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Old January 17, 2011, 04:22 PM   #1
meric35
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Dogs!

I am new here, however I have been reading TFL for a while.

I wanted to post a situation that happened to me over the weekend, becuase I wanted to get your collective opinion on whether I overreacted and how you might have reacted instead.

I had just finished hunting rabbit with my 12 year old son on Sunday at Busch wildlife. While returning to my car, we were about 50 yards from my car when I though I saw Black dog trotting by my car. I didn't think much about it until we got about 30 yards from my car, when a large black lab came trotting from behind my car, saw me and started aggressivly barking. Then a Yellow Lab, and (2) Pit Bulls came charging from behind my car along with the black lab directly at me and my son barking aggressivly, ears down, and teeth bared. I tried to intimidate the dogs by standing my ground and yelling but they didn't stop charging so I unslung my shotgun and prepared to shoot the first dog hoping my 20 gauge would kill the dog. However before I shot I hear the owner yelling for the dogs to back off, which they didn't respond to his commands immediately. They actually continued to surround and bark at me and my son until he walked closer still yelling at his dogs. This all happened inside of 1 minute.

Once the owner got his dogs under control and saw me with my gun pointed at his dogs, he got real mad at me and started yelling that the dogs don't bite and there is no reason to threaten his dogs like that. He said he was going to report me to the MDC and generally cussing me up. I mostly ignored him while we continued to our car, however I did tell him that all dogs must be on a leash unless they were being used for hunting and asked him what he was hunting with those dogs. He didn't respond and I didn't want to escalate things either since my son was with me so we just left.

So after thinking about it, and being a responsible dog owner also, I wonder if I over reacted. I don't think I did and I think I would do it again if I was charged by dogs while out hunting. This was the first time I had ever been actually scared while hunting with my son that we were going to be killed by these dogs and I didn't think our rabbit guns were going to protect us.

Also if this violates any forum rules I apologize.
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Old January 17, 2011, 04:30 PM   #2
orangello
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I don't think you overreacted. Every place i've ever hunted deer had a strict "shoot on sight" rule for unaccompanied dogs. I was told this was due to idiots not picking up all of their dogs after hunting them and due to jerks dumping unwanted dogs after season. Feral dogs can be very dangerous and should be viewed as you would any other large, potentially dangerous animal in the wilderness.

I am not one to advocate "ratting" someone out to the Game Warden, but if this was family land or a hunting lease, i would ABSOLUTELY notify the club or the landowner/family. If this was on public hunting land, i would seriously consider letting the local Game Warden know what happened and that i felt threatened almost to the point of needing to shoot the animals. I would include a description of the other "hunter" who may or may not have been running deer with the dogs (not always legal, depending on season and your state). He could have been hunting hogs with them, which i think is usually OK, depending on your state's laws. Either way, a good hunter controls and monitors his dogs and would have been apologizing for the situation.

Just my opinion.
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Old January 17, 2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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From what you have posted I am glad that you did not excalate the situation. To that, I would add that you definitelty did not overreact. In the past, I have put up with conduct like this but cannot afford to do so when it comes to my kids. I have been bit before but never again and the last one that did, never made it home for supper. I'm not talking about lost hunting dogs as I have returned a few of them as well. I would have gotten his license number and kept my gun close at hand. I also agree with what orangello has replied. I'm not advocating dispatching dogs that mess up your hunt, I'm sayiing you have a God given right of self protection especially for your kids. ....


Be Safe !!!
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:01 PM   #4
BC07
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Reading what you posted makes plenty of since to me. How are you to know these dogs weren't going to attack you. Its probably a good thing that the owner did come up at the right time. I know if i was put into your situation i would have done the same thing. i personally own to labs and i know that they are also capable of doing.
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:02 PM   #5
Crazy Carl
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You got lucky. I would've started shooting the instant the dog charged me.

"Loose" dog, aggressive behavior & charging = dead dog. Why take the chance?
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:06 PM   #6
phil mcwilliam
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You did not over react, you acted responsibly. You were in the right, the guy with his dogs was in the wrong. You could have even acted more strongly by firing a warning shot to deter the charging dogs.
You acted responsibly as you defused a situation & you both went your seperate ways without incident. If you had shot the dogs , even though within your rights, you would have had to deal with a completely different situation straight away- aggressive owner, & down the track would potentially have to defend your actions in court, where I would bet that the dog owners story would vary from yours.
If you were on private land it would be a different story - shoot any threatening dogs on sight.
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:18 PM   #7
meric35
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Warning Shot..

I thought about firing a warning shot, but there were four big dogs and I only had 3 shots to start with and My son had 3 shots. So if the warning shot failed to scare the dogs I would have been at a real disadvantage.

The land is what the state likes to call public multi use land which means it has land for hunting, lakes for fishing, trails for Biking and hiking. Deer season is over and dogs are not allowed during deer season. The only hunting allowed at this time at Busch are Rabbit, Squirrel and Goose and only plugged shotguns are allowed at all times unless you are hunting deer.

There was plenty I wanted to say to the guy, but since he seemed hot tempered I figured I better just move on to another area to hunt. Next time I will be taking down licenses and notify the ranger department.
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:20 PM   #8
k31
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good thing to never escalate an incident like that
you acted in a way that may have helped your son learn a little something too.
never take a chance with a ...... off dog and never second guess a ..... off group of dogs.
if it were me i would have informed him that i knew they wouldnt bite the only thing a dead dog can do is bleed drool and stink and he must be the worlds biggest idiot to cuss the guy his dogs were gonna bit and even dumber for cussing a ****** off guy with a shotgun and if i didnt get my point across the first time or to a shot in the dirt beside me would.
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Old January 17, 2011, 05:36 PM   #9
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I will always puzzle over why people collect dogs like they're going out of style and yet refuse to train them.
Dogs are pack animals. If you make yourself alpha they really will do what you want. ::sigh..::
You didn't do anything wrong.
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Old January 17, 2011, 06:39 PM   #10
schnarrgj
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You did everything right. With a pack of large aggressive dogs, in a hunting area with your son, you have not only the right but a duty to your son to protect him. With Busch, they would love to know about the dogs running. It is a BIG violation. I use my cell to take pictures if possible during any questionable situation. If not, my family is the most important purpose in my life. At close range, the 20ga is very effective.
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Old January 17, 2011, 07:41 PM   #11
Mike Armstrong
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Schnarr is right. It's an ugly situation, and you were right to hold off shooting, but any 20 guage birdshot shell at very close range will blow a "rathole" in a dog, or any living critter you're likely to run into in the woods. Ask any police paramedic what shotgun wounds are like....he'll start by making a very ugly face.

I used to work for the former mayor of a small city in Idaho. He told me once that he attended all the annual meetings of the small city mayors' organization in the US when he was mayor (8 years) and at every one, when the mayors voted for their single worst problem, it was always dogs.

People get passionate about dogs; dogs get passionate about people. Usually that's a good thing. Sometimes not. Glad you didn't get past the cussin' stage!
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Old January 17, 2011, 08:33 PM   #12
twins
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I would have shot the dog(s) and worry about the owner later. Especially if my kids were with me and the dogs were not on a leash. I was in a similar situation when two large dogs charged my 3 year old at the time. I took a hard swing with a wooden walking stick at one of the mutt and he flew back several yards. Both ran away and I dealt with the owner with harsh words afterwards. Sorry to see bad dog owners not dealing with a very controllable situation (ie, leash). To this day, I don't like seeing free running dogs in public areas (even if they're little poodles). Very sad to see irresponsible dog owners talking back like they have all the rights.
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Old January 17, 2011, 08:36 PM   #13
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I understand your frustration. When away from home people should keep the dogs on a leash if they are not trained enough to leave people alone.
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Old January 17, 2011, 09:11 PM   #14
meric35
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Thanks for the comments. I really never want to shoot someones dog(s) but my kids do come first. I think had it been a single dog it would have been different. When dogs pack together they act different, I know if we had try to run it would have triggered a flight response on the dogs and I think it would have been worse.

I always teach my son to eat what we kill, but I think lab would have a bad taste :barf:

All kidding aside it easy to think a situation to death after it is over but not so much when your in the moment. I am glad it didn't go beyond what had happened.

Thanks
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Old January 17, 2011, 09:17 PM   #15
GeauxTide
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That's why I always have a 44 or 45 revolver on my hip. You did much better than I would have with a young son at my side. I would have fired a warning shot if I could see a collar, if not, good night.
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Old January 17, 2011, 10:25 PM   #16
Willie Lowman
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Quote:
he got real mad at me and started yelling that the dogs don't bite and there is no reason to threaten his dogs like that.
I've got scars on my left leg from a "dog that doesn't bite." All dogs bite. That's what their teeth are for. Some are just more prone to it than others.
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Old January 17, 2011, 10:40 PM   #17
gaseousclay
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Quote:
So after thinking about it, and being a responsible dog owner also, I wonder if I over reacted. I don't think I did and I think I would do it again if I was charged by dogs while out hunting. This was the first time I had ever been actually scared while hunting with my son that we were going to be killed by these dogs and I didn't think our rabbit guns were going to protect us.
I don't think you were in the wrong per se, but I do think shooting a dog without knowing it's true intentions is a bad thing. if a dog wanted to attack and bite you it would have, immediately. you prepared yourself for the worst and luckily you didn't pull the trigger. I'm a dog owner and live in a very dog friendly neighborhood. i've had a lot of dogs bark at me, but I never perceived a threat to my well-being. I think you have to take it on a case by case scenario. i'd say the vast majority of dogs won't bite but making any gesture, whether it be pulling your gun or trying to shoo the dog away, could be perceived as a threat by the dog. I think the best thing you could do in this situation is to remain calm and stand still. if the dog makes any attempt to attack you then you might have reason to shoot it. you have to remember, they're dogs and dogs bark a lot - just because one barks at you doesn't mean he wants to eat you for dinner.
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Old January 17, 2011, 11:20 PM   #18
Art Eatman
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gaseousclay, if a dog or group of dogs comes running at you and appears to regard you as a chew-toy, at what distance do you, yourownself, decide that pulling trigger is the ideal wisdom? Ten feet? More? Less?

Where is it written that you must cede the first bite before taking action?
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Old January 17, 2011, 11:31 PM   #19
meric35
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Quote:
I do think shooting a dog without knowing it's true intentions is a bad thing.
I understand and do not want to shoot someones pet either. However by the time I know the dogs true intentions is that too late to do anything about it. I have been approached many times by a single dog off leash and have never felt threatened, but this was several dogs off leash.

As I said this all happened fast and the dogs didn't bite as the owner said, but they also didn't give ground on me and my son and the lab even mock charged me before the owner got them under control. It was a split second decision to hold my shot and a couple more seconds could have drastically changed the overall outcome.

I still feel the owner should have apologized for the problems his dogs caused in the first place though. I'm sure he is on some other web forum complaining about hunters and their guns.
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Old January 17, 2011, 11:58 PM   #20
Death from Afar
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I think you should be very proud of yourself and you set a great example for your boy.
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Old January 18, 2011, 12:57 AM   #21
stantonizm
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I love dogs, but I completely agree with defending yourself if you feel threatened. Glad it got stopped before you had to shoot. I can't believe the owner responded that way. Once that guy's dogs actually bite someone it will probably change his perspective a little. There are a lot of ramifications. I've been through it. Even though the person wasn't injured too seriously the guilt was terrible and I was dropped from my insurance.
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Old January 18, 2011, 01:53 AM   #22
Dr. Strangelove
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@Meric35 - You did the right thing and set and good, level headed example for your son.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaseousclay
I don't think you were in the wrong per se, but I do think shooting a dog without knowing it's true intentions is a bad thing. if a dog wanted to attack and bite you it would have, immediately. you prepared yourself for the worst and luckily you didn't pull the trigger. I'm a dog owner and live in a very dog friendly neighborhood. i've had a lot of dogs bark at me, but I never perceived a threat to my well-being. I think you have to take it on a case by case scenario. i'd say the vast majority of dogs won't bite but making any gesture, whether it be pulling your gun or trying to shoo the dog away, could be perceived as a threat by the dog. I think the best thing you could do in this situation is to remain calm and stand still. if the dog makes any attempt to attack you then you might have reason to shoot it. you have to remember, they're dogs and dogs bark a lot - just because one barks at you doesn't mean he wants to eat you for dinner.
I understand everything that you are saying, but remember that the vast majority of people aren't familiar enough with dogs to know false aggression from real aggression, and four large dogs such as in the OP's story can harm someone very seriously before they can figure it out.

Dog owners have a responsibility to control their dogs when in public and follow all applicable leash laws. I understand that people get very emotional about dogs, and want them to be able to run free, my dog has never growled, bitten, etc., but it's irresponsible, extremely rude, and usually illegal to allow your dog to run free in public places.
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Old January 18, 2011, 09:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Dog owners have the responsibility to control their dogs when in public and follow all applicable leash laws. I understand that people get very emotional about dogs, and want them to be able to run free, my dog has never growled, bitten, etc., but it's irresponsible, extremely rude, and usually illegal to allow your dog to run free in public places.
VERY well said Dr. This should be a sticky on dog owner forums everywhere.

Welcome to TFL meric35.

From your post, I don't think you over reacted at all.

There are those in the 'gun-world' that do stupid things with guns that give all gun owners a bad rep.
There are those in the 'dog owner world' that do stupid things with their dogs that give all dog owners a bad rep.

Sounds like you ran into the later.
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Old January 18, 2011, 10:25 AM   #24
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I have to agree, you handled the situation fine. I was going to comment on the post by gaseousclay but, it seems that I can't say it any better than Dr. Strangelove already did.

I would also like to know as Art asked, at what distance would you shoot. I have 2 daughters that like to go out hunting with me. I can tell you that if I have any more than 1 dog charge me when the first one hits about 10-15 feet it is getting a face full. If it is one dog I can probably handle the hands on combat with it. More than 1 and there is a real chance that one of my girls is getting attacked and that isn't going to happen.

I think I would be inclined (if no owner comes a running and yelling) to shoot all the dogs even if some start to turn and run. Not knowing at that point if they have owners, what if they head off and attack someone else that doesn't have a gun to defend themselves.
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Old January 18, 2011, 11:17 AM   #25
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I love my dogs and treat them like family members. I have no doubt they'd lay down their lives for me or my wife and children and they know they are loved and cared for.

That said, F a pit bull. I've been charged/attacked by dogs 4 times in my life. 1 Presa Canario and 3X Pit Bulls, the Presa owner got 2 warnings and when it charged my pregnant wife and GSP puppy, that was it, it died right in front of its owner. The first pit attack I was 13 years old and they treed me and almost got me. I killed one with a 30/30 and my uncle killed the other with a 12ga. The second and third time were dogs on the hunt and not put up, all died after showing agression.

Seems the famous last words on some of these dogs is don't worry, it won't bite, or its all how you raise them. BS, its like one of those idiots raising snakes, spiders or alligators and calling them harmless or caring, they aren't, they have no conciense.

That owner could have kissed my posterior because the first time that PB growled at me I'd have put it down
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