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Mississippi help

Switch Blayde

For those of you who live/lived in Mississippi, I'm writing a story that takes place in Mississippi. I want someone to get killed in the woods by an animal. Google articles talk more about snakes than animals, but I want the death to be more violent than a snake bite. I want the guy torn apart and eaten.

I saw that panthers used to be in Mississippi, but no longer. That would have been a good one.

All I can come up with are wild hogs and black bears. Would either work? Would one work better?

Centaur

@Switch Blayde

Depending on the time period you can have any animal escape from a zoo. I think wolfs and brown bears may be more prevalent in MS, you might find croc's or gatters. but I think they were imported from somewhere else.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

It sounds like a gator would be your best bet, though they rarely leave many body parts to find when they're done. If the person stumbled off the usual trails, stumbling into the swamp and got pulled under, it would be more likely he'd simply never be heard from again. You might want him accompanied by someone who could beat off the gator before he could actually drag him underwater, still leaving him seriously injured, but with a witness who could help rescue him before he actually died.

As for wolves, few wolves will attack humans unless they have overwelming numbers, and black bears notoriously avoid humans if there's any way to avoid it. They'd attack long enough to stop someone, but wouldn't likely do extensive damage unless the idiot continued struggling after the initial attack.

(We have alligators, black bear, red wolves and panthers here in North Carolina, so I know quite a few people with experience with most of them—there aren't many wild panthers surviving anywhere in the Continental U.S.)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I need body parts. That's why I ruled out an alligator. Also, there's no mention of swamps in my part of Mississippi.

I read recently that a poacher in Africa was eaten by lions. They didn't find much more than his head. That's why I liked the panther, but from what I read, they're not there anymore.

We have bears where my mountain home is. A woman a few years back was mauled by one. Of course she was walking her little dog near the dumpsters at 3 a.m. The bear killed her.

I my go with the wild hog. I know nothing about them, but they have razor-sharp husks and the article said if they feel cornered they'll attack and eat you.

I want this to be a painful death. He deserves it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

We have bears where my mountain home is. A woman a few years back was mauled by one. Of course she was walking her little dog near the dumpsters at 3 a.m. The bear killed her.

I my go with the wild hog. I know nothing about them, but they have razor-sharp husks and the article said if they feel cornered they'll attack and eat you.

I want this to be a painful death. He deserves it.

The problem with wild boars, is they're like bears. They might attack viciously, but they're unlikely to dismember you, as humans are not their primary food source. Instead, they only attack to defend themselves. That's why 'playing dead' or making noise before they get too close, are often the best defenses. If they think you're not a risk, they'll generally back off.

Besides, most wild animals are familiar enough with humans to know that screwing with one is only going to end very badly for them.

You may want to think smaller, like a rabid racoon or possum. They won't rip a person to shreds, but the treatment is much more painful than a rapid death—especially if they die of an infection anyway!

oyster50

More violent than a snake bite? Dude's dropped his drawers for a quick dump in the woods. Said dump aggravates a timber rattler who declaims his dissatisfaction by striking the guy in the dangly bits, an attack that I would imagine would immediately result in blinding pain. They guy tries to stand, pants still down around his ankles, falls, goes into convulsions, and after several painful hours, expires. Or falls into a treetrunk, knocking himself out, then dies.

If you use it, I wanna know where it's at.

Oyster

Crumbly Writer

@oyster50

They guy tries to stand, pants still down around his ankles, falls, goes into convulsions, and after several painful hours, expires. Or falls into a treetrunk, knocking himself out, then dies.

Switch wanted extreme violence and body parts, potentially as a warning to the characters that the bad buy got his comeuppance.

Then again, if he simply fell over and hit his head on a rock, various critters could easily break off various body parts, carrying them across a wide area as they seek to protect their dinner.

Replies:   Centaur
Switch Blayde

@oyster50

More violent than a snake bite?


I know about snake bites. I live in the desert where there are many rattlers. In my last house, I used to get them all the time.

You don't die that fast from a rattler. And it's treatable, although expensive. If you want pain, a black widow's bite is worse. The effects last a long, long time. A brown recluse spider is bad too.

But this isn't just killing someone. It's making him pay. And it needs to look like an accident.

Centaur

@Crumbly Writer

guy drops his drawers to take a dump, snake bites his cherries. he falls forward to have a skunk spray his eyes. his resulting scream startles a pack of wild pigs. as they blindly stamped through the woods they run over and crush our guy.

Ernest Bywater

A lot will depend on the time period, but you can always run searches on the net or wikipedia for the national parks in the relevant area to see what they list as the fauna in the area. The American Alligator is known to be in the state, and the surrounding states have the American black bear, so it's likely a small population or a stray could be found in the state.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde


But this isn't just killing someone. It's making him pay. And it needs to look like an accident.


have them have a climbing accident and fall down the mountainside.

Replies:   Centaur  oyster50
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

What about the little fellas? Any killer bees or fire ants in Mississippi?

AJ

Centaur

@Ernest Bywater

mountains in MS? nope, might fall if he is cave diving.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

There aren't that many predators in North America dangerous to people.

Alligators can be found in all of the gulf coast states.

Doesn't need to be a swamp as long as there is a lake or river nearby.

Feral hogs can kill, but would generally not tear the body apart and eat it. They are omnivores, but they are generally not predators. They might however scavenge a body killed by something else.

Bears are also omnivores, not carnivores.

While they can kill people, black bears generally don't actively hunt anything but small mammals and salmon. They are however, known to scavenge kills made by other predators.

The only bears known to actively hunt large mammals under normal conditions are grizzly bears and polar bears.

Another North American predator capable of killing humans would be mountain lions. While there are no confirmed sightings of a mountain lions in Mississippi, there are confirmed sightings in neighboring Louisiana.

Red Wolves can be found in most of the gulf coast states.

Coyotes can be found in most of North America.

Of course you can always go with a non-native predator that escaped from a zoo or private collector, or was illegally released by a private collector.

Dominions Son

@Centaur

you might find croc's or gatters. but I think they were imported from somewhere else.


The American Alligator is native to all of the gulf coast states, they might be a bit rarer in Texas, but they are common enough that they can become nuisances from Florida all the way to Louisiana.

Ernest Bywater

@Centaur

mountains in MS? nope, might fall if he is cave diving.


Never having been to the state I don't know what it's like. However, a quick check of Google maps shows a lot of areas with 1200 to 300 foot elevation changes in what look to be steep areas like a cliff face, so call 'em what you will, they'll still kill if you fall off them.

Ernest Bywater

Drowning while being caught up in the lines of a boat when it sinks isn't a nice way to die. That can happen on any decent sized section of what. Do they ever go ice fishing in the area you're looking at, if they do he can fall in the hole and have trouble finding it again.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Do they ever go ice fishing in the area you're looking at


Mississippi is in the south, on the Gulf of Mexico. It would be rare for any part of Mississippi to get cold enough for long enough for lakes to develop ice thick enough for ice fishing.

The ice would need to be at least 4 inches thick to be safe to go out on it just on foot. At least 5 inches if you want to go out on a snowmobile or ATV or drag out an ice shanty for shelter / warmth. At least 8 inches for a car or small pickup. 12 inches for a medium truck.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html

Even on still water like a lake, that kind of ice takes deep cold for several weeks to form.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dominions Son


While there are no confirmed sightings of a mountain lions in Mississippi


That was my first choice. I had 2 near my last house that used to come down from the mountain. But, from what I found, Mississippi doesn't have them.

I guess I'll stick with either the black bear or wild hog. They won't eat him, or at least all of him, but maul him to death. That's the part I was after.

I'm more familiar with bears, but I like the razor-sharp tusks on the hog. That could do a world of hurt and be painful. We have javelina here in the desert. They don't eat meat, but have razor-sharp teeth and you better stay away from them when their young is around.

Capt. Zapp

@Switch Blayde

I guess I'll stick with either the black bear or wild hog


I'm sure that a mama bear who thinks her cubs are in danger would have no problems tearing him apart, or at least bad enough that the wild hogs would scavenge his remains.

StarFleet Carl

@Switch Blayde

The most dangerous animal in Mississippi is man.

Following that ... You could go with the guy getting bit by a water moccasin or timber rattler with no issues, then since that disabled him, a pack of coyotes or just plain feral dogs could tear him up.

I have family that lives in southern Mississippi (near Hattiesburg), visited there many times. Other than when you get into the river bottoms, because those do get swampy, you're typically in no danger other than from snakes. There ARE several National Forests in the state, too, where there are some wild animals.

Down near Gulfport, yeah, you got gators.

You get up into the northern part of the state, Tunica or Tupelo, and the critters in the woods are just like they are just ... well ... regular critters. Yeah, you might run into a bear, but chances are unless it's a mama with cubs, the bear will leave you alone. Feral hogs can tear you up, but they typically don't eat people. The wildcat, bobcat, or rare cougar (feline, not older woman kind) are sometimes sighted, but again, at least now they've learned to leave man alone.

Now, you go back to the early 1800's in time ... yeah, anything and everything goes.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Alligators can be found in all of the gulf coast states.

Alligators are frequently found in marshes, so that basically covers any fresh water where the water sometimes extends over wet, boggy ground. Although we do have Swamps here in the Carolinas, most of our gators reside along our rivers and canals (including all the man-made canals).

Coyotes can be found in most of North America.

Little known fact: They've documented that in California (via stoplight cameras) that coyotes have learned how to obey stoplights to avoid being struck by cars.

Of course you can always go with a non-native predator that escaped from a zoo or private collector, or was illegally released by a private collector.

While this is hardly common, when I was in high school (in North Carolina), a buffalo escaped a private wildlife collection and broadsided a car traveling past at 60mph. It instantly killed the idiot buffalo, but also totaled the car and injured the passengers. So it does happen. That's why you now have so many exotic snakes in Florida. During on particularly bad hurricane, everyone's pet exotic snakes got loose, and with no natural predators, their population skyrocketed.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

But, from what I found, Mississippi doesn't have them.


Mississippi isn't known to have them, but Louisiana and one or two wandering into Mississippi wouldn't be terribly surprising.

Replies:   oyster50
Switch Blayde

@StarFleet Carl

now they've learned to leave man alone.


I haven't figured out the scene yet, but the hero will antagonize the bear/hog so that it attacks and kills the man. It's important the authorities don't see it as foul play.

I need to go to an earlier point in the story to add the bear or hog sighting. It's my Chekhov's gun.

gruntsgt

Why not a pack of wild dogs?

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Drowning while being caught up in the lines of a boat when it sinks isn't a nice way to die. That can happen on any decent sized section of what. Do they ever go ice fishing in the area you're looking at, if they do he can fall in the hole and have trouble finding it again.


It's not an uncommon way to die. My father inherited what is now my brother's hunting and guiding service because his best friend got tangled up in fishing lines, fell overboard and died. It's also known to happen on 'simple' fishing trips, so you don't even need for your character to venture into the woods. If he's an active fisherman, simply have him go deep-sea fishing, fall overboard, and then his bloated remains wash up on shore after the fish have chewed up much of his body. Add some fishing line twisted around his body for a particularly gruesome visual image, and you're set.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@gruntsgt


Why not a pack of wild dogs?


Nitpick

There are no wild dogs in the US. There are feral dogs, which are free running domestic dogs.

Wild X indicates an animal species that has never been domesticated. Generally only used with species where the same name is used for domesticated animals, such as African wild dogs.

Feral indicates a domesticated animal that has escaped captivity and is roaming free.

The US also doen't have true wild hogs, it has feral hogs, though there is some Russian wild boar in the gene pool of the US feral hog population from Russian boars that were imported to the US for game farms.

/nitpick

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There are no wild dogs in the US. There are feral dogs, which are free running domestic dogs.

Technically, there are no wild dogs anywhere (based on more recent DNA analysis). All dog species are so interbred, they're all variants on the same basic domestic dog species, but bred to display specific features, which all evaporate within a couple generations if left to their own devices (which consists of sniffin' each other's booty!)

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son


Nitpick

There are no wild dogs in the US. There are feral dogs, which are free running domestic dogs.


Actually, the definition can vary between organisations or countries.

The most common dictionary meaning for wild, as in this usage, is:

Wild animals or plants live or grow in natural surroundings and are not looked after by people.

or

Occurring, growing, or living in a natural state; not domesticated, cultivated, or tame.

as per the Collins Dictionary and the American Heritage dictionary.

While feral is usually used as:

Feral animals are wild animals that are not owned or controlled by anyone, especially ones that belong to species which are normally owned and kept by people.

or

a. Having returned to an untamed state from domestication: a pack of feral dogs.
b. Existing in a wild or untamed state.


as per those same two dictionaries.

.............

Some years ago I had a lot to do with the local Parks & Wild Life people and their official meanings for feral was an animal that had been domesticated but left to fend for itself in the wild, their offspring, or their grand children. After 3 generations they were seen as wild animals.

They also regarded anything where they couldn't prove domestication in the last few generations as being wild.

That's why brumbies are wild horses and not feral horses, and why we have wild camels and not feral camels. Too many generations since they domesticated animals were let loose. Both horses and camels are introduced species to Australia, as are the wild rabbits and foxes.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That's why brumbies are wild horses and not feral horses, and why we have wild camels and not feral camels. Too many generations since they domesticated animals were let loose. Both horses and camels are introduced species to Australia, as are the wild rabbits and foxes.

I guess that means the horses roaming the local beaches—a local tourist attraction—are wild, since they were supposedly brought here by the original English explorers.

Still, they have to post signs to keep tourists from petting and feeding them, as they're used to humans and normally just ignore them. That's hardly what most people consider 'wild'.

Switch Blayde

@gruntsgt

Why not a pack of wild dogs?


If I go that route it will be wolves.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


If I go that route it will be wolves.


Red wolves are hardly the thing you think of when you imagine the 'wild pack of wolves' from the movies. They're smaller (about the size of a mid-sized dog) and often scrawny, almost like a larger fox, and only terrify chickens!

We go on howling calls with them, responding whenever they howl, as they frequent the sand dunes surrounding the local woods.

Basically, nothing is quite as scary as it once was. Consider it horror deflation: except for Grizzlies and Mothers-in-laws!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Red wolves are hardly the thing you think of when you imagine the 'wild pack of wolves' from the movies. They're smaller (about the size of a mid-sized dog) and often scrawny,


Even grey wolves in movies are depicted significantly larger than anything typical in the real world.

In the real world, grey wolves average around 88 pounds and red wolves around for 60 males and 50 females.

Foxes are a good bit smaller at 5-31 pounds for a red fox and 8-16 pounds for a grey fox.

However, foxes are solitary and wolves, even red wolves are not. A single red wolf might not be much of a threat to a human, but a pack of them against one human? Don't discount them as a threat.

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Red-Wolf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_wolf#Physical_description

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox#Description

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_fox#Description

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

What about dingos (Australia) and coyotes(USA)? Are they domestic dogs that have become feral?

AJ

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


What about dingos (Australia) and coyotes(USA)? Are they domestic dogs that have become feral?


I don't know much about the coyotes, so I can't speak about them. However, the Dingo is a breed of dog that started as a wild dog only and it now has some of them as domesticated animals while some are still wild animals, and some are also feral animals.

The main point about my last post is to be feral it has to a recently domesticated animal no longer in a domesticated situation or just a generation or two from a domesticated animal. After that they're wild animals and not feral animals. In parts of Australia we have wild pigs that have bred from domesticated pigs that became feral pigs and the wild pigs, the same is true for horses, camels, rabbits, and many other introduced animals now found in the wild. On the other side we have animals like the Dingo that were wild and then domesticated where some of them later became feral and wild again.

In short, being feral refers to recently domesticated gone wild again, and it's not a permanent label for a bred or type of animals.

I suppose, in some way you can apply the same to college students, from what we see in the many stories set in college on SoL. The kids go to the college their parents went to and go feral then wild when they join a frat or sorority, then their kids do the same.

edit to add: all dogs are bred from what were originally wild dog and wolf breeds, so it's not surprising there are high DNA matches with them.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

They're smaller (about the size of a mid-sized dog) and often scrawny, almost like a larger fox


Which is why I wanted to use a bear or wild hog. I got the following from an article on Feral Hogs:

Average weights vary but run 200 pounds for adult males and 175 pounds for adult females. A 300 pound feral hog is a large pig. The unusually large weights of 500 pounds + occasionally reported in the media are very rare.

They have extremely strong jaws to crack open hard-shelled nuts such as hickory nuts and pecans. As they predate upon or scavenge animal carcasses, they can easily break bones and often consume the entire carcass, often leaving little if any sign behind.

They are largely indiscriminant in their feeding habits and eat both vertebrate and invertebrate animals.

Occasionally, humans inadvertently walk between a sow and her litter and the sow reacts to protect her young. U.S. newspapers report from 5 to 7 human fatalities each year.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Switch Blayde

wild hog


I live in Oklahoma, and I've gone hunting feral hogs a few times with some friends. In one respect, they're just like any other pig. You get between the sow and her litter, and you are fucked. And yes, they will eat anything they can. It's just that they also tend to prefer scavenging or roots.

If they come across a small rabbit cowering in it's burrow in fear, they'll eat it. If the rabbit runs away, they aren't going to chase it, they'll just eat the rabbit pellets left behind and any food the rabbit had gathered.

What does make them dangerous is that they tend to hide during the day in woods, and come out at night to eat in the fields (although they will do that during the day if hungry). And just like any other animal you surprise in the woods, they will startle and charge. So if you're walking quietly through the woods, you can come up on them unawares. If you're making noise while going through the woods, that sort of tells them there's something coming that's not afraid of them, so they'll move off and hide somewhere else. (Thus, the old thing about sending the 'beaters' through the field to flush the game. There's a reason WHY that came about.)

Oh, and just like any other pork, you can eat feral hog. You don't get as much good meat as from a domestic pig, and you still have to cook them like regular pork chops, but other than that, they're good.

(Presuming there's someone who wonders about WHY we hunt them here, they breed incredibly fast and can destroy a cultivated field of crops pretty quickly. They cause billions of dollars of damage every year and are in no danger of extinction.)

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


WHY we hunt them here


The site I found with the above info says (for Texas):

A 2004 survey conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service placed annual damage to agriculture in TX alone at $52 million with an additional $7 million spent by landowners to attempt to control the pigs and/or correct the damage. This is indeed a very conservative estimate.


As to eating them:

The first pigs were brought into what is now the continental U.S. into Florida in 1539 by Hernando de Soto. Explorers used these pigs as a traveling food source.


Some hogs escaped and bred quickly becoming the feral hogs of today.

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

What about dingos (Australia) and coyotes(USA)? Are they domestic dogs that have become feral?


Coyotes are a native species, related to wolves, they are not feral domestic dogs.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

What does make them dangerous is that they tend to hide during the day in woods, and come out at night to eat in the fields (although they will do that during the day if hungry). And just like any other animal you surprise in the woods, they will startle and charge. So if you're walking quietly through the woods, you can come up on them unawares. If you're making noise while going through the woods, that sort of tells them there's something coming that's not afraid of them, so they'll move off and hide somewhere else.

So, addressing Switch's story, the key question seems to be, will they eat something they kill in a panicked charge, or would they flee once the danger is abated. There's a big difference between finishing off food they find, and gouging themselves when they feel their lives are threatened.

If not, then they wouldn't fit into Switch's scenario, though again, there's no telling what the other critters might do with a dead body lying in the woods.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

and are in no danger of extinction.


It wouldn't be that much of an issue if they were, since they are considered an invasive species.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

If not, then they wouldn't fit into Switch's scenario, though again, there's no telling what the other critters might do with a dead body lying in the woods.


They don't have to eat him. Just kill him violently and painfully. Like tear his flesh while attacking him.

I put my Chekhov's gun on the mantle so when it comes time for the encounter it will fit. Thanks, all.

oyster50

@Ernest Bywater

In Mississippi???

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
oyster50

@Dominions Son

Mississippi isn't known to have them, but Louisiana and one or two wandering into Mississippi wouldn't be terribly surprising.


There's this river between Louisiana and Mississippi for much of the border. It's a real obstacle to migration.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

If the killer bees from Recife haven't arrived in Mississippi yet they soon will. Nasty death

Ernest Bywater

@oyster50

ayep, they ain't huge, but more than big enough to get the job done. See my later post on it based on Google maps terrain display showing cliff faces etc.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@oyster50


There's this river between Louisiana and Mississippi for much of the border. It's a real obstacle to migration.


There are bridges and other ways to cross the river, and mountain lions can swim.

There are confirmed mountain lion sightings in Wisconsin and Illinois, on the east side of the river.

The river may be an obstacle, but it's much less of an obstacle than you imagine.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There are bridges and other ways to cross the river, and mountain lions can swim.

There are confirmed mountain lion sightings in Wisconsin and Illinois, on the east side of the river.

Again, I live on a barrier island, a thin strip of 200 mile long island only a mile wide at its widest, a long way from the rest of the state. Yet bears, coyotes and other critters (including the occasional cougar0 routinely swim across the brackish (salty) sound, and have to be corralled and taken back somewhere they won't disturb anyone. We don't want the tourists petting the pretty black bear. (We may wish it, but it's always a mess to clean up afterwards.)

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

We don't want the tourists petting the pretty black bear. (We may wish it, but it's always a mess to clean up afterwards.)


Bring in the feral hogs?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

Bring in the feral hogs?


To clean up the bodies?

Feral hogs are a dangerous invasive species. In most states that have them, they are no-limit hunting because the goal is total extermination.

They are as or more dangerous than black bears, more destructive to property, and harder to get rid of.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Bring in the feral hogs?

To clean up the bodies?

Feral hogs are a dangerous invasive species. In most states that have them, they are no-limit hunting because the goal is total extermination.

They are as or more dangerous than black bears, more destructive to property, and harder to get rid of.

In that case, bring on the Anacondas and Boa Constrictors, to hunt the feral pigs! They're effective, there's hardly any native rodent populations left intact once they were released in Florida.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

To clean up the bodies?

Feral hogs are a dangerous invasive species. In most states that have them, they are no-limit hunting because the goal is total extermination.


Yep, body clean up.

And as I said before, I've gone hunting feral hogs with some friends. We know here in Oklahoma just what a pain in the ass they are - almost as bad as Democrats. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

And as I said before, I've gone hunting feral hogs with some friends. We know here in Oklahoma just what a pain in the ass they are - almost as bad as Democrats.

And Democratic feral hogs? Hoo-boy!

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