OMG! Stranded Hiker Fires a .45! In a National Park! OMG!

Chalk up another life saved by a gun. Huh? No really, it happens once in a while. And like lots of unreported DGUs, this won’t show up on any FBI statistical breakdown. Tim Bailey was on a 36-mile hike through Olympic National Park in Washington last Sunday – with his gun! – when he tumbled 150 feet down a ravine and broke his ankle. Though unable to get far, he had enough gear and smarts to keep himself alive for almost four days ’til help arrived. And he used his .45 to get the attention of rescuers . . .

He told that once he set up some shelter, collected wood and got a fire going,

… he fired his pistol intermittently from Monday until he was found Wednesday and hoisted out of the ravine by helicopter.

He started with 14 rounds.

“I have five left,” Bailey said in a telephone interview as he and his wife, Whitney, 31, drove home Thursday.

Good boy. He didn’t just pack his heater, be brought an extra mag, too. The gunshots got the searchers into his general area where they found him when they spotted the smoke from his campfire. Paul Helmke was not available to comment.

It is legal to carry firearms in the park but illegal to discharge them inside the park for any reason, [park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna] said.

“If you are legally licensed to carry a firearm in Washington, it is legal to carry it in the park,” McKenna said. The punishment for firing a weapon can be up to six months in jail and $5,000.

“Charges could be pressed against someone, but it is unlikely if they are in a dire situation,” she said.

Good to know the National Park Service can be so magnanimous.


  1. avatar cmd says:

    “It is legal to carry firearms in the park but illegal to discharge them inside the park for any reason, [park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna] said.
    “If you are legally licensed to carry a firearm in Washington, it is legal to carry it in the park,” McKenna said. The punishment for firing a weapon can be up to six months in jail and $5,000.”

    So after defending your life or saving it, as in this case,you can be fined and put in jail. What a legal cluster f$&k!

  2. avatar MotoJB says:

    The ole 1911 (I’m assuming) comes to the rescue! 😉

  3. avatar jwm says:

    2 points. if 14 rounds are sufficient 21 would be better. it doesn’t add much more weight. point 2. common sense usually prevails in the cases of could face charges but doesn’t. usually.

  4. avatar Bob says:

    “Good to know the National Park Service can be so magnanimous.”

    I think “pragmatic” would be a better word to describe the NPS. There isn’t a jury in the country that would find him guilty, and the NPS knows that.

  5. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    When a person has no choice but to break the law in order to prevent greater harm from being done, that constitutes a ‘necessity’ defense to almost any criminal charges. (As long as you didn’t create the ‘necessity’ through your own improper actions.) You’re not allowed to exceed the speed limit, either, but it’s justified when you’re rushing an injured person to the ER.

  6. avatar Snachnim says:

    Great to hear he is ok. Even though it was a day joke he brought food and supplies. Smart man!
    He also brought his gun worked in his favor to save his life. Despite the law being jacked, he did the right thing. If they for some reason want to press charges it would he the dumbest law case ever brought before a court! I doubt they will.

  7. avatar g says:

    I don’t blame him for bringing a gun… there’s some mean GOATS up in Olympic.

  8. avatar Mr. Lion says:

    .45 ACP: Saving lives since 1904.

  9. I don’t see them pressing charges. If they do it will be magnificent fuel for the pro 2As to bring the lack of the antis compassion and logic to national attention and maybe even support a court case.

  10. avatar Gary says:

    The long established legal doctrine of necessity overrules all laws and regulations when human life is at stake. The law is very much on this fellows side and no charges that would stand up to any reasonable judge could be filed.
    To wit. If an action otherwise said to be illegal was required (necessary) to save a life or from other serious injury, that act is permissable and hence legal.

  11. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

    Survival whistle? Air horn? Probably a lot cheaper to acquire and to use than a .45, right?

    1. avatar Michael Bluth says:

      cheaper maybe, but one more thing to carry (although my pack has a survival whistle built into the chest strap).

      Either way, neither sound will carry as well over long distances, and neither is as utilitarian for survival (i.e. you won’t fend off a predator or kill a rabbit with a air horn).

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    My personal choice for signalling for help after I break any part of my anatomy is the .357SIG, which has more bang for the buck than the .45. And when I say “bang,” I mean bang. I think we’re going to need a ballistic noise comparison test.

    1. avatar LeftShooter says:

      You’re right, and, like its .357 Magnum brethern, plus enough muzzle flash to see from the space station on a dark, clear night.

  13. avatar chris says:

    He says he started with 14 rounds…. .45 acp. could have been a Glock 21 with 1 13 round mag and 1 in the chamber…. 14 rounds of love!

  14. avatar LongPurple says:

    “It is legal to carry firearms in the park but illegal to discharge them inside the park for any reason, [park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna] said.”

    “For ANY reason” ? If that’s what the law says, then “The law is a ass . . .”.

    Time to change the law.

  15. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

    Yeah, add this guy to the one last year who shot out his car window after he drove into the lake. You definitely have these gun-saving stories here and there. Added to the few hundred really legit DGUs each year, I’m afraid you’re still left with a piss-poor argument about guns doing more good than harm.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      and again mikeybnumbers, you keep throwing out that lowball number on dgu’s without giving how you came to that number. the only conclusion must be you’re pulling that number out of your ass in hopes of sounding knowlegable on the subject. you stole a page from hitler’s rulebook” tell a lie, tell a big lie and tell it often til people believe it”. well, as gun control is based in racism and you thought that alaina’s, a black woman, dgu was suspicious for no apparent reason this explains a lot.

      1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

        Sorry, you can’t pin that one on me. It’s you guys who are in the repeat-lie business. Just ask Bruce about his recent whopper about ALL mass shootings take place in gun free zones. I’m still laughing about that one.

        About my “low ball” figure for DGUs. I told you I made my best guess after reading Kleck, Lott, and all of you wild guys every day for years. That’s what I’ve come up with. I call it an educated guess. You can call it what you like.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          An uneducated guess?

        2. avatar jwm says:

          well, mr. bonomo, try to get traction in the academic world with your “best guess”. bottom line is you’ve taken the side of the civil rights violaters and the racists and now you’re just trying to justify your self.

  16. avatar '''Dr. Dave'' says:

    I wonder how many shots he fired? Three shots is the international distress signal…And with two 8 round mags, youd lose ammo pretty quick. Single shots, in some areas, could be completely ignored…

  17. avatar Tim Bailey says:

    I was going to fire 2 shots at a time, but due to the size of the search area (40 sq mi), I needed to make the ammo last. I settled on a shot at 9AM and another noon. I carefully selected a direction in which I could fire without risking unseen searchers, and there’s now a large tree out there with 9 slugs in it from my Kimber .45.
    I brought the pistol as a last-resort defense against bears or aggressive mountain goats, and I knew going in the potential penalty for discharging it.
    BTW, a whistle would not have worked, since I was in a deep ravine surrounded by waterfalls. The park rangers’ radios didn’t work down where I was trapped. Next time I will have a box of 50 rounds, as well as a GPS beacon. I’ve also got a long list of buddies who are going to insist on going hiking with me next time!

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