Question of the Day: What Do You Carry Against Wild Animals?

A lot of TTAG’s coverage reflects my geographical bias; I live in the second most densely populated state in these here United. I don’t encounter a whole lot of four-legged varmints. Sure, I see a coyote ambling down a suburban street from time to time. But no packs of wild dogs looking to rip me to pieces. To wit: “A ‘bloodthirsty’ pack of dogs has killed about 100 animals in the past few months while eluding law enforcement and volunteers in northeastern Washington state, apnews.myway.com reports. “The killings started in late March and have occurred in a wide area of mountains and valleys west of Deer Park, a small town about 40 miles north of Spokane . . .

“Trying to figure out where they are going to hit is next to impossible,” Stevens County Undersheriff Lavonne Webb said Thursday. “Nobody is claiming ownership of any animals involved in the pack.”

Most recently, the dogs killed a 350-pound llama Tuesday night. They’ve also killed goats and other farm animals.

So far, no humans have been attacked. But authorities are warning residents to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their families and animals because the dogs appear to be killing for fun rather than food.

“We have this pack that is out there killing for the sake of killing,” Webb said in a telephone interview from Colville. “What is going to happen if they come across a small child?”

So . . . another reason for home carry? I’ll tell you one thing: if I ever go into the wilds of anywhere, I’m borrowing Joe’s Smith & Wesson 500. Just in case. What do you carry to deal with packs of wild dogs, mountain lions, bears, killer cows (no really) etc?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

29 Responses to Question of the Day: What Do You Carry Against Wild Animals?

  1. avatarDave says:

    And people wonder what legit defensive use there could be for high capacity and/or select fire firearms. Guess we can add “pack of feral dogs” to the L.A. riots example…

  2. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    The 500′s will stop any walking mammal or bad guy every time.

  3. avatarRalph says:

    Some wild animals walk on their hind legs. A .40 cal HP will work just fine.

  4. avatarBob H says:

    Well, one of these of course. Who knows when the cape buffalo will attack?
    http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/01/robert-farago/obscure-object-of-desire-big-horn-armory-model-89-rifle/

    I am only dreaming. I wish I had one of these, but with no place to shoot it but the NRA indoor 50 yard range, I just can’t justify the purchase to myself, much less my wife.

  5. avatarGunner442 says:

    +1 Ralph! 2 legged or 4 legged?

  6. avatarKW says:

    Recently relocated and occasionally hike in the desert and hills with my dogs. Coyotes are a constant and bigger critters are a possibility. When I’m off the property I have a can of bear spray and my .357 or .45 is loaded with either of these rounds. HPs in a handgun are not what you need against large, four footed animals:

    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=100

    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=214

    I have encountered a rather large rattlesnake, but he was in the wild and we left each other alone. I do have .38 cal snake rounds, but the only ones I’ve seen on my property are large garter snakes.

  7. avatarGeoff says:

    I love guns, but I have found they are rarely needed in the woods (unless you are hunting of course). I grew up in the boy scouts, where firearms are only allowed on the shooting range. Nobody ever brought one if any of our wilderness expeditions, and despite many encounters with wildlife, we never needed one. I once had a face to face encounter with a pair of cougars late at night. My friend and I were able to scare them off with a flashlight and our bad singing voices. (typical coug prey doesn’t sing, so they dislike it) a few other friends had multiple encounters with coyotes on horse treks, and despite the lack of guns were totally fine. In encounters with wildlife, I feel safe without guns, I think the real threat comes from people with ill-intentions.

    • avatarHandprop says:

      Will agree that the two legged threats are more real than the four legged (except for moose, depends on their mood de jour), but will give you another good reason to be armed when in the piney woods…several years ago, had the experience of laying a motorcycle over on my left leg an hour into a ride. Fortunately, I was able to ride it home, albeit with a sorely swollen leg. Had I broken it, I likely would have laid on that USFS road all night. Nice to have that noisemaker with you to attract some attention (the 3 shot at a time distress signal) when it’s needed.

    • avatarScott says:

      Our Scoutmaster always kept a 1911 stored in his pack on 50 milers and camping trips (found this out later when I was an adult). His thought process was that while it was unlikely he would need it for 4 legged mammals, it was better to have it and not need it, then to not have it and really need it. Goes along with the BSA motto: Be Prepared.

      Besides, I imagine some peace of mind was gained in knowing you’d never have to explain to another parent how their child was abducted/harmed while out camping. If I recall, transients, felons and those wanted by the police often seek refuge in state/national camping areas.

  8. avatartdiinva says:

    When I used go camping in the Rockies I would always carry my trusty 1911 in case a big cat came knocking at the tent door looking for breakfast. I never actually saw one in the wild but we used to hear them.

    The threat from wild animals is actually worse now then 30 years ago. There is an occaisional coyote citing in Arlington. I think it is a wise thing to carry some kind a weapon for animal defense when you go into the woods. In Virginia a 22 rifle is sufficient to deal with coyotes and feral dogs. The bears will leave you alone unless you bother the cubs. Out West you need to carry at least a 270 but preferably a 30-06 or 308 for cats and hungry bears.
    You should always carry a side arm for last ditch defense against big game

  9. avatarIndyEric says:

    Glock 20 with double tap cast rounds.

    • avatarDerek says:

      Not a lot of bears here in Ohio but my Glock 20 with Buffalo Bore 180 grain JHP will make short work of yotes, big cats, and certain bipedal predators should I need it too while I’m hiking or canoeing. Were I too venture into bear country, which I plan to someday, I’d probably carry BB’s 220 grain hard cast flat points.

  10. avatarSean says:

    I live in Detroit. The predators are mostly on 2 legs. However, there are a lot of feral dogs around these days. Usually some pitbull mix. These require at least .45acp. My brother, a Detroit cop, once had to face an enraged bull mastiff. It took all 15 rnds of .40 and kept coming. An armed citizen with an AR put it down.

    • avatarMagoo says:

      A bull mastiff (avg. 120 lbs) can’t take 15 rounds of .40 cal and keep coming at you. That’s ridiculous.

      But that’s how gun loons are. You little scamps hold your flashlights under your chins and tell each other scary stories until you are afraid to go out of the house unarmed. Boo!

      I travel freely all around Detroit without carrying a gun. There are a few places I won’t go, but I wouldn’t go there with a gun, either.

      • avatarTodd AF Vet says:

        Magoo
        Please tell your source of this of information? Are you a hunter, a veterinarian, or researcher? I know because of my job that an enraged animal can kill; if it is a rabid animal you will have to kill to stops its attack. I have notice from reading your post that you believe guns solve no problems and that we should call 911 before, during and after a crime or event. Yet as tdiinva stated in his post below there would be one more folk singer alive if she had 38 or 45 on her. This is the point of the original post.

        I have done survival training in the service and was a Boyscout for awhile. Because of this background I keep a 72 hour kit in the car and have a magnesium fire starter on my key ring because I may needed them “someday” not because I am a loon or nut it is the same reason I have guns at home and am working on a CCW.

        So I will ask you directly, what is your worldview or in which climate or for what reason would you carry a gun and take responsibility for yourself and your loved ones? Hope to see your reply soon.

        • avatarMagoo says:

          No. A dog cannot take 15 rounds of .40 S&W and keep charging. That is ridiculous. I don’t care if it’s rabid, smoking crack, and shooting meth. The story is complete kiddie bullshit. It’s like M1911s that shoot 600 yds. Don’t let people insult your intelligence in that manner.

          I don’t anticipate ever needing to carry a gun under ordinary conditions in the USA. I laugh at your suggestion that therefore I don’t take responsibility for my own safety.

        • avatarmiforest says:

          yes it can, I live in the det area too. they used the glock 22 with 180 gr WWB fmj ammo for along time and may still. withoutt a central nervous system hit instant kills are rare. a dog like this could be 170 lbs and cove 25 yard in 3-4 sec. I have shot deer through the heardt with a twelve guage slug an had them run over 75 yards. there are a lot of varables.

  11. avatarChris Dumm says:

    My .45 Colt Blackhawk will be loaded with hot 255-gr Keith bullets the next time I backpack in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. I’ll be only slightly undergunned against brown bears.

  12. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    I’ve never come across anything that 12 gauge 00 buck and slugs can’t handle, so a good riot type pump or semi works. I never hunted feral dogs without back up of at least .357 strength.

    • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      If I were looking for less obvious carry, 5.11 makes a sling pack for submachineguns which easily conceals the Kel Tec PLR 16, and a forward pouch for a handgun across your chest.

  13. avatarRalph says:

    I used to ride my mountain bike at night in the Rhode Island game management areas. There were often packs of four or more coyotes running alongside me. They weren’t dangerous, just excited and curious. They seemed to be enjoying the run as much as I was enjoying the ride and they never got too close for comfort. Every once in a while, a pack would take a deer or find a deer hunter’s leavings and I’d have to ride over or around the mess. Ugh. However, the thought of needing a gun to protect myself from coyotes seemed preposterous. Maybe western ‘yotes are a breed apart, but up here they’ll take a small dog or a cat but they’re scared of people.

  14. avataroutwardhound says:

    I live out in the sticks and the biggest danger are rabid wild animals, mostly skunks fior some reason, and feral cats – a .22 LR is sufficient for these, but there’s always the possiblity of a wild hog, so the mini-14 is the truck gun.

  15. avatarRobinGoodfellow says:

    I live in California, so I don’t carry anything.

    • avatarBob H says:

      You could always try incense sticks… and bells, lots of bells.

      • avatarChuck says:

        I live in California and I carry a Sig P220 .45 ACP, concealed, and I don’t have any incense or bells. It would take a pretty big bell to be useful for rabid pit bull attacks. I think I am covered for wild animals in my urban territory, both 2- and 4-legged.

  16. avatarGage says:

    My experience is Montana and Wyoming. With numerous (I guess at least more than a dozen) literal face to face encounters with Grizzlies and several face to face’s with black bears, several moose, one with a baby chasing me around a tree, and coyotes out the wazoo I have never had a gun. The most dangerous thing I usually carried was a fly rod and the Buck folder on my hip. Even if I was arm I don’t think there would ever had been a time where it was appropriate to use it, although the moose encounter was dang close. Would I carry the appropriate firearm today? Depends on where I’m going. One issue is the National Parks – no firearms allowed – which I think might be changing now. My issue is, know what animal you are dealing with ( grizzly vs. black bear is totaly diffferent), know how to react, and use your head. I got hammered on another website about this subject – preaching restraint and knowledge versus firepower. There is a time and place for each but if you are traveling in the so-called “wilderness” at least have your sh*t together and be smart.

    Yes, Mr. Cujo is right, when traveling in that type of country, be friggen appropriately armed and prepared, speaking from extensive experience…

    • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      Thanks for your support-but you don’t have to call me Mr.-I was always enlisted in the service! I’ve always loved nature, I’m the only person I’ve known who was lucky enough to stand a few feet from a bobcat as she looked me over. It was hard for me at first to have to kill feral dogs, until they tried attacking my mom, my pups and me. They remain a real problem here in SC, as does our increasing problem with wild hogs, and now black bear and coyotes are flourishing here-popping up a lot in the low country. Due to the numbers of feral dogs, it isn’t just having a weapon but firepower also. I shot a deer once and was surrounded by 8 dogs within minutes. Of course, you never know about people either, coming across someone’s illegal crops is also a risk. That and the type who apparently feel they can do anything in the woods, including shooting at other people. I grew up in an area like this, I had one dog stabbed with a pitchfork and three dogs shot. I never went anywhere into our woods without either my Mini 14 (and several mags) or my 870 and a bag of buckshot.

  17. avatarmiforest says:

    feral dogs a re a big problem arround here . we had two people killed in livingston county near detroit a couple of years ago, and have a fatal attack almost every year in the area. the livingston county attack was bulldogs, not normaly a problem/
    http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2008/09/livingston_county_dog_owner_se.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States

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