When it comes to armed self-defense, all instances don’t necessarily involve two-legged predators. Armed citizens thwart numerous wild animal attacks each year, as seen in these five reports.
When Alan Abele, 68, crept outside to investigate the thumping sounds at his back door around 4 a.m., he found an unexpected trespasser. After quickly grabbing a flashlight and his .357 Magnum pistol, Abele opened the door to his back porch and was met with an angry 200-lb., 6-ft. alligator. The animal sprang toward Abele. He said, “I was crouched down and looking around when he hit me hard enough to knock me into a planter. The next thing I knew he’s coming at me with his jaws open. …” Abele pulled the trigger just in time, as the alligator was only inches away. Abele said he regrets having to kill the alligator, but was glad he had his gun with him. Abele suffered only a minor bruise during the attack. (Tampa Bay Times, Dunnellon, Fla., 10/24/13)
Michael Votruba had just arrived home from a long day at work when he spotted an animal scurrying across the yard as he exited his vehicle. Votruba was clearly able to identify the animal as a bobcat when it approached him, growling. He drew the pistol he was carrying and took a few steps back. The bobcat lunged at him, attacking his leg. Votruba shook free and ran only a few steps before the bobcat jumped on his chest. Again, Votruba fought back, throwing the cat to the ground and shooting twice. When the bobcat lunged at his chest yet again, Votruba fired several more shots, killing the animal. Votruba was not seriously injured during the attack, and immediately received the necessary rabies shots and an updated tetanus shot. (Telegram & Gazette, Holden, Mass., 6/20/13)
Injuries sustained to Anthony Wilson’s face, torso, arms and legs were severe, but he was last reported to be in good condition after he was attacked by two dogs in his neighborhood. The dogs escaped from a yard early one afternoon and attacked 77-year-old Wilson. He tried to seek refuge under a pickup truck with little success. The dogs snapped at his legs and continued to bite and claw him, trying to drag him from the protection of the vehicle. A neighbor heard Wilson’s cries for help and responded quickly when he saw the dogs attacking. The neighbor retrieved a firearm and attempted to scare the dogs away. But when the dogs then turned their attention to the neighbor, he fired, killing both animals. (The Times-Tribune, Dunmore, Penn., 7/3/13)
Jerry Brown, 63, was outside his cabin when he spotted a large black bear. The bear first headed away from Brown, but then turned toward him and attacked. As Brown tried to escape, his brother, Randy, retrieved a firearm and shot at the bear, causing it to run off. Brown suffered extensive injuries to his face, including the loss of his left eye. (Grand Forks Herald, Shell Lake, Wis., 6/20/13)
Tom White had seen an underweight cougar twice the day before; he had to chase the cougar away from the family’s calves. Then, when his 14-year-old son was outside feeding their dogs the next day, the cougar showed up again and appeared to be stalking the boy. The cougar followed the boy to the basement door of the home, where he hurriedly took refuge inside as White’s 11-year-old daughter shot and killed the cat to protect her brother. This was one of several cougars that was killed in the area for attacking domestic animals this past winter. (The Wenatchee World, Twisp, Wash., 2/25/14)