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I was wondering if anyone living in the mountains have had run ins with coyotes where you felt your life was in danger. I have, and it was suggested to me that I wear a bell when walking the land and carry bear mace or a pelllet gun. Now I've learned that since coyotes mate with wolves and feral dogs and have become more aggressive that they can be the size of a healthy german sheperd and pellets will bounce off them and mace just makes them mad. Hate to think I can't take a late afternoon stroll without a gun on my hip, but I came across at least two coyotes with a fresh kill and had no weapon on me but my camera! The vocal warnings they were giving me was no joke. I'm an animal lover as much as anyone, but don't want to be "dog meat" either... anyone have first hand experience, ideas, etc. Thanks.

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Yona, your position is sound, as long as the animals behave as expected. There have been instances where coyotes have attacked humans. Feral dogs, given their habit of running in packs, sometimes become much more aggressive than a lone dog would, and can easily take down a human who is unarmed. Also, there are estimated to be tens of thousands of rabid wild animals in North America in any given year, and even a rabid possum or raccoon can, and have been known to, attack humans. There is nothing at all wrong with carrying a firearm as insurance, where legal to carry and when the carrier is well-educated on the gun's use.

And FWIW, coyotes will be shot on sight on my 15 acres.
Good evening all. First let me say, I apologize as it seems I may have offended some of you who have already made the move from the overpopulated cities/suburbs of Florida to the peaceful and serene environment of the mountains. I'm so jealous!!

I also want to clarify.... we have no intention of making a habit out of using a firearm to scare off wildlife. Believe me, using it at all will be a last resort; but if I have to use it, I'd like to know how, hence, my interest in the safety course. I would much prefer to use a stick or make noise as several of you have suggested. The bell/whistle ideas are great!! Thank you for that!

My father, whose lived in remote mountain areas such as Colorado, Washington State, and Ocean Falls, British Columbia for the last 30 years, advised us it would be better to be prepared than not. I remember as a little girl, hiking & camping in remote areas, he always carried a firearm of some sort for protection purposes only.

Some of the full-time residents in our new neighborhood have also suggested we consider carrying a small weapon when walking our dogs, if not for our protection then for theirs. I plan to suggest to them the bell/whistle options as well.

Once again, I apologize if I offended anyone. It was not my intention. Have a wonderful evening!
It is not a matter of offending anyone. You don't know what it is like until you are attacked.

I was attacked by a wild turkey. And I can tell you all the noise I made did no good. It flew low at me and attacked. It was not provoked. I wish I would have had a gun on me that day. I had a stick, did no good. Used my hands and screamed to no avail. I even had someone else try to pull that bird off of me and it didn't work either. He had the bird by the neck and I was slapping the bird, all the while the bird was ripping my leg apart. It was two people against one very strong turkey...and the turkey still one in my book. I go out for a walk now, a gun goes with including bullets. I hunt and enjoy the mountains. I respect the animals. I have had black bears come up and pull my pant legs while hunting. But now a casual walk in the woods involve a gun, and it isn't the bears that I am afraid of.
Here in Utah coyotes have learned to keep away from humans since for decades they have been trapped and shot by livestock owners. The few encounters I have had was mainly seeing the south end of a north bound coyote.

Sheep herders out here are using Pyrenees dogs to protect their herds. These can be very aggressive and have been know to chase people and some people I know have had too close an encounter which was resolved with a pistol. Often the Pyrenees are left behind to fend for themselves once the sheep have been taken off the rangeland. They will kill deer, elk and other animals just to survive.

Cow moose, with a calf, are some that really need to be avoided. We have quite a few around our cabin site. A cow will attack if you go near her calf. A few years ago a man was killed in Alaska by a cow moose.

Raccoons are becoming more of a problem, and skunks. If they are in packs of 3 or more they will attack your dog. We have had a couple of close calls at our cabin. I generally keep a .22 pistol with shotshells backed up with .22 shorts. This is due to the restriction on "bigger" guns within our cabin area. Raccoons and skunks carry rabies out here, that is a very big concern with outdoor living.

We get the occassional black bear, but they stay away from humans here. One boy was killed about three years ago by a black bear. The family was camping in an unauthorized campground; sad but true. The bear was caught and killed a couple of day later.

We have only had a couple of wolf issues in Utah in the last few years. They are 'unofficially' here, but keep away from 'civilized' areas. I have seen their 'sign' on occassion, but only once thought I seen one in the Wasatch Mtns a few years ago.

Mountain lions will wander into town on occassion. Barking dogs and too many people keep them away. They generally avoid human contact and can be scared off by yelling and throwing rocks.

Feral dogs are another matter. These will run in packs in rural areas and have become very aggressive. There have been quite a few pets attacked and killed by these 'dogs'. They are fair game by state law.

I always carry a pistol (.357) when hiking in the woods - just in case.
Seems like folks are pretty much split between the gun / no gun decision. I appreciate everyone's experiences and ideas. Above all else though... I'm going to make sure I'm fully awake and not just to the Disney aspect of the beauty around me, but educated to the environment.
This is a very interesting discussion! I just thought I would share a story about when we lived in Willow, Alaska. During each spring, the bears in our area would come out of hibernation and head down to the creeks for salmon and berries, etc. We lived next to a cleared out electric line and the bears really liked to use that beautiful wide path. Why go through the woods when there was a nice path? We had several goats that we kept in an electric fence up near the house. One night, I heard the funniest noise from one of our goats. It was the loudest snort that I have ever heard from a goat. My husband got up to look and called to me "It's nothing but the tree bears." I laughed because I thought he was joking. But thought better of it, and got up to find a mama grizzly and 2 nearly grown cubs walking down the electric line path. (Remember it is light all night during the summer.) My husband had his gun ready, just in case we needed it to protect our goats. Wow! That was exciting.
The next night was even more exciting. The goat again woke us up with a snort. This time, we saw a small black bear that had probably just been kicked out by his mother. He was exploring the world on his own now, without his mother's expertise. He walked slowly up to our electric fence. My husband watched to see if the bear was going to come through the fence to get our goats. The bear sniffed the one strand of electric fence (they can feel the current with their noses), but decided to come under it anyhow. (Sometimes their fur can keep them from being shocked.) My husband aimed his gun and I thought he was going to shoot the bear, but "crack!!" he shot off a small branch of the tree above the bear, which fell right on top of the bear. It startled the bear, who sat down in a puddle of water, touching the electric fence at the same time. That bear got the shock of his life!! I have never heard of a bear doing a back flip, but he did!! He somersaulted backwards and took off at a speed I never thought possible for a bear! Evidently, he learned his lesson, because he never came back.
Conclusion: Keep a gun, but only if you learn to use it. Guns are not just for killing. They can be used for warning shots like my husband gave. They can be used for fun in target practice. They can be used for protection and for peace of mind. It is up to you!!
Talk about a coincidence... living in the boonies and bears (oh my). I have a great story and I got it on video to boot! A couple of hours ago I was sitting at my desk and a black bear cub strolls by my window. I uploaded the video here, or you can see it on my blog:
What a great movie! That is so much like my story. Wow!! You had great presence of mind to take a video and your gun. You did just what we have talked about. You watched out for mama. You yelled and made noise, yet you had your gun in case you needed it. I was wondering if you were going to have to shoot above that black bear's head. Good thing he got the message. All's well that ends well! What wonderful footage.
The inner city boons and thugs are much more dangerous than any wild animals.
Roger that!
You mentioned getting a small gun. Advice - get the biggest gun you are comfortable shooting. Small guns just kinda pith them off. Don't carry a gun at all unless you are fully willing to use it.
Although you don't have grizzlies in your area, a funny story comes to mind. I was at Mt Ranier visiting my son once and I sat in on an orientation for hikers being give by one of the other rangers. He recommended carrying a whistle and pepper spray. Then he told how to tell the difference between a black bear and grizzly bear by their sign. Of course the most obvious was the difference in track size. He also said you can look at the scat and black bear scat will be full of berry seeds and whatever else is ripe at the time. Grizzly scat will smell like pepper and have little whistles in it.
They say that exact same thing here in Alaska at Denali National Park!!


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