Do cowboys still use guns in their work this day and age? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Do cowboys still use guns in their work this day and age?

I had this book when I was about five years old:

Cowboy Andy by Edna Walker Chandler

In the book there's this line after Andy tells Cowboy Sam about the (toy) guns in his suitcase:

"There are no guns on my ranch: we are cowboys, not bad men."

Miss Chandler, you mean good cowboys don't have to worry about intruders, snakes, putting injured animals down, wild predators and rustlers? Cowboys don't go hunting for game off duty? There probably aren't many wild Indian attacks anymore. To me, a cowboy without a shootin' iron is like one without a branding iron.




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Last edited by jaydee; 01-13-2020 at 12:10 PM. Reason: going off topic
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post #2 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 12:08 PM
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I've gotten out of the habit, but I used to always ride with a .40 strapped to my leg. Snakes, coyote, feral dogs and feral people are out there...

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post #3 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Change View Post
I've gotten out of the habit, but I used to always ride with a .40 strapped to my leg. Snakes, coyote, feral dogs and feral people are out there...
I would ride with a gun (.38 special or .357 maybe) in a hip holster if I were a cowboy or a fanny pack if I were just a non-cowboy rider out in the boonies. There are bad people and bad animals in the world.

The old cowboy guns were .45 Colt Peacemakers, single action. I'd have a stainless modern Colt double action to be prudent. I might also have a Winchester 30-30 saddle-ring carbine lever-action rifle in the scabbard.

Real cowboys also wear ten-gallon hats, not helmets. I would expect to get laughed to high heaven if I were to show up for a cowboy job sporting a fanny pack though.
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post #4 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 12:42 PM
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In Canada, it's illegal to carry a handgun. So you would have to have a scabbard & a rifle. Only hunters do that.
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post #5 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 12:53 PM
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Depends on what your doing that day.

I've always wondered what a ten gallon hat is. I picture the character "Hoss" on the show Bonanza. He wore a hat with an open crown that made the hat look big.

I don't know what kind of gun is a "hog leg," either. I've heard that in old westerns.
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post #6 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 01:51 PM
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It wouldn't surprise me either way......around here a lot of trail riders carry guns! Not me, and I ride alone much of the time, but I've seen so many people '"packin" on a ride that it no longer surprises me.
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post #7 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 01:52 PM
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Can't say about other areas but where I live...
The "cowboys" do indeed ride armed with a gun on hip.
Feral pig, coyotes, snake, alligator, bear and a host of other predators are not afraid of humans here, some will challenge.
Sorry, but riding with gun in fanny pack does you no good when you have to stop to unzip and retrieve...
Seconds count when you are confronted with a animal meaning to take you down.

Now, sadly I know there have been times they have had to shoot a cow in the field who had issues to severe and was suffering...we don't do suffering.
Suffering is ended as fast and painlessly as it can be accomplished...a gunshot and suffering has ended.

I don't know if rifles are also kept astride as a everyday tool...
I'm sure in certain areas and doing certain tasks they are present, just not sure it is a everyday-tool on hand here.
...

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post #8 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 02:29 PM
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Seconds count when you are confronted with a animal meaning to take you down.


I've seen quite a few wild animals out riding and never felt threatened by ANY of them. Could it happen, sure. But I'm much more likely to die of cancer or a car wreck. I think the risk of wild animals is wayyyyyyyyy over-rated.

I've seen bears 3-4 times........they always ran. Now those are black bear, so grizzlies are probably a whole 'nother kettle of fish! But we don't have those in Arizona.

I've seen badger, rattlesnakes, coyotes, deer, elk.

I love to bugle for elk on horseback during the rut. Last year I was in a hunting store and when I asked the employee where the elk calls were and told him what I was doing he told me I was going to get "horned!" Well, anything is possible I suppose but I've been enjoying the rut by bugling for elk on horseback for 20 years now. Even the bulls, once they see you are not an elk, are out of there! I've had some cute little elk calves run up within about 20 feet of me though......at that point you are more worried about your horse spooking.

Rattlesnakes have such a bad wrap but I've never had one bother me and I've lived in Arizona my whole life. If you keep your hands out of dark places and keep your dogs away from them, they are generally no problem. They could bite if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time but generally they are peaceful creatures. I always thought it polite that they rattled......like "hey, I'm hear, don't step on me." Most snakes don't do that.

Coyotes are pretty cool. I've had them "shadow me" and follow me on horseback and in the city I saw them following bicyclists. But never saw them as an actual threat. Now for sure they would go after calves or other small livestock. So for a cowboy they could be a problem......not for the cowboy but for his livestock.

No feral hogs or gators here, thank goodness.

I had a javelina circle around me and my horse once, grunting and breathing heavy. That was pretty creepy! Oddly, the horse didn't care. Which was great, because I was a bit worried about it! My Dad, who has hunted them, said their eyesight is poor and it probably had babies to protect. I rarely ever see javelina, and that was the most memorable encounter.


Anyway, the risk of wild animal attacks, at least in Arizona, are pretty remote. Driving a car is much more dangerous and people don't seem to worry much about that.


PS. I've never seen a live mountain lion, I would love to see one! Saw one that got hit by a car once and it was gorgeous.


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post #9 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
Seconds count when you are confronted with a animal meaning to take you down.


I've seen quite a few wild animals out riding and never felt threatened by ANY of them. Could it happen, sure. But I'm much more likely to die of cancer or a car wreck. I think the risk of wild animals is wayyyyyyyyy over-rated.

I've seen bears 3-4 times........they always ran.

I've seen badger, rattlesnakes, coyotes, deer, elk.

Rattlesnakes have such a bad wrap but I've never had one bother me and I've lived in Arizona my whole life. If you keep your hands out of dark places and keep your dogs away from them, they are generally no problem.

Coyotes are pretty cool. So for a cowboy they could be a problem......not for the cowboy but for his livestock.

No feral hogs or gators here, thank goodness.

Here feral pig is a big problem.
They rip apart livestock, will go after a horse or dog if they cross paths in some areas, more often than not.
When riding trails, we are very aware of the ground appearance around us and how our horses are acting...
When mine is antsy and jittery it is a justified warning to take notice..

Alligators...well, let us hope he is not in feeding mode or you have a very large and fast adversary chasing you down.

Coyotes...well, last weekend they challenged my neighbor in the pasture.
She pulled her gun and shot the ground in front of it and it took off...but it had a intent in mind with body posture it exhibited. She didn't want to hurt it as she also could see the young, "kits?" waiting a distance away...so looking for food to feed the family.

Snakes, I don't like snakes but they have a purpose here too.
If they leave me alone I do the same. If aggressive they will pay the price...
And...my uncle was walking through his front-yard this past August...and was bit by a rattlesnake.
He lives in a housing development area...not acreage like me.
Never saw it, never heard it..but a strike.
He spent 5 days in the hospital and 2 units of anti-venom that I know of administered...he said it hurt like a son-of-a-gun.
I don't want to find out firsthand...do be careful since rattlers are not just in dark places.

Wildlife are often more afraid or us than we are of them, but that one who is different is not the time you want to encounter and not be prepared to defend yourself...
It ultimately is your life at stake and that of your horse is mounted.
...
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Last edited by horselovinguy; 01-12-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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post #10 of 69 Old 01-12-2020, 03:52 PM
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The sheepherders on my friend's ranch in Utah insisted on being issued rifles after a cougar jumped and cut up a couple of their horses one night.
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