Protection from attacks

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How do you protect yourself when out?

Firearm
28
43%
Well, I got me knife :)
14
22%
Bear spray/pepper spray
5
8%
I've got my bare hands, that will have to do
11
17%
Hmm, never thought about it
7
11%
 
Total votes: 65

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azdesertfather
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Protection from attacks

Post by azdesertfather » Apr 03 2009 10:23 pm

We're pretty safe hiking in Arizona. There are few animals that theoretically could even attack a human (mountain lion, black bear, a ticked-off elk or javelina), and those cases are very rare. Maybe a swarm of ticked-off Africanized bees.

We hear reports about these things, though they are rare. With rabies on the rise in Arizona, the risk increases slightly.

The question is, do these things prompt you to bring anything with you when you go hiking, camping, etc.? Whether alone, or even if you're bringing pets or children?

Does anyone out there have any stories of being attacked bees or animals in Arizona you want to share? :)
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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azdesertfather
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by azdesertfather » Apr 03 2009 10:30 pm

Wiki article I just found shows that in the last 50 years, there have been no bear fatalities in Arizona. There have only been 4 in the Southwest...1 in Utah, 1 in New Mexico and 2 in Colorado. Doesn't discuss number of attacks, just fatalities. Interesting...

As for known attacks, don't have many stories...I do have a friend who was attacked by a bull elk during mating season just east of Payson. He charged him while he was riding a golf cart in Chaparral Pines with his girlfriend :sl: The elk beat the top of the cart with his horns (no one ended up getting really injured)
Last edited by azdesertfather on Apr 03 2009 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Apr 03 2009 10:34 pm

I rely on my witty repartee and slower hiking partners. :sl:
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JoelHazelton
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by JoelHazelton » Apr 03 2009 11:29 pm

I smell a firearm debate getting ready to brew. I occasionally think about potential animal attacks when I'm trekking in more remote areas, and I usually imagine myself using my hiking poles for defense. I've also got a good fixed blade knife that I keep in my pack, but that's more for cutting things, not protecting myself.
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Strand
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by Strand » Apr 03 2009 11:48 pm

I generally do carry a knife, but like azpride stated, it's for cutting things. Fending off a rabid animal (which is the only kind of animal attack I seem to hear about lately) with a blade would be nearly impossible - as even if you kill or drive off the critter, you're not likely to escape without a few bites or scratches - which means you get to visit the hospital and get a series of shots.

I can't imagine using pepper spray up here. With the winds we get even in the summer months, it'd be sheer luck to dose the critter instead of yourself.

So I put my concealed carry permit to use on most solo hikes and during late night visits to the grocery store.
"Look deep into nature, and the you will understand everything better" Albert Einstein

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joebartels
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by joebartels » Apr 04 2009 3:56 am

dshillis wrote:Wiki article I just found shows that in the last 50 years, there have been no bear fatalities in Arizona.
Seems like some camper that left food under their pillow in their tent around the Bog Springs? area was killed 5? or so years ago. Actually on second thought that sounds ludicrous being south of Tucson. It's early, perhaps I dreamed that along with somebody got killed in Kansas by a shark :?

Anyhow, I looked for "Wash hands & don't sleep on food" but it wasn't a choice :D
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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azbackpackr
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 04 2009 7:40 am

azpride wrote:I smell a firearm debate getting ready to brew.


I got tired of debating this issue ages ago. I carry. Carry if you want to. Don't carry if you don't want to.

My favorite issue to debate right now is legalization of drugs and the failure of the US War on Drugs. And the possible connection to this large set of issues with the decision to euthanize our jaguar, "Macho B." I like to talk about legalizing drugs to stop the cartels from profiting from them...

Guess I should start a new thread about that. However, I am at the beach in California, and it is early morning and the sun is shining. I think I will go to the beach! :)
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azdesertfather
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by azdesertfather » Apr 04 2009 10:14 am

joe bartels wrote:
dshillis wrote:Seems like some camper that left food under their pillow in their tent around the Bog Springs? area was killed 5? or so years ago. Actually on second thought that sounds ludicrous being south of Tucson. It's early, perhaps I dreamed that along with somebody got killed in Kansas by a shark :?
Interesting...I have not heard about that. Anyone else heard of that? I could see it up in the Pinalenos, but that's not really south of Tucson.

I'm sure there have at least been some attacks, even if they haven't been fatal ones...particularly up the 260 east of Tucson
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau

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azbackpackr
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 04 2009 1:25 pm

Most of us who have been around remember well the two bear attacks in the Catalinas in the summer of, I think, 1996. My daughter was actually at one of the youth camps when the worst one occurred, severely injuring 16-year-old Anna Knockel. Her injuries were so severe and there was so much blood loss that it is a miracle she lived. She required many surgeries and was still walking with a cane a year or so later, although I have heard she is much better now.

She did not have food in her tent. There had been problem bears in the area, made worse by a woman who had a cabin in Carter Canyon (of course, this was before the fire) who would drive down to Tucson and buy large buckets of ice cream and put them out on her porch to feed the "poor hungry bears." The forest service, G & F and her neighbors pleaded with her to desist but she adamantly refused. (I knew one of her neighbors, who was my kids' doctor.) After the two attacks occurred, they did slap her with a fine, and the AZ State Legislature also promptly passed a bill against feeding wild animals that had bigger fines and penalties, but it was too late by then to help poor Anna.

Of the people at Camp Lawton attempting to save Anna in her bed that early morning was a guy who had a gun in his truck which was not parked nearby. After many attempts to get the bear off her he ran up to his truck and retrieved the gun and shot the bear.

The previous attack had occurred at the Whispering Winds Girl Scout Camp. A girl of about 12 was mauled, but not anywhere near as severely as Anna was a couple weeks later. It was a different bear, also.

The bears were known problem bears which had been transferred to that area after they had first been causing problems for campers in some other area.
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JimmyLyding
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by JimmyLyding » Apr 04 2009 6:46 pm

Think of it this way: you're much much much much more likely to be hurt/killed driving anywhere in this state rather than by a wild animal

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DarthStiller
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by DarthStiller » Apr 04 2009 11:41 pm

I had a bear walk up on me while in 1998 while deer hunting when I was still living in PA. I had just finished some Taco Bell and the wrappers were sitting out on the ground (I didn't leave them). I'm pretty sure that was why he was making a slow beeline for me.

I just avoided a bee swarm the other day while jogging on the canal. They flew just right in front of me and i almost ran into them. I immediately reversed direction 2 steps and they were already all gone by then. I think if you ever do encounter a swarm while hiking, duck and cover and count to 10 and they should be gone by then.

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PaleoRob
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by PaleoRob » Apr 05 2009 8:50 am

I always have a knife of some sort while hiking. Depending on the location and perceived potential threats (human or animal) I sometimes carry. Certainly not all the time, but on occasion.
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JoelHazelton
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by JoelHazelton » Apr 05 2009 2:24 pm

Stiller wrote:I just avoided a bee swarm the other day while jogging on the canal. They flew just right in front of me and i almost ran into them. I immediately reversed direction 2 steps and they were already all gone by then. I think if you ever do encounter a swarm while hiking, duck and cover and count to 10 and they should be gone by then.
I don't think swarming bees are much to worry about. It's when you get near their nest that they'll attack.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by Jeffshadows » Apr 05 2009 5:14 pm

A boy scout died secondary to injuries sustained in an attack by a bear about nine years ago. He had fallen asleep with what remained of a chocolate bar on his hand with his arm outstretched from the tube tent he was sleeping in...
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BobP
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by BobP » Apr 06 2009 8:27 am

azpride wrote:It's when you get near their nest that they'll attack
When I was 10, we were playing war and I fell on a Yellowjackets nest. I was stung so many times, I had to go to the hospital. Needless to say I hate bees, but I do like honey ;). As far as hiking, I've never been attacked. Although yesterday, on Shaw Butte a man was struggling to control his pitbull and I moved wayyyyy off trail :scared: . I carry a knife, but like others said mostly for cutting stuff not for protection.
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writelots
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by writelots » Apr 06 2009 10:01 am

Interesting this topic should come up... As I'll mention in my trip report, my solo backpack this weekend on Wrightson was made slightly more colorful by the presence at the trailhead of two sherrif's deputies, armed to the teeth (assault rifles, knives and body armor) and headed up the Super Trail. When I querried them as to what was up, they told me that there were folks running drugs over Josephine Pass using the trail system and human mules with really large, heavy backpacks.

Never really wished before that night that I had a weapon. I was at least glad to have my dog. As timid as she is, she barks and has sharp white teeth and would at least provide more deterrent than my 5'4" chubby-girl frame would...

As for wild animals, I don't think that I could ever justify a weapon for them out here. 99% of them dont' want anything to do with you, and if you practice clean camping techniques mentioned earlier, you can really count on sleeping safely. The other 1% - well - I'm not sure I'd be handy enough with a weapon to hit a charging animal of any sort. I mean, I can totally blow the daylights of a 2 liter bottle at 20 yards - but I think it might be a bit different if the two liter had teeth, claws, foam on it's snout and a passion for my tender flesh...
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by Jeffshadows » Apr 06 2009 10:56 am

writelots wrote: When I querried them as to what was up, they told me that there were folks running drugs over Josephine Pass using the trail system and human mules with really large, heavy backpacks.
A forest service LEO told Nick and I the same thing las year down there.

writelots wrote: 99% of them dont' want anything to do with you, and if you practice clean camping techniques mentioned earlier, you can really count on sleeping safely.
Tread lightly and the only shooting of animals will be with your camera. Habitat encroachment is another beast altogether, though...
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Apr 06 2009 12:40 pm

azbackpackr wrote:I think I will go to the beach! :)
I'm so jealous. Make sure you have plenty of protection. I'd say SPF 50 and at least one of those fruity rum drinks with an umbrella in it. :) ;)
I feel a Margaritaville debate starting in this thread.
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aa7jc
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by aa7jc » Apr 28 2009 6:08 pm

azbackpackr wrote:Most of us who have been around remember well the two bear attacks in the Catalinas in the summer of, I think, 1996.
:scared:
Truly a gruesome story and yes I do remember at least the attack on the girl scout. Didn't someone shoot that bear with a handgun to break off the attack?

FWIW, I occasionally carry when backpacking (depending on the area). I seriously dread harming an animal unnecessarily but if someone's blood is going to spill I wont hesitate. In the survey I checked the "pepper spray" answer since it is something I am more likely to always have on me. "Bear bangers" are popular up in Canada and I think they have finally become legal here in the states now.. anyone know about that?

Regarding the threat from Africanized bees... They are a more common threat here in AZ (at least while hiking).. I ALWAYS have a head net in my pocket.. You can buy them at Wal-Mart. It weighs about one ounce and it will save your life.. The bees target your breathing.. They go after your head. If you disturb their home (or anything near their home) by accident, you better have a head net handy.

"Swarming" bees are extremely scary (and noisy) but my understanding is that they are *not* on a war path.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Protection from attacks

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 29 2009 3:22 am

aa7jc wrote:
azbackpackr wrote:Most of us who have been around remember well the two bear attacks in the Catalinas in the summer of, I think, 1996.
:scared:
Truly a gruesome story and yes I do remember at least the attack on the girl scout. Didn't someone shoot that bear with a handgun to break off the attack?.
Just to clarify: The attack on the 12-year-old Girl Scout occurred at Whispering Pines Girl Scout Camp. A couple weeks later, the attack on the 4H Club youth leader, 16-year-old Anna Knockel, occurred at the Camp Lawton Boy Scout Camp, which the 4H Club was renting for a few days. (That was the one where my daughter was present at the time.) And yes, it was a handgun that was used. Following the camp's rules, the adult male leader had left his handgun locked in the glove compartment of his car, rather than bringing it into his tent. If you have ever been to Camp Lawton, then you know the set-up. The parking area is at the entrance, and you have to walk down and carry your gear to the various tent sites scattered about in the woods. So the attack occurred at least 1/4 mile from the parking area, as I recall. After several people were hitting the bear with sticks and banging pans and screaming and the bear did not desist in tearing Anna apart, then that man ran up to his vehicle and got his handgun, ran back and shot the bear. Then the bear stopped attacking Anna, ran off and died.

My daughter said she was awakened at dawn by a lot of screaming and gun shots. She said first someone ran by her tent and screamed at them to stay inside. Then the person ran back and told everyone to go to the mess hall "Right now, don't bring anything!" So she and the others in her tent area ran to the mess hall. They were kept inside there until Sheriff's Dept. vans were brought up the mountain and they were transported to the Tanque Verde Sheriff's station. I received a call from my daughter while I was at work. She asked me to go pick her up there. (At first I thought somehow she had gotten into trouble, which would have been very unlike her!)

That evening all parents and children from the 4H Club were called to a meeting at the UA Campbell Farms. We were told that, although the media was not picking up the entire story, that the man who shot the bear was considered a hero by the Sheriff's Dept. personnel. This man, whose name I have forgotten, did not want any notoriety. I think he may have been also afraid he could get into trouble for having shot the bear. There was a lot of concern that the other children would be permanently traumatized. I don't know about the other children, but my daughter was okay. She didn't actually witness the attack. She was only 11 years old at the time. A couple weeks later we took her and her brothers on a week-long camping trip up on Mt. Graham. She never did seem to have any residual effects, for which we were glad. She later went on to work several summers as a camp counselor at Triangle Y Ranch Camp, and has gone backpacking with me a few times, too. Incidentally, she is graduating from NAU next week! :)

Later on, I heard that Anna's family was able to successfully sue the Forest Service, because the bear in question was not only a well-known, tagged, problem bear, but had actually been born in another mountain range, caused problems with campers there, and had been captured and MOVED to the Catalinas! So they had grounds for a lawsuit for sure. And if you are wondering why Game & Fish officers seem to routinely go in and dispatch (kill) problem mountain lions and bears, you can look to the summer of 1996, when this all went down. Before that, in Arizona, they didn't routinely kill them.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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