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Posted: 6/16/2009 4:50:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 5:03:35 AM EST by w12x40]
Every year, the guys and I go fishing in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, up near the border with New York. I like small streams, hemlock trees and wild brookies. Last year while fishing, I saw a black bear and a copperhead within minutes of each other, and it crossed my mind that I should have something more for the bears than a little four-weight fly rod. I do not want to kill the bears, I just want them to go somewhere else for a while.

I'll be trout fishing in mid-September, wearing waders and a vest. It seems like a shoulder holster under the vest would be the best way to keep my hardware out of the water, though I wear a wading belt and I'm not an aggressive wader. I'd also like to make an effort to conceal it lest it cause consternation with some other sportsmen and I don't want it to seem to the Trout Police that I'm looking for a bear to kill. I have a concealed carry license and carry is legal in state parks, state forests and state game lands. Open carry is legal in Pennsylvania, but I'm not all that comfortable with it.

Here are my options:
S&W 629 6-1/2" .44Mag.
Glock 22 .40S&W
Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm.

I know the Glock would be the best last-ditch weapon. I could just pull the pin and take both me and the bear out. I don't have much budget for this because I bought a new Sage fly rod, though I'll gladly pay for quality. So, my friends, what would you select and how would you carry it?

The fishing spot:





The dangers:
ETA, the snake isn't venomous, but I'll leave the picture anyway.






Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:53:19 AM EST
That's not a copperhead. That's a non-venomous northern water snake.

Its Pennsylvania, not Alaska. I would carry what I normally carry in the woods. SIG 229 .40 or G21sf.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:56:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
That's not a copperhead. That's a non-venomous northern water snake.

Its Pennsylvania, not Alaska. I would carry what I normally carry in the woods. SIG 229 .40 or G21sf.


You're SURE? It had a triangular head...
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:58:53 AM EST
Originally Posted By w12x40:
Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
That's not a copperhead. That's a non-venomous northern water snake.

Its Pennsylvania, not Alaska. I would carry what I normally carry in the woods. SIG 229 .40 or G21sf.


You're SURE? It had a triangular head...


Triangular head is a poor indicator. Snakes flatten their heads out when threatened to mimic a more dangerous snake. Furthermore, it doesn't even have a copper head, its markings don't match, it doesn't have a heat sensing pit, the pupils are round, and the scale patterns are wrong.

That my friend, 100% is a northern watersnake.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:02:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:


Triangular head is a poor indicator. Snakes flatten their heads out when threatened to mimic a more dangerous snake. Furthermore, it doesn't even have a copper head, its markings don't match, it doesn't have a heat sensing pit, the pupils are round, and the scale patterns are wrong.

That my friend, 100% is a northern watersnake.


I feel better about it.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:02:51 AM EST
I highly doubt copperheads even live that far north.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:04:35 AM EST
Copperhead






Northern watersnake





Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:06:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By Harvster:
I highly doubt copperheads even live that far north.


Depending on what part of Pennsylvania, they do, but it is probably a rare occurrence.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:08:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By Harvster:
I highly doubt copperheads even live that far north.


Just looked. PA has three species of venomous snakes: copperheads, massasauga rattlesnakes and timber rattle snakes.

From the state Fishing & Boating Commission....

And a guide to identifying venomous snakes that I wish I'd have seen earlier:

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