How to Avoid or Escape a Bull

Two Methods:Know the SignsThe Escape

Bulls are very dangerous animals. They are one of the most dangerous type of livestock to own, let alone be around. They are not slow or dumb, nor are they clumsy or stupid. A bull can, from a stand-still, turn on a dime faster than you can react. It can even outrun you, and if you ever fall or it hits you, it will gore or crush you until you are no longer moving.

The media has let the general public know that bulls are dangerous, but the ability to escape or avoid a threatening bull is something that may be of importance to you if you live on a farm or ranch with bulls, or have to walk by or through a field or pasture that is known to hold bulls in it. Knowledge on how to avoid or escape a dangerous bull is paramount to your safety and survival.

Note: Bulls aren't the only type of bovine that can seriously hurt or kill you. Cows are just as likely to be dangerous as bulls, especially if they are protecting a young calf.

Method 1
Know the Signs

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    If you see a bull in a pasture or field with cows, avoid going in the field at all costs. This is just plain common sense, even if it means having to walk the long way around to get to your destination.
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    If you absolutely must to go through the field be aware that a bull may see you as a threat and warn you to keep away. Look for these signs:
    • Pawing the dirt and rubbing himself in it
    • Growling (it sounds something like "Rrrrrumph...rrrrummph")
    • Tossing his head
    • Glaring at you.
    • He will even show you his side to deliberately intimidate you, just to show you how big and powerful he is.
    • Any bull that does this to you, including growling, head-shaking and pawing the earth, is one to avoid.
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    Be aware that, some bulls can go after you without you even aware of it until he's trying to put snot down your back pockets. Those bulls are the ones to avoid, more so than the ones that give you the obvious warnings.
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    If you absolutely have to go in the same corral with a bull, pack a weapon with you. That weapon must be a thick stick that won't break on impact, an axe handle, a one- to two-foot long piece of PVC pipe, or a baseball bat; anything that you can carry in your hand to defend yourself with or make the bull think twice about attacking you.
    • Also, keep close to the fence to make your escape that much easier.

Method 2
The Escape

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    Find a safe spot quickly. Run away and quickly climb or jump over the nearest fence, gate, cattle guard (also called a "cow grid" or "Texas gate"), or even up a sturdy tree. Bulls can outrun people so make sure your escape route is a short one.
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    If you can't find an escape route either side-step and run for it, or hit back, hard. The best thing you could do is if there's no place to hide or if you're out in the middle of a pasture, to either side-step the bull and run in the opposite direction, or face the bull, yell (or scream) as loud as you can and give the bull the hardest hit across the face or muzzle as you possibly can give with the weapon in your hand.
    • Depending on your level of adrenaline, you may find yourself doing this more than once, especially if you have the big fellow come running at you.
    • This may (and does) sound cruel, but it is a practice that has been done by many farmers and ranchers when they have to deal with a dangerous bull that has charged them or is about to do so!
    • You can either stand your ground until the bull backs off and then chase him, or hit and run. Very often a really hard hit to the muzzle or nose is enough to make him stop chasing after you!
    • If none of this can be had, throw the back-pack off your back as you go (if you have one), or even your shirt or jacket if you are fast enough to take it off. Be aware though, that a bull is much faster than you in both speed and reaction time, and often you won't have enough time to take your shirt off and throw it at the bull.
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    Count your lucky stars if you managed to get away without getting injured or killed.


  • Use your common sense and instincts when handling or walking in a pasture with a bull in it. If your gut tells you to avoid a certain area, then avoid it. Don't be a fool and go through it anyway.
  • To avoid getting charged at the bull, do not instigate him nor tease him. Doing so will guarantee you injury or worse by a bull.
  • Climb the nearest tree if you can.
  • If you are or end up in a treed area, try to keep a large tree between you and the bull. This is also a good area to pick up a stick and throw at his head or hit him on the nose with.
  • Stay close to the fence. This will increase your ability to escape
  • Know the warning signs if you wish to avoid being attacked by a bull.
  • Bulls will run faster than you, and react faster than you. However, they cannot turn on a dime mid-flight like you can, so side-stepping or quickly changing directions when you are running may grant you more time to escape. Don't try to jump away, as this will both give you less time to get away and will increase injury.
  • Always have a some sort of weapon with you at all times. A good rap over the muzzle of a bull that is threatening you is enough to make him leave you alone.


  • Do not stand and fight a bull because you will not win. If and when he gets you down on the ground, you are pretty much finished, no matter if he has horns or not.
  • Remember, it's not of a matter of if he gets you, it's only a matter of when.
  • Polled bulls are just as dangerous as horned ones. However horned bulls like to gore and rip and tear at you. They can and will flip you around like a rag doll, even if you're lying flat on the ground.
    • Polled bulls, though unable to flip you around, will still be able to crush and trample you into the earth.

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