It was a sight TFG Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore will never forget.
A snarling, enraged pit bull busted forth from the brush and headed right at him.
“A guttural growl and intense, focused eyes told me this dog was out for blood, in particular mine. I was at my deer lease before the season to repair a stand with no rifle in tow. For a second panic set in, until I realized I had the .45 my concealed handgun permit allowed me to carry,” he said.
“I quickly drew it, clicked off the safety, aimed at the dog and fired. It stopped, spun around and walked back into the brush. I pondered following it to put an end to the threat once and for all but decided to enter the lease from another location and avoid trouble until I was better armed.”
Looking back, Moore have no doubt he would have ended up another statistic had he not possessed the handgun the state of Texas grants us as licensed, responsible citizen the right to carry.
There is much discussion on concealed handguns as protection from human predators, but what about threats of the animal kind?
Protecting ones life and family is equally important whether the threat comes from a parolee or a feral dog and if you look at the numbers the latter and their kind are a real and growing threat.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year, 20 percent of which require medical attention. In 2006 alone, more than 31,000 underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog bites.
Pits and other breeds are often used for fighting and for use as catch dogs in hog hunting. Fighting dogs not deemed worthy are either killed or dumped onto the public and some catch dogs get loose and become feral.
“The area I hunted at the time of the charge was known for people dumping off dogs. Another hunter on my lease was charged up a tree by a pit and it stayed under the tree for awhile and finally left. It was a different animal than the one that came after me. I have nothing against the breed but let’s be honest if you had a choice of being charged by a poodle or big pit bull which would you chose?”
Moore said he would argue a person has a better chance fending of a thug with a switchblade than a strong, aggressive dog, hell-bent on destruction.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of large dog, you could get hurt and feral dogs do form packs. In fact, my friend Kenneth Pigg and I had to retreat to our trucks looking at a piece of property way back in 2000 because of a pack of feral dogs that looked were essentially a bunch of mutts. There are lots of stores like this out there and tens of thousands of feral dogs in Texas. You never know. You might get tackled by a feral poodle out there.”
But how are we to defend ourselves? If you do a Google search you find all kinds of methods offered to fend off attacking dogs, bears and other dangerous animals.
One article entitled, “Defending Yourself Against Animal Attacks” recommends using pepper spray and says, “Even if you are carrying a gun with you, do not try to shoot at the animal.”
“If I had taken this advice I might not be here and at the very least would have scars with me the rest of my life,” Moore said.
The concealed carry debate has been virtually solely focused on prevention of criminal attacks but there are other equally dangerous threats lurking out there. Dog, bear, mountain lion and even coyote attacks are on the increase in urban areas throughout the country.
“And for those of us who frequent the woods and wild lands, the chances of a dangerous animal encounter are even greater as I know from my experience. As a staff we will be looking at different scenarios through the end of year and some of them are downright frightening to consider. It is best to be prepared,” Moore said.
Although you might carry your concealed handgun religiously at the gas station, mall and other public venues, think seriously about toting it in the woods as well. You might not get carjacked but a pack of feral dogs might just size you up and it is best to respond with proper firepower, not a flesh and bone.