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VCDL sticker, Warrenton today, Nissan SUV/truck, and trip to SNP with bear encounter

Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Female driver. Was this someone from this site? Spotted today on my way to Shenandoah National Park.

Did 9.5 mile "Three Falls" hike. Temp on mountain was low to mid 70s, in 90s down below so alot cooler up there. Swam in a pool at one of the falls, mountain water is cool and fantastic. Those thinking it is too hot to hike now are mistaken. Hiking up there is helping me get in shape, have lost 20 pounds! Have done some great hikes including Old Rag, White Oak Canyon, Mary's Rock, etc and some in GWNF including Big Schloss and Duncan Knob.

Also saw black bear with 2 cubs at about 30 yards today on trail. I stopped immediately, hand went to weapon ready to draw, mama saw me called to her cubs and moved off. I waited some time till I felt it was safe and continued. The black bears up here do not seem at all agressive, even with cubs, especially if given their space. Very, very glad I did not have to draw much less fire on this amazing bear.

I feel that the danger level with these black bears is extremely low, am I mistaken? I have not heard of even a single bear attack in this area, and carrying my weapon is very cumbersome on these long hikes. Advice?

Timely I guess considering the hiker killed in Yellowstone today by a grizzly mama with cubs. The Grizzly mamas seem much more agressive than the black mamas, yes?
 

DJEEPER

Regular Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
407
Location
Yorktown, ,
if your firearm is too cumbersome, then you need to do more training with your firearm on your hip to make it NOT cumbersome :)
 

Marco

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Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
3,905
Location
Greene County
carrying my weapon is very cumbersome on these long hikes.

What the heck are you carrying?
Where/how are you carrying it?

I hate this quote but it does fit for this situation:
"A firearm is suppose to be comforting not comfortable!"

Unfortunately, if it's not comfortable people aren't likely to carry it.


From my limited experience Black bears are generally shy, most would rather avoid you than fight with you.
I'm fortunate enough to have encounters with them on a regualr basis (while walikng the dogs at night) they usually watch us and walk off slowly or freeze.
 

Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
What the heck are you carrying?
Where/how are you carrying it?

I hate this quote but it does fit for this situation:
"A firearm is suppose to be comforting not comfortable!"

Unfortunately, if it's not comfortable people aren't likely to carry it.


From my limited experience Black bears are generally shy, most would rather avoid you than fight with you.
I'm fortunate enough to have encounters with them on a regualr basis (while walikng the dogs at night) they usually watch us and walk off slowly or freeze.

I carry a fullsize Springfield XDM-40 with a standard holster, which is not a light carry gun. I like to carry a fanny pack while hiking, unless of course I am going to camp. I think some kind of across the chest holster might be better for hiking to get it off my hip and for quicker draw. My regular holster requires a belt, and I prefer lightweight shorts w/out belt for hiking. I am thinking of getting a smaller carry gun (maybe a compact 9mm) for hiking in this area, as the wildlife does not seem dangerous.
 
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riverrat10k

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
Messages
1,472
Location
on a rock in the james river
Yeah, just a comment about black bears in general....

not in VA.

Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

As I stated, I am more concerned about two-legged predators than bears.
 

papa bear

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
2,224
Location
mayberry, nc
not in VA.

Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

As I stated, I am more concerned about two-legged predators than bears.

agreed the wildlife are low on my list of worries. the issue of weather to carry or not has been discussed in lots of places. an article in backpacker magazine, a few years ago pointed out just how much valuables you are carrying when you are packing/hiking. and how a lot of the trails venture near public access, making it easy for the BGs to get to you. not to mention the fact that most walkers (to use Collin Fletcher's term) are seen to be passive and not armed
 

B. Reddy

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
110
Location
Orange County, Virginia
My 2 cents on Shenandoah Natl Pk

In the 9 years I've been hiking that place, I've had close encounters with several animals.

Black Bears- mostly I just see their big, furry behinds leaving the area. Last year we were on the Frazier Discovery Trail, and sure enough, I discovered a bear not 10 feet away, staring at me from the bushes. I just kept going, he went across the path behind me and on his way. He sure wasn't hungry, because he had ignored our puppy, two daughters and my wife that had just passed him.

Coyotes- have never seen one, BUT once we were 3/4 mile off Skyline Drive in the Milam Gap area when a passing Ranger hit his siren. The woods around us exploded with coyote howls.

Deer- when deer fight, they rear back on their hind legs and pummel the crap out of the other guy with their front hooves. We were walking IN A PARKING LOT beside a park motel, when a female deer, who minutes before had moved off when we appeared with the dog, charged us from 80 feet away! Came within 15 feet of me and looked ready to kick somebody's butt. After a stare-down, she moved away, and we did also. Left me wondering, how's that gonna look, me holding a smoking gun, and Bambi, on the ground in front of me? Then I though about having a chest full of bleeding hoof-wounds and broken ribs....


Two-legged predators- Who needs a gun at a scenic overlook? Just last year, some fella shot-gunned two people at an overlook just outside of the actual park boundary. He got life + this June.

http://www.readthehook.com/91560/parkway-shooter-sentenced

Papa Bear is right about long, skinny parks like SNP- they have lots of access roads and private, rural acreage around them. Lots of places for BGs to park and walk in.
 

riverrat10k

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
Messages
1,472
Location
on a rock in the james river
While camping in West-by-God-Virginia...

.... I was much more concerned with the two dudes who walked out of the woods into our camp than I was with the skunk that attacked our low-hanging trash bag!

One of us gave the dudes each a beer while two of us got behind them and started chopping kindling. We felt beers in their hands and axes in ours (plus concealed guns) gave us the edge. They left rather quickly.

The skunk had its way with our trash, unmolested, and left after about an hour, leaving carnage in its wake.
 
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The Wolfhound

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
727
Location
Henrico, Virginia, USA
A couple of years ago....

We took our Girl Scout Troop to Old Rag. The Rangers were having a problem with "aggressive bears". In this case they meant young bears, with no fear of people, which would think of your food as their food. A slingshot was the recommended method of deterence. We saw several bears, "detered" one or two of them. Firearms at that time were not allowed. A marble whipping out of a wrist rocket seemed to be sufficient. These days I likely would supplement my slingshot with a .45ACP but a marble would my first choice in most encounters.
 

Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Well everyone is giving me alot of food for thought. One can be extremely isolated on many of these trails. You gotta wonder about the teenage girls you often see on many trails in pairs or even alone. Even if I don't have my gun, I will have a knife and I have some martial arts training. I know my knife will be not ideal as a defensive weapon against one with a gun though.
 

peter nap

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
13,551
Location
Valhalla
But...

http://articles.cnn.com/2006-04-16/...d-erlanger-hospital-stable-condition?_s=PM:US

I would continue to carry, in a small part for bears but more for the also slight chance of an encounter with a two-legged predator.

http://www.aldha.org/murders.htm

That's pretty much my experience and I spend a lot of time close to my bears.
I'm a lot more focused on "Dog Hunters":mad:

I carry in a Chesty Puller and generally carry full sized 44 Magnums. It's a very comfortable way to carry, especially when hiking.
 

Marco

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Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
3,905
Location
Greene County
I carry a fullsize Springfield XDM-40 with a standard holster, which is not a light carry gun. I like to carry a fanny pack while hiking, unless of course I am going to camp. I think some kind of across the chest holster might be better for hiking to get it off my hip and for quicker draw. My regular holster requires a belt, and I prefer lightweight shorts w/out belt for hiking. I am thinking of getting a smaller carry gun (maybe a compact 9mm) for hiking in this area, as the wildlife does not seem dangerous.


We have two of these one for my Glock 20 and one for my wife's Ruger LCR .357mag, they are extremely comfortable and accessible.
www.survivalsheath.com/holsters/index.htm
Since we are only a few miles from SNP we tend to visit quite often.
 

Hoplite

Regular Member
Joined
May 19, 2011
Messages
15
Location
Fairfax County, VA
Two Legged Predators

I carry in the woods/wilderness for the same reason I carry here in suburbia.

Frankly, I've never been that concerned about wildlife here in the Eastern US.

But I have seen some pretty shady looking characters when either backpacking or vehicle camping here in VA and in WV.

If you camp in developed campgrounds where there are other people it seems to me your chances of running into some of your more dangerous two-legged types goes up considerably.

Might be time to look into a different gun or a better way to carry it. But leaving it home doesn't make much sense. If you have made the decision to take responsibility for your self defense at home, why would you give that up just because you want to go hiking? Don't let the peaceful setting along those SNP trails lull you into a false sense of security when it comes to human predators.

But I'd think twice before I shot at any four legged critters unless I had no other choice. There are much better strategies for scaring off wildlife.
 

B. Reddy

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
110
Location
Orange County, Virginia
Shenandoah Natl Park Coyote Warning

1030001602.jpg Saw this "Coyote Warning" sign posted last Fall on a trail just south of Tanners Ridge/Big Meadows. They really had to hoof it to get to this location, it was a couple miles in from the trailhead.

Kinda makes me wonder, what happened that made the staff put up a warning sign....

Anyone know what kind of criteria they have for posting warning signs?
 
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