Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Share your tips for safe hiking, surviving in the wild and managing hiking injuries!
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Chairforce26
Posts: 4
Joined: December 28th, 2019, 8:52 am

Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by Chairforce26 » December 28th, 2019, 9:25 am

I like to go hiking by myself most of the time as I often work a weird schedule and I seldom can go hiking with freinds. The truth is though, I like going with freinds but I love hiking alone and being in the wilderness alone. Its almost always a fun, relaxing experience for me.

Okay so here is the intersting part. About 5 years ago I was hiking the Dog Mountain trail on the Washington side alone towards the end of November. Most of you probably know this trail and know it gets most of its traffic in the spring time because of its view and the blooming flowers in May. Anyway this particular day there was basically no one on the trail and I was alone almost the whole way up. I went up the center trail which is a little tougher than going to the right. Towards the top before you get to the clearing I started hearing branches snap. Over and over in 3-4 second intervals. I couldn't tell where they were coming from but it seemed like it followed me. Felt really uneasy and all I had with me was a folding knife. Eventually the sound stopped and I made it to the clearing and decided to continue to the top where I ran into a couple people and just sort of followed them down the rest of the way. I didn't say anything about it to them since I didn't want to worry them or sound like a wierdo.

Anyway, long story short since that time I always hike with a handgun when hiking any trail alone. I don't have a concealed carry permit so I legally open carry my firearm. I don't mean to attract attention or scare other hikers but I don't take anymore chances hiking alone. I'd rather have my firearm and not need it, then need it and not have it. That being said I don't bother carrying during the summer months when the trails are crowded.

I've never seen a cougar or bear out there in the Gorge in the almost 20 years I've lived in this area nor throughout all my hikes in the Gorge or the coast. Doesn't mean they're not there though. If figure these animals mostly stear clear of people and trails frequented by lots of people. But I also figure you're more likely to see these animals, cougars in particular in the dawn or dusk hours during the winter months.

squidvicious
Posts: 316
Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by squidvicious » December 28th, 2019, 9:44 am

The thought of an armed person on the trail who freaks out when they hear some twigs breaking on "creepy" trails concerns me FAR FAR more than any bears or cougars--both of which I have seen, and neither of which had the least interest in me.

Chairforce26
Posts: 4
Joined: December 28th, 2019, 8:52 am

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by Chairforce26 » December 28th, 2019, 10:11 am

squidvicious wrote:
December 28th, 2019, 9:44 am
The thought of an armed person on the trail who freaks out when they hear some twigs breaking on "creepy" trails concerns me FAR FAR more than any bears or cougars--both of which I have seen, and neither of which had the least interest in me.
My safety is my responsibility, if me carrying a firearm bothers you I can't help that.

Those of you who do carry I'd like to know what holster you use. I've used just a regular hip holster but I've heard from some it's better to have a chest holster.

Aimless
Posts: 1605
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by Aimless » December 28th, 2019, 10:55 am

Your safety is your responsibility, but when you carry a firearm with the intent to use it at will, then it is also your responsibility to keep other hikers safe from your fears and apprehensions.

Carrying a sidearm may make you feel safer, but that is mostly an illusion. You should never discharge it unless you have a clear and unmistakable view of what you are shooting at. It requires time to make a good identification, especially at dawn or dusk, and time is a luxury you may not have. It will not help you much if a bear attacks you. Even if you have a steady hand and amazing aim. A bullet doesn't always take down a human and bears are bigger and much stronger than humans. It will only help against a cougar if the cougar is so clumsy that you become aware of it in time. Remember, cougars routinely stalk and successfully kill deer, which are FAR more attuned to their surroundings than any human. They also routinely avoid humans and attacks are so rare the number of cougar attacks in Oregon in the past 50 years can be counted on one hand. Same for bear attacks. Based on my own 55 years of experience on trails, if you do ever shoot something, I'd guess you're about 20 times more likely to shoot someone's dog than a bear or cougar.

Ditch the gun. It is much more likely to get you into horrible trouble than to save you from an animal attack.

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BigBear
Posts: 1664
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 11:54 am

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by BigBear » December 28th, 2019, 3:07 pm

There are a million sets of eyes watching your every step as you walk through the forest. Your imagination sees lions and tigers and bears. In reality, the eyes belong to prey who are watching your next move. Deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds.

The concern I have is not whether or not you carry a sidearm. I am concerned that you might fire blindly into the forest at noise or even movement. I would most-certainly hope that you would wait to see what was in the woods before discharging your weapon. You would lose everything if you shot someone peeing behind a tree...or someone on the next switchback because your shot went wide.

squidvicious
Posts: 316
Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm
Location: Troutdale

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by squidvicious » December 28th, 2019, 3:11 pm

Chairforce26 wrote:
December 28th, 2019, 10:11 am
My safety is my responsibility
Actually no, in this scenario MY safety is your responsibility. That's the problem.

But since you just joined only to make a single post about hiking with firearms, and a quick google shows your username only coming up associated with forums like AR15.com, m4carbine.net and glock.com, I'm getting the idea this was only ever a troll post anyway. I regret engaging.

Chairforce26
Posts: 4
Joined: December 28th, 2019, 8:52 am

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by Chairforce26 » December 28th, 2019, 5:45 pm

squidvicious wrote:
December 28th, 2019, 3:11 pm
Chairforce26 wrote:
December 28th, 2019, 10:11 am
My safety is my responsibility
Actually no, in this scenario MY safety is your responsibility. That's the problem.

But since you just joined only to make a single post about hiking with firearms, and a quick google shows your username only coming up associated with forums like AR15.com, m4carbine.net and glock.com, I'm getting the idea this was only ever a troll post anyway. I regret engaging.
Yeah, I regret you engaing as well since all you've done is insert your extreme hoplophia into this discussion. I guess you're tough enough to go out into the wild without fear of predators but yet you seem to fear inanimate objects made of polymer and steel for some reason. I guess maybe glocktalk.com would have been a better place to ask this question.

I realize animal attacks in the wild here and in most places in North America are rare but lets not forget there were two fatal encounters with cougars here in the PNW last year and one of them was in an area I've hiked before. These things are out there and they're not friendly Disney cartoons.

I do appreciate the bear spray suggestion, but when it comes to predators in the wild here my main concern around here would be cougars (wonder if bear spray works on them?) more than bears because as Aimless mentioned, they're ambush predators that will sneak up on their prey and they likely wouldn't even give you chance to respond if they chose to attack. Bears are far more clumsy animals plus from what I've heard they're pretty skiddish.

Moderator
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Joined: September 25th, 2014, 7:33 pm

Re: Cougars, Bears, Firearns, and Creepy Trails

Post by Moderator » December 28th, 2019, 6:08 pm

As the level of antagonism in this thread has already risen beyond what we like to see on these forums, this topic is being locked. Gun discussions are generally frowned upon here, as years of experience have demonstrated they reliably devolve into political infighting.

New user Chairforce26: you joined and then started a gun thread. If you have joined to be part of this hiking community, there are lots of opportunities here to discuss more general (and less polarizing) hiking topics, like trails, trips you've done, etc. If you're specifically interested in gun discussion, this is not the place. NWHikers.net has a dedicated "gun safety" type thread, which may be more what you're looking for in a hiking-specific forum.

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