© 2012 Will K photo 2b

Emergency Equipment

A few of you already know that when I’m out and about, especially fishing, I carry a gun (or two).  I want to breech this subject again in the context of fly fishing; it has been an important issue for me, my family, and those with whom I fish.  There are two disclaimers that need to be said first (the other 98 are implied):

  1. There are many, many people who have been themselves or are close with someone who has been the victim of violence involving a firearm.  I am sensitive to those individuals and their horrific experience(s).  I am neither anti- or pro-gun; I am simply pro-life preservation.  Impossible as it may be, please separate the weapon of violence from the violence itself.  Gun victims are victims of humans, not first and only a gun.  This is how I can carry a weapon and not become “violent” myself.  I do, however, realize that this is a difficult separation for many and my sympathy and understanding are extended.  I hate violence.
  2. “Killing” is not why I carry.  I never go out with the mind, “I will kill a pig/bear/lion/beastie if I have to because of a life-threat.”  Sorry, I’m not a killer.  My intent is to “stop the threat,” regardless of what it is.  I am only ever prepared to completely “stop the threat.”  What that entails is obvious, but you will never hear me say it.  Firearms in a protection-capacity are only ever for one purpose: Stop the Threat.

I fish in a very wide variety of places, so wide in fact that I didn’t realize just how varied until I started thinking about this blog post.

  • Urban and suburban lakes and ponds inside densely populated areas
  • Suburban and rural lakes, ponds and streams in more remote areas but with regular visitors
  • “Wilderness” streams and rivers with very few other humans and greater wildlife presence
  • Add to the above a range of fishing times during the day and year, including night and inclement weather

What this means is simple: carry options are complicated and need to be carefully matched to the situations.  One priority I always have is concealment; I don’t want to be freaking people out, cause a scene or attract un-needed attention.  Even in Missouri where guns are highly common, the sight of them isn’t.  Since I’m not a threat myself, there is no point in appearing threatening.  So my situations run the gammut between needing high-concealment to needing really none at all.

Within that range is a need for firepower.  Depending on the most likely threats that may be encountered, I chose–if I have the concealment freedom–one or another firearm.  I won’t go into detail here exactly how I make the decision, but I’m sure you can imagine the process.  Pigs and bears (when traveling east) obviously call for more than my .40 caliber and I’ll opt for my .44 Remington Mag if possible.  Again, this returns to point #2 above: the goal is to stop the threat and quickly.

One particular access I frequent has a number of issues, most of them widely known and discussed.  Some are during the day; others matriculate at night.  In either case, especially if I am alone, I carry there.  Every time I walk out the door and kiss my wife and son goodbye, I am making a promise to them that I will do everything in my power to come back home.  My “emergency equipment” is part of my plan to be careful, cautious and preserve my own life.  I owe that to both of them.  What a shame it would be to die at the tusks of a wild hog simply because I was caught with no other means of protection than a tree to climb…that was 5 feet too far away.  My family deserves better than for me to leave my life in the hands of “fate.”  So, I carry a firearm.

Carry options, depending on degree of concealment necessary, vary widely.  There are a few holster companies that specialize in creating solutions for fishermen in waders.  Simply Rugged Holsters out of Alaska is a good option that, while I have yet to try, will hopefully be a solution for me soon.  For now I opt for one of about three viable options that keep my firearm secure, safe and accessible.  (Sorry, no more details…).  Developing your own solutions to achieve those goals is an individual exercise; fiddle with things and be creative.  You’ll be surprised at what does and does not work.  Get it right before you go out, though.

One of my fishing buddies does not carry himself, but his wife knows that I do.  The “idea” of me carrying really hit home one evening when he shared with me that it is a (small) comfort to her that I am armed on our trips.  For an object that is publicized with so much fear in the air, my guns have provided those around me with nothing but a sense of security and comfort.  …all in the details of purpose.  I carry for defense, nothing else. Interestingly, that means my “guns” are simply a part of a much larger defense system.

My primary and most favored means of protection is my brain.  It is ultimately and generally far more effective at life-preservation than any weapon.  It is always with me, but I have to decide to turn it on to “alert mode,” and be specially on the watch for threats and be constantly reviewing possible scenarios and threat-determent procedures.  It moderates the amount of danger and threat I put myself in, whether that means wading too deep or not walking up to that strange van at night.

Other parts of my system include my cell phone, a light if its dark, readily visible ID with emergency contacts and a healthy dose of common sense.  In the end, it is only when the threat has “passed through” and not been neutralized by all these other safety mechanisms that the use of a firearm becomes necessary.  It should be fairly revealing that in all the situations I have encountered (and that have encountered me) in their range of severity, I have never once yet drawn my firearm.  Never once.  My goal is to keep that statistic alive and well for…ever.

One Comment

  1. Posted February 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm | #

    Nice write up Will. As a former LE officer and instructor, I applaud your thoroughness and forethought.

One Trackback

  1. By fly tying and meandering thoughts | Pile Cast on March 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    […] and I just found this awesome site, The Riparian Corridor. This post stuck out as something that you should read and then re-read. I fish with many people who carry. I […]

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