Use Enough Gun

…especially when you’re attacked by a moose:

“As he charged me I emptied my gun into him and he never stopped,” she wrote on Facebook. “I ran for my life and prayed I was fast enough to not be killed in that moment. He trampled the team and then turned for us.”

Yeah, well.  Read the piece for the details about her “gun”.

Of particular interest to me is this statement:

She said no musher would ever travel with a rifle or a large caliber gun, instead preferring to scare off animals with a flare gun. And with all the jostling of the sled, the larger guns could easily go off.

Firstly, if your gun goes off because of “jostling”, you need some training and/or a better gun.  The thought of something like this Ruger Redhawk .44 Mag going off by being jostled,,,?

Ain’t gonna happen.

As for mushers going out without a rifle or large-caliber handgun:   if what this idiot says is true, they’re bigger idiots than I thought.  FFS, even realtors carry a heavy gun when they’re showing cabins and houses in the Alaska boonies.


  1. “She called friends and the moose was shot and killed after one arrived with a rifle.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  2. She does not understand the concept of self reliance or self defense. Her .380 was for what purpose in Alaska?
    Cell phones to the rescue!! Call a friend who understands Alaska, she does not.

    1. A .380 makes for a perfectly acceptable paperweight. Or even a tertiary backup carry piece, along with a rifle and two actual handguns. Or, I don’t know, maybe a second gun for a girl when she outgrows her .22? OK, I have no idea what she was doing with that in Alaska.

      I suspect she saw the “big” number and thought it was more powerful than it actually was. Perhaps the “.380 ACP” should be renamed as the “.38 Really Not Special” or something, to discourage people like this.

      1. A .380 is what you carry when you’re really, really sure that you don’t need to carry anything, but you carry something anyway because it’s what you *do*.

    2. The nice thing about a .380 handgun is that they are either hammerless or the hammer is typically the rounded commander style hammer so there are less edges that can catch and tear your rectum as the gun is being shoved up your ass by bears, moose and other large animals.

      The problem with moose is that they are very big and they know that they are very big so they aren’t likely to cede ground.

      That dolt musher should be confined to a city for a couple of decades. Those poor dogs are suffering because the musher is an imbecile.


  3. Did you notice the line where she said she wasn’t prepared to kill the moose? That works both ways: she didn’t have the equipment and she wasn’t mentally prepared. That moose was a lethal threat: even if it wasn’t attacking her, dying of cold because you cannot get to safety is no joke. Nature is red in tooth & claw. There is no mercy.

    And if long guns have a tendency to discharge from the jostling, then can I recommend a weapon that has served people for millennia, the humble spear?

  4. So what she’s really saying is, she’s the musher that all the other sled teams make fun of.

    My Lord, there are some people where I wonder how they make breakfast without serious injury.

  5. On a 2 week canoe trip through northern Quebec we came across a Moose and her calf crossing a large lake. We kept well clear. They are big tough animals that you don’t want to mess with. Think Clydesdales with antlers and a bad attitude. Shoot one with a 38, and all you get is an even madder animal.

    1. Some Leftist wimp (but I repeat myself) once said that hunting Moose was as challenging as shooting beer trucks. I am sure this fool’s only experience with Moose was at a petting zoo and watching old Rocky and Bulwinkle cartoons. In addition to the great size, antlers and bad attitude, they have sharp hooves and long legs they know how to use even better than Las Vegas Showgirls do.

      1. “shooting a Beer Truck ”’ —- All you get there is a leaky Beer Truck and a pissed off driver.

  6. I suppose there is a subset of mushers who do choose to try scaring off an animal if possible rather than immediately going for lethal force, depending on the situation. That bit about how “the jostling of the sled” might cause a negligent discharge, though, is complete and utter bollocks. Any weapon, regardless of size, that can be jostled into discharging is either broken or defective and should be fixed/replaced posthaste.

  7. “FFS, even realtors carry a heavy gun when they’re showing cabins and houses in the Alaska boonies.”
    Even college professors carry a heavy gun when they are walking in city parks in Anchorage. Can’t find the link from a few years ago but there was an incident where a professor was stomped walking near his home. After his recovery, he started carrying a heavy revolver. When he was attacked again, he shot the moose dead.

    1. I am encouraged by the thought that even a college professor can learn from his previous mistakes.

  8. I’m VERY curious as to how much damage a .380 would actually do to a full grown moose. My guess is little to none. Probably just bounced off and made the moose angry.

  9. For many years my step-sister used sled dogs to run a trap line up in the Talkeetna area. To her, the dogs were her first line of defense (especially when she tent camped overnight at the far end of the line), but she kept a shotgun in an easy to reach scabbard on her sled and a .44 Magnum on her hip. Her fear was more about bear than moose, but she was prepared for either.

    1. Either Netpackrat, or his brother, AlaskaTRX, both members of the “Gun Counter” forum once said that in Alaska, any activity can turn into a bear hunt. If this woman wants to remain at the top of the food chain, she would do well to consider the example of Timothy Treadwell, and get a pistol whose caliber starts with “4” and a rifle suitable for bear.

  10. Supposedly attributed to an African PH, the apocryphal phrase “one world, one rifle” in reference to the venerable 375 H&H Magnum comes to mind. I agree with Kim, “jostling” is not an issue in a properly maintained and carried firearm. Musher seems like a poster child for poor planning and a serious lack of understanding of wild animals.

    Kim, – “breakfast gin”? Way to lead by example. BRB, gotta catch up 🙂

    1. Had a client some time back ask me for rifle, as he was going fishing. I asked him where, and he replied Alaska. Got him an 1895 Guide Gun in stainless/synthetic – 45-70.
      He was quite happy with it.

  11. “Watkins, a native of Arkansas who moved to Alaska when she was 5, is no stranger to mushing or its dangers. Her father and step-mother are well-known mushers Allen Moore and Aliy Zirkle.”

    Allenm Aliy, you’ve done a piss-poor job educating your daughters to the realities of dangerous wildlife in Alaska.

  12. So what caliber would you want to take with you in Alaska?

    12 gauge slug works on bears and moose I would think
    44magnum revolver is the largest caliber I have shot and I wouldn’t want to go heavier than that.
    500 S&W? can most people shoot it well enough?
    454 casull?


    1. Rifle or pistol?

      Rifle would be a toss-up. Option 1 would be a heavy bolt gun in .375 H&H Magnum. Option 2 would be .30-06…in an M1 Garand. Possibly .308 in an M1A or FAL. The problem being that Garands really don’t handle the heavy bullets that well. Option 3 is the YOLO option…a double rifle. (Kim, stop drooling)

      Pistol? I’ve heard that Alaskans tend toward Glock 20s in 10mm. With full-house loads, it’s reasonably effective…and you have a lot of discouragement at hand. The other option would be .44 Magnum in your favored revolver.

  13. There is a reason the Greenland Defense Forces (about 250 strong) to this day carry US .30-06 M1917 rifles. They have been offered other rifles, including free Danish G-3’s, but all have fallen short. The 1917 is reliable at all temperatures, accurate, and can down a polar bear with one shot.

  14. In what seems a lifetime ago (late 80’s, early 90’s) my younger brother and I would go to Alaska and/or the Yukon Territory to pan for gold (he’s a mining engineer and geologist; I’m just stupid that way). Our goal was to get away from our wives for a while, and hopefully find enough gold to pay for the experience. When panning, one person always had to stand Griz Watch, usually with a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in 45-70 or a Remington 870 with sabot slugs. None of us ever had to actually shoot AT a bear, but we did have some close calls. The Yukon is beautiful, but an absolute horror to hike as everything is either extremely uphill or dangerously downhill. I remember one murderous uphill hike in an early morning fog when I had to stop every 30 feet to gasp for air. I put my hand down on the ground to steady myself and pulled it back out of a steaming pile of grizzly bear scat. STEAMING.

    At the time, we used Normandy Clickers as a danger signal, and I was clicking mine as fast as my shit-covered fingers could click. Never did see the griz, but we could smell it. Between that and the fly hatch, the Yukon appeal was lost on me.

    I only hunt birds now and fish for trout. I have a .44 Ruger Redhawk, but I doubt I’ll find much use for it in WV or PA, where I fish now. Still, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  15. 380? The only time I ever got up to Alaska to visit friends, the .44 mag was considered a barely adequate last ditch backup to a more appropriate long gun. The Ruger Redhawk was a popular “fishing pistol” because it could be worn even when the rifle had to be set aside while working or fishing. I’m sure this gal had received similar advice from someone, but rejected it.

    1. If you have to carry it anyway, why not something effective like the .44 Magnum or the Ruger Redhawk. I can get a Ruger Blackhawk in .30 Carbine, but it’s single action, and I’m afraid that “Cock first, then trigger” might be too complex if I were within halitosis distance from Ol’ Griz.

      1. I’d consider a Desert Eagle in .50AE, but, I’m not sure I could fire more than one round one-handed. It’s a handful with both hands. Way more energy than the .44mag has. IIRC, energy at 100 yds is what the .44m produces at the muzzle. Heavier bullets, 300 and 325 gr. Should punch through a Grizzly skull.

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