RUN AWAY!! RUN AWAY!!! (it's got nasty teeth!)

11:56 a.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Have any of you been "attacked" by anything when outdoors? Mammals, reptiles, insects, fish...?

When I was about 6 yrs old, I had a very territorial Tom turkey latch on to my back with its feet, and proceed to flog me with it's wings while I ran around screaming. It is hilarious to think about now, but was not so funny at the time!

1:30 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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I used to hike all the time in a park with large sections leased to cattle ranchers -- had a couple cows rush me a time or two. Hiking poles are good for warding them off.

Never had any trouble with bulls (though I'm told they can be extremely dangerous if they take a notion to be).

4:28 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Dogs, snakes, large insects...

There was time I disturbed a bee hive when I was twelve. After recovering from the stings I developed a slight bee sting allergy. Meaning my legs would move as quickly as possible if a bee or wasp was in the area.

4:33 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Walking around Catalina Island we turned a corner on an unimproved single track road and came face to face with a very large bull American Bison - a buffalo. Looked a bit smaller than a good sized SUV. He did a down head charge toward me with all the kids lined up behind me trying to be smaller than possible. He stopped about 10 feet away pawing dirt and snorting. With nothing else to do or say I said "SHOOO". He turned on a dime and with the ease of fox, bounded up the very steep road cut. There would have been no argument about what the final outcome of that encounter could have been. He was as graceful as a gazelle, quicker than a cobra and big as a small car.

There were also HUGE feral pigs on the island that the kids would entice into camp and toss pieces of food under the tents of the supervisors that the pics would smell and be rooted for. And then at 1 AM there would be a racket of screaming and squealing as the scouts tried to catch one with a tried and true 'pile on' maneuver. The boars had tusks just like out of the worst B grade horror film. Except for a few trample bruises no one (on that trip) was injured. It would be an easy chomp to sever a finger - or worse.

A friend living near the hills in Costa Mesa (So Calif) had a coyote come up on to the outside deck early one morning and severely bite and maul a 14 yo girl sleeping out side with their daughter. Unfortunately to add further injury she had to go through a rabies shot series. The coyote was never found to confirm it.

Lots of geese stories but they are just to horrific to relate. I still wake up in cold sweats trying to out run them.

7:16 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Mosquitoes galore.

A Blue Jay once, I got laughed at for the rest of the trip. (it probably was very funny)

A couple Geese at the local duck pond. (every year around the same time)

I was charged twice by a wild boar several years ago, the second time I dropped him, I felt like he had left me no choice. But don't misunderstand, it wasn't exactly an act of total bravery like Tarzan would have done it. Real life is a lot different from the movies.

7:35 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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A cow Moose in Denali park chased me in the spring of 2006. I was walking down the park road and came around a corner. She was there with her calve. When she saw me she gave chase. I ran about a 1/4 miles thru the tundra and across a small luckily shallow pond. I went over a rise and lost sight of her. I ducked into a small tree and huddled as close to the trunk as possible. She came over the rise, into the middle of the pond and stopped. I dont know if she knew where I was but she stood there for about 20 minutes with her ears down and hair up. I waited till she wandered off then cautiously came out and went back towards the road, When I came back over the rise she was about a 1/4 mile away in the brush but saw me and started after me again. I made it back to the road which by this time was covered with cars. I ran behind them and back down the road. The cars startled her and she went back to where her calf was.

All I could imagine when she was chasing me was being kicked to death my a angry mother moose.

In the Wind River mtns once a couple Grizzly bear cubs about two years old chased me out of the woods and back to the road when I was taking a leak in their woods. I narrowly made it back to my friends car before they caught me.

Another time in Denali 30 years ago, another mother moose chased me. I was on one side of a lake and she the other with two calves. She made a bee line towards me and I didnt hang around to see how far she would come.

8:00 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Gee, I guess my animal attacks are pretty dull. I got bit by a rattlesnake when I was 16. The snake died. (true story, I am not making it up. The details are even more boring.)

8:07 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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A rattlesnake klled it on the 4th strike, a mountain lion, chased it off by being scarier than it was, several dogs but fortunately they are also inteligent enough to know when thay are staring down a barrel.

I was bit by one of my tropical fish once, an oscar.

Jim S

8:27 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Returning to a trailhead parking lot in Hawaii with our then baby, we had to do some serious navigating around a rather territorial peacock. Yes, they're pretty, but they're bigger and more ornery than you realize until up close.

Also, I've been chased and dive bombed by grouse, including a grouse mother, and had an unidentified animal (about skunk or raccoon size) run down a trail and straight at me in some very tall grass then veer away. That last one totally freaked me out. I never identified it, just a flash of greyish fur running at me making a high pitched squealing noise. If we had badgers in Maine I would have called it one.

Oh, and I am an excellent hiking partner because all biting insects will be attracted to me. Seriously, you can see a cloud of them buzzing around my head.

Gary, I'd be scared if a mother moose started chasing me. My dad got treed by one in Alaska when he was a young man.

Gonzan, thanks for starting this thread. The visual of the turkey is funny (I admit), but it must have been terrifying at the time.

9:27 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Alicia, isn't it terrible how insects are strongly attracted to some people? While in the Adirondack's last summer, my hiking buddy took great pleasure in the fact that I was followed/consumed by a black cloud of insects (black flies I believe).

He did not emerge unscathed either as we found that they are unfazed by deet. In fact, the only thing we found to deter them was the tobacco smoke from cheap, dollar, gas station cigars. Otherwise, move quickly.

I feel really lame, and fortunate, that this is my "RUN AWAY!!" story.

I have been run down by a mother goose before, however it was on a farm. I am glad I have not had a run-in with one in the backcountry.

11:27 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Copperhead bite when I was a teenager (I tended to grab first, ID later). Other than that, I've had a run-in with a raccoon that was trapped in my 1965 VW bus (with me) while camped in Camp Four in Yosemite (it won).

And while I not technically attacked, I had an encounter with a very angry porcupine in Canada once. That darn thing knew it was impenetrable and acted like it!

11:36 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Regards mosquitoes. I hate DEET. A head net is so light and doesn't stink of DEET, nor is it toxic and it can't dissolve your other gear. Why don't more people carry head-nets? Of course there are other tasty parts of your body but unless its real hot, most of them can be covered.

And I too was once grabbed by a big old goose.

Jim S

11:56 p.m. on March 9, 2010 (EST)
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Mother geese have got to be some of the most terrifyingly aggressive creatures on the planet when they get all up in a 'tude.

One of my older brothers has a knack for finding massive nests of Yellow Jackets. On one such occasion some of my brothers (I have 9 siblings) and I were a couple miles up in a mountain gorge fishing in the pristine streams. Now, the sides of this gorge are *very* steep, and my brother had climbed almost two hundred feet up the sheer slop towards the trail when his foot broke open a rotting stump. A stump that was home to about 2000 very pissed off little yellow demons. It took a few stings before he realized what was happening, but realize he did.

Let me take a moment to paint this picture....have you ever jumped out and scared someone so badly that they lose all vocal and bodily composure? That was my brother, screaming like the devil after him, arms and legs flailing, careening headlong through the trees down a 100% slope towards the rocky bottom! He was nearly horizontal in the air when he reached the stream, but managed to make one last lunging step to send him headfirst into a pool. Moments pass before he poked his head out of the water with crazed eyes darting to and fro, when he utters, "Son of a B*tch! Where did those come from!"

I hope am slightly more composed if I "find" a nest sometime, but I guess ya' never know until it happens :)

1:56 a.m. on March 10, 2010 (EST)
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Insects, sure. Nothing with teeth has ever really attacked, though. But come to think of it, an elk did nibble on my tent once. And little critters have occasionally gnawed on packs, bags, etc. Other creatures have been close, but never with aggressive intent, thank God!

10:20 a.m. on March 10, 2010 (EST)
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Jim S, So your venom killing the snake.... :)

I almost picked up a Copperhead snake once, I was collecting old iron next to a railroad for a local Blacksmith. Underneath some roots under a sreambank I saw what I thought was a rusty bent peice of iron. I reached into the roots to pick it up. About the time my hand was within inches, it moved. Was the first Copperhead I had ever seen. The was in southern Arkansas about 35 years ago.

12:13 p.m. on March 10, 2010 (EST)
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Mosquito's, Mosquito's, Mosquito's....I hate them!

I was fishing and got attacked by 2 Swans! One dive bombed me when I was in my waders and hit me with its wing. I scooted out of the water only to be attacked from above form the other one. I kept relocating myself, but they kept coming to the point I got fed up and left. Must have been mating season for them. Had a Black Bear pop out on front of me on a trail, looked at me, and then scooted off. My most scariest time was when I was young, maybe 12 or so. I was fishing with my old man and my brother on a small stream off a cow pasture, when all of a sudden we hear and feel this rumbling getting louder and louder and we look up on the hill to see what it was and there was a heard of cattle steaming right for us! Lets just say that it wasn't just Jesus who walked on water that day!

1:03 p.m. on March 10, 2010 (EST)
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Alicia, isn't it terrible how insects are strongly attracted to some people? While in the Adirondack's last summer, my hiking buddy took great pleasure in the fact that I was followed/consumed by a black cloud of insects (black flies I believe).

Yes, they do seem to prefer some of us over others. Apparently it comes down to our various smells, a rather complicated factor to pin down: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb00/mosq0200.htm

To those who mentioned bulls, one time while visiting my in-laws, the bull that lived in the field got out and into their yard. It was something to see the farmer, my husband, and father-in-law trying to get the bull to run back through the fence.

9:51 p.m. on March 11, 2010 (EST)
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I was out in the water near Santa Cruse CA, Aptos private beach. I am looking back at the waves as a set is about to come in. It's just me and my boogie board. I turn to look at the shore and there he is...

A full grown bull sea lion! He is just four feet from me. Time seemed to stop and we looked into each others eyes. The next few seconds seemed to last forever. I noted that he had features that were remarkably human. His mustache and his facial structure were about the size of a human. His eyes were black with black pupils. He didn't attack. The set of waves got there and he dove below the water. I got out of the water back on the beach and even though it was 9AM I didn't go back in the water the entire day.

6:23 a.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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Various encounters with numerous critters, but one memorable event was getting bitten, by a black fly, on the eyelid while trundling up Mt. Marcy out of the flowed lands - ahh the joy I felt when the swelling went down and my left eye functioned once again. Not having depth perception can make for an interesting hike!

8:59 a.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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@ Dr - I've heard they can be really dangerous. National Geographic has some awesome photogs, don't they? I'd pee in the water if I saw this!

11:47 a.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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Hey f_klock - I knew he could have killed me if he wanted to. In Santa Cruse it could have been a great white just as easily. I lucked out that day.


Here is a better pick of that bull sea lion.

11:16 a.m. on March 13, 2010 (EST)
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Up after dark in the Bitterroot Mountains with my brother-in-law... my flashlight decided the batteries weren't enough to keep it going (it died). So we were being guided around by his D-cell Maglite (not a good thing). I had the flashlight and was scanning ahead of us when I came across three pairs of blue eyes. Being curious, I advanced on the eyes a bit to see what they were (not a good idea in retrospect). I was betting deer.

Well, the three pair of eyes were attached to three hulking masses of wolves. They were quite happily watching us and following at their comfortable distance. I'm still surprised with how large they were. With one flashlight and no firearm or other means of spooking them off of us, we covered the distance between them and the truck in record time.

The Bitterroot has been having a lot of problems with increasingly aggressive wolf packs. The elk population has been hit hard and the livestock are starting to take a hit as well. The packs are fearless and fairly large. I wager the three we saw were not alone and don't care to think about what might have occurred if we had peaked their interest more.

Run away indeed.

7:42 p.m. on March 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I did get bitten once, by a spider. I put my hand down to push off some rocks above treeline on Mount Jefferson in New Hampshire and managed to land my palm directly on a spider who bit me. It hurt and I had a mark on my palm for a while.

Here's the spider (sorry for squashing you):

1:12 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Alicia, I am a big fan of spiders. Most of them at least. I don't even mind Black Widows, as they are actually quite docile and stick to their web/nest. Brown Recluse on the other hand, I could gladly see them extinct. (not really)

I was bitten by a brown recluse several years ago. Fortunately it was a very mild/small bite. The bite did develop a nasty ulcerated sore about the size of a marble with an ugly veined "bruise" of affected area about 5 inches in diameter around it. My loathing of the beasties began before that however, as they have an aggressive predator temperament, roaming in search of prey. There are many active spiders such as wolf spiders that roam in that manner. But the others found in north america don't causue massive tissue loss. That and the fact that an old building of my grandfather's became infested with thousands of them. I am not kidding. Thousands. I shudder at the thought of the day we made that discovery. I mean, really, how do you get rid of thousands of lethal spiders out of a glorified barn without burning it to the ground??

(for those who doubt, I am very particular and specific about insect and animal identification, and can send you a specimen if you don't believe me :)

4:54 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Tarantulas are one of the delights of hiking in California in the autumn. I don't think I'd ever let one crawl up my arm, though, as many people have.

In late Sept./early Oct. you can count on seeing groups of people either staring down at the trail or kneeling over it, gawking at big hairy tarantulas.

One from my archives:

8:39 p.m. on March 18, 2010 (EDT)
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First the Tom turkey attack, then the spider infestation. Gonzan, you're starting to sound like a horror movie!

Spiders don't bother me. That might change if thousands were surrounding me though.

1:36 a.m. on March 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Hahaha! I guess so- all true though, I promise! The building is on property that has been in the family for generations- it was an old general store that my grandfather ran, complete with barber shop, town vault, switchboard, and gas pumps. But it has been used for hay storage for 20 years, and the little beasties found it an ideal breeding ground I guess. My brother had stored some furniture in a back room, and I was helping him move it out to take to his apartment. It was at this point that I noticed *many* exoskeletons, that were clearly not from wolf spiders. I started looking more carefully and started finding live ones. I then looked more carefully. At this point I exited the premises while uttering some choice expletives. Gives me the willies even now. I managed to get a couple specimens in a jar to so that I could concretely identify them under magnification. Unfortunately, I wasn't incorrect in my first assessment.

Oh, so yeah. we abandoned the furniture, if you were wondering.

12:32 a.m. on March 20, 2010 (EDT)
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It wasn't as scary as it was funny, but a pony at Assateague Island ate through my boyfriend's brand new screen tent trying to get to some food we stupidly left out inside it. It was the first day of our week long camping trip and that screen tent was meant to save our hides from the joy of Assateague mosquitos. We had a laugh, sewed up the hole, pony bagged our food, and went to town for clear tape to seal up the seams. Did I mention the mosquitos are really big and bad at Assateague? Oy vey!

Then I got bluff charged by a big brown bear while trying to hike into New York on the Appalachian Trail. I was with four other people and we spread out and shook our trekking poles and made a lot of noise, but he didn't care. He hadn't read the bear-human contact procedures manual, so we had to bushwack around him. He owned the trail at that point. There was a cub scout jamboree going on at the foot of the hill, so we figured he had scared some scouts into providing a few backpacks before and so had found himself a good gig collecting troll tolls.

But the best scary teeth story was the time I climbed Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, on an Appalachian Trail detour. We were going over a third class scramble when I noticed a sign on a stick coming out of part of the rocks. I went to take a better look at the sign. At the same moment I read "snakes are here!" I heard the rattles and saw a writhing group of about 20 baby rattlesnakes. I nearly fell of the mountain trying to get away from that treat.

Wasps, bees, bison? Great stories! Keep trekkin'!

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