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Readers Respond: Meeting Up with Dogs, Deer or Other Critters When Riding

Responses: 25

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From the article: Dogs and Bikes
Ever been chased by a dog on your bike? How about run over a squirrel? Maybe you've even had a deer or other large animal run out in front of you when riding. Share your story of wildlife encounters on your bike! Share Your Experience

Stop the chase.

RIDING back roads the owner of a pit mix was out in front yard. His dog made a beeline at me and the owner yelling had no effect. I fired one round from my starter pistol and the dog stopped in its tracks. Most dogs are afraid of firecracker-type noise, such as the sound of a gun.
—Guest Dale

2 dogs vs small flashlight

Riding the beautiful St. Tammany parish trace before dawn the other morning, I got chased by two agressive pitbulls. In my panic I just shined the light in their eyes one at a time and they trailed off. The first time ive seen dogs on the trace, but I might start carrying a machete. Ive been attacked by vicious dogs though not while riding. Its amazing the severity of a wound from a bite without any clamping power applied. It rips flesh like a magic trick.
—Guest kevin

Bike Art!

A friend of mine who is a great artist now has one of my bikes, or I should say parts of my bike hanging in his studio as art due to a run in with a buck. Can you guess who won? They are so silent and I did not hear him until he clipped my tire. He was fine and kept going as my bike went in one direction and I was airborne in the other. Came out of the deal with a broken wrist, cuts and a lot of bruises. However, my ex-Lemond looks stunning in my friends gallery!
—Guest Kim Hellyar

deer running across road in front of me

One day I was out riding at about 6 a.m. I was checking my bike computer and heard a noise in the bushes just in front of me and to the left. Suddenly a deer sprang out right in front of me. If I had been going faster I would have run into it or it would have run into me. I think it was sleeping in the bushes beside a stonewall and a field and it awoke and jump up ran when it heard me coming.
—Guest al

Wild Kingdom

My favorite 18-mile bike ride is overrun with animals. Dodged plenty of squirrels, turkeys & rabbits but never hit one. Saw 18 deer this morning. Half of them were on the bike path. Have run over black snakes, been attacked by a snapping turtle (had a witness), hit by birds in flight, t-boned a big raccoon (took an asphalt nap on that one), also seen eagles, a school of running crayfish, herons, alligator snappers, feral dogs (they steer clear). The scariest are the deer at dawn. Can't tell which way they will go or how many there are. They turn 18 mph easy and I once got passed by a buck that had to be doing 25 in tall grass.
—Tenortrombone

Fending off animal attacks

For dogs, I prefer an aluminum club clipped to the top tube. It has 2 oz of lead in one end and is taped for a grip at the other. I have never hit a dog with it since shouting and brandishing it has been enough. U-locks and frame pumps are too short to discourage dog attacks. For backup I carry pepper spray, the kind that's sold for warding off bears and squirts a solid stream. I never had to use it. A friend of mine who rides in the pine barrens of New Jersey, where dogs sometimes attack in packs, carries a .22 pistol. He fires warning shots to discourage the dogs. Only once did he have to shoot one before the pack would leave him alone. He also carries pepper spray because there are bears, too, and shooting them with a .22 would enrage them. I would carry a gun if I rode in the Western mountains where cougar attacks on bicyclists occur annually. Cougars are big animals, so a light club is useless, and, unlike dogs, attack without warning leaving no time to squirt pepper spray.
—RossChicago

3 Dogs in 35 miles

Lesson learned: ALWAYS bring your citronella dog spray on every ride. I've doen this route for years and never saw many dogs - However, some canine must have spread the word - 3 close calls in 35 miles. 2 of the attacks happened at the crest of a hill so I was able to outrun. the last dog came at me like a rocket and would have knocked me flat - luckily he undershot and flew behind me into a ditch.
—Guest Randy Cook

Carrying a gun (with permit)

I served 2 tours of duty (one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan). I live in Texas. Two days ago, my neighbors annoying dog ran at me so I put one in his head. I had no remorse for this since I've also killed terrorists overseas. Safe to say, he won't be chasing me down anymore. Also safe to say, I have a court date on the 21st.
—Guest Guest

Do as much damage as possible

I'm a commuter cyclist, and I've lost patience with dogs and dog owners. I carry a collapsible trekking pole with a fairly sharp point on the tip. When I get chased or harassed by a dog, I get off the bike and face the dog down. If the dog backs down, I generally attack back, hitting it hard enough to break bones and generally leave it extremely wary of cyclists. If the dog continues to attack, it will lose an eye, a leg, or be dead. In this day and age, there's no excuse for a dog off-leash that could threaten a human. If it threatens me - an adult man - it is likely capable of being severely dangerous to smaller people and children, so I have no issues with disabling or killing aggressive dogs.
—Guest Dogs and cyclists don't mix

Cycling is a blood sport

Most dog owners think of themselves as "alpha dogs" and have the same innate hatred for flying bicycles. Carry any weapon you can, and expect to use it. "Country" people are supposed to be friendly, but "country" roads always have people who think it's swell to let violent dogs run loose. Chains aren't enough either, when people are raising dogs that were bred to break the legs of bulls. It is increasingly a problem that dog owners are activively siccing their dogs on bicyclists.
—Guest Michael Taylor

Just got bit

Just got bit by a dog today while riding on a gravel road. I frequently encounter dogs on gravel roads who like to chase and bark but this son-of-a-gun bit the back of my calf. I turned on the jets and outraced him on my single speed. From now on I'm taking no chances - I'm going to start carrying some pepper spray with me.
—Guest Mike

4 dogs... 1 biker.. Asphalt!

Country rides seem to have a lot more chasing dogs.... I have been chased on 3 of my last 4 rides. This week I went for a ride to get ready for my triathlon on Sat.... When out came four dogs chasing me down! I tried to outrun them, with one right at my pedal. I thought I had almost made it when when one dog cut right in front and took me out. As I was laying in the ground trying to regain my senses and work past the pain, the owner came out, called the dogs and yelled at me and asked what was the matter, and then went back in! Pretty banged up and concerned about the tri in 5 days.. Grrrr! I think I need to start trying some of those dog deterring ideas for sure!
—Guest Tess

Ammonia water

I use a water bottle painted black (so I don't drink from it) with a mixture of ammonia and water. I believe ammonia may damage eyes, so I spray in front of a running dog, or on their backs. Either stops them dead. When I was a runner and a dog approached, I would run towards it yelling loudly. It worked every time except for one large dog that kept coming because he was sliding on the ice and couldn't stop. I slugged it.
—Guest mtbscski

scared

I got chased by a dog today. The only thing that was going through my mind was to get enough speed to stop pedaling and kick it the snout. It worked as I just rode out of his territory. No kicking involved.
—Guest kurt

Mammals watch out.

I ride a Trek FX to work at about 5:45 AM. I use a light. But I swear, I have run over and killed two rabbits this year, hit another (but I think it lived) and today hit a raccoon. The last two sort of ran into my back wheel, bounced around, and then ran off. So they could be on the hit list as well. Good God, what is causing them to run right in front of me. In none of these encounters have I had time to stop or swerve. They just shoot out of the grass next to the paved trail right in my way!
—Guest Mark (Elmer)

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Meeting Up with Dogs, Deer or Other Critters When Riding

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