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Old May 20, 2021, 08:46 AM   #1
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Are 4 legged critters a consideration for your daily self defense carry?

I only started considering a firearm for self defense when I turned 40 (I am now mid 50s). I had owned long guns for recreation and hunting before.

My fiancee and I were returning to our tent after a soak in one of the remote natural thermal springs in the Colorado South West, when a big black bear came out of the brush 40 yards ahead of us and followed us towards the tent. We had nothing but flip-flops on (or were they crocs? I digress). We got in the truck and that night we drove down to town and I bought my first pistol at a pawn shop, a cheap Astra that barely worked.

The area where I reside in the foothills of the Colorado Front Range is virtually crime free (although that is a different issue when I go into town). However, I routinely have bears trying to mess with our trash and I have caught the mountain lion on trail camera a few times strolling past our porch (can you see the lion below )

There are times when if there has been a very heavy snow storm and my vehicle cannot make it up my steep 300 yard long driveway, I may have to park at the bottom and walk up to the house.

So when I decided to get a CCW permit and carry a pistol for self defense, both 2 legged and 4 legged threats were in my mind. At the end I decided that 9mm is probably enough for the black bears here in Colorado, but what I am trying to say is that I took into consideration defense from 4 legged critters when selecting my daily carry options.

I am not trying to start one of those threads where people talk about what the right caliber is for defense against bears, etc. What I was just wondering, since we are all from such different areas, is:

- how many of you fellow CCW permit holders have had to give thought to defense from 4-legged threats in your daily carry? Is protection from 4-legged critters even an issue for you?

- And if it is, how important is it? Is it your main concern or a side consideration?

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Old May 20, 2021, 09:42 AM   #2
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Not really. We seem to be pretty much fresh out of critters that will bother you around here. A dog many be. I saw a rabid racoon once, but it was on Corp of Engineers land, so no guns there anyway. I reported it to the ranger.

I have considered using it to put down a deer hit by a car, but have never actually had to do it.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:00 AM   #3
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I carry a handgun for defensive purposes on my property because of many encounters with black bears over the years. None were truly unprovoked aggression, but a couple were sows with young in tow and some were bears that were being fed by well digging crews on surrounding property. Those ones have no fear and are very difficult to chase away. The females made mock charges and then retreated back to their young. They’re doing what they’re supposed to and I don’t want to harm any of them for being protective. My one and only true “attack” was from a very large dog tracking me in the snow on my own property and then actually attacking me when it caught up to me. I was carrying a ground blind and a stool while wearing my hunting revolver in a chest holster. When the dog got within about twenty-five yards of me I dropped the blind and stool and drew the revolver. The dog was growling and the hair on its back stood up. It bared its teeth and started running towards me. I fired one shot over its back and it still came towards me but ran off to my right side. As soon as it got past me it turned and went for the back of my leg. I shot it at point blank range (inches, not feet) with my 357mag. It dropped right there. I don’t know why that dog attacked, it wasn’t defending its own property/territory, and I wasn’t doing anything to provoke it. I felt bad about it, but there was no doubt that dog meant business. It wasn’t wearing a collar so there was no one to notify or call. You never know what might happen when you’re out in a remote area and it’s probably better to be prepared than not. I was hunting the day the dog attacked so I was armed. Now I’m always armed when I’m out alone.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:21 AM   #4
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I live in CO and hunt and fish frequently as well. Two legged critters are my primary consideration, but I am fine with 9mm for Bears, Mountain Lions and Coyotes if I happen to run into a rare one that might come after me. I have had bears and Lions follow me hunting, but they never got closer than a few hundred yards.

Hunting, I am usually carrying a high powered rifle as well. Sometimes I will carry a 10mm or .41 Mag, but more just because I might want to fill a tag with the handgun if opportunity presents than for wild predators.

Truth be told, I have put down several wounded animals, and that at times leads me to carry a heavier handgun. A few deer gutted by jumping a barbwire fence, 5 animals still alive after being hit by cars and several Elk wounded by slob hunters. Yes, I notified LE in all cases and there were no issues. But I don't like seeing wounded animals and so I am pretty quick to put them out of their misery if I see such. So if I am carrying 9mm and driving out of the metro area, not only do I take a full med kit, but something more powerful. I might toss in the .308, or a 12g or maybe the lever action. If I lived more in the sticks like you, I might have a gun locker in the vehicle with a shorter pump action 12g with slugs all the time.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:23 AM   #5
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Southern Wisconsin, I’ve considered coyotes and feral dogs when out with very young kids or puppies. Sometimes it was a pistol in my pocket. Before my hip replacement, a good stout staff served several roles.

Please note that in the US there is about 1 bear fatality per year, 30-50 due to dogs, 27 in the past 100 years due to cougars.

Excess mortality in us since 2020 Covid outbreak is in the 500,000 to 703,000 range.

Even vaccinated, I still wear a mask indoors as I could be asymptomatically spreading virus.

You can tell me the chances are very small that a vaccinated person sheds enough virus to infect an unvaccinated person, but here we are with another bear thread, chances being one in 323 million.
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Old May 20, 2021, 11:17 AM   #6
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Actual defense against animals is not usually a consideration for me, but when I'm working on my property I've taken to carrying a 327 snubby in my back pocket. Usually loaded with 32 H&R loads because they've been enough to get the job done on coons, dogs, and recently, an 80lb pig. If I felt the need for more I'd either go to full Fed Mag loads or carry my 44spl snubby.
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Old May 20, 2021, 11:18 AM   #7
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I usually carry under three circumstances:

- When going to public soft targets such as theaters, malls, Walmart etc. This is for two-legged critter defense.

- When taking walks in the country. This is mostly for four-legged critter defense, mainly against loose dogs but also for the remote possibility of black bears, or rabid animals.

- When driving in the country. This is mostly for four-legged events such as putting down a deer after a collision.

Depending on what clothing I am wearing at the time I will carry either my LCP II (.380, 6+1) or my SCCY (9mm, 10+1), the latter for country walking or driving.
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Old May 20, 2021, 03:18 PM   #8
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I live in a part of Va that has lots of bears.Wifey and I walk a lot and have gotten uncomfortably close to mama and cubs,so yes,I carry for that.Let me say that I would take all measures to avoid harming an animal because I feel that I am in their world and can't we just all get along.True story- about 20 miles from here just a few years ago some guys were mending fence and were attacked by a rabid black bear. Only the second known case ever in the eastern US. Luckily they had a 12 their Gator......It happens
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Old May 20, 2021, 04:45 PM   #9
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Only the second known case ever in the eastern US. Luckily they had a 12 their Gator......It happens
Can't say I've ever heard of a bear with rabies, but guess it could happen, but there are a lot more than 2 cases of bear attack in the eastern US.

But yes, 4 legged predator protection is part of my thought process. Although usually not at the top of my list. Even in bear country 2 legged predators are the more likely threat and that is my primary concern.

The good news is that there are several options that will do double duty. I avoid both extreme ends of the spectrum. Some guys see a 22 as an ideal woods bumming pistol and some carry the same 380 in the woods as they do on city streets.

At the other end a big bore heavy revolver might be a good option for bear hunting, but is just too much gun to carry around for bear defense.

A decent 9mm, 45 ACP pistol or compact 357 revolver can be quite effective with the right ammo and is what I'd advise. I like 9mm or 45 better, but that is personal preference. I get more rounds in a more compact gun and since 2 legged predators are my primary concern lean that way

I'd advise some of the specialty loads from companies like Buffalo Bore or Double Tap. Yes, those loads are expensive, but I only put a few rounds through the gun to ensure they function. After than a box might last a lifetime. The 147 gr 9mm Buffalo Bore load is what Phil Shoemaker used 3-4 years ago to stop a charging brown bear in Alaska.

You can use normal, less expensive loads for practice and 2 legged predator defense.
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Old May 20, 2021, 04:47 PM   #10
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Biggest consideration for me down here are coyotes (two & four leg) and nolegs. The latter the biggest threat.
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Old May 20, 2021, 05:04 PM   #11
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My primary concern is two legged predators.

I carry whether at home or in the woods, and have run across a few bears, cats, and coyotes while in the boonies, but, I’ve never run into a situation where I had to use a firearm to defend against animals.

Can’t say the say for the two legged critters.
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Old May 20, 2021, 05:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by stinkeypete View Post
Southern Wisconsin, I’ve considered coyotes and feral dogs when out with very young kids or puppies. Sometimes it was a pistol in my pocket. Before my hip replacement, a good stout staff served several roles.

Please note that in the US there is about 1 bear fatality per year, 30-50 due to dogs, 27 in the past 100 years due to cougars.

Excess mortality in us since 2020 Covid outbreak is in the 500,000 to 703,000 range.

Even vaccinated, I still wear a mask indoors as I could be asymptomatically spreading virus.

You can tell me the chances are very small that a vaccinated person sheds enough virus to infect an unvaccinated person, but here we are with another bear thread, chances being one in 323 million.
I don't wear a mask now that I'm vaccinated - I know the facts.

I also know that there is no 911 out in the woods, so the pistol I carry is rational and comforting.
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Old May 20, 2021, 07:16 PM   #13
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I give about as much consideration to protection against four legged critters with my carry gun as I do to public mass shootings. They capture a LOT of the news coverage, but affect the most minor number of victims.

More people are attacked in my home town by people trying to get money for drugs than are attacked by bears, mountain lions, coyotes, feral hogs, and deer across the US.

There is nothing wrong with having plans for various contingencies, but let's face it, most of the things that people seem to get really bothered by are the things least likely to happen to them. They are far more likely to get attacked by a family member, friend, or acquaintance than by any other threat. Strangely, nobody seems to worry about CCW considerations for attacks from a spouse/significant other or ex. Nobody wants to know what gun to defend against your strung out drug crazed adult daugher/son.

So you decided to go with X caliber, say 9mm, for defense against bears, mountain lions, etc. Either it gets you the stop or it doesn't, just like with humans. Lacking are significant studies that show a particular caliber performs significantly better than any other caliber when it comes to random 4 legged critters. According to Weingarten, caliber is inconsequential for defending against any and all bears. People seem to be nearly as successful with .22 lr pistols as they are with 9mm. Actually, 5 out of 6 were successful against bears with .22 rimfire pistols, the one failure being against a polar bear. Seven of seven 9mm uses were successful, but none were against polar bears. Of note, a more power .357 magnum failed in one case. It is not known if the bear was struck or not. Strangely, Weingarten seems to be implying that there is a need to hit the target.

Whatever caliber pistol I decide to carry for self defense is going to work (statistically) against any of the 4 legged predators in the lower 48. I am not going to carry any sort of 'special' ammunition in case I come across a bear or mountain lion. It really is an exceptionally rare issue that is WAY over hyped.

I can remember being in Academy after 9/11. They had sold out of nearly all their guns. The clerk behind the gun case was laughing...because .380 pocket pistols aren't going to stop a plane. People like to worry way too much about the wrong things.

I will add this. It doesn't matter what the threat is if you are attacked an you leave your gun in the truck, some distance from you. This incident was of an experienced surveyor with 40 years experience doing his job in Alaska and he is out surveying a rural property and left his gun in the truck. He justifies his error by saying he would not have had time to use it, but strangely, he did have time to use his stadia rod to try to fend off the bear. Color more skeptical, but to claim that he would not have time to use one tool when he tried to use another tool would indicate that time wasn't the issue. Access was. He had no access to his pistol because HE LEFT IT IN THE TRUCK. Despite giving exact GPS coordinates to his location (he is a surveyor, after all), it took 59 minutes for help to arrive. Basically, he spent his golden hour bleeding out.

Based on the description, this was the most common of attacks, the surprise encounter. Once the bear no longer considered the surveyor to be a threat, it just walked away.
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Old May 20, 2021, 07:47 PM   #14
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Not in the area I am currently in. However if I were in an area where there were man eating critters I would be carrying Lehigh Extreme penetrators.
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Old May 20, 2021, 10:50 PM   #15
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I live on the edge of what is considered out in the country here in Oregon and the problem is city folk that thing they can dispose of an unwanted dog or cat by dumping it out in the sticks. Anything I carry that will protect me from 2 legged varmints will take out a feral dog...

I've only seen a cougar once and a black bear twice. They're around but they make themselves scarce... With as many deer as we have in town, I would have expected cougar to be more of a problem but they don't seem to be.

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Old May 21, 2021, 06:25 AM   #16
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My 144# Bullmastiff is likely the largest 4 legged critter I'm likely to encounter.

How do I consider what to carry for SD?
Of the concealable pistols I own, would I prefer this in hand if I had to defend myself?
Note how location or "anticipated threat" are not factored in that simple question.
Anywhere I'd prefer a 32/380/38 snub in hand to defend myself rather than a Glock 23? No, nope. ... Look how simple that was.
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Old May 21, 2021, 07:01 AM   #17
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Sort of. I carry a .22 when I am cycling in the country just in case a territorial dog has more in mind than a short chase. It's not my regular CCW.
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:47 AM   #18
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I carry outside the home always. A Walther TPH .22 in my pocket for snakes etc around the ranch. When I walk my pug dogs at night or early morning, i carry a Beretta 84 .380 due to the many, and increasingly bold coyotes that hang around.
Say when.....
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:56 AM   #19
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Are 4 legged critters a consideration for your daily self defense carry?
Around here, no.

The occasional black bear, anywhere in this corner of the state, is news. Literally, reported on the evening news. They've wandered far from wherever they came from.

There are rumors of big cats, but never solid sightings or reports of attacks on humans.

If I were to go wandering in the woods (unlikely, given the current state of my knees), yeah, I'd probably gun up. .44 something, or .45 acp.
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Old May 21, 2021, 05:30 PM   #20
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I live in Colorado and I haven't run into any animal out in the woods yet that 1. Behaved aggressively towards me or 2. I would feel inadequate to defend against with simple OC spray.

I'm much more concerned about running into an illegal grow while out hiking than I am being attacked by an animal
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Old May 21, 2021, 06:20 PM   #21
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Double Naught,
Superb and well thought out post. The boogyman is far more likely to be known to you. Plan accordingly. Cartels are burying the USA in meth and heroin. Meth makes people crazy.
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Old May 21, 2021, 06:22 PM   #22
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As a matter of fact, they are.

I live in a valley surrounded by woods, and in recent years, an increasing number of wild animals have been coming out of the woods. Animals have always wandered out of the woods a little, but it was always deer or turkeys, never anything predatory. However, just a few years ago we started having trouble with coyotes, then we had sightings of boar, then we started finds bear tracks/scat in the yard.
At which point, I upgraded from .380 ACP to .40 S&W. Some folks will say that .40 is insufficient for self-defense against predatory animals, but we aren't dealing with Grizzly here, and my primary concern is still two-legged predators, so I'm not about to start carrying my H&K USP45 Elite, much less my 590 Shockwave. I carry an M&P40 Shield during warm weather, an SW40VE during cold weather, and I'm confident that either will do the job should I run into a wild animal between getting out of the car and into the house.
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Old May 21, 2021, 08:30 PM   #23
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Here in Central Ohio, I doubt if we would run into anything bigger than an angry dog, although I have seen a few folks hurt by an injured whitetail deer hit by a car when they got too close. Anything I carry for personal self defense should be effective against any threat we encounter. We have started to have credible reports in the eastern Appalachian counties of black bears being seen occasionally, but that's several counties east of us and they have not made it this far (yet).
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Old May 21, 2021, 10:53 PM   #24
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4 legged is my main concern.
I started carrying about 10 years ago after several incidents including being charged by an unleashed German Shepherd starting 50 yards away (dang they move fast) followed by coyotes and bobcats, and credible reports of mountain lions.
I’m still too young to die but too old to get my gluteus kicked / eaten and then recover from an animal attack.

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Old May 22, 2021, 07:47 AM   #25
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Four legged is my main concern , but only when they are attached to two humans
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