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Mountain lions, bears, feral pigs, coyotes, and two-legged predators…all of these and more present potential threats to those who venture out into the wilderness. That’s why many hikers choose to carry the means to protect themselves when they’re out where dialing 911 won’t do you much good.

But to the persistent, invasive species known as fuddus Americanus, none of those critters present nearly as much of a threat as an armed hiker

Is that Wild Bill Hickock or Jeremy from accounting? It’s hard to tell. And that scares me far more than any grizzly bear or random hiker I’m likely to encounter. Anonymous recreationists carrying guns should scare you, too.

I’m not anti-gun, nor am I a city-dwelling ideologue. I’ve lived in Montana for nearly 20 years, and I own guns. The only time I carry one into the woods, however, is to hunt. To kill game. That’s what they’re built to do.

I’ve been an outdoor writer and editor for nearly as long, covering everything from skiing and climbing to hunting and fishing. I own a backcountry guide service and operate exclusively in grizzly country, including some of the most bear-dense parts of Yellowstone. I’ve had dozens of grizzly encounters, run-ins with polar bears on Arctic ski expeditions, and more than a few awkward conversations with disturbed individuals over the years—all sans sidearm and no worse for wear. Some of these experiences were scary, but I’ve never pulled the trigger on my bear spray (much less a pistol), and every one of those encounters made me a better outdoorsman.

– Drew Pogge in You Don’t Need to Hike with a Gun

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  1. “…Is that Wild Bill Hickock or Jeremy from accounting?”

    Why does it matter who it is? What are you doing that would make you scared of meeting either of those people on the trail? What are you planning on doing that would make either of those people being armed a problem for you?

      • It should be every American’s right not to carry in the woods. And honestly many people would be best serve to not carry a gun and pay more attention to what’s going on around them.

        That said, in western states, you should study the charismatic megafauna of the area rather than trusting Billy at the local gun shop who wants to sell you a pump action Mossberg with slugs. Or Hank who swears by the .500 S&W and anything less is “ask’n to die.”

        But those predatory animals of the two-legged variety are served very well with a Glock 43, thank you very much. It’s the best hiking gun out there. Round count only matters if you can get off more than one shot, or plan on missing.

        • You obviously do not hike in bear country, and your comment about round count is pretty far off the mark.

        • Just yesterday, we had a momma bear attack a man in the outskirts of our SoCal suburbia because the man’s little dog was marking at the momma’s cub. Two weeks ago, we had another mountain lion sighting in a neighbor’s back yard. And then there’s that time when my wife and I were on an evening jog around a nearby set of streets, and an idiot actually watched and did nothing while his huge Rottweiler ran out of its yard and after my wife. All I had was pepper spray, a stout walking stick/club, and the ability to yell loudly at the owner that I was about to spray his dog and beat it to death if he didn’t call it off.

          Oh, and then you get the car full of tatted gang members giving you the ‘ol stink eye as they drive through your neighborhood, clearly venturing out of their own and looking for some easy targets to burgle later that night.

          We can’t open carry here in SoCal, but I abso-frickin-guarantee that there are valid reasons to carry one for protection, even in the outskirts of Los Angeles.

        • @GDMF
          I’d rather have a Glock 43 and no bear spray than have bear spray and no Glock 43.

          Now, as much as I like my Glock 43’s versatility in carrying it near anywhere (including hiking, biking, running, camping), spending some vacation time in bear country would be the perfect excuse to pick up a new a larger hand gun.

          • Replace “excuse” with “reason”, replace “larger handgun” with “much larger handgun.” There, fixed it for you.

        • I do realize that 9mm has stopped bears in real encounters. That is anecdotal though. I suppose that one has two chances, first a psychological stop and second if using deep penetrating hard bullets getting a CNS hit. I suspect that one’s chances are significantly better with both deeper penetrating and much larger diameter projectiles. How many fish and game officers or professional guides use 9mms for bear defense? There is likely a good reason that they don’t rely on them. I live in a wall tent near at least two grizzlies and even my 12 gauge with hard slugs seems pretty modest when I see them. I imagine that you’ll reconsider your choice if/when you have an encounter with a larger bear if you haven’t alreardy. They are very imposing.

        • “Two weeks ago, we had another mountain lion sighting in a neighbor’s back yard.”

          In my 20s, I was jumped by a Cougar.

          We ended up making it a regular thing… 🙂

        • Sightings of coyotes on neighborhood streets were pretty regular in the hills above the suburban L.A. county city I lived in. They regularly killed people’s pets, and were occasionally aggressive to people.

        • It’s almost always the Glock people…

          “..a Glock 43, thank you very much. It’s the best hiking gun out there. Round count only matters if you can get off more than one shot, or plan on missing…”

          At the time of posting this, there are 80 comments, and only two commentators mention a specific firearm, and both mention, suprise(!), glocks.

        • Happy hiker,
          While I agree that every American has a right to carry in the woods (and in the city) and Jeremy from accounting likely has a gun on him already.
          However the Glock 43 is a 9 mm pistol.
          While has highlighted several stops with 9 mm, most authorities suggest a 10 mm as more effective on Bears. Experts would also use non expanding hard cast lead ammo.
          The Danish sled patrol carries the Glock 20 and have reported several successful stops on Polar Bears.

        • You carry a 9mm for bear? Well. Alright. I got a sure fire tip for you.

          File the sights down.

        • I like my G43, upgraded and customized for me, in urban and suburban settings.

          Was considering a .44 mag or 10mm Glock as a hiking, hunting sidearm but after some investigation my EDC Model 32 in.357 SIG with the right ammo is probably just as good and I can draw and shoot it well and quickly.

        • Where the hell do you hike? I won’t go with anything less than 10mm being bear country. Even on well traversed trails.

          Also, did you just say it’s your right to NOT carry? Pretty sure it’s the other way around. You have a choice to ignore that right if you want though. And how does simply carrying a gun alter my ability to be aware of my surroundings?

          WTF you smokin?

        • I would rather carry my Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum with the 4.2″ barrel. It’s light compact and safe but packs a big wallop. If I was in Grizzly country I would want to hike with a bunch of people and at-least one of us would be carrying a Marlin 1895 SBL.

        • It already is every American’s right not to carry in the woods. Carry, or not carry whatever you want. And let me do the same.

          If I knew that a bear is going to go after me, I would actually prefer that Mossy 500 loaded with slugs.

      • “I’ve never pulled the trigger on my bear spray (much less a pistol), and every one of those encounters made me a better outdoorsman.” – Drew Pogge

        That’s great advice Drew, except you forgot the bells and bear scat identification. It’s real easy, first you place the bells on you so you don’t “startle” the bears. Then you learn to tell whether it’s a brown bear or a black bear. This is simple, you look at the bear scat, if it’s a black bear it has berries, nuts, and squirrel fur in it. If it’s a brown bear, it smells like pepper spray, and has bells and outdoor writers in it.

        • “…..every one of those encounters made me a better outdoorsman.”

          Every one of those encounters lulled him deeper in to a false sense of security. I agree, this guy is destined to be bear food.

        • Well, shit!

          But seriously, know-little self-styled “authors” or “rag-journalists” spreading mInority opinions in line with the social democrats should not surprise any “people-of-the-gun”.

          As more folks head for the woods, the two-legged predators head to where the “hunting” is deemed more safe — precisely because they expect hikers and campers NOT to be prepared and carrying for personal protection.

          Personally, were I to go out in the boonies around bears, big cats, dogs and (sub)human animals, I would definitely be armed!

          My “duty gun” may be a 9 mm, but I would carry a .44, .45 or 12 Ga for potential backwoods “encounters”.

          . . . And the way to tell bear species apart was great too! “ . . . Smells like pepper and has bells in it . . .”

    • Agreed. I fear no one open carrying a holstered gun (or slung). Unless they wear a badge, then you don’t know if they’re sketchy. (Joke)

    • It’s kind of funny that he invokes a man who was murdered by being shot in the back as an example of irresponsible gun owners. Shouldn’t that be ‘Is that Jack McCall or Jeremy from accounting’?

    • I guess Drew never met up with James Jordan who attacked several hikers along the the Appalachian Trail In the Jefferson and Washington National Forests this last May killing one and wounding his female hiking companion with a 20″ knife, which was described by observers as a machete. I’m far more worried about two legged predators in the backcountry but a female black bear that becomes separated from her cubs with you in between can be a mortally dangerous situation too. I am a retired federal agent living in this area and I am too young to die and too old to take a good beating. I will be hiking armed thank you very much Drew…

      • Was going to mention this one thanks for putting it up. Truly crazy+wilderness typically means death by exposure but you do occasionally get some dangerous trail/camp hobos.

    • It probably should be noted that Wild Bill was a Sheriff and a Marshall. If I was in the woods and having trouble, he’s the kind of person I would hope to see…not someone I’d be using as an example of someone to fear.

  2. Drew is an idiot. Only idiots go where grizzlies are without a very powerful handgun. Someday soon we may be hearing on the news about some hiker that got eaten by a griz. That will be Drew or someone who took his stupid advise.

    • If one of his customers gets eaten by a grizzly bear, the victim’s family and trial lawyers will get most of his assets. Taking folks into active bear country unarmed IS stupid.

    • Even a 9mm (with +P ammo) is better than nothing. Carrying a gun, whether in public or the woods is a passive activity. And when in all of human history was it ever wise to go into the wilderness unarmed?

      • If I was ever in the need to go for a stroll in grizzly country, the minimum gun I would be carrying would be a Ruger Redhawk Alaskan in 454 Casull. Rather have a RPG-7 but the ATF and the Forestry Service frown on “destructive devices” for bear defense…

        • Bears are unpredictable. Phil has as much experience as anyone in the world, and on the Alaska Peninsula no less. He also had not had to shoot a bear with 33 yrs of guiding, but as he said, this bear was different.

          Bear spray has worked, so have guns. Bear spray might not work so good under windy conditions or in a tent. Something light you will actually carry is better than some powerful gun too heavy to carry. Maybe that is why Phil had the little 9mm instead of his 44.

    • “run-ins with polar bears on Arctic ski expeditions”

      What a lier or beyond stupid. Polar bears without someone in your party armed with a real long gun. WTF

  3. If Drew Pogge knows that I am carrying, unless I am not wearing a shirt or other garments and gear for some reason;it PROBABLY means that I had a (good) reason to draw a weapon.
    And , although as he whined about a firearm’s purpose being ” to kill”, it also does rather nicely in the ” helps to prevent being killed”.
    Seriously,he sounds like a Phucking Phaggotte….I just ” assumed his gender” didn’t I? My bad…
    Assume that ever else is probably (or at least capable of being)armed. Keep your awareness and be civil,polite and courteous. Even to Drew, whatever Drew identifies as today.

  4. You can have your spray, if I am in bear country its .44 mag in a chest rig. Play stupid games win stupid prizes.

    • Yeah, I was disappointed to discover this fact. I guess I’ll have to become a twit to start dealing with some of these lefties…

    • That’s why I don’t read the mag. Btw, I accidentally subscribed to OUT magazine. It’s waaaaaay different than Outside.

    • Exactly Marcus. This faulty logic was discussed in the analysis of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Because NASA had violated the launch rules (on temperature) several times previously, and gotten away with it, they thought they were safe doing it again.

  5. Two legged critters give me caution too, especially with the stories coming off the AT lately. My choosing to carry or not carry a gun, has no effect on whether Wild Bill or Jeremy carries a gun, so why wouldn’t I choose to carry? Just in case.

    • Because it’s scary, and feelings are all that matter*

      *As long as those feelings are consistent with the current leftist agenda. If not, you are a thought criminal so your thoughts and feelings are punishible.

  6. Outside was ine of my sought after mags while deployed to Iraq ten years ago. I enjoyed it then as I could read about all of the fun things I wasn’t able to while sitting in that hot, sandy place. I came back got busy, and decided to check it out a few years later. It seemed to have fallen victim to the proggies. The stories were of lower quality and seemed to add things that didn’t really need to be in the story. While this guy is more of a Fudd, he does seem to shoot more than traditional Fudds, but used the mind blown meme in gun buying. If you arent a criminal then how arbitrarily hard shoild it be to buy a gun? His opinion on carrying still sucks. If I am going outdoors, I’m packing something. This includes kayaking, hiking, long walks on a short pier, etc.

  7. I read this article yesterday when it popped up on my phone’s RSS. I LOLed, wondered if it would make TTAG and finished my coffee.

    My wondering is now over.

    • Thanks for the links. Mountain Lions and gang members (between prison visits) are my typical threats while hiking. Since I have little kids, we do the easier trails and the easier trails are where I see the most potential 2 legged threats. When hiking, when seconds counts, police are hours away.

  8. He’s a very logical guy. I’ve never been robbed, so why would I worry about that? My wife has never been raped, so why would I be concerned about that? I haven’t been killed or maimed yet, so…

    • Yes, that’s very logical, actually. He has assigned a high value to the probability of the event and a very low value to the consequences of the event.

      Most of us here do the opposite. We know the probability of the event occurring is low, but we assign a very high value to the consequences of any occurrence. Therefore we’re motivated to prepare for and actively prevent the occurrence.

      Like most Fudds, our good man here goes astray through his inability to consider any other line of reasoning. And of course, like most progressives, his thoughts and feelings on the subject are the only ones that matter.

  9. I guess all those women raped and murdered in recent years while hiking didn’t need guns either. Why is this guy worried about armed hikers? Sounds like he has a problem with trusting other outdoorsmen/women.

  10. Outdoor Magazine? Never heard of it. In the meantime I think I’ll keep carrying a heavy revolver when I’m off the beaten path.

  11. Some people are just never going to get it. The world is sunshine and rainbows, people and animals are fundamentally good, and if you don’t feel 100% safe 100% of the time you’re just an angry paranoid white male.

    • And I am getting damned tired of others telling me ” what I need ” or do not need. I am an adult and can make up my own mind without some liberal idiot coaching me on this topic.

      • Ed,you’re the only one to make sense so far,btw,I keep a weapon in the bathroom just in case an un uninvited guest tries to join me.

      • Unless these animals live in foreign country. Then they speak (to their compatriots) English with a funny accent.

  12. Little Drew presents itself as a truly heroic figure. Grizzly bears, polar bears and disturbed individuals hold no terrors for him as he minces about in the great outdoors. A real he-man has no need for an icky gun, whose only purpose is to kill!
    Lies are the only tool these intolerant, hate-filled bigots possess.

  13. Some years back, bear scientist Timothy Treadwell played with the little critters on a regular basis for 12 years and never got a scratch. He took his girlfriend on the 13th trip and both were eaten by a bear. He was eaten first and the poor terrified girl hid in the tent sobbing and knowing she would end up as bear poop. Wild animals are not tame, they are wild and dangerous. People who think they know how to handle wild animals are delusional and dangerous.

    • How do people’s fight or flight response become so broken you sit and wait for your death? Fight or run! You only get one shot at life and if you are in a fight for your life, make it whatever is attacking wish they hadn’t, even if you lose.

      • As I recall, there’s audio of the event. You can hear the bear killing Treadwell right outside the tent — literally chewing on him — while the woman is inside. She had no way to fight and nowhere to run.

        Treadwell was the perfect example of an educated idiot who has just enough knowledge to make himself dangerous to others. Not so different from Pogge the Fudd, here.

        • Was that some kind of cut proof tent? And why the hell was she there without any means of defense in the first place?

          I hope they didn’t leave a child behind and their dumb death helped to improve human genetics pool.

    • I wouldn’t call Treadwell a scientist. He was a tree hugger who developed a thing for bears. He violated Park Service rules and didn’t follow scientific protocol or methods. The bears were his “friends,” and he could live peacefully among them until bears he hadn’t interacted with decided he and his girlfriend might be a tasty snack.. I’d refer to him as “bear $#!+,” but 3 bears were killed by the rangers, and necropsies of 2 showed human remains in their stomachs, so the didn’t get an opportunity to finish their digestive process.

  14. I hike a lot. I’ve encountered a few wild critters, probably 1 for every hundred miles of trail. I have not had a problem yet.

    I carry a gun because of people and their dogs.

    Off leash dogs are a problem on the trail. I don’t know what it is, but folks don’t train their dogs to behave. They just expect them to behave when they encounter strange people/other dogs in the woods.

    • I have gone hiking all around this great country andI have never had to use my firearm on an animal or been significantly threatened by an animal. That being said their have been a number of times I have run into sketchy individuals and was glad I had a firearm handy, even if I didn’t need to deploy it.

  15. This guy is either a liar or a fool.
    If he indeed outfits in southern Montana with horses, I would think, and he doesn’t carry a firearm he is either a fool or a liar. Having packed horses in the wilderness areas in Wyoming I have had to put down horses that have been injured, what would he do, cut its throat?
    All of the outfitters I know carry either a pistol or a rifle for this exact reason. Most advocate Bear spray FIRST, then a gun.
    The fool in Yellowstone Park contested a carcass with a Grizzly and died for his stupidity.
    Again, fool or liar. Mostly full of BS.
    PS; local outdoor store offers free engraving on bear bells. That way, if a hiker goes missing and a bell is found in bear scat the person can be ID’d.

    • The statistics cited for deaths (in the actual article) while outdoors sound as though they are as cherry picked as deaths by firearm are. If they are as low as he states, then it would be solely because it was an extremely narrow definition. Outdoors is outdoors. Beach, mountains, plains, I can guarantee there have been many hundreds more killed than he states.

  16. People all make their own choices and sometimes suffer the consequences for “choosing poorly” to quote a line from a movie. I have no problem with that as long as no one else suffers other than the person that made that choice. I do not go to the Wawa for a gallon of milk or my mailbox or leave my home without being armed. And most of the weapons I own are not suitable for hunting wild game as the phrase is customarily used. It would never even occur to me to take a group of people (guide service) into the field and be responsible (above and beyond each individuals responsibility for their own personal safety) for their well being without possessing the means to do so any more than it would to take a companion to dinner in Center City Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and be unarmed. I think the path he has chosen is foolish but he is just as entitled to his opinion as I am to mine as long as he does not try to force his opinion on me or try to prevent me from choosing the more prudent path of self reliance. And yes, I have pulled my weapon while changing a tire on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension when five men decided to mug me. No one was shot or injured (because I was armed) and those five men chose to stand down and withdraw. The writer has his frame of reference and I have mine. Mine dictates that being prepared is the wiser choice.

  17. “A gun is not the cure for fear. Guns treat the symptoms of fear by making us feel safer and more powerful. But like water on a grease fire, they tend to escalate conflict rapidly. And if you’re in a defensive position, you probably won’t come out ahead.” – Drew Pogge

    Drew is a Fudd.

    He sounds like the kind of “gun owner” who would back Bloomberg’s “sensible gun safety” restrictions.

    • Indeed; a foolish man is one who allows his *means* to deal with a threat to dictate how or whether he avoids it. Means aren’t a guarantee, after all; merely a chance at success vs. little/no chance. You’d have to be super-dumb to voluntarily enter into a back country fight with an animal capable of harming you, when there is the option of avoiding it.

      Besides, the addled meth-billy who’s illegal lab/grow you come across might just be one of those fools whose gun has him convinced he shouldn’t back down from a fight…

  18. From the very first paragraph of this article….

    “Earlier this month, a thru-hiker was stabbed to death on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. After a few cursory moments of thoughts and prayers, the internet started offering suggestions that hikers arm themselves with guns.”

    So getting stabbed to death is ok, but carrying the means to protect yourself against threats is not?

    Writer’s opinion is farm animal stupid.

  19. I love the antis “I’m not afraid of people like those crazy gun owners I’m afraid of are” mental gymnastics.
    You must be living in fear to want to carry a gun. Somehow living in fear that somebody may be carrying a gun is different. Of course we remove the criminal carriers as a variable therefore there are no criminal carriers.

    • If they believe that all people are inherently good and only those evil devilish guns can possess them to commit “gun violence”, it makes perfect sense.
      We know it’s a stupid premise. But there is lots of dummies who will offer hugs to their attacker instead of some fast pieces of lead. Funny thing is that they consider themselves brave and morally superior.

  20. So, where are the stats on accidental discharges and murders committed by lawful people carrying firearms while hiking? What’s that, you say? You mean to tell the soy soaked dialogue is all about feelings and ideologues with no basis in reality? Wow!
    Update: I clicked the link, and Outiside is probably one of the most Fuddy publications I’ve read in a while.

  21. Another “guns for me, but not for thee”, screed. Stuff it. I’ll carry what I want, and I don’t need any “advice” from self-appointed “experts”.

  22. Again with the Fudd label.

    It’s irrelevant. He’s a moron whether he really own a gun and hunts or not.

    • It’s not irrelevant. His gun ownership gives him appearance of expertise in the eyes of general public. It allows gun grabbers to point at him and scream: “See, even gun owners consider carrying of loaded guns unreasonable and dangerous!”

      He supports lies about “most gun owners want our commonsense gun grabbing, I mean safety measures. It’s only the cowardly politicians bought by blood money by gun lobby=NRA= gun manufacturers and sellers, who prevent any meaningful progress for the children!”

      He is actively helping the enemy. He helps people who will take away his ‘sniper rifles’ as soon as they are done with arms more useful for serving in well regulated militia.

      For that he fully deserves to be called a Fudd.

  23. A couple of years ago I read an article in the local MSM by and about a retired Wildlife Officer who walked the Blue Ridge Parkway as a post retirement challenge. He carried a handgun the entire time because of concerns about two legged predators. Given his prior job and the recent incident on the Appalachian Trail, plus stories of hikers coming upon the owners of marijuana fields, meth labs, etc. out in the middle of nowhere, the Wildlife Officer gave sound advice.

  24. As the author of TRAIL SAFE, which has been called the definitive book on safety in the backcountry and which unabashedly supports carry a gun while hiking (bet you’re surprised, huh?), the guy’s an idiot.

    We’ve been dealing with mountain lions here in norther Colorado all year, and ‘yotes are all over the place.

    Far more importantly, there are dangerous PEOPLE to be found on trails. The farther away from civilization you get, the farther civilization gets from you.

    Michael B

    • Thumbs up from one of the ‘pod people’.

      I have thus far in my 33 orbits of the sun managed to scare off every black bear and mountain lion I have run across. But as you said in the podcast a few months ago, what happens when the lion says (when you are spreading out your coat, trying to look bigger) “you look ridiculous! I’m hungry!”?

      Several commenters have stomped on the idea of using 9mm for woods carry. I think they are forgetting that a great many of us live and hike where we never deal with brown bears or moose. A “normal” self defense cartridge like 9mm or .38, loaded with a good JHP will be adequate for dealing with bad people, black bears, and mountain lions.

    • “The farther away from civilization you get, the farther civilization gets from you.” Worthy consideration – but not always true (or is it just what I consider civilization?) urban people on average in my experience are more likely to be hazard than more remote dwellers.
      Away from unhealthy concentrations folks tend to help each other more.
      ( note: email not closely monitored )

  25. Fudd’s like Pogge are free to hike unarmed. In fact, I’d prefer that they do so. It will help thin the herd.

    • And remember, I dont need to outrun the bear, I simply need to outrun the unarmed idiotic California transplant. So I for one and glad they make the supreme sacrifice to that the species gets smarter overall.

  26. Because X has never happened to me, my opinion that you don’t need a gun when in the wilderness is correct. This idiots words can’t guarantee his future safety much less yours.
    I’ve crossed busy streets thousands of times and never been hit by a car. Threrfore, you will never be hit by a car when you cross a busy street either.

    His “No gun” advice is actually gross negligence, spewed solely to promote a anti-gun agenda. Clearly a gun is the best signaling device one can have in a wilderness emergency but his jaded position leaves that out of the topic.

    With urban expansion, came a major increase of animal attacks cougar, coyote, bear and rabid animals. These are on suburban trails and not deep in the woods.

  27. “Outside Magazine Really Doesn’t Want You to Hike With a Gun”

    Well, they can be the “slow one” then…as for me, I’m carrying, the bigger the game, the bigger the gun…

    “Drew (POG)ge” figures…his last name might as well have been REMF…

  28. The guy is a bigot. Why does everyone now days want to tell other people what to do?

    RE: “The only time I carry one into the woods, however, is to hunt. To kill game. That’s what they’re built to do.”

    Actually, they are for self-defense too and a gun is generally much more effective than bear spray–as a hiker, the guy should be aware of that.

  29. With an unfortunate name like that, I’d say Mr. Pogge isn’t a fudd; he’s bait.

    Especially as bears don’t seem to much care for tootsie rolls & jolly ranchers.

    And just like people, not everyone likes hot-pepper… but I’m sure somewhere there’s a bear who wouldn’t mind a spicey meatball like him.

  30. Even here in nanny state CA when I go into the woods I carry the following items without fail. Stick. Pistol. Knife. Headlight. Fire kit. Water. Power bars and or trail mix.

    And that’s when I’m not hunting. Add a rifle or shotgun and subtract the stick when I’m hunting.

        • Jwm
          I take collapsible walking poles even when hunting. Makes handy shooting sticks in open areas.

        • RCC, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a combo shooting/walking stick. I don’t remember the brand but there was one that had an adjustable ‘shelf’ for your rifle to rest on. It served as a hiking staff and rest.

    • You might want to add a First Aid Kit to that list. Most of the EMTs I know don’t really care for a ride in the woods.

      • I brain farted. For day trips I have a small kit and then I keep a bigger kit in my 4runner.

  31. This is one of the stupidest articles I’ve read about carrying weapons in the woods anywhere,,, 1st, I happen to own property in the most grizzly bear part of Montana, with Cougars living within 1/4 mile of my camp , wolves roam the place at times , Moose that can’t wait too stomp you, not counting the creepy people that trespass, the claim jumpers etc,etc, Bear spray is for government forestry workers & tourists,,, some times it works, sometimes it don’t, that has been proven time after time. You come to my place , bring your own gun, keep your food secured, don’t let your kids out of your sight, & if you got them, bring dogs… dogs will be your first warning of a bear(since they don’t like each other), but then you have to worry about the wolves, they will catch scent of the dog & try to track them down, cougars not much of a prob,,, had them follow us around, but no prob yet,,, just bring your favorite gun & it’s cool,,,

    • “I happen to own property in the most grizzly bear part of Montana, with Cougars living within 1/4 mile of my camp…”

      My first Cougar lived two doors down… 🙂

  32. Not really surprised you can’t comment on the article. Comments are disabled on all of Outside Magazine’s articles. Sites do that because they can’t take the heat their BS generates.

    A quick look at the “About Us” section of Outside shows me the staff is 90% hipsters. Probably not a real 2nd Amendment defender in the bunch.

  33. I use to read that magazine, they were always a bit lefty, but they went more to the left than I could stand. Always made a habit of carrying on the trail and the .45 on my hip once stopped an ambush set for my girlfriend and me. Permanent justification for me at that point.

  34. Our brave author has never even had use for bear spray.

    So, why does he see the need to carry it?

  35. All the funnies aside I cannot think anything you carry that so small and make as much noise. Best noise signaling device one can carry. Nice for getting food if you get really lost. Fall and break a leg or fall into a place where you cannot be easily seen, say uninjured but no way for you to climb out.

  36. Well, Mr. Progge doesn’t need to have a big, raspy corncob up his ass when he tries to tell us our business, but it turns out we don’t have to do things just because some rando says we should.

  37. I started packing when a Cougar slowly walked in front of us and our dogs 20 yards ahead on a converted rail bed outside Carnation WA. and he was huge. He paid little attention to us and acted like it was his territory.
    A short time later pictures appeared in the local paper of two cats that had been killed for stalking horses. They were laid out on 8 foot long picnic tables – the end of the nose even with one end and the rump even with the other, and the tail almost hit the ground. Some of the cats recently from near areas have been a good deal smaller, but a person should always be a realist.

  38. “Every time you leave your house, you are entering the food chain. Act accordingly. “

  39. If I can’t go armed I don’t go where I live we have big cat’s bear’s and the worse predator of all perverts who are looking for easy prey

  40. Guides in the areas that are frequented by bears, usually carry guide guns, and with good reason.
    Marlin 1895 GBL with Buffalo Bore 405 grain hard cast flat nose 45/70 magnum. Don’t leave home without it.

    I wonder if old Drew would break down and cry if he saw me, or maybe spray me with Bear Mace? After all, I am the crazy old crank his mommy warned him about. He does admit that he is terribly scared of meeting anyone on the trail: “Is that Wild Bill Hickock or Jeremy from accounting? It’s hard to tell”.

    Maybe I should be afraid of meeting Drew? Scared people like Drew tend to get irrational and who knows what could happen… :=)

  41. I do a lot of backpacking in the back areas of state and national parks. I have found that the law enforcement rangers are good people. I have frequently asked them, the professionals, about carrying while backpacking. Their 100% universal private reply has been, “You are crazy to go back in there unarmed.”

    • I worked in Yellowstone the summer of 1970, local native animals rather used to humans – but still expected the humans to behave as guests in the animals home, all well if respectful usually – But STUPID tourists sometimes got themselves hurt – deservingly I think.
      ( email not closely monitored )

  42. I have read that in California where they have banned hunting mountain lions they have now lost their fear of people and attacks are becoming “the norm”. Just last week I heard on the news of another lion attack on a young boy I cannot remember just now which western state.

    I think if I lived out west I would damn sure be carrying a side arm if I was walking, hiking or biking. I read some years ago of a female jogger being eaten in Canada by a pack of coyotes . I read in Readers Digest some years ago of two shiftless vagrants pretending to be mountain men kidnapping a young girl who was out jogging for a sex slave for his son. She did escape and they were eventually imprisoned.

  43. I rolled my eyes at this idiot FUDD when I read it yesterday. Sorry that I gave them a click. Truly great logic he has: I haven’t had to shoot anyone, so no one ever will”

    I hope he takes the same view on seatbelts, maybe he’ll thin himself out of the herd.

  44. ideologue represent……….Beware of the u don’t need communist! In America i am free to have freedom.

    Yeah u don’t need a gun…. u need 3-4… day when u and ur family end up raped & slaughtered and ur remains scattered maybe ur relatives who remain alive and don’t suffer the same brain damage and bad genes as u will say a nice eulogy @ ur memorial service cuz ur remains were not found!

  45. If that Fudd regularly goes into grizzly environs armed with nothing more than bear spray I hope he doesn’t discover someday that bear spray works on MOST bears but not on ALL bears, just like tasers work on MOST people but not ALL people. Perhaps the smart thing to do is carry bear spray AND a handgun capable of putting a bear down. BTW, does anyone else recall the bear attack where a man shot and killed the bear and when they examined it they found six .38 slugs in it and then the remains of the man who shot them in the bear’s stomach?

  46. I have been going into the wilderness for the last 50 years since I was 9 years old.
    Hiked hundreds and hundreds of miles for weeks at a time in the Rockies, Sierras, Smokies and Bitterroots among some of them. I never had a lick of trouble other than some bears and chipmunks getting into my food a few times. Grizzly and Mountain lion are about the only critters to worry about and both avoid humans like the plague when given the choice. By far the only thing that brings me concern in the back country is other human beings. Especially the gun toting ‘cowboys’ with nothing more than a preconceived idea of what the wilderness is about. If there is ever a reason that I carry it’s because these human “predators” that bring the very trash of humanity with them that one is trying to escape from.

  47. No Firearms at Scouting Activities | Boy Scouts of America

    “Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdictions, firearms shall not be brought on camping, hiking, backpacking, or other Scouting activities except for those specifically planned for target shooting under supervision of a currently certified BSA national shooting sports director or National Rifle Association firearms instructor.”

  48. Years ago, Backpacker magazine published a review of several different bear sprays. They got complaints about taking “weapons” into the wild.

    Bear spray works most of the time and should be your first option. It works faster and doesn’t require a precise aim. However, you still need a gun for when it doesn’t work.

      • The wounding mechanism is the same for bears as it is for people. Unless you hit the central nervous system, they either quit out of shock and fear or they bleed out. Bleeding out takes long enough for the bear to chew and claw you.

  49. Liberal snowflakes who think kind words would stop the kinds od murders like the machete attack here in Virginia last month.

  50. “Finally, and most importantly, carrying a gun changes the way we interact with and feel about others. For thru-hikers, the social element is an enormously rewarding part of the experience. They meet people from around the world, adopt kooky trail names, share information (including who might be sketchy or carrying a weapon), and coexist for a brief time in a remarkable place, doing a remarkable thing. Bring a firearm into that dynamic, and it won’t be the same. Others don’t know you—they don’t know your training, demeanor, judgment, or intelligence. All they know is that you have a weapon and, with it, the power to hurt them. And that’s all that truly matters. Guns intimidate.”

    So, if you carry a gun, people won’t bother you?

  51. Drew Pogge guides for Big Country Backcountry Guides, just in case you want to make sure you don’t accidentally hire him. From his website, he seems to be more of a winter guide, so his chances of being attacked by a hibernating bear are low.
    He claims to hunt, but I’d be more worried about be shot by someone with buck fever who rarely touches a gun than someone carrying for defense. I see stories yearly about hunters shooting each other, but I don’t recall anyone hiking with a gun for protection inadvertently taking out a fellow hiker.

  52. I’ll take fireballs from my ruger SRH. 44 over the spray thank you and there will be one less aggressive animal to worry about.

  53. Drew Pogge, if you are “no worse for wear” considering the number of encounters, then, it’s probably just a matter of time…(before you will be).

  54. Any source that writes an article like that and shares some broad picture that looks like they just made a graph to prove their point then says “statistics dont lie” is 100% lieing. I’d love to see those stats here in Montana. Bet bears is #2.

  55. Yeah right he’s full of crap!! If he’s encountered all these bears and not ever needed a weapon much less even bear spray he must be out in those woods looking for mushrooms!! And finding them!! This guys so full of shit I have to go clean my phone now. When some liberal assclown gets eaten alive out there and his family sees that article open on the floor in bathroom they are going to hire a lawyer and sue his dumb ass.

  56. Who the hell cares about this dude’s claimed outdoors credentials?? He’s free to do just as he pleases and it should work great for him right up until he don’t anymore. He may have had unprotected sex and shared needles with a crack whore too for all we know; but that does sound appealing to me either!
    He has every right to his opinion and it’s worth just what you paid for it.
    Me, I’m packing on the trail or in the woods. If there isn’t a live or death situation it’ll be relevant to nobody.

  57. Solo back country hiking is what led me to get my concealed carry license. This guy is entitled to his opinion but like anyone else claiming to own guns while declaring an anti-gun message, I’ll assume he’s full of Sh!t and take his opinion with a grain of salt while trusting my own instincts.

  58. I bike, hike, raft, kayak, hunt, fish, etc…all the best that Montana outdoors has to offer…that said, I also carry a firearm when in the back-country (bear spray is optional…the firearm is not). I have a Ruger Alaskan in .454 that I’ve carried for years…it is a large, HEAVY revolver with lots of power. However, getting older and a bit slower I’ve taken to carrying a 1911 retro’d with a .460 Rowland barrel…it is a bit lighter than the Alaskan with the ease of magazines and a cartridge that is equivalent to the .44 Magnum in a semi-auto pistol.

    Personally, I’m more concerned about surprising a moose with a calf than any species of bear or cat…YMMV.

  59. He’s welcome to share his opinion, and he’ll have to live with his individual choice not to carry. He has zero power to affect my right to do so.

  60. I am truly surprised by the author’s comments.
    Firstly, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs places Physical Survival Needs (food, water, shelter, fire, medicine) at Level 1 and Physical Safety Needs (protection) at Level 2.
    A self defense tool is definitely helpful with safety and the firearm is the preeminent self defense tool: easy to learn to use in a matter of hours (although it takes years to reach high levels of mastery), very effective compared to other tools, and can be effective against multiple threats and types of threats.
    Secondly, people, much less animals, are unpredictable. Hiking and camping as activities can result in a person finding themselves in remote locations far from help. But that does is not always true. Case in point, five years ago in northern NJ a black bear killed a Rutgers’ student who was out hiking with four of his friends.
    You read that right: it wasn’t in the the mountains of Montana or the wilderness of Wyoming. Nope. It was in Jersery, home of Tony Soprano. And it wasn’t a grizzly either. Just one of those shy, recluse black bears that would as soon run up a tree than face a fangless, clawless creature such as a human.

  61. Wild Bill? really? How many guys has THIS moron had draw down on him in the middle of the woods. I’m betting he’s seen an order of magnitude greater amount of bears overall than people offering to draw down on him. As people have pointed out already the odds of this problem sorting its self out are there with each encounter.


    Look at the Soyboys and Feminist running this “magazine” and it says it all for why this article is a total POS. These liberal Fudds think as all Fudds do that THEY have the right to tell others what is dangerous and how you should act. Come to KY and go thru some of our most rural areas and tell me you wouldn’t feel better with a side arm at the least and an AR slung. Drug growers, groups of “homeless” who are nothing but meth heads looking to steal anything that isn’t locked up. Illegals running rampant that have been bussed in by the local ICE agents to be set free and that doesn’t even start to cover the wildlife that could eat you without a thought. Hell Ive carried a pistol on every dove shooting Ive gone to because I am not stupid enough to believe my bird shot will be effective against someone intent on robbing me.

  63. I have been hiking the PNW for the last 25 years.
    I carry all kinds of gear, med pack, and sometimes my gun
    I have however, never backpacked without it since the time I ran into a bear with my kids
    I was hiking along the Bumping River, east of Mount Rainier.
    I was with my two sons, my friend, and his two sons.
    We had lunch at the river before we crossed it
    After we crossed, my friend used a tree, while the kids and I were up the trail a bit
    He got a little to close to a bear that had been sitting in the brush all the time we had been there.
    That bear made this growl/ huff noise that I have never forgotten
    He was less than 150 feet away
    That can of bear spray felt as worthless as trying to fight it off with a spoon
    We got out of there without the bear moving
    Never, never will I not carry my gun when I’m back packing

    His claim that he is a better outdoorsman because of his encounters with bears while unarmed is like saying

    “Dispite my close calls with fires in my kitchen, I do not have a fire extinguisher and it has made me a better homeowner”.

    Cougar attacks here are extremely rare, yet last year we had two mountain bikers attacked by a cougar, killing one of them.
    I’m sure that this didn’t make him a better mountain bike rider.

  64. In the 1970s after getting out of the military my wife and I moved to UT to go to college. We quickly got into outdoor activities available, cross country skiing in the winter and backpacking in the summer. I owned no guns.

    On a day hike in the Wasatch Mountains, we ran into a lone hiker who decided to walk with us. After some comments from him about my wife and a question about had we tried nude hiking, I requested he leave us alone. His reply was “think you could make me?” I was carrying a Swiss Army knife which I took out of my pocket and opened the blade. I said nothing and he said “you’re serious?” I said, “Absolutely, deadly serious!” He walked away but up the trail in the same direction we were heading. We headed back down the trail moving fast to get to the car.

    Next day I talked to a friend, whom my wife and I often referred to as our adopted father. He was a competitive shooter and hunter. He offered to sell me a revolver that I could pay for over time. I took it and paid it off in a couple of months. . .and we never hit the wood again without that or another firearm.

    We backpacked for the 12 years we lived there and during that time had other incidents where the gun was used to stop robberies, attempted rape on a on a woman hiking by herself; attempted theft of our gear and our 4X4 vehicle.

    In later years when I was doing some gold prospecting a guy decided that he was going to take my gear. And a few years after that I had to drive off a pack of dogs while mountain bike trail riding. Found out when I reported the dog pack incident that a couple of hikers had been badly chewed up by a dog pack in that area the month before.

    I don’t go off the beaten pack without a firearm any more.

  65. If I can’t carry it I wonder if they’d be okay with just dragging the gunm ?

  66. Wow…so many comments. I did not, do not have time to read them all right now. IN THIS WORLD there are dangers and threats that come from many different directions. I carry first aid kits in my truck, big ones for major trauma, I carry emergency supplies, I keep fire extinguishers handy inside and out, I keep a firearm handy at all times, I am aware of my surroundings, get to know my neighbors and report suspicious activity. I have insurance on my life and my property. On any given day I use 0% of this stuff. I keep it anyway.

  67. Drew Pogge….you sir are an idiot. Post your picture so when i see you on the trail getting eaten, mauled, attacked , raped, robbed….etc. I can keep my “skeery” weapon holsteted and walk on by. H as ve a nice day.

  68. Like I’m going to be taking advice from some disneyfied cartoon ‘outdoorsman’

    They wear $1000 of fashionable gear, walk to an overlook, eat a granola bar, and think they’re rugged pioneers qualified to lecture others about the great outdoors.

    Meanwhile, actual born’n’bred outdoorsmen just get shit done.

  69. Stupid logic of the writer. If he had an encounter that he DIDN’T survive, he would no longer be writing about it. His logic seems to be, it hasn’t happened yet, therefore it will never happen.

  70. A gun is a tool; no more, no less. When I hike, I also carry a first aid kit, ferro rod, signal mirror, fixed blade and folder, water purification, etc., all of which I don’t intend to use- it’s there for an *emergency*. Just like the gun (10mm, which I also carry), it’s better to have and not need than need and not have.

  71. Personally this guy reminds me a lot of someone I had read about a long time ago who also claimed to fear no large predators such as Grizzlies and Polar Bears. Trusted Alaskan Brown Bears to the point he never carried a firearm while walking and even camping in their midst. I thought back then it would not end well for him either. I’m sure most of you have read, heard about, or seen the movie about the person I’m thinking of. A person whose stupidity cost not only his life, but the life of his girlfriend as well. At least he left a video camera with a tape in it that had continued to run after the attack. His last words recorded forever on that tape, words whispered in his dying breath being said to his girlfriend…. “Get out of here… I’m being killed.” Timothy Treadwell October 5, 2003.

  72. I haven’t hiked for quite a while, but for several years some of us in my fitness club had a monthly hike. I always had my Glock 19 on my hip and another hiker, a retired Marine sergeant major, had a 1911 on his hip. I see no reason to take chances. There have been numerous attacks by rabid animals in the area over the past several years.

    Carrying a sidearm openly here in Arizona doesn’t usually get any attention on hikes or in stores.

  73. I thought that way and have also been hiking for years .
    The ferral hogs are getting very aggressive ,but I avoided them .
    coyotes, wild dogs no worries ;).
    The other morning I started a hike and got up a bit and sat to enjoy the sun rise .
    I heard a sound I had not heard in years and was trying to remember it when this cat about 8′ behind me screamed starting towards me .
    I stood and whirled to face him while letting loose my cat scream .
    It backed off and started circling me . I called my wife and ask her to call 911 if I tangled up with this cat . I set the phone down and started sweeping my flashlight around looking for red-eyes .
    Weak knees and adrenaline by the gallons ;).
    Where I hike is tough and weight is critical ,but I will know carry my pistol !
    It is simple logic ,better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have one .

  74. everywhere. This writer is, its clear he is a moron. Guns are meant for hunting, what a bunch of bs. Guns are for self defense and to overthrow a over reaching tyrannical government.

    • That’s the silliest article that I have ever read. I doubt that you have ever been in the woods. I don’t give a hoot about your writing. It’s your business, keep it to yourself. I carry, will carry, and most inmportantly, avoid any encounters with the likes of you. Wow. When did you trip over a rock and hit your head?

  75. Well that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. After all this is just an opinion article. When that mountain lion does get you after you yelled stop or cried uncle. You’ll wish you had your sidearm.

  76. When I was spending Summers hiking and camping id Alaska, I carried a 375H&H Magnum rifle. So did my companion. The only people we saw without powerful guns were LaLaLa Californians. Every Scout troop had a passel of well armed Adult leaders. Every Alaskan hiking group had armed persons in it.

    And every Summer the Grizzlies got 3-4 hikers. Responsible gun carriers are no threat and, in fact, a definite benefit. Once we both took aim at a big Grixxly who was eying 2 Cslifornia surfers splashing in a stream. We watched over our sights. Eventully the bear walked off.

    The girls were never aware of their deadly danger.

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