Self Defense Combat Cane (AKA Predator Beater)

I’ve always loved wood.  And I think I love a good piece of wood the most when I can use it to smack some predator upside the skull.

I take a 5 mile walk every single day.  It’s probably better described as a “hike” because I take my walks out in the California desert along the southwestern base of the Little San Bernardino mountains.  I walk up hills and I walk down washes.  I stick to trails, but it’s fairly rough country.

I hike with my dog.  My last couple of dogs were Rottweilers, and they were the kings of the food chain pretty much wherever they went.  Now I’ve got a medium-sized Dachschund-Labrador mix – but apparently all hound inside – who chases everything that runs from her (rabbits, squirrels, lizards, butterflies) and runs from everything that chases her.  Thank God she runs like this:

She is high speed, low drag.

Last year we had very few problems.  This year she has repeatedly been on the menu for coyotes and we’ve also had to deal with several rattlesnakes.

The second picture documents the fact that while coyotes are relatively small, they’ve got fangs that are a good two times the size of an average dog’s.  Add to that the fact that they are basically small killers and they can be quite a threat to your dog.  In the Palm Springs area, two women in their 60s were recently attacked by coyotes.  They might be kind of cute; but they aren’t funny.

I was out on the golf course and looked up to see a bighorn sheep not far away from where I was playing.  And after thinking, “How beautiful!” I found myself thinking, “Bighorn sheep equals mountain lion range.”

“Mountain lion range” equals bad.

It was time to beef up on the defenses.

I’ve got bad knees.  To put it more clearly, if I were a horse they would shoot me.  So I’ve always liked to have hiking aids.  I started with hiking poles, but if you’ve got bad knees you tend to use them like canes, and using hiking poles as canes puts an unnatural strain on your wrists.

So I started using a pair of canes on my hikes.  They’ve been nice.  If you’re walking at night, for example, you’ve got four legs rather than two, making tripping over a rock a lot safer.  You’ve also got an advance warning system as well as more stability for the numerous burrows that are all too likely to cave in as you’re walking if you’re off the trail.  They also help me go up hills and come down them.  When you’ve got bad knees, you don’t like to descend sideways the way normal people do; you tend to just go down with your shoulders square to the slope to avoid the chance of a lateral shearing injury (bye-bye, ligament!).  The person with healthy knees going down sideways can lean his torso back to counterbalance himself; but if you’re going down a slope head first there’s just no way to do that.  Having two canes to stabilize you often means the difference between ending up on your ass and not ending up on your ass.  And I would imagine that even healthy-kneed people could benefit from using canes in this kind of terrain.

I’ll get to the canes I just purchased in a moment.  But first allow me to make a point about canes as a general self-defense weapon.

There are a few people who are allowed to carry a gun.  Obviously, as they say, a Smith & Wesson beats four Aces.  But let’s say you aren’t one of those people.  What kind of weapons can the average person carry around on them that won’t get them in trouble?

Canes are allowed EVERYWHERE.  And what you’ve got is a three foot-long club.  Which is why a martial art fighting style has been developed around them.

For the record, I will not be releasing a YouTube video of me trying to emulate Bruce Lee with my canes.  I’m sorry about that, as it would have been every bit as hilarious as it would have been pathetic.  But I have very little dignity left, and I wouldn’t want to squander the last shreds of what I have by showing you my “kane kung-fu” moves.

If somebody pulls a gun on you, you can’t outrun a bullet, but you might be able to dodge one.  Throw your “combat cane” down and run for your life.  If someone pulls a knife on you, well, if you’ve got a cane, they’ve got to get close enough to you to stab you without getting their noggin bashed.  Which is to say that a cane can beat four Aces, too, if you really want it to.

That said, I set about looking for a pair of hard-core canes for my usually quite heavenly hikes out in the desert.

The two that I had were steel tubes that were essentially in three pieces – two for the shaft and one more for the handle.  I was afraid that if I really had to start swinging something would break that I didn’t want to get broke right when I needed it.  What I wanted was something that was one solid piece, and I wanted it good and strong and solid and hard.

This is what I found:

They’re called “Stockmens canes,” and I guess they’re used primarily for dealing with cattle.  As in I said MOVE, you big stupid beast.  Actually, I’m not sure how the heck they’re used, but I got them from an outfit that sells equipment to farmers and ranchers.

The ones I’m showing are called the “Elephant 1-1/8″ Dia. Octagon Cane,” product number C07434N available here at  The “octagon” refers to the eight-sided shape of the cane, versus a completely rounded shaft.  If anything, the octagon shape might be more comfortable on the hand and provide a surer grip.

For the record, 1-1/8″ diameter is THICK.  If you’re tall like me, and don’t have to cut the 36″ predator whumper down to size, the tip is tapered for a 1″ cane or crutch tip (otherwise you’d need a 1-1/8″ tip).  Here is one of my new canes surrounded by a pair of typical walking canes so you can see the difference:

The canes are made out of AA-grade white oak or hickory, which are both extremely hard, dense, heavy and durable hardwoods.  Very good wood for smoting pinheads.

I found a wood hardness chart available as a PDF file.  Hickory (harder at 1820 on the scale) and white oak (1320) are both on the highest range of hardness in the commonly available woods.  It’s not easy to find a pair of 1-1/8″ thick curupy or Brazilian tiger mahogany or ironwood walking canes (and I’m guessing they would have been pretty spendy for canes I was going to haul out into the desert every day); so what I’ve got will have to do.

The shipping weight is listed as 1.5lbs.  But I weighed them in at 1.25 lbs.  Which is a fair amount heavier than the half pound of an ordinary walking cane that takes a 3/4″ cane tip.  To put the weight of these canes into a different perspective, 1.25 lbs is 20 ounces; an average major league baseball bat weighs between 31 and 33 ounces and average.  And few major league bats exceed 36″ in length.  So these solid oak or hickory canes are basically two-thirds of a baseball bat combined with a convenient carrying handle.

That should give you an idea of what one of these canes could do to the head of whatever predator – human animal or just garden variety animal – wants to fool with you.

Good luck beating the price: $$12.35 per cane plus shipping (which was just over $11 for the two I purchased).  I bought the tips on eBay for the deal of 8 of them for $8.99 out the door.  And they look quite a bit more durable than the 3/4″ tips that I spend more money on at Wal-Mart.

The two canes I purchased were unfinished, but sanded and smooth.  I purchased two products for less than $13 with my 10% veterans discount at Home Depot:

To varnish the canes (Tung oil beats Linseed oil because Tung oil has UV protectant and provides a barrier against insects and mildew), I lightly scuffed them with the fine steel wool and then rubbed a coat of Tung oil on with a lint-free cloth and then hung them to dry.  Twelve hours later I did it again.  And then twelve hours after that I added a third coat, each time lightly scuffing with the steel wool to give the new coat of varnish a better surface to adhere to.  And the next day after that I was a walking fool.

Oh, I would recommend you use a pair of disposable rubber gloves each time you apply the varnish (I also wore them during sanding to avoid getting fingerprint oils on the wood).  Unless you like having sticky fingers for two days.

And walking in style, I might add.  With the Tung oil varnish, the wood is gorgeous.  For fifty bucks I have a lovely set of walking weaponry.

I’m not lamenting, “Oh, for a head to pound!”, but if anything comes around me that wants its head pounded, I will provide the service free of charge.  Especially if its trying to eat my dog.

P.S. I also purchased an air horn from Wal-Mart (a 1.5 oz container made by Attwood) for $8.16.  It fits easily into a pocket.  I also now wear my old teacher’s playground whistle around my neck.


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16 Responses to “Self Defense Combat Cane (AKA Predator Beater)”

  1. Free Market Capitalist Says:

    I grew up in rural Ohio, where coyotes are abundant. They are usually not easily seen, as they are quite sneaky creatures and often nocturnal, although they can be seen during daylight. If we did see one and there was a gun close by, you can sure bet it would be fired upon. There are many tales of guys hitting coyotes at unbelievable ranges. Stories among farmers and rednecks almost always get embellished.

    The best gun for these jackals is the .22-250. My old friend had one of these varmint rifles and he could easily hit a coyote at 300-400 yards. I was down there on his farm earlier this summer and a red fox had been savaging their chickens. One of his young boys came running to him to alert him that a fox had been seen. Sure enough, he grabs the .22-250 and begins stalking this fox. We caught a glimpse of it heading down hill towards a thin tree line and stream. He assumed that it would come out downstream on the other side and started heading that way. After about 15 minutes, he sighted the creature which was about to disappear behind a small hill. It disappeared momentarily but could vaguely be seen. At over 300 yards, my friend fired one shot and managed to hit the fox in its upper back between its head and shoulder blades. It was an amazing shot and red foxes are usually quite smaller than coyotes. He was standing straight up, using nothing to steady the gun but his out stretched arms.

    It saddens me that someday the .22-250 and other guns will become illegal to own or use. Hopefully, those days are way off. It would be difficult hunting them with a cross or compound bow. Until then, I will keep the .22-250 clean and ready.

    By the way, nice dog!

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    Free Market Capitalist,

    She really is a great dog. I’ve been more of a “macho dog” guy – so this one is a REAL change of pace. But she truly is a fantastic little dog.

    I could go down the opposite side of a hill I climb and be on BLM land where I could do all the shooting I wanted. Unfortunately, an awful lot of dumbasses have done an awful lot of shooting there already.

    I say “unfortunately” and “dumbasses” because these particular dumbasses have shot their beer bottles all over the place out there. And the likelihood of my dog ending up with a nasty cut on her pads is just too great to make that anything other than an irregular option.

    The other side of the hill that I stay on is administered by the city. And in California, that is generally a bad thing for people who want to shoot so much as a BB gun.

    I’ve got a few rifles: a Ruger 10/22, a Winchester 30-30 lever action that is a blast to shoot and which is dead accurate from inside 200 yards, and my big plinker: a Browning BAR .300 Winchester Magnum. I’ve never tried to hit a target at its maximum effective range of 1200 yards. But it would be a great way to make a coyote go “splat.” One would have a very difficult time finding all of the pieces of a coyote.

    I bought the BAR when I lived in Oregon and killed an elk the first time I hunted with it (it literally more than paid for itself with one bullet!). Then I only hunted with it one more time before leaving the state. I don’t have a lot of use for it hereabouts other than some very expensive target shooting (I don’t have reloading dyes for it and it’s basically 3 bucks a round!), but I just don’t have the heart to part with it.

    It’s kind of a shame that San Fran Nan has people like me resorting to stone age weapons to protect our animals, but she finds that quite “modern.”

  3. ronald jenkins Says:

    I love it when you start out with a BIBLE verse., can I get a printed catalog of the self defence canes please?

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    Ronald Jenkins,

    I love it whenever anybody loves Bible verses. Always good to know there are people who want to hear God’s Word out there.

    As to the printed catalog, I can only refer you to Nasco (where I got the canes I have pictured). I’m sure if you called them they would gladly send you a free catalog of their products.

    The canes I got are technically not “self defense canes.” What they are is very stout hickory (or oak) canes that would surely serve such a purpose.

    There actually ARE “self defense canes” at least in the sense of being marketed as such.

  5. Bob Says:

    Thank you for the info, I just ordered a couple myself,

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    You’re welcome, Bob. Thanks for the comment!


    Was looking for a nice useful cane. Thank you for the info. How long is the octoganal cane? 36″ plus?

  8. Michael Eden Says:


    I have found this to be the best cane I’ve ever had. It’s got heft without being overly heavy. And it was an easy job to stain them and to occasionally touch them up.

    Yes, the canes are a standard 36″. Which happened to be the PERFECT size for me. A cane is practically fitted by putting on your walking shoes and letting the cane tip rest on the floor at your side. The top of the cane should be right at the bend of your wrist.

    Good luck in your search. By the way, you can call up the catalog (I checked the link where I said it was “available here” and it is still valid) toll free and the operators I’ve talked to have always been friendly and gracious.

  9. Michael Eden Says:

    Had a gentleman reply – I’m sure – to this article but he left his comment on my “about” page where it would look odd.

    Here’s the link to his comment:

    He writes:

    “I am 75 yrs old, and I have been taking cane defense for 7 year’s. I have had one confrontation, with A 35 yr old man. Plus several other people. No fights though.”

  10. Anonymous Says:

    CaneMaster & Cane Fu offer basic crook handle canes f/ $216 to $19 but w/o stain & finish, cane tip, grips &choice of wood…all are ala carte & charged to u, CaneMaster offered a custom build-ur-own template, for grins, I built one, placing one of each option on the cane, price less shipping was well over $500, ridiculous! So I was surfing to find a cheaper T handle hardwood cane that I felt I could afford & I ran upon your blog, excellent, not only our minds run in the same thread but we have a touch of diy & are challenged to do it as well but cheaper, Excellent! I read ur article & came up w/ a solution to shorten the shepard’s hook handle to make it more pleasing as I will be taking it with me to several business offices, a foreshortened handle will loose little in functionability but do wonders in better eye appeal (less like a cattle tool)

  11. Michael Eden Says:


    If I’m going to have a cane, I want to be able to beat a moose to death with it. I want something stout and sturdy. And there’s something about a nice piece of hickory or a nice piece of oak – even if it’s scarred from USE – that makes people appreciate the wonder of WOOD.

  12. Randy Vaughan Says:

    My love affair with canes began in the late 50’s. A family about three miles from where we lived raised cattle and horses. I was friends with one of their sons, my age, and this, being the 50’s, meant friends became family. And as such I helped with castrations, cutting off horns, loading and unloading livestock onto their truck, and going with them to the stock yards. And the “old man” of the clan gave me my very own “cow cane”. That’s all I ever knew it to be. Well, years passed and 20 of those years were spent training in various martial art disciplines, including fighting with “sticks” of all kinds. I now own more canes and walking sticks than I care to admit. And through the years (since being online since ’98) I have looked for that “original” cane. This morning (07/24/16) I finally found the link to the cane you’re written about here. I’m off to order one (probably at least two) but first I wanted to say “Thanks” for the information. You are a true storyteller, the last, I fear, of a dying breed. And as to the cane itself? Yeah, if they can “persuade” cows and bulls to behave, they can, will, and do work equally as well with people. Then again, the older I get, the more I believe animals really are more innately intelligent than human. Again, many thanks.

  13. Michael Eden Says:

    Randy Vaughan,

    Hey, Randy, REALLY enjoyed reading your comment. You seem to be pretty good at storytelling, yourself.

    I’ve now also discovered the joys of the big, badass walking stick. I’ve been using a near five foot long stick from a straight, solid tree branch that is nearly as thick as a man’s wrist at the heavier top end. I’ve used it to kill rattlesnakes and beat some sense into a feral dog that thought it could attack my beloved pet.

  14. Randy Vaughan Says:

    Ah, that “stick” is a bo-staff in the world of martial arts and is indeed a formidable weapon…I mean wonderful walking/hiking aid. The story is still told of Miyamoto Musahsi, Japan’s greatest swordsman, suffering his only defeat at the hands of an opponent wielding a 4′ wooden staff.
    I’m in southwest Virginia. Copperheads and cottonmouths are indigenous but still relatively rare. Well, rare enough unless a man spends lots of time in the great outdoors. I’m small town but not country.
    But rattlesnakes? Oh, hell no. You live where manly men rule the day. But even “small towns” are starting to be too crowded for me, not as much physically but rather intellectually. I suppose, since the topic is snakes, the story of Turtle and Scorpion remain the best way at stating truths while trying to avoid sounding “offensive”.
    Now that I’m thinking about it, rattlesnake venom poses far less threat than that of the intellect of men removed entirely too far, geographically as well as in every other way, from nature’s balance. “Deliverance,” I’ve observed, is far more likely in cities than in “Mayberry”. And if nothing else, those walking sticks are indeed the perfect symbol for balance in daily life.
    Stay safe “over yonder”. Tell them snakes and coyotes a chap in southwest Virginia said “Howdy”.

  15. Michael Eden Says:

    Randy Vaughan,

    Yes, human rattlesnakes are far and away the worst. And we can’t treat them the way we treat the reptilian kind.

    I am somewhat familiar with the story you describe. On my understanding, Mushasi was never defeated in 60 duels. In one of his last duels, he encountered a Samurai named Sasaki Kojiro who had his swords made longer than other warriors which gave him extra reach. And according to the story as I’ve heard it, Miyamoto Musahsi showed up late to the duel – to enrage the impatient Kojiro – while he carved himself a “longer sword” that he made from one of the oars of the boat he rowed to the island where they had the duel.

    In any event, the big stick won. Still wins today as long as somebody doesn’t have a firearm.

    I’ve used my staff against rattlesnakes and feral dogs and the thing does the job. It about five feet long and has the girth to feel nice and solid without being overly heavy.

    I live near a small city in unincorporated Riverside County. I am able to walk across the street and be in the desert and a short walk takes me over the little San Bernardino Mountains (which are foothills that just keep getting higher and higher). The upside is peace and quiet and few people; the downsides are snakes and coyotes and scorpions. Coyotes will keep their distance from me but go after my dog; feral dogs have no fear of man whatsoever and will come right up to you.

    Rattlesnakes AREN’T anything to mess with. They can move close to 2o mph and when they move it is just instant speed. Especially the sidewinders which are common where I live.

    I don’t kill them because I enjoy it; I kill them because they are so dangerous. I step over ants and stinkbugs. But ants and stinkbugs don’t leave ghastly wounds on anything that gets too close to wherever they are hiding.

    Rattlesnakes are like moving IEDs. They hunt by scent and when they come to a place where they scent their prey (mouse, rat), they will just stay there until either a critter comes along or until the scent goes away. Sometimes they’ll coil up and rattle (which I prefer because they’re advertising their warning), sometimes they just freeze in place and play dead and you can literally step on it if you’re not paying attention.

    For me, it is literally a ministry. I truly believe God is with me and delivers me from them. But I don’t go looking for them other than the fact I am constantly watching for them. And I say my prayers and have myself all prayed up when I see a rattler. I kill them for my dog, for other people and their pets, and for the little girls I sometimes walk with.

  16. Particular Baptist Says:

    As a daily cane user, I am relieved to see one can buy canes at a cheap rate. I have a now-retired Canemasters cane that I love, but have parted ways with the Shueys- sadly, they are deeply into the occult, especially Grandmaster Mark Shuey, Sr. However, this cane now at less than fifteen dollars is a better buy. The only modification I would make is to cut the horn at an angle to form a backscratcher that in a pinch makes a wonderful tool for accessing pressure points. Martial Cane Concepts by Michael Janich shares a technique from the Korean systems involving using the horn of the crook to rake or press sharply into the clavicle area or most anywhere into the soft parts of the torso or limbs, even though striking is the main thrust of the system. It works great in a choking assault.

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