While we're waiting for Dano to return...
Originally Posted by Scott43
Speaking of black bears, the kind we have here, I'd be shocked if you ever needed pepper spray. Fatal bear attacks are ridiculously uncommon. I mean, to each their own..can't hurt..and out west with browns and up north with polar bears, both of which can be more agressive, might be a thought. But with black bears, I just can't see it being a big issue. We're simply not prey items for them.
I live in Northern California, and took a wilderness first aid class recently. During the wildlife section the instructor spent all of about 30 seconds on bears. Other than asking for trouble with food in a camp his thinking was in line with yours. And when I first started hiking Tahoe I spoke with a Forest Ranger, and she was pretty cavalier about (black) bears as well. Said if you have sizable dogs along really shouldn't be any problem. Still, even though it feels a little geeky sometimes I wear a bear bell when hiking, and I'm thinking I might snag some bear spray, just in case I run into that one-in-a-million situations.
On another front last summer I was hiking in South Lake Tahoe with my two dogs in a woodsy area fairly close in. (On the south side of Al Tahoe Blvd between the soccer field near the Community College and Pioneer Trail, if you know where that is.) There's a nice loop trail that goes up and around a small hill. Usually keep my dogs on leash, but this is an area where I can see what's coming so I'll let em off for most of the walk.
Well, we were on the far side of the hill, which abuts a meadow, and I see a full grown German Shepherd and full grown Pit Bull mix coming towards us. No humans anywhere to be seen, and not particularly close to any houses, so I get my dogs on leash pretty quick. The two other dogs keep getting closer, so I yell at them in a loud, firm voice to "Stop, get out of here!", which they start to do. Just at that moment a coyote appears out of a foresty thicket in the meadow not far off, and the two dogs tear after it. They all disappear into the woods, and shortly thereafter I hear horrendous fighting ensue. I couldn't tell whether the dogs caught up to the coyote, and were giving it bad business, or of the coyote had lured the dogs into a trap and they were being attacked by a pack.
In any event I wasn't in any position to do anything about other than call animal control and let them know what was happening, which I did right then and there. At a minimum if someone's dogs did get the bad end and went missing then they would hopefully at least be able to try and find out what happened. I left my phone number in case anyone wanted to call and get more details, and also offered to meet someone from animal control and go in to have a look, but that was declined. Don't know if anything ever came of that. I still hike there with the dogs sometimes, but keep an eye out, and don't go out into that woodsy part of the meadow.
I know a guy who lives in a residential area of SLT who has a little moppet dog with chewed up hindquarters. He walks the little fella around his neighborhood with a sling under his rear, rather than use one of those wheeled contraptions. A coyote snatched him right out of the yard, but the guy gave chase and was able to get his little dog back, sadly not before the damage was done.
Another fella in same neighborhood who's lived there for 30+ years let his guard down for a brief moment one night and a coyote jumped into his back yard and snatched his little dog. He did not get him back.
Our dogs are in the 50 lb range, so I don't worry too much about coyotes, but I still keep an eye out when out hiking and I hear a pack go off group howling. Not wolves, but still a bit sobering when you're out a ways.