or maybe a 10mm. Ideally something more along the lines of a .44mag or something larger but outside bear defense I'd have no real use for something like that. If I were worried about local black bears I'd feel fine with 9 230 grain .45 supers on tap.
Rabon  [Member]
6/20/2007 11:56:13 PM
If your serious and you spend time in the woods (Bear attacks are rare, however it only takes one time if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) get the right tool. The 44 Magnum and the 45 Colt can easily hit 1250 fps with 300 + Grain cast bullets from a 4 .5" Revolver. I happen to prefer S/A Revolvers, a plus is the Ruger SBH (44 mag) and BH (45 Colt) are readily available used for under 300 bucks. You won't have to wonder if the cartridge is capable and you only have to buy it once.
Combat_Jack  [Team Member]
6/21/2007 12:06:07 AM
9mm may or may not penetrate enough to hit anything important. I would not use it.
RckClimber  [Member]
6/21/2007 3:10:28 PM

Originally Posted By RenegadePhoenix:
even though i have not had much experiance in dealing with charging bears, i have outfitted 50 or so hikers planning on going into bear country not only in the west but in alaska as well. my suggestion would be get a short 18.5" barrel for your shotgun or get the mossberg 500 J.I.C if money is an issue. load it up with a slug in the chamber followed by 00buck in the tube. if you go the handgun route minimum .44 mag for you and .357 mag for your wife. these are just my opinions


I do have a 18.5 " barrel, but still would rather not carry it because of weight and because access to a handgun is easier than a rifle.
Wojo  [Member]
6/21/2007 3:43:34 PM
"I do have a 18.5 " barrel, but still would rather not carry it because of weight and because access to a handgun is easier than a rifle."

An injured person weighs a lot more to carry around then a long gun. With the right sling, access and weight shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like extra weight is more important to you then safety. Make sure you carry some Quik-Clot with you, if of course it doesn't weigh too much.
Bester  [Member]
6/21/2007 4:34:32 PM
Go with the Super Redhawk 454 Casull shorty version. The muzzle blast alone will probably nock him into next week.
Milquetoast  [Member]
6/22/2007 12:39:11 AM
You don't need no steenkin' gun!

Ex-Marine Kills Bear With Log at Low Gap Camp Grounds in Georgia
06-21-2007 3:06 PM

HELEN, Ga. (Associated Press) -- A camping trip to Low Gap Camp Grounds turned into a harrowing experience for Chris Everhart and his three sons when they tangled with a 300-pound black bear.

But the encounter last weekend proved fatal for the bear.

The bear had taken the Everharts' cooler and was heading back to the woods when 6-year-old Logan hurled a shovel at it.

Fearing what might happen next, the Norcross father and ex-Marine grabbed the closest thing he could find _ a log.

"(I) threw it at it and it happened to hit the bear in the head," Chris Everhart said. "I thought it just knocked it out but it actually ended up killing the bear."

The man was given a ticket for failing to secure his camp site, said Ken Riddleberger, a region supervisor for game management with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Riddleberger said some U.S. Forest Service agents were at the camp issuing a citation in an unrelated case. They got to the scene in a few minutes and verified what happened, he said.

Riddleberger said fines are usually set by counties, but Everhart's will be set by the federal government since the incident happened on federal property.

"We've not had an attack in Georgia," he said. "The key thing to learn from this is if there's a bear around, do not have your garbage or food available. If we manage our food, we won't have bears around."

RenegadePhoenix  [Member]
6/22/2007 1:40:01 PM
here's a link you should look at. wieght loaded is 5 3/4 pounds. a good sling and you won't even know it's there.

http://www.mossberg.com/products/default.asp?id=28§ion=products
XJ  [Team Member]
6/25/2007 11:46:33 PM
For 44 it seems that Cor-Bon is the widely available option with 320gr hard cast, looking on the shelf at Sportsmans Warehouse I didn't see anything else. Flipping through Midway catalog didn't come up with much more either, other than Federal Premium Hunting Castcore. Everything else seemed to be some type of hollow point or with an incomplete description.

For 12ga slugs, all of the marketing seems to be towards the deer hunter. What would be the non-grizzly bear load for folks of normal recoil tolerance? Win Ranger reduced recoil maybe?
sw41mag  [Member]
6/26/2007 11:10:25 AM

Originally Posted By Wojo:
"I do have a 18.5 " barrel, but still would rather not carry it because of weight and because access to a handgun is easier than a rifle."

An injured person weighs a lot more to carry around then a long gun. With the right sling, access and weight shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like extra weight is more important to you then safety. Make sure you carry some Quik-Clot with you, if of course it doesn't weigh too much.



Here's the man from NJ telling us hikers that live out in the west how easy it is to hike with a shotgun. Uh...yeah.... ever hike for miles, scrambling up and down thousands of feet of elevation with a shotgun? Hell... why not carry your .338 uber mag rifle and a sword too just in case the gun jams.

The 9mm is anemic at best for a bear. Even loaded with +P+ ammuntion. But if it's the only thing you have then you have to go with it. In your position I would strongly consider carrying bear spray. Lots of would-be attacks lately have been stopped with a good blast of pepper spray. Personally I would prefer a simple Ruger BlackHawk in .45LC loaded with some Cor Bons or equally hot hard bullet but...
mr_wilson  [Team Member]
6/26/2007 11:27:45 AM
Daniel Boone and real men just use something similar to this:




mike
blackhawkhunter  [Member]
6/26/2007 11:44:43 AM
9 MM is better than a 22, but it isnt a good choice.

The big issue is combining horespower with carry ability. I have a 1911 that is flat rides very nicely on my hip. I have a Ruger Security Six that rides very nicely as does a Smith 29 in 44 mag. My Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter and Redhawk are both much more accurate, but not nearly as much fun to carry for basic hiking purposes and so are a lot more likely to be left behind.

I sometimes go with the 1911 and sometimes with the Security Six.... but if you drop down to the 357 be sure to use good quality bullets with some weight. I have seen a deer that was shot in the shoulder with a 110 gr bullet that was deflected off the bone and traveled up under the neck. It slowed the deer down, but did not effectively disable it.

Black bears do a lot of false charging and will give you some time to react. If you stand confident with your 9 they will probably give up and back off. The only problem is that by the time you figure out it is a real charge you will want all the knock down power you can come up with.

Or as someone else said.... carry a piece of firewood at all times.... just make sure its oak or maple and not ash or poplar.
New4John  [Member]
6/26/2007 8:13:00 PM

Originally Posted By sw41mag:

The 9mm is anemic at best for a bear. Even loaded with +P+ ammuntion.


I have to agree with this part. If money's an issue for you, but safety is a concern, I'd strongly consider trading in that 9 on a reasonably priced, most of which are, large caliber wheel gun. Why draw a 9mm, then switch to pepper spray as a back up, when you can draw once and be confident?
Trade it for the right tool. (that wheel gun doubles as a home protection system just fine but that 9 doesn't double as a good choice for bear protection)
Rampant_Colt  [Team Member]
6/27/2007 6:26:11 PM
9mm? If it was the only handgun i had, i would stoke it up with +P 124gr. Gold Dots for black bear defense; and a KA-BAR fighting knife
AKJEFF  [Team Member]
6/27/2007 11:01:35 PM

Originally Posted By Wojo:
If you are going to keep the 9 make sure you are using something that doesn't expand too rapidly. Bear skin is tough and you need penetration, even if it is just a black bear. I don't know what is available for 9's but I think using a FMJ might be your best bet. Your first shot hitting the dirt right in front of them might scare them off, after that empty the clip into it and reload while you are running in case you piss him off.

I lived in Sitka Alaska for two years. When I got there everyone laughed that I carried a .38 with me. In real short order I picked up .357, not for the Kodiak / Brown bears but to shoot the nearest person to me so I could out run them. How much do you like your wife and how much do you have her insured for?

Pepper spray only has a range of so far. And if you drop it while disarming it you might be phucked. Give the wife the pepper spray for back-up.

+1 on the Mossberg with slugs and triple Ohhh.



If you run from a bear that is alive and chasing you, you will die.
huck  [Member]
6/28/2007 3:15:08 AM
I live in black bear country, I carry a .45 ACP in a glock 21 or 36. Hydrashocks! A nine will get it done, but probably not as fast as you would like to see it done. Carry some 147 gr expanders and shoot well, shooting well is always your best defense.
itgoesboom  [Member]
6/28/2007 1:10:21 PM
Bear attacks are pretty rare, but they do happen.

Last year on our spring black bear hunt, we got within 50 yards of a sow and her three cubs, pretty cool experience! We could have shot her, since her cubs were over a year old, but we declined.

I did joke about blowing my bear cub distress call, to see how she would react. Of course, we had a .300 win mag and a .30-06, so wouldn't have been too much of an issue had she not reacted well , but we thought better of it, and didn't blow it.

Even at 50 yards away, actually, it was closer to 35 yards away, with her three cubs, momma bears focus was getting away after she winded us.

Knowing that we have 30,000 bears in the state, and going hiking pretty often, I always carry a firearm out in the woods. Either a 9mm or a .357mag revolver. 9mm if I am CCW, .357 if I am open carrying.

9mm is probably a little weak, but I suspect that the .357mag with decent loads would discourage all but the most determined bear.
RckClimber  [Member]
6/28/2007 2:16:42 PM

Originally Posted By New4John:

Originally Posted By sw41mag:

The 9mm is anemic at best for a bear. Even loaded with +P+ ammuntion.


I have to agree with this part. If money's an issue for you, but safety is a concern, I'd strongly consider trading in that 9 on a reasonably priced, most of which are, large caliber wheel gun. Why draw a 9mm, then switch to pepper spray as a back up, when you can draw once and be confident?
Trade it for the right tool. (that wheel gun doubles as a home protection system just fine but that 9 doesn't double as a good choice for bear protection)


It's a good suggestion, but my 9 is my carry gun, and it took me almost a year to save up for (I'm poor). I don't want to carry a large wheel gun (as a CCW). I guess I'll just truck around the shotty when hiking with the wife and kid (we don't hike to far, so it won't be a HUGE deal), and take the 9 and bear spray while really hiking and backpacking.
itgoesboom  [Member]
6/28/2007 2:24:20 PM

Originally Posted By RckClimber

It's a good suggestion, but my 9 is my carry gun, and it took me almost a year to save up for (I'm poor). I don't want to carry a large wheel gun (as a CCW). I guess I'll just truck around the shotty when hiking with the wife and kid (we don't hike to far, so it won't be a HUGE deal), and take the 9 and bear spray while really hiking and backpacking.


Bringing the shotgun along is a pretty good idea, even if it's only in the truck.

Odds are, if you are going to have a problem with a bear, it will be close to a campsite, and it will be a bear that is used to people, and taking food from them.

Like I said, I carry a 9mm when I am out in the woods, but truthfully, I would feel better with something a little more powerful.
Wojo  [Member]
6/29/2007 9:05:09 PM

Originally Posted By sw41mag:

Originally Posted By Wojo:
"I do have a 18.5 " barrel, but still would rather not carry it because of weight and because access to a handgun is easier than a rifle."

An injured person weighs a lot more to carry around then a long gun. With the right sling, access and weight shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like extra weight is more important to you then safety. Make sure you carry some Quik-Clot with you, if of course it doesn't weigh too much.



Here's the man from NJ telling us hikers that live out in the west how easy it is to hike with a shotgun. Uh...yeah.... ever hike for miles, scrambling up and down thousands of feet of elevation with a shotgun? Hell... why not carry your .338 uber mag rifle and a sword too just in case the gun jams.

The 9mm is anemic at best for a bear. Even loaded with +P+ ammuntion. But if it's the only thing you have then you have to go with it. In your position I would strongly consider carrying bear spray. Lots of would-be attacks lately have been stopped with a good blast of pepper spray. Personally I would prefer a simple Ruger BlackHawk in .45LC loaded with some Cor Bons or equally hot hard bullet but...


Yea, I can speak from experience. I lived in Alaska for two years and had family I used to visit that lived a little town south of Walla Walla Washington in a town called Milton-Freewater, OR. Not sure if that is west enough or remote enough for you. In AK I used to carry a sawed off shotgun and my 357 loaded with HOT loads that were close in performance to a 41 mag.

For all I know you could be one of the city slickers that live in CO Springs or an imbred from South Park... Just poking fun back at you! I ain't you typical ass hole from NJ. I have 7,000 acres of state forest against my property line, but hunt in VA, WV and New York state. Won't hunt NJ because there are too many ass holes!!!
Wojo  [Member]
6/29/2007 9:06:17 PM

Originally Posted By AKJEFF:

Originally Posted By Wojo:
If you are going to keep the 9 make sure you are using something that doesn't expand too rapidly. Bear skin is tough and you need penetration, even if it is just a black bear. I don't know what is available for 9's but I think using a FMJ might be your best bet. Your first shot hitting the dirt right in front of them might scare them off, after that empty the clip into it and reload while you are running in case you piss him off.

I lived in Sitka Alaska for two years. When I got there everyone laughed that I carried a .38 with me. In real short order I picked up .357, not for the Kodiak / Brown bears but to shoot the nearest person to me so I could out run them. How much do you like your wife and how much do you have her insured for?

Pepper spray only has a range of so far. And if you drop it while disarming it you might be phucked. Give the wife the pepper spray for back-up.

+1 on the Mossberg with slugs and triple Ohhh.



If you run from a bear that is alive and chasing you, you will die.


It's a joke son, I was making a funny.
kel3at  [Member]
7/22/2007 11:37:25 PM
Glock 20 - Carries 15 rounds of 10mm ammo. More power than the 45acp but not as much as the .41 or .44 Magnum.
RckClimber  [Member]
7/23/2007 3:47:07 PM

Originally Posted By kel3at:
Glock 20 - Carries 15 rounds of 10mm ammo. More power than the 45acp but not as much as the .41 or .44 Magnum.


Not a Glock fan, sorry. I'd get a .44 mag revolver if I had the $$. Anyway, as an update, I took both the 12 gauge and the 9mm. The shotty was in my pack, in my tent, and I carried the 9 on me. Didn't see any bears or snakes, all went well.

As an aside, something nice did happen though. My wife, while not anti gun or anything, doesn't have any interest in guns. She'll go shooting with me occasionally, but used to think I was paranoid and weird for having and wanting to carry guns. The morning I left for camp, she asked my about 3 times if I had both guns, and enough ammo for them. She's turning!
muddydog  [Member]
7/23/2007 11:13:23 PM
i did 2 years of hard ass research on the black bears in college.
up and down mountains..
up and down mountains..

did i mention up and down??

if i was concerned about ANY URSUS species..
i would make sure a long arm was on hand..

shotguns or rifles..

the .12 ga slug is the time proven by hard use and government study..

i will tell you this..
over the years, i really think that the lever guns such as the winny 94 in 30-30 and even the 1894 marlin .44 are vastly over looked. they are exceptional to carry or sling.
plus they come with a survival factor should something bad happen to you other than bear related.

6 lb firearms?? can be fitted with night sights and a ghost ring with 16inch barrel.

i carried a 870 riot gun and a various rifles in those 2 years.

i carried a pistol some, but it was for the kewlness factor..lol.
trust me when i say that if we would have ever had a situation..i doubt my revolver would have ever cleared leather..and i would have fought whoever had possession of the nearest long gun.

we have since had a significant increase in bear activity at our cabin and i have convinced my father to carry the 94 with him when he goes down there.

for years, he wouldnt even bother to take a .22 when looking for deer sign and checking feeders.


i have a 6 y/o boy ..and i can promise you that as soon as he gets old enough, a 1894 loaded with stout loads will be his companion in the woods.
muddydog  [Member]
7/23/2007 11:22:57 PM
one problem..not thought about.

for years there have been changes in bear attacks. griz and blackies were thought to attack only in threatening situations..

sow and cubs and stumbling unto feeding areas come to mind right off.

in the late 80's a shift in black bear behaviour really started to be documented. a large percentage of attacks on humans fit criteria of actual feeding behavior complete with a stalk and kill mode, normally by large boars.

by the lack or hunting..with and without hounds. they started to get bold and realized..we are the "other white meat"..

from what i have seen, it will be very difficult to drive off a determined bear on killing you for food. they are tough critters.

i never have understood the whole handgun approach. handguns are hard to shoot period..many people who you might be with will be able to shoot a rifle much more accurately, with little training.

i would much rather leave a pistol at home and carry more water.

some of the footage that has been filmed and been veried by attacks on people that have been witnessed by others are unreal.

people think of black bears as disneyfied..and fun looking. i have 2 bear attack books that will have you sweating by the time you finish them.
Wdsman  [Member]
7/24/2007 12:56:15 PM
Someone will probably raise the BS flag on this, but I'll share my "bear charge" story.

In 1990, my Dad and I hiked 1500 miles of the AT. He was 60 and I was 21 so I usually hiked ahead and then stopped and waited for him to catch up.

One day in MA, I heard a rustle in the leaves to my left. I stopped and turned hoping to see a deer (we hadn't seen anything but squirrel for a couple of weeks). There was a small black bear (I'd guess about 200 lbs) running straight at me. Of course I did what any macho woodsman would do. I threw my hands in the air and screamed like a little girl.

Well apparently the larger profile and the loud noise made me look threatening. The bear tried to stop, but skidded in the loose leaves. His backside passed his front and he slid to a halt about 6 feet away on his back. He flipped over and ran off into the bushes.

Good news. In 5 months of hiking and encounters with 7 different bear including a mother with two cubs and another I almost bumped into while night hiking this was the only aggressive behavior we saw. More Good News. I'm still here.

Bad news. Even if I'd been carrying, if that bear had not stopped I seriously doubt I would have ever cleared leather before he was on me.

Worse news. A few weeks later two other south-bound hikers were killed by a crazy man.

My conclusions:

1. The probability of being attacked by a black bear is pretty low.
2. Even in the bear woods - people are still the scariest things around.
3. Even though things turned out OK and even though I might not have been able to draw in time, I sure would've liked to have a firearm that day.
4. You probably don't want to hear the story about the time a park ranger told me to hit a bear with a shovel.
muddydog  [Member]
7/24/2007 11:56:24 PM
blackies can move incredibly fast.

whats wild is how fast they can climb trees.
the first few i would see a blur in the woods and keep looking on the ground. only to have my companions tell me they saw it climb up.

i swear that a 200lb black bear climbs faster than a fox squirrel or raccoon. i guess its the size covering some serious measurements up a tree.