night …. Our terrible, horrible, no-good


Nights in our rural development are consistently peaceful. Each house sits on roughly an acre of land and there is no through traffic. On this particular night, our dogs were sleeping , as they usually do, on the screened porch overlooking our fenced yard. “Boomer Bob ” and I were slumbering peacefully upstairs. So it was especially unnerving to be suddenly awakened by frantic barking and yelping coming from the rear yard.

This was desperate wailing that we had never before heard from these dogs and it was obvious that something was terribly wrong. Instantly awake, I began turning on all the lights facing into the rear yard to discourage whatever was taking place (human or animal ). B.Bob raced outside with a flashlight , grabbing a shovel stashed under the eaves.

It was hard to make out what was happening amongst all the frantic activity. But he soon realized that a raccoon was attacking the two dogs. Two dogs, who together weigh close to 200 pounds, were being attacked by a raccoon weighing closer to 20. Obviously, not clear thinking on the part of the raccoon –

— especially since he was the aggressor and had multiple opportunities to escape. Rabies immediately comes to mind.

B.Bob tried hitting the coon with the shovel when it had latched on to one dog’s snout but it could not be persuaded to release its bite. Failing that attempt, B.Bob raced inside for the gun which is stored , for safety, under lock and key, with the shells stored, for safety, under separate lock and key. The adrenaline is surging for all of us when he finally has a clear shot at the offender. It took 3 shots to be sure the attack was over.

The dogs were cut and bleeding with injuries to their muzzles, covered with rabid raccoon slobber , limping and stunned at what had happened.baofeng, UV-5R, radio, communication, survival, prepper, preparedness

We cleaned their injuries with peroxide and adjudged that they would need to see the vet as soon as the office opened.

The incident began around 3:30 AM and was over within 45 minutes. Of course,  there was no more sleep that night. At the vets, although they were both up-to-date on their shots, they were given a rabies booster, a course of antibiotics for the next 2 weeks and a painkiller. She approved of our peroxide treatment of their injuries and advised us to notify Animal Control.

Thinking the authorities would want to be informed and test the remains, we contacted Animal Control. They told us that they do not handle wild animals and to call the Health Department. The Health Department told us we should be dealing with Fish and Wildlife. And Fish and Wildlife wasn’t interested. We had been a bit concerned about discharging a firearm and the ramifications. No need for that. Rural authorities seem to expect residents to take care of these things without involving them. Incidentally, not one neighbor heard a thing —- and we have since passed the word to others who have animals.

Lessons learned? Even in the best of circumstances, you are your own first line of defense. Law enforcement, if available, would have taken precious minutes to arrive and the dogs may well have ended up as collateral damage. In this case, ” all’s well that ends well ” was not a bad outcome.

” Boomer Babe”


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  1. A story with many lessons in it to be aware of. If you are living in a rural development with your house sitting on roughly an acre of land and no through traffic I would guess that you’re fairly isolated. I can only imagine how this would have turned out if that had been a cougar instead of a raccoon. I’m wondering if when your husband tried hitting the coon with the shovel if he was using it as a weapon (i.e. hitting the coon with the edge of it as a blade) or with the flat of the shovel. I would think that using it on edge would have just about cut the coon in half.
    Not knowing what state you live in or the laws covering firearms, storing your gun “for safety, under lock and key, with the shells stored, for safety, under separate lock and key” would appear to me something that could cost you and your husband your lives if that “coon” would have been one or two low lifers bent on doing you harm. 45 minutes is a life time in those type of situations against human aggressors, you also now know how aware your neighbors are of gun fire either by you or perps. I hope you rethink that now knowing that your rural authorities seem to expect residents to take care of these things without involving them.
    As you said “even in the best of circumstances, you are your own first line of defense.” Lessons learned and alls well that ends well and I’m glad it ended well for you.

  2. Many years ago we lived in another part of Florida and on the last day of shopping before Christmas my wife was going to do some last minute gift shopping, when she went to get in her car in our driveway the neighbors dog came over and started to growl, this dog had already bitten others in the ares. After I got her inside we called the sheriffs office to report the incident, we were told to call animal control who were closed for the holiday and when we called the sheriff back they told we would have to wait till after Christmas and try a/c again, at that point I told them if the came into the yard again I would do what was needed to protect my family and promptly hung up the phone. We lived in a subdivision and having to use a firearm there was not something I wanted to do but it seemed we were to get no help from anyone, luckily the dog did not return that day, we are our first line of defence.

  3. Stored , for safety, under lock and key, with the shells stored, for safety, under separate lock and key?? OMG!!! fortunately everything came out well, but then again, storing your firearms in that way, can only invite trouble, specially when just a couple seconds can make the difference between life and death. Can you imagine just for a moment what would have happened if instead of a rabid coon, you found a couple thugs forcing their entry into your house? Please take care, and, I urge you to reconsider the way you keep your guns in your house. Blessings from Texas.

  4. Boomer Babe -Even here in upstate NY we keep a shotgun handy and shells close by .I once had to kill a rapid skunk that was trying to attack our dog. We always keep our pets up to date on their rabies shots.Arlene

  5. Wild animals are well, wild. Boar racoons, boar hogs, and even feral dogs. At our Texas ranch we had a family of badgers and even the ranch dogs soon learned to just leave them alone. There is much to be admired from any beast that makes its way without handout – the problem being that having once had a handout – animals and humans just never seem the same afterward and hang around forever – all hopeful like. I’ve read many pre-Civil War accounts of how Indians would hang around and eat one out of house or camp, and then we have our Welfare State.

    Here in the mountains we have a few griz and a lot of black bears and feral hogs, none of which one casually approaches let alone messes with for amusement. Our six dogs are survivors and bear the scars. I suspect they have learned not only what to leave alone but how to work in a pack to deal with anything that behaves in a manner not nice to be around. As our big dogs are Rhodesian Rigebacks and the others all hunting breeds, even the two beagles know how to conduct themselves. Like a knife fight, when tangling with a pack of dogs, someone or something is going to bleed. Me, I would rather face a single lion rather than a pack of dogs hunting with intent.

    The wife woke me up early last fall to advise the dogs were trying to tree something nearby. I took the trusty M1A and a couple of spare magazines and walked down the side of the hill toward the fracus. The dogs had set upon about a 400 pound black bear, likely looking for a few final big meals before hibernation. I called the dogs off the poor beast and fired a round near it so as to kick up rocks and dirt. It rose on its hind legs, looked and sniffed at me (I had afterall approached from downwind) and then lumbered away. The dogs weren’t happy but even the beagles were alive which was the intended outcome.

    Me, I’m still looking for an abandoned bear cub. I would really like to add it to my pack and teach it how to drink beer with me on the porch like that bear on Law West of the Pecos. Anyone have any experience with bear cubs?

    Glad it worked out well for you Boomer, er Babe.


  6. Panhandle,
    I have had expierince raising a black bear cub, let’s say feeding is a experience and ultimately leading to wearing full leather on the torso. Their claws are a bit sharp and get very excited when eating. We ended up selling him to a trainer in Missouri who trained for TV and movies. Their strength is crazy even at a young age and they become aggressive when it come to eating. But it was fun for awhile. I hope and pray that a lesson was learned when it came to storing firearms and ammunition because in the moments that something bad is happening seconds count and you are not fast enough when adrenaline is running. Everyone stay safe and pay attention what’s going on around you.

  7. I very much like your perspective and thought process JohnP, thumbs up brother. For CaptTurbo, I was guess that might work for some people. We keep our shotgun and shells separate, but easily accessible that takes more than just a chair to reach. However, as the little ones get older..we are going to have to come up with something else. For example I use a biometrical gun safe now and strict process for when the pistols move about. Whole other story.

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing Rudy stated, but in my limited mind could never properly diagnose what/where/when unless I was in there position. I know I can at least learn from what was shared through the story.

    See, that’s just good stuff PR. Hearing you share stuff like that. It gives people like us real time events/experiences to learn from. Thank you for sharing. Bears are predators likes like alligators and sharks. Personally, I HATE bears and the only good one is a dead one. Especially, if it was drinking my beer. 🙂

  8. Capt.Michaels, thank you, it’s not often I tell a law enforcement officer something like that but I felt in this case it was warranted, JohnP

  9. I guess am just wrong I suppose ..
    My carry weapon stays with me 24×7. Home. or on walk about.
    Did the Rabid Skunk thing a couple weeks ago. Hear the animals it was trying to kill. Grabbed my Carry Weapon and a light I keep with it. Hustled out to the pen.. open the door, light on under the gun on the skunbk when I saw it, the skunk cocked his tail and I shot it before he could return fire. whole thing over in 90 seconds maybe .. It killed two animals .. clearly rabid.
    To my point .. I never have to take a gun out of a safe and load it. It is never unattended or off my person if leaving. I learned this WAY back when on two occasions I had intruders. Dog took care of one .. Good Boy!.. I got the other .. and did not need to shoot. My focus was on waking up and making a good decision weapon in hand, not juggling keys and boxes or magazines on top of waking up. I understand safety .. Had it beaten into me . literally. Mistakes can be deadly. Safety is important, but balanced with response time. I want every second I can get going toward making a decision, not not mixed in with physical preparations if I can help it. IMO My animals are noise makers mostly .. which gives me a few seconds lead time at least .. maybe more.
    I live out and away from anyone.. Even the great skunk killing .. a ,45 at 3am attracted no attention. I know .. overkill for a skunk… but it did work.
    So what am I missing ? not fussing .. just asking

  10. All of my firearms are loaded. Why have one around otherwise?

    There is a passageway to a bathroom off of the side door we mainly use. Inside that passageway and out of sight over the portal is one of several M1As in the residence. Easy to grab when headed out, responding to barking dogs, or for a day in the woods. I have collected .45s since my youth and they are spread around as well. I like the magnet mounts for pistols and have a few under tables including the coffee table in the living room. Of course we have no small kiddos now but when mine were small I carried every day for work.

    For a brief while, my organization required us to regularly qualify with every firearm we had on the books. In those days I had a stainless Chief’s Special as a deep backup. I didn’t carry it every day and most days it was hanging on a nail high in a closet. I started looking for it the night before a qualification and it was – gone. I looked everywhere, cleaned out the vehicles, even cleaned out my desk the next morning. My boss came by and seeing all of the junk on the floor asked casual like, if I might have lost a firearm. Funny how i never misplaced my 12″ barrel 870. I ended up with a letter of censure for the lost weapon and everyday I read the Post thinking it would have a story about a homicide – with my revolver.

    We moved to a bigger house in a few years. When we got to the oldest kiddos bedroom, the last item of furniture was a heavy dresser. Want to guess what was behind that dresser? I snagged up the revolver and dropped it in my pocket and continued the move. I watched my eldest son make several trips to the bedroom afterward no doubt looking for the revolver that from the dust had been there for years.

    When I calmed down and confronted him, he admitted to getting a chair to reach the revolver and later that day, hiding it when he saw my search. Of course he never said a word, probably hoping to be gone and married before that heavy dresser moved. Kiddos can be inventive around firearms. We were fortunate no one was injured – well other than my letter of censure.

    I did have some satisfaction in those years with that youngster. Along with the weapons, I always told them that handcuffs were also dangerous. We left that kiddo at home one day when going shopping. When we returned, there was a sad sight handcuffed to the bathroom door – and of course the key was on the dining room table out of reach. I laughed and laughed and a lesson was learned.

    My parents told me that I was born 35 years old and then matured. For sure my kiddos weren’t. They did receive proper instruction and experience with all my weapons as soon as they were old enough. That included a MP5-S and no one other than targets was shot.

    Kiddos and firearms can be like drunks and cars. Both are accidents just waiting to happen. If you have youngsters, by all means train them with your weapons as soon as they are old enough and keep then inaccessible otherwise.

    Wild Weasel, I had a pet raccoon when small. Sharp too were its teeth and claws. Welder’s gloves worked well when handling it. I know a cub would be more work than its worth, still I would like to have a photo of it and me in rockers on the porch with an iced tub of beer between us.


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