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What Do Northwesterners Use For Protection In The Wild?


howlingwind
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Also, I had never heard of Tecnu..I know I will be looking it up!

 

Tecnu - one of many places you can read about and buy it.

 

I'm a great fan of Technu -- it's saved me from a number of poison oak episodes. When I lived in the southeastern US, I had a non-stop case of poison ivy the entire time I lived there ;) I keep a squeeze bottle of Tecnu in the geomobile and haven't had a problem since. (REI carries it )

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Not to mention the hiker who fell on crumbly rocks at Strawberry Point near LaPush and was on the cliff for three days before being found and rescued. She is lucky to be alive. I'm sure there are other close calls out there as well as those cited by Criminal.

 

Best advice, know where you are and what is under you. Where there are established trails, stay on them.

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Just got my computer back and noticed Mrs. Wienerdog's poison oak photo request. I can't find where I stored it now but recdiver's 2nd link is a very good representation.

 

We were blown away to see how prevelant p.o. is in the Portland area during the PCM. Then we found some in Woodland WA (halfway between Vancouver and Kelso). That's the farthest north we've seen it but we haven't been looking closely because we don't expect it there. If it really is in Federal Way that would be an eye opener.

 

Funny thing about the Woodland cache, out near the river, is that the only p.o we saw was a small clump surrounding a small stump that, you guessed it, was the cache hiding place. Almost no way to retrieve the container without touching it.

 

Maybe p.o. isn't very potent in WA or we would certainly have heard about it by now. It is everywhere in Northern CA and many, many caches have it nearby or on the way to/from down here. Had to dodge it this morning during two cache finds. I am constantly having it brush my clothes and occasionally my arms while caching. If I think it touched me I rinse the area with the drinking water we have along and then get back to the important business of geocaching.

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I grew up in Southern Calif. surrounded by poison oak, so I know what the stuff looks like. I was caught unaware when I got into it at Oscar's Place because I wasn't expecting to encounter it up here, and because the leaves were not notched like poison oak. They were shaped more like a football. After I pushed it aside (I remember being grateful that it didn't have thorns <_< ) there was something all too familiar about the way the green leaves were mottled red.

 

Well I've just got to go see this for myself - Poison oak in the Puget Sound area? I printed the archived cache page and should be able to get out to Oscar's Place during our June visit. Suzanne and I pawed through our botanical books and found references to p.o. being in the lower Columbia which would include our sightings in Portland and Woodland.

 

On another note I just had my third Mountain Lion sighting while visiting Pt Reyes National Seashore last weekend. The other two were in our own Mendocino County, CA, one on a remote road very near a cache site. I mainly hope they aren't too hungry when I run into them.

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I carry a stick and a have a "bear bell" on my rucksack when I am out geocaching. Fortunately I have never encountered a bear or a cougar but would like to see one though (from a safe distance)

When I have been out geocaching in eastern WA, I have wondered about snakes in and around the caches I have found and am not real keen on sticking my hand into a whole to grab something.

Last summer I was told there was snake bite serum for people but not dogs and Brodie was escorting me on weekend caching trip to E WA.

FYI, there was a bear killed in the University District of Seattle a week or so ago near Ravenna Park. Except for the park, the 'hood is about as urban as you can get.

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I grew up in Southern Calif. surrounded by poison oak, so I know what the stuff looks like. I was caught unaware when I got into it at Oscar's Place because I wasn't expecting to encounter it up here, and because the leaves were not notched like poison oak. They were shaped more like a football. After I pushed it aside (I remember being grateful that it didn't have thorns <_< ) there was something all too familiar about the way the green leaves were mottled red.

 

Well I've just got to go see this for myself - Poison oak in the Puget Sound area? I printed the archived cache page and should be able to get out to Oscar's Place during our June visit. Suzanne and I pawed through our botanical books and found references to p.o. being in the lower Columbia which would include our sightings in Portland and Woodland.

 

On another note I just had my third Mountain Lion sighting while visiting Pt Reyes National Seashore last weekend. The other two were in our own Mendocino County, CA, one on a remote road very near a cache site. I mainly hope they aren't too hungry when I run into them.

 

The Poison Oak I am familiar with in California looks like the example in Wikipedia. What I saw at Oscar's Place looked more like this example from the other link:

poison-oak1.jpg

When I encountered it in late August 2004, the leaves were beginning to turn red. I came up from the beach on what looked like a geotrail through the ivy, and the Poison Oak was growing up through the ivy at the end of the trail where there were a lot of good hidey-holes. I found out later that the cache was at a higher elevation and should have been accessed from above. That was almost two years ago, so the Poison Oak may/may not be growing there now.

Edited by Prying Pandora
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I carry a 44 magnum Redhawk revolver, knife, and a hiking staff. The 44 is good at close range, aiming at long range is tough because ofthe weight and kick from the round traveling down range.

 

Stopping a bear or moose can be tricky with a hand gun. Best solution is watch out for the animals and don't rely on them watching out for you.

 

No snakes in Alaska I think <_< .

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

If you are approached by a cougar, make yourself appear as large as possible. Raise your arms over your head, fan out the sides of your jacket. Maintain eye contact and do not run.

 

I have personally had both bear and cougar encounters and these techniques have worked for me.

 

All of this is fine hearing it in a class room environment but simply dropping on the ground and playing dead is tough to do when the natural human reaction is to run. Facing the animal is the best thing to do with eye contact and to back away to a safe distance and then move out quickly. If you have a weapon have it at the ready and only use if you have to. I'd rather shoot than let a bear sniff and paw on me. Remember the dumb guy in Alaska who lived with the grizzly bears? Looks like lying on the ground and playing dead only made it easier for the grizzly to eat him alive.

 

Mountain lions... sure wave your arms and yell. Even better, throw rocks and run the cat off. Works on dogs.

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

WHY would you be approaching a bear?

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

WHY would you be approaching a bear?

To cuddle for warmth?

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

WHY would you be approaching a bear?

To cuddle for warmth?

Yep, it's a great way to get a fur coat (and the bear gets dinner!). :laughing:

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

WHY would you be approaching a bear?

 

Ask the person who said that :P .

 

I would not approach a bear myself :anibad: ...

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Snakes will almost always strike at what is closest to them. A walking stick is your best protection. Hold it out in front of you. Don't try to provoke the snake. A lot of people, when they find them, are more than a little curious, and just can't leave it alone. That's when the trouble starts. Most rattlesnake bites occur because of peoples inability to just walk away. BTW: The best snake bite remedy is a set of car keys. Get in the car and go to a hospital.

Large cats are not always that elusive. I have a cousin in Reno that I visited for a few days. She told me that if I wanted to go jogging or biking, stay off the road up against the foothills. There had been several joggers attacked while running by. Think about it. You're just a giant running mouse.

Sometimes I carry a .38, but it is more for plinking while we are out. I do have it loaded with snakeshot while we are on the trail, not that it would help much. If they decide to strike it's too late to draw, as they are lightning fast.

I did know someone that a pistol came in handy for though. They were out on some old ranch property, and when they opened the door to the outhouse, there he was...ready. The guy shot him, and then the girls were able to use it. :anibad:

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As a pro-gun "nut" who owns a wide variety of handguns, rifles, and shotguns, who isn't afraid of guns, and who is more likely to die of being struck by lighting than of a gun accident when carrying one (training and experience), when I go hiking, the gun I carry is... none. (Usually.) I just don't think I need one while hiking/camping if I use some common sense.

Cougars and black bears scare easily enough and like someone said, if you can safely fire at a snake, you're far enough away from it anyway.

I guess I should add that I'm 6'3", 300 pounds and hike with a 100 pound dog... no cougar in their right mind would attack us, so you're feelings my vary.

 

I'd find it much more useful to be carrying a gun on Pioneer Square than anytime in the woods, especially on established trails.

 

If I have a gun in the woods I'm either hunting with a rifle or shotgun, or am in Griz country that I am unfamiliar with, then I'll often hump along my 44.

Edited by Bull Moose
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Does any one carry a 2 way radio like the FRS system or use the Garmin Rinos which have radios built in? If so, what channel is the one we geocachers have adopted as an emergency channel? I think we should have a designated channel. What does everyone else think. :(

 

Well the channel you would find other cachers on is 2.

 

"Do you have an FRS/PMR channel to find out if other Geocachers are in the area?

 

Yes. The community has decided on channel 2 as the primary for both FRS and PMR, and 12 as the alternate FRS (Family Radio Service) channel and 8 for the alternate PMR (Europe). FRS and PMR radios are longer distance walkie talkies, like the Motorola Talkabout.

" http://www.geocaching.com/faq/

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Does any one carry a 2 way radio like the FRS system or use the Garmin Rinos which have radios built in? If so, what channel is the one we geocachers have adopted as an emergency channel? I think we should have a designated channel. What does everyone else think. :laughing:

I carry one when I'm with a group, but rarely when it is just the wife and I, I figure for the places we go the cell phone is a better choice and we both carry a cell phone.

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by. If you are charged by a rogue bear, do not run. Lie down and play dead, even if it paws you.

 

WHY would you be approaching a bear?

 

Ask the person who said that :rolleyes: .

 

I would not approach a bear myself :laughing: ...

Saw TV this morning that they were chasing a 2-year old bear around Edmonds.

Took 3 tranq darts to take it down and it would be relocated to the Skykomish area.

So if you run into a bear on that next urban micro cache hunt would you ask the hider to increase the difficulty or the terrain?

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Does any one carry a 2 way radio like the FRS system or use the Garmin Rinos which have radios built in? If so, what channel is the one we geocachers have adopted as an emergency channel? I think we should have a designated channel. What does everyone else think. :P

I carry one when I'm with a group, but rarely when it is just the wife and I, I figure for the places we go the cell phone is a better choice and we both carry a cell phone.

I carry both the cell and GMRS/FRS at all times on all trails. I even carry a spare radio in the backpack. I am looking at getting my Ham ticket as the GMRS/FRS is very limited in distance based on line of sight and obstacles. For most intents, that's not a problem. I am finding myself going on longer hikes though and can use the comfort a mobile shortwave will give.

 

(Ham=not.a.reference.to.the.pig)

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I carry a stick and a have a "bear bell" on my rucksack when I am out geocaching. Fortunately I have never encountered a bear or a cougar but would like to see one though (from a safe distance)

When I have been out geocaching in eastern WA, I have wondered about snakes in and around the caches I have found and am not real keen on sticking my hand into a whole to grab something.

Last summer I was told there was snake bite serum for people but not dogs and Brodie was escorting me on weekend caching trip to E WA.

FYI, there was a bear killed in the University District of Seattle a week or so ago near Ravenna Park. Except for the park, the 'hood is about as urban as you can get.

You can generally tell what kind of bear is in the area. While black bear scat will have berrys and twigs mixed within, grizzly scat will sometimes have litttle bells in them. :P

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When you see a bear, do not attempt to frighten it away with gestures or yelling. Speak in a normal tone as you approach. 99 times out of 100, the bear will amble slowly away from you and allow you to pass by.

 

I have to say that this passage had everyone in our house laughing until we fell down, tears and the whole nine yards. Appraoch and bear are not in the same vocabulary list in this house! :)

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But let's be clear - there are no rattlers on the Wet Side (west of the Cascades in WA and OR).

 

Oh yes we do! In western Oregon there are some near Junction City, and lots in southern Oregon! Been there avoided that...

Edited by Bashaw
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I've spent most of my life in the woods seen 6 bear 1 couger no problems. I carry a 45 from time i get up till dark. Im more worried about some people i met.

 

You sound just LIKE my 21 year old son. He LIVES for hunting, and the woods, and I don't think he would be caught ANYWHERE WITHOUT his guns! And he agrees too about the people one can meet.

 

I think we all agree there are pros and cons to carrying a pistol.

 

I am wondering, what exactly IS "snakeshot" ? :rolleyes:

 

Howlingwind

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I've spent most of my life in the woods seen 6 bear 1 couger no problems. I carry a 45 from time i get up till dark. Im more worried about some people i met.

 

You sound just LIKE my 21 year old son. He LIVES for hunting, and the woods, and I don't think he would be caught ANYWHERE WITHOUT his guns! And he agrees too about the people one can meet.

 

I think we all agree there are pros and cons to carrying a pistol.

 

I am wondering, what exactly IS "snakeshot" ? :rolleyes:

 

Howlingwind

It's like birdshot. It scatters several pellets versus a single bullet to ensure a hit.

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I've spent most of my life in the woods seen 6 bear 1 couger no problems. I carry a 45 from time i get up till dark. Im more worried about some people i met.

 

You sound just LIKE my 21 year old son. He LIVES for hunting, and the woods, and I don't think he would be caught ANYWHERE WITHOUT his guns! And he agrees too about the people one can meet.

 

I think we all agree there are pros and cons to carrying a pistol.

 

I am wondering, what exactly IS "snakeshot" ? :laughing:

 

Howlingwind

I carry hidden allways. most of my friends forget i carry. been through several classes. Im 33 and i guess its just my security blanket.

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We swear by Tecnu! Family is highly allergic- if there is any poison oak nearby one of us seems to find it. My advice- buy Tecnu wash in the big size, and every time you go out bushwacking take a shower before the night is up. DON"T wait to find out if you have any symptoms. It's the oils sitting on your body that produces the rash- wash after every adventure and you oh so significantly reduce your chance of catching it.

Tecnu also has a pretreat product that you can put on exposed skin if you really want to protect yourself- I only use that when it's very hot outside and I know I will be bushwacking- although a layer of clothing is probably better protection. Stuff is made in Albany, OR- so they know the Northwest.

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If anyone in our "caching world" is interested also in hunting, guns, and the like..

 

You are welcome to check out my son's "Oregon Outdoor" Forum Website that he, and some of his other friends started!! :(http://oregonoutdoors.proboards53.com/index.cgi

 

I have written many times about our Geocaching in the "General Board" there..I hop back and forth between our two forums..

 

So Check it out YOU HUNTERS OUT THERE!!

 

By the way..when you go take a look...my son's forum name is "Billy Bob" ! :mad:

 

Howlingwind

Edited by howlingwind
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Having been around firearms for most of my life, I have no problem using them as a tool just as I use my GPS unit to get me to a geocache. I carry either a 9mm Keltec P11 subcompact handgun or a Sig Sauer P229 .40 S&W whether I am geocaching, hiking, or at the local mall.

 

As others have already noted, I've been more concerned about mammals of the two-legged variety than anything else I've met on the trail. Whether or not you decide to carry, being situationally aware of your surroundings will likely be the largest factor in your safety.

 

-Brett

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No comment on weaponry- I just want to agree with those that swear by Tecnu. Most wonderful thing ever *snuggles tecnu bottle*. Husband and kids have never gotten PO/PI, but I have. I grew up hiking just outside Yosemite on a daily basis (lived there a while) and at age 15 discovered I am highly allergic to poison oak and poison ivy, both of which are prevelant on my grandparents property. Oops. At one point I ended up in the ER with a ginormous needle in my hip. Then some ninny decided to pull all the ivy/oak out on their property and BURN IT. :laughing: My throat and lungs were not happy and neither were my grandparents as they rushed me back to Sonora to the ER. Providing no one is burning the stuff, tecnu is the best way to prevent and treat, in my experiance at least.

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If you really are convinced you need something to defend yourself against wildlife in the woods, then I would suggest a good sized can of bear repellent that is easily available without a background check and a waiting period. No one will ever look at you funny for being in the backcountry and carrying this with you. It has been proven to work, and doesn't require the accuracy, maintenance, or practice of a firearm.

 

If you are further convinced you need a firearm, here is the rule: You want the largest caliber with the fastest and heaviest bullet you can reliably shoot with, and any of these will recoil like the proverbial mule if you don't practice a lot. Go no smaller than a 44 magnum, as anything smaller might make a bear truly angry. Even with the 44 mag, you will have to put more than one round in the animal just to get it to stop, and you will be doing this under extreme stress with a charging (moving) target that will make it much harder to aim and shoot.

 

The oleoresin capsicum critter spray works on their eyes, nose, and mouth. If a good shot gets in their eyes, they instantly shut from the pain and irritation. The animal cannot attack what it can't see. If a good shot gets in their lungs, it makes it harder to breathe, and this may convince them they don't have the advantage they thought they might have had. If it gets in their mouth, it may swell their throat and constrict their airway, and this may slow them down enough to keep spraying the critter. You will also be effected by the spray, too, especially if you spray into the wind, it will blow back to you.

 

The bear spray also works against the two legged man hunter. Use the whole can on them, but not all at once. A good little shot every few minutes should be enough to make them remember you were not an easy target. People (usually) learn well from pain. :laughing:

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If you really are convinced you need something to defend yourself against wildlife in the woods, then I would suggest a good sized can of bear repellent that is easily available without a background check and a waiting period. No one will ever look at you funny for being in the backcountry and carrying this with you. It has been proven to work, and doesn't require the accuracy, maintenance, or practice of a firearm

 

 

Can you tell me dieseldan where one can buy bear repellent? I think this sounds better then anything..especially for ME!

 

Howlingwind

Edited by howlingwind
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As the years go by I wonder how many times this topic will be discussed on this forum, and I doubt that those opposed to carrying guns will convince those who carry not to, and visa versa. Luckily we live in a country that allows each of us to choose the method they are comfortable with.

 

One thing about bear spray, if you ever use it, get rid of it right away. It has been known to be an attractant to bears after it has been used. After you scare Yogi away don't stick it in your tent with you. I guess you could carry a couple of cans with you. I prefer to carry more rounds for the gun.

 

The best defense against bears is to go hiking with someone that wears big heavy boots, while you are wearing tennis shoes. Try to spray his boots with pepper spray as you pass him for maximum effect.

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If you are further convinced you need a firearm, here is the rule: You want the largest caliber with the fastest and heaviest bullet you can reliably shoot with, and any of these will recoil like the proverbial mule if you don't practice a lot. Go no smaller than a 44 magnum, as anything smaller might make a bear truly angry. Even with the 44 mag, you will have to put more than one round in the animal just to get it to stop, and you will be doing this under extreme stress with a charging (moving) target that will make it much harder to aim and shoot.

 

 

If you find yourself in the crosshairs of a charging bear you've made enough mistakes already. The best defense is to not let it get to this point.

 

Most bear encounters begin at a distance. People who work in bear country as a profession prefer 12 gauge "flashbang" rounds and other loud noisemakers to keep them from coming in closer. I imagine a couple warning shots from a handgun would have the same effect.

 

By the time you're in range of a can of spray, you're likely to end up as a bear turd. If it were me, I'd rather send a clip full of .45's his way once he gets that close.

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...

By the time you're in range of a can of spray, you're likely to end up as a bear turd. If it were me, I'd rather send a clip full of .45's his way once he gets that close.

I'll respectfully disagree. I've been within range of a can of spray to a bear several times and am still here. Also, I hope there isn't anything/anyone on the other side of that bear your throwing lead at...

 

As to where to get bear spray: REI has it here.

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...

By the time you're in range of a can of spray, you're likely to end up as a bear turd. If it were me, I'd rather send a clip full of .45's his way once he gets that close.

I'll respectfully disagree.

 

I'll respectfully disagree also.

 

If the ".45's" you're referring to are .45ACP, then you will do better to lay down and play dead, or you better have a Thompson machine gun and at least a 50 round magazine. If you mean .45 Long Colt with a really hot load, then you're on Te right track. a 12gauge or larger shotgun is heavy, but loaded with slugs will have a good effect, if you can get follow up shots off fast. I have spoken with a man that claimed to have survived a grizzly attack in Canada by dumping two magazines of .460 Rowland into it, the first while the bear was charging, Te second as the bear was dieing, but still attacking. I have seen video of tigers hit by very large and powerful rounds continue to charge and attack. I have heard reports from hunters, wildlife control agents, and rangers that sometimes a wild animal does not react to a gunshot the way you would expect. I have heard from coyote hunters that while hunting during a thunderstorm, sometimes the animals seem to regard the gunshot report like thunder, and appear to disregard it.

 

I have never heard any reports of an animal coming to the scent of the oleoresin capsicum spray bottle. This almost smacks of urban(I know, urban legend about the woods! <_< ) legend.

 

I stand by my statement, condensed: This is America, If you want to carry a gun, go ahead. I feel that if you can't practice with it to be able to shoot it reliably and always hit a charging target under the sudden stress of an animal charge or attack, then you may be better off with the pepper spray. Maybe you'll feel better with both.

 

Me, if I'm going into bear country, I may carry a gun and the spray, but more than likely I'll just avoid any serious bear country (easiest option). I'm really just not concerned about an animal attack, it is way down on the list of problems that can occur to me out in the woods. I'm more likely to get lost or injure myslf somehow.

Edited by dieseldan
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I already posted this in the main forums, but I'll post it here again cause I was happy to get a shot of this guy near a cache on Saturday:

 

 

 

Good example for when searching for caches in places like that, it's always a good idea to send a stick in there first.

:)

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I already posted this in the main forums, but I'll post it here again cause I was happy to get a shot of this guy near a cache on Saturday:

 

3f7116d3-eced-4cfd-bab5-30019a87ecae.jpg

 

I about croaked when I saw how big that snake was that you got a picture of!!

 

I am SO glad that my husband and I went and got hiking sticks not long ago..and I know that we will certainly be more careful! :)

 

Howlingwind

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I already posted this in the main forums, but I'll post it here again cause I was happy to get a shot of this guy near a cache on Saturday:

That is a very pretty snake. Anyone know exactly what snake that is in the picture?

From the Snakes of North America site, it looks closest to a Western Rattlesnake:

 

Crotalus_viridis.jpg

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Allanon is right. The rattlesnakes up north here (Crotalus viridis) are called Western Rattlesnakes. Here is where they live in WA State: Distribution Map. I used to think they were Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, but they are another species (Crotalus atrox) that reside in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California.

Edited by The Navigatorz
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