Azerbaijani shepherd (courtesy flikr.com)

“Armenia has refused to rent Iran 50,000 hectares of Syunik pasture for 10 years, where 10,000 Iranian Azerbaijanis armed with shotguns were to be deployed,” news.az reports. “‘The question of renting pasture in Syunik to the Iranians has been closed,’ Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration Vache Terteryan said.” Wait. What? “This year the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan and Syunik region of Armenia signed a memorandum that considered renting to Iran 50 hectares of Syunik pasture for 10 years. The program could settle in Armenia at least 10,000 shepherds – Iranian Azerbaijanis, armed for protection against wolves and other predators.” Ignoring the political ramifications, sending sympathy to Turkish shotgun makers for the lost biz, one wonders whether a scatttergun would be an Azerbaijani shepherd’s ideal firearm. That is all.

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32 Responses to The Land of Ten Thousand Shotguns. Or Not.

  1. Well, they’d be effective at close range without being provocative. By that I mean, if they all had rifles, someone could object or be concerned because it could be construed as 10k foreigners with arms that could be used for military purpose, e.g. invade, take and hold territory.

    On an unrelated note, that’s a great photo, and there’s more if you click on it and follow the link.

    • Its also possible to shoot a Glock out to 200 yards. If you had a pack of wolves closing in on your sheep, do you want a Glock to take that 200 yard shot, or do you want an AR15, or a .308 bolt gun, or really any rifle?

    • Interesting video. He placed a camera right next to the target as well. When I watched the video portion from the camera right next to the target, I noticed that I seemed to hear the report of the shotgun a split second before the slug hits the target. That means the slug’s average velocity is slightly slower than the speed of sound. With the speed of sound being around 1100 fps and the slugs having a muzzle velocity on the order of 1500 fps, they must have slowed down to about 700 fps or so by the time they are hitting the target.

      I have to wonder about the terminal ballistics of a 12 gauge, 1 ounce (437 grain) foster slug with an impact velocity of 600 to 700 fps. Any guesses?

      • undoubtedly lethal. F=mV^2 so diminishing V is substantially reducing force, but 1 oz of lead has a whole lot going for it regardless.

        • I agree with Skyler…

          At the same time, I wouldn’t recommend trying to calculate force. Equations of motion for a projectile through air get really nasty, really fast….

  2. Armenians taking in Azerbaijanis? Who thought that would happen? Have they no knowledge of history or even recent events?

  3. I suspect a shotgun would be fairly effective against wolf predation in open country, as long as you used bigger shot and fired for area effect. It wouldn’t be effective at killing wolves quickly, but peppering them with shot and causing painful, infected wounds would be a strong deterrent against future predation. Wolves are very smart social animals; listening to their pack-mates howl as they die of infected abdominal wounds would be dreadful for them.

  4. A shepherd can use a shotgun to drive away most if not all animal predators that they would encounter in Iran. Heck, it could even drive away casual human predators.

    A shotgun’s major deficiency is limited range. Smaller shot would only be effective on large predators out to maybe 10 yards. Buckshot would be effective out to about 30 yards give or take. And slugs would be good to about 50 yards. (Slugs would remain lethal beyond 50 yards but it is difficult to hit your desired target past 50 yards.)

    In terms of civil unrest, 10,000 shepherds with shotguns would not be much of an offensive force unless they are willing to suffer huge losses. That is probably why their governing authority is okay with the shepherds having shotguns. And it is why our governing authorities in the U.S. are basically okay with citizens who have shotguns.

  5. Ewe have to be careful with tat many armed shepherds as they are protecting not just their livelihood but also potentially their loved ones (the sheep not kin per se). Attempts to fleece them of their arms will not be taken kindly and even an incremental approach would not pull the wool over their eyes. Given the nature of government in that region of the world incrementalism seems unlikely but instead a more mutton headed approach would be used. Of course that attempt would most likely be flocked up and just turn into a giant goat rope.

      • Only high on life.

        Other than that I was just trying to ram as many sheep puns in as I could. Apparently they were quite baaaah-d and I apologize. Will you forgive me for all the lame jokes? If need be you can feel free to lambast me a little first for the poor attempt at humor.

        If you choose not to forgive you won’t hear another bo-peep from me.

        • Ewe’ve gotta be kid-ing me and stop being so baaah-shful with the sheep-ish puns ewe really needn’t ram them in there just let em flow.

  6. Has anyone here gone one on one with a wolf pack while on foot in open country? As for protecting a herd of sheep from same, unless you are a world class runner comfortable at 1000 meters plus altitude protecting said herd is virtually impossible. Not to mention that 100,000 is a very small area for 10,000 sheperds and their flocks

    • I would imagine that the shepherds use some other tried and true methods of protecting and moving their flocks as well, things like herding or protective dogs. Breeds such as the Akbash, Armenian Gampr, Croatian Sheepdog, Georgian Shepherd, and Puli to name a few would be breeds either indigenous to or with historical roots near/around the region in question.

      As it is guns are a great tool but they are a new invention compared to the age of the profession and people have been protecting their flocks for a long time without them.

      • sSlings and bows. David started out as a shepard before having his run in with the big guy.

        The shotgun is the perfect multi purpose/foraging one gun does it all. If the shepard has a scoped .308 and he encounters a flock of partridges that he wants to make use of to extend his supplies he’s boned.

        • Lolinski, I’m thinking economics as well as practicality. A shepard in Iran or Iraq or Turkey isn’t likely to be the top money earner in the area. Even if they’re legal a handgun and a rifle are more expensive. And to get good enough to head shoot small game with either is going to take time and money to practice.

          And they may not be people of the gun. Just a herder needing a tool for the job. I started life on a farm. I knew a lot of farmers that were armed but were not POTG. Shotguns and .22 rifles were their go to guns.

  7. Having never actually dealt with wolves, I would tend to think that a shotty might be pretty effective. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s what I’m thinking…

    A long range rifle on an open range seems like a good idea. But you’re dealing with multiple moving targets making a long shot tricky at best. Once they get inside, say, 100 yards I think you would benefit something with slightly more forgiveness in the aiming department coupled with a higher rate of fire (I’m thinking bolt action…I can empty my 870 A LOT faster than my 700).

    Again, no experience with wolves, but I would think winging one with buckshot would likely cause the whole pack to retreat. And your odds of a hit with a scattergun are likely much higher than a rifle, even an evil black assault rifle with a high capacity magazine clip…..

  8. A shotgun in Sicily, especially one that’s been cut down, is referred to as a “lupara.” It means “for the wolf,” because Sicilians used to shoot wolves with their shotguns.

    Shotties are very adaptable and are just the ticket for predators, no matter how many legs they might have.

  9. Considering the last century and a half of history I can’t say I’d be too comfortable with welcoming 10,000 Muslims with shotguns if I were Armenian.

  10. The poor, much maligned shotgun. JWM has this right; there is simply nothing so versatile as a shotgun. They’re dead on reliable with virtually nothing in the realm of maintenance (the single/double barrel break actions that is). They can digest very poor quality and off speck reloads including those done by hand and without benefit of a reloading press. They are relatively light and simple to aim and operate.

    Then there is the ammo it’s self. It can fire fine bird shot, which as JWM points out is very handy for either birds or small game at nearer ranges. Of course there is buck shot, which as it’s name implies can take most medium to large game out to 50 yards or so, if you’re talented enough or in their case out in the open enough to track it until it bleeds out, and which we know is often the go to weapon even amongst a well stocked armory for close range encounters with violent humans.

    Then the shotgun turns near rifle when loaded with slugs. If you’ve worked out the drop (and if you have only one gun your whole life you eventually will) in open country the 12ga shotgun equipped with slugs is a medium to large game getter to or even past 150 yards.

    As for the wolves; most are reluctant to have contact with humans in general, since for at least the last 100,000 years humans mean dogs, fire, spears and projectiles and as aggressive as wolves can be they have nothing on angry, frightened humans struggling to protect their food source. We’ve trapped them, killed them in fights, ambushed them, burned out their dens, poisoned them and stolen their pups to mate with our dogs.

    I strongly suspect the shotgun isn’t to protect the shepherd against wolves since flailing his arms, running and shouting would likely turn all but the most determined wolf pack. The shotgun is to allow him to kill the wolves off when the opportunity presents with the express intent of causing them to become extinct, at least in his pastures.

    We forget it often enough in the more ‘civilized’ areas of the world, but man is the ultimate predator. While a wolf may occasionally kill a man, even to eat him in a dire situation, we’ve nearly driven them to extinction, and no where is there a wolf who regards man as a menu item anymore than we think of each other as food outside of the most drastic emergencies. However there are many places where the hunting of wolves by men is a sport, a ritual, or even a livelihood.

    Armed with a good double barrel 12ga shotgun, appropriate ammunition and the tactics human ingenuity naturally invents man can stalk and kill everything from dingo to polar bear, rat to elephant, house cat to lion and every fish of the sea and bird of the sky. We’ve done it with spears of wood and bone and clubs of wood and stone, please don’t fear for a hearty shepherd armed ‘only’ with a shotgun.

    • A couple years ago, I ran across a paper about wolf predation in the US vs. Russia.

      In Russia, due to decades of gun control, the wolves have grown far less wary of humans and will attack humans for food when the pickings are slim.

      There’s a reason why humans extirpated wolves. I’d like to send a truckload of wolves to places like Central Park and Golden Gate to give urban dwellers their fondest dream: to go “back to nature.” It would solve their homeless problems in a week.

      • True on all points DG. Roaming wolf packs would also likely thin the blue herds considerably, a nice side effect as those not eaten would likely become POTG right there on the spot!

  11. “This year the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan and Syunik region of Armenia signed a memorandum that considered renting to Iran 50 hectares of Syunik pasture for 10 years. The program could settle in Armenia at least 10,000 shepherds – Iranian Azerbaijanis, armed for protection against wolves and other predators.””

    Putting 10,000 guys in 50 hectares is going to be pretty crowded, not much room left for the sheep. A hextare is 2.471 acres so 10,000 guys on 123.55 acres is about 81 guys per acre. I’m thinking that there is a typo error in there somewhere?

    • Probably, but that’s a quote straight out of the original article. Its either poorly written, or they’re trying to say that the 50,000 was refused but they agreed to 50 to start.

  12. Having been around sheepherders here in the west and knowing a little bit about how they handle predators, yes, a versatile shotgun is what their Asia Minor counterparts would probably carry. Otherwise, I’ve seen them carry lots of .22’r. Nothing fancy. Never, ever anything fancy. Sheepmen, regardless of where in the world they are, don’t tend to put a lot of capital into their operations. For the cost of an AR, they could buy enough food and fuel to keep the sheep herder on the job for perhaps three months.

    Most of the predation issue is addressed with dogs. Not little barking dustmop dogs that most people here in the US seem to adore. No, I mean Real Dogs. Dogs whose withers come most of the way up to your hip. Dogs that can run at 35MPH for a mile. Dogs that when they get hold of a coyote, they play with it like a rag doll. Dogs that make pit bulls run the other way. In other words, flock guard dogs; a minimum of 100 to 110lbs, in excellent shape, possessed of a hard, independent mind that bonds with the sheep. No instructions or training are necessary – the protection instinct has been bred into these dogs for hundreds to thousands of years. In Turkey, they have beasts like the Kangal and the Anatolian, which are both dogs to be reckoned with.

    The shotguns… they’re for putting down the result of the guard dog’s savage curb-stomp of the predators.

    Big sheep operators running flocks of 2,000 to 10,000 ewes will have one dog for every, oh, 700 or so sheep.

    My guard dog was smart enough to know to look to see whether I was holding a rifle when a coyote was on our land. If I had empty hands, it was “game on.” If I was holding a rifle, he’d hang back and wait to see what I’d do. Shotguns, even with only #6 birdshot, take down a coyote pretty darn well at close range. If I had to deal with wolves around livestock, I’d step up to something like BB or T shot.

    The secret to dealing with predators like this is to not kill them too quickly.

  13. Christians refusing to do business with Muslims? Looks like Armenia has a more worldly and aware government than we do.

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