How to Survive an Encounter with Dangerous Animals After A Disaster
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Suicidal Wildlife Owner Let's Loose His Collection of Dangerous Exotic Pets, Zanesville, OhioThink I'm exaggerating? Take a moment to recall the 2011 incident where a suicidal wildlife owner in Zanesville, Ohio, let loose his collection of 56 exotic animals (which included African lions, three mountain lions, 18 tigers, 6 black bears, 2 grizzly bears, a wolf, a baboon, and a diseased monkey carrying the herpes virus (which authorities later said was likely eaten by one of the other animals).
Neighbors in the area even witnessed an African lion standing under a street light; at some point authorities were notified, and a large number of police went after the animals, eventually killing all of them with gunshots.
Families in Zanesville, Ohio were lucky that day. This could have ended in a few brutal fatalities, even a few people eaten; thankfully, other than these animals, no one lost their lives.
Face to Face with an Escaped AnimalSo there you are, escaped from chaos in the cities and trudging your way through a forest, or simply a wooded park -- how are you going to protect yourself from the native and non-native species that may be heading your way?
Predators Have A Great Sense of SmellWolves, bear, lions and tigers (and other predators) all have one thing in common -- a great sense of smell. You need to do everything you can to make you and your habitation undesirable to the passing carnivore. While they aren't attracted to the scent of humans, our food and trash may be an irresistible treat.
Keep your food sealed in plastic bags and stored at least 100 yards from where you sleep. Bears can smell 7 times better than a bloodhound, which means they can detect a fresh or rotting animal carcass from up to 20 miles away – you can be sure they can detect that PB & J you just casually tossed in the garbage or behind your tent. Lions can tell what prey has been in a nearby area and how long ago (yes, in the apocalyptic future, you will be considered prey).
A tiger's sense of smell is worse than a dog's, but still better than a human's. Wolves are about on par with a dog, whose sense of smell is 100 times better than a human's; they use this ability to focus on a target once they come across the scent. In other words, lock down your food and clean and prepare your kill as soon as possible to prevent it attracting the predators of the wild.
Don't Dispose of Garbage Near Your CampDangerous animals can be drawn to the smell of food, or even just scraps or garbage. Keep a very clean campsite, and dig trenches far away from camp (100 yards or more) for burying garbage, especially if you're camped in one area for an extended length of time.
At night, change your clothing before crawling into your tent to go to bed, especially if you've been cooking or preparing food, as you can bring the smell of these foods into your tent, attracting animals (like grizzly bears), who may tear your tent apart, looking for food. When all a grizzly bear finds is you, you may be in trouble.
Avoiding Dangerous AnimalsThe best way to beat a wolf, bear, tiger or lion is to never meet them in the first place. So how do you kill a deer without having to take sloppy seconds from a bear, wolf or big cat getting to your kill first (if lets say, you're a hunter who has just taken down a deer or other animal)? Unfortunately, there's no single way to cover all these opponents in the field. The best thing to do is know your surrounding area and the types of animals you're likely to encounter, and take steps to prevent them from taking your food and from attacking you.
Set Traps for Dangerous AnimalsSpiked pits are an interesting trap, but they don't target a single animal -- you're just as likely to capture your Uncle Frank as you are a bear or a big cat. I've thought of an interesting safety measure – put a printed sign with an arrow pointing at the trap -- none of the animals can read and hopefully your uncle can.
There's a trap called a dead fall which was popular in the 1800s before the advent of steel traps. It involved using a weight five to six times heavier than your target, place it over the bait, and set a trigger so when the bait is engaged, the weight (typically a large log) falls on the target, killing or trapping them. It was abandoned because it was so tedious and time-consuming to build -- but if you can't run down to the local trap store after society falls, it's still an option.
Learning how to track animals will let you know where they wander, what the boundaries of their territory are and, more importantly, what kind of animal and how many you're dealing with. Bears and tigers are typically solitary, but wolves have packs and lions have prides -- you're likely to encounter a few at a time.
PersistenceAs a human, you have many more tools in your arsenal to fight the enemy with. You're ingenuity and persistence can win the day. Typically, these large animals are going to take the path of least resistance -- if you are too much trouble, they're going to go find easier prey. However, a mother and her babies is a dangerous combination – that mother will defend against any threat no matter how big to the death. A starving or sick animal is also likely to not be deterred by any means from an attack.
But seriously, don't mess with mama bear, or you're toast.
So what can you do to protect yourself? If you have allies, and there are enough of you, a phalanx of spears or arrows may be enough to bring down any or all of these animals. One man alone against a bear, lion or tiger is a losing proposition. Even hard core guns may have a problem taking one of these large animals out with one or two shots. A group of wolves will circle you if given the chance and you won't be able to shoot all of them.
A lit torch will be a great deterrent -- many of these animals have night vision and a big ball of fire is actually intimidating.
CNN reports a 13 year old Maasai boy, in Kenya, Africa, has invented a new way to keep lions away from livestock: He uses lights. Read the details in this CNN report: Boy scares off lions with flashy invention
At the link above, this boy's drawings (blueprints) for his low-cost lighting system uses a solar panel, battery, switch, transformer, and then wires this to a set of lights next to the fenced area where his family's livestock are kept.
The lights keep hungry lions away and the family's livestock is safe. These lights are devised to flash in a sequence, fooling lions into believing that a person is active near the livestock; whether it's because the lions believe the livestock is being guarded, or it's simply due to the activity of the lights, in the end the lions have stopped going after his family's livestock.
Lions in the WildThe Maasai have been hunting marauding lions for a long time. It is part of their culture. Across Kenya, the Maasai are a feared and respected people, even if they hold on to a seemingly primitive culture.
A single lion can maul one or more of their cattle equal to a hacker clearing out our bank account. The hit to the family is more than an inconvenience; the Maasai could suddenly find themselves starving or unable to pay bills. A single Maasai warrior can defend his herd with nothing more than a single spear. That's all it takes for a trained warrior to bring down a lion.
However, it is an automatic kill. Many Maasai warriors have died in a one-on-one confrontation with a lion. Killing a lion is not a daily occurrence, but it is an important rite of passage for the warriors. In recognition of their contribution to the balance of life in the wilds of Africa, the Maasai no longer hunt lions one-on-one, but hunt a single lion as a group during infrequent hunts. The outcome is usually much better for the group of warriors with many spears and shield brought to bear in the hunt of the single animal.
What's true for the Maasai can be directly attributed to survival after the apocalypse. Hunt in groups. There's safety in numbers, never more so than when facing a wild lion, bear, tiger or pack of wolves. A predator that has lost its fear of humans is a dangerous marauder indeed. In 1898, a pair of lions attacked and consumed between 35 and 135 people at a railroad bridge construction site in Kenya over the space over several weeks before being brought down by .303 caliber rifles. The lions were not deterred by fire or a thick thorn fence built to keep them away from the Indian workers. It's best to have big weapons and many hunters to eliminate a wild lion threat.
Making a Spear Out of Household ObjectsSo what do you make a modern day spear out of? You might have material for a couple makeshift spears right in your own home: Broom sticks and mops can have their bristles and brush ends unscrewed or simply broken off: At that point, now use a knife to carve an extremely sharp tip -- a tip that will pierce through flesh. What if the the broom stick or mop is made of metal? Use a hammer to hammer the end to a point; now take a chisel to the point, and file the point to a sharpened edge.
You now have yourself a makeshift spear. Now before you go reaching for a broom or a mop, think about what you might have out in the garage or utitliy shed: Rakes and shovels (look for a rake first as you don't want to destroy a good shovel, if you don't have to) are going to have stronger sticks with a bit more weight to them.
That bit more weight is a good thing: It adds momemtum to your thrust, making it more likely to pierce deeper into an animal's flesh.
If you only have a mop or broom stick, you can make it a bit stronger (and add a touch more weight to it) with duct tape: About 18 inches from the spear point, begin to wrap the stick with duct tape, slowly going down the stick, until you're about 18 inches from the bottom of the stick. You can do this wrap 2 - 3 times, creating 2 - 3 layers of duct tape.
Instead, simply run a wild animal through with especially one that's charging you. Attack with courage. Hold tight to that spear.
Don't Go After Dangerous Animals Alone -- Work in GroupsFinal word on using a spear against a dangerous animal: If possible, don't take this on by yourself.
Put a hunting group together -- if you ever find yourself in this situation -- and practice moving in a coordinated attack, and go after a stationary target. Like a bail of hay, like a bush, etc. Practice striking fearlessly, each of you be aggressive with your spears. Practice aiming for certain areas on an animal that are likely to lead to a lethal blow.
Once your group has an attack well-rehearsed, then consider going after that killer grizzly bear or man-eating lion or lions -- should the situation ever come your way.
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