The Armed Citizen® Farms And Ranches

posted on March 24, 2016

The remote locations of farms and ranches typically keep them off the radar of most criminals. But for burglars looking for easy access to expensive farm tools, vehicles and machinery—and for four legged predators who see fenced-in livestock as easy pickings—farms and ranches can prove an irresistible draw. 

92-year-old World War II veteran Earl Jones was at home on the Boone County, Ky., farm he has worked for over five decades when he heard a loud noise in the basement. Jones retrieved a .22-caliber rifle and went to a chair opposite the door to the basement. After several minutes, a home invader came through the basement door, at which point Jones fired at the criminal, killing him. The dead intruder’s accomplices fled the scene, but were captured after calling police with a lie about how their cohort had been shot. During an interview with local media, Jones made clear his adamant support for the right to self-defense. Jones told a reporter, “I didn’t go to war for nothing. I have the right to carry a gun. That’s what I told the police this morning,” adding, “Was I scared? Was I mad? Hell no … it was simple. That man was going to take my life. He was hunting me. I was protecting myself.” (, Boone County, Ky., 9/3/2012) 

Ken and Dot Easler were working on their 13-acre farm in Spartanburg County, S.C., when burglar Douglas Michael Nickerson broke into their house. When 73-year-old Ken Easler returned, he heard the intruder upstairs and retrieved his 9 mm pistol. Nickerson eventually made his way to the stairs where Easler was waiting and ordered him to stop, saying, “You do anything sudden, you’re liable to end up dead.” Easler then held Nickerson at gunpoint in a small bathroom until police arrived. Spartanburg Sheriff Chuck Wright was supportive of Easler’s actions, stating, “I think he did a good job. ... That’s the reason why good, honest citizens have a right to bear arms.” The Easlers also protect themselves outside of their home; both have Right-to-Carry permits. (The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, S.C., 6/28/2010)

When his wife woke him to report that their two dogs were barking at something on a hill near their ranch outside Loomis, Wash., Lamoyne Wahl grabbed his rifle and went to investigate. He found the dogs fighting with a bear. “So I shot the bear once, and he turned around and charged me,” said Wahl. “Then I shot him again. I knew I wasn’t going to get a third shot off, so I turned and ran.” Wahl took about 10 steps and the bear bit him in the calf. He put the barrel to the bear’s neck and pulled the trigger, dropping the animal in its tracks. Wahl was treated at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Wash., and released. (The Seattle Times, Seattle, Wash., 6/19/2005)

Barking dogs announced that a desperate murder suspect armed with a rifle and a pistol had wandered onto Jim Kremers’ Cheyenne, Wyo., ranch one night. Kremers, who had been warned to be on the lookout for the fugitive, met the threat with the aid of his son who had a rifle of his own. The men eventually turned the tense standoff into a compassionate surrender, feeding the suspect hot dogs and beans and allowing him to call his parents. Meanwhile, the ranchers went back outside, secured the guns and summoned police to make the arrest. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 2/17/2000)

A wary deer hunter took the precaution of placing his .357 Mag. handgun within easy reach before bedding down in his truck camper one night at a farm outside Frankford, Mo. Soon afterward, he awoke to find John Dieumegarde, a 23-year-old prison escapee, trying to force his way inside. The armed hunter summarily halted the escaped felon and escorted him at gunpoint to the nearby farmhouse where his friend called 911. The capture ended a manhunt that had involved scores of police, citizens, bloodhounds and helicopters. Dieumegarde, serving a 20-year sentence for robbery, had escaped while being transported from court on other charges. (The Quincy Herald-Whig, Quincy, Ill., 10/26/1999)

Alerted to the presence of a prowler by cigarette smoke, Delanco, N.J., farmhand Michael Popp began searching the house on the farm where he works. Finding a man in the upstairs hallway, Popp retreated downstairs to get a shotgun, but couldn’t find any shells. “He didn’t know; he thought it was loaded,” said Popp, who held the man for police. (The Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J., 7/19/1991)

Ranch hand Javier Garcia had reportedly been “acting weird” after returning from a weeklong vacation from his job at the K4 Ranch near Prescott, Ariz. Ranch owner Linda Kieckhefer and her father, Chuck Sheppard, would soon find out just how far askew Garcia’s mind had gone. As the pair made their way from the main house to the barn one Friday evening, Garcia burst out of his quarters brandishing a large knife. In the ensuing attack, Kieckhefer and Sheppard both suffered serious cuts; but when the blade broke, Garcia retreated to re-arm himself. John Kieckhefer, Linda’s husband, then attempted to prevent a second attack with a 20-ga. shotgun, but missed and also was stabbed. Finally, another ranch hand’s wife passed Sheppard a .357 Mag. handgun, which he fired at Garcia. Two bullets found their mark and gave Sheppard time to retreat into the ranch house. Garcia continued his rampage, still attempting to get at his victims before finally collapsing in death. “You tell them, by God, I shot that S.O.B., and I’d do it again,” said the 82-year-old Sheppard after defending his daughter’s life and ending the vicious attack. (The Daily Courier, Prescott, Ariz., 6/13/1999)

Ralph and Rosie Wells were strolling on their Sumner County, Kan., farm when they saw two suspicious strangers. Wells sent his wife to the house to call the police while he got his shotgun. Returning, Wells ordered the men to put up their hands. His wife appeared with a second shotgun and was soon joined by neighbors, who realized the Wellses had captured two members of a trio that shot and wounded a Kansas state trooper outside Wichita the night before. The third member of the trio, suspected transplanted members of the West Coast Crips gang, was apprehended earlier in a police manhunt. (The Eagle, Wichita, Kan., 8/4/1990)

Two men stopped at Steve and Babe Martin’s Mullen, Neb., ranch and asked for food. Then one of them pulled a gun and demanded a vehicle. The rancher wrested the gun from the man, but the stranger’s accomplice began stabbing Martin. The attack ended when Mrs. Martin came out of the house with a rifle. Martin was able to hold his assailant for authorities; the other man fled but was later captured on a train by police. (The Star, Lincoln, Neb., 11/22/1989)



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