Cougars, Reptiles and Bears. Oh My! Question for Hikers, Outdoor Enthusiasts and Hunters

by Robdar 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    In Yosemite I came face to face with a brown bear.

    It was ripping our backpack to shreds like it was tissue paper. That backpack had our money in it.

    So, I picked up a stick and went over and starting poking the bear's chest.

    It stopped and stood up on its hind legs.

    Suddenly it wasn't such a good idea.

    When I tell people this story they either don't believe me or think I must have been insane.

    YES, I must have been! I have no idea why I would do such a thing.

    The bear starting walking toward me in the classic "I'm gonna shred your flesh" mode and I started backing up.

    We were way up on top of one of the water falls. There was no place to back up to except the edge of the cliff.

    It kept coming and I kept poking.

    My three kids were screaming and crying and a friend was snapping photos!!

    My last thought was: "At least this will make the newspapers with photos of my demise!"

    Suddenly some cubs ran out of the trees and the bear wheeled away and dropped on all fours and ran to them and out of sight.

    I didn't quite come to my senses for hours.

    I only tell you this to explain that it is perhaps BECAUSE I didn't run I am still alive.

    I should never have confronted the bear.

    If I were you, I'd pack a .357 Magnum and keep it handy (but hidden.)

    Believe me, you'll feel a lot safer.

  • sinis

    Cubs are always a bad mix. I have ran across cubs in the past, never saw mom until a little later (followed me for a distance), but as soon as I saw the cubs I headed back. The friend I was with, not a big outdoor person, thought it was cool and wondered why I was concerned and insisted on leaving. He found out a few minutes later as mom popped out on the trail about 200 yards away and followed us down the mountain about quarter of the way before turning back.

    In my opinion guns are great noise makers, but if its a true maul situation you probably would not be able to get a shot off until the animal was on top of you, and even then a handgun, unless you get a lucky shot, won't make a difference as it tears the hell out of you. Even a human, mortally wounded can keep fighting for up to 1/2 a minute before dropping. At least that is my opinion... you would be better off buying a boat air horn at walmart for noise making or scaring animals away.

  • Low-Key Lysmith
    Low-Key Lysmith

    The best back country bear protection device you could possibly have on you is.............sleighbells. Tie a couple to your pack or your belt loops. Most maulings occur when you surprise a bear.

    The only bears you will have to worry about in the Smokey Mts are black bears, which can be dangerous, but, as a rule, black bears are much more timid and shy than grizzly/brown bears. Just make lots of noise. Bells work really well, but you can sing, shout, recite Shakespeare, whatever.

    If you do decide to bring along a gun, a .357 won't cut it. (Sorry Terry). You will only piss the animal off, thus ensuring a good mauling. Bring along a 12 ga shotgun with an 18" barrel. Load it with intermitent slugs & 00 buckshot. Aim for the armpit area. The least powerful pistol that I have ever considered for bear protection is a .44 mag. A .454 Cassull, .480 Ruger, or S&W .500 mag is much better. Just remember these high-powered handguns cripple at both ends. (They also cripple the pocketbook). The recoil can be quite intimidating, especially for someone with a smaller frame. I've spent most of my life playing in the woods and back country. One thing I've learned over the years is to ALWAYS have a firearm on you when camping/ fishing/ etc., not so much as protection from animals as protection from crazy people. True story.

    As far as cats go, They are there, but you have a better chance of being bitten by a shark than seeing one of these critters. Again, make lots of noise.

    Snakes are a mild danger too, but stick to established trails and keep tromping through the brush at a minimum, and you will be just fine.

    Sounds like a great trip. Have fun!

    P.S. Stay clear of local folks picking banjos.

  • Patty Cake
    Patty Cake

    I agree with sinis about making a lot of noise. I don't carry bear spray. More than likely it'll just make them madder :0

    Never seen a grizzly, just black/ brown bears. I've also hiked in snake country (although not a lot of rattlers there), always wore boots.

    If you don't go with the snake guards, put your pants on top of (not inside) your boots. I always carried a walking stick with me. Some folks I knew carried a stick shaped like a fork at the bottom so that if need be they could spear the snake.

    If you can handle the weight and can find the product, old ammo cans (usually sold at real army stores, they come in all sizes) work really well to store food - they are bear proof and the smell of food is completely sealed in the can. I've used those before while camping, they work great. Just make sure to smell the inside of the can before you buy it to make sure that there isn't nasty residue inside.

    Racoons are evil, the spawn of Satan the Devil!!



  • shamus100

    If bears are habituated or are in contact with humans a lot, they can be aggressive. The less they have to do with humans, the better adjusted they are.

    Kiss the monkey.

  • Robdar

    Had to leave for while. Thank you all for your suggestions.

    Terry, I believe you must have a pure heart and that is why you escaped permanent mauling. Either that or you convinced the bear that you are completely mad and it decided discretion is the better part of valor. LOL

    Low-Key, sleigh bells are a good idea. I can just see me and the hubby decked out in hiking boots, sleigh bells, snake guards and a .357 magnum. LOL. The only problem with a gun is I am a better shot than the Professor. If the bear attacks me, I fear it might be a bullet that leads to my demise instead of bear choppers. I am not too afraid of banjo pickers but they better stay away from my husband. He has such a fine rumpus that it might drive them wild. If that happens, I am not to be held responsible for sending them directly to red neck heaven.

    Patty, ammo cans are a good idea. I will be in Kansas City this weekend. There are a couple of army surplus stores there and I will take a look around. And you called it on the racoons--the spawn of Satan the Devil! LOL

    Shamus, my luv, I will kiss you any where, any time.

  • Robdar

    Sinis, I had never heard of a ring tailed cat before. Probably because they do not live in this part of the USA. They are awfully cute. But then, so are rabbits. I know the evil truth about bunnies--cute and adorable but vicious if cornered. Rabbits are definitely one of God's little jokes. I'm thinking ring tailed cats are probably one of his little jokes too.

  • flipper

    ROBDAR- I hope you and your professor have a great time in the Smokey mountains ! I'd probably say to be more cautious about the whitewater rafting than any threats by the animals ! Hopefully you'll be rafting with reputable companies who take safety precautions to the utmost. One hit on the head on a rock and you're toast. Just be careful.

    In regards to mountain animals out here in the Sierra mountains in Northern California , I've been hiking out here for over 30 something years . Yes there are mountain lions - however they are so reclusive they will see us long before we see them, if ever. They would just as soon avoid humans if possible. If the rare occasion comes where you DO see a mountain lion , don't run according to experts - they will instinctively chase - stand tall speak loud and appear big . Usually lions will go away unless they have young near they are protecting. This is according to the fish & game officials in California.

    Bears are never usually a problem unless you leave food out where you are camping or outside your cabin. When I've hiked I always " bearbag " and hang my food on a high tree limb about 70 to 100 ft. from camp 20 ft. high or more. Once again, bears aren't a problem unless they feel their young are threatened, they don't want to deal with us like we don't want to deal with them.

    As regards snakes, most snakes are harmless, unless you are dealing with poisonous rattlesnakes or water moccasins , or whatever the hell poisonous snakes they have back east there. If you are hiking just keep checking along the trail as you are walking through thick brush or heavy vegetation areas. Sometimes carrying a good, light walking stick about 4- 5 ft. in length can work wonders to not only support you if you get tired walking, but to poke unseen areas and stir up brush along the ground to ward off any critters, or possibly snakes. If a rattlesnake rattles at you, stay away from it a good 10 ft. or more or as far as you can get away from it. Move on and let it be. Usually they will crawl away unless they feel they are being threatened. My son & I just hiked on a trail in a remote canyon in June in Northern California , we saw a Rattler and it just slithered away into the brush. They usually want to avoid humans as well.

    One thing you didn't mention was Bigfoot. If you see one of those, get a picture of him or her, and light a cigar ! You'll be one of the few to get a good picture ! I've got pictures of footprints , heard them, been within 60 feet of one , but they are safe as well - they'd rather avoid humans as well. Good luck to you and have a great time ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • WhatWasIThinking

    I always carry a handgun when I'm in the desert or in the woods. I would not attempt to use it on a bear. As mentioned a hiking stick is good to have. You can use it to poke into areas and you can swing it if you have to. Making noise is good. Most animals just want us to leave them alone and will go out of their way to avoid us if they know we are there.

    Regarding the handgun and the bear, really your best chance would be to shoot your partner so you can outrun him. Remember, you don't have to outrun the bear, just someone else.

  • Robdar

    Flipper, good advice about the snakes. I believe Tennessee has almost the same kind of snakes that Bama, where I grew up, has except for coral snakes. Diamond back rattlers and water moccasins are certainly something to be feared. I remember one time when we were out in service and we encountered a rattler. We were doing mountainous territory and my mother ran over the granddaddy of all diamond backs. It stretched completely across the road and into the brush. My mom ran over that thing and then backed up to run over it again. She ran over it like 4 times before it died with a loud popping sound. Needless to say, there was mayhem in the car. I thought one of the special pioneers was going to faint dead away. Ah, what good times we had back in the day. LOL

    You bet I will be on the outlook for Big Foot.

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