Burro Defense Gun


Jan 10, 2018
So my friend and wife were out in the Mojave desert 4 wheeling. They seen a wild burro about 60 yards off the road. She gets out of the jeep to take some pictures. As soon as she exits the jeep he starts in with honking and making a fuss. They do this a lot as a warning. She stood in front of the jeep. As soon as she raised her camera her he comes at a full run. She quickly got back into the jeep. The burro came within 10 ft of the vehicle. I've walked around the desert with just a 22lr for plinking. Now if you were hiking and didn't have a vehicle to escape to what would you be packing. I think they have a rock hard head and weigh around 400 lbs.
Well, they average about 350 pounds and top out at about 500, so I'd say anything a fellow would use for deer hunting should do. I figure .357/10mm make a sensible minimum, and .44 territory on up would be ideal.

I'll also note that wild burros are federally protected, and when they turn up dead with bullet or arrow wounds, rewards are usually offered. I spend a lot of time in the Mojave and surrounds, and have never been attacked by a burro, nor heard of anyone else being attacked. Occasionally a lone male will stare me down, and the solution is to walk around him. Otherwise, they tend to be placid meat sacks and the biggest risk is nailing one with your car on the way home.
I never been attacked either. In fact I've hand fed some of them. Thats why when hiking I've been perfectly happy carrying a 22 if I decide to do some shooting.
I have now heard of one coming from 60 yards away and chasing someone back into their car. That's not normal and I'd hate to have one after me miles from my car. Let me know how climbing to the top of a Grease Wood bush works out for you! LOL.
My experience with wild donkeys / burros reflects what @.38 Special posted. I encountered them in Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley in California.
But that doesn’t mean these animals aren’t capable of attacking when perturbed.
When I hiked about and camped in the desert I always carried a .357 Magnum revolver or a 30-30 carbine.
10mm is the answer.

Even 9mm, maybe Hornady XTP's...but it should be a head or neck shot. I had a farmer friend about two decades ago who put his cows down occasionally with a little 32 Smith & Wesson revolver. He said they dropped like a ton of bricks every time.
I never been attacked either. In fact I've hand fed some of them. Thats why when hiking I've been perfectly happy carrying a 22 if I decide to do some shooting.
I have now heard of one coming from 60 yards away and chasing someone back into their car. That's not normal and I'd hate to have one after me miles from my car.

People say similar things about bears. They have never been attacked. They feed them. Eventually, they get attacked.

Wild animals are wild animals. We often forget this and come to accept common non aggressive behavior as the norm when the norm is that they are non aggressive only when it suits their needs. They are also aggressive when it suits their needs, which is a norm, just a norm of less frequency.

It is really about perspective on the part of the humans.

Were your friends attacked? You said your friend held up the camera and the donkey came running? I am sure that is very frightening, but maybe it came running because it thought your friend was bringing it food.

Last time I checked I think the number of people killed by wild burros was zero. Guns are not always the answer.
I did actually come across an article about some kid nearly losing an arm while trying to feed one. I'm tempted to just call it Darwinism, but of course there was probably some parent who couldn't tell the difference between wild animals and a petting zoo, and the kid had to be the one to educate them.

So not totally harmless, of course - but I'm still going to argue that if you don't mess with them, they almost certainly won't mess with you.
Go visit Oatman, Az, burros are like house cats in that area. ;)

Having been chased off a couple of times being around sheep, goats and cattle in our herds, I will opine it was probably one of two things that sent the ol’ donkey running at your friend;

Most likely; Female(s) were nearby in season and breedin’ was on his mind. Males get really, really aggressive and will charge and fight to chase off rivals that challenge them or other critters (people) that may interfere. (Buck goats are just unbearable to be around at breeding time!)

Or, less likely; a new baby was recently dropped and he was watching over the herd. I was once chased about 150 feet by a “midwife” when I obliviously walked over a rise and came upon her, the mama and her freshly dropped calf. It was like a cartoon; midwife wheeled about to face me, pawed the turf once, lowed and the chase was on. I had to jump a fence to get away because that one was intent on flattening me.

As for shooting burros? Thats one act that gets gobs of folks riled up big time. Not a lot of sympathy is shown to anyone accused of that crime. Best to stay in the car if one feels they have to arm up around them I guess. 🤔

Stay safe.
No doubt that burros (wild donkeys) can have a bad disposition at times. A good buddy of mine kept a couple donkeys in his goat herd (if that’s the correct terminology) in Texas. Said they were like guard dogs and go after coyotes to protect the goats.

As Riomouse mentioned above. The public optics of shooting a burro would be just downright bad for the gun community. Especially if it was prompted by a human trying to get close to them.
Anyone who is not afraid of donkeys or mules obviously has not seen this picture:


Just kidding a bit...

I spend lots of time in the desert and have seen the burros many times. I have never been personally bothered by them. Having said that, you are responsible for your own safety out there. I would guess just about anything fired at them would send them running.

As previously mentioned, burros are federally protected so if it was necessary to shoot one you better have a solid reason.

They are also the official animal of E Clampus Vitus, which is another good reason to leave them alone.


Definitely a different situation but they are still going after folks from a 2019 incident and have offered a reward.

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