I encountered those dogs again this morning…

Those dogs that were hassling that cow and calf about a month ago. This time they were much closer to Landlady’s place – and they seemed to have it in their heads to hassle me.

The weather cleared overnight and I was taking my muddy morning walky – the first time with the new leg, which is getting more comfortable – and I was on the ridge overlooking the cattle watering station. From here the road goes sharply downhill, takes a left around the station and across the wash, then back uphill again to Landlady’s. And I wouldn’t even have known the dogs were in the area if one of them hadn’t started barking at me.

I looked around the station, assuming the dog was barking at a cow. But there were no cattle and the dog sounded really close so I scanned past the station and there they both were, on the berm at the bottom of the hill, on the other side of the road between it and the wash. Scott the Road Guy built that berm up a few years ago when we had that big flood that washed the road out, and those two dogs were standing on top not barking at any cattle but at me.

That was just rude, and I decided to see how far they were willing to take this. If they got proactively aggressive we’d just end this right here.

I went down the hill which took me out of sight of them for a minute or two but they were still in the same spot when I rounded the turn and the brindle was still barking. As I recalled from our first encounter the brindle was the first to break contact but the light brown one didn’t want to pay any attention to my yelling – that suggested that even though right now the brindle was the one making noise it was the brown one I should watch.

They were still on top of the berm, neither advancing nor retreating. I started walking toward them straight and hard, looking right at them, making it clear who was the aggressor here. If you want to fight, I want to fight. That is in my experience the most sure way to get a strange dog to back down. The temp was in the twenties and I was wearing layers and anyway I’m no big quickdraw artist so of course I had my .44 in my hand before I ever rounded the turn. The closer I came, the less sure about all this the brindle seemed to get even though she kept barking – but as before, the brown one just stared me down.

I got to within maybe thirty yards, still walking fast, and to my surprise they were letting the situation ride. At that range I could easily take one of them with the pistol but as before I really truly didn’t want to shoot a dog that somebody else definitely owned. So I guess you could say in the end it was me who chickened out: I held the pistol out to my side and fired into the sand.

More often than not when I use my pistol in the boonies it’s just to get a troublesome animal moving – one more nice thing about a .44 Magnum is that it makes a nice big boom. And as soon as I made the gun go boom the dogs disappeared down the other side of the berm and I saw them no more. As before it’s the brindle who ran the first and fastest. If it comes to shooting I’m shooting the brown one first.

And damn…

These mutts are getting expensive. I either need to load cheaper ammo or just go ahead and end the dogs. I’m going to be too forbearing, and they’re going to rip something up – hopefully not a neighbor – and then I’m going to feel really bad about not having just shot the damned things.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to I encountered those dogs again this morning…

  1. Robert says:

    Yow, glad I don’t have your dilemma. If the hypothetical owner can’t be identified and chatted with, my vote (as if I had one) would be to stop scaring the critters that live underground. Ain’t the internet great? A total stranger can armchair quarterback from a thousand miles away with no serious consequences. 🙂 Here’s hoping you can come to a satisfactory conclusion.

  2. TK421a says:

    Joel, I’m glad things turned out all right. Hopefully, the dogs will think twice about you for a while. As for the owner, anyone who would let dogs run wild and be aggressive in an area where people go armed is an idiot.

    I understand the price of .44, it’s crazy especially these days with the run on ammo in stores. Have you considered carrying a second firearm to make warning shots with? If memory serves, you have a .22 Ruger Mk2 that would be perfect for this. Even the Tokarev you have would work, and it has the advantage of being small enough to fit in a pocket of your chore coat.

  3. Joel says:

    😀 Y’know, five years ago when J&H moved away and he left instructions for me to be really proactive about killing every rabbit that dared show its fluffy butt near his house, I blew up a couple with that .44 Special snubbie I carried back then, it made big messes clearly worse than anything the rabbits could have committed, and so I started also bringing my .22 pistol with me on caretaking visits. I did that just a few times and came to the conclusion that I had finally jumped the shark on this ‘gun-toting hermit’ thing…

  4. Crane op says:

    Any animal that even acts aggressively on my property 120 acre timber is shot immediately I’m not chancing my wife or kid coming on it.

  5. Frank says:

    I wouldn’t say a word, just dust em and forget about it. But now you will need to use a rifle because you educated em . I would use a 22 with hollow points. But that’s just me. Your mileage will vary…

  6. Heathen says:

    No 22,The AK’s there for a reason.

  7. Eric says:

    The way I see it Joel you have three options.
    1, Have a firm talk with their owner. My least favorite option.
    2, Just smoke em’ and say nothing. My 2nd favorite option.
    3, tell the Cattleman there are a couple dogs harassing his cattle and let him deal with it. My personal favorite.
    With #3 you are out of the loop and most likely won’t be blamed by the owner.

  8. Cederq says:

    I have to disagree with you Eric, that is the coward’s way out not directly dealing with a problem. I had a small Boer goat herd I made good money from while I lived in Alabama and any dog or cat that came upon my property got my attention. If it was friendly and wore a ID collar I took it back to the owner and if a neighbor would take the dog back but with a strong warning, next time I will be calling you to come pick up the carcass or it’s being feed to the gators in the pond behind me on a neighbors land. I didn’t mess around with canines, ask me sometimes about my 270 and coyotes…

  9. Eric says:

    Cederq, my turn to disagree with you. First, avoiding a potentially ugly disagreement with a neighbor in a secluded area is not cowardice, neither is putting down a dangerous animal.
    As far as letting the Cattleman deal with it, those dogs were seen to be harassing a cow and a new born calf making them a legitimate target for the owner backed up by law.

  10. Joel says:

    🙂 I don’t know if it’s the coward’s path or not but I already did #3 last month but through a cut-out. You notice that so far it hasn’t shown any result, but whatever. My hope was not harm to the dogs but more protection for the steer calves because I’m a sucker for baby things. Turns out that the rancher had already encountered the dogs and had a non-productive talk with their owner, so it’s likely there’s already somebody gunning for the dogs. He seems much more patient about such things than his two predecessors were.

    The cattle aren’t my responsibility but I do consider coming into my stomping ground and barking at me to be a unilateral escalation of the conflict.

  11. paulb says:

    Medium caliber at range. I shot a coon dog that had decided to den up on a Brother in Laws farm and eat pig chow. 22 magnum across an 80 acre field. DRT.

  12. Zelda says:

    Just shoot the damned things before they cause real troubles. The bodies will get cleaned up real quick.

  13. BobF says:

    Dad gum, Joel, you are blowing my prepared “I was in fear of my life” speech all to hell. I have to use a walking stick after those 5 surgeries (#6 coming up) and 11 fused vertebrae, so I figure I’ve got at least a little toward that justification. But there you go, a prosthetic, and one not quite fitted at that, headed TOWARD the mutts with absolutely no chance of backup or assistance if things go bad. I haven’t got a chance. 🙂

  14. Norman says:

    I think Zelda has the answer, and taking the AK on walkies may be prudent; if the owner isn’t concerned about letting them roam loose – which seems to be the case after the rancher’s non-productive discussion – then he’s probably not concerned about maintaining vaccinations. Meaning a wide-ranging pair of mutts could easily contract, then become, become disease vectors.

To the stake with the heretic!