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Thread: Packing Heat in the Park

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Maryville, TN
    Posts
    740

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    I also have a carry permit. I was happy when they allowed carrying in the park because for me it meant I no longer had to always remove my firearm from my car if I planned a trip in or through the park. Now I don't have to think about it. I don't often carry in the mountains because in the backcountry I rarely see any people.

    However that said, this past Saturday my wife and I were doing a 12 mile hike (some off trail too) up to Mt. Cammerer fire tower. We started out at Davenport Gap 8 am. Anyone who hikes a lot in the Smokies knows this can be a questionable area to park. We were the only car there. We made it up the AT about a mile when we ran into 2 dirty looking fellers coming around a bend and wearing backpacks. The thing that surprised me was they were both carrying huge 5 gallon buckets with lids on them lined with plastic that I could see coming out of the lids. Looked very heavy. One guy was wearing a headlamp too even though it had been light for an hour by then. It all happened so fast my street smarts slipped and I very stupidly said something like "must be hard hiking with those heavy buckets". Now after it came out of my mouth I wanted to kick myself. They said they were hiking from newfound gap and they had extra food in the big buckets. They sure sounded like they were local to Cosby area to me. We talked briefly and went on up the trail. I couldn't help but wonder if they had marked some ginseng and were just harvesting or something. Could have been food but they sure didn't eat much of it hauling those heavy buckets all the way from Newfound gap they looked full still. I didn't have a firearm but that was one time I wish I had one although luckily they went on about their business and we went on up the mountain.
    Last edited by Crockett; 01-05-2012 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SE Tennessee
    Posts
    644

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    Poachers? Or bucket biologists?

  3. #33
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Maryville, TN
    Posts
    740

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    John they could have been just carrying tons of extra food but I personally don't think know. They were on the AT near Davenport gap and there is no real trout streams in that area that I know of so I don't think they were bucket biologists. And I didn't hear water splashing in the buckets. Just kind of a scary situation.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bean Blossom, Indiana
    Posts
    366

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knothead View Post
    Poachers? Or bucket biologists?
    Or meth mules! You just never know! Adam, glad and your Mrs. were able to go ahead and enjoy yourself on your hike without incident.
    Whitefeather

    -don't tell me why we can't, tell me how we can.- whitefeather
    _________________________________________________
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!
    (Wilu Sgis, Wami Tsenitli Winidis, Ani Tiwuti Wiledi Weitas Do Ali!)

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    906

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    The whole system in the Park has gone 180 degrees....when I first began fishing there more years ago than I care to admit protection of the resources and enforcement of the rules were of primary concern...my relatives always drove home that you always had a license and an infraction of the regulations would surely lead to a fine, confiscation of my equipment and even being banished from the Park for a year...I would always bump into a ranger while fishing the back country and whenever I did see one I would have my license checked as well as my creel. I have been camping both in the back country and the campgrounds for 50 years without any problems. Then last summer my buddy and I got a note that we had left an empty 6 pack cooler under our trailer....this while the camper next to us was dumping dishwater on the ground after every meal. The next day one of the camp hosts paid us another friendly visit to inspect us for further violations. The following evening two uniformed enforcement rangers pulled up to our site and "informed" us that a problem had been reported to them about violations at our site...they proceeded to "eye" our campsite and peer into our car....then this past fall I reported to the "rangers" in the office at Elkmont that there was a bait fisherman just above the bridge...instead of walking down to the river all three of the "rangers" began a debate about whether they should call in an enforcement ranger...and the list goes on...once again common sense seems to be a commodity of the past.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    Rog 1--"The Park has gone 180 degrees." Amen, brother, tell it like it is.
    I've fished and backpacked in the Park for a full 60 years. For the first four decades or so of that period I regularly saw rangers in the backcountry. Men like Bill Rolen, Buford Messer, Joe Ashley, and Bud Cantrell. They were hardworking, common sense guys and fellows who had roots in the region. They cared about the Park and they understood how to deal with people.I suspect forum participants from the Tennessee side with roots in the area can name similar individuals.
    Sad as it is to say, I think a lot of today's rangers have lost that "feel" for how to deal with people, and there's no doubt whatsoever that the backcountry is pretty much off the radar (other than on Ditmanson's spread sheet as a source of money from campers).
    Like you, I have pointed out obvious violations and have either been ignored or a bystander to a debate aong the lines of "Can I do anything?" It's perplexing and by no means a good sign. Crown Vic cowboys just aren't my kind of ranger. I prefer a man or woman with feet on the ground, a willingness to venture off of asphalt, and a good dose of practicality. Having local roots doesn't hurt, I might add.

    Jim Casada

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,524

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    Being a ranger in the GMSNP: Go to the Y and check for fishing licenses and treble hooks.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Murphysboro, Illinois
    Posts
    69

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    I am a Law Enforcement Officer in my state. I can tell you that I do not venture very far with out my Firearm, nor would I if I were civilian. I do not carry my firearm in the back country to ward off wildlife, I have a cook pot for that. I carry it to ward off evil, there is way too much of it out there and the percentage of seeing it in our everyday lives keeps getting higher.

    On a side note, I am the guy who walked the 5 miles on Deep Creek with a double ankle fracture on Deep Creek. If I would have stopped and let my wife go for help, by the time the needs were gathered it would have been dark. It was better for me to tough through it rather than take a chance of taking resources from another possible emergency. We made pretty **** good time but I paid for it with 3 months of convalescence.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    Drugcop4--Thanks for input from a professional on the gun matter, and your Deep Creek experience touched a responsive chord. I think I tell the story of a similar experience in my book on the Park, but whether or not that is the case here it is.

    A good many years ago my wife, daughter, and me were camped at Bumgardner Branch, which is about three miles or a bit more from the lower trailhead. We set up camp in late morning and once everything was shipshape I headed out around Bumgardner Bend for a day of fishing. As those of you familiar with the stream will know, this involves the better part of a day's fishing.

    I got back not long before dusk and was surprised not to smell food cooking or see a fire going. I jokingly said, as I entered the campsite, "where's supper?" My daughter, who was 10 0r 12 at the time, came running out and yelled "Mommy's hurt."

    Sure enough Ann had slipped on dry pine needles and, as it turned out, broken her ankle. We had a decision to make. I could head out for help, knowing it would be 10 or later by the time I reached the ranger station and almost certainly after midnight before help got back, or we could spend the night and assess things in the morning. I left the decision to Ann and she opted for the latter.

    I helped her hobble to the creek about every hour and soak the ankle in the cold water until she couldn't stand it, then would help her back to the tent. The next morning she decided she would give it a try at walking out. I shaped a rough crutch for her and was able to draw on local knowledge to make things a bit easier. Rather than taking the trail which makes a pretty decent climb out of Bumgardner Branch and thens drops down to the old turnaround, we took the old trail which involved fording the creek twice but was flat, easy going. I would carry my pack a couple of hundred yards, put it down, and come pack and get her pack and help her along. Our daughter carried her own little pack and lent moral support.

    By great good fortune about the time we got to the upper end of the old Jenkins Fields (last bridge crossing the stream) we met my parents out for a walk. Dad would have been close to eighty at the time but he was amazingly fit. He hefted Ann's pack and carried it the rest of the way out.

    A couple of visits to the hospital (one in Bryson City and a second after we returned to our home), weeks in a walking cast, and the healing hands of time told the rest of the tale.

    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    233

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    380 KelTec here, light weight.... cheap.... and packs a good punch.

    I like to look around every so often, animals and people can be on top of you before you know it, due to the noise of the water. A lot of would be wrong doers will back down once eye contact is made at a distance.

    2 cents worth.

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