Originally Posted by Rifleman1952
The OP might consider canoe or kayak trekking as an alternative to hiking by foot.
As a dedicated canoeist, I have to agree with this as a general statement -- but wanting to carry a shotgun along doesn't seem like a good reason for a dedicated hiker to give up hiking. There's something profoundly wrong with the idea that you have to stop doing something you love, the better to carry the weight of something you're unlikely to need.
I feel a lot safer in the boonies than in the city or on the highway, but were I to feel the need for a defensive tool, I'd rank the choices: #1 -- bear spray (also effective on 2-legs); #2 -- whatever handgun I'm comfortable with, and #3 -- a shotgun if I'm going into brown bear or (especially) polar bear country, as a last resort after #1.
(And, #1a, a nice little .22, just to plink and have fun with. Take that to the woods any ol' time.