Weapons for wild dogs (no guns)

8:20 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello, first time poster here.

Next month I'll be going back to a location where is known for having lots of wild dogs wandering around. I remember same time last year...three dogs were trying to attack the group of two people. They managed to get away. I'll be heading out to the same location with a group of fellow hikers.

Would appreciate for any advice (besides firearms). I'm thinking along the line of carrying baseball bat or old tennis racket to protect myself in those circumstances.

Regards Flex

9:16 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Flex, 

Welcome to trailspace! 

I think the most effective backup defense for this type of thing would be a hiking staff made from Beech or Hickory. Stout aluminum hiking poles would be a good option as well. 

The best option for primary defense, I think, would be to get a can of Bear spray. It is effective on all large mammals. 

Best of luck! 

9:30 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I would say the spray over the bat. If you are going to bludgeon the thing a gun is far less cruel. Of course, if your oposition to firearms is due to prohibition you can't do much about that. But if it is philosophical, it seems much crueler to beat an animal that is endangering you than to simply fire a shot.

9:38 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Bear spray works on EVERYTHING.

If you're expecting to have to deal with a couple of dogs, you shouldn't have a problem. Even if you run into a larger pack (like in Africa) you should be able to bomb enough of them to scare them away.

The hassle with using a bat is that you have to get in close to use it. And remember, dogs that are used to hunting would also be good at dodging a swing and getting past it to get to you.

9:39 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Bear Spray.  Multiple cans depending on how long you'll be out. 

Trekking poles. Lighter and you can stab with them. Baseball bats take to long to swing and a dog has a good chance of getting out of the way. 

Large guard type shepard, like an Anatolian Shepherd  My family had an Anatolian when I was growing up.  One time when she was in heat, a male jumped the fence.  She ran him out of the yard in no time flat. 

9:56 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey flex, welcome to Trailspace. 

Number 1 choice on my list would be spray. You have a much longer effective range and can get to more of them rather quickly and precisely.

If you use a bat you will have to be in a much closer proximity to the animal/animals to be effective.

If by chance you connect with one and their are multiple animals I am pretty certain when you score a hit on one the other/others will be on top of you before you know it at which time the bat is no longer in the equation. 

Also keep in mind if you do not kill the animal with a strike of a bat a wounded animal is still a dangerous animal. 

Hope this helps...

Happy hiking,

Rick

10:07 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Bear spray or water squirt guns with ammonia and water mixed (1/2 and 1/2)

10:14 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the inputs guys. Very informative. I'll try to get some bear cans online. I tried the local store here but no luck.

10:24 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Bear spray is awesome.  My wife carrys it around town.  The people stuff is 3-10% the bear stuff is 25%. 

A taser might be fun too but harder to hit things with and much more expensive.

 

10:24 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Just curious: When you say wild dogs, do you mean wild dogs like Dingoes, or demestic breeds gone ferral?  Where is this trip?

Ed

10:49 a.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm not a dog person at all - but I've heard the a good defense against dog attacks is the proper attitude. Any dog people have any advice along these lines?

If you're planning on being exposed to a lot of feral dogs, rabies vaccine and a DPT booster would be wise precautions.

12:15 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I have always seemed to "have a way" with dogs, and attitude and demeanor does have a large effect on them. However, in my opinion, that will only go so far with feral or truly aggressive dogs. 

Just curious: When you say wild dogs, do you mean wild dogs like Dingoes, or demestic breeds gone ferral?  Where is this trip?

I am curious as well! I've come across a pack of Coy-dogs in a truly wild area near Chattanooga. There was an adult that was indistinguishable from a Coyote, another adult that looked more like a border collie, and three yearling offspring that all were a mix of appearance from the parents. It was clear they were truly wild by the way they moved through the trees and how they responded once our presence was detected. 

Genetic testing has now proven that the northern eastern Grey Wolf and Eastern Coyote are cross breeding, and the resulting hybrid is reported to be problematic. Imagine a large Coyote that is aggressive and is not nearly as shy of people. Yay. 

12:45 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I went to a college that was in rural North West Pa. (Slippery Rock)

Nothing around but farms.

I was a distance runner on the track team and my daily training runs would put me out in the middle of nowhere and occasionally being harrased by farm dogs.

 

I found that I could stop their charge at me by starting to growl back at them and I charged towards the oncoming dog, acting like a wild man.

 

If this didn't stop them, I would grab some gravel to throw and that usually stopped them from getting to close.

 

One did get too close once - thankfully I have had great martial arts training and I was able to close an attacking dog's mouth shut with my foot.

That put the animal immediately heading in the other direction.

2:03 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Just curious: When you say wild dogs, do you mean wild dogs like Dingoes, or domestic breeds gone feral?  Where is this trip?

I am curious as well!...

...Genetic testing has now proven that the northern eastern Grey Wolf and Eastern Coyote are cross breeding, and the resulting hybrid is reported to be problematic.

Two cross-breeds killed a hiker last summer in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. She was walking alone.

National Geographic published photos of the skulls of the small western coyote and the much larger coyote/wolf crosses in eastern Canada. Much wider, stronger jaws and a substantially bigger animal.

Almost as big as a wolf, as smart as a coyote but not afraid of people, and with the hunting instincts of the wolf.

A woman I know and her friend were pack-hunted by a pack of western coyotes in Elk Island National Park. She was snowshoeing across a frozen lake when she spotted a group behind her. A couple stayed back, while a few ran up beside her keeping pace. Others sprinted ahead to cut them off. She just kept going, and they backed off once they got closer to the other side. Scary.

I read somewhere that your chances are better of getting killed by a domestic dog than a wolf or coyote, though.

2:30 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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there is no question that with domesticated canines, your body language and approach make a big difference.  be deferential; make yourself 'small;' if you reach your hand out, keep it below the dog's face and move slowly.

for feral dogs and other wildlife, that isn't advisable.  first and foremost, stay away, because they could injure you and may carry diseases.  second, bring some dog treats and use them to steer the dog away from where you are.  i personally think that is less aggressive/intrusive than bear spray.  third, if you are attacked, don't run (you can't outrun a dog, and it leaves your appendages exposed), and if you are physically under attack, curl up in a ball on the ground.   

2:44 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Could throw rocks too?

3:47 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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In my experience acting aggressive works quite well, such as charging them at a run, but you can't be scared or do it half way they can sense that. Been in a showdown with a few coyotes who were snarling and growling at me and this worked perfectly.

Only thing I would caution against is using it as a technique only when set upon by surprise, because I don't think it would work to well if they are close to their den/home where they will fight you much more aggressively.

Bear spray seems the best idea and when you are unsure about spraying them in time charge like a wild man all the while getting your spray ready in case others come.

Also as has been mentioned here before keep your spray out of your pack and somewhere that you can get to it very quickly if needed.

3:48 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Gary, if you have the kind of aim, strength and nerve it would take to hit an aggressive wild dog with a rock large enough to stop its approach/progress/attack, go for it.  most people faced with an angry dog or wild animal would either miss or just piss the animal off. 

the same logic would apply for pretty much any other weapon in my view.  getting attacked by a wild animal is a terrifying experience that leaves the overwhelming majority of people too fearful or jacked up on adrenalin to do much useful.  the advantage of bear spray is that it covers a relatively wide area - having good aim isn't a requirement. 

5:46 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

Gary, if you have the kind of aim, strength and nerve it would take to hit an aggressive wild dog with a rock large enough to stop its approach/progress/attack, go for it.  most people faced with an angry dog or wild animal would either miss or just piss the animal off. 

the same logic would apply for pretty much any other weapon in my view.  getting attacked by a wild animal is a terrifying experience that leaves the overwhelming majority of people too fearful or jacked up on adrenalin to do much useful.  the advantage of bear spray is that it covers a relatively wide area - having good aim isn't a requirement. 

 Part of why, if guns are not prohibited and where wild dogs are concerned, a gun is faster and more effective against a pack. Again, I assuem if a person had a gun, it would be a person trained in gun use and safty. Never decide to take any weopon out in public without training. Swinging clubs at wild dogs seems a fools task as you cannot address more than one approaching dog at a time. The bear spray sounds like the best non gun way to go though.

7:04 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm surprised that going out into an area like this is an option.  Most folks are more scared of mt lions and bears that they don't know anything about and are rarely seen so they may not visit an area where those animals are, here someone wants to go where they know the animals are not scared of humans.  More of an issue from humans where one lives in a big city than from bears and lions.  Take a gun and be done with it.

Duane

7:19 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm still waiting for the answer to Ed's question...

How about this option. Go someplace else.

A baseball bat. Seriously?

9:34 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I would agree with the walking stick, but I had a dog that came after me and I raised the stick and it stop, back away and guess what it came after me again.  I would say the Bear spray or change areas.  Now for the rest of the story, the owner came up the trail and stop the dog and like all owners I was told that's the first time that has happen, no big deal but the owners are the problems most of the time.

9:59 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Giftogab is correct..

32" bat weights 40 oz and bulky,

trekking poles 16 - 22oz made of aluim. or carbon. breaks or cracks after 1st hit.

Gun 27oz loaded 6 tries plus 6 load noise!!!! 8-)

IF not BEAR Spray!!

 

10:41 p.m. on June 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Doug,

Poke them with the trekking poles not whack them. They should be more than strong enough for that.

12:31 a.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I have a good friend who is a mail carrier. He uses a electronic noise maker called down hound. I live in the north east and coy dogs and coy wolves are becoming a big problem. I have seen this device turn dogs and these crosses, it doesnt harm them but emits a noise that drives them crazy. I dont know where he got it but it works well, not as well as my 40 cal tho.

12:41 a.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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even my titanium 44 @ 22 oz is very heavy when loaded ...closer to 65oz.

bear spray would be my choice for non lethal... however if it charges me or mine ... sure hope the first one kills...no time for second thoughts...

live or die here and now, he is hungry or angry. 

12:15 p.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Bring a bigger dog

1:30 p.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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couple of things -

I like the bear spray idea - if you are simply trying to deter them if they are being threatening, your goal shouldn't be to injure them, just scare them off. The bear spray will sting like hell for a while, but they will be okay. Beating them off with a bat if all you are trying to do is scare them off is kind of cruel.

On the other hand, if they are actively engaging you in an attack, let them get what they deserve. Beat them, stab them, shoot them. It's your life we're talking about. I know against larger animals it wouldn't do me much good, but I carry a 4 inch fixed blade in a harness around my neck that has a trigger release. Upon release the knife becomes part of your fist with just the blade protruding, as there are finger grips and holes that make it impossible to drop the knife unless your hand goes limp.

A coyote, feral dog, or domestic dog will stop their attack if they get slashed or get a 4 inch blade jammed into their rib cage.

A guy I met at a cabelas showed me his battle scars once from a grizzly attack he survived when fishing in alaska. He said it felt like he was hit by a full speed line backer and he couldn't get his gun out. It picked him up by his head at first and dropped him in the stream, then started eating his hamstring. He has no hamstring now. While biting his leg he pulled out a 8inch KBAR knife and stabbed the bear repeatedly in the neck until it dropped him and ran off. He was found by miracle by a passing boat and saved.

6:25 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Sorry for the confusion caused. I'm referring to only abandoned dogs, not coyotes or wolf. They are a mix of anything and everything.

9:32 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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brass knuckles and hulk hogan leg drops are an excellent dog deterrent.  just kiddin, i always carry bear spray myself.

9:45 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

second, bring some dog treats and use them to steer the dog away from where you are. 

Would this not encourage them to approach other people expecting the same kind of hand-out? And when the ones you have run out, they'll still want more, and will come after you again.

For your own safety, I'd think you'd want it to be a negative experience for the dogs rather than a good one.

2:15 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Since the OP mentioned feral dogs in packs, methods that deter a single dog, whether domesticated or feral, are not of much use. Pack dogs behave much like their ancestors, wolves. IMO, bear spray and shotguns are the only likely safe deterrents.  In making your choice between these, you might consider that it is better to kill the dogs, than to leave them free to attack other people.

Bear spray is a good defense, purportedly, from dog attacks. As noted above, a lethal defense would be more efficacious. Perhaps the dogs could be temporarily immobilized with bear spray and then shot. However, that would require carrying, in addition to bear spray, a firearm sufficient to kill a large dog with a single shot... and that is more weight than most hikers would like to carry.

5:21 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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overmywaders I would respectfully disagree. By using bear spray, you are not "leaving them to free to attack other people", you are merely protecting yourself and not doing more harm than good.

If we took that mind set to all dangerous animals that we could ever encounter, we would wipe out thousands of species. Why not just kill every bear we ever encounter, so that they don't have the chance to attack any other hikers?

Remember, when we hike, we are in THEIR territory. They were there before us, they will be there when we are gone if we don't destroy their habitat. The mentality that as humans we can do whatever we want to wildlife is the mindset that is destroying the beauty that we all enjoy on this site.

Ultimately if your decision is to go into a spot with wild animals and wipe them out rambo style to protect yourself and future hikers, my one suggestion would be to hike elsewhere...maybe a park or side walk where pigeons or pedestrians are the worst danger.

5:43 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I have no dog in this hunt (sorry, couldn't resist) but...

If they are feral dogs they are displacing other natives to the habitat.  This is no more their territory than it is ours.  In fact conversationalists have argued in favor of eradicating invasive species in several instances, such as ferral pigs through out the United States, goats and pigs occupying the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast, snakes and cats in various South Pacific atolls, etc.  Regardless, you may get in trouble if you are gung-ho and shoot the pooch in less than dire circumstances.  Lastly, regardless who was there first, there is always that respect for all living things karma that makes one consider the underlying motives provoking one to smite any creature that doesn't pose a serious imminent threat.

Back to weapons for wild dogs - it would have to be something they could grip with their jaws, because dogs don't have opposable thumbs (sorry, couldn't resist).

Ed

6:07 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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When I was an avid hunter we were instructed by the Pa Game Commision that if we were to see feral dogs(or coyotes for that matter) we were to dispatch the animal because they were having a substantially large problem with them killing livestock in the surrounding areas as well as running the deer & other native species ragged.

9:05 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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That is the same thing fish and game in nh say, kill them on site. They have created so many problems for humans and other indigineus animals.They were paying 40 dollars a pelt for coyotes killed in some northern counties of nh. Ive killed several in my yard after my pets in the ten yrs ive been in nh.

10:51 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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that may be the message from fish and game or other organizations, but think about WHY they are causing problems for livestock and other animals. when we mess with habitats and move farming and modernized world into more and more natural areas, we eliminate natural predators, we eliminate natural territories, and we disrupt everything.

killing them in that way is essentially fixing the problem that we created in the first place.

i'm no expert, but i'm sure a naturalist could go on and on.

11:19 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I can't speak in reference to hotdogman's end of it but the area in which I am speaking about has been populated since 1796(Greene Co. Pa.)

So with that being said it is not like it was an area that was recently "modernized." Families have been living there for quite some time.

5:05 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Endorsing civilians to eradicate coyotes outside of some monitored culling program?  Sounds pretty sketchy for a wildlife management policy.  Feral dogs are another matter altogether.

Ed

6:49 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Feral dogs are an invasive species, as are feral cats, pigs, etc. What is important about feral dogs is that they have little fear of man, unlike coyotes and wolves. "No man is a hero to his valet."

Dogs attacking as a pack will continue to do so as long as the pack exists. Your bit of bear spray may deter them today,  but the hiker tomorrow may not be so fortunate.

As for karma, I already have a battalion of mosquitoes, black flies, and mice haunting my dreams. :)

7:36 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Ed, the wildlife programs in most (I think all) states here in the southeast have open season on Coyotes, as they are so pervasive and problematic. I imagine it is the same in most states. That doesn't mean they are not part of a monitored or managed program, as monitoring populations and ecological balance is precisely what wildlife agencies do.

7:47 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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2-300 years is the blink of an eye and is certainly modern by Earth terms. :-)

I still hold my opinion that our (man's) progress, encroachment on nature, and idea that we can do whatever we want, was what created the overpopulation and feral packs in the first place. Now to fix our problem we take the approach that we have free reign to kill the animals. We created the problem, there must be a less cruel way to find a solution, but I'm no expert so I couldn't come up with said solution.

I think I'm within a minority here so I'll slowly slink away...

8:11 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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iClimb, Lol, I can understand. There are always multiple perspectives one can view a scenario from. Which one is right? I dunno. :p

In regards to Ed's response.

Actually it really isn't that odd when ya think about it. Take into consideration that the game commision has on more than one occasion not only extended deer season but also offered multiple bonus tags during a season.

This is solely based on the animal population. There are many reasons why "officials" do this. It could be based on the animals causing substantial amounts of crop damage, the amount of people hitting them with cars, so on and so forth.

With coyotes, this is typically done when the animals become a nuisance.

When I was on my January trip I could hear a pack of coyotes a short distance away in the area from me yipping away. They weren't far off and from the sounds that I heard there were quite a few of them. I was solo, and hiking at night in snow. Kinda made me wonder what was stopping them from turning me into a Scooby Snack if they really wanted too.

OMW, I do have a thought that if one was to run into a feral dog or a few and they are hit with bear spray that they may very well think twice in regards to engaging a human again.

Let's face it, it is quite painful.

Yes these animals are what one would consider wild but at the same time does this make them stupid?

9:06 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with iClimb. The attitude that animals exist just to serve mankind, and that those who don't should be wiped out, has led to multiple problems over the years.

Bison were exterminated in the Canadian Rockies by simple over-hunting and wolves were almost eliminated. That led to a an explosion of elk, which caused problems for people, and for other ungulates that had to compete with them for food. Also, because elk like young willows, the larger herds of elk cleaned out the young plants along the river banks, destabilizing the shores and leading to flooding and more erosion.

This is the same sequence you've seen in Yellowstone, where you've had to import Canadian wolves to try to restore the balance.

The problem with offering a bounty on one particular species is that it leads to more problems down the road. When you eliminate the predators, you get a boom in the prey population ('cute' animals) and that will continue until there are too many prey animals for the land to support. Because there are few predators left in our natural environment, you get huge numbers of deer, and not a lot of other animals.

The largest part of a coyote's natural diet is rabbit, mice, voles and other small mammals. Wipe out the coyotes and farmers will see more crop damage. To control that, they will try poison, which unfortunately will also kill other animals that eat grain and the animals that prey on them.

The point I'm trying to make is fundamental to management of natural areas - everything is interconnected. Change one element and something else will change too, often with catastrophic results. Before you talk about eradicating any species (even the unpleasant ones) you have to consider the implications of doing so.

9:17 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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peter - well said. better than I could do lol

1:41 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Peter, the issue is that feral dogs are not a species that has evolved over time as a top-level predator in the lower forty-eight States. Feral dogs have been introduced by men recently. As such, in most locales they are still a small destabilizing influence in the ecosystem that can be removed without harm to the system. 

If we believe that most dogs have a high level of intelligence, then we understand that pepper spray will not have a lasting effect as a deterrent. The dogs will learn to either attack silently, or menace from a distance; while some of the pack attacks from behind. Small children will be particularly vulnerable. Yes, "A dingo ate my baby!" can be true.

For decades it has been a fundamental obligation of any hunter to shoot a dog chasing deer (state laws varied on this, of course). Dogs have never been recognized as a part of the natural predatory chain.

It wouldn't hurt to listen to the wildlife authorities rather than our emotions. For example:

Human health and safety
Bites are a common feral dog issue and
account for the majority (>4 million) of all
reported animal bites in the U.S. (Sacks et
al. 1996). Between 1979 and 1996, 238
people died as a result of dog bites in the
U.S.; one-quarter of these deaths were
attributed to free-ranging dogs (Sacks et al.
2000). A recent review revealed that feral
dogs cause an average of 6 human fatalities
per year in the U.S. Children (32%) and
older (55+) adults (47%) were the most
susceptible to fatal attacks by feral dogs.
The majority of victims were male (63%)
which coincides with the majority of dog
bite victims being male (Abrahamian 2000).
The number of dog attacks is probably
underreported since there is no reporting
requirement and no centralized database to
maintain this information -- from "Dogs Gone Wild: Feral Dog Damage in the United States"
David Bergman
USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Stewart Breck
APHIS, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Scott Bender
Navajo Nation Veterinary Program, Navajo Nation, Chinle, AZ, USA

see http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1866&context=icwdm_usdanwrc

also you might read http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/08/0821_030821_straydogs.html

4:58 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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you're still missing the point waders.

Yes these dogs may be causing problems, but it's our fault the dogs are there in the first place. We need to blame ourselves and not the dogs for the "danger" they pose. If we place to blame where it truly lies, we can start to make better decisions about how to control overpopulation in a more natural way.

Peter posted a pretty clear example of how population control is a vicious cycle that always leads to another species needing to be killed by man to control for the other species that man killed before that.

7:06 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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iclimb,

The point is not about fingerpointing, we don't know who set the dogs free, nor does it matter. The only relevant point is that the feral dog situation is dangerous to humans, wildlife, and agricultural animals. These are not a native species, nor an established part of the ecosystem. There are even dogs that join the pack at night to kill sheep, then curl up with their master by day. see http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/sheep/facts/02-029.htm 

Perhaps you could do some reading on this matter and then provide a solution to the problem. The approach of spraying an attacking pack isn't enough. Let us say that you place the burden on the hiker to protect himself, rather than on the feral dogs. Okay, everyone must now carry bear spray. Suppose, a family goes hiking and their six-year old daughter runs ahead on the trail. A feral dog pack can attack and kill that child in the few seconds she was out of sight. (Something similar happened a few years ago with a 17-year old girl and two coyotes in Cape Breton on a popular hiking trail. Bystanders couldn't reach the girl - the coyotes protected their kill - and she bled out in minutes. Dogs are much more dangerous than coyotes, because dogs, like wolves, attack in packs, coyotes don't.)

7:33 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

..When I was on my January trip I could hear a pack of coyotes a short distance away in the area from me yipping away. They weren't far off and from the sounds that I heard there were quite a few of them. I was solo, and hiking at night in snow. Kinda made me wonder what was stopping them from turning me into a Scooby Snack if they really wanted too...

I have to invite you out west.  I camp in places where the coyotes will venture within 100 yards close to camp.  They sound like they are just beyond the glow of the campfire.  But they never come into camp, even when we are asleep.  I used to live at the base of the Diamond Bar Hills, a wildlife corridor that runs through the middle of a large suburban region on the east side of Los Angeles County.  The coyotes used to move in pack force up to the edge of the development, and yap like crazy.  They were literally just outside our back yards.  I have seen individual coyotes roaming the streets late at night.  This is a common occurrence in the foothill communities through Southern California, and wherever civilization abuts up to the wilds through out the western United States.  Unlike feral dogs, coyotes avoid close up, eye to eye contact with humans.  Thus coyotes attacking man are rare events (lightning is a bigger danger), usually requiring dire circumstances like starvation or being burned out of their habitat to compel them to act accordingly.

Ed

8:07 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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well let's see, if they aren't coyotes and they aren't wolves, and they aren't wild dogs like dingos or hyenas, then they must be some kind of domesticated dog that was released, not kept well by its owner, or bred while a stray, and became a pack. 

So we know EXACTLY where they came from. Man kind. We changed the environment. We changed the predator/prey situation by screwing with nature as we think we are entitled to.

This is becoming an argument rather than a productive discussion for me.  The mentality to "clean them up", along with the mentality of these "policies" that the government comes out with, are what CAUSED this sort of overpopulation/decimation problem in the first place!!!

Wildlife "authorities" are looking for a quick fix to protect where the money is. Crops, livestock, etc. That's what's important to them, that's what drives their policies. 

I'll choose to back out of this one.

8:28 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

I have no dog in this hunt (sorry, couldn't resist) but...

If they are feral dogs they are displacing other natives to the habitat.  This is no more their territory than it is ours.  In fact conversationalists have argued in favor of eradicating invasive species in several instances, such as ferral pigs through out the United States, goats and pigs occupying the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast, snakes and cats in various South Pacific atolls, etc.  Regardless, you may get in trouble if you are gung-ho and shoot the pooch in less than dire circumstances.  Lastly, regardless who was there first, there is always that respect for all living things karma that makes one consider the underlying motives provoking one to smite any creature that doesn't pose a serious imminent threat.

Back to weapons for wild dogs - it would have to be something they could grip with their jaws, because dogs don't have opposable thumbs (sorry, couldn't resist).

Ed

 Ed is right on the money in my opinion. florida is over run with invasive species of all types including feral dogs, every snake it seems, feral hogs, many mixed with russian boars, troops of monkeys and that is just a few. i can tell you from personal experiance feral dogs aint no joke. when i was about 10 or 11 a freind and me were camping in a pine limb and pine straw hut we had built near a small lake about a mile or so from home, we were really looking forward to the small beef roast he had swiped from moms freezer and it went over the fire shortly after we got there. it didnt take long for the dogs to show up and start baying and they kept it up all night. needless to say we didnt enjoy our roast or our camp out and as soon as it started turning daylight we struck camp and cautiously headed home. i dont know how close they got but in our 11 year old minds they got within 40 yards, it was a long night.

some of them were bold enough they would rush us when we were horseback, i say rush because i dont know what their intent was but when we wheeled the horses and bolted they could almost keep up with us.

that is one of the sad things about living in a national forest that is close to a fair size town your whole life, you get to see first hand how cruel people can be dumping their unwanted pets as if they are perectly able to provide for themselves. feral dogs and cats are not as common here as they were when i was a kid and i think it is because they become food for the coyotes which are establishing themselves here since around 1980 or so.

imho unless some org or agency will trap and evaluate them the best thing for all concerned is to eliminate them by whatever means possible, they are not natives in that enviroment and are competitors for food that natives need to survive and they will quickly learn their gentle side will not feed them and that their aggressive side which is just below the surface is their best tool for survival, that coupled with a lack of fear of people in my opinion will rarely have a positive outcome for them or us.

earl.

9:06 a.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Gentlemen; I have no worries about eliminating feral dogs (or cats - see the problems they've run into in Australia with THOSE!). I was talking about coyotes, wolves, and the other animals that are part of the natural ecosystems.

We'll agree, I'm sure, that coydogs (found in the southern US) are a product of man's influence. The Eastern coyotes involved in the Cape Breton incident weren't interbred with dogs, though - wolves in the eastern states have been so badly extirpated that they have interbred with the coyotes for lack of other available partners, and as a result, are stronger and larger than Western coyotes.

As a matter of interest, it has long been common practice for northern trappers looking for a stronger sled dog to stake out a bitch in heat so that the wolves can interbreed with it. That makes for a larger, tougher dog, but no Inuit child is safe walking near a dog team.

As Ed has pointed out, western coyotes are no danger at all to man, and their survival depends on the ability to coexist with us. They get hunted for picking off pets, chickens and other easy food sources that man provides.

10:29 a.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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This is in the Otay area of San Diego county, what it doesn't show is a second one about 100 yards away.  I have seen in this area about 7 in a pack.  I been in this area for a few years and have been as close as 50 feet from them, not looking for them just cross paths.

12:36 p.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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A buddy of mine and I were travelling thru Wv one night on our way back from a 3 day kayaking trip a few years back.

Well in the middle of a road(a few hundred yards outside a residential area) we encountered a pack of coyotes in the middle of the road. They really didn't give a squat about us and we actually had to stop so they could make their way out of our path of travel.

My biggest worry with any kind of wild canine is children.

OMW, I watched a story on the Dingo thing you speak about above. If I remember a rogue Dingo tried to steal a baby in a carrier while mom & dad was preparing supper...

I understand the live and let live logic and I am a lover of wildlife but...

I think what some here fail to mention is demographics.

Yes, in remote wilderness areas coyotes, and what not are native species. At the same time when they start making their way(which let's face it animals do travel)to areas that are inhabited by denser populations of people they can be problamatic.

So what does one do? Jeopardize their own well being and the well being of others by turning a blind eye and saying "oh well they were placed here by a human so that makes it okay" or well that pack must be lost, they will make their way back even though food scraps are in abundance(trash cans, etc.)

I dunno, I am kinda mixed on the whole thing. While I do understand the love for animals thing but one also has to accept/respect the inherent danger and threat that this can cause on a community as well as the individuals that reside there.

When I use to hunt(which as some of you know I no longer do) I dispatched more than one canine with my 300mag.

Not due to the fact that I wanted too but more for the fact that I weighed the situation and looked at what type of potential problem this animal(or pack) could cause in the communities surrounding the immediate area.

Once again, demographics play a key part in the decision and action taken to control predator populations and location of said populations within the continental US.

Kinda reminds me of a black bear last year that was on the trail of the smells that were emanating from a local towns Italian festival. There were children and all kinds of towns folk at the party.

Maybe the bear had a hunger for some good home made gnocci and marinara. Nevertheless it was a situation one could not ignore and just let "pan out."

I understand the different views here. And honestly I don't know what is the proper approach and what isn't. Am I right? Hell I dunno.. Am I wrong? Same answer...

I will tell ya this though. If I am on trail and I run into a pack of feral dogs those animals view me as 1 of 2 things.

Threat or food and I have no intention of being either.

While we all have our own views on this it is safe to say one thing...

If any of us were those folks who's baby was almost taken by a dingo or any other wild dog for that matter(children are small and cry which will most certainly look/sound like prey) I think it is pretty safe to say we would all be in agreeance that they are most certainly a problem that needs to be addressed and not over-looked...

It is not my job to over-look an potential problem just because man made it. Over-looking a problem does nothing to address it and passing the buck off to the next person just because of my own personal feelings is not fair to someone else.

So I suppose one of the most important factors to consider is demographics when it comes to coyotes and such...

That will paly a substantially huge part in what action is necessary and what isn't...

Feral dogs... Well, they add absolutely nothing positive to the area that they inhabit and are a danger to everyone and everything that surrounds them. As I stated, just because someone else left them there isn't my problem and doesn't justify me over-looking the problem...

Just my thoughts(please don't shoot the messenger.) I just wanted to make a point.

1:16 p.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Very interesting discussion, with many points of view. 

A few thoughts and questions;

First, has anyone used one of those noise cans that some people use at sports games? 

I think they are about 130 db, dang loud!  I wonder if these would scare off animals, like Bears, Wolves, Dogs, etc.  In the West, coyotes are rarely a problem.  But they do move in to cities and the like.  At least out here. 

Second, What about sling shots? 

I used these as a Kid and I know they will keep an aggressive dog away.  Yes, they require practice and some skill, but they are light and ammo is usually easy to find.  A strong sling shot, like a wrist rocket, will not normally kill a dog sized animal, but it can crack a rib or give them a nasty headache if you hit them in the head.   I am talking about using rocks and such for ammo.  Using the 3/8 or 1/2 steel shot can kill if it hits right and has enough power. 

I guess these are like hand guns, they are only as good as the person using them.

As for the discussion on killing off Feral Dogs, NOT coyotes or Wolves.  I agree with Iclimb that eradication is not the "right" answer, but I also think that it's about the only answer that works today.   To Many humans are stupid when it comes to "pets".  People find that they are to expensive, or require to much work, or whatever.  Then they don't want to take them to the pound because "fluffy" will be put down.  So they just let them go or dump them some place, thinking that is a better option.  Stupid people! 

Here in Seattle one of the larger parks has a major problem with domestic rabbits that have been dumped at the park.  Every year it cost the park department lot of money to come in and kill off the rabbit population.  Of course they never get them all and people continue to dump them there. 

Now you may say, well there just little rabbits, what harm can they do?  Well rabbits, like a lot of wild animals, will over bread and destroy the habitat that they are in, Rabbits just do it a hell of a lot faster then most other animals.   They have even attracted coyotes to the park because the food is so plentiful.  Causing more problems. 

There are several areas in the greater Seattle that feral cats have taken over too.  They cause their own issues.   Luckily we have not had a large problem with feral dogs, yet.  But I fear that it is only a matter of time.  

So is it a Human Problem, HELL YES, but the Fix is not what people want to here. 

Wolf

10:45 a.m. on June 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

So is it a Human Problem, HELL YES, but the Fix is not what people want to hear. 

There are way more deer in North America now than when the white men came, but when you talk about bringing back predators to help control the population all people can see is 'Bambi'.

10:03 p.m. on June 28, 2012 (EDT)
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refering to the original post, I usually carry a small marine air horn, I figure that one day I will learn if it is any help in deterring a bear. I do not carry a gun where I hike so I would try the airhorn first, But I think the bear spray is a really good idea. It will stop the dog, or several and hopefully create the association that humans are painful. I believe that bold bears or gators that follow kayaks do so based on past human interaction.

8:28 p.m. on June 29, 2012 (EDT)
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With no gun, go,

M80 or M100,

then,

Bear Spray, 

then,

your camp axe and or baseball bat or a really solid stick (i.e.back country baseball bat)

12:28 p.m. on July 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Hafford said:

 I believe that bold bears or gators that follow kayaks do so based on past human interaction.

 Those are some impressive bears to be following kayaks,either that or the paddlers are seriously confused about where you're supposed to use a kayak ;)

9:12 a.m. on July 2, 2012 (EDT)
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yeah I guess I could have been clearer. Any animal that does not show fear or acts agressively towards people has probably had an un natural interaction with someone. Either a camper leaving food out for a bear to get at, or a fisherman in a boat or kayak throwing the remains from cleaning their catch to the gators.That sort of thing. Even mice at trail shelters show a wicked determination to invade your space (and pack). These actions can lead to unwelcome encounters with wild animals. I wonder if similar type encounters with wild/ferral dogs could be attributed to similar un natural encounters with people, or is it just plain and simple a pack mentality on the hunt like say wolves? In any case I still like the bear spray idea.

10:26 a.m. on July 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I was just being silly and teasing. It was a good point, Hafford, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope I didn't offend with my jesting. 

3:41 a.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Hafford said:

 I believe that bold bears or gators that follow kayaks do so based on past human interaction.

 Those are some impressive bears to be following kayaks,either that or the paddlers are seriously confused about where you're supposed to use a kayak ;)

My in law was on a canoe trip in Minnesota last summer.  A bear harried them at a lake side location, so they re-pitched camp on an island.  The bear later swam out to hassle them there too.  Three days later they crossed paths with another group who related the same story.

Ed

3:56 a.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Vuvuzela?

5:38 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

Vuvuzela?

 Naw, Just bring some Barry Manilow tunes.  Why injure your own ears with decibels, when the dulcet vocals and sappy prose of Barry can lull them asleep.

Ed

12:51 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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NO GUNS? REALLY??

Personally I'd carry my Glock 17 and kill as many feral dogs as I could. Not only are they a mortal danger to humans if they are beginning to attack them but they are a danger to all other wildlife.

Here in Nevada those dogs would never last long once word about them got out.

4:17 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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How about an ultrasonic device?:

http://www.ultimatebarkcontrol.com/

I have no idea if it would work in this situation, but if it doesn't weigh too much or go through batteries too fast it's a possible solution.

I'm not necessarily opposed to killing dangerous wild dogs, but it's not something I'd care to do myself, especially if all I really want to do is go for a nice quiet hike.

12:15 p.m. on July 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Gonzan, I have read enough of your posts to know that you meant no harm. Thanks for the consideration of your second post, but the jest was well placed. I should read my comments more carefully before posting. Now thanks to whomeworry's comments I just need to find an account of gators chasing hikers for the confusion to be complete.

4:05 p.m. on July 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm glad :) 

Haha, I am someone around here has a good gator story! 

6:05 p.m. on July 10, 2012 (EDT)
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while cycling through bad dog areas i routinely carry a stout, thick wall piece of high pressure rubber hose in my air pump bracket. i can attest to the fact that a good hit to the nose will send most dogs running. the noise factor of swinging a piece or rubber hose is not as high a a vuvuzela, but does also do some good. i would certainly not advise taking on a pack of feral dogs with a rubber hose. i would choose a rubber hose over a baseball bat anyday for encounters with a single dog. ymmv

10:17 a.m. on July 11, 2012 (EDT)
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For non-lethal, repeat use, that is a great suggestion, Lazya4. Though it would sting horribly, you would not likely cause any broken bones or permanent injury. Black Bears and dogs are very sensitive on their snouts, and are quite averse to being struck there. 

10:29 a.m. on July 11, 2012 (EDT)
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iClimb said:

you're still missing the point waders.

Yes these dogs may be causing problems, but it's our fault the dogs are there in the first place. We need to blame ourselves and not the dogs for the "danger" they pose. If we place to blame where it truly lies, we can start to make better decisions about how to control overpopulation in a more natural way.

Peter posted a pretty clear example of how population control is a vicious cycle that always leads to another species needing to be killed by man to control for the other species that man killed before that.

Wait a minute.....you cannot have it both ways. If you want a man made problem solved naturally, you already set yourself up for some level of failure. If man caused teh problem, it can solve it by illiminating it. Population control of a man made problem should not upset the natural flow of things given their being there is not natural in the first place.  

Another way of looking at things is that just because Man does something doesn't mean we have done something bad. But when it interfere's with man by posing a danger to him, man can correct the problem by killing it. man is natural too and always deferring to nature as the only remedy for things natural and man made is rediculous and borders on that whole MAN IS BAD AND NOTHING BUT A THREAT TO THE WORLD.

9:52 a.m. on July 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Just a thought, but I wonder if species introduced by man are not filling an empty niche left by another. If dogs are interbreeding with coyotes (only in the southern states, since the breeding cycles are timed differently) then they're just adding to an existing population. If there isn't enough food to support either dogs or coyotes, they die out. You can see that cycle in coyote/rabbit or elk/wolf populations all the time. If the feral dogs are filling an empty slot vacated by another species they would be subject to the same population controls.

The question of whether man is 'BAD' is moot. It is indisputable that we've had more influence on our environment than any other species ever has before. Whether those changes are good or bad will be determined by simple Malthusian principles - as with the coyotes and the deer, when the population gets so high that the environment can't support the numbers, it will die off.

10:29 a.m. on July 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I believe they sell "dog" spray... Just like bear spray, but cheaper! haha. Typically when I head into the backcountry I carry my shotgun.. Although if this is not an option I would say spray 100%.. You don't want to be lugging around a big baseball bat or anything... Walking stick might be a good idea though.

 

Someone said that spray for people is 3-10% and Bear Spray is 25%..... I don't quite understand this... Typical bearspray ranges from .75-1% capsasin (active ingredient in hot peppers) which is what makes the spray so effective.. Bear spray has saved more lives and prevented more attacks than anything else, so make sure you carry a bottle!

11:14 a.m. on July 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Erikthefisherman said:

I believe they sell "dog" spray... Just like bear spray, but cheaper! haha. Typically when I head into the backcountry I carry my shotgun.. Although if this is not an option I would say spray 100%.. You don't want to be lugging around a big baseball bat or anything... Walking stick might be a good idea though.

 

Someone said that spray for people is 3-10% and Bear Spray is 25%..... I don't quite understand this... Typical bearspray ranges from .75-1% capsasin (active ingredient in hot peppers) which is what makes the spray so effective.. Bear spray has saved more lives and prevented more attacks than anything else, so make sure you carry a bottle!

 I just remember watching that documentary about the Russian guy that was sort of living with/studying the grizzlies in Russia (not the dumb guy from Cali that would go to Denali and pertend to be all alone living with grizzlies that got eaten..>EATEN) and seeing where they found him all shredded by the griz with bear stray laying in the snow.

4:01 p.m. on July 13, 2012 (EDT)
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There was also the University of Alaska study (Smith, Herrero et al) that compared the effiffacy of firearms, red pepper sprays, signal flares, incendiary screamers and an assortment of noise makers. It found that of all bear attacks where bear spray was successfully deployed, 98% of the people were uninjured, and of the remaining 2%, none of the victims required hospitalization.

Deployment of bear spray is also faster with bear spray than a gun (unless you're a quick-draw artist) and accuracy is irrelevant to the outcome of the encounter. Further, the same study concludes that spraying a bear didn't provoke an aggressive response.

If you can't get it out in time, none of the possible methods make a difference, though, so the best defence is to make a lot of noise to make sure the bear leaves before you get there.

5:56 p.m. on July 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I have read some of Herrero's books, and I saw him do a presentation at a CPAWS event I happened to be playing as a musician... I was not extremely impressed by either his books or his presentation..

Read the article on Bear safety (via this website).. It's a great article.

 

Regardless, spray is a MUST... Bring whatever else makes you feel safe, but spray is 100% your best option.

7:16 p.m. on July 13, 2012 (EDT)
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We have had other discussions of the virtues of bear spray for bears. Frankly, the study mentioned is, IMO, slanted toward concern for the bears over the people. Many of the incidents cited where bear spray was used were not defense from actual bear charges but campground incidents. BTW, the residue from bear spray attracted some bears days afterwards.

Many bear attacks have been from suddenly coming upon a bear from downwind in dense cover, or in rain, or high winds... instances where neither the bear's hearing nor sense of smell warns him/her of the approach of humans. In the situations mentioned - downwind, rain, dense cover - bear spray would not be markedly effective.

However, the thread is about dogs and I imagine bear spray would be the most effective deterrent... after guns.

2:52 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Feral or wild canines are not to be trifled withl.  A pack of domestic dogs that were loose only at night killed a draft horse in Colorado when I was there.  People have been killed by coyotes in Alaska and Canada in the last five years.  My Dad used to work in the mountains of Puerto Rico about 1950, when feral dogs were a real problem.  He carried a short lead horse whip in his back pocket, the kind jockeys use.  One smack in the head and they always left.  I like the hiking pole first idea because it is always available and keeps the dogs at bay.  Spray would be fine until you run out, or the wind is the wrong direction, or you spray your self or companions.

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