- May 1, 2020 at 10:44 am #3644512
Black bears, lions, coyotes, scorpions, and rattlesnakes don’t trouble me; this is far more terrifying.
Imagine running into these fellows in a remote canyon while out for a solo hike…I’d soil my pants.
They had to be hungry…..
A friend and I once hid (climbed a boulder) from a passing pack of wild dogs in the Joshua Tree National Park backcountry; there were at least 15 of every size, including a few pitbulls and shepherds. I asked a ranger about it later. “Oh, yeah, it’s one of the wild packs that goes in and out of the park…”
I most definitely do not want wild dogs mentioned in my obituary.May 1, 2020 at 12:35 pm #3644521
I’m pretty sure I know where you saw those dogs in JT. I’ve seen a few of those packs (or maybe the same one?).
They’re in the area on the border between Yucca Valley and JTNP. Starting at the NW corner of JTNP, there is a radio tower above Long Canyon, and all the way east to the area where La Contenta Rd goes to Upper Covington Flats.
To say the least, it is quite unnerving. I’ve never owned a firearm, and have seriously considered buying one for this specific area, because I hike there often. Loaded firearms are not allowed in JTNP. Also have thought about bear spray or an air horn.
What I have been doing for the past 10 years, or so, is carry a big knife on my belt (which I never took backpacking before) and a hiking staff with a seriousass metal tip. If a pack of 15 wild dogs attacked me, there is probably a good chance none of these defenses would save me.
This reminds me . . . I need to take you on an in and out of Long Canyon. 10 miles each way and November is usually the perfect month.May 1, 2020 at 12:55 pm #3644522idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
I also encountered some wild dogs when backpacking Joshua Tree. They were pretty scary looking…May 1, 2020 at 12:55 pm #3644523
I’m with Nick – I never carry a gun in grizzly country but I’d consider one for a pack of feral dogs if there was any history of them attacking people.
Rather than the usual UL aluminum / CF trekking pole, I’d consider a lightweight 60″ wooden broom handle, 7/8″ or 1″ diameter. About $4-5 at the hardware store, with a metal or wooden screw end. Then mount a wrist strap at my usual trekking pole height but have the added length for a faster swing and greater distance during defensive use.
Also: such a strong, rigid but longer-than-normal hiking staff (or even a 6-foot one) is exactly what you want in The Narrows in Zion NP.May 1, 2020 at 12:59 pm #3644524
Interesting advertising partnership, Nick. I’d be worried about stumble after a few nights out.
May 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm #3644527
You nailed it Nick, it was in the Upper Covington area coming in from La Contenta Road. We were seriously a little freaked…the pack was definitely out “hunting”. Totally bizarre sight…chihuahuas, mutts, pitbulls, shepherds, a husky mix…a seriously motley crew out running the plains and coming in our direction. We both climbed the best rock we could find and drew knives until they passed.
Very rarely have I been in situations where I’ve felt I’ve wanted a firearm for protection backpacking. But this was one of them.
But a group of Cane Corsos? Talk about a scary dog.May 1, 2020 at 1:11 pm #3644530
LOL David! I have no interest in finding out if Nick endorses his advertisers’ claims.May 1, 2020 at 1:17 pm #3644533Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I was on a trail and was attacked by a dog once. I just lifted my foot up to kick it. Then it’s owners appeared and said I spooked it.
What? First let your aggressive dog loose and then accuse people being attacked of being a spook??? It’s ears were down and it wasn’t barking, seemed quite threatening. Oh well, no harm no foul.
Carrying a stick (or trekking pole) is good dog defense. I don’t know about a pack though. I think poking it would be good. Dogs are afraid of sticks?May 1, 2020 at 2:22 pm #3644554
Interesting advertising partnership, Nick.
LOL David! I have no interest in finding out if Nick endorses his advertisers’ claims.
So this is how ads work, and I use three sources.
- Google Ads
Between all three I make about $100 per month, which pays to run the website.
If someone clicks a link on my site to Amazon and buys something, then I get a commission, Usually around 4%-5%. The cost to the consumer doesn’t change (e.g., go up if they click on one of my links).
I get to pick which companies I want to use, and the company needs to agree. If I choose a company, AvantLink contacts them, they review my site and decide if they want to participate. Sometimes companies contract me first. Usually the company provides a rotating series of ads, and I can pick which ads I want to use. I only use companies whose products I use. Some of the larger “cottage” companies use AvantLink, but I don’t partner with them because I don’t use their products. If someone clicks on a link and buys something, I get a commission varying from 5% – 10%.
I get a commission if someone just clicks on an ad. No extra commission if they purchase. So don’t click on one of my Google ads if you have no interest. What Google does, is serve up ads based on the user’s browsing history, because they want to place ads the user might want to view. Google isn’t making money on items purchased either.
Now, as an example, yesterday Craig posted that he bought a new Samsung refrigerator, and jokingly asked if anyone knew where he could buy gold Trump letters to replace the Samsung logo, since his stimulus check said it was from President Trump. I did a quick Google search, found that Trump has a website that sells Trump trash and trinkets, and posted that link in response to Craig’s tongue-in-cheek question. I just went to my website and this is what came up . . . a Google ad for trumpstore.com
If Joyce and I were to go to my website at the exact same time, on different devices, I’ll probably get an ad from someone like REI, she’ll get one from MAC cosmetics, who cater to black women. If Doug were to turn off his Ad Blocker, he might get one from Adam & Eve, Fredrick’s of Hollywood, or Victoria’s secret – sorry Doug, I couldn’t resist ;-)May 1, 2020 at 3:04 pm #3644557Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
what??? Doug looks at Victoria’s Secret and Fredrick’s of Hollywoood?
uh oh, now I’m going to start getting ads from them : )May 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm #3644583Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada North
Yikes! That sounds scary as H E double hockey sticks! Did the ranger mention if the park was taking any action to remove them?May 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm #3644588
@idester, oops, I meant Doug, not Mike!
@Alex, I believe they said they were trying to trap them but it was very difficult as they were very adaptable and utilized the wilderness/city interface on the borders of the park. Nick might know better and chime in, he lives near there.May 1, 2020 at 6:48 pm #3644598KatttBPL Member
Oh no. That is terrifying! Dogs are much scarier than wild animals for sure.
Two years ago I went with Chris to look at a loader he was going to fix , in a “yard” that had about a dozen dogs, several on chains. One was a particularly mean looking pit and I miscalculated the length of his chain when walking around . Next thing he was next to me, his shoulders by my leg, completely still and tense ( if you have ever seen two dogs shoulder to shoulder, still and tight right before the fight starts…). I could feel the fear overwhelm me and I knew he could feel it too and at any moment he’d attack me. I called out to Chris to “come here” and thank goodness he just left the guy he was talking to and walked over right away . As he got to me he scratched the dogs’ head and I told him to walk me away and he did. Right after that the owner came and told us he watched the whole thing and was sure the dog was going to go for me; he was terrified of the dog himself. A week later we heard he killed another one of the dogs there and was put down. Ever since that event I can get really scared around some dogs and I know I am partly responsible because my fear makes them feel like there is something to be afraid and so they get tense. In that case I kept wishing I could overcome it and confidently walk the 4 feet away to safety but I could feel the whole situation collapse and knew it was moments away from something bad.
anyway, that was a marginally related story but it speaks to scary dogs…
May 1, 2020 at 7:55 pm #3644607
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Kattt.
I know that frightening stand-still tension well…no good! You’re very lucky you weren’t attacked…May 1, 2020 at 9:22 pm #3644626Luke SchmidtBPL Member
When I was a teenager I’d occasionally hear of similar wild dog packs. General concesses was they were very bad news so I think caution is warranted.
If someone could (legally) take them out I’d see it as a very good thing. But not something I would attempt with some little backpacking pistol. Stories I heard involved rifles and multiple dead dogs before the rest got the idea.May 1, 2020 at 9:30 pm #3644627Tom KBPL Member
Those dogs in that first picture were Mastiffs, if I’m not mistaken? Forget about defense if they come for you. It’d most likely be over before you could get a shot off. They are a terrifying breed, and I’m guessing feral ones would be even more so. I had an encounter with a pair of Great Danes while running in rural Michigan long ago. They came after me from a farm house and I was out in the open, with no place to cover my back. When one started to circle around behind me I realized I was in really deep sh!t and mentally prepared for the worst. Just in time the lady of the house came running out and called them off, reassuring me, “Don’t worry, they’re friendly”. Uh….right…. They weren’t Mastiffs, but close enough for me to internalize the consequences of encounters with dogs of that size, and the likely outcomes.May 2, 2020 at 8:49 am #3644654PaulWBPL Member
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
The only creatures I’ve ever been truly threatened by during my outdoor pursuits are domestic/feral dogs and the, thankfully rare, crazy human. My hiking poles have saved my butt more than once, but they didn’t prevent a border collie from ripping up my pant leg. I can’t imagine running into the dogs shown in the photo above. Is anyone making an SUL gun? :)May 2, 2020 at 9:43 am #3644665HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
They’ve been a PITA mostly near the outskirts. Even 35 years ago, my high school friends on motocross motorcycles were chased by a pack of wild dogs. A dog bite is bad but then you’ve got a pack..
If they won’t respect a sputtering loud engine, doubt hikers would scare them. One reason I try not to hike near town or city limits actually. It’ll be awhile before animal control gets to them, but not enough coyotes or mountain lions to eat ‘em.May 2, 2020 at 10:51 am #3644670Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
Counter Assault bear spray would be my first choice against a pack of dogs. Then when they’re incapacitated I’d run my carbide tipped trekking pole through them or bash their skulls in with my retracted pole. I switched to a heavier Komperdell Powerlock pole years ago. It’s made of high-grade 7071 aluminum. Extremely durable. You don’t want to engage in combat with a dog carrying a light carbon pole because it’ll break like a pretzel, nor does it have enough mass.
I like Nick’s idea of the knife and staff, but I’d take it a step further and engineer the staff to where I could quickly attach an AR-15 bayonet. You’d be far more lethal that way.
May 2, 2020 at 10:55 am #3644673
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Monte Masterson.
Paul: there are a slew of UL guns now, from the long-available (and hard to shoot) North American Arms mini .22LR revolvers to sub-compact 9mm pistols.
For a pack of dogs, Kel-Tech’s PMR-30 is light (13.5 ounces empty) but holds 30 rounds of .22 magnum (zippier than .22LR), and everyone reports the sights and trigger are very good. Minimal recoil but lots of noise and muzzle blast. A bit over a pound loaded with 30 rounds. Full-sized but so light because of polymer construction and the small rounds.
Not the stopping power of a 9mm Glock but a half / third the weight, quick follow up due to minimal recoil, and 30 rounds before reloading. YMMV, especially in CA.
May 2, 2020 at 11:26 am #3644683PaulWBPL Member
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by David Thomas.
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
David, thanks for that info. I’m intrigued enough that I’m now doing some research.
I don’t want to hijack this thread, but since Monte mentioned it; has anyone ever had success using bear spray on dogs? A local sheriff and our animal control officer both told me that some dogs will become more aggressive when exposed to bear spray or mace.May 2, 2020 at 11:49 am #3644686PedestrianBPL Member
but not enough coyotes or mountain lions to eat ‘em
From what I understand mountain lions will not confront dogs, especially not a pack of aggressive dogs.
A while back I ran into a couple of Fish and Game people who study the local mountain lion population in the Santa Cruz mountains and the surrounding Bay Area. Their truck was parked on a remote fire road up in the hills where we were hiking. The truck had several caged hunting dogs; they said two of the dogs were out chasing a previously collared mountain lion down a steep drainage and we could hear them barking in the distance. According to them, the lion would climb a tree where the dogs couldn’t get to it. The dogs were trained to bark to signal that the lion had been “treed”. The lion would then be brought down with a tranquilizer gun to check it out and get blood samples etc.
I asked them if the dogs were at any risk of being harmed by the lions. He laughed and said he would only be concerned about his dogs being attacked by the vicious wild feral hogs but not by mountain lions.May 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm #3644691KarenBPL Member
I have personally used bear spray on dogs. In this one case at least, it worked very well. I bike to work most days, and two dogs owned by a neighbor were frequently troublesome, chasing everyone and anyone on the road. We complained and the neighbor didn’t care; he was not going keep his dogs from “being free.” I started carrying expired bear spray and one day when the dogs came chasing me, I stopped. As the bolder of the two approached me, snarling and growling, I hit him face on with a shot of spray. The second dog got a whiff, since the wind was blowing in his direction (not mine, fortunately). Both dogs ran off, pawing at their faces. I got just enough of the blast to make me think I was in my kitchen with my husband grinding dried chilies! Neither dog ever chased anyone again.
It’s not nice, but neither is getting daily harassment. I’d rather have sprayed the neighbor, but that’s not really advisable. Anyway, not sure if this would work on a “pack” of dogs but better than nothing.
Pet owners don’t realize that their pets are not always friendly to everyone else. Some years back we had a very sad case up here. Two huskies were allowed to roam free on a rural road. One day a couple of early teen-aged kids were going by, and the dogs attacked. One child was badly mauled. The owner was horrified and put her dogs down; they had never shown any sign of aggression, but hadn’t been around children either. Bottom line: dogs are pets, keep them secured or in your line of sight 24/7.
As to feral dogs – it’s controversial, but I’m in favor of hunting out any non-native species from parks and wilderness areas. Even the furry ones we call pets. Okay, pile on people! lolMay 2, 2020 at 12:31 pm #3644692KarenBPL Member
I guess I should say that I don’t hate dogs or cats. I have had my own pet dogs for 25+ years. And while I’m not a big cat lover (mostly because I love birds more) I’ve known a few that were nice to be around. They just don’t belong “free” on public lands.
May 2, 2020 at 1:01 pm #3644696
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by Karen.
I believe they said they were trying to trap them but it was very difficult as they were very adaptable and utilized the wilderness/city interface on the borders of the park. Nick might know better and chime in, he lives near there.
This has been an on going problem for years, and as Craig mentioned the border area causes jurisdictional issues. Over the years JTNP has reported a few cases of dogs killing bighorn sheep, a huge concern for the NPS. The shelter in the town of Yucca Valley is run by the County and the town, serving Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley, and houses about 5,000 dogs per year. The population of Morongo and Yucca Valley is just under 25,000 people. But this just part of the numbers. If you drive highway 62 through Morongo Valley — Yucca Valley — the unincorporated community of Joshua Tree — Twentynine Palms, you will a preponderance of animal shelters.
The problem is growing elsewhere. A couple years ago the Whitewater preserve (PCT goes thru here) was closed for a while because feral dogs had killed cattle up in the hills.
Last year I had a couple encounters with feral dogs in the Mecca Hills Wilderness and then the adjacent Orocopia Wilderness. It is too hot for them to survive here in the summer, and they travel down to the agricultural community of Mecca for water. Mecca has had a loose dog problem for decades. It has a third world feeling and many live in third world conditions. Last year the County captured something like 36 dogs the day before Halloween, so the kids could go trick-or-treating.
The problem is growing down here. When we adopted Corky about 13 years ago, it took us months to find him. We visited every shelter in the county, and I would guess about 90% of the dogs were large breeds, mostly pit bulls. Usually every small breed had a waiting list of several people before the dog could be released for adoption.
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