When it comes to defending yourself against dangerous game, opinions are diverse. False information and wrong choices are dangerous. If you need to defend yourself against a polar bear, you want a lot more firepower than would be deployed against a black bear. The saying goes, ‘Never bring a knife to a gun fight.’ When facing dangerous game, your life depends on your choice of firearm. Be sure to carry enough oomph to put down the meanest critter in the woods.

ammunition 8X57 IS and cal.22 long rifleBigger is better than smaller, or is it? Bigger calibers and sever recoil go together. If shooting your cannon is punishing, you won’t be spending much time at the range to hone your shooting skills. Everyone knows one well-placed shot is worth a volley of poor shots. An adrenaline-charged beast is harder to stop than a freight train!

When it comes to a weapon, there’s a weight factor to consider. If you plan to hike 30 miles through the Alaskan wilderness, do you really want to carry a 12-gauge shotgun with a magazine full of slugs? There’s no doubt it would prove effective, but who wants to carry 10 pounds around all day? In the event of an emergency, you may be so fatigued that your reaction time soars. Aside from the fatigue, a gun carried on the hip or under your shoulder leaves your hands free for other tasks.

Another consideration is cost. You may want to carry the biggest and baddest caliber on the market, but both your pocket book and spouse may strongly object. So, instead of toting around a .454 Casull or .500 S&W magnum, maybe you should settle for a .44 magnum. You may prefer a Smith and Wesson, but Ruger might be all your budget can handle. Just don’t sacrifice quality for cost. Whatever your choice, make sure the brand name and model has a reputation for dependability. Nothing is worse than a malfunction when you are staring down an open mouth full of teeth.

Last and most importantly is the need for shooting practice. Your gargantuan cartridges and sidearm may command the greatest respect, but if you can’t draw and hit your target, it doesn’t matter how much knock-down power that bullet delivers. Since it could take multiple rounds to stop a charging bear or other dangerous game, practice quick recoil recovery and target re-acquisition. Fractions of a second are critical. Hone your skills through a variety of stress drills and courses.

Always remember fate favors the prepared. Leave the trip to the emergency room for stitches to the guy who didn’t think ahead.