Sorry for the length of the following, gents but I was just compelled, as they say....!!
The really terrifying part here is the simple fact that there are already more idiots in the woods with guns than need to be: The kind who shoot at anything that moves (or doesn’t), or don’t have the first clue on how to care for a weapon, which cartridges or calibers to use for specific purposes and most importantly, basic safety principles in the use of a firearm!
Many years ago – when I could still see – I was the Range Safety Officer and Training Instructor for a local National/International Combat Pistol Shooting Team (IPSC). The first thing I taught was Safety - and the first rule of Safety is, “There is no such thing as an “unloaded firearm,” and to therefore regard every firearm in that light! This is based on the oft repeated and tiresome phrase, “Gee, I didn’t know it was loaded!” Always assume every firearm is loaded and ready to kill when handling, fondling, examining, cleaning or otherwise – until you are ready to use it for its intended purpose.
For self defense purposes there are a myriad of legal issues to confront which I will not address here due to the complexity and sheer volume of available material on that subject.
Like many of you in this thread, I carry weapons when in the woods and these days, more for protection from the two-legged variety than the four-legged ones. However, the tools I carry are what I would define as “multiple use” and can be effectively employed for a variety of needs.
Also, as noted herein, Cougars are ambush hunters and are so incredibly stealthy that you will likely not have much of an opportunity for defense against their attack – other than the same principle of “awareness of your surroundings” that one should always use in the woods OR the city!
Frequently check your back trail AND side trail; just stand quietly for a few moments and look around, observe….you will be amazed what you can see doing this one simple thing.
If you should happen to spot a Cougar stalking you, DO NOT PANIC & RUN, as this will absolutely ensure an attack. Instead observe the body language of the animal if possible and if an attack appears imminent, puff yourself up as much as possible by extending your arms overhead and/or to the sides, using whatever clothing you have, like jackets, sweaters or backpacks to make yourself appear larger. Use whatever time you have to prepare the weapon/s you have – knife, machete, gun, walking stick, club, whatever….but whatever you do, DO NOT PANIC & RUN, it is far better to stand your ground and fight the best way you can. A classic case of “Bluff & Bluster,” actually being of some value.
Believe me, no matter how big & tough you are or how many fellow home-sapiens you’ve whupped or whatever skills & prowess you think you possess in bar fights & street brawls they will be of little use against a cat – especially one you never saw coming! Your eyes, ears and sense of awareness of your surroundings is your best initial line of defense. :ray1:
USMC KABAR... drive it deep, extract and repeat until the cat unclamps it's maw from your neck. Joking aside, I do carry a Kabar, because I realize that I will more than likely get ambushed by a cat and not have the advantage of getting a round off in a square confrontation with a firearm.
Your knife should have a pronounced guard to keep your hand from sliding off the handle and onto the blade should you hit bone or connective tissue resistance.
You need to employ CQB for those sneaky pete type animals, let them taste your steel...
My Dad's coming out here to live with me and he's all hepped up on buying a handgun "for the cougars and bears". I've been out here over 20 years and seen like two bears and rarely seen cougar sign, and the bears were while I was driving. One of them had three legs and was walking across highway 12 like he owned it...but that all could be due to my stinky cheap cigars.
but once in awhile I'll admit I get the creeps too. Yesterday I came across a great steaming pile of latesummer bear diarrhea, complete with berry seeds, and I suddenly had an urge to get IN the river... I'm such a "little girlie man" sometimes....
Carrying the gun, OK, whatever. It's a woodsmoke thing to do. I've thought about it plenty myself.
maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't really care for the extra weight. A Kukri knife is enough for me...but I get a sense it really wouldn't help too much with big cats. Look at this picture http://search.msn.com/images/result...iresoil.blogsome.com/images/catonthetrail.jpg
If I was to start carrying a shotgun in the lower 48 while fishing, I'd be obliged to wear an aluminum foil hat too- because there's a greater likelihood of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a cat...and both defenses are equally effective for their respective threats. I worry more about two legged threats, let that be your reason. It's more likely!
Grew up in the wilds of Montana & carried a short-barreled shotgun for bear insurance (still do, but recommend a 12 gauge over a 20). Cougars are fairly thin-skinned & don't require a a lot of firepower (many treed cats are dispatched with .22 magnums & I stopped one with a .223 when it came in to a coyote call two years ago.). Carrying a substantial knife is always a good idea, but carry it where you can get at it under duress (Kabar is a good choice). I carry a handgun all the time (where legal), but primarily as a hedge against two-legged predators. Practice situational awareness . . . cougars prefer to attack from above or behind & if you do happen to spot one, don't run . . . face the thing & it will likely vamoose.
Peter ~ yes you can. Search for "tactical shotgun accessories" . . . synthetic pistol grip & slide should run less than $50; barrel will run you triple that (search for 870 barrel). I just put together a Mossberg 500 for my Daughter ($75 for the used gun, $48 for the furniture, and <$100 @ http://www.tjgeneralstore.com/moss-bbl.htm for the barrel.
I think this thread boils down to personal preference.
Sure i'll probably never get attacked by a cat, I might have a few run ins, especially while i'm in the panhandle this week, fishing the CDA. (Frankly i'm more scared of my car getting ripped into by a bear for my smores).
But my personal preference would be to be armed while in the backwoods, i'll have my 870 by me in the tent. Practicing proper firearm safety.
Treat every firearm as if it was loaded.
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Be certain of your target and whats beyond.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
I think if someone is familiar with firearms and they know what they are doing, by all means carry in the woods. Become familiar more with the woods, the noises the movements and what to expect.
If carry a weapon makes you feel more secure about your situation, do it. If not, don't. Become familiar with your weapon and understand your surroundings.
Guys - whenever I see posts of this nature I have to ask myself how many of you are really willing to put the ground work into defensive pistol work to make the tool worthwhile to carry. How many are willing to put in 500 - 1,000 rounds per weeks to make drawing and shooting as natural as breathing while you are asleep? How many will have the facilities to practice index shooting?
If your ammo and range time doesn't come compliments of the government that much shooting will set you back a bit, and unless you are shooting a full sized pistol in a smaller caliber you will be flinching so bad you won't be able to hit anything anyway.
Great if you feel all safe packing, but unless you have had significant training, and lots of repetition in an atmosphere where people who are much better than you are correcting small technique flaws, then your piece is probably more useful as a paper weight.