Black Bear country

BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior MemberPosts: 4,274 Senior Member
I'm renting a cabin up in pigeon forge in Oct.  Reading the comments on the place, there are a lot of bear sightings, like daily, in search of food.  One tried to get in a window tearing up the screen.  We will have a couple of preteen girls with us.  What exactly are the SD rules against a bear?  If unreasonably close and growling or if maybe you are between her and her cubs and you are in fear can you kill it?  I know black bears aren't that aggressive and they love them up in that area but if its the bear or my granddaughter the bear gotta go.

Its over an acre of property in the woods, I'm thinking I may even bring an AR in case they are not close. Will a 9mm work on a black bear or do I need something bigger?  Not being paranoid, just prepared.



"He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
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Replies

  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,102 Senior Member
    Forget about the AR. Forget about the 9mm. Take a shotgun and load it with 1 oz. slugs. For a pistol, a 9mm might be useful to scare one off, but if you need to put it down then something like a .44 Magnum loaded with 320 grain jacketed flat points will work. A black bear can take a lot of punishment, and they can EASILY OUTRUN YOU. If you take/have to use the 9mm then be prepared to do a mag dump, and reload on the run. If you have one, a .357 loaded with hot defensive loads would be more better.

    You can kill one if it is attacking, or is breaking down the door to get inside. If you're inside the Smoky Mountain National Park, you'll have to deal with the park rangers if you shoot one, and the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) if outside the park. Good luck with that!

    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,049 Senior Member
    Black bears are responsible for far more attacks and fatalities than their grizzly cousins....probably because there are more of them and they are in the proximity of people far more often...
    A slug loaded shotgun is considered bear medicine everywhere...
    When it comes to handguns.... something that starts with "4" is a good place to start...
    I'm very comfortable with my 1911 and my .45 Colt Vaqueros...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    Well ok, 10mm it is.  I was thinking AR if the kids are far away and I didn't think I'd have time to get close enough for a pistol shot.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,049 Senior Member
    We live in bear country.... don't do stuff that attracts them...make sure your garbage is picked up and the cans are placed away from the cabin and the likelihood of an encounter of the bear sort diminishes greatly...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 3,590 Senior Member
    Slugs sound good to me.

    Don't get panicky. Bears seem busy and unconcerned with me.

    Be alert, they're feet are real quiet in the woods.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 10,919 Senior Member
    Make sure you bring a shovel with also, just in case.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,842 Senior Member

    CHIRO1989 said:
    Make sure you bring a shovel with also, just in case.
    SSS
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,517 Senior Member
    I have spent and lived a lot of time in bear country, my choice has always been a 18" barreled 12ga. Mossberg 500 loaded with 2 3/4 slugs, on short hikes  I used Ruger Blackhawks .41 or .44 mags. I have never had to kill a bear in anger. I knew an Alaskan guide that carried a short barreled SXS loaded with 935gr. (2 1/4 oz.) for follow ups on wounded bear. 

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    i was thinking about my coach gun with some slugs as well.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • KSU FirefighterKSU Firefighter Senior Member Posts: 3,246 Senior Member
    So far, all of my bear encounters have resulted in the bear trying to break the sound barrier in the opposite direction. That being said, I usually head out on hikes with my 4" Dan Wesson in .357 with the already mentioned hot loads. To show how worried about the bears I am, the first load in rotation is a snake shot load. If you go on a hike, pay attention, make noise so that you don't surprise Smokey, (generally not a problem with kids along!) Control your trash, hang your food away from camp if you stay in a tent in bear country, and enjoy your stay.
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Don't fergit the Bare Necessities.


    Oh and the Charmin to share with the bears.........................

    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 3,590 Senior Member
    Kansashunter's first 1911 thread reminded me of this incident.

    I got caught in a hard rain storm once well backpacking. Wound up soaked to the skin before I could tent under my poncho. My teeth were chattering as I made camp. Rather than try to light a fire, I crawled in my down bag inside a tiny tent and ate some MRE's to generate body heat. Then fell asleep. Woke up to sniffing noises just outside the tent. Still had food trash inside. Cloudy dark as ink. Grabbed my 1911, and then thought if that's a bear, 230gr ball aint enough. Put down the gun and triggerd my alarm clock well strobeing my flashlight.

    Turns out the noise was curious elk. Shoulda been more cautious with my trash though.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 2,166 Senior Member
    Another alternative is bear spray.

    REI Bear Spray

    When I  walk through  the woods around my BIL house, I carry two things. Bear spray and a 1911 loaded with .45 Super hardcast.

    The bear spray is my first choice since killing a bear without the right paper work gets you in hot water over here in La La Land.

    For a camp gun, I use a lever action in .44 mag or a shotgun loaded with slugs. Both will work.

    Your 10mm will work just fine. Buffalo Bore has 220 gr. hardcasts you might like.
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=219

    Beware of false knowledge -- it is often more dangerous than ignorance.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,525 Senior Member
    How about, just go on vacation?
    Seriously, take care of your trash, dont leave anything that might attract them on the porch and relax. I have had 5 in my front yard at one time. More people get into scuffles with black bears because the people live where the bears do and that means more people have more opportunity to be stupid and treat them like pets.
    Arm yourself with a camera and hope one wanders in to the yard. Be calm, dont act like a fool and all will be well.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    I'm not going looking to shoot a bear by any means but I'm sure not going to be unprepared.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,200 Senior Member
    To add to what Varmintmist said... From my experiences in Alaska, having a camp in northern Michigan, and my experience bear hunting in northern Michigan....

    The bears are more scared of you than you are of them. I had a little bear while hunting in the UP at my bait pile eating..While remote, I wasn't too far off a trail. The ONE truck that decided to drive on that trail all day was enough to spook Boo-boo.

    Alaska-- a black bear had an itch so it decided to scratch itself on the side of my parent's 5th wheel. No harm, no foul. My camp? There are black bear in the area, but we make an effort to keep avoid anything that would attract them like food, food garbage, smelly stuff, fish, etc... away from camp.

    And yes, we do keep a cheesy Rhom 44 mag at camp, plus our regular SD sidearms just because.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,803 Senior Member
    Given the current cougar kill here in Portland there is a lot if discussion as to what medicine to carry.  I think a Ruger SP101 in .357 with a 3 inch barrel would be a good lightweight and effective choice.
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,049 Senior Member
    edited September 2018 #19
    BigDanS said:
    Given the current cougar kill here in Portland there is a lot if discussion as to what medicine to carry.  I think a Ruger SP101 in .357 with a 3 inch barrel would be a good lightweight and effective choice.
    Yep...that will work...any cat encounter is likely to be up close and personal
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 3,590 Senior Member
    I generally have a personal aversion to hollow points for camp & trail, but if cougars and evil doers were my main concern I think I'd consider hp's to be a good choice.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 2,166 Senior Member
    edited September 2018 #21
    I generally have a personal aversion to hollow points for camp & trail, but if cougars and evil doers were my main concern I think I'd consider hp's to be a good choice.
    Even if cougars and evil doers were my main concern, I think I might hedge my bets on something a bit more General Purpose like a good 158 grain JSP in .357 Mag. (if I was carryin a .357 for that purpose)
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1010791376/sierra-sports-master-bullets-38-caliber-357-diameter-158-grain-jacketed-soft-point-box-of-100
    Just in case BooBoo comes knockin with an attitude.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-bear-attacks-california-man-on-his-porch/
    This happened not too far away.


    Beware of false knowledge -- it is often more dangerous than ignorance.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,224 Senior Member
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 3,590 Senior Member
    I carry the spray sometimes. All though admittedly, its often accompanied by a firearm.

    Its more important to see whats in front of you. The time I woke up to a visit from the local bruins, they had left sign all over the place. I was distracted by the dark walls of my own colon and failed to see the messages.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,102 Senior Member
    Only things I know about black bears is from observation and from hunting them with dogs. When hunting them with dogs, they are, or can be, very aggressive when cornered. Dogs get hurt with cornered bears; better to have the bear climb a tree. Safer for everyone concerned.

    From observation, getting between a sow and her cubs is a good way to get hurt. Saw a guy in Cade's Cove try to retrieve his little fuzzy ankelbiter dog that took off after the cubs, and got between the sow and the cubs. The dog dang near got slung in two when the sow got hold of it, and the guy beat a very hasty retreat. The sow did a couple of false charges and then gathered up the cubs and hit the woods. With the crowd that had been pursuing the sow and cubs for pictures, it could have been bad.

    Every time I go to the Smoky Mountains/Cades Cove/Townsend area I always see at least one idiot a heartbeat away from getting gutted by a bear. People are stupid.

    Trying to get close for pictures of a sow or boar bear is another way to get some unwanted attention. The bears are used to being fed by tourists(illegal activity that has a hefty fine in the parks), but they are not tame and can act badly when pressed, especially when they are on food. Best have a telephoto lens, or leave them alone.

    If a black bear attacks you and you didn't do anything stupid, then it's hungry and sees you as a food source. Best fight like your life depends on it because it does.

    Most recent bear attacks:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2000-05-23-0005230173-story.html

    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/jun/08/black-bears-populations-rise-males-move/308440/

    https://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/14/us/14cnd-bear.html



    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,842 Senior Member
    tennmike said:
    If a black bear attacks you and you didn't do anything stupid, then it's hungry and sees you as a food source. Best fight like your life depends on it because it does.

    Can't be any plainer than that
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • Johnny rebJohnny reb Member Posts: 448 Member
    Having lived I the area my whole life. I would say just carry whatever you're normal every day carry is. Just use normal common sense keep trash picked up and locked in appropriate container. I would not worry any and just have a good time relaxing and enjoying the time away.
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,626 Senior Member
    This is the only black bear you should encounter:https://blackbeardiner.com/
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 924 Senior Member
    When i visit the U.P. I take my G40 with some hot handloads with 180gr jacketed bullets.
  • gunwalkergunwalker Member Posts: 470 Member
    One word of caution if you choose to use a handgun as bear medicine. Once adrenaline kicks in the odds of you hitting anything go way down. That gun is going to wave around like a fly rod with a fish on. If you doubt that can happen to you, research police involved shootings and see how often officers miss at close range, aka social distances. My family has a camp in prime black bear country and if I am hiking about,particulary in late spring, I carry a marlin guide guide gun in 45-70.
    We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,739 Senior Member
    edited January 3 #30
    I've encountered a few in Shenandoah. Have never been armed, never felt particularly threatened. Also encountered one in our campsite as a boyscout up on a trip in MN. In all cases just keep calm, keep your distance, and slowly and calmly leave the area.

    In your case I'd pick up some bear spray as a first line of defense and 12ga loaded with slugs as a backup. Unless you end up with a mother/cub situation, a particularly hungry (most don't have trouble finding food) or wounded bear, or one that's suffering from some kind of disease attacks aren't super common. Also follow the advice above about food storage/cleanup.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 2,166 Senior Member
    I've encountered a few in Shenandoah. Have never been armed, never felt particularly threatened. Also encountered one in our campsite as a boyscout up on a trip in MN. In all cases just keep calm, keep your distance, and slowly and calmly leave the area.

    In your case I'd pick up some bear spray as a first line of defense and 12ga loaded with slugs as a backup. Unless you end up with a mother/cub situation, a particularly hungry (most don't have trouble finding food) or wounded bear, or one that's suffering from some kind of disease attacks aren't super common. Also follow the advice above about food storage/cleanup.
    This has been my experience with black bears up in Yosemite. They're not Grizzlies but you still need to keep your distance. Leave them alone and most will likely leave you alone. For those that don't, bear spray does work but to "use as directed" requires brass ones.

    Using bear spray is like using birdshot for home defense, works great up close and personal. Most, I suspect wouldn't want to wait that long or wait for booboo to get that close.

    Another important thing to remember about spray, depending on brand, you only have about 5-7seconds of usable propellant. You can find yourself with an empty can if you spray too early.

    Make no mistake, I always carry a sidearm.
     ;) 
    Beware of false knowledge -- it is often more dangerous than ignorance.
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