Dangerous Animals

The biggest fear many new hunters may have is having an accident with a weapon. While this is a potentially deadly hazard in the wilderness, there are dangerous animals that can cause more harm. Some are obvious threats to hunters and campers, such as bears. But some threatening critters hide in places you wouldn”t expect.

Dangerous Big Animals

Dorothy was afraid of lions and tigers and bears while she was walking down the yellow brick road for a good reason. Of course you want to avoid these dangerous animals, but grazing animals with hooves or horns can also be dangerous, even if you think your weapon will save you. Bison, moose, deer and elk are potentially deadly if they feel threatened. Be knowledgeable about the native animals of the designated hunting areas you”ll be visiting.

Be sure to make an adequate amount of noise while traveling from one area to another, so as not to surprise large and dangerous animals. Surprising a dangerous female animal with her baby critters is extremely dangerous. Avoid sites of animal carcasses, as there may be a big predator around waiting to return to its meal. Straying off your planned path or leaving food around can put you dangerously close to unpleasant animals as well.

Other Dangerous Critters

You”ll also want to avoid poisonous insects and reptiles while hiking, camping or hunting. These tiny threats can often be the most dangerous, as they are extremely difficult to see and sometimes hard to avoid. Small insects can hide beneath your feet, and being near water brings you close to a slew of dangerous animals you”ll want to avoid. Find out which poisonous creatures will be around before you hunt or camp.

Here”s a list of some of the most common poisonous insects and lizards:

  • Insects and Arachnids
    • bees, wasps and hornets
    • centipedes and millipedes (While few are actually poisonous, punctures from these critters can cause infection.)
    • leeches
    • spiders (such as the brown recluse, black widow, funnel web and tarantula)
    • ticks.
  • Poisonous Lizards
    • Gila Monster
    • Komodo Dragon
    • Mexican Beaded Lizard.

Dangerous Animals In Rivers, Bays and Estuaries

Always wear protective footwear and shuffle your feet in shallow water in case one of these is lurking nearby:

  • electric eel
  • piranha
  • platypus
  • sea urchin
  • stingray
  • turtles that bite.

Salt Water”s Dangerous Animals

Stay away from these deadly or poisonous sea creatures:

  • auger shell
  • blue-ringed octopus
  • cone shell
  • jellyfish
  • rabbit fish
  • scorpion fish
  • sharks
  • stonefish
  • tang
  • toadfish
  • weaver fish.

Dangerous Snakes to Avoid

Some snakes are poisonous, and some are not. Species vary locally, so read up on the slithering critters of your area. If you know there will be poisonous snakes in your hunting or camping area, wear protective footwear. Make sure to walk carefully, always looking where you step and using a stick if you have to turn over a rock or log.

If you”re camping, check bedding for snakes and insects. Above all, remain calm in the face of snakes, and don”t tease them.

What To Do If Someone Is Wounded

If someone in your party is bitten by a poisonous animal or suffers an allergic reaction to a bee sting, they will need immediate medical attention. Make sure to have a cell phone on hand.

There are many animals of all sizes that can inflict wounds, so keep a first aid kit on hand. Follow these steps for dressing a wound:

  1. Remove clothing around the wound.
  2. Carefully clean skin around the wound.
  3. Rinse wound with water while applying pressure.
  4. If a wound gets infected while you”re out camping, you”ll want to keep a warm compress on it, which you should change three to four times daily. Also change bandages and drain the wound frequently, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Take Precaution To Avoid Critters

The best way to be prepared for dangerous animals is to avoid them. Stick with your hunting party, don”t hunt at night and don”t leave food or gear unattended. If you have dogs with you, make sure they are always within sight. Most of all, just be alert and aware of your surroundings. Remember, while you”re hunting, something else could be hunting you.


Center For Wildlife Information. (2005-2006). Common Causes of Attacks While Hiking. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the Center for Wildlife Information Web site: http://www.centerforwildlifeinformation.org/BeBearAware/Hiking


Wilderness Survival. (2001-2006). Dangerous Animals. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the Wilderness Survival Web site: http://www.wilderness-survival.net/chp11.php.

Wilderness Survival. (2001-2006). Wounds. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the Wilderness Survival Web site: http://www.wilderness-survival.net/chp11.php.