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Old September 27, 2006, 09:34 PM   #1
gunslinger555
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Appalachian trail: should I bring a gun?

My brother and I are planning a trip on the appalachian trail for about a month this coming summer. I'm not sure of the threats that will be on the trail. should I carry a firearm on the trail? I guess I'm afraid coming across bears do I have anything to worry about? I should mention I am 18 and will be 19 when I go and probly cant carry a handgun when I go.
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Old September 27, 2006, 09:54 PM   #2
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A shotgun should be legal unless you're going to be in national parks.

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Old September 27, 2006, 10:52 PM   #3
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I know a guy who hiked the whole trail from Georgia to I think Maine one summer/early fall. He was one of only a handful to actually finish the trail among hundreds who started in I think April.

There ARE potential threats from the hillbillies who believe that you're trespassing on "their" property.

But if you're backpacking for days on end, you REALLY want to get by without a gun if possible, for the critical weight savings. Every little ounce helps. If you must, it needs to be light, light, light. Titanium or aluminum revolver, or plastic semi-auto (assuming you are packing and not just camping from a vehicle). Short barrel - 2 to 3".

I've heard stories that the hillbillies will set booby traps on the trail, like fish hooks hanging at eye level and such. So just watch the trail carefully.
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Old September 27, 2006, 10:58 PM   #4
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Dang, them's some dangerous hillbillies. Hope they's not none of mah kinfolks there doing none a that.



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P.S. - Does Maine and the rest of them Yankee states even have mountainwilliams?
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Old September 27, 2006, 11:11 PM   #5
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But if you're backpacking for days on end, you REALLY want to get by without a gun if possible, for the critical weight savings. Every little ounce helps.
What does a GLOCK 27 weigh, loaded? Approximately 27 ounces (according to technical data on their website). Come on, you and I agree on most stuff, but I can't go with you on this. To me, if I did not figure that I'd end up arrested for illegal carry (some states on the trail would recognize my license, and others would not) I'd figure out a way to deal with the extra weight. That's less than a quart of water, which weighs two pounds, dude.

And it could save your life just as easily.


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Old September 27, 2006, 11:26 PM   #6
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I've backpacked the Appalachian trail though Shenandoah national park through Virginia, and there's no reason to carry there. The two-legged critters are all friendly, and the black bears are all rather skitish. If you've got a VA-legal CCW, you might want to think about a .357 Magnum, but I doubt you'd have anything to worry about without one.

BTW, if memory serves me correctly, I've been there 18 times. Great place! I've gone though there by car, backpack, bicycle, and motorcycle. No need for any sort of firearm.

Last edited by skeeter1; September 27, 2006 at 11:47 PM. Reason: More info
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Old September 27, 2006, 11:36 PM   #7
springmom
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He can't CARRY a handgun, guys. He's 18. (Didn't we just have this conversation over in L&P?)

A lightweight rifle or a synthetic stock shotgun are your options.

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Old September 27, 2006, 11:48 PM   #8
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As a "hillbillie" I can only quote the great orator and lawyer, Algonquain J. Calhoon, and say that "I resents that allegation and I resents the alligator!"

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Old September 27, 2006, 11:59 PM   #9
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badbob--

AFAIC, the "hillbillies" that I've encountered on the Apalachian trial are among some of the nicest people I've met. They'll share their water, food, whatever. When you live in a city like Cleveland, the mountain-folk are far better by comparison.
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:36 AM   #10
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You might be able to strap a Trapper in .357 on the side of your pack. Reasonably light, for a long gun. Still, its more than I would want to carry on the trail. Is the AR7 available in .22 mag?
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:36 AM   #11
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dang!
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Old September 28, 2006, 03:01 AM   #12
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Watch the movie, "The Hills have Eyes" before you go and then ask the question. No one here can say if you will need a gun or not. It is mainly a matter of luck and who/what you meet. For sure a gun can offer some comfort in just knowing you have more options.
I once was almost attacked by 5 wild dogs and another time did meet a person in the middle of no-where who did not have my best interests in mind. I am sure if I was not armed I would not be here today.
It all comes down to, "Are you a gambling man?"
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Old September 28, 2006, 04:57 AM   #13
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Yep, I agree with above

I found the statement that this section of the trail is safe no need for a gun... silly for this forum. Sounds like most post offices and banks and schools.... they have to be safe because they are 'gun free'. Obviously the first problem is the young guys age... there is the real legal problem. Beyond that or included with it, he has to choose.

And near the first of the post a person was right, after a few days every ounce feels like a pound.
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Old September 28, 2006, 06:47 AM   #14
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Since one of the primary tasks of hikers is to eliminate weight, even ounce by ounce. I suspect that a gun would rapidly become a pain in the back, then what would you do with it if you wanted to eliminste it's weight. There are hiking organizations that can probably give some good advice.
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Old September 28, 2006, 11:58 AM   #15
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Protection

Having used pepper spray to good effect on dogs, I'd consider that as an option. It will stop a Doberman pinscher in full-attack mode.

I've faced down one black bear in my life, but that was back when I was really skilled with an axe (which was what I had @ the time.) I'd do it again, with pepper spray, if my life depended on it, but not very eagerly.

Police use pepper spray on BG's as a "nonlethal alternative." It works well, most of the time.

Agree with the point that serious hikers must and will save every gram of weight they can manage. A pepper spray can is lighter than the lightest Glock, and far fewer legal complications.

The AT goes through National Parks which are "gun free."

The AT also goes through a bit of New York State--they won't allow anyone to carry a handgun legally, 18 or 45 or 200.

I have to end by observing that it's a crying shame that something like this has to even be considered.
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:06 PM   #16
JoshB
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As far as the mountain folk go, watch Deliverance and then decide for yourself if you want to carry. I wouldn't think about making such a trip w/o some protection. I carry everywhere by default. Since you can't legally carry a pistol, think about a shotgun. I don't think anyone will give you any trouble. I'd get some advice about open carrying a shotgun if you plan to make stops at local towns to eat/sleep etc. Sorry I have nothing to offer there - i've only open carried a pistol in VA.
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Old September 28, 2006, 12:09 PM   #17
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What parts of the AT do you plan to hike? I've done several section hikes in VA, MD, PA, and NJ and never carried while doing it. I wouldn't mind having my .44 in bear country (northern PA and NJ), but I've never felt the need elsewhere, and frankly all bears I've encountered departed with haste. YMMV.

It is essential that you check the laws for each state before you ever get on the trail. Several will not look kindly on an illegally carried handgun, or a long gun carried in posted areas, etc. Regardless of how much you may feel you need it.
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Old September 28, 2006, 01:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
As far as the mountain folk go, watch Deliverance and then decide for yourself if you want to carry
I usually don;t respond on such, but this is one of the most assinine comments I've ever seen on TFL. :barf:

Did you watch Bambi and decide all hunters were "bad"?

I guess if we watch the Sopranos we will know that everyone who lives in NY is Italian, in the Mob, and kills people?


From www.appalachaintrail.org

Can I carry a gun?
ATC strongly discourages hikers from carrying firearms. In areas of the Trail corridor where hunting is legal, hikers may see hunters carrying firearms. On National Park Service lands outside national recreation areas, possession of firearms by private citizens is illegal. The prohibition applies on many other public lands as well. Where firearms are allowed, state laws on licenses, registration, and related matters govern.

The only murders I recall and can find with google search were the two women killed with a knife up in the Shenendoa VA area of the trail in the mid 90's.
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Old September 28, 2006, 01:46 PM   #19
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deanadell, +1.

I did a section hike in the Micheaux State Forest area of PA this past summer and had several nice conversations with "mountain folk." I suppose I should have watched the movie and been scared of them, seeing as they're all rustic and just waiting to attack me, you know ... :barf:

I'm hiking a part of the AT in NJ this weekend. I guess I'll just have to be dominated by fear and trepidation the entire time.
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Old September 28, 2006, 02:24 PM   #20
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As far as the mountain folk go, watch Deliverance and then decide for yourself if you want to carry.
I was going to say the same thing. Do the words "Squeel like a piggie" sound good to you? :barf:

I always carry a snub nose colt detective in 38spl whenever I go "wandering" , mostly because of the large increase in meth labs in my area. And they mainly build them out in the woods away from people.
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Old September 28, 2006, 04:26 PM   #21
johnbt
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John Boorman also directed Zardoz and Excalibur. Do you believe they're also true stories?

And people call hillbillies ignorant. Sheesh.

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Old September 28, 2006, 04:41 PM   #22
gunslinger555
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OK I have been thinking about this and reading the posts by some who have been their, I wont be carrying (a gun that is) but I will be carrying pepper spray a USMC ka-bar and a hatchet (maybe on the hatchet). Now my brother on the other hand will be 21 when we go and will have an Ohio ccw and is very likely he will be carrying. I am disappointed with the comments "watch ------ movie and you will know" haven't we learned long ago that Hollywood is full of it? we haven't decided on witch part we are hiking it will only be for a month (or possibly less) maybe Georgia or one of the Carolinas. should I get bear spray just in case? http://www.udap.com/product.htm

Quote:
Bears. Black bears live along many parts of the Trail and are particularly common in Georgia, the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They are always looking for food. Bears that have lost their fear of humans may "bluff charge" to get you to drop food or a backpack. If you encounter a black bear, it will probably run away. If it does not, back away slowly, watching the bear but not making direct eye contact. Do not run away or play dead. If a bear attacks, fight for all you are worth.
^ taken right from the AT website I guess its the last sentience that I'm most worried about on this trip. Not to worried about other people they I can handle (unless they have a gun) a bear well you know how that will go.
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Old September 28, 2006, 06:31 PM   #23
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If you hike thru Virginia a large part of the trail is in the Shenandoah National Park. Firearms are forbidden in the park. So consider that the Park Rangers will have you in Federal court not State court if you are caught carrying.
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Old September 28, 2006, 06:42 PM   #24
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+1 on the bear pepper spray. But carry the most powerful weapon you are legally allowed depending on where you live. There is no such thing as too much firepower.

Screw the movies man. The plain and simple fact is that you never know what you're going to find out on any trail or in any wilderness. I've never been attacked by any two or four legged animal in the woods while camping, even back in the Boy Scouts. But that still doesn't stop me from carrying a firearm when I camp.

Many LEO's work for years and years without ever being fired upon. Does that mean they should quit wearing there body armor.

You never know...
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Old September 28, 2006, 06:45 PM   #25
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So it doesn't look like you have many options when it comes to a gun. If you decide to do a section where guns aren't restricted how about one of the little Kel-tec rifles that fold in half? Would fit in a backpack and wouldn't be as heavy as a shotgun or something of the like. Barring that I would think a good bear spray and a stout survival knife and/or hatchet would be the next best bet. Is it Gerber that makes the hatchet that has a knife that drops down out of the handle?
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