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I have just taken the PAL course for restricted(Handgun) and non-restricted(long gun).


One weekend and $175 and your done.


The course and test is made to make it simple and straight forward for anyone wishing to get a lisence to get one, no tricks or roadblocks.


After the course, you send away the paperwork, and as long as you are not a suicidal axe murderer, you have all you need to walk around in the bush with a long gun, and a couple more forms a handgun if you wish.


Canada's Federal gun laws are actually quite lax compared to even some states in the US.


Once you have the card you can walk in and out of a gun store in a hour and have your new firearm.

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I live and work in the bush, while I;m guiding (hunting), and when I fly (pilot or passenger), I carry a firearm. It's already saved me from becoming food twice. but then again I am in a high risk group (location/occupation)


It;s the "seat belt" of the bush.


but what's most important: just because you have a rife doesn;t make you armed.

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My first bush work was in 1972 - geology crew. The party leader kept an old 303 Enfield locked in a case. We saw bears but kept our camps clean and it never got used.


When I started to fly I realised that having a firearm around was a good standby tool, especially when you are on those long solo ferry flights over miles of bush. (pre sat phone and GPS :( ) I also had enough shooting experience to know that in most circumstances the .22/20 gauge over/under that came apart and disappeared into my bedroll was all I really needed. I carried ordinary .22 ammo, shotshells and slugs. I didn't flash it around and rarely did anybody know it was there. Later on, when I flew in the barrens I picked up a pump 12 gauge shotgun. Totally legal, even with the folding stock that allowed it to be kept out of sight in the side compartment of the 204.


I shoot recreationally; large calibre handgun, 45/75 rifle and shotgun. Its a lot of fun and I still think my choice of bush gun was adequate.


If you are thinking of packing a handgun for survival, I wouldn't. You need to train and practice regularly to have a hope of hitting anything accurately, especially if the adrenaline is flowing. The worst case would be a charging polar bear or grizz and I would want a 12 gauge pump shotgun fully loaded with slugs.


There. 2 cents worth for free. :mellow:


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A 358 Norma mag for bears and cougars and a 22 pistol with a 10 inch barrel for shooting grouse and small game.


If you like shotguns then use SSG or 00 buck - remove the pellets - cut them with a razor blade like a splitshot sinker and then pinch them evenly spaced along a 3 foot piece of 020 lockwire before repacking the shell. Never had a chance to try it myself but the game warden who suggested it said it pretty much tore the meat off a black bears head. It was easy game with some slugs after that.

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SSG or Buck IS NOT a bear stopper. penitration is VERY limited. altering ammo by "chaining" the pellets is not legal. it is also a very poor penitrator. at the effective ranges of pellet based shotgun ammo, slugs will out penitrate, leave a larger wound channel, are more accurate and just a readily available with no screwing around.


do your homework. lots of testing done on defensive shotgun loads for wildlife. slugs win everytime.


I still prefer a large caliber rifle. (.45-70/.450 or .375H&H) has served me well stopping pissed off hungry things so far.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Nothing wrong with an AR15 for wilderness self defense. I've got a 11.5 incher loaded with SS109 steel tip. It just sucks that we're limited to 10 rounds mags.


Also there's the 8.5 incher dlask rem 870.




Just remember to keep the buttstock on for now, and keep the pistol grip off.

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