I carry a gun when I go for walks. Occasionally I see an article about carrying an everyday pistol – yet these folks might as well be in a different world. I don’t need the pistol to protect myself – I have two small dogs that are at some level of risk when we run across coyote or cougar. Come to think of it, the last encounter was when Kiki decided to protect me from 2 grizzlies – they ran for about 80 yards, and then one must have realized that there wasn’t much dignity in 2 grizzlies being chased by a 7-year-old Pomeranian.
The nice lady who handles problem bears for FWAP explained the advantages of bear spray to me. I even kind of agree that my aging, overweight Pomeranian has an awesome ability to make a stressful grizzly encounter worse. That said, bear spray is short range – 7 to 10 yards sticks in my mind. My little companions can range 50 yards from me, and they have already encountered coyotes, a cougar, and an eagle that regarded them as prey. I’ve had a wolf kill a fawn within 150 yards of the house. They’ve all been beyond the range of bear spray, and they have all backed off at my confident approach. Still, at 71, that confidence is enhanced by the pistol on my hip.
Robert Ruark penned the phrase, “Use enough gun.” I believe – but it is inconvenient to carry enough gun for a pair of grizzlies everywhere I walk . . . and there are only a few moments of my life spent in grizzly encounters. Coyotes are more common, as are cats – and over a half-century ago, Paul Totten explained that a 22 is adequate for cougar. Even a 45 feels small when you’re looking at the real bear, and politely asking, “Please Mr. Bear, you go your way and I’ll go mine. Neither one of us wants trouble, OK?” So far the conversation has been effective every time.
So I carry a small, inadequate HK4. It can protect my small dogs from the common predators, and, if worse comes down to worst, I think I’d feel more competent concentrating on my sights and trigger than praying.