Reader Questions: Bear Protection, Bar-B-Que Rifles, and Buck Pictures

Q: I was recently on a trip in black bear country where the guide carried a shotgun loaded with beanbag ammo as protection. Do you recommend this?

A: Beanbags are fine if you want to knock down a man. I don't think they will do a lot to discourage a black bear, particularly a big one. I'd stick to pepper spray or rifled slugs.

Q: I've had a deer cam set up all summer on a trail between a bedding area and a feeding area, and although I've photographed lots of does and fawns, I haven't recorded a single buck. Should I think about another spot for hunting season?

A: Be of good cheer and don't move. Bucks don't run with does until the fall, but when they get horny they'll start to socialize. The rule is, where there are does, the bucks are sure to follow.

Q: Is it true that Weatherby once stocked its rifles with mesquite? Isn't that used for Tex-Mex barbecue?

A: Yes and yes. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Weatherby stocked its godless and rock-shivering .460 magnum rifles with mesquite. It's extremely heavy and tough, which made it ideal for that use, but it's also very hard to find a mesquite blank that isn't full of knots. For that reason, Weatherby switched to French walnut for its .460s.