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We all know it’s impossible to herd cats, right? Steven Dozier (not pictured), a 35 year old resident of Yacolt, Washington discovered yesterday that hunting them can be more dangerous than it looks . . .

From the Vancouver, Washington Columbian:

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office and North Country EMS responded to a reported accidental shooting…just after 5:30 p.m. Thursday. A man called 911 to report his son had shot himself in the foot, according to emergency radio traffic monitored at The Columbian.

Deputies found Steven Dozier, 35, at the address with a gunshot wound to the left foot, said Sgt. Fred Neiman, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Dozier went outside the home and was attempting to load a .22-caliber, semi-automatic rifle when it discharged into his foot. Dozier told deputies he was going to shoot at a feral cat that has been running around their place, Neiman said.

It’s been rainy as hell in these parts for the last few weeks, and my ever-so-slightly educated guess is that this Great White Hunter rested the muzzle of his 10/.22 on his left foot to keep it out of the mud while he fiddled with its magazine or slide release, or maybe the safety. And then, muzzle-on-foot, Mr. Dozier decided to test the trigger by pulling it.

Since no one ever explained the Four Rules to Mr. Dozier, I’ll provide him with his own personalized and customized version. These should be easy for him to remember, even after his foot heals and he completes physical therapy:

  • Treat Every Gun As Though It Is Loaded, Especially If You’re Thinking About Pointing It At Your Foot
  • Never Point A Gun At Your Foot, And I Mean It
  • Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Gun Is No Longer Pointed At Your Foot, Not That It Should Have Been Pointed There Anyway
  • Remember That Your Foot Does Not Stop Bullets Very Well, So Be Sure To Have A Good Backstop Behind Your Target That Is Not Your Foot

Jeff Cooper would turn over in his grave…

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  1. Your four rules, while somewhat specific, are a lot funnier than Cooper’s.

    You can’t teach the dumb out of some people.

  2. 35 years ago, when he about 12 years old, my brother did the same thing with a Daisy 880 pump BB gun. Fully pumped, he rested the muzzle on his foot, finger on the trigger. At some point he pulled the trigger, the BB went thru his sneaker and into his second toe. No real damage but it lodged under the skin under the bone and a doctor had to cut it out. He still has it in a glass vial as a reminder of his boneheaded-ness…. or bonefooted-ness.

  3. I discussed this case with my cats, and they opined that Dozier should have stuck the muzzle up his a$$.

      • I’d steal your great reply, but with all the deadly diseases that cats are spreading everywhere today (even cat-transmitted plague), I don’t think having any contact with their flesh or fluids would be a good idea for anyone, (not even to use them for the fur industry). It would be too easy to undercook them, or they might even harbor some as-yet unknown prion that can’t be destroyed by cooking.

        Funny though your reply is, it might give someone a bad idea. πŸ™‚

        • +1.
          Cats are fine pets. Much lower maintenance than dogs. That said, there are too many of them – feral and otherwise. In upstate NY and northern PA, many trendoid animal welfare types have lobbied shelters to adopt misguided “no-kill” policies. The result: an notable increase in feral and shelter populations.

          While it saddens me, euthanizing and humanly hunting cats are necessary.

  4. Dozier is wishing he’d shot himself with one of those .223mm rifles we’ve been hearing about.

  5. It’s not his fault. He is suffering from SAD Seasonal Acquired Depression from all the rain we get in the PNW.

  6. Sigh …. whatta doofus.

    I’ve shot HUNDREDS of cats on my land. And the only thing a bullet ever went through was a cat.

    One time a cat was standing in front of a recycled ice-cream bucket used for water for the fox, raccoons, skunks, etc. (I was trying to replenish all the wildlife that got starved-to-death by cats.) The bullet went through the cat’s heart and into the water-bucket. Pissed me off. Was the last disposable bucket like that that I had. Someone needs to breed a sturdier breed of cats so .22s can’t go all the way through.

    For those facing similar cat problems: Outfit your rifle with a good large-aperture, illuminated-reticle, zoom-scope for use during times of day when they are most active, dusk to dawn. I also outfitted mine with a laser-sight. With both of those I didn’t waste even ONE bullet on a cat.

    One of the very last cats I shot was in the dead of winter. Spotted it outside my door in the middle of the night. I tried to quietly open the door so as not to scare it away (how I shot most cats by me), but this one started running down my shoveled path out to the road. As it rounded the bend in the snow about 90 yards away, at full-tilt, nothing but the light from the laser-sight bouncing off the snow, I drew the right lead and fired.

    Found it the next morning not more than 2 ft. from where I aimed into the dark that night. It must have dropped in mid-bound.

    If there’s one thing I found cats to be exceptional for — turning you into an expert marksman! I’m not even a hunter (fisherman, yes, but will NEVER turn down a venison gift). I’ve never even used any rifle or gun before I found it was the only way to deal with a cat problem.

    And that’s the ONLY thing they are good for. They’re not even good for rodent control. If you read up about cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite that they crap everywhere, it is meant to infect rodents. It alters the minds of rodents to lose their fear of cats and actually be attracted to cat-urine. Having cats around only attracts an unending supply of diseased rodents right to you.

    I did try feeding a shot-dead cat to a family of opossum, in the hopes that these cats could finally give back something to the food-chain that they managed to annihilate during their stay. (Nearly every last prey animal and predator on my land was gone due to cats. Prey tortured to death for cats’ play-toys, predators all starved to death from cats destroying all their foods. This is why I was feeding the last few survivors during my cat eradication project.)

    Unfortunately, that family of opossum, 2 adults 3 offspring, promptly died from cat-meat (the very same one mentioned in the story above). Alarming in that opossum, due to their cooler body temperatures cannot contract nor transmit many common diseases, not even rabies. Yet some disease in that cat killed them all. Leaving any cat out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your wildlife to death.

    That very same cat was also the key to an interesting discovery I made. It was the ONLY all-gray cat I had ever shot. I had tried to get the few surviving wildlife here to put cat on their diet, but any time a cat would enter my yard they’d all scatter, as if a bear entered the yard. Even when I’d put a dead cat in their feeding area, soon as they spotted it they’d run. It wasn’t until that opossum family tried to eat that all-gray cat that this all finally made sense.

    Due to the bold-patterns bred into cats, all wildlife perceives bold-patterned cats as being toxic or having hidden defense mechanisms. A universal symbol throughout nature. Any unknown animal sporting bold patterns must be dangerous. This is why you can find reports online of how someone’s docile Mr. Fluffy managed to scare that “nasty” coyote out of their yard. The cat’s imagined bravado had nothing to do with it. It was the cat’s coat-pattern alone that scared that larger predator away.

    It finally made sense how cats could so effectively wipe-out the whole food-chain on my land. From smallest of prey to top predator.

    Don’t let it happen where you live.

    2 years later and NO cats have replaced them. CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there’s none to attract more. If even one show up again? Shoot on sight before you have hundreds. Simple as that!

    • Nice work! Feral cats do more damage to wildlife than Rosie O’ Donnel does to a buffet line.

        • A .177 pointed pellet at 1200 fps or a .22 pellet at 900 fps (which is more more quiet than the super-sonic .177) from a high – powered air rifle with good sights should work, if you can keep your shots under 25 yards. I’m only referring to your over-penetration issue with the bucket, since you clearly have more experience in the matter than me. (I can neither confirm nor deny any personal experience of said effectiveness.)

          • Thanks for the info! I might be more experienced with cats (maybe?), but I’m a know-nothing newbie when it comes to firearms and ammo. Never used a rifle until the cat problem. Used what I happened to have on hand. An OLD Sears & Roebuck – J.C. Higgins. Might be old, but it sure is damn accurate. And close-out sale 5000 rounds of .22s, $15, luckily not one dud in them yet.

            Considering how feral and stray cats can pop-up most anywhere from any distance (they being genetically predisposed to hanging around human habitation, even all ferals), I don’t think you can plan ahead for what ammo might be bestest. Probably have to put up with the occasional shot-through-cat and the near-fatally-injured recycled bucket. πŸ™‚

            I was surprised how difficult they were to shoot and ensure a humane kill. I wouldn’t fire unless I knew it was gonna die super fast (can’t stand to see any animal suffer). I think this is why they honed the sharpshooting skill so fast. Small target, darty behavior and fast footers, highly evasive, etc., add in the long distance for some — and you have a real test on your hands.

            I found out camo clothing even had to be used. For the most wary ones I even made a cat-call from cat-sounds that I downloaded from cat-lover sites to an mp3 player, played through battery-powered pocket speakers. (In heat, fighting, basic meowing, kittens mewing, all attract other cats.) Contrary to first instincts, calling “Here kitty kitty” will not work on ferals. They run from human sounds. Put the “cats-attract-cats” principle to good use. I now think that old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat,” was some sage advice handed down from some cultures in the past confronting their own cat problem.

            Best solution of all in the end … baiting all the sides of my roads with tuna and sardine oils. Leading them right back to the wildlife feeding dishes in my yard (where I lost the bucket πŸ™‚ ). My wildlife seemed to have zero interest in fishy smells, probably from being far from lakes. I had set up an IR wildlife surveillance system to monitor the wildlife that was in dire need of help. But found it came in handy to watch for cats. Watched on the outdoor monitor while surfing or watching TV and just got up when I spotted one. This effectively turned my whole land and home into a 100% fatal cat-trap. Drawing-in any strays from as far as you’re willing to leave a trail. Probably got a good 60% of them this way, any hour of the night. (If anyone else uses this method, standard red-floods on a dimmer, dimmed low, put out tons of IR to light up a yard for the IR video-camera. Plus there’s just enough visible light useful in a large dia. scope for closer shots.)

            Offering this extra info in case anyone else might need it. Even with doing all this, it still took me the better part of a year to get rid of them.

            Next time (if anyone is curious) I’ll tell you how I learned to figure out the difference in my squirrels’ predator warning-calls. And how you can use them to track down any cat in the woods. (Yes, did this too. They led me to many a cat to shoot during daylight hours.) I discovered that squirrels are not the tree-rats that so many (even I used to) think them to be. They are an integral part of a wildlife community’s defense mechanism. Interesting stuff. I’ve a new-found respect for squirrels. They keep many fellow animal species safe from predators.

            And to everyone else … sorry for the LONG posts. I type 130wpm and often don’t consider what I’m putting readers through, or even know if this is the right time/place to share this kind of stuff.

            • Minor explanation. re: Wouldn’t shoot unless I was sure. That one in the dead of the night, running at full tilt, found it in the morning, etc. — yeah, well … after you’ve shot your 500th one you really don’t give much of damn anymore. You just want it GONE. πŸ™‚ I did go out to look that cold night to make sure it wasn’t suffering, but didn’t spot it so figured it ran off. Yet there it was in the morning, behind a small hill of snow right where I shot.

            • “Never used a rifle until the cat problem. Used what I happened to have on hand. An OLD Sears & Roebuck – J.C. Higgins.”

              I never fully appreciated the utility of a twin-trigger, double-barrel shotgun until I had cause to mediate a catfight late one night. One quick pull instantly eliminated two problems. ;^)

              • πŸ™‚

                Can you think of any other situations where that design would be that useful? Maybe they originally made them JUST for that purpose. πŸ™‚

                Though with all the highly deadly diseases in cats today, I’d be concerned about the splatter from using a shotgun up-close. After those opossum died from eating cat-meat, an animal as disease-resistant as that, I went online to see what might have killed them. People getting rabies from stray cats is flooding the net, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. People have already died from cat-transmitted plague. I guess if you don’t want to die from plague from cats these days you have to search out the information yourself. Must be an awful lot of cat-lovers sitting at news desks.

                These are just the diseases they’ve been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, and Tularemia can now also be added to that list.

                Cat-Transmitted PLAGUE:
                (earliest human death I could find)
                (a more recent report of cats carrying plague)

                Tularemia (rabbit-fever, transmissible to humans):

                Flea-borne Typhus:

                For just a few examples. (In case nobody’d believe this.)

  7. Woodsman,

    Great posts! Thanks for all the info! I have shot many on my friend’s farm where they are a real problem and never have used the cat sound idea. They are smart they recognize me and my truck so they bolt when they see either. I have had to use stealth quite frequently to get the job done. Consequently regarding “ballistics” I have shot them with .22 Hornet, .22 Magnum, and .22 LR all with great effect but I too have found they do not want to die. Strangely they are hard to kill. I also don’t want them to suffer and try for quick kills, but I have found the little .17 Mach2 to be the best round. For whatever reason it really works. Now make no mistake, I like cats ok, have had a couple as pets, but ferals are a real issue. People who think you can catch them and “give them a good home” have never really dealt with them. Anyway thanks again!


    • Glad to hear some of this information will help. With as pandemic as this invasive species has become, everyone really needs to take action today. There were over 150 million feral-cats in the USA a year ago. Within this year, there can potentially be as many as 1.5 to 2.4 BILLION of them. And even those are a low estimate based on them breeding only 2X’s per year, not the 3 or 4 they are capable of. (I ran advanced population growth calculus on their numbers. Semi-brainiac here.) There’s only 311 million people from infant to infirm-senior in the USA. About 1/4th of the population can wield guns (raw gut estimate). That means that EACH AND EVERY PERSON IN THE USA who can handle a gun would have to shoot up to 31 cats this year. JUST TO MATCH THEIR BREEDING RATES. More than this must be shot by each person just this year alone in order to start to reverse their reproduction rate. Scary, ain’t it. Don’t listen to any cat-lover for advice, they’re not going to add one thing to solving this, they perpetually just make things worse and worse.

      Never having shot anything before, I was going on written advice of others. That publication from the U of Nebraska , which offers information on the best way to deal with a feral-cat infestation where you live. It advises using a head or chest shot. Knowing what I do about critters, skull densities, and not being too sure on my own skill yet; I started out by using fatal chest-shots. Less chance of a miss should they turn their head at the last moment. It’s easy for me to envision where inside an animal its heart might lie irrespective of their orientation to me. So I opted for that method. Not ONE of the cats I shot even had enough time to make a sound. A few would bolt for a few steps to maybe a few yards, but then drop dead in less than 5 seconds.

      Only ONE time did I try to use the advice of a head-shot to see if it would be faster. The cat was probably only 20 feet from my door. First shot, just above and between the eyes. Direct hit. Sadly, that was the ONLY cat out of hundreds, that did not go well. Tried shooting it in the head 3 more times and it stayed alive. I would NEVER use that method ever again. I so hated that kill.

      I now suspect that cats depend more on their reptilian brain-stem functions for survival than any gray-matter that might be above it. Use chest shots in the future. Always fatal on one shot (well, a laser-sight helps immensely too).

      As far as liking cats — it took quite a bit to muster up the strength of heart to shoot the first few. I had to imagine them with one of my pet chipmunks (would ride on my head or in my pocket through the woods) in its mouth.

      I hope the mods here don’t mind, but this is a serious issue today. And I’d like to share my advice for any rural people on how to employ your local Gray Squirrels in your eradication method. With their help, I was able to find some of THE most wary cats of all. And the information I learned from them about how nature works isn’t written in any books. It all became quite enlightening.

  8. Your Squirrels Are Calling For Help — Help Them!
    (or, how to employ your local army of tree-rats to help you rid your land of cats! πŸ™‚ )

    I had a family of squirrels move into my roof, but I’ve lived all over the world in caves and tents (studying nature), so I really didn’t mind them being there. However, their taking up residence here proved to be a valuable lesson (and asset). One which you might find interesting just from a scholastic point of view.

    During the time of trying to eradicate my land of these invasive-species cats, I was on the high-alert lookout for any signs of cats. Using any cues I might notice to detect when cats were around. I found out something rather surprising.

    Squirrels issue a predator warning-call that starts out with them making a “chuck … chuck … chuck … chuck …” sound, followed by a mimicry of the voice of whatever predator they have spotted. They also quickly climb (or get down, whichever is safest) and then point their noses and tails (up over their backs) in the direction of that predator. All nearby squirrels reacting to this warning and following suit. They can emulate the sound of a hawk’s call so surprisingly well that even I would mistake a squirrel giving a hawk warning call for the very hawk they spotted minutes earlier but was now long gone. For a cat they will similarly make a strangled “meow” or “meeuw” sound at the end of their chucking sequence. The cat being a recent invasive-species introduction, they haven’t quite learned its voice yet, but do their best to sound like a cat.

    They do this for several reasons. 1) They are alerting their fellow squirrels. 2) If they can amplify the voice of their enemy, then they might attract an enemy of their enemy (as they used me). 3) They have effectively ruined any stealth tactics that their predator might be employing.

    This is not unlike the complex language that’s been discovered in Prairie Dog communities (squirrels being such a close relative too). Even more interestingly, I observed that all other wildlife, birds and mammals, have learned to recognize and respond to these squirrels’ warning cries. No doubt due to them so successfully emulating the predators voice.

    I no longer think of squirrels as the “tree rats” that so many, and even myself, once thought them to be. They are an integral part of any wildlife community’s defense-mechanism. All other birds and wildlife will similarly react to their predator warning calls. All taking cover when the squirrels sound the alarm. Think of them as the woodlands’ predator-snitches if you will.

    Whenever I would hear a squirrel on my outdoor wildlife surveillance system making a cat-warning call, I would grab the rifle and head outside. I could even tell which direction the cat had taken by following where these squirrel warning-calls were spreading through the woods as they relayed the warning-call to one another.

    I’m sharing this information for anyone who might similarly need all the help they can to eradicate cats from their lands. Learn the voice of your squirrels, they’ll actually help you (and you, they). As well as to shed some light on the unique and complex interrelatedness of nature that few are aware of.

    I now don’t mind having those squirrels in my roof at all, not in the least.

    Though … (absolutely 100% true story) … this last winter, about an hour before sun-up one cold night night, I heard a squirrel making a cat-warning call. Befuddled for several reasons. It was still pitch-dark out, squirrels are not out and about then, and the sound wasn’t coming from my outdoor surveillance system. Nonetheless, I grabbed the gun and turned on the outdoor floods to check. Nope, no sign of any cat! No squirrel either! I finally tracked down the sound to a squirrel in the roof right above where I had been sitting. It was having a nightmare about cats. (no lie!) Great, I may no longer have cats, but now I have squirrels having nightmares about them.

    Maybe I should regret having learned squirrel-speak. πŸ™‚

    • Odd, I just realized something …. That whole family of squirrels has since moved out of my roof this spring, all on their own. Maybe they only came here to teach me a thing or two until I figured it out. And made it safe for them to be where they really wanted to be all along in the first place — out in the woods.

      Wouldn’t be the first time wild-critters came to me out of desperation for help and tried to tell me in the only way they knew how. (Anyone here have to pull a jar off a skunk’s head? It literally woke me up in the middle of the night, banging the jar against my door until I would go out and help it. Later I found that jar wasn’t even a food-brand I use. It must have come from over 1/4 mile away for help.)

      If you’ve got squirrels in your roof — blame cats herding them there! πŸ™‚

  9. You cat haters disgust me. May you all have a plague of rats or mice. When the weather turns cold in the fall, mice move indoors. I grew up on a farm and my dad kept cats in the barn. We never had a problem with rats or mice. As a matter of fact, I never ever saw a mouse or rat in my dads barn. All the other farms kept barn cats too. Mice can get into a bin of cow feed and totally ruin it to the point that cows won’t eat it. They get into the walls and ruin wiring, and spread disease with their droppings.

    • Sounds like your dad told you to go cut the neighbor’s lawn while he disposed of all your excess cats. Putting any new kittens in a gunny-sack and drowning them is as common farming practice as shoveling manure. And shooting any cat more than 100 yards from a barn is common practice. Often taught to their kids with the words, “If you see a cat more than 100 yards from the barn — shoot it. It’s up to no good.”

      But from your words the more likely explanation is that you are a mommy’s basement troll who is inventing your whole identity and past, or you’d know these things.

      In that case, I’ll leave you with something you might like to enjoy knowing the rest of your self-deceptive life, no matter what your upbringing or present rural or urban habitation:

      If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you’ve already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats’ brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites’ oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites’ oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

      This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats’ parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites’ oocysts.

      The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that’s precisely how that food supply got to your mouth — whether you want to face up to it or not. It’s not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

      If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself — every time you eat.

  10. It’s been rainy as hell in these parts for the last few weeks, and my ever-so-slightly educated guess is that this Great White Hunter rested the muzzle of his 10/.22 on his left foot to keep it out of the mud while he fiddled with its magazine or slide release, or maybe the safety. And then, muzzle-on-foot, Mr. Dozier decided to test the trigger by pulling it.
    ALMOST HAS A RING OF THE ANTI-EVERYTHING CROWD, as long as its for The Children Lets Educate or Confinscate πŸ™

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