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is the North really that dangerous?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by GuyHall, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. GuyHall

    GuyHall Member

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    S'ers,

    been working on a plan to see if I can make it to Fairbanks from California. Over dinner the other night, I was talking with some friends about planning for the trip. They had spent time in Alaska while serving in the military. They were quite insistent that I bring a firearm for protection, mostly against wildlife while in the yukon.

    What's the Tesla braintrust think?

    Guy

     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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  3. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Canadians, as a rule, don't use guns. I find the american insistence, which I have frequently run in to, that you must have a gun in case of wildlife to be quite baffling. I camp a lot, always in bear country, always in the backcountry, and always completely unarmed. I have come face to face with bears on numerous occasions and I have NEVER wished I had a gun.
    I have been north, we saw lots of bears, we didn't have a weapon, and didn't want one either.
     
  4. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    We have the right to bear arms or arm bears in the US so maybe that is the difference:)
     
  5. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    That's one of many reasons. More deeply it goes to the founding of the country itself though. That's a pretty long discussion though.
     
  6. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    I think that the idea is to have a gun in the event that you may need it. Sure, you may never use it, and that is good. It's like having fire insurance on your house. It fine and dandy if there is no fire, but in the event that there is one, it's pretty valuable.
     
  7. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Fire insurance never killed it's owner...

    The one thing FAR more dangerous in a wildlife encounter than being unarmed, is being armed and not firing a kill shot on your first attempt. Having a gun encourages riskier behaviour to start with, and also risks making the animal mad, not to mention the inherent risks associated with all firearms of unintended injury or death to yourself or your group.

    - - - Updated - - -

    In Canada we get sunburnt when we exercise the right to bare our arms.... ;) (quote from a Canadian comedy band called "The Arrogant Worms")
     
  8. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I predict this thread will not end well.:cool:
     
  9. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    You're probably right. Guns are pretty much a religious conversation in the US, and I don't really want to get in to that debate on here.

    So let me answer the OPs question more simply. No, the north is not "that dangerous". Millions of people around the world interact with wildlife all the time completely unarmed with no problems whatsoever.

    Also, Canadian law frowns on importing guns, transporting loaded guns, transporting unlocked guns, being in possession of a gun without the proper permits, firing guns outside of a shooting range or without appropriate hunting licenses, and many other gun related things. It is not advisable to have a gun with you within Canada without some thorough research in to Canadian laws and Border Services regulations.

    That said, the north IS dangerous, but not in a way that a gun will help with. There are long stretches of unmaintained roads with no cell coverage, in very remote areas, with limited traffic. Once you get far enough north the storms are known to make some areas completely inaccessible for weeks on end, and some major roads (often the ONLY road to a particular place) are closed for several weeks in both the spring and fall for freezing/thawing. Emergency services coverage in some areas is completely non-existent, or could take many hours to arrive (once activated, which is once someone drives a very long way to the next telephone). Poor planning, A vehicle breakdown, or a slight lapse of attention behind the wheel can be even more deadly up there than anywhere else in North America. I am not trying to talk you out of it. I love traveling to remote places, you just need to make sure that you are well prepared.
     
  10. KenN

    KenN Member

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    When camping in grizzly territory, I've found bear bangers to be quicker and more effective than guns. No need to aim at anything, just point upward and release.

    Tru Flare Bear Bangers - Mountain Equipment Co-op. Free Shipping Available


    Just remember to point UP!! If you send it toward the bear/cougar/other, it could shoot past the offending animal and the bang will send it running toward you, rather than away!

    100th post ... I'm no longer 'junior'. Whee.
     
  11. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Be very careful with these, there are many reported instances of people accidentally scaring the bear TOWARDS themselves. (aimed at an angle over the bear, explodes behind bear, or carried by the wind with same results)
    Bear spray is generally recommended for bear country, I don't carry it, but I've known some who do. Again you have to be very careful of how to use it, the Bear should be within about 3 feet before you pull the trigger on it, if they're further away you risk just angering them. Also the pepper is actually a bear attractant, so there is a risk there as well.

    Again, if bringing either of these in to the country I'd check with Border Services as I suspect they could cause issues at the border.
     
  12. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    When I lived in BC, I traveled extensively through many of the less populated parts of Canada, and never felt the need for a gun to protect me from wildlife or anything else. I don't really understand the gun mentality. In general they just get you into trouble, and it appears from the little research I've done that the most common occurrence is family members are shot. I now live in Texas, and I still don't feel the need for one.
     
  13. GuyHall

    GuyHall Member

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    good suggestions. I've checked your link and unfortunately they only ship to Canada. Nonetheless, I will check for similar items in the US before I leave. Congrats on no longer being a junior member. Guy
     
  14. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Cougars are more of a concern to me than bears. Bears will generally avoid you but can become a problem if you happen to come between a mother and her cubs. For this reason, I always carry bear spray when out in the bush. I've encountered a lot of bears, and never had to use it, but the one time if I happen to come between a mother and her cubs, I will be glad it's clipped to my belt.

    Cougars, unlike bears, stalk little kids and I have three screeching girls who play outside of my cabin in Tulameen, within blocks of where I have seen cougars. When they were little, I gave them a boat horn type of screecher and taught them to press it, and said if they ever see a cougar to press it and I will come running. I've heard of too many cougar attacks not to take precautions. In fact, a mother was riding her horse in Tulameen when a cougar had the courage to take her son 9 years old son off his horse. This happened close to my cabin and this is the story from the local paper of the cougar attack:

    It suddenly jumped from the undergrowth at little Steven. The boy was thrown from his horse where the lion attacked him. The mother screamed at it and leapt from her horse, clubbing the lion away from her son with a branch she was able to break off. Then she continued to fight the animal and instructed her two other children to get the injured youngster to the safety of their car and then to get help. Finally, her older son found an armed camper, Jim Manion, who was led to the scene. He found Cindy still fighting the cougar more than an hour later. Much of her upper torso had been consumed. It was amazing she was still alive. She asked if her children were OK, and when Jim said yes, she said in a half-whisper, "I am dying now," and she collapsed. Cindy died from her injuries. Her son Steven made a full recovery. This male mountain lion weighed only 65 pounds though there was plenty of prey in the area.

    The story is so tragic. The family is well-known in the small town of Tulameen. It's too bad she didn't have a can of bear spray since the outcome would likely have been very different.

    Also, five years ago, three cougars were shot after stalking children in Princeton, which is close to Tulameen:

    Cougars shot for stalking B.C. children

    In my opinion, bear spray is a must (we can't carry hand guns in Canada, thankfully) and rifles are not something you can carry as easily as bear spray, and if something goes wrong with the bear spray itself, it's not fatal. If you are buying bear spray, check the expiration date since it does expire (and becomes less effective with age). If you are coming to Canada, you can pick it up at Canadian Tire:

    Bear Repellent Spray | Canadian Tire
     
  15. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Actually, I'm pretty sure it has with fraud attempts gone awry. But we digress....
     
  16. GuyHall

    GuyHall Member

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    Touching story. Thanks for the Canadian tire tip.

    - - - Updated - - -

    thanks to all for keeping on the primary topic.​ today I'm most interested in setting myself up a successful adventure. Tomorrow, we can solve the world's problems.

    Still noting suggestions if new ideas pop up.
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I'm actually kinda impressed by this... I've been expecting this thread to go into the weeds at any moment.
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Another point to keep in mind is the folks in the conversation. I would expect these folks to both be trained in proper firearms handling and have confidence in and appreciation for them as tools for protection.
     
  19. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I have done a lot of hiking and camping and have run into bears 3 times. Never close to a problem and have never carried a gun or felt the need to. Use common sense and give wildlife life plenty of space. Statistically you have a far greater chance of being hurt by carrying a gun than saving yourself from an attacking animal.
     
  20. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    In general, I agree, but...

    I live close to bears in Colorado. I used to think it was the bear behind my house, now I know I have many bears in the near jungle forest behind the house. Here is a picture that I took of some bears about 50 meters from my bedroom. Momma was about 4-5 meters off the ground in the scrub oak. These are cinnamon colored black bears.

    View attachment 52932

    Normally, the bears stay much more stealth, but when I took this picture 2 years ago, we had had a late freeze that killed all the choke cherries and acorns; the bears lost their normal caution and were looking for food. To discourage them from getting too comfortable with the house, I fired the .45 a few times as a noise maker to scare them off.

    Unless you are going into wild untamed grizzly country in the far north, I would be very comfortable going without a gun. I flew my Cessna 185 bush plane into some of that wild country up north several years ago; at one point we were camping over 50 miles from the nearest 4wd trail, much less a paved road. My buddy and i carried shotguns just in case, but never needed them. We cleared customs at the Campbell River, BC airport by cell phone including the shotguns, got a confirmation number, and never saw a customs agent. They are pretty cool with shotguns a rifles for protection, but do not even think of bringing a handgun with you.

    For doing campground stuff near the highway, just be careful about food, etc, that may attract the bears; there is no need for a gun. The last thing you want is a bear using its claws to open your Telsa like a spam can...
     

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