“So I took my flashlight and hit it over the side of the head to get it to let go. As soon as I got it to let go then another one went to lunge at me. All I really thought to do was swing and knock it to get it from jumping at me again,” Dickehage said. “Picture closing your eyes and having the three figures, you can barely see them, and all you could do is keep your hands up and just make sure that they weren’t going for the face … You feel the initial impact, and as soon as you felt it, then you could react and go to shove, but, I mean, after that … all I could try doing was make sure I was moving backwards.”Of course the first recommendation is carry dog/bear spray.
Let me relate an incident that happened to our hapless beagle Alf 2 weeks ago. A neighborhood dog she'd always been friendly with grabbed one of her big, floppy ears and wouldn't let go (both dogs were on leash). The woman walking the other dog pulled out her dog spray and promptly sprayed her own dog directly in the eyes, splattering Alf. Net result? Same as always...nothing. My Sweetie hit the dog twice on its head with her fist until it turned loose. Alf got stitches, my neighbor got fined and my Sweetie got dog spray off Alf all over the steering wheel of my Honda Element.
Spray, either dog, bear or people, seems to work great if the dog, bear or person is sitting around having an adult beverage watching television. I think blood chemistry and, for lack of a better word, the psychology of the animal/human are the primary factors in spray performance. A person or a bear or a coyote in full attack mode will not necessarily respond the way we might hope when popped with spray. I've done sims in a "gas environment" (where afterwards I ended up throwing away all the clothes I was wearing at the time) and I've been sprayed with various flavors in one of my other lives as a journalist who specialized in covering urban riots. As a journalist, I just worked through it...it sucked, but my head didn't explode. Interestingly enough, the gas worked best in the sims, where I knew it was coming and dreaded the heck out of it...once again, a lot of it is in your head.
This is another one of those "you pays your money; you takes your chances" situation (and we deal with it this upcoming season in THE BEST DEFENSE). We don't have a big coyote problem up high...there's just not enough food in the high alpine niche to support a pack. Typically, I'll see a few coyotes during the fall and winter and I always offer them the deal: be gone or be dead.
I would tend to err on the side of caution with coyotes...they are not afraid of us and they are very efficient pack hunters. I realize there's some controversy on this choice, but IMHO this is where the .410 pistol comes into its own. I have a Bond Arms derringer and a Taurus Judge in .410 and I think they are world-class coyote guns at the ranges we're talking about here. This is not hunting coyotes; this is protecting oneself against coyotes...different beasty.
[BTW...Alf the Wonder Beagle has taken this hellish year in stride, even though she's now 11 years old. She had major surgery and was attacked twice, both times requiring stitches, and has bounced back quickly each time. The dog's a tank!]
UPDATE: Paul Markel of STUDENT OF THE GUN has had excellent results with OC spray against both people and animals...he heartily recommends carrying spray as a "bridge" between handheld and lethal force.
Here's an excellent article on the balance of speed and accuracy from Jeff Gonzales at Trident Concepts:
Your effort to achieve balance between these two factors is the ultimate goal. The relationship between shooter, weapon and environment are constantly being challenged, but kept in check through speed and accuracy. Most shooting scenarios have a limited amount of time to respond, so speed is often the primary goal. The mistake that happens is when we are compelled to act quickly, we can sometimes emphasize speed over accuracy and actually end up missing the goal of the task entirely. You have to resist the urge to go so fast that you compromise your accuracy, this is probably the hardest skill to develop.
Read the whole thing!
Finally, from The Firearm Report, An Average Joe's Guide to 3-Gun:
The Gear: The first thing you’re going to need to know is that you’re going to have to buy a lot of stuff, and pretty much everything you buy you will immediately throw away or sell. “That holster looks like it will work” will instantly become “This holster will never work!” You can try to live by the mantra “Buy once, cry once,” but it doesn’t work that way in 3-Gun. Even if you tried to “buy once” two things would happen: you would spend upwards of a year researching everything you need to get started, and then once you figured it out you would wait another year for your custom pistol, rifle, and shotgun to be ready. So if you want to save money buying only once, bad news – you’re two years away from shooting your first match. It’s better to take inventory of what you have, and then borrow the rest.