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Old April 26, 2005, 12:17 PM   #1
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Wild Animal Threat List?

Is there any good sites that show what wild animals are a threat in which area?

Locally ( Florida ) I simply carry my .357 snub, as we have no big bears, etc. However, the misses and I are contemplating going on a mix of cross country RV'ing and camping/hiking at various locations along the way.
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Old April 27, 2005, 09:33 PM   #2
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I don't know of any web sites.

Depends on where you're going as to what would be of concern. If not black or grizzly country, then your short 357 should be able to handle any of the rabid small critters up to coyote size that would be of any concern. snakes are out in most of the country, birdshot will take care of them within about 10 feet (5 feet is better).

Mt Lions may be of concern in some places, but your gun should handle them at close range also.

Very few people have any trouble with wildlife, other than rabid skunks etc. I've spent a lot of time out in the hills and had little trouble. Snakes being the exception other than mice and chipmunks getting into food and camp gear. A .22 rifle with CB loads work well for those, and a few mousetraps in the camp gear.
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:02 PM   #3
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where are you most likely going to be staying, visiting, or passing through??? their are only a few species of mammals in the lower 48 states that pose a threat to people. wild boar, javelina/peccari, black bear, grizzly, and mountain lion. tell me where you will be headed and I'll tell you whats there. either post here or email me at [email protected]
anybody want to test my knowledge???
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Old April 27, 2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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k_dawg, just buy some of the animal field guides and they will have the range/distribution of all the animals listed in the guides, most commonly shown in distribution maps. The basic Peterson Field Guides are good for North America. You can get better resolution by getting field guides for the particular state(s) in which you will be traveling.

panzer426 offered to let folks test his knowledge. I had a good laugh about the challenge. Given that the challenge isn't in person, we would have no way to know if we were actually testing his knowledge or his ability to use sources like field guides.

I found it interesting, k_dawg, that you asked about animal threats and panzer426 responded by saying "mammals." A lot of folks will interchange the terms "mammals" and "animals." I have even caught park rangers describing the local fauna as containing "a variety of animals and birds" and then go on to list mammals and birds.

It was suggested that there are only a few dangerous mammals in the lower 48 (wild boar, javelina/peccari, black bear, grizzly, and mountain lion) that pose a threat to people. This isn't exactly right and there was no definition of what "threat" actually meant. While the listed taxa can pose a threat to people, many others can as well. Bucks in rut have been known to attack and kill humans. Bighorn rams have attacked people when young bighorn were present. Other potentially dangerous mammals include wolves, elk, moose, and bison. Lessor threats come from smaller animals such as various small carnivores. While the smaller animals might not be able to do much harm to you or kill you, you may still die from the attack if they are carriers of rabies. Marine mammals such as walrus and seal can be quite aggressive if in rut, protecting young, or simply feel threatened. A skunk may not do physical harm to you, but the spray may make you wish you were dead if you get sprayed.

Aside from mammals, poisonous reptiles can be dangerous as well. Also, you can't forget alligators (mostly in the south) and crocodiles (southern tip of Florida). A variety of birds can be quite agressive if you approach the area in which their nests are located. There have been incidents of wildlife biologists gathering data for a nest/egg census who have been knocked out of the tree they were climbing (to get to the nest) by the parent hawks. Getting hit by a large hawk traveling anywhere from 50-100 mph can ruin your day.

More often than not, when people get hurt by animals, it is because the humans screwed up in some manner. Screw ups can range from something as simple as poor situational awareness out in the wild to doing intentionally stupid acts like trying to pet a bison or fight a bear over a salmon hooked on your line, but now also in the bear's mouth. It is hard to blame the animals for doing what they do naturally in their 'hood.' As the interloper, it really is the human's job to be aware, prepared, and smart about dealing with animals. Having a knowledge about animal behavior before encountering a potentially dangerous animal will go a long way toward having no encounters or uneventful encounters.
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher." -- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
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Old April 28, 2005, 03:42 AM   #5
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And from things I read lately - watch out for feral chimpanzees and tigers too
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Old April 28, 2005, 06:40 AM   #6
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Yes, and if you add feral animals to the list, then things like chimps and tigers are potential problems, but probably more likely are things like packs of dogs. One or two dogs may not be a bad problem, but a pack can tear you apart.
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher." -- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
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Old April 28, 2005, 09:13 AM   #7
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Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus and ticks with either Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are two of the animals most likely to attack.

If you want to talk about lethal, then that would be the white-tailed deer jumping out front of your automobile at 65 mph.

I think a .357 Magnum revolver would be a practical solution for any need of firearms protection while traveling.
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Old April 28, 2005, 10:20 PM   #8
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I don't know about that Artsmom.

I get about 500 chigger bites for every 2 ticks who infiltrate under the barbed wire or every single mosquito that gets past the AAA.

DEET works on all 3 and seems to keep the tigers away as well.
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Old April 28, 2005, 10:44 PM   #9
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Didint Jimmy Carter get attaqcked by a carnivorous rodent?

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Old April 29, 2005, 12:47 AM   #10
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k-dawg I recently asked a related question on the general handgun forum, i.e. what is the best handgun for a hiker in Oregon who wants to be prepared for an unscheduled meeting with a cougar or bear.

Cougar sightings and attacks have increased from the Left Coast all the way east to ......... Iowa??? Although the probability of encountering a puma is remote it's not the Las Vegas Line I'm looking for here. Survival is the name of THIS game, not the odds versus the dealer at a Black Jack table, and should I encounter a predator I'm in a zero-sum game and I want the predator to get the "Zero", not me.

My initial opinion based on the responses from the other forum is that the Glock20 10mm is the best choice for a hiker's concealed big game handgun.

Some links I know of that might be helpful to you are

Please let me know if you find any other related links!

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Old April 29, 2005, 01:32 AM   #11
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Double Naught Spy,

I think you are right on there; in many areas of the country feral dogs are probably one of the greater threats.

In addition to what Artsmom said; we could add poisonous spiders too.

.... and then there are the killer bees
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Old April 29, 2005, 08:19 AM   #12
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Anyone know of any documented stories of humans being attacked by feral dogs? That's more scary to me than any others because because of the pack mentality/aggressiveness, and because they are known to be out and about where I hunt. Oh yeah, I hear wolverines aren't overly friendly, up north. And yes, I agree that the glock 20 is an excellent defense gun against this type of thing; that's what I have. Either that or a revolver in .454 casull/.45 colt. .45 colt for lower 48, and .454 for canad/alaska. But the glock holds more rounds - could be useful if you were attacked by a pack of say, 8 feral dogs.
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Old April 29, 2005, 09:05 AM   #13
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The feral dog problem goes way back and you should be able to find lots of documentation. I know of one case nearby where a woman walking her pet was approached by a pack of dogs. They ate the pet right off the leash. Fortunately they didn't attack her .The cops then destroyed the pack.One of those cops told me that there were many letters to the editor saying the cops were mean and nasty for destroying the pack.BTW, pets travelling with feral dogs are just as bad as the ferals.
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Old April 29, 2005, 10:33 AM   #14
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One critter that I am surprised has yet to be mentioned is the notorious two legged mammal, that walks erect. Here in rural PA and over the border in upstate NY there are dangerous situations being created by BGs cooking meth and growing pot. They have no problems using booby traps or violence to protect their profits. They seek out many of the same areas that are great for hunting and hiking. Even when you're on public land you cannot be sure that you won't run in to them. I'm sure that there are similar situations in other parts of the country. Just thought that one should be aware that these problems could come up and to be prepared for this type of encounter.
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Old April 29, 2005, 01:47 PM   #15
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I'll second the DEET, or other kinds of tick repellant. They make little beeper things for dogs that make really high pitched beeps that will keep the ticks away, but humans can't hear it. Hanging a couple of those on your pant legs woul'dnt be a bad idea either. Trust me, Lyme Disease is NOT fun. Especially when it goes un-diagnosed for 6 months. (Don't rely on the "Bulls-eye" rash either)
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Old April 29, 2005, 01:51 PM   #16
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.357 Mag will do ANYTHING you need to in 90% of situations(2 legged ones to). Now, if your worried about a bear coming in the middle of the night when your in Yellowstone.. well, thats what a 12 gauge in the RV is for.
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Old April 29, 2005, 06:34 PM   #17
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MassHunter, got to remember Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever too. Can't rely on 100% rash on palms/soles so be aware.

On the subject of wild dogs, I think that a simple .38 might probably be enough as one or two shots would scare them off. Around here we have more coyotes, and it is an eerie feeling to be stalked by them so I generally take a long gun with me in the woods unless I'm on the tractor.
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Old April 29, 2005, 06:48 PM   #18
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Rabid chipmunks head my list Nothing smaller tha a .44 mag will stop them
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Old April 30, 2005, 09:31 AM   #19
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There is an article from the LA Times noting the emerging threat of dog packs nationwide:

A quote from the article:

"There is no central clearinghouse to track assaults by dog packs on either humans or wildlife, so the scope of the problem is not known. But because of the unpredictable nature of the attacks, some outdoor workers now fear dogs even more than classic predators such as cougars."
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Old April 30, 2005, 05:30 PM   #20
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The only animals I worry about are yellowjackets. They aint no fun to get stung by. You'd have to be a good shot to shoot them though.
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Old April 30, 2005, 06:08 PM   #21
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357 mag and some Red Pepper spray......

Your 357 and I suggest a red pepper spray for each of you.... You need to do your research and get the good stuff....It works on Griz so I have been told and read. Black Bears are 99% of the time more in a hurry to get away from humans than humans even know a Blackie is nearby.

Good luck and check all the states regulations before you travel in them...

Happy Trails........
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Old April 30, 2005, 09:33 PM   #22
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Ditto that! When I was very young and very stupid, I was out squirrel hunting with my (t)rusty Stevens 12 ga. single shot. It was a slow day and I decided to take some target practice... on a bald faced hornets nest. I was about 30 yds away and peppered that sucker. Then they peppered me. They didn't even stop to circle the nest; it was almost as if there was a big neon sign pointing to me, and they didn't stop to ask directions. My track coach would've been really proud of me, in both the 100 yd. dash and the high jump (barbed wire fence). Of course my dad made me go back and get my shotgun where I'd dropped it, which I did on tiptoes
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Old May 1, 2005, 12:41 AM   #23
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Around here we have more coyotes, and it is an eerie feeling to be stalked by them
Your coyotes must be much meaner that the ones in ID. Ours take off as soon as they see you. Now the cougars, on the other hand... They will stalk you occasionally, and I can tell you from experience, it is no fun.
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Old May 2, 2005, 03:16 AM   #24
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Here is the pack article posted for discussion only. Note that it is not just feral dogs, but even the ones that go home each night ....

February 3, 2004

Pets gone wild
When dog mobs are free to roam the urban fringe, trouble follows.

By Ann Japenga, Special to The Times

Steve Jenkins was jogging on the outskirts of Palm Springs on New Year's Day in 2002 when he was surrounded by a gang of 20 dogs. The hounds tore chunks of flesh from his arms and legs, pulling him down each time he tried to stagger to his feet.

Predatory dog packs like the one that attacked Jenkins, a Pasadena drummer, are emerging as a threat to wildlife and humans nationwide. In Montana and Colorado, dog mobs routinely kill deer, antelope, moose and elk. In a Colorado Division of Wildlife report, one department says they field reports of dogs chasing big game almost daily.

In January 2003, in a forest preserve in Chicago, a 48-year-old woman was killed by a dog pack. And in Daly City, Calif., last October, 20 wild dogs killed 13 sheep at a 4-H club and stalked students at a neighboring elementary school.

In Southern California, more and more wildlife workers are reporting run-ins with dogs.

"It's a significant and very important threat in the urban fringe areas," says Jill Heaton, principal investigator for the University of Redlands Desert Tortoise Project.

Heaton herself was recently charged by six dogs while doing fieldwork on the Twentynine Palms Marine base.

There is no central clearinghouse to track assaults by dog packs on either humans or wildlife, so the scope of the problem is not known. But because of the unpredictable nature of the attacks, some outdoor workers now fear dogs even more than classic predators such as cougars.

"I personally would be more concerned with a feral dog than I would a coyote or a wolf," says Judy Bartzatt, chief ranger at Joshua Tree National Park, where, in the spring of 2002, a pack of dogs attacked bighorn sheep near Stubbe Spring, killing at least one.

The danger is greatest in the so-called urban shadow where Californians go to play. These are recreational areas on the outskirts of population centers such as Twentynine Palms, Barstow and the Coachella Valley.

Dogs are less of a concern in remote wilderness, but if you hike or bike anywhere near human habitat, dog packs should be on your list of potential hazards. Sparsely populated areas usually have few animal control services.

There's also a liberty-loving contingent on the outskirts of cities that likes the idea of emancipating their pets, if just for a day.

As Colorado wildlife manager Tonya Sharp said in a report: "They think that if they buy 5 acres they can let their dogs run loose."

"We're seeing the tip of the iceberg. As urbanization increases, it's going to get worse," says Henry McCutchen, chief of resource management at Joshua Tree National Park.

It's not hard to imagine purely feral dogs, or ownerless canines, going on a rampage. But in a chilling twist to the trend, the culprits usually are not truly feral dogs — they're pets.

Known by the terms "free-roaming" or "free-ranging," according to Rhys Evans, a Twentynine Palms ecologist, the predators are pooches that go home at night to eat Gravy Train. Misguided owners let them run free during the day, and they join other marauding pets. In Jenkins' case, his attackers were strays that were being fed each night by a local dog lover.

Because wild animals must kill to eat, they tend to be efficient killers. But free-roaming dogs don't need to eat. "They chew for chewing's sake," says Kristin Berry, research wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Moreno Valley.

When desert tortoises are attacked by foxes or coyotes, they're normally killed and consumed, adds Heaton. However, tortoises assaulted by free-roaming dogs wind up alive but maimed, with scales and legs ripped off. In some study plots, Heaton says, as many as 40% of tortoises have been mauled by dogs.

As jogger Jenkins found, free-roaming dogs maim, chew and mutilate in a kind of ritualized pack play. Jenkins was rescued from his New Year's mauling by a passing ATV driver. Two surgeries and a year of rehab later, he was back to drumming in his oldies band.

There is as yet no areawide plan to control the free-roaming dog menace. Understaffed animal control departments are left to deal with the hazard by trapping and euthanizing wild dogs.

Meanwhile, some dog owners continue to argue for freedom. As San Diego columnist Logan Jenkins wrote, defending his practice of letting his golden retriever off rein: "Lassie never wore a leash."

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
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