Danger In The Woods

Just the other day I saw a report of a man who was killed by a black bear that came into his campsite to make the attack. While the details of that incident are still being investigated, suffice it to say that attacks, sometimes deadly attacks, are made by wild animals. In my opinion, this does not occur very often; but it does occur. With summer upon us, folks are planning vacations in the out-of-doors, while others are moving out of the city hoping to enjoy a home in the country. In both cases, people should be aware that the wild animals that they encounter are capable of causing injury and even death. It is just a really good idea to have a plan for dealing with this as a part of the overall personal defense plan.

The first step is to get some education. One needs to not only know what wild animals may be encountered but also their potential for causing injury. What are the physical characteristics and body language of a particular animal?  What actions on the part of a human can upset an animal enough to make an attack? You really don’t want to wait until you are between a mother bear and her cubs to find out that this is not a good place to be. In the case of bears, one will learn that keeping a campsite clean of trash and properly storing food is an excellent idea. With mountain lions, one might learn that certain small household pets look like food to the big cats.

It is also important to know that distance is your friend when dealing with wild animals. You really don’t have to get close to get good pictures; that’s why they make telephoto lenses for cameras. I cringe at the videos we see every year from the various parks with people walking up to bison, moose and even grizzly bears. It is really a wonder that there aren’t more deaths than there are.

Finally, a person should understand that strange behavior on the part of a wild animal may indicate rabies. An animal can have rabies and spread rabies long before they begin to look at emaciated and slobbering. Again, education is valuable.

In the extreme, we may have to defend ourselves or our family. Mountain lions are not particularly tough creatures and can be dealt with using the hollowpoint ammunition and defensive-handgun calibers that one would use against human criminals. Grizzlies, black bear, and feral hogs are a good bit tougher due to strong muscles and big bones; a strong bullet that will give more penetration is indicated.

The key is to educate yourself. Keep your distance and stay in Condition Red. If things look bad, leave the area.

In the end just keep some basic safety rules in mind: Enjoy your time in the woods and for goodness sake, DON’T PET THE BUFFALO!

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