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Animal Encounters in the Backcountry


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Animal Encounters in the Backcountry

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #3802593
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Animal Encounters in the Backcountry

    Ryan shares some principles about how to manage wildlife encounters, based on his own encounters with wild animals in the backcountry.

    #3802596
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Good info in the video.

    Cattle can be dangerous too, killing on average about 22 Americans each year. https://petkeen.com/how-many-people-killed-by-cows/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Centers%20for%20Disease%20Control%2C%20about,are%20responsible%20for%2010%20of%20the%2022%20deaths.

    I have been a little worried lately camping in heavy Whitetail Deer country because many nights bucks will approach about 35 yds away, snort loudly and stomp the ground trying and intimidate me to leave.  Haven’t heard of anybody getting stomped on but I’m starting to think it could be possible. Should I be concerned?

    But if you take day hikers into account, along with backpackers, I’ve got to believe dogs would be responsible for the most attacks and injuries on people by far. That’s why I prefer a heavier (9.3 oz) retractable aluminum trekking pole on many hikes because it can serve as an effective spear when extended or a solid club when retracted. Also depending on where I go, I sometimes carry a 4 oz  canister (fog) of 4% OC Fox pepper spray on my pack shoulder strap. Not enough distance for Grizzly but it will reach out about 15 feet and possibly stop black bear and for sure most dogs. Actually the Fox brand is even stronger than the Counter Assault bear spray in the big canisters. https://foxlabs.com/products/44ftm

     

    #3802608
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    A few years ago, I ran into a group of well over 100 elk. They were females and babies mostly, with maybe 20-30 young males, hanging out by a lake, and I wanted to pass through on the trail. As I started to walk towards the group, instead of scattering, they bunched up and moved towards me. I made some noise and banged my trekking poles together, but they didn’t care. Then a group of about a dozen babies started running towards me, looking very curious, and I decided it was time to turn around and beat a retreat.

    This photo shows about half of the group. They were really fun to see, and I had never imagined for a minute that there would be any danger with a group like this. But they just weren’t acting the way I have come to expect elk to act.

    #3802617
    Dustin V
    BPL Member

    @dustinv

    That was a good, well organized presentation. I had similar presentations when I was a teenager (mid-80s) working in Yellowstone park and this was a lot more comprehensive, but more about practical rules than stories from rangers intending to scare surly teenagers. Also good to see that overall the advice hasn’t changed a lot.

    #3802675
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Coyotes are also something to consider, especially in Southern California. They seem to get bolder and less fearful of humans all the time and they’re worse around suburban areas where they are rarely hunted. When I lived on a small ranch in Cave Creek, AZ coyotes would come right into your yard and grab your small dog or cat without any hesitation…. in broad daylight no less. Just like in SoCal, they use the drainage ditches as superhighways. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_attack

    Small children are more vulnerable of course and there certainly have been attacks. Sometimes on adult hikers too. Virtually never fatal but getting bitten wouldn’t be a good thing.

    #3802676
    Glen L
    BPL Member

    @wyatt-carson

    Locale: Southern Arizona

    While this is lion country with the occasional jaguar we normally look out for javalina who are very defensive and the various pit vipers who are extremely defensive. When javalina feel they are encroached upon they always charge a perceived ambush. My eyesight is worse than theirs now and after almost stepping on one it did charge after twisting and snorting all around me.

    Lions are more stealthy but we have marked several kill sites, most in the bottom of steep gullies. One deer left a good sized rack of horns.

     

    We have more species of rattlesnakes in Arizona than any other state. My favorite is one that only resides in Arizona and northern Sonora, no other state. That would be the Tiger, beautiful horizontal banding, small head and large rattles. Every single one we have encountered rattles immediately. Many of the common diamondbacks don’t rattle at all unless one hovers a bit and then only maybe. Last year we encountered five rattlesnakes, two Tigers and three diamondbacks. Got some stunning images and two very creepy videos.

     

    We don’t have much in the way of ticks but mosquitoes are the most deadly animals around.

    while we often encounter bears in the high country one did come along  as we sipped our tea in a canyon bottom at 2700’ elevation.

    #3802804
    Glen L
    BPL Member

    @wyatt-carson

    Locale: Southern Arizona

    One of the most impressive wildlife encounters I’ve ever witnessed was three pronghorn antelope running from south to north at 60 mph in the Petrified Forest. It was hard to wrap my head around that sight. The herds there are interesting. One was very curious about a friend who was out on the edge dividing the grassland from the erosion. Most of the time they run away but this one kept prancing closer then back and forth. There are good herds of pronghorn in northern Arizona along with elk and in southeastern Arizona in the grassland. The “barking” elk are kind of scary in the darkness.

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