Bear Question! UPDATE!!

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Viking Queen

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Apr 29, 2011
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I live in Colorado, in a city of 150,000 people. We have a bear in our cul de sac tonight. Full grown. Wandering around the houses, town homes, up and down driveways, out by patios, etc. we called everyone to alert them so neither humans nor our dogs would get surprised, mauled, eaten, etc, while trying to walk or potty the dogs. I took my Iris dog from car in closed garage to a park a few blocks away to do her nightly duties.

Wildlife in Colorado is not unusual. A bear this far into town is fairly unusual.

This evening made me question my choice of firearms for protection. I have an LCR 38 spl, LC9, and assorted .22's. Right now I have both the LCR and LC9 at the ready. Blinds and windows closed for the night. Neither caliber handgun would be good bear defense. Hmmmmm. Makes me think I should have something more stout at hand.

What say you all? I know this is another "Bear" thread, but seriously.....I am no longer a hiker in the woods type, but maybe I need to rethink things for here in town. :shock: :shock: :shock:

Viking Queen
 

skeeter

Single-Sixer
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Jan 24, 2009
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Since you are not carrying it around in the woods get a shotgun. It's hard to beat a slug for a bear or a bad guy.
 
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skeeter said:
Since you are not carrying it around in the woods get a shotgun. It's hard to beat a slug for a bear or a bad guy.
I second that. Up close a 20 ga slug or several should work well. :mrgreen: in the mean time if you have to use your handguns, use the 9mm loaded with FMJ for penetration. Empty the magazine center mass or until the threat is mitigated. Good luck.
gramps
 

Viking Queen

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711
gramps said:
skeeter said:
Since you are not carrying it around in the woods get a shotgun. It's hard to beat a slug for a bear or a bad guy.
I second that. Up close a 20 ga slug or several should work well. :mrgreen: in the mean time if you have to use your handguns, use the 9mm loaded with FMJ for penetration. Empty the magazine center mass or until the threat is mitigated. Good luck.
gramps

I have FMJ for the LC9 but also have Hornaday Critical defense hollow points in 9mm....wouldn't that be better or would it not penetrate as well. I have mostly thought of using the LC9 for defense against humans... Don't know that the Hornaday would penetrate a thickish bear skin as opposed to a two legged varmint.

This really has me thinking in a whole new direction.

I mostly am thinking handgun as I need to walk the dog, go up to the mailbox, etc., need more portability than a shotgun, although that is a good idea. It just never occurred to me that the bad guy would be a bear, of all things.

Neighbor has a 1911 on his hip. :mrgreen:

We did a phone tree thing tonight and called everyone in our little community to be on the lookout. Most are elderly and some quite so....many have little doggies that they walk around. Would be a shame if someone were horribly injured or......
 

wolfsong

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Put a call into Tyrone - Contender. He's pretty darn good at dealing with nuisance critters. Might cost ya a chunk of change, though. :)
 

Kanook

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Aug 7, 2009
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1,123
Find some stiff SWC ammo (like Buffalo Bore) that you can handle for the LCR. Or, if you have the funds, look for an all steel 4"barreled 357mag (GP100) that can help absorb the felt recoil of the 38's or if you choose to use it as a 357.
 

wizofwas

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Sep 17, 2011
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The first thing that I would do is PM someone like Contender, here on the forum that has knowledge on what to do with the wild critters. The second thing that I'd do is buy some of the heaviest, fastest ammo that I could find that the firearms will handle (no hollow points, they just don't penetrate as well). The third thing is get a bigger firearm with the heaviest, fastest ammo. I still like the sawed off 12 gauge for in the house. But if you want a handgun to carry, then a 44 Mag. or 357 Mag. will also work. Oops, almost forgot, it's still early, don't forget the bear spray. I have read that it works, I just have no experience with it.
 

BearBio

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Oct 22, 2009
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Our guys (F & W) use 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs on the refuges in Alaska. In Washington, we carry bear spray (if certified to use it).
 

Don Lovel

Hunter
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Nov 10, 2003
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When I got up this morning I looked out on the driveway and sure enough, a bear got into the trash last night, I left the can out for pickup and I think I saw the trash truck having mechanical trouble so they did not make all their stops yesterday, so this morning I am going to go pick up all the bear mess in the front yard because it looks like he took it out of the can and rolled in it
 

whichwatch

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Dec 18, 2012
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BearBio said:
Our guys (F & W) use 12 gauge with Brenneke slugs on the refuges in Alaska. In Washington, we carry bear spray (if certified to use it).


Bear Bio, what is the reasoning behind the need to be certified to use bear spray? What certification is needed to use an aerosol can?
 

FastEd

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Jun 13, 2008
Messages
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The ultimate defense weapon would be the shotgun.
Buckshot and slugs. If you suspect there is a bear in the neighborhood, don't wander too far from home.
Defending against a bear could be a little tricky especially if he is pumped up. Bears like Hogs have different attitudes.
Some will run from humans at first sight. Others may be a little meaner and will charge you. Prepare yourself mentally on
what you have to do in any case.

Anytime I went hunting out in the sticks I always carried a 7.5 inch .44 mag. backup.
I always hoped that would be enough.
 

Pat-inCO

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Oct 17, 2009
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http://www.kimberamerica.com/custom-tle-ii-a
MSRP $1,080 which says it should sell for $850 to $900 in either a .45ACP
or 10mm. The 10mm has perceptibly more power than the .45ACP has,
which means more recoil, and better penetration. Also harder to find ammo.

Overall, I think a 1911 in .45ACP, running ball ammo for penetration, would
be a good choice (PLENTY of standard accessories, if you decide on them).

P.S. Also has night sights. :D
 

Cooperhawk

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Dec 29, 2008
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Had a bear tear down our bird feeders a couple years ago. He, or she, is dead now. DNR finally did away with it. Round here we don't mess with bears with pistols unless they are really big pistols. Usually a 30-06 rifle is what we prefer.

You didn't mention, black bear or GRIZZLY!!! :shock:
 

whichwatch

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Dec 18, 2012
Messages
678
Cooperhawk said:
Had a bear tear down our bird feeders a couple years ago. He, or she, is dead now. DNR finally did away with it. Round here we don't mess with bears with pistols unless they are really big pistols. Usually a 30-06 rifle is what we prefer.

You didn't mention, black bear or GRIZZLY!!! :shock:


Northern Colorado, would not be a grizzly.
 

Bear Paw Jack

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Dec 19, 2001
Messages
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If this is the first time it happened. I'd think how lucky you are to see a bear. While a lot of people go out into the woods, many of them don't ever see a bear. You got to see one in your own neighborhood. Sounds like you did the right thing and alert people, who sound like they would keep an eye out for you. If you are very worried I'd get a can of bear spray. Check the expiration date and get one that is a ways out. We used to have bears come through our neighborhood regularly, but even with that, we didn't see them real often, and usually they were on the way to some where else. Where they have gotten food before. Make sure the neighborhood is clean, no one is keeping dog food out, trash is put away and be thankful you got to see a bear. Also be thankful you aren't in Baltimore and it wasn't a gang of roving thugs. :)
 

roarindan51

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Feb 8, 2009
Messages
227
call the game wardens...they'll trap the "dumbbear.. (no, dunbar, not dumbbear") and move it outta the area.
 

Viking Queen

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Apr 29, 2011
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Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the great advice. I may go to my local Gun store today and do some shopping. i was excited to see this guy last night and watched him/her for about 20 min.....just weaving in and out between our houses...wandering up driveways and sidewalks. It was dusk but I got a really good look at this black bear as he ambled between our houses, about 5 feet from my kitchen windows. I was most concerned about someone opening a door to let thier dog out and running into the guy.

My friend Jackie was walking her 4 month old yellow lab when the bear came bursting between the buildings in her direction. It really frightened her, as it would have me.

Will have a chat about bird feeders with a couple of folks today. Monday is trash day so we all keep trash in garages until Mon. AM as dogs and raccoons have gotten into trash before. Maybe a little news letter with reminders can be circulated. I am the yougest one here in my mid 60's and many are well into their 80's and rather frail so it would not be good for someone to be unaware.

I value all your input and suggestions and will take them under advisement.
What a wonderful and helpful group of folks we have here! I treasure being a part of this community of Ruger folks.

I'll keep you posted on the bear sightings in Fort Collins! Viking Queen and intrepid sidekick, the lovely Miss Iris
 

contender

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Ok,,, while we've had many different bear/gun discussions here,,, VQ has asked for serious help.

I agree that a 12 ga or a 20 ga shotgun is much better for actually stopping a bear if necessary. HOWEVER,,,,, VQ has mentioned it's in town & heavily populated.
A safe zone of fire may not be an easy thing.
Think of where a bullet or a slug will go if you miss the bear.

The thought of an elderly person getting hurt by the bear would be bad,,, but imagine the issues you'd have to deal with if an errant round from ANY firearm hit a person.

It's common knowledge that a black bear is not NORMALLY aggressive. The actual cases are rare & when they do happen,,, the news media makes a lot of noise about them.

So, here is what I tell the people around here in the populated city of Asheville NC.
First,,, a good "Bear Spray repellent" is the safest option for everyone. The company "Counter Assault" is known as the best by the pro's. Next,,, educate yourself on how to use the spray PROPERLY. Yes,,, it does take a bit more than just pulling it out & spraying. Contact Counter Assault and learn the correct way to use it. I think they actually have a short video on their website.
Next,,, a cheap & easy item that has proven to stop a bear & scare them away has been a good lifeguard whistle. Or, a boat air horn. These two items emit a sudden, loud sharp noise unfamiliar to the bears. The whistle can be worn around the neck, (easy access,) and the air horn can also be clipped on or worn easily.

The things I've mentioned are the best options for a non-aggressive bear.

Now,,, in a true self defense issue,,, a handgun is better than no gun. As noted above,,, a shotgun is the best all around SD firearm,,,, but is larger & unwieldy at times when you are just out for a walk.
My PERSONAL choice for a handgun for SD in a bear situation would be a 44 mag, a 45 Colt, (Ruger only & loaded properly) or bigger. I tend to feel that a wide flat nose type of hard cast bullet of at least 240 grns moving at around 1100-1200 fps is plenty to stop a bear.
But,,, you need to be proficient in using the firearm & those loads.
Look at Bear Paw Jack & Bear Bio both here for solid advice as well.

Game wardens often will NOT relocate a bear just because it was seen wandering in a neighborhood.

All this is just my 0.02 worth.
 

GA Cracker

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Jun 12, 2013
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I have hunted black bear with dogs since 2001 and I guided pay hog hunters for 12 years on dog hunts and I have seen a lot of on game bullet performance. For home defense a shotgun with slugs would be best. A friend of mine, Danny Taylor, shot a 528 lb black bear with 20 gauge slugs and the slugs really did some damage.
From what I have seen 357 mag is only adequate with well placed shots. Barney, an experienced hunter friend of mine, argued in favor of 357 until he got bear caught and no longer thinks 357 is adequate. We had 3 young guys come 3 years in a row to shoot hogs with 357 and it was not adequate for hogs.
You asked about Hornady Critical Defense. Hornady Critical Duty is more effective but I would not use either unless that is all I had. One of our members shot a big muscled up but not fat black bear with a Winchester 94 rifle in 44 mag Hornady red plastic tip twice on a dirt road when the bear crossed. The brass jacket from both shots were laying in the dirt flattened like a coin and seemed to have no effect on the bear as he ran a couple of more hours. I didn't dress the bear so I didn't get to get to examine the bullet damage.
Whatever you use bullet choice will be vital as you want maximum damage and penetration. I saw a large hog shot 3 times in the neck with 45ACP round nose solids and the hog shook it's head and took off. Just my opinion but semi automatics with round nose solids aren't adequate. I have seen one of our members shoot bears when wounded with 45ACP solids with little affect. I took him some of the PDX1 Winchester ammo. The dogs were baying a wounded bear. Sollie climbed up on a leaning stump and made a shoulder area spinal shot. Granted it was spinal but it slammed the bear straight down. I daily carry the Winchester PDX1 in my LC9 for human defense. I would choose the PDX1 or Critical Duty for your LC9. Both were tested through 2 car fenders, drywall, plywood, car windshields, and other mediums and still had 12 to 13 inches of penetration after the hard medium. The round nose solids just don't do much tissue damage. A few years ago I had some 158 grain +p semi-wadcutter 38 spl that were goods loads. I am not advocating dependence on these loads but saying that is what I would use in the handguns you have.
I use 45 colt and I have seen them have a complete pass through on black bear. Large caliber hardcast flatnose bullets will be best. If you are going to purchase a handgun first I would say get the largest caliber you can shoot and not be afraid of. I like my single action and double action rugers in 45 colt.
Based on what you said about walking and size being an issue I am gonna make a suggestion if you don't want to spend a lot. If money is not an issue I would get something else besides what I am going to suggest. Our local gun store has a lightweight Charter Arms Bulldog 44 special with 2 or 3 inch barrel that feels great. The Bulldog has a longer rubber grip that is very comfortable. I have had 3 Bulldogs over the years that came with shorter wood grips. I shot some heavy hardcast in mine. I sold my last one when I got a stainless Rossi 720 in 44 special. Some of these guys could hook you up some flatnose hardcast that would be adequate in your home and when walking. You probably wouldn't even notice the difference between the Bulldog and your LCR or LC9. I also think the recoil will not be an issue for you. I think he has $325 on it but they shouldn't be hard to find in your area and he will ship if you can't find one if interested. There are many others I would recommend but just trying to narrow it down based on your actual needs.
I don't want to start anything with my opinions. I am just honestly trying to help with what I have seen and witnessed and my opinions are based on my actual experience.
 
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