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How To Survive An Animal Attack

Occasionally you cannot avoid an aggressive encounter with an animal in the wild (or in the neighborhood or backyard), so here’s what you need to do if you are faced with these situations.

Bears

Staying still, appearing large, and making noise are good deterrents for most bear encounters, but they are not foolproof. Some area rangers suggest saying “Hey bear!” is enough to get a bear to leave an area, but really, prevention is again the best course of action. Don’t have loose, unprotected food, smell like food or blood around a bear area, and certainly don’t have any pieces of food where you sleep or on your clothes, as these things will certainly convince a bear to explore you or your area. Bears have a personal space, so don’t violate it. Realize that if they can see you, then you are at risk for violating their space. They can run as fast as thirty-five to forty miles per hour and can cause incredible damage with a single swing of their arms, so do what you can to put distance between the two of you as calmly and smoothly as possible. Don’t climb a tree, as the bear is a tree-climbing machine and will be able to outdo you. Don’t taunt a bear or offer food unless it can keep you from being attacked, as the bear may have to be killed afterward (and of course because the bear doesn’t like to be taunted). If in bear country, carry bear spray with you, observe basic guidelines for bear safety, and, if possible, carry a capable rifle or handgun with potent and effective calibers—enough to kill a bear if it gets to that point. Don’t come between a bear and its kill, young, food, or it will consider you an immediate threat which requires action. In simpler terms—you become food.

Charging Bucks

Believe it or not, this is not a joke.  Surely you don’t expect to be featured in the headline of the small town newspaper (“Bambi Mauls 200-Pound Hunter”), but there is a risk of medium game charging you when provoked.  Provocation is a funny word, as no one really knows what the threshold is for any animal.  Generally speaking, animals that are wounded, spooked, eating, mating, or with their young should be avoided, as they are a high risk of attack for you.  Distance is key, but not necessarily the end-all-be-all, as there is probably not one animal you will encounter that you can outrun for a sustained distance.  Caribou and deer alike have similar patterns in charging, and you should pay attention carefully.  During mating season, you will be seen as the enemy, whether you mean to or not.  Presenting is a key indicator that things are about to move up a level in discomfort for all involved.  When they show their antlers to you and turn their heads to the side, that’s a clue for their readiness to make a move.  Their two signature moves consist of bucking with the front legs while rearing back on the hind ones and attempting to gore you with their antler tips.  Stand well back and inch away, but keep your balance, so if a charge does happen fully, you may be able to avoid being gored.  The best way to avoid this is to attempt to redirect the antlers to a side position, to avoid full contact. If you can use your balance and strength to attempt to push the antlers away, it may be enough to make the animal forget about further attacks.  Be careful not to get caught flat footed, and try to minimize your impact by avoiding flailing or outreached arms, which may be your way of “presenting” your “antlers” and cause them to initiate further attacks.  It’s a mind game too—being calm shows them they will win, and a soft, calm voice and small posture (without crouching or appearing small) will inevitably be more valuable to you than trying to frighten them away.  During mating season, it’s all about ego and show of strength.  Trust your instincts: You don’t have anything to prove to a bunch of deer or caribou.

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Mountain Lions

Many sightings happen each year, and occasionally (actually quite often), the mountain lion is aggressive and attacks without provocation.  Typically the victim is small or moving (as in running away) and seems like good prey to a mountain lion.  These animals are not particularly large and do not like to have their food fight back, which could actually stop an attack.  Frequently (and unfortunately), those at risk are too preoccupied or to uninitiated to fight back. Chances are if you encounter one and do the following, then you will not be a victim.  Appear large and loud and seem as though you may be a threat to the cat. If by chance these things don’t work, attempt to throw rocks at the cat and/or grab a large but wieldable stick to fight back with and put distance between you and them.  DO NOT turn and run, but DO try to level the ground between you and them, as these animals typically ambush from above and go for the neck area.  Avoid bites and swings of the animal’s teeth and claws around the neck area, as a single swipe could kill even the largest man.  They tend to avoid prolonged battles, and you may just “win” if you can avoid damage to these areas.  Children should be immobilized with you, and should be picked up or moved to protection (behind a backpack, under a picnic bench, etc.), as they are much more likely to be attacked than larger, non-panicked adults.  If traveling in an area where there have been frequent sightings, carry a gun for protection (just make sure it is legal to do so). These animals can be very aggressive, and by the time you see them, they already know what you are doing.

Snakes

Not all snakes show themselves when they are ready to strike, and not all of them require a posture to strike, so the best advice for avoiding a snakebite is avoiding a snake, and the best advice for avoiding a snake is good situational and locational awareness. Know what is around you, and don’t go looking for things in areas where you can’t be sure of the contents. A snake can usually only strike about one to three times the length of its body, so distance will be the key to avoiding concerns. Snake identification can be useful as well: If you know what to avoid and where it may be, then you can easily prevent concerns. Snakes don’t like to be surprised, and they don’t like aggressive or sharp movements. Essentially, if you are in snake country in warmer weather, wear gaiters, know where snakes may be at, and know what’s in front and below you before you take a step. If you encounter a snake that gives you warning as to its intent to strike you (a rattlesnake’s rattle, for example), then make yourself large and calm and back away slowly until the snake retreats. Distance is the key piece in a snake encounter, so don’t panic—just put distance between you and the snake and everything else should iron itself out. If you are struck, avoid high heart rate, excess movement, and panic and attempt to get to a hospital as soon as possible with a good description of the snake that struck you. Try to remembering as much as possible, including the posture, the angle of the attack, and identifying features and colors of the reptile, as these can be clues to the type of venom in your system.

Africanized Bees

These are everywhere in the U.S. now; they are aggressive and swarm in large numbers and can easily kill a human who sticks around too long.  Aside from always carrying a Benadryl tablet with you in your wallet or purse (as many people advocate), there are very few ways to mitigate bee stings, so the best bet is to either run away or get into a shelter that the bees cannot follow you into.  It’s simple: Some bees will follow you for up to 200 yards, so keep running until they are gone and do what you can to find adequate shelter after that.  Avoid provoking bees by messing with their hive, swatting at them, spraying them with water, or otherwise antagonizing them, as they are likely more aggressive than you are, and they have venom in their stingers that can cause anaphylactic shock.

Pit Bulls

Avoidance is a good technique here as well, as aggressive pit bulls can be very dangerous. They are not only for their lockjaw and incredible bite strength, but also for the risk of diseases like rabies.  Standing tall and not showing weakness can be intimidating to the animal, though it isn’t a sure thing that your technique will keep you whole.  Standing still or distancing yourself from an aggressive dog slowly, without moving sharply or shrinking down in size, is also one of the better techniques.  If you are attacked, try to use an item like a stick or purse to give the dog something to grab onto; realize that it is nearly impossible to get your limbs out of a pit bull’s jaws, so prepare yourself for that.  Try to avoid excess movement by yourself or by the animal, as the real damage usually comes from the animal’s head jerking or the reaction to try and remove your body part; immobilize the animal between your legs or with the help of others if possible.  You can attempt to put the animal to sleep using a choke hold or to poke it in the eyes; if others are around, they may be able to beat the animal away or put it in a choke hold, which will make its muscles and joints relax enough to force the jaws open.

The threat of attacks from these animals is real. You should take the time to understand the risk you face when in the natural habitat and on the level with animals that can become aggressive in order to know how to handle a potential attack. In case you are attacked, the above information is  simple enough to help you remember and avoid the consequences of a lesser-prepared victim.

©2012 Off the Grid News

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33 comments

  1. The article was great until the last animal- Pit Bulls. You were talking about dogs in general. By using Pit Bulls as an example, you are Just spreading the misconception about the breed. Coming from FL, I had a pit bull mix and came to know and love many pot bulls. They are loving, loyal and playful. Yes they are a powerful breed and must be appropriately trained – Just like every other dog, regardless of size. Up here in AR the same things could be said about some Live Stock Guardian Dogs LSGD- we have two. But our boys are loving fur balls. It is not the breed. There are breeds that have characteristics that could lead to aggression if the human doesn’t bother to pay attention to what the dog is saying. Our two LSGD wouldn’t hurt a human. But our Boxer- Chihuahua mix who had some bad human experiences for the 4 months he spent in an animal shelter could hurt someone if they did not respect his fear.
    Animals speak to us. It is up to the humans to pay attention and respect what the animal tells us.

    • Agreed!

      Use to raise and breed them also.

      Hey, maybe we can rich with a marketing scam to sell “Pit Keys” guaranteed to unlock their jaws to folks like the author of the article.

      • Pit Keys- awesome idea LOL

        • Everyone should carry a razor sharp knife that can be opened with one hand. If a dog attacks you lead with your weak hand which they will take/bite. With your strong hand and the knife you eviscerate them. That is cut them from bunghole to chest and cut deeply and vigorously, shaking out their guts in a pile is optional. If you still feel the need to encourage the dog to let go of your arm cut their throat from ear to ear this will release their jaw muscles. The pull out your phone, call 911 for an ambulance and a policeman. After hanging up call your lawyer to sue the dogs owner. Kick the dog a few times before they load you in the ambulance. Kick the owner too if he is there.

        • Hey I have a Pit Key already. Its called a 40 caliber

          • Urban legend or the Gawd awful truth, here’s your “key” to get the Pit to release, are you ready? With your thumb or smooth pole jam it up the critters poop hole, that makes them stop and drop their bite. At that moment have someone else ready to apply first aid to the victim, and net or knock out with brute force the untrained critter.

    • “Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days during this 3-year period.
      The data also shows that pit bulls commit the vast majority of off-property attacks that result in death. Only 18% (16) of the attacks occurred off owner property, yet pit bulls were responsible for 81% (13).”

      “A 2000 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed a 20-year period to determine the types of dog breeds most responsible for U.S. dog bite fatalities.
      During 1997 and 1998, at least 27 people died of dog bite attacks (18 in 1997 and 9 in 1998). At least 25 breeds of dogs were involved in 238 human dog bite related fatalities during the past 20 years. Pit bulls and rottweilers were involved in over half of these fatalities and from 1997 to 1998 were involved in 67%.”

      I am sick and tired of you Pit Bull lovers distorting the truth.

      Our daughter-in-law rescued many Pits because they are a troubled breed.

      When one mauled our Dachshund for no particular reason, my wife killed it.

      This breed IS a danger.

      I strongly suggest that no parent get one for a family dog.

      Probably more a problem with inbreeding.

      But the facts remain.

      Pits are a danger.

  2. I appreciate the information since I’m not too familiar with all of the animal attacks mentioned. I’d like to address a subject I am familiar with – snakes. It is a myth that a snake can strike the length of their body or more. Snakes native to North America can usually strike a maximum of 1/2 to 2/3 of their body length. Still, you need to keep your distance. Other myths include being able to strike from a full coiled position (they have lift their head and form an “s” shape with their body to get the maximum striking distance); being able to spring or jump; and being able to outrun a human.

    • I have been all over the world and never seen a snake really “get after” anyone. They strike usually from a coiled position, but if you step on them they will bite you. The bigger the snake the farther he can strike. The meanest I have seen are sidewinders and moccasins (aka cotton mouths). However I have encountered cobras and big pythons of which I have a 14 foot skin on my wall. In my opinion, there are only two kinds of snakes: Those that are dead already, and those that are about to die.
      Sorry, dont like snakes…………
      The Col

  3. As a Canadian citizen, from Alberta and BC, you missed a critical piece re. bears and cougars, which is simply have bear spray. A gun is fine, as long as you are an expert shot. Otherwise, you will just make it angry. Bear spray also works on cougars. You don’t have to be an expert marksman, either. Steven Herrero, U. of Calgary, is the world’s expert on bear attacks, so pick up his book, or the one by the Craigheads. Bear spray is just pepper spray that goes a lot farther than the small, wimpy human stuff.

  4. Now I am angry!! I hunt for these animals all the time, and not one time has one come after me!!!! I wish they would so I wouldnt have to walk so far from the truck. I have spent a lot of time in the mountains and woods. Dont know what it is, but nothing ever tried to get me. Especially when I am hunting I sure wish it would, otherwise it is pretty hard work. I’d like a bear rug…….
    The Col

  5. There’s another ‘dangerous’ critter in the woods, that wasn’t mentioned. I was clearing some trees around an old pond on our place the other day and pushed down a large dead Oak. Surprise, there was a skunk den in under the roots ! Skunk didn’t like being disturbed and unleashed a yellowish cloud to show his displeasure. Fortunately our Cat has a cab on it, but I had the heater on and still got a good snootfull. Old skunk gave me a bad look and just ambled off. On a serious note, skunks are notorious carriers of Rabies. I’ve also been assured that a direct spray will give a person several bad memories. And I now have a dozer that makes ones eyes water when one gets close to it… A true terrorist, they are.

    • “Terrorist” you say? I hope you reported the skunk to DHS, so it can be ticketed and/or sent to Gitmo.

    • Re. bear attacks, Stephen Herrero, Univ. of Calgary, and his eponymously titled book, is the classic work on this. On the US side, try the Craighead brothers, also good. Long story short:

      1.) Avoid grizzly sows or their feeding patches. Bears only have a limited number of days to gain enough fat to survive the winter, so while you might consider an instrusion on their food source minor, for them, every day is critical, and this is a threat.

      2.) Mostly black bears are timid; however, they can go predacious on very rare occasions. Particularly if there is an attack at night, that might signal something serious, so you should not play dead if a black bear attack occurs at night.

      3.) Sleeping out under the stars. For some reason, there is a some kind of “psychological” barrier bears feel with that thin sheet of fabric between you and them. Even though bear attacks are incredibly rare, you do increase your chances sleeping outside under the stars.

      4.) Do NOT have even a scrap of food in or near your tent! Hang it in a tree or a food pole if available.

      5.) Do carry bear (pepper spray); don’t carry the human stuff, but the large approved bear spray cans. Herrero has documented bear spray is basically 100% effective, and will literally stop charging grizzlies. Everybody wins – you live, the bear learns to avoid humans. Bear bells? Meh. The old joke is “How can you tell a hiker was wearing bear bells? Look at the bear scat to see if it has bells in it.” Better is to sing, shout, etc. Herrero states that you should not look a bear in the eye, but look slightly askance; move your arms up and down from your side, talking in a well modulated voice. Moving your arms this way shows you are not a bear, as does talking. Basically, the dominant bear leaves first (hint: YOU are not the dominant bear!!). Also, re. pepper spray vs. guns: If you are an expert marksman, fine. But if you miss, you have just ticked off the bear, and he will not take kindly to that. Pepper spray does not require anything other than making sure you can aim something in a general direction. Pepper spray is also very effective on cougars (I used to live on Vancouver Island as well, “ground zero” for cougar attacks.

      – Bears canmake a lot of bluff charges. I heard of one ranger who was bluff charged by the same grizzly six times in one year. No word on how many times the ranger soiled his pants!! Basically, it isn’t in the bears interest, usually, to make contact. All they want is to protect their young, their food, etc. But, key word here is “usually.”

      6.) There has never been a fatal grizzly attack in parties of 6 or more. In Alberta, e.g., around Moraine Lake, hiking is prohibited unless you have a group this size in grizzly area.

      7.) If you are attacked by a grizzly with cubs, play dead. Do not attempt to outrun the bear, as this may evoke the prey/predator response. Of course, you cannot outrun a bear. Herrero recommends that if you are attacked at night by a black bear – physical contact is made – always fight back.

      8.) It’s pretty easy to learn how to distinguish between black and grizzly bears, at least on paper! I’m sure a google search will show you how. The key point behind this is that black bears are a lot more timid, in general.

      9.) Herrero talks about, even after all his work, when he was in the field and bluff charged (and he knew it was a bluff, and had pepper spray), his knees STILL melted. So, no bravado on my part here – I’m pretty chicken as well!

      10.) Finally, this ain’t Jellystone Park with Yogi and Booboo. I have seen ALL kinds of utterly ignorant stuff in Alberta, BC, Yellowstone, etc. (people walking right up to wild elk to take pictures, next to buffalo, etc.; also mucking around on glaciers where they shouldn’t be, etc.). Don’t be one of those! One guy died on Athabasca Glacier, a heavy tourist spot, right at the end of the glacier tongue, when he slipped into a tiny crevasse – maybe 10′ down. The fall wasn’t a big deal. However, he was firmly wedged in, and the little rivers running off the glacier (an “esker’) is only 32.1 F. By the time they go him unwedged, he had died of hypothermia.

  6. Nahhh Vanne, but probably should have. The outdoors are great, as we all know, but can be a bit prickly or smelly at times. Party on…

  7. Hello folks and hope things are well. Wanted to recap my comment about the skunks and Rabies virus. There’s an outbreak now in our part of Arkansas and it’s serious business. Once it gets started, there is no cure. Every bit as fatal as a Griz or Lion attack and more so. A rabid animal is sick in it’s brain and nervous system and they act ‘different’. Drunken behavior is a common symptom. Best advice I think is to apply a little lead pill and dispose of the carcass in a careful manner. One can take the head to a vet and they will check the brain for the virus. A rabid animal can bite other critters [cattle, dogs&cats, goats, whatever since they go nuts] Humans can recieve certain anti-rabies shots after an exposure, but I think the window is pretty small. Can’t let it be a major concern, but something that needs to be remembered for future reference. Damn stinking terrorist bastards, but they have a fine pelt. Blessings to ya’ll and enjoy.

  8. In the state where I live the fish and game dept. used to control what guns you could carry in the woods. This generally meant you couldn’t carry a handgun or military style weapon (since it wasn’t legal to hunt with a handgun or an M-4) and you couldn’t generally carry a rifle out of season since that might mean you were trying to poach game. Then the state legislature declared that they and they alone were the lawful authority regarding weapons of all kinds for all reasons. Now you can open carry handguns or rifles in the woods anytime.

    You can say what you want to about bear spray, or hanging your food in a tree or how black bears are afraid of humans but there is nothing like a large bore handgun or hunting rifle for protection. It is comforting to know you have a more effective option then simply saying “hey bear”.

  9. no dude in knife on dog. use weak hand as bait. don’t let him bite you! shove the knife upward at an angle about 15 degrees impaling the dog hitting the brain or brain stem killing him immediately. It was a doberman. same effect. Not much blood and guts compared to your method and no rabies.

  10. wow, you don’t know much about pitbulls. First of all they do NOT have jaws that lock. They don’t even have the strongest jaw strength in the canine classification – they are behind Rotties & German Shepherds. Second they are not all aggressive dogs, in fact most are very loving and gentle. Chihuahuas are in fact more aggressive then pitbulls. Pitbulls get a bad rap and people like you don’t help.

    • I’m glad there are responsible breeders out there that supply irresponsible people with culls. One of those “culls” tore the hind leg off my friends Old English Sheep dog and her husband could not the the quite small, family friendly, harmless female dog to let go, that is until he shot her point blank in the head. She had managed to kill their GSD and sheepdog, though.

      Say what you want, it’s happened. And although Chihuahua’s bite more often, they don’t rip the face off a child riding a bicycle past the fence.

  11. I have to say that the comments have better info on Pit Bulls than the article. My uncle breeds all sorts of dog breeds, but the Pit Bulls are some of the kindest dogs you will ever meet. A little child could sit on top of one of dogs and ride them like a horse. In fact one of my cousins did, and the dog found it fun too.

  12. The snake bite portion is good but it leaves something out. I have used one of these myself (not on myself) in Africa for an individual who was bitten by a cobra and the individual got sick but survived the bite. It’s the Sawyer B4 Extractor Pump Kit. I have 3 of these things. One in the bug out bag, one in the vehicle and an extra just in case. This thing will greatly increase your odds of survival if bitten by a snake! It also works for bee stings and could save the life of someone who is allergic while waiting for the benedryl to kick in.

  13. Agree that the Sawyer Extractor kit is a fine addition to any bug-out or survival setup. It doesn’t call for the old school X cuts, which results in less damage to the wound and the strong suction should do a good job bringing the venom out. Wallyworld sells them in their sporting goods department. We live where there are 5 different varieties of poisonous snakes. Rarely see one unless you get off in the timber or rough stuff and that is THEIR habitat. That’s also where many folks would want to ‘bug-out’, should the wheels fall off everything. And yes Col, me too. If I see a damn snake it’s either dead or about to be…

  14. I feel bad for the writer of this article, though I think for the most part it was a good one. The picture of the brown bear alone scares me to death. I thought, “That’s a GRIZZLY.” My wonderful Montana was ruined for me when they started protecting the grizzlies. Those things will literally eat people.

    But my comment is really about the pit bull. Wonderful, sweet dogs. My first dog as a child was a pit bull. Of course there can be bad ones. The meanest dog I ever saw was a cocker spaniel! I think, frankly, that dog was a little mental!

  15. yes pit bulls do have locking jaws.when a pit bites hard enough a small bone in the back of their jaw pops behind another bone they cant control it. if you shoot it our cut it from ear to ear it wiil not let go it takes a break stick to dislodge the bone under bone.and they have a bite at 2200lbs per sq. inch more than any other dog know your facts befor you type

    • Pit bulls DO NOT have locking jaws the myth about the bone you are talking about is false look it up all the studies that have been done. No one can find anything like the litte bone you talk about and most vets say by studying there anatomy that it is impossible for them to lock. Their ill temperament towards humans is due to their training or lack of training. The constant misrepresentation of this breed by dog fighters and people who are scared of them has lead to this supper dog reputation that people fear.

  16. I truly enjoyed your article on attacking animals, all except the Pitbull part. Like others here who commented, you could have spoken about DOG attacks, but singling out Pitbulls was truly just cruel, misinformative, and downright wrong!
    Dogs (any dog) is aggressive when trained to be aggressive, abused, or scared. MOST dogs who are showing aggression can be stopped by just standing your ground, but not facing them directly. Facing them directly is actually a challenging postion. If you stand your ground, stand tall, turn sideways slightly (not your back), and breathe, most dogs will settle down or move away.
    This is for most dogs, NOT JUST PITBULLS! As mentioned, Pitbulls are misaligned, misjudged, and truly mistreated due to this type of stereotyping in articles.
    As for the Grizzlies, yes, when they want to, they will JUST EAT you! Having lived in Alaska for over 23 years, we ALWAYS had ot be careful, because they will attack whether you smell like food or have food around you or NOT!

  17. I was told by a grizzled, old swamp rat, that if I ever got latched on to by a pitbull, to just stick my thumb up his bung hole. They will let go of you everytime but unless you have someone else to help you, they’ll just latch on somewhere else on your anatomy! lol.

  18. larrythecableguy

    Don’t tell me that pit bull’s aren’t dangerous after having to put a 4 year olds hand back together. The four year old had slept with the dog in his room since birth. The dog was raised with the child. The parents were truly distraught after the incident. The child had been sleeping in his bed when the incident happened. All animals are just that animals. Any animal will react to a situation differently and aren’t totally to be trusted.

  19. What the guidebooks always get wrong about bears is giving people one size fits all approaches. As said if you surprise a bear and it attacks you, go fetal with your hands over the back of your neck. It’ll probably swat you around a few times, realize you’re not a threat, and leave you alone.

    If you are ever STALKED by a bear, do the opposite. Scream at it, do not retreat, throw rocks, or if you were smart, pull out the pepper spray, or you WILL be food. Do NOT curl up for a bear that’s looking for dinner. I know a guy that made a show of force to two bears that were following him together on either side (I really would have crapped my pants for that one). But he hiked back, and because he didn’t present as easy prey, 3-5 miles later he was safe, they didn’t go for his car.

    I like my gun, but I’ll take the pepper spray out first any day. Gun’s not good enough, the bear might not have started it, you shouldn’t shoot a bear just because you’re pissing your pants in the bluff charge you provoked. Even most animals on some level understand the concept of don’t be a d**k. The pepper spray WILL work, and it may save the bear’s life too by reinforcing the idea people should be avoided. A bear inhaling that stuff stops like it’s hit a glass wall. By the way, you would too — try to stay upwind if possible, though in slight retreat so you don’t look like you’re trying to flank it. And always carry it either in hand or where you can grab it in a second, or you’ll curse yourself fumbling. Oh yeah, and like they said above, easier said than done, but try to keep a level head, or you could have problems. Make sure female companions understand not to scream/run. And don’t hike with a dog. Love rover, but leave him out of the wilderness. A pet’s behavior is to go out, finds some animal, royally piss it off, and then lead it back to you and/or your family.

    Bears are like people, they have different personalities and will behave differently. The only qualifier is, if I was in cougar country, I’d reconsider the gun, since pepper spray wouldn’t be much good on an animal trying to drag off a kid or something. But make noise and keep your distance and you’ll be good. If you’re hunting, it’s another story. Being stealthy might be the plan, but it presents real risks if you’ve suddenly sneaked up on something you don’t want to.

    There’s good videos on youtube of guys getting their butts kicked by (antlerless I think) deer kicking their forelegs. My take as a vegetarian is karma ultimately gets a say too — bring death to the scene on purpose, you take risks. If I go into the woods, I recognize it’s not my home, it’s theirs. But I’m at least civil enough to shout “Yo!” every minute or two going through bear country, they’re not interested in finding where that’s coming from. I’m fairly sure a griz probably cleared out ahead of me once.

    On snakes, I’ve never really been close enough, but I wonder if having a bandanna on a hiking stick would let you create a decoy target for a snake to strike at, sort of like a matador’s cape, if you found yourself too close. Or maybe tossing it on the ground. Once it struck for the decoy you could back off. Don’t know, hope I don’t get the chance to try it. I like the smaller non-venomous snakes though, I think they’re cool to watch, and they probably do you some kind of pest control favors.

    Mountain cats often attack from behind. Turn around occasionally (as well as to recognize what the terrain will look like coming back the other way). The Vietnamese used to wear face-type masks on the back of their heads to reduce tiger attacks this way. If a cat ever jumps you and bites for your neck, try to reach back fast if you can and gouge its eyes out. But the odds of that one are fairly slim.

    I’m surprise the article didn’t mention the other prevention thing people discussed here, which is keeping food smells off your clothing, cooking away from your campsite, and securing your food in a bear vault or garcia a good ways away, if you can’t hang it well. They’ll knock it around for a ways but won’t do better than scratch it, and prevention is better than cure.

    This is just my theory, but I also carry a small airhorn in my tent, five bucks at Walmart. If something came for my tent, pepper spray might be dicey, even reliable as it is. But they don’t like loud close screeching noises either, and I can probably put up with that better than they can. (Just don’t leave those out on a hot dashboard or they’ll explode sideways into a window.) Second opinions on this idea welcome.

    Final thought: perspective. It’s good to be prepared and informed, but most people don’t have these encounters. Don’t focus so much on animals you forget to pack enough water or at least a filter, or don’t pay attention to how the route you traveled in on. And don’t be ruled by fear – try to enjoy it :-)

  20. Choke hold on a pissed off pit bull? Say he turns his attention to me before getting woozy… he now has intimate access to each and every one of my vital areas.

    I must be missing something.

  21. “How To Survive An Animal Attack” ? The BEST way to is ALWAYS carry a gun . Simple as that !

  22. For all of the animals mentioned (except killer bees) and the one not mentioned (2-legged varmints aka humans trying to hurt/kill you) carry a large caliber firearm that you have practiced with a lot.

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