Harrison Lake is a popular hiking and camping area near Sandpoint, Idaho. For the past several years it was a common place to see large male moose.
Jim K. and his son were backcountry camping in the area near the lake when they encountered an aggressive bull moose.
When they ran into the moose they tried to hide behind a tree, but the moose charged Jim and didn’t let up.
Jim used his .45 caliber handgun to shoot the moose at point-blank range stopping it in its tracks.
Idaho Fish and Game responded to the scene and closed the trails around the lake.
They were concerned that bears and wolves would be in the area to consume the deceased moose.
The U.S. Forest Service had previously warned people in the area of aggressive moose that frequent the campgrounds.
Idaho Fish and Game released a statement that said, “Always give moose a wide berth when you encounter them. Moose, like any wildlife, can become agitated if they feel you are a threat.”
Moose can reach up to 1,500 pounds.
In addition, moose are more likely to charge people when they are mating or protecting their young.
Fish and Game recommends carrying bear spray when in the backcountry since it can also be effective against other animals.
In addition, if you encounter an animal, it’s a good idea to get behind something such as a tree or car, which can impede the animal’s path to you.
And, if everything else fails, then do what’s necessary to save your life.
The truth is, Jim was lucky he was able to stop the moose.
While a .45 is not the ideal weapon against large game, in this instance, it stopped a 1,500-pound moose in its tracks.
Now, most people don’t even consider using a pistol for hunting.
But sometimes a pistol might be your only option.
So, here are a few things to be aware of if you end up having to hunt, or defend yourself from large game, with nothing but your pistol.
When hunting with a revolver one of the biggest decisions to make is whether you want to use a single or double action.
Follow-up shots with a double action will be faster which can be a benefit when hunting.
The key to hunting with a revolver is to choose a round that has the characteristics to stop large animals (a .38 special is not going to stop a large animal).
In fact, the smallest revolver caliber I would use is the .357, since it can readily take down a deer.
If you are going to spend a lot of time in the backcountry, consider larger caliber revolvers such as the .44 Mag or .454 Casull.
Hunting with a semi-automatic pistol is very different from hunting with a revolver.
While revolver rounds can pack a big punch, most semi-auto calibers are smaller.
The benefit of hunting with a semi-auto is that you can fire multiple rounds quickly.
If an animal is charging towards you, a semi-auto can give you around 15-17 rounds to stop the threat.
If you are going to use a semi-auto pistol for hunting, I wouldn’t use any round smaller than a 10mm.
Smaller calibers may work, but I wouldn’t bet my life on their potential for success.
Also, before hunting with a semi-automatic you need to check your local state laws, because some places have restrictions on using semi-automatics for hunting.
Target engagement range:
When hunting with a handgun, the most important factor is to understand the effective range.
Rifles can take down animals at much greater distances compared to pistols.
So, if you plan on using a handgun for hunting you might want to consider adding accessories such as optics.
Optics on handguns can make a big difference when hunting.
Another accessory to consider is shooting sticks. These can help steady shorter barrels for longer shots.
Of course, these are going to take up space but are worthwhile for hunting with a pistol.
If part of your survival plan involves hunting small game, you should be able to do it with the same pistol you use for self-defense.
But if you plan to hunt large game with a pistol, make sure you have a larger caliber pistol.
Now, if you’ve got no plans to hunt with a pistol, I still recommend you keep a few key firearms close at hand wherever you are.
These are the same type and caliber firearms I ensure I have access to at all times.