First time to draw/fire in defense of livestock(or anything)today.

First time to draw/fire in defense of livestock(or anything)today.

This is a discussion on First time to draw/fire in defense of livestock(or anything)today. within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'll set the scene: My wife and I live in a home I've owned for about 10 years in a rural subdivision. Lot sizes range ...

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Thread: First time to draw/fire in defense of livestock(or anything)today.

  1. #1
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    First time to draw/fire in defense of livestock(or anything)today.

    I'll set the scene:

    My wife and I live in a home I've owned for about 10 years in a rural subdivision. Lot sizes range from 1 to 10 acres. Ours is a mostly wooded ~3.5 acres. Our development is surrounded by thousands of acres of farm land. About 3 years ago we started keeping and raising ducks and then later chickens. Right now we have a mix of both, some we consider pets, some strictly for sale. Our two dogs, a beagle mix and an english setter mix, surprisingly don't give the birds a bit of trouble as they free range through our yard and the woods.

    I've only been carrying on an everyday basis for about a year, but have carried from time to time while working around our property for several years in case of a run in with a coyote or fox. Today I had what I call my weekend carry, a Beretta 92FS loaded with 135gr +p Critical Duty in a Desantis OWB thumb break rig. This morning I stepped out on the back deck to relax for a while and enjoy a so far quiet Sunday. Suddenly I hear one of my chickens start to go nuts, which is rare, and my English jumped up and ran in the direction of the noise barking like crazy. I ran down the steps and down to the side of the house to investigate to find two Irish Setters emerging from the woods, one with a chicken hanging from it's mouth. I drew and fired two shots into the dirt and the dog dropped the chicken. The bird is unhurt.

    Some more back story. Once I saw the dogs I instantly recognized them. We have a small stream that runs through our lot. These dogs belong to a horse farmer who's property is 2-3 miles downstream from us. The dogs usually run in a fenced yard, but several times over the past 5 years they have gotten loose and followed the creek to our house. We know them by name and have the owners number stored on our phones. These dogs are very friendly and get along with our dogs, however this is their first visit since we have had chickens.

    So the two shots de-escalated the situation. The dogs were spooked pretty good, but responded to us and we were trying to gather them into our garage until we could call the owner. About this time a couple more chickens come walking around the corner, and again the dogs are fixated on getting a bird. I draw again and fire another shot into the dirt, this time I bring my gun up and start to sight the dog. Luckily between the shot and my wife and I yelling, both dogs decide they've had enough and take off down the driveway. I tried to reach the owner by phone, and ended up sending a text to let him know the dogs were in my area. Still haven't heard back as I'm typing this, nor have we seen the dogs again.

    Now that my wife and I have had a chance to debrief and I've thought about the situation, here's a few things that stand out to me.

    My instinct must have told me from the beginning to be prepared to shoot. I have no memory of thinking I needed to draw, I just did. And my gun had cleared the holster before I rounded the corner of the house to even know what the trouble was.

    Under pressure, the long, heavy DA first pull of the Beretta was a non issue. In the heat of the moment I didn't notice a difference. This is definitely something I will spend more range time on. Getting that first shot off into the ground quickly is easy, on a target is when it counts.

    I won't shoot a dog, especially an otherwise friendly one, over a chicken or duck when other options are available. I'm not a warning shot guy, but I couldn't bring myself to kill a friendly dog that I know was only doing what came natural to it. Worst case scenario the dog gets a bird. In the meantime I'll contact the owner if I can or animal control. If it comes after me, my wife or one of my dogs all bets are off.

    Had I not been carrying at home I likely would have lost at least two birds before I could have retrieved a gun from the house.

    I'm sure other things will come to mind as I continue to process this.

    So, DC family, what are your opinions of how I handled things?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array DaGunny's Avatar
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    Are the chicken pets or are you just fattening them up?
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    Senior Member Array ElMonoDelMar's Avatar
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    Sounds like you did fine to me. Short of carrying a fire hose and a tank of water with you, you did about the only thing you could have to avoid killing the dogs while saving your livestock/pets. Might be a good idea to get pepper spray, but that would really depend on the range that this took place. I'm guessing you were far enough away where that wouldn't have helped much even in the "stream" configuration.
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    I've got mixed feelings on this one. Where was your gun pointed when you fired? What did your shots hit?

    I understand not wanting to kill dogs, and it sounds like everything worked out alright, but I have some qualms about firing a gun just to make noise. It seems like you would be better served with a started pistol (being serious, not sarcastic).
    ugh762x39 likes this.
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    Senior Member Array ugh762x39's Avatar
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    Warning shots remind me of George Carlin and The News:

    Police fired warning shots over the heads of rioters today, unfortunately, they killed 200 people living on the second floor!"
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    Member Array Bekkers's Avatar
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    He said he fired into the ground. Sounds like you did all you could without hurting any of the animals, good on you!


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    I probably would not have fired to scare the dogs. I probably would not have fired at all, as letting a round loose in the soil to protect a chicken when there are neighbors' homes nearby seems a bit risky to me. Not sure how close the homes are, though.

    That's just me. Glad it worked out for you though.
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    Taking another human life is not a pleasurable experience, I can understand if your doing it in defense of yourself or another human to preserve human life however, protecting property IMHO is not a good idea even if it is legal in your state.

    Regardless of legality, the emotional aftermath and the choice you will live with the rest of your life.

    Protecting property against predatory animals is just damage control. However, if they are your neighbors animals remember you have to live next to your neighbor! A pellet gun to the backside might be more appropriate.
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    I would have reacted just as you did...I prefer not to shoot a dog (one I know) over a chicken.
    It all ended well.
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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    I would think you should have no legal problem in protecting livestock from predators. i live in a suburban subdivision in a growing Texas town of Rosenberg. I have farms that are right on the other side of my fence. and though there is an increase in population, bringing apartments and single family homes, in a very fast rate. You can still hear Coyotes at night, and i have seen a Bobcat once. There is also Ferrel Hog problem in Texas. if a Coyote does happen to appear on my small lot. I do carry at home.
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    Senior Member Array ugh762x39's Avatar
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    Why is there a ferrel hog problem in Texas? Down here, we shoot and eat 'em.....open season year round and noooo limit!
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    BACON!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaGunny View Post
    Are the chicken pets or are you just fattening them up?
    Most of them are for egg production. They won't go in the fryer till they stop producing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    I've got mixed feelings on this one. Where was your gun pointed when you fired? What did your shots hit?

    I understand not wanting to kill dogs, and it sounds like everything worked out alright, but I have some qualms about firing a gun just to make noise. It seems like you would be better served with a started pistol (being serious, not sarcastic).
    All 3 shots went nearly straight down just in front of me.

    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    I probably would not have fired to scare the dogs. I probably would not have fired at all, as letting a round loose in the soil to protect a chicken when there are neighbors' homes nearby seems a bit risky to me. Not sure how close the homes are, though.

    The nearest home is about 150 yards the opposite direction I was heading. On the side this went down the next house is more like 500 yards out with dense woods between us. Our house also sits in a holler about 50-60' in elevation below the rest.
    That's just me. Glad it worked out for you though.

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    I truly don't know how many chickens I have. If the dogs didn't do anything but take a chicken I would not have shot I would have contacted the owner and told them they owe me a year old hen and left it at that. If in five years you have had two times the dogs came your way I don't consider it a big deal. If they come back and kill a chicken tie it around the dogs collar and let him go. Call the owner and tell them they owe you a hen. Third time I haven't seen your dogs but I will keep an eye out for them and that would be the end of the problem. Oh that fresh dirt is where I buried a chicken that was killed by a dog.

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    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    I understand the bit about protecting your livestock. Farmers dairymen and ranchers have the right and duty to protect their stock and their livelihood.

    Firing a warning shot is a bad idea I think considering your location. Had your place been further out with the closest neighbor a mile or more away then maybe. A quality pellet gun against a neighbors dog is a better idea I think.

    There's also the fact the owner of the dogs has acreage next to yours. I've seen feuds between neighbors last for years and years over less than dogs stealing chickens. JMO.
    Fizban, ugh762x39 and CWOUSCG like this.
    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.
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