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When Smaller Animals Attack?

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When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby maverick » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:51 pm

Most post about animals are about bears, mountain lions, or maybe rattlers.
Has anyone had any bad experiences with raccoons, skunk, birds, wasps/bees or any
creature while in the backcountry?
Have you been bit, scratched, sprayed, stung, pecked by any creature while hiking
in the backcountry? If yes, where?

I have seen hikers being attacked by birds, they were attempting to safe guard a
nest in a nearby trees.
I have been growled at by a raccoon, but nothing else happened.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby Cross Country » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:17 pm

One time my wife and I were hiking very near dark an Owl swooped down to knock off her hat. 2 or 3 seconds before it hit I saw it.
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby John Dittli » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:21 pm

Not exactly an attack but more of an encounter.

During an unplanned bivy, boots under the head, I was awakened when my pillow moved. I am fortunately a bit slow in the morning, when I opened my eyes I was nose to nose with a Porcupine. After the salt, it was tugging on the leather. It slowly backed off when it realized something alive was attached.

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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby Timberline » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:50 pm

Once while hiking alone in the Wallowas, a very aggressive grouse jumped into the trail just ahead of me and began hissing and advancing towards me. I was startled, but then realized I must have been very near her nest which she was defending. It wasn't a spot where detouring around her was easy, so I backed off. After thinking a few more minutes, I decided maybe that just wasn't the day to hike to Eagle Lake, so I turned back and found another place to explore.
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby oldranger » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:15 pm

One season in late 80's I suffered 9 separate yellow jacket bites in about 6 separate encounters ranging between Deadman Canyon and Horse Corral meadow. One multiple bite encounter occurred when I was looking for my stock in the morning. Another multiple bite encounter occurred when I was digging with a shovel and struck a nest. I think the last bite of the season came when I was riding out over Kanawyer Gap and I got nailed right on my spare tire where my shirt had slipped out of my jeans making a small spot vulnerable to attack! Those things hurt for 3 days!

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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:54 pm

I have never had any issues with bears, but have plenty of problems with smaller critters, although I wouldn't call them "attacks", except for the yellow jackets...

One of my first memories of small critters taking something or causing damage was on a family hike to Mt Hoffman in the late 60's. We were forced to take shelter somewhere around the summit 'plateau' (below the final steep class 2 to the summit) when a big thunderstorm hit. As our family huddled beneath the talus, we munched on some lunch, which included crackers, cheddar, and some Gallo salame. We had seen marmots before and regarded them as very cute cuddly looking animals. We never dreamed that one would have the courage to commando raid our lunch spot and run off with the salame. We wondered about that marmot, though, given that we figured its GI tract wasn't put together to deal with fatty cured meat. Perhaps that marmot ended up with a real upset stomach later, but it sure chewed on that salame with gusto.

Another time in 1977 a friend and I left our camp at Chickenfoot Lake to climb Mt. Dade. To our frustration we were turned back by thunderstorms within 400' of elevation from the summit. Now it is true that our food protection strategy would be a no-no with bears, too, but I had forgotten a big slab of cheese in the main compartment of my pack back at camp. When we returned we found that a chipmunk (or so we surmised), had turned the top flap of the pack, gotten in and clawed and chewed at the cheese (claw and tooth marks consistent with size of a chipmunk). To my annoyance the chipmunk had left the top flap turned open so the rain fell and turned the bottom of the main compartment of my pack to cheesy goo. Already grumpy because of our defeat at Mt. Dade, this further ticked us off and my buddy vowed to exterminate said chipmunk with a Nolan Ryan granite bean ball. The chipmunk wisely stayed hidden.

In 1982 I camped with some friends at Smith Lake in the Russian Wilderness. In pleasant, mosquito-free conditions I slept out under the stars and used my boots to prop my makeshift pillow (then as now, a well-configured pillow is the key to my sleeping well). I awoke the next morning to find my boots had been chewed by something to point of barely being usable. Critters like to chew on salty things, apparently.

In 1983 I was camped at the Tyee Lakes with a girlfriend. We were eating lunch when a chipmunk grabbed our slab of cheese and took off running. I took off after it and I shouted in my best inner city style, 'come back here mutha------', bringing a chorus of laughter from those camped in the area. Now in those days I had breakaway sprinter's speed and against this an overloaded chipmunk was no match. I gained quickly and the chipmunk wisely dropped the cheese. I sliced off the outer parts and returned to lunch.

In 1987 a chipmunk (we think) repeatedly chewed up leather items at our camp at Tower Lake, causing my dad to wake me up multiple times during the night. First the critter tore up the scree guards to our boots which I then moved into the tent. Then it was the leather grommets on the packs, which also got moved into the tent (big tent, as always). Finally it ate the leather lanyard off of my dad's homemade walking stick. My dad was the gentlest soul, but he was incensed. The next day, after climbing Tower Pk, I went off to fish some lakes. As I prepared to leave, my dad set up for the kill--he ran a trail of small cracker bits from where the alleged chipmunk lair was to where he sat holding an ice axe poised to cause some real damage. The chipmunk was smart enough not to show himself.

I remember 1989 as the summer of the yellowjackets. It must have been a combination of the mild winter and other factors but I have never seen so many in the high country. I didn't get stung but they were a source of constant annoyance. Once while fishing at Saucer Lake in Desolation, I felt some pain in my reeling thumb. I looked down and saw a yellowjacket chewing on my hangnail. I have been stung a few times by yellowjackets but these occurred when I was doing geologic field work rather than in the high country.

I can probably think of other incidents, but the above are the ones that come to mind right now. Other than that I think the most damage caused to me by animals, airborne, land based or aquatic, has come from particularly sharp-toothed trout. I've had a few of them really chomp and draw blood as I took them off the hook. Mack teeth have tended to shred my hands the most over the years.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby Cross Country » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:11 pm

An incident with mice happened to me 3 different times and places. While bedded down I had a mouse repeatedly jump on my face. First on my face, then on the hat covering my face until each time I moved out into the open to sleep. In each case the dew fell that night and I awoke with ice on my bag. There's 3 reasons to sleep in a tent.
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby oldranger » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:11 pm

GB

You reminded me of the one time I did not stash my boots next to me when sleeping- It was in the Eagle Cap wilderness and my boots got chewed up enough to look kind of ugly but remained perfectly functional. A couple of years ago a marmot knocked over one of my trekking poles at Red Devil Lake and again the handle looked a little worse for wear but remained functional despite having a few chunks chewed out of it. And I do remember running past upper Mattie Lake on the way to Virginia Lake when those blood sucking skeeters were so thick I couldn't help but breath them in as I ran. Now that was an attack!

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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:39 pm

I was sleeping out in the open in the sagebrush on the west slope of the Wind Rivers in the early 1970's and a vole got into my sleeping bag. When I got in, he ran out and tried to bite me.

Ticks always attack me. If I am in tick country I am pulling a dozen off me every night.

A LOT of rattlesnakes have hissed and rattled at me. I have run into rattlesnakes at 7,000 feet in Yosemite, in the middle of the trail near Piute Creek, in the middle of the bridge in Pate Valley, on a ledge as I pulled up while on a climb of a dolomite cliff in Wyoming, every day when I did field geology camp in Wyoming, down in the middle of Bull Lake Creek in Wyoming, in a paper bag (a "friend" thought it would be a great joke to put a snake in a bag in my living room). A rattlesnake actually attacke me on a golf course in Wyoming. The guy behind me got him with a 4-iron before he bit me.

Horse flies - taken huge chunks of flesh from me.

I have had to shoo away a lot of marmots.

I was attacked by a huge cloud of mosqitoes in Deadman Canyon.

Many spiders have nibbled on me. I am apparently a spider magnet.

A swarm of yellow jackets swarmed me when I was cooking camped near Kern Hot Springs. I had to retreat to the tent.

Biting ants have attacked me twice - once while stuck in a tree belaying in Yosemite; the other time when I stepped on a nest.

Fish have nibbled my ankles.
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby Cross Country » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:41 pm

The first time I went to Sphinx Lakes I left an air mattress out in the open and Marmots ate a hole in it. I realize this isn't an attack, but oh well. I came back a few years later and there were coyotes howling in the night, and no Marmots to be seen (for obvious reasons). Years later there were no signs of either.
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby sirlight » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:54 am

giantbrookie wrote:We wondered about that marmot, though, given that we figured its GI tract wasn't put together to deal with fatty cured meat.
I think if a marmot can eat your radiator hose and drink the coolant, it can handle salame! :)
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Re: When Smaller Animals Attack?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:06 am

Rampaging Jack Russell terrier nearly knocked me off the trail in Big Sur.

Are toddlers small animals? I had one grab my pants and start to wail when he figured out I wasn't someone he should be grabbing.

Flying things dive into my headlamp sometimes, too quickly to see what they are, bounce off my forehead and zoom away into the night. At a hot spring we had bats swoop down and flutter between us, just inches away. But they were after bugs hovering over the water surface.
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