Feral Dogs


May 1, 2003, 10:21 PM
Up at the camp I where I work, there is a stealthy feral dog population. The camp is on a group of 2 islands in the middle of a river, with most of the facilities on the southern island and a few areas such as shooting and COPE on the northern. During the on season, the dogs are scared enough of people that they disappear to a deserted section of the northern island, but during the set-up/break down weeks, the staff alone does not produce enough of a 'signature' to keep them off of the southern island.

Right now, I'm not very concerned about it, because the dogs are afraid enough to steer clear of people even when on the same island, but I'm worried about what could happen if they lost their fear and became as brazen as the skunk and rodent populations.
Should I be?

I'm sorry this really isn't gun related, because there's no way in heck I could be armed off of the range and keep my job, but the thread about feral cats just sort of caused this to resurface.

Is there a chance that the dogs could realize that there's really nothing the staff could do to them?
If so, what do you think could happen?
Is there anything that would work reasonably effectively against a decent sized dog that could be kept in a camp shack or next to a remote shelter without raising eyebrows, i.e baseball bat, hiking stave, maglite, etc.?

If you enjoyed reading about "Feral Dogs" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
May 1, 2003, 10:40 PM
Rat poison and hotdogs-it will at least decrease the population.

May 1, 2003, 10:43 PM
there were some feral dogs out where i hunt a couple years ago. the first time i ran into 'em, we kinda avoided each other. the second time, they became more brazen and confrontational and started a fight w/ my labs. at the time, my daughter was an infant and my brother's kids were pretty small, so my brother and i hurriedly got the kids to safety in the truck and took off.

the third time we saw them, they came into the yard and killed a pup that was chasing a dummy in preparation for the pheasant season. quickly shot one of the dogs, and when the gun went off, two took off, and the other turned to attack...he was quickly dispatched.

about 2 weeks go by, never saw the other two... then, one day was out bowhunting in a groundblind. i saw the other two dogs coming down a trail towards me. decided i wouldn't risk it w/ just my bow and 2 of them. made my way for the truck as quickly and stealthily as possible. they saw me when i had about 100 yards to go, and gave chase. i made it to the truck mostly intact, shoved the p-89 out the window and had one down. other one took off. i ran him down and shot him too...had enough of their nonsense.

be careful w/ feral dogs. they can be quite dangerous. nowadays if i am reasonably sure a dog is a stray, he gets dumped.

May 1, 2003, 10:55 PM
Poison is definitely out, we're talking about a summer camp. What I need are point defense ideas, as far as actual contact with the dogs goes.

May 1, 2003, 10:57 PM
Not the most humane, but a couple bowls of antifreeze around the area they hang out would prolly take care of them and noone would have to know... I guess it just depends on how big of a risk these dogs are. Stray/wild dogs will have a tendancy to pack and if their food supply runs out a little kid, or even an adult, wouldn't stand a chance...

May 1, 2003, 10:58 PM
I guess I took too long to post, didn't catch the last response...

Gordy Wesen
May 1, 2003, 10:59 PM
Recommend you carry a can of OC10 pepper spray and a fish whacker.
Pepper spray will turn them if there are 2 or 3 of them. Fog the pack leader and the others will probably leave you alone. If there are more than 3 and they circle for an advantage use the fish wacker on the leader (after you run out of pepper spray) by striking him between the eyes. (Most sensitive spot). Make sure you square with them. That shows you are bringing it to them and will make them defensive and weaker. If you lead with a shoulder it makes you look weaker and will embolden them. Never run. That will create a prey feeding frenzy.
Always pick the leader. Show lust for the fight, look forward to the blood and you'll have them whipped mentally. They are simply opportunists.

May 1, 2003, 11:13 PM
Just out of curiosity, is the owner of the camp aware of the situation? I'd think for liability reasons (s)he'd want something like that taken care of PDQ. Is there any chance they'd let a couple of y'all come in early one weekend and go on the offensive with a couple pistols or rifles?

Gordy Wesen
May 1, 2003, 11:21 PM
Also, when you see the threat and begin to be concerned start to hiss. For dogs, this is the universal sign of an animal challenging. It will give you your first clues about their capabilities. A good dog will instantly attack and if you see this deal with him. Let him bring it and keep the hissing up. What you will probably see though is avoidance...they look away, sniff the ground or do something else.
Good luck. You'd better post the war stories.:)

May 2, 2003, 12:54 AM
How 'bout Milk-Bones? Just toss a few their way and skidaddle. Hey, appeasement seems to work well with dangerous animals--just look at North Korea! Yup, just keep 'em well fed and before you know it, you'll be callin' them your friends. Just make sure you keep the payola comin', lest they forget their manners.

May 2, 2003, 12:58 AM
I met a guy at the gun shop I hang out at that has a fun way of eliminating wild dogs a coyotes. They set up bait at certain areas and set up a bench rest a few hundered yard off, when the prey comes to take the bait they shoot them and then wait for the nest one to come in for the bait. They have to do this ever so often because the wild dogs start mating with the coyotes and make for some pretty mean, bold dogs. Of course you would only be able to do this when they aren't any campers around. Mace is a gun idea, high voltage stun gun could work too. If a stun gun is enough to knock one out then you would be able to despose of it. Honestly though I wouldn't want to get close enough to one to use the stun gun. Machetes might be a good idea as well, you could use them to cut down under brush and vicious animals, like dogs, snakes, bunny rabbits, squirrels.

Mike Irwin
May 2, 2003, 02:03 AM
Do NOT use anti-freeze unless you want to kill just about every species of animal around.

Pepper spray is recommended. Big cannister.

charlie d
May 2, 2003, 02:44 AM
I like this machete.

I'd sharpen the flat blade to the end, maybe even give it a 1 1/2" radius and sharpen that.

May 2, 2003, 07:27 AM
The camp is on a group of 2 islands in the middle of a river, with most of the facilities on the southern island and a few areas such as shooting and COPE on the northern.
Treasure Island, I presume? I went there a few years, but preferred Ockanikon as the shotgun & rifle ranges were closer to the camp sites (and I could actually FIND the rifle range, I never found TI's rifle range). My brother broke his arm playing teather ball on the Friday of the last time we were at TI, I dont think he wants to go back anytime soon (a bone cyst popped when he punched the ball, so it was just very painful and not very damaging).

A llama would run the dogs right off, but I dont know if you could get one, or get it to behave while riding the boat across to Treasure Island, or get it to cross the bridge to Eagle Island.

A camp staff would probably give a dog a good whack across the head. Carve and decorate it during downtime as your summer-long woodworking project and no one will think it odd when you carry it everywhere.


Art Eatman
May 2, 2003, 09:10 AM
Yeah, a hiking staff is a good thing. And feral dogs definitely have been known to attack people.

I'd definitely express my concern to the owners of the camp, warning them of their liability.


Joe Demko
May 2, 2003, 09:19 AM
They need to be eliminated. In the most emphatic terms, bring them to the attention of the owners. Whether they have you or somebody else do it, said dogs need to be put down. Had a couple bad moments with feral dogs as a kid, and I don't tolerate their presence as a result.

Double Maduro
May 2, 2003, 01:04 PM
The biggest problem with feral animals is that they don't fear people.

You could try a Farley Mowat and mark the edge of your territory with urine. Works on wolves.

I think that the dogs need to be removed from the islands before the campers show up. Talk to fish and game for suggestions.

May 2, 2003, 09:03 PM
Feral dogs are essentially wolves without fear of humans. Shoot them.

May 2, 2003, 09:25 PM
38Super-88grain hp with max load of Blue Dot- works every time:p

May 2, 2003, 10:11 PM
Kharn, its interesting that you mention llamas. One of the guys mentioned last year that he worked on a llama farm during the offseason and was ribbed mercilessly as a result.:neener: guess they are good for something.

Pre-emption is probably not an option (at least not officialy at the council level, although some lower levels have been known to turn a blind eye to such initiatives at some camps). Besides, I'm not sure if I could pull the trigger on a dog, feral or not, unless it was posing a direct threat to human safety.

Liability is a language that the chain of command speaks, sometimes to the exclusion of others. I might bring that question up.

May 2, 2003, 10:14 PM

Art Eatman
May 3, 2003, 12:11 AM
"Besides, I'm not sure if I could pull the trigger on a dog, feral or not, unless it was posing a direct threat to human safety."

TLBS, the advantage us old guys have is that we've thought it out and done all the decision-making years back. The deal is, you gotta think it out BEFORE there is the "...direct threat to human safety." The variable is only that of TIME. Rest assured, sooner or later that direct threat will occur.

The reason hard decisions are known as hard is that folks haven't really given much thought to the situation until it's too danged late to do all that thinking.

Hard decisions are free-lunch easy, when you play the "What if...?" game now instead of later. That's part of why this website is here.

I can live with maybe making a mistake on a feral dog, now. I'd find it a lot harder if I got into a deal where I was willing to shoot that dog as he was attacking a kid, but had to delay for a clear shot and the kid got more lacerations during that delay. Or I was a couple of minutes too late...

"Yes, Mrs. Bereaved, I had a chance to dispose of that dog pack last summer, but..."

I don't want to have to say that sort of thing.


May 3, 2003, 10:14 AM
Do what you gotta do with the ferals, 12ga with 00 buck comes to mind.
Whenever the problem of unwanted dogs comes up someone always mentions antifreeze. Antifreeze doesn't kill right away, it causes a slow & painful death. I'm no PETA supporter but nothing deserves to die this way. If you're going to kill them make it quick and humane.

May 3, 2003, 10:25 AM
OK, I'll bring this up with the camp Ranger next time I see him. For all I know, he may already be taking action, because when ever I'm up on Eagle in the off season I can find plenty of spent twelve guage cases scattered around.

May 3, 2003, 11:23 AM
Many years back, my brother in law was a forrest ranger for a large timber company. Power linemen working on a Transmission line across the woods he was responsible for were attacked by a pack of dogs. One of the workers was bitten pretty badly before the other guys could beat them off.

I was enlisted the next day to help my brother in law clean the dogs out. We camped in that area for a week, and during that time, we killed over 20 feral dogs. I used a Ruger .44Mag semi auto rifle, he used a Sweet 16 and #1 buck. It was not a pretty job, or one that was fun in anyway, but it had to be done.

After the pack attacked us on the 2nd day, and lost 5 of their pack, they became the hunted. We baited them, and killed the rest.

Like I said, it is not pleasant to shoot dogs, but in this case, and it sounds like the case at the Island, it just has to be done when they form a pack, and begin attacking.

May 3, 2003, 11:25 AM
Just making it clear, as of right now they are posing no threat. Heck, except for certain staffers most people are unaware that they exist.

4v50 Gary
May 3, 2003, 12:21 PM
Another vote for euthanizing them. Feral dogs, probably abandoned or runaway pets are worse than wolves in that they fear neither human nor fire.

May 3, 2003, 08:59 PM
we've thought it out and done all the decision-making years back.

That is an excellent point.

ANYONE who has taken the responsibility of owning a gun should think through all the reasonably likely scenarios involving the gun and make their decisions.

People debate about whether or not they could really shoot in this situation or that. The way I look at it, I've made the decisions already, the circumstances of the situation will determine the outcome...

If you enjoyed reading about "Feral Dogs" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!