Animal Defense in the Field?


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I'm in the northeast where natural predators are not so much a factor (I've spent a lot of time in the woods and never had a problem), but been thinking about SD, WY, etc. and wondering how solo prospectors manage with mountain lions all around. I've read recent reports of hunters being stalked and attacked, and not always from behind. Considering the crouching position a prospector makes, this looks like lunch to a cougar. How do you all manage?

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Hello PaulM,

You have a good point. We have Lions here in Arizona, but I've always seen the back end of them. I think by making noise, especially if you're alone will help. I also carry a handgun just in case I would need to use it. I would never use it unless my life was threatened. I don't go around target practicing on animals or snake (just my preference).

My thoughts, know your surroundings, be observant, where proper clothing, make noise and potentially have a means of protection, such as a handgun.

Hope this helps,

Rob Allison

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Get You a good dog, like a lab, for your hunting partner, you'll have good company, doigs don't talk so your spots will be kept to your self, and the dog will always protect you. just mt thoughts. I know lots of guys that go it alone, but they all have dogs that are well mannered and go with them. Grubstake

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Dogs are great companions and good domestic protection but I've read that dogs can actually attract mountain lions and other natural predators.

Seems most folks carry a sidearm. In one incident I read about, a Montana hunter dropped his rifle and ran, and while being attacked, resorted to his sidearm at close range, which dispatched the lion. Bear spray might be a good solution as well. With grizzlies, I've read that bear spray is more effective for survival than shooting a charging bear.

In the Gold Rush, how many of those panners were attacked by mountain lions? I'd think a lot of them would have been, but I don't read much about that.

I spent a summer backpacking in Colorado, in really remote locations, sleeping on the ground under a tarp, and never saw sign of a mountain lion. Given where I was, I know they had to have seen me.

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One place I frequent has an overpopulation of bears. When I do not have my dogs, the bears are a real big issue. With dogs around, I never see them...... Gun will do no good on a big cat..... they are top notch stalker. Most people that get attacked never even knew it was coming until the end. Rattlers are another issue. you need to keep vigilant maybe wear snake gaiters but..... human adults very rarely die from bites. Certainly not fun but generally not life threatening.

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Hello Guys,

I have to agree if a Cat wanted to get you, it wouldn't be hard. However, if a Cat jumped me, I would only hope I might have fighting chance for at least a minute or so. I would hope and pray I could get my handgun off and pump a few rounds into the Cat while we were rolling around on the ground. This is being optimistic and hoping he didn't ripe my neck apart first.

I think for the most part they don't want any part of you. I think the slow metal detecting that most do is not what would trigger them. I think it's the quick running motions that excite them to chase you down.

Heck, I could be wrong, but I'm still going to prepare myself when I go out regardless. A 10% chance of survival is better than no chance in my book.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I sure as hell hope that I don't run into a brown bear here in NorCal! Maybe a black bear, but a better known term for a brown is a grizzly. I take my catahoula leopard hound with me whenever I am out prospecting. She sits and watches me at all times. Like Grubstake said, a dog is your best friend. If you hunt in rattlesnake country, get your dog the anti-venom snake bite shot just in case. I was out today hunting and she just stays a close vicinity and lets out a bark if she sees anything. I love my dog and she will die to protect her family. Now if I could get that nose to sniff out the gold.....

Cheers,

Matt

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You guys make good jokes. About the brown bear, I might use the name wrong. In Yosemite, they were "brown" colored but I think black bears in species; not grizzlies. I guess if looking for a hunting buddy one could post, "Cougar Bait Wanted."

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I've had many run ins with cats and bears over the years and bears normally will back down from you if you move away SLOWLY. There are exceptions and you may have to fight or shoot. But a cat that approaches you is real cause for concern, they are usually young and inexperienced or old and starving or injured in some way and under no circumstance should you run ---you have to stand your ground or move away very slowly--NEVER turn your back on them, try to appear as large and frightening as you can, wave your arms or whatever you can get ahold of over your head to appear bigger, but be prepared to fight with whatever you have at hand because if it is bold enough to stalk you chances are it will follow through. I've seen many cats (lions) over the years and had 4 close encounters 1 left as soon as he figured out what i was 2 left after backing me up about 50 feet and 1 ended badly for the cat (young cat about 60 lbs) i cannot express this enough DO NOT RUN thats just ringing the dinner bell to them. The part about being bent over panning--don't sweat it -- if one jumps you from behind you won't feel it for long, if at all. Hedge your bets and carry a side arm i always do, as far as the dog thats ok but one dog is just a scobbie snack to a hungry cat! Chances are you will never see a cat so have a great time prospecting, i know i do.

Dirty Ike

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A year or so ago, a gent was Eaten by a cat up in P.A. New Mexico in his front yard.

He was taking a shower with a garden hose butt necked and was taken down.

The cat ate his buttock.

It can happen.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2436680520080625

I carry a Ruger Mark II, not a cannon but Loud and 10 shots.

The Dog is the Weapon.

Second set of eyes and ears with a added bonus a good nose! :rolleyes:

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If you take your dog detecting be sure to train him not to sniff your coil. Those dog tags can blow your ears out. Also in Az you have to watch for Javelinas . My friend Ronnie took his dog detecting one day and it chased some Javelinas. They had some babies in the herd and they turned on the dog . Ronnie rushed the dog to the vet and it took 43 stitches to close up the wounds. Myself, I detect alone all the time in lion and snake country. Never give the lions a second thought. I worry more about breaking a leg than anything. I watch where I step or put my hands while in snakey looking places. I never pack a gun. I have plenty of them , but would rather use the weight savings to pack an extra bottle of water. You are way more likely to die of thirst than to get eaten by a lion. We have bears even down here in the desert and I've seen more of them than lions . They were all moving as fast as they could to get away from me. Honestly, On my list of dangerous things are : breaking down in the desert, breaking a leg, getting stuck, running out of water. The last thing I worry about are the animals. I maintain my vehicles to the MAX. I really watch my footing and despite the care I've always taken, I've still taken some bad spills and that really scares me. I've had a broken leg and I know that nobody is going to make it very far before they either go into shock or pass out. All in all I feel that I'm much safer in the desert than in any city. I'll pack a gun in the city .-----Bob

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Personally, I worry about Africanized Bees more than anything at all. Sure the Mountain lions are a concern but damn, those bees scare the heck out of me...You dont have a chance if they chose to attack you .. at least with everything else you might have a chance for survival.

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Two weeks ago I was beeping along a ridge top when suddenly I was completely enveloped in a black cloud of bees...Although a few bumped me, the mass just went around me and continued on across the desert...I've had a few lion encounters and many rattler encounters, but standing in the midst of a cloud of bees thick enough to block the sun was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me in the desert...But not a single sting! ... Hope I didn't use up my nugget luck! ...Cheers, Unc

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