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Old June 9, 2000, 01:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 1, 2000
Location: Pleasant Lake
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Whats your favorite gun for hunting big game, bear, couger, behind hounds?
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Old June 9, 2000, 10:49 AM   #2
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Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Arizona.
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In my mis-spent youth, I did quite a bit of this. My cousin and I guided bear and cougar hunts for rich, stupid clients in the pacific northwest. Of all of the people we took out, I never met one that I would hunt with by choice.

The big issue with the guns was always power to weight ratio. We had to run after the dogs a lot. Up hill, down dell, through brush, and all over the place. Once the dogs treed the critter, we wanted to get there as soon as possible, and you never got to choose which tree they went up, or how far away it was from the truck.
The shots at treed game never exceeded 50 feet, so accuracy was not a primary concern.
Shooting through brush, limbs, and stopping power were the problem.

We started with big .357 and .44 mag wheelguns, and found them totally inadequate for bear, and nearly adequate for cougar.

Went to shortened trapper style Winchester 94 carbine lever guns in 30-30.
I didn't like them due to various issues, mostly horsepower related when it came to bear, and finally settled on a pump 12 gauge with slugs and a bead sight. This worked very well. I also carried extra 00 buck and some #2 and #8 bird shot in case we ran across grouse or raccoons. Very handy to carry only one gun for all of the perceived eventualities.
I wish that Surefire lights were available then. It would have made life a lot easier on night hunts.
Bear in mind that 99% of my shots during this time were at wounded, pissed off dangerous game that the client had already botched up. For this reason, I wanted to be SURE of the stopping power of the round I used. Hence, the 12 gauge slugs. Big holes, lots of penetration, nearly always a gaping exit wound. Gaping exit wounds are a good thing.

One of the other guys we hunted with regularly had a 45-70 Winchester 1886 that worked well also.
Very heavy to run with though. He ended up cutting it down to 17" of barrel to lighten it up. I cringe now to think of how he butchered that beautiful old gun, but back then they were a lot more available.

The .444 marlin would have been good if better bullets were available then. The available pistol type bullets of the day tended to fragment due to the velocity, and cast bullets were out due to the Marlin's microgroove rifling.
Bullet choices for it have improved dramatically in the last 20 years, so it may be worth another look now.
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