Monday, January 29, 2007

Dealing With Forest Critters

The mountain lion attack of the couple up at Prairie Creek is still in the news with the Sacramento Bee running a nice feel- good editorial on the incident. (As always, if asked for login, use humboldtlib as the username and blogspot for the password.)

Our very own John Driscoll wrote his own feel- good commentary on the incident in the Times- Standard this morning, John being the one who wrote the first Times- Standard coverage of the attack.

I'll have to say, I don't mind inspirational type feel- good commentaries. Don't get me wrong, but it seems something's been missing in all the talk about these animal attacks. With all the talk dealing with potential dangers in the wilds, why do so many people seem afraid to suggest carrying a firearm while walking in the woods?

Finally, after the Times- Standard published some of the online comments on Driscoll's first story, I see at least a couple folks agree with me. Still, it's a shame that such a common sense protection measure is left out of most commentary and I suspect that's mostly with an eye toward political correctness on the media's part.

A word of warning, though: I believe it might be illegal to possess firearms in national parks. They might be illegal in state parks, as well. Still, as they say: better tried by twelve than carried by six....
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In my early days of backpacking, when I was just a kid, I never carried a gun and don't recall ever having any serious problems.

Once I got older and had acquired a number of firearms I nearly always carried a handgun with me. I got to thinking what a hassle it was. It was heavy, at least by backpacking standards, and I only used it once, firing twice into a tree to scare off an overly familiar bear at One Mile Lake in the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

I finally decided to leave my pistol at home deciding it wasn't worth the extra weight. The first trip I took without it was up to Canyon Creek Lakes in the Trinity Alps. No danger that trip that I was aware of but I couldn't honestly say I noticed the saved weight from not carrying the gun.

A few hours after I got home a friend called. He asked me if I'd been up at Canyon Creek Lakes and just when I'd been there. It turned out that while I was there, just about an hour or two timewise, in the same place on Canyon Creek, a guy was shot and killed.

Some of you old timers (this was in the early eighties) might remember the guy who got killed worked for Fish and Game, out of Arcata, and was up there hiking with his wife. They met some guy and didn't think much of it. The guy came back a short time later, with a rifle.

He started shooting and killed the husband. The wife jumped over the side of the trail down to the river bed and got away. She made it back to the trailhead and eventually the Sheriff was contacted. They arrested the shooter some days later in either Weaverville or Redding. I forget which.

Boy, that kind of got to me. The first time I decided not to carry my gun and I was within an hour or two of possibly needing it.

I wasn't sure of the exact location the killing occured at but I was right in the area, as best I could determine from what I'd read, within an hour or so of the shooting. I don't recall hearing or seeing a thing and didn't recall seeing any couple walking in as I walked out. How'd I miss them?

41 Comments:

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not unlawful to possess a firearm in a national park, but if it is the type that needs to be registered, then it would be a crime to have an unregistered firearm.

Frankly, I feel badly for the folks that suffered the attack, but they were in the lions home. This is a situation where the lions were exactly where they were supposed to be and acted normally like lions. Each of us has responsibility to hike in our national and state parks in a safe manner and NOT expect to be completely safe in the back country. When I am out in the country, I am armed because I understand where I fall in the food chain.

The fact that these lions were killed for being exactly where they were supposed to be and acting like lions is a pathetic statement for our parks and for the milk toast progressives that approve of the killings.

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Unless you are carrying an "assault weapon" as defined by Kalifornia law, there is no registration for any firearm required and an "assault weapon" can only be possessed on your own property or in transit to a bona fide range after prior notification of the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. As for the need for protection, the most dangerous predator one will encounter in the woods of Humboldt County are two legged "clandestine Farmers".

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I stand corrected, although I believe hunting isn't allowed in national parks.

 
At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the female lion not responding to being hit by a branch and jabbed with a pen there could have been something wrong with her. Maybe one of the newspapers will follow up and find out that info.

Hiked a lot but haven't run into any animals except a large elk that didn't want us around and stomped his feet. Have run into several people on trails that we were very leary of though.

 
At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...why do so many people seem afraid to suggest carrying a firearm while walking in the woods?"

That question speaks volumes about your mindset. People who don't live their lives around guns do not immediately think about guns in a dangerous situation. It's not that we're afraid to suggest carrying a firearm. The thought simply doesn't occur to us.

Mountain lion and even bear attacks are rare, and avoidable in all but extreme situations simply by knowing how to walk wisely in a natural environment. Hikers carrying firearms out of fear of animal attacks is such an extreme overreaction that if it were in a movie, I'd be laughing my ass off.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred Says:

"better tried by twelve than carried by six...."

Are you off the wagon again Fred?

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then laugh your ass off - you are the idiot here. Going into the back country without protection is just plain stupid. Just about as stupid as going into the back country without a cell phone. You evidently are just the occasional hiker. I go often and always pack just in case.

Fred - it is illegal to hunt in the park, but not illegal to hunt in a national forest. It is not hunting when you carry protection. I always keep a rifle in a scabbard on my saddle - it is the only smart way of experiencing the backcountry.

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, do you arm yourself against the deadly scourge of "Lawn Gnomes" when you're out working???

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people carried guns around with them everytime they hiked in a National Park, we would just have more gun related crime in our parks...

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh brother ............

the Canyon creek incident was in 84, July or August.

 
At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow the idea of Fred sauntering down the trail like Doc Holliday, all boozed up and muttering something about giant pussies -with gunS- does not make me feel safer.

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Aint no Giant Pussy gone gunna tack me, no sir! No Sir!"

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous said...
If people carried guns around with them everytime they hiked in a National Park, we would just have more gun related crime in our parks...

What planet are you from?

I am not saying that people should take a gun into every national park, but if you are going into remote wilderness areas, then you are a "sitting duck" if you do not realize where you fall on the food chain.

I guess you would go fishing in Alaska and walk up to play kissy poo with a Grizzly. What I do know from your comment is that you are clueless as to how to "survive" in wilderness areas and all I can say is that I hope that you don't risk anyone elses life except for your own.

I have had many close encounters and have never used my firearm in the backcountry, but I have it.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Guns of any size are a pain in the ass to lug around but I can testify that when you need one you need it very badly and almost nothing else will do.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

If we are going to let the larger carnivores return to their habitats here we are going to have to deal with more human/bear/cougar/wolf encounters.

I want to see "schools" for these animals where people sensitive to wild animals who can "talk" with them can teach them as juveniles how to distinguish prey from human beings. I've read that predator cats have to learn from their moms which animals to eat and which to leave alone. If juveniles were caught, schooled, and then re-introduced back into their wild habitats, perhaps these critters and ourselves could learn to live in peace with each other.

I have had some success making "deals" with wild animals, raccoons, and otherwise pesky or dangerous insects like black widows, wasps, and ants. One may not believe it but I've found these guys honor deals, even ants which I 've trained several times to stay of counters and only go for the trash can. Just by talking with them.

On the commune where we lived in Butte County, we were literally in rattlesnake heaven. There were old mining "tailings" on the property, mounds of rocks that had become overgrown and perfect rattlesnake dens. In the summertime you could not walk into the fields adjoining our commune without a good chance of meeting a rattler.

At first we were all worried about them because we had small children and these rattlers were being found right around our farmhouse and outlying cabins. Because I knew snakes, having had many as pets briefly before turning them back loose as a kid, I was appointed the rattlesnake killer which I did at first, killing three before I just became disgusted and said "I can't do this anymore". Snakes take a long time to die. So we had a long group meeting about the problem and decided on reality. Reality was the snakes were here before us and it was impossible to get rid of them. We changed our attitude and told ourselves we'd let them be, only take the ones near the house away when found. After that, no more rattlesnakes came around our farmhouse and we rarely saw anymore on our property even though they were still there. True story that Martha Devine can vouch for as she was one of the commune members then.

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve,

Oh, I bet mountain lion man was talking to that cat... Face to Face communication...

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

One of the reasons I am opposed to rural subdivisions now is that I would rather see that land as wild life habitat than filled up with human beings and their accompanying dogs, cats, fences, water source stealing, that do in many wild life critters. Human beings should follow the Native American example of cluster living near the rivers and off the hills for the most part so that wildlife can roam freely for miles and miles in the hills without encountering human beings.

The ndns lived in harmony with grizzly bears here for crying out loud. Surely we can figure out some way to share the land without killing off carnivore competitors.

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:39, for everyone's sake leave the gun at home. By your own admission you've never used it in the back country; consider yourself lucky you didn't have an accident. Gun violence is everywhere in our culture, we don't need it in our parks. If the mountain lions can pick off a dinner or two at our expense, power to them.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I believe I said I had used one in the backcountry, once, to little effect.

Your suggestion that the presence of guns increases violence is not based on the real world. States or communities that have "liberal" laws regarding firearms that allow citizens to carry firearms, openly or concealed, have experienced decreases in violent crime.

When criminals are afraid of their victims, there's less crime.

As far as wildlife, let's remember that the only one you can count on to defend yourself in the case of an attack by a predator in the wilderness, whether it be the two or four footed kind, is yourself.

I hope the couple that got attacked up in Prairie Creek realize that now.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Stupid puke, 1:08 asks, "Are you off the wagon again Fred?".

Never been on the wagon, asshole.

I feel sorry for the Left, having you as one of their representatives on the blogs.

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

Why is everybody so prejudiced against hand-grenades? Some of us aren't such great marksmen.

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fred, are our laws "liberal"? I mean you're guaranteed the right to bear arms, no? The only thing all gun crime has in common is a gun itself.With a gun comes potential for bigtime trouble.That potential mixed with your average human is a shitty combo.The community in South Central is pretty liberal about guns.

 
At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That question speaks volumes about your mindset. People who don't live their lives around guns do not immediately think about guns in a dangerous situation. It's not that we're afraid to suggest carrying a firearm. The thought simply doesn't occur to us.
I don't live my life around guns, but I have one, and know how to use it. When I backpack, I carry a gun and knife. You are a fool if you go into a wilderness area unarmed because you believe animal attacks are rare and you know how to walk in a natural environment. What the hell does that even mean? You walk like a cat or something?

 
At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I walk like a cat or something.As to what it means, you should contemplate that over a big dip of Copenhagen and a room temperature Budweiser next to your loaded firearm.

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guns are OK in Wilderness areas. There are different regs. at other parks. I believe guns are not permitted in RNP and most County parks. It's a silly and uninformed opinion that more guns will mean more violence. In all the right to conseal and carry states crime of all kinds is down,especially gun crimes. Using an example like LA is skewed because only the crooks are packing. A gun is a tool nothing more nothing less.Gun,sword,spear,bow and arrow,or a big rock,when needed man uses tools to his advantage. Our greatest tool however is our mind. Use your mind anyway you feel works for you. Every time I go in the woods my 45long colt is with me. I have had to use it occasionally. Steven you need to watch those acid flash backs or you'll end up like the Grizzle man in Alaska. EATEN. The cat attacked because she was hungry. There are to many cats for the food source. They need to be thinned. If we don't do it,sickness will.

 
At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would feel more comfortable if you carried big rocks in the wilderness, or maybe a spear if you really felt you needed it."I have had to use it occasionally" definitely gives the impression of someone who is looking for trouble or makes repeated poor choices; either way a gun is a bad addition.

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred writes,

"Never been on the wagon, asshole."

That much is painfully obvious.

 
At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred maybe you should stop drinking for awhile. It disturbs me that you talk about guns when you're in this state. You used to go hiking and get outside and stuff. Now all you do is stay home, drinking and writing your blog.

 
At 3:45 AM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

What is it with these blog sickos that post their warped opinions of others on Humboldt blogs? There are some really twisted minds out there in ANONYMOUS land of hit and run libelers--cowards who pounce on anything they can to stick their little knives into people's hearts who are far better human beings than themselves.

 
At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

757 -
sorry to wreck your stereotype, I don't smoke, don't chew, don't drink budweiser, firearm is not kept loaded. I think what you mean by walking wisely in a natural environment is your 'natural' experience comes from the discovery channel, not a wilderness area.
739p

 
At 7:44 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

7:19PM: "...are our laws "liberal"? I mean you're guaranteed the right to bear arms, no?"

Yeah right. Try "bearing arms" in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC or any of the bastions of "progressivism".

7:19PM:" The only thing all gun crime has in common is a gun itself."

WRONG! The only thing gun crimes have in common is the criminal. My guns have never committed a crime.

7:19PM:"With a gun comes potential for bigtime trouble."

With a penis comes potential for big time trouble. It is a potential "rape tool".

7:19PM:"The community in South Central is pretty liberal about guns."

Have you worked as a cop there? ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ has and it cannot be defined as "liberal" except in the mind of a sheltered "progressive" on the North Coast.

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to 5:59 - ok, so long as you are the dinner....

As for me, I will continue to pack in the backcountry and live to tell about it.

Don't need gun violence in our parks...what an idiot!

 
At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:10 you simply don't get it. Look to your own improvement,the important word was had. Perhaps instead of jumping to your negative conclusion you might ask what were the situations that produced the need to use the tool,(45LC). Would you be surprised to learn that my judgement and access to this tool saved the life of a doctor on vacation? Talk is very cheap 10:10,and hurtful hurled at someone you don't know.

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy that shot the man up in Canyon Creek was certainly pro-gun. By the way Fred, I honeymooned up at Onemile Lake and saw bears every single day there.It is just unbelievable what a dog can do.Maybe they could be the compromise.

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:47 job well done for judgment with your tool, and in all seriousness, I'm sorry if my words were hurtful. 10:10

 
At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dogs are another great tool as well as a great camping companion. With the rifle for backup I'm a happy camper. If a gun was such an unnecessary option,why do all the rangers,park cops,fish&game wardens,etc. carry a weapon? As my vision goes and I'm able to run like a snail I think I'd like my grand son and his shot gun along on thr trail. Maybe some tasty quail for supper!

 
At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight: some kook with a gun brings one into the wilderness and harms someone...You people think more guns are the answer to the problem??!!!?!!!

 
At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, walk like a ninja cat and hit them with a stick or pen

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No,what we know is your the problem 5:57

 
At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walk softly, but carry a big stick.

 

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