Axe as self defense

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by David Martin, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Just wondering: If your hiking in country known to have bear and lion, often in darkness. Of course you have a firearm.
    Would you want your next line of self defense to be a large knife (like 6") or a hatchet? DM


    Nov 5, 2014
    I'm thinking something like a longer bladed Bowie or the like. Probably wouldn't matter if the gun didn't get the job done.
  3. Bo T

    Bo T

    Feb 12, 2011
    Probably a large knife (like 8-10").
  4. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    You're probably just going to piss the bear off with a hatchet.
  5. mec003


    Jan 1, 2015
    Definately not an axe or hatchet. If something gets the jump on you and you haven't got the space to swing an axe, it's fairly useless in self defense. I'd take a large knife, though it would probably not make a difference against a bear.
  6. wvdavidr


    Mar 21, 2007
    An axe or hatchet by far. It can deliver a deep cut and shock to the body by it's weight. You might even be able to break a spine. A knife might deliver a nice cut, but you'd have to wait for the animal or person to bleed out; You might be killed in the meantime.
  7. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
  8. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    A knife, no question. An animal attack is fast, you would only get one shot as it comes in for a perfectly timed swing with an axe. It probably won't work or finish things and then it's on you. At least with a knife you can use it close, aim the point and press. Repeat as needed. an axe or hatchet would be next to useless that close. I don't think that there is much question here. I always carry a knife into the woods, sometimes a hatchet. If a bear came at me my hand would be going for the knife. Aim for the face and keep jabbing. The goal isn't really to defeat the animal in single combat, it is to deter and discourage it. Make it sorry that it came at you and change it's mind.
  9. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    Don't forget bear spray.
  10. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Whoa, I'm learning some items here that I haven't thought of. Thanks for offering your comments. DM
  11. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
  12. CapitalizedLiving


    Dec 1, 2007
    Just go with whatever you're comfortable with using, and hope you never have to use it.
  13. Alocksly


    Dec 30, 2013
    A long knife would allow you to stab even when grappling with, say, a big cat.

    Something else to remember is that bears tend to attack when you inadvertently stumble into their space. They attack when they are "forced" to. They're not out roaming the woods looking for humans to eat or lying in wait to ambush you. That's not to say they might not tail you for other reasons...

    Bears are just so terrifically strong and can take so much punishment that downing one with anything less than a large caliber firearm involves no little bit of luck. Their thick hide and large body mass make getting to a vital organ difficult and even a "playful" swat from a bear is enough to knock you senseless.

    Big cats on the other hand will actively predate on humans. They'll stalk and ambush people just like they would a deer (not often but it does happen, particularly where game is scarce) this is a "chose to" attack and just like any other predation the cat weighs it's chances of a clean kill vs a fight where it gets injured (an injured cat can't hunt and so is a dead cat). Your chances here are much better than with the bear as you just have to injure the cat enough that it decides it's not worth it and breaks off. Most accounts I've read about mountain lion attacks have them hitting their victim from behind. Here's where I think I would have more luck snatching a knife from a belt sheath and thrusting it over my shoulder or under my armpit rather than trying to swing a hatchet or hawk at something on my back.

    For what it's worth my pop carries a Buck sheath knife on his walks if he hears there's a puma in the area. (I carry one of the many offerings by Smith & Wesson)
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  14. chuxwan


    Aug 26, 2012
    Definitely a big knife. You're not going to win against anything with an axe of any kind. At least with a long, sharp blade you have a chance of hitting some vitals.
  15. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    This would be OK.

    So would this.

    This would most practical.

    But THE BEST WAY to survive a mad bear attack where the gun didn't work---

    Run faster than your partner.
  16. Woodcamo Nut

    Woodcamo Nut

    Apr 15, 2014
    Axes and hatchets are better in a "sneak attack", they deliver a powerful punch and cut that a knife does not deliver, therefore I would most likely go with an axe or hatchet in a offensive situation and I would prefer a bowie machete in a defensive situation.

    I grew up with a guy who his father hit a bear with a double bit axe and the axe bounced back off the bear and hit his father in the head, it must of been a dull axe.

    You gotta be aware of what kind of mistakes can happen when using an axe in a defensive situation.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  17. High_Noon


    Nov 14, 2014
    Your best best is going to be a carbine length lever action like a .45-70 in conjunction with pepper spray mounted on your belt. Pepper spray is very effective and you may not have time to deploy your firearm and often when you do, you will only have time for one shot. Keep in mind that a brown bear or a grizzly can run 35 mph. You would also be wise to do as much reading as you can regarding bear behavior. Bears are individuals and you never know what one is going to do. As far as a hatchet is concerned, you would be well-advised to file as blunt an edge as possible - this way, it won't hurt as much when the bear shoves it up your a$$.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  18. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    Think of this situation. A bear has you pinned down. Your gunna want a snub nose revolver and a stabbing weapon that can slash as well.
  19. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    If you feel you have to live in fear of large animals every time you go in the bush it may be time to stick closer to home.

    35 years ago I worked in a wilderness park in northern British Columbia. One morning the cook (a 50-60 year old woman) arrived at the bunkhouse kitchen to discover a black bear had broken in through a barred window and was making a shambles of the food pantry. Edna was so incensed with the 'burglar' that she went after it with a corn broom. The bear was so taken aback with the determined onslaught that it ran right through a wood stud wall in order to escape. Where would you have been in such a situation? Fumbling around for a knife and only generating dirty underwear.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  20. Sosa


    Feb 6, 2014
    A killer man eating bear is different from a garbage eating one.

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