How are you guys handling yourselves in strange circumstances off the grid?

DieselRanger

Well-known member
Front country - i.e., urban/suburban state parks: Generally lots of people around. Homeless camps sure, but most of those people just want to be left alone. If I feel I need to carry, I don't go there, and here in Colorado the vast majority of people are recreational trail users. Avoid conflict by studying the particular park and trail system - know of any special trail use rules (e.g., mountain bikes only on odd days or whatever) - when news-making encounters happen, it's usually because of a conflict over trail use and/or perceptions of what proper trail use is.

Side country - i.e., NF near suburban areas - here in Colorado, this is now becoming the homeless suburbs, and there are lots of people with questionable judgment. I conceal carry always. Shooting is legal in most NF areas here - unregulated except for the eye-of-the-law-enforcement-officer's "reckless use" judgment, and always consult a map and your surroundings before ripping off some rounds yourself. Was approached on the trail five miles from the trailhead an hour out of town one day by two fully tactically kitted USFS rangers and a Sheriff's deputy looking for someone they said was camping in the area and was dangerous - asked if I had seen any signs of camping or happened upon anyone strange or standoffish or outright violent. Turns out the dude had been living in a cave on a meth binge and was breaking into cars at trailheads and held up a couple of young women for their car. There have been several murders, shootings, and bodies dumped up and down the Front Range sidecountry in the last ten years, concentrated near the usual urban areas. Have heard automatic weapons fire and fully automatic shotguns. This to me is the most dangerous kind of area - people of questionable character and judgment can get to it easily, but it's far enough outside of civilized areas that they feel they can get away with anything. Most of the time, they too want to be left alone and don't want to threaten anyone. Policy: be polite, conceal carry, and have your spidey senses up and your radar calibrated to your surroundings. Seek out local knowledge if you're going to a new-to-you sidecountry area.

Backcountry - I open carry because the biggest threat is wildlife, and sometimes people's large dogs that are off-leash, and I want speed vs. discretion in those cases. Most people you meet in the deep backcountry are not threats, and chance/surprise encounters in the Rockies and intermountain West are not generally with criminal elements. I've surprised more couples engaged in "afternoon delights" than people doing things they shouldn't. Again, always be polite, stay aware of your surroundings, and be keen to red flags. Some people are uncomfortable when they see you have a firearm, but they'll generally scuttle away. Ignore any snide comments, and don't talk to people with your hand resting on the butt of your sidearm like you're ************** John Wayne. Once I've sized up the other party and determined they're not a threat, my hands are on my pack straps near my chest the whole time when I'm wearing a drop, or if I have a chest rig, they're on my waistbelt and I don't move my hands toward my weapon or touch it - unless I feel I need to draw it.

Regarding concealed vs open carry - this is a debate as old as America - but I tend to land on the side of being the "gray man" in the most high-probability encounter areas. Don't advertise you're a tacti-cool ************ (including don't put your "Smith and Wesson Still Beats Four Aces" sticker on your truck), always look for cover, retreat paths, and exits. Advertising your ability, equipment, and intent in those situations can make you the first target and object of tactical surprise if someone intent on doing people harm see you first. In deep wilderness, open carry means faster access to your firearm when you need it, with a statistically zero chance of meeting someone intent on doing you harm.

Firearm vs bear spray: bullets don't blow back in your face or your companions', and there are studies that show between a firearm and bear spray, firearms are as near to 100% effective a can be at stopping a predatory or otherwise violent wildlife encounter, whereas pepper spray is measurably less effective (~85% or so for *effectively* employed spray). There have been a few documented cases where pepper spray has turned brown bear encounters from what was likely a bluff into a full-on attack. Carrying the right gear for the job is also important - there was a recent report in Alaska of a dogsled team attacked and stomped by a bull moose, the musher dumped her magazine (a .380) into the moose and it turned away from her, but just stood there and took it while it stomped the dogs, for over an hour. Took someone with a rifle to come from the nearest town to kill it. Guaranteed had that been a caliber with power behind it, that moose would have dropped or given up. After that she decided she needed more firepower.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
I thought with legalization, the state would spend some of the regulation and licensing $$$ to shut down illegal operations. But I guess they are just operating as usual?
Here in Colorado, there's supposedly positive control and accountability from seed to store. But many "legit" growers get offers they can't refuse, in the Don Corleone sense, and when they document plants being "diseased" or "died", they aren't all diseased or dead, and/or they are growing far more than they're licensed to. The flow of traffic has reversed - many loads of cargo now move south out of the state, not north into it, as well as the usual routes east and west. Lots of money now moves from Mexico north into Colorado, rather than the other way around.

Most of the legit grows here though are in warehouses - most of the illegal ones are in large long-term rented homes/horse properties on the eastern plains. You're not generally going to find outdoor grows here, but there are plenty of holes to exploit in the control scheme.
 

PirateMcGee

Expedition Leader
I just carry extra taco supplies.

Bear charge? Toss a taco its way and scoot
Rabid dog? Toss a taco its way and scoot
Crazy dude? Probably hangry...toss a taco and scoot
Hilldweller? Pull out that black bean sweet potato free range taco, throw it his way with an organic pasture raised stout and scoot

I spend lots and lots of time in the woods for play and work in truly remote areas. In all these years I can count legitimately dangerous encounters with wildlife and humans on one hand. Keep your wits about you and deescalate. Oh and just accept that none of us get out of this alive anyways so don't let that .00001% chance ruin your willingness to get out there. You'll be fine... probably.
 

rruff

Explorer
Firearm vs bear spray: bullets don't blow back in your face or your companions', and there are studies that show between a firearm and bear spray, firearms are as near to 100% effective a can be at stopping a predatory or otherwise violent wildlife encounter, whereas pepper spray is measurably less effective (~85% or so for *effectively* employed spray).
Studies of this are seriously flawed. Pepper spray is probably effective at deterring bears that are not intent on killing you... but I'd bet that it's near 0% effective if the bear is in a serious charge/attack. Same for dogs or people.

A high caliber round in the head will stop them though, 100%. Just don't miss...
 

kai38

Explorer
A retired cop friend recommended that one.
It's Illegal

Since wasp spray was not made for self-defense
and is not labeled for self-defense, it is not legal for self-defense. In fact, because federal law prevents the use of any pesticide to be used for anything besides their labeled purposes, it is a felony to use wasp spray on a person.Jul 13, 2021
 

stevo_pct

Active member
It's Illegal

Since wasp spray was not made for self-defense
and is not labeled for self-defense, it is not legal for self-defense. In fact, because federal law prevents the use of any pesticide to be used for anything besides their labeled purposes, it is a felony to use wasp spray on a person.Jul 13, 2021
See, I guess it's better to carry a firearm and use that ;)
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
It's Illegal

Since wasp spray was not made for self-defense
and is not labeled for self-defense, it is not legal for self-defense. In fact, because federal law prevents the use of any pesticide to be used for anything besides their labeled purposes, it is a felony to use wasp spray on a person.Jul 13, 2021
10-4, thanks.
Now excuse me, I have to remove the tags from these mattresses.
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Burt Reynolds’s to Rick Rossavitch:

Got a light?

(Tossed “gasoline” in face scene, at 1:24 mins, couldn’t get crapatalk to load the abbreviated 27 sec clip 😖)

 
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DieselRanger

Well-known member
Studies of this are seriously flawed. Pepper spray is probably effective at deterring bears that are not intent on killing you... but I'd bet that it's near 0% effective if the bear is in a serious charge/attack. Same for dogs or people.

A high caliber round in the head will stop them though, 100%. Just don't miss...
That's pretty much what I'm talking about. Since it's difficult to determine what was a bluff charge and what was an attack, many or most of the bluff charges may never have resulted in an injury or fatality anyway, so the fact that bear spray was employed and the bear turned away may be correlation without causation.

Black bears - they'll almost always turn away when confronted directly unless Mama feels her cubs are in direct danger or they're cornered somehow. Have seen terriers tree them, and I've treed several myself, many times without knowing they were there. However, have seen the aftermath of people who did stupid ******** like eat or store food in their tents - or even just carry a sheet of fabric softener to keep their skivvies smelling sweet in their pack.

Browns - different story altogether. If you're in Grizz territory - "pack" appropriately.

As far as not missing - practice, practice, practice.
 
Nothing for the most part is illegal to use in self defense if your life is in danger. The trick is not to carry it for that intended purpose.
Correct, but (at least in Texas, which is the only set of laws I've reviewed for this purpose, so YMMV) the use of wasp spray to the eyes could (COULD, I know of no caselaw) be considered Deadly Force due to the risk of Serious Bodily Injury, which can put it (legally) on the same level as a firearm.

It's a case where the method of employment is as important as the weapon itself. Shooting and stabbing and always considered Deadly Force afaik. With other weapons (blunt force weapons spring immediately to mind), the location of the strike is what makes the difference. A baton strike to the leg or forearm is lessor use of force than the same strike, with the same weapon, aimed (or landed) on the head/neck.

Wasp spray to the eyes has every potential of causing significant permanent damage to the recipient, so I wouldn't be surprised if such a use were ruled Deadly Force.


As far as the general topic of Sketchy People and Sketchy Situations: I've camped in front country, back country, etc. for years, and I've spent about 10 years as a LEO in state parks. I've learned that good situational awareness is the best protection you can have. The best resolution is to avoid the problem in the first place. If that means to have to choose another campsite at 2:00 am, so be it.

But some people cannot be avoided. I say "people" because 99% of the situations will involve people rather than wildlife. If you choose to be friendly and nonthreatening that's perfectly fine, though I really don't think it's 100% effective. I've absolutely seen people talk their way into getting harassed, threatened, and robbed by the homeless guy who's just friendly and talkative and bad with social cues until the drugs wear off. I will say that there's a big difference between appearing nonthreatening, and being incapable of causing harm. "Be Professional, be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet" is a bit of an oversimplification, but it is important to be able to recognize when nonthreatening isn't working and it's time to play an more active role in your immediate self-protection. How you choose to play that role, and the tools you decide to use to do it are up to you.
 

ThundahBeagle

Well-known member
So, first a question….if you guys have legal open carry, why do folks feel the need to then obtain a CCW permit?
I guess it’s not like in AZ where (I believe) the open carry laws also allow concealed carry w/out the necessity of the CCW permit.

And then an observation:



This might be starting to change. Didn’t some state just make the national news this week for flipping the burden of proof in self defense cases from the defendant to the prosecutor? That’s a watershed change in the rights of citizens to defend themselves and their families.
The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the prosecution. Self defense or otherwise
 

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