Wild Dogs Attack!
Jackson County hunter fought for his life against three large dogs.
Mike Bolton | February 9, 2023
Editor’s Note: The below story about wild dogs attacking a man took place on Sunday, Jan. 15. The event was extremely traumatic for the victim’s family, and he asks that only his first name be used. However, he wanted to share his story with GON readers so that no one has to experience what happened to him.
Every deer hunter faces some degree of danger, but caution and common sense place the odds overwhelmingly in favor of the hunter.
Being mistaken for a deer by another hunter is one such fear, but the wearing of hunter’s orange virtually eliminates that chance. Falling from a tree stand is another possibility, but wearing a safety harness can turn a tree stand fall into an embarrassing story instead of a broken leg or even a fatality.
Being in any danger was the furthest thing from Scott’s mind Sunday, Jan. 15 when he got up early and decided to spend a little time in the Jackson County woods. That routine morning turned into a frightening life and death struggle.
“Once the gun season closed, I wanted to move a few of my stands to tweak everything for next season,” the 61-year-old said. “I rode my 4-wheeler in, and I took a ladder stand down. It was light, so I decided to just drag it by hand about 150 yards to where I was going to put it up.”
“Suddenly, three large dogs appeared, and they apparently had been attracted to the noise I was making in the woods.”
All three dogs were mixed—two of them with pit bull and the third one with German shepherd.
“One of them attacked me, and when it did, it triggered the other two, and they joined in,” he said. “They were attacking me from all sides. I was trying to keep them away from the inside of my legs where the femoral arteries are and away from my neck.
“I had nothing with me to fend them off. I was desperately grabbing sticks to hit them, but the sticks were decayed and kept falling apart.
“They kept attacking me for what seemed like 15 minutes. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was trying to figure out what to do. I considered falling on the ground and rolling up in a ball and playing dead like you are supposed to do with bears. I considered screaming for help, but I knew no one would hear me. My 4-wheeler and my cell phone were 150 yards away, and I knew I would never make it there.
“I finally remembered that there was a tree stand nearby on an adjoining property. I found a good stick and was able to keep the dogs at a distance until I could get to that stand and climb up in it.”
In the stand, Scott was able to catch his breath, get his heart rate down and take the first good look at his wounds. He was in bad shape. He had punctures and lacerations on both arms and both hands, and from his waist down to his ankles. He needed medical attention immediately.
“I sat in the stand for about 30 minutes after the dogs left,” he said. “When I got down, they heard the rustling of the leaves under my boots. They came running back in.”
Scott rushed back up into the tree stand and waited another 30 minutes after the dogs left. This time, he purposely made a lot of noise to see if the dogs would return. They did not. He decided to head in the opposite direction away from his 4-wheeler and where the dogs had come from.
“I found a good stick, and I quietly tip-toed to a fence line that was about 60 yards away,” he said. “I climbed over the fence and then hiked about a half-mile through a cow pasture out to the highway.
“I stood in the middle of the road waving my arms and people were driving around me,” he said. “I knew I looked like hell, but dang, a couple of guys all alone in pickup trucks drove around me. You’d think they could have stopped at a distance, rolled down the window and asked if I needed help. It was obvious I needed medical attention.
“Finally, I decided somebody was going to have to stop, or run over me. A family on their way to church finally stopped. I told them what happened and told them I needed to go to an emergency room.”
Scott got in the car with them, and they took him to a nearby friend’s home, and they took him to the emergency room in Braselton.
“I got to the hospital, and they worked on me,” he said. “I had 298 puncture wounds and lacerations. I have no idea how many stitches they put in me, but I was sewn up in seven places.”
Scott was released from the hospital at about 4 p.m., and he went straight to the Jackson County Sheriff’s office. Deputies took his statement and called in animal control. Animal control learned where the owner of the dogs lived and went to the house to capture them for a 10-day quarantine period.
The quarantine ended on Jan. 25, and it was determined that the dogs were not rabid. The dogs’ owners asked animal control what should be done with the dogs. Animal control said the dogs should be euthanized. The owners agreed, and the dogs were put down, Scott said.
Meanwhile, Scott still faces a long road to recovery. A tendon in his hand was torn in half, and he will be undergoing hand therapy for some time. More than 50% of the puncture wounds and lacerations were in his legs. His legs are still so badly swollen that three weeks after the attack he is still wearing compression sleeves to help reduce the swelling. He believes he will eventually undergo physical therapy in his legs.
While the wounds should eventually heal, he said the mental scars may not.
“I am not sure how I will do when I try to go back in the woods the first time. I plan to wait until I am properly healed. I plan to go with someone the first few trips and plan to carry a pistol again, maybe even a shotgun with buckshot. I also plan to carry a collapsible, extendable baton and pepper spray. Seems like overkill, but I need to do whatever makes me feel comfortable again.
“I love being in the woods, and this attack has certainly had an impact on me psychologically/mentally. I just hope I can go out in the woods again and enjoy myself. Hunting and being in the woods is my No. 1 hobby.”
Scott said he did learn some lessons in the life-changing event that he’d like to pass along to GON readers.
“One thing I have learned is the top of a dog’s head (their skull) is very thick, and hitting them there has little impact. There is some good information on how to defend yourself in a dog attack at https://positively.com/animal-advocacy/dog-bite-prevention/what-to-do-when-a-dog-attacks.”
Scott will have to find a way to move forward with his hunting hobby, although he’s not sure how that’s going to play out just yet.
“If you have ever been put in a life-or-death situation, that doesn’t go away,” he said.
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I certainly pray for Scott’s complete recovery. I also think he should sue for damages. And like many others …. Always carry a hand gun.
I live out in the country and walk on the road sometime two years ago one morning as I passed a driveway two young pit bulls ran out to the end of the driveway and stopped I watched over my shoulder as I walked on by they started running at me I had an umbrella because of a chance of rain and my Glock I hit the female with the umbrella and she ran off the male was coming at me and I drew the Glock a man in a truck passing by stopped and so did the dog about two seconds before he was going to die. I called animal control and filled out a report the officer said he would follow up at the house where I encountered the dogs I haven’t seen them since. I always carry a gun when I walk anywhere because you never know what you might encounter.
This just in… Biden blames Trump.
Always carry a side arm when heading into the woods. You could come under attack by a rabid coyote, dog, bear, etc. Or just some crazy stray dogs (or not even stray) like in this article. Thanks goodness for the 2nd ammendment.
Glad he survived this, pretty terrifying. Hope you’ve recovered well! Several years ago I had a mountain lion stalk me to my ground stand. Fortunately it didn’t find me behind the giant tree where I was hiding. At the time it was illegal to carry a gun during bow season and my knife was in my pack. That was it for me. From that day on I carried a handgun and a large knife on my belt in addition to my skinning knife in my pack. My cell phone is always on my person as well. Nobody thinks it will be them until is.
I hope Scott recovers fully from this frightening ordeal.
About 40 years ago I was walking through the woods from GA 79
to fish at Anthony Shoals, and 6-8 wild dogs came up on me.
Luckily I was able to find a large limb lying on the ground.
I raised the stick began hollering and acting unafraid, but I was terrified. The stick was so weak, I thought it was going to break from waving it aroud. The 2 biggest dogs began growling, pacing back and forth, but did not attack. It was a harrowing experience, and I have never again walked into the woods unarmed.
Hoping and praying for a full recovery!
I always have a 9mm and a walking stick just in case. Now I will include pepper spray. I keep my phone with me and let folks know exactly where I’m going and keep in touch with them. Scary stuff and hope this fellow outdoorsman can get back to normal and back out in the woods.
I wish Scott a speedy and full recovery ! Get you an aggressive attorney and sue the dogs owner for at least a million dollars. Two million if there are any complications from the attack.
This is proof that those who shoot (on sight) uncollared dogs on their property are right!
And that is why I carry a pistol with me all the time. I would have filled those dogs full of holes. Lone before they got a fang in me….
Always, always carry a sidearm when you go into the woods & be sure you can hit with it. I have carried a 22 WMR for years and it has served me well with Timber rattlers, a rabid raccoon and in one case an aggressive dog. Hoping Scott has rapid healing with no residual effects of the attack.
Thank you for sharing that story, Scott. You’ve certainly earned my respect. You are one tough guy to survive that attack.
I can’t add much, but as retired law enforcement I do know that even a .40 cal won’t guarantee a kill shot in the pit bull breed. I agree with the other post . I must say it again, always have a center fire gun when in the woods. I favor the 45acp or even my 45 Colt.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS CARRY AT LEAST A HANDGUUN WHILE IN THE WOODS!! I carry a small handgun during archery season or during the offseason when working on our club property in Wilkes county. I have had to kill one wild dog in the past and now we have wild hogs on the place and they can be dangerous at times. And of course you never know these days when you might have a run in with a 2 legged predator, even in the woods.
Thank goodness Scott survived the attack. A gun, rifle or pistol , would have ended this problem very soon, so I always carry one in the woods. Also , after the attack, a good attorney will help in his pain and suffering. Probably not the first time those dogs caused a problem. They could have killed a smaller person , or child. Scott, wishing you a Speedy recovery !
Glad he will recover. The owners need to be held responsible for sure.