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Maestrorr

best carry caliber for hiking, wildlife protection

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I do a lot of hiking and back country camping and now my boys are starting to be old enough to go with me and I'm I'm thinking of carrying for SD where legal.  I never know what or who I might run into in the woods.  Right now, my choices to carry would be a 9mm Glock or a .45 xds.  For animal attack, would I go with the .45 and fewer rounds, or the 9mm with plenty of rounds to hit a charging or attacking animal.  I've come across both bears and boar but never been attacked and frankly think it would be unlikely, but then these are my kids, and if it happens, I want to be ready. I'm a good shot, but then I haven't had to shoot a moving animal while under stress before so I wonder if more rounds would be better.  

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I have been geocaching for over 8 years and traditionally carry a 9mm, started out with a Kel-Tec, but now a Glock 17.  My game takes me to all kinds of locations and have hiked several trails and bushwacked where there were no trails.  As for potentionally aggressive animals, I have never had to draw and fire.  I keep my eye out and avoid the situation when it arises.  I have had an number of deer snort at me and have had a face to face encounter with a rattlesnake near Energy Lake of the LBL. 

 

The reason I do carry when geocaching is not for the 4-legged or slithering type of varmits, but the potential of a run in with a 2-legged type.  Geocaching on the Clark River in Murray, KY and a trail along the Stones River, I have run across a homeless shelter site. 

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Personally I'd carry a G20 (10MM); many hunters rely on the 10MM for emergencies like you are worried about.

 

Next on the list would be a 45.

 

I wouldn't bother with the 9MM, but, it might be possible that you could (with a new barrel) modify your 19 to use 357SIG which I think could be a good alternative and not require you to go out and buy a new gun; I'm no expert on Glocks but it might be worth checking into.

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Normally I would pick a 45 over a 9mm for woods duty but this is a tuff one. Understand in the woods an aggressive animal will be very determined to get you and there is no where to run. On the street a turd may retreat after the first shot and you will be fleeing in your car in less than 2 minutes. People unlike animals realize they have been shot and suffer psychological effects and they try to nurse their wound or lay down. An animal has no clue what the hell happened that is why they run half a mile after getting hit with a hi powered rifle. With the XDS 6 or even 8 rounds seems uncomfortable to me asumming you can't get a magazine change in. Another thing, can you empty the Glock (18rds or 16) faster than the XDS?
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Like Robert says, a 10 mm of any flavor is hard to beat if ya like a semiauto.  I carry a short barreled ruger sa in 357 on up to 44 depending on what is handy in the gun safe, simply because have 'em handy.   If i wuz gonna buy a semiauto today to "walk around" with, it would be a glock 10 mm of some sort.  In my case, it would be the cheapest one i could find.  They all work real well.

 

As to the 45 acp.  It is ok for 2 legged varmits; but i dont think it has enough punch for 4 legged ones.  Ya need plenty of muzzle energy for 4 legged ones (...and some 2 legged too...).  Heavy 357 loads, 44 special at over 1000 fps, 45 colt at over 1000 fps, 44 mag, any flavor; ya get the picture.  Nine millimeter bullets aint heavy enough for big critters.

 

leroy

Edited by leroy

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Around here, worry more about the 2 legged predators than 4 legged ones.  Out west with grizzlies and mountain lions, heavy .357 or bigger. 

 

I hike with my kids and they make so much noise we rarely see any wildlife bigger than squirrels. 

Edited by peejman

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Well of course 10mm would be better but he is asking which of the two guns he owns will work best. No way would I hike in grizzly country with either one of those. As far as for TN, either one will work. I still think you are more likely to discover 2 legged threats while hiking around here.

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Assuming you don't want to buy a new pistol since your post wasn't phrased that way, why not carry both? Choose the one you're more comfortable with as the primary and the other as a new york reload.
Edited by Trekbike
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Autos and animals.... I have to say consider a revolver if you have one.  Some animals will surprise you and be too close for an auto to function more than one shot.   Unlikely enough but the occasional cat will jump on a person, for example, and some of the others can charge at you extremely fast (angry hog!)

 

10mm is plenty for anything short of a large bear. 

 

I spent a LOT of time in the woods when I was young, and have never been attacked by an animal excluding insects.   Most of them fear, or at least respect,  humans.

Edited by Jonnin
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If you are worried about bears, load up with hard cast bullets, no hollow points. Penetration is important. I carry a .44 mag when I'm hiking is east Tennessee. I've seen plenty of bears and never had any problems with them but it only takes once. Of your choices I'd go with .45+p with a hard cast round like maybe Buffalo Bore. They claim they can penetrate a bears skull.

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Those are all good answers, thanks. I was asking between the two guns I own, but who of us is not also thinking about what our 'next' gun will be.  I hadn't considered 10mm but now I may look into that. 

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Oh yeah, if you buy a woods gun 10mm should be it. I have friends in Alaska that say for years 44mag was a staple in every household, you could buy 44mag ammo at the grocery store. However 10mm is becoming very popular. Do to affordability and the capability of smaller shooters taken multiple well placed shots, 10mm is getting a following.

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but the occasional cat will jump on a person,


Yes. Feral house cats are some of the most efficient predators. Seriously.

Though, I admit, I've never heard of one attacking a human.

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It could be a black panther.

I had to, sorry.

I've seem 'em...they are real.

 

They are hard to find though because they usually hang out with Bigfoot

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Of what you currently own? Id carry the .45 with a hard cast round as was mentioned before. New gun Auto? 10mm. New gun revolver? .357 or .44 mag. Im a big fan of .44 and even the larger stuff like .454, .460 and .500 S&W.

Sent from the backwoods of Nowhere

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That's rather an oxymoron, eh?

Not totally...a good friend of mine has a cat that spent the first year of her life as a ferral...she is now a "house cat" but only in the sense that the cat does live in the house...actually"seeing" her is rare and as far as petting, etc...forget it! :)

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If you're worried about bears, then get bear spray. Far more effective than a handgun and the odds of survival are way better for both you an the bear.
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That's rather an oxymoron, eh?


Perhaps. Unless it USED to be a house cat and then went all Lord of the Flies.

I wanted to distinguish between kitty cats and Black Panthers. :)

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If you're worried about bears, then get bear spray. Far more effective than a handgun and the odds of survival are way better for both you an the bear.


Yep, up North seen a lot of bear droppings.....most of it had little bells and shards of bear spray cans in it....
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I've shot a lot of hogs and other assorted medium to large game and livestock animals with various 9mm and 45acp rounds. Personally, in a woods gun I prefer to carry a 9mm loaded with either factory Winchester White box 147gr JHP's or my reloads using Montana Gold Bullets 115gr JHP. Main reasons being that they don't expand too much(hardly at all actually) so they penetrate deeply even through thick bone and due to the edge of the the hollow point cavity they have proven(to me) to be less prone to deflection/skipping off the animals skull when shot at angles compared to FMJ  and round nose ammo. Considering that the purpose is self-defense and not hunting, I want as many rounds on board as possible for rapid follow-up shots as needed. So personally, you will find me carrying my Glock 9mm over my  .45's or revolvers. JMHO....YMMV.

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Oh yeah, if you buy a woods gun 10mm should be it. I have friends in Alaska that say for years 44mag was a staple in every household, you could buy 44mag ammo at the grocery store. However 10mm is becoming very popular. Do to affordability and the capability of smaller shooters taken multiple well placed shots, 10mm is getting a following.

 

.44 would make a lot more sense for someone who has or is willing to spend some time practicing with big bore revolvers.   10mm probably makes more sense for all the people like me who have limited time and money to spend at the range but do practice with a Glock or similar service caliber, striker-fired, semi-automatic handgun.  I don't think the value of muscle memory can be overstated.  When hiking and/or campling in the Smokies, we carry "Guard Alaska" bear spray and a Glock 22 as a backup.  My wife usually keeps the bear spray close by, and although bear attacks are extremely rare, I think it would be quite useful in a more likely event such as a wild dog/cat or a drunk at a campground etc...

 

If I ever buy a handgun specifically for protection in the woods it will be a Glock 20.  

Edited by JReedEsq

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Yes. Feral house cats are some of the most efficient predators. Seriously.

Though, I admit, I've never heard of one attacking a human.

 

About four years ago, my wife and I were doing a very casual hike at Norris watershed with my then infant son on my back and our Cocker Spaniel on a leash.  What appeared to be a normal cat, came out of the woods hissing at the dog.  Although I yelled and acted aggressively, the cat didn't show any fear of me and clawed at my pants when I used my leg to try to separate it from our dog.  I have never in my life seen a cat act so aggressively and I was very glad to be wearing hiking boots that day instead of trail runners etc... I can't imagine using a firearm in a situation where a swift kick would do but I would have definitely used pepper spray if we had it that day...  

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I'd say....either

Chances are, any projectile contact with an animal will deter its attack at least enough to buy you some escape time.

Me...I carry a G29(10mm) with a G20 magazine. But I'd say I spend WAY more time in the woods than the average man.
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