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Backpacker Magazine – October 2007

Survive This: Meeting a Menacing Stranger On the Trail

Learn how to avoid shady characters on the trail.

by: Tom Wilmes


Predicament: You're several miles into a solo dayhike when you pass a aggressive-looking man who seems out of place on the trail. You pick up your pace, but he follows and demands loudly that you turn around.

Lifeline: Keep walking. Look for other hikers and ask to join their group. If the stranger persists, give a slight wave and continue moving. If you have no choice but to engage him, keep your answers short, and your tone flat and neutral. Tell him you're hiking with friends who are nearby. Be as calm as possible. Make eye contact and rest your hands by your side. Crossed arms can be interpreted as a defensive stance, and won't allow you to react quickly. If he takes a step toward you, step back. He might want to scare you away from trailside criminal activity, such as a meth lab, marijuana cultivation, or illegal dumping.

If the stranger shows or mentions a weapon and asks for money, don't resist. But if he attacks, yell for help and fight back aggressively. Shout, bite, scratch, poke—and aim for vital areas like the eyes, groin, and throat. As soon as you can get away, drop your pack, run to the nearest trailhead, and alert authorities.



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ALL READERS COMMENTS

mlou
Jun 29, 2013

In a fight a knife is better than a gun any day. learn some good knife moves. A gut up-slash with a very sharp 6 inch blade will put the end to any problem. My Army Cpt daughter has taught me some simple hand-to hand combat moves. Befriend a Vet or just hike with one. Carrying a knife does not make you look aggressive either, just prepared. be sure to stand at a slight angle to perp. There are trainings to use verbal and physical de-escalation responses. Knifes are also a good multi-task tool.

Zach
May 10, 2013

E,

I agree completely. Challis is an idiot. If I were with my family and a hostile stranger threatened the safety and security of my family I would have no qualms with putting a .45 through his/her eyes because the bottom line is this...as a father I am the protector of my family no matter where I am. There's too many weirdos in this world to NOT protect yourself.

Guns are like insurance, you hope you don't need them but if you do, you're glad you do.

E
Jul 26, 2012

lot of necessary gun fear here. Most anti gun people have never been in a life threatening situation or are afraid due to what they see in the media. Remember for every "gun incident" there are as many unreported stories of how guns saved lives. Also stories that would have happened but didnt because of idiots who decided not to mess with someone who was carrying. Humans are animals plain and simple. Some humans are stupid, on drugs, insane or all three. In southern california the average police response time for a dangerous felony is 6 minutes. Do you know what can happen in that time? it takes a couple seconds to draw your weapon, potentially saving your life and the lives of your children. I challenge anyone who is afraid of guns to look at your state prisons. There are a lot of really really bad people out there. There are also people who love you and dont want to see you a victim of some nutjobs violence. Be an adult and learn to live in the real world. Guns arent going anywhere as much as SOME people would like.

Challis
Jul 07, 2012

Carrying a gun in a national park doesn't deter sketchy people, it just makes you a sketchy person.

Footprints
Mar 23, 2012

I have carried on section hikes. At no time during these hiked did anyone that I was hiking with or sheltering with know that I was carrying. There are some strange people out there who have no interest in enjoying the great outdoors. Best to be prepared and not need it.

concerned
Mar 19, 2012

Humans are the greatest animate threat in the wilderness. Despite that it is the animals that are feared once out in the wilderness but every human that comes along is relished. There are many articles on animal attacks but very few on human attacks. If the situation were reversed we would fear humans that kill for no reason and inflict immense suffering out of pleasure and relish animals that almost never attack and when they do there is always logic behind it as in defense of offspring or food that without hunting they will die unlike human grocery stores. Death is inevitable. Allow that knowledge to give you peace and never interrupt the passions of our short existence.

backcountry
Feb 23, 2012

Hey Smokey,

I don't think that I'm strong enough to be "carrying in a national forest."
National forests are wayyyyyyy heavy.

I'm kidding, and understand your point.
I prefer to hike in forests that don't
allow firearms.
backcountry

Rei
Feb 18, 2012

Mostly I would say if your a teen or child with friends on a hike with your parents trailing behind, You should at least carry a pocket knife just for a warning to tell people to leave you alone. You can also hold it in your hand and pull the blade out and threaten someone who is trying to hurt you or your friends.

Josh
Dec 10, 2011

Gun's are awesome and just having them visible worn on the hip will almost always deter sketchy people. If you don't have a gun and are hiking in bear country you should have bear spray anyway and it works quite well on people too.

Bill
Sep 24, 2011

I've backpacked since I was 21 (I'm 58 now). The only weapon I've ever carried is a Swiss Army Knife. When car camping, I carry a 9MM pistol. I've never had to use it (Thank God). A better weapon might be one of those collapsible batons, although I've never owned one. Don't camp too close to roads and be careful crossing roads. Be safe and God bless.



















w

Elm-O
Jun 28, 2011

I was worried about bears... Now, I'm just worried about the hundreds of people walking around, with loaded weapons, waiting to shoot someone for looking at them funny when they pass each other on the trail. So much hate in these threads. Can't stand to think of it all out there in serene wilderness.

Jason
May 11, 2011

I run a meetup group in Albuquerque, and I've had a couple instances where my holstered sidearm kept people from getting crazy around my group. The majority of the time, just the presence of the weapon is deterrent enough.

However, I would use it if the situation warranted it.

Armchair Expert
May 06, 2011

You give someone an opportunity to comment about their gun and they will...

Armchair Expert
May 06, 2011

You give someone an opportunity to comment about their gun and they will...

donto
Feb 10, 2011

better to have a gun and not need it....than to need a gun and not have it....gun are tools designed to save your life or somone elses....

Smokey
Oct 29, 2010

Some facts to consider if you are planning to carry firearms on National Forest land:

Some states have laws concerning carrying in National Forests. You must know the law.
In most states if it is legal for you to carry a firearm concealed in the state the National Forest is in, you can carry your firearm concealed in a National Forest in that state.

If it is legal to carry a firearm openly on your hip in the state the National Forest is in, you can legally carry it that way in the National Forest in that state.

Some states have laws against carrying in National Forests in their state.

Any firearm carried in National Forests shall not exceed the legal maximum calliber for the hunting season during which it is carried.

Do be advised that any Ranger Station or Visitors Center in any National Forest is considered a Federal Building. It is illegal to carry any firearm into such a building either concealed or openly even with a CCW from the state the National Forest Ranger Station or Visitors Center is in.

You may carry a gun on National Forest land as long as you are in accordance with state laws and regulations concerning firearms. Please note these additional exceptions:
You may not hunt within 150 yards of a residence, building or developed recreation site, and you may not display a firearm within a developed recreation site. See Supervisors Order DB-07-00.

Firearms are excluded from Wildlife Management Areas except during special designated hunting seasons.

Please observe the general rules of gun safety and courtesy.

For more information on your National Forests and for more safety tips visit
http://www.fs.fed.us/safety/

Gene
Oct 23, 2010

I travel by air frequently for my job and get some solo hiking in where possible. Since air travel can restrict self defense options, one can easily opt for a can of wasp spray- some shoot an accurate stream for 15-20 feet- beats mace or pepper spray. Not too shabby for a weapon in a pinch and readily available for a couple bucks. Good against bad people and bugs. Not so sure about big mammals or cold-blooded critters. Everything has its + and -.

Ron
Oct 21, 2010

I am a firm believer in self-defense. The article does a great job in how to escalate an issue to get the aggressor to back off or for you get away from a harmful situation, as it should be. In the end, it is up to you to provide your own security whether it is against an attacking assailant or an angry black bear or worse. As this Seattle Times article shows, there is an increase in crime in the national forest: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/277599_hikers15ww.html. Unfortunately, we live in a violent world and it is up to you to provide your own self-defense. It is up to you whether to carry. As for me, I choose to carry a side arm.

geronimo
Oct 20, 2010

I carry a sidearm as well as dog food foe my well trained Rottie and Shepard. No one seems to get close to me which is what I desire. I have crossed paths witha bear a couple wolves and countless rattlers. I never felt the need to draw let alone use my side arm but it sure makes me feel safe. Never met any scum bags on the trail. Probabbly because I go where the lazy ones wouldn't be able too.

Argosinu
Oct 16, 2010

GrizGary needs to consult an attorney.
The scenario wsa a definite bad-guy. Take no chances. Most encounters in teh backcountry are more ambiguous. Most confronations can be avoided by common sense and walking away. IN an ambiguous situation, unzipping a fanny pack, big pocket, or some other repository of unknown tools can indicate that you are not a victim. Bad guys prey on the defenseless. Don't be defenseless and do not appear defenseless. And go where there are either crowds or nobody at all.

Larry D
Oct 12, 2010

I find so many of the comments interesting.
As far as carrying a side arm, if the person with the gun is responsible then i could care less. I have carried many times and once it prevented a problem from becoming even worse.
As far as a reference to the martial arts, I am a black belt in two styles and all I know is that there are people out there who could be a very big problem.
So know what is going on around you, be alert to a problem and do what you have to if attacked.
As I was told by the police in a situation where I had to intervene when someone was being attacked - it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
I was not judged, the attacker was.

Laughing Dave
Oct 12, 2010

Look and act like a backcountry lunatic. Blow snott out of your nose and spit on the ground and then tell them that you hate them and growl. They will either befriend you or run like hell. It works on the NY subways.

jbgecko13
Oct 12, 2010

Carry what you need to survive for any situation, all the time. its your right to bear arms if that is your choice. Anyone who comments against self defense or using a weapon for self defense does not value their own personal liberty and safety. As for the consequences of your actions, those are also yours and yours alone to deal with. but if you have consequences do deal with after an incident, then that means your still alive. as for you people that recommend bear spray, that is a good defense but it needs to be in your hand while you walk if their is risk of bear in your area. Having seen enough footage of bear surprise attacks, that is the only way you will have enough time. REMEMBER the rule, it takes a human less than 2 seconds to cover the distance of 22 feet and a bear can move faster than a human. NOW, with all that said, you can still have a great uneventful hike as long as you are aware of your surroundings and prepared for any situation.

matt
Oct 07, 2010

I'm surprised in how many people carry guns according to this post. I'm all for the right to bare arms, but on hiking trails? I don't think it is necessary. I'm from The Bronx, I don't carry a gun, (besides it being illegal) why would you need it in the back country?

Scott
Oct 04, 2010

I have both the guns and the right to have them with me and I can certainly see why ya would want them but some of you guys better cool ya jets about their use. Hope some of ya above have a little more self control. I have seen MANY guns taken away from the guy who took it out because he was a little to hot on the draw.

Scott
Oct 04, 2010

I have both the guns and the right to have them with me and I can certainly see why ya would want them but some of you guys better cool ya jets about their use. Hope some of ya above have a little more self control. I have seen MANY guns taken away from the guy who took it out because he was a little to hot on the draw.

Mike D.
Sep 29, 2010

Ask those in Yosemite who were attacked.....I don't care if it's man or beast who threatens you, a powerful handgun in the hands of one who is willing AND KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE AND USE IT SAFELY is the best deterrent out there. I will use it as a last resort against an animal because they are only acting on instinct, but a human knows what he's doing when he tries to be intimidating or threatening, and I will never hesitate to let a threat know I have one and am willing to use it to DEFEND MYSELF OR THOSE WITH ME.
As for the person above who claims to know martial arts, you should really know how to spell it before you claim to be knowledgable.
Bear spray....how are you going to get it out and use it before the person is on you? Go back in time and ask Lewis & Clark how they dealt with threatening or attacking bears.



ZEEMADMAN
Sep 17, 2010

(LeGuitre Sept 01, 2010) Stupid? Why Yes, You do sound Stupid to Me! I Carry a .45 Auto and Extra Mags. Why? Because You never know? I'm a Retired Combat Soldier. And all I want is to be Left Alone! You Don't Bother Me, I Won't Bother You! That applies to Humans and Animals too. It's a very, very, very Simple Policy. Even You should be able to understand. As for the Law, Yes, where are they? Will they be coming to save Me soon? No? Well gee that's too bad. I'm Not really trained for Law Enforcement. Just My Combat Training and Experience. I break things an kill people. I thought I'd Retired. But everytime I start to believe that, something reminds Me that I'm Not really Retired after all. It's almost sad what some people will try and pull on others these days. Defend Yourself and Protect Your Family! Don't be the Victim! As for waiting around to be to Report This? No. No Thanks. I just know that there will be a lot of stupid questions. Tens of Thousands in Legal Fees. And a Stern Lecture on how I did it All Wrong! Except I didn't do it wrong. I'm alive, their not. They started it. I didn't. So at most I'll just be responsible and drag them off the trail. Perferably into a depression or some brush. Someone will find them, eventually. Or Not! You really should not mess with strangers who are not messing with You! That's called being Civil, Decent, and showing Common Sense! :p :p

Ed
Sep 06, 2010

I carry mace and my .45 concealed every time I go backpacking or camping. There are many threatening animal species out there (including people). And yes, I do carry on National Parks. Politicians are idiots. Who are they to tell me where and when I can and cannot protect myself. Security is my first priority.

Jim Brown
Sep 04, 2010

I may be one of the few who have had the experience of the butt of my .38 sticking out of my lower cargo pants pocket with out a doubt saving me from being a victim.

Dirt Bag: "Hay how much is all thet gear worth?"

Me: "Not real sure I got it a little at a time."

Dirt bag: "Where are you planning to camp tonight?" (it about an hour to sunset)

Me: "Don't know, somewhere down the trail."

Dirt bag I bet it will be close to here. ... Du Is that a gun in your pocket? Isn't that against the law?

Me: "No. Since you can see it it is not concealed. I am not a convicted felon. So it is legal. Being a former cop I am comfortable I know how to use it?"

Dirt bag "Good luck dude. I got to go I just remembered I need to be some place"

All of the above really happened. Yes I was a cop for 15 years. Drew my gun twice while on duty, in case I need to use it (Thank God I didn't). This is the one time I'm sure my gun (never in my hand) protected me.

One very important caviot. Do not carry if you are not willing to use it. Not want to willing.

LeGuitre
Sep 01, 2010

I did not know that some stupid persons would think about carrying a gun into a hike... comon... it has no sense at all...
And, if this weird guy was carrying one?!?!
haha

LB's
Aug 30, 2010

Lighten up america! Guns have had their place in the backcountry ever since they were invented. There is no reason why a hiker should not carry a gun if it makes them feel safer. I can legally carry it in cities and towns in my state....you bet I will have it when I hike...

steve
Aug 26, 2010

whats with all the guns in the backcountry. Bear spray is the way to go, on the hip, easy to use ,and very effective. Leave your guns at home, in your gun safe.Safe hiking to all!

Jody
Jun 02, 2010

Yeehaw! Jethro, go git yer gun boy.

The prophet
Apr 14, 2010

"yea I shall walk thru the valley of darkness and fear no evil;

Cause I'm the baddest son-of-bitch in the valley!"

Trailjockey
Apr 14, 2010

My pack is not the only thing I pack. I have had a strange encounter with someone who looked way out of place hiking the trail. He was dressed wrong. Street clothes. Carried a cheap pack and was wearing work boots instead of hiking shoes. More than likely this dude was hiding not hiking. He attempted to stop in front of me for whatever reason and I blew right past him while he fired of a number of questions that had no relation to hiking. I excused myself as I kept going and told him I wanted to make the next shelter before nightfall. Well guess what! About three hour after dark who comes waking into the shelter! You got it! But now I was not alone and he pretty much kept his distance. Others at the shelter also thought of him being a little peculiar!
I was packed and out of there before first light.
It kind of ruined the trip for me and has always kept me on edge when hiking alone ever sense. That was the last time I have gone hiking alone without packing.
I'm 60yrs old and confrontations I avoid and when it comes to "fight or flight" I'll make flight my first choice, but there is noway on God's green earth, am I going to go down without a fight and it's going to be on my terms.
As-far as possibly landing in jail for excessive force, so what! I'll be the one who is still able to talk about it!

Lochbain
Apr 13, 2010

This is one of the reasons I carry a .45 semi auto on my right hip, spare clip, hunting knife, and by normal belt clip knife. I'm set up to defend myself regardless of species.

GrizGary
Apr 13, 2010

Every one of you who are carrying guns or other weapons around for "self-defense" need to visit the website recommended by Blade - www.nononsenseselfdefense.com - because after you shot someone is not the time to be trying to argue self-defense. This is true of any weapon knife, self-defense staffs and all that other stuff. "Response in kind" will be the test so if the guy hits you and you knife him you are not responding with the same kind of force. Even if you knock him down and you kick him you are crossing a legal line. Bear spray or pepper spray sound like a more appropriate way to go and then get to hell out of there. I am trained in marshal arts and the first thing we learn is to not use it unless it is absolutely necessary - immediate lethal threat. The presense of a gun might make someone think twice but I sure would think about using it. The burden of proof will be on you unless he shots first. Even if he has a knife, you have to prove that he was about to use it on you. It will not make you "feel safe" when you are sitting in a jail cell trying to prove "self-defense".

James
Apr 13, 2010

My experience with potential "problem"people is that this type of person is not too likely to stray too far from a trail head. Usually, problems occur near where you park your vehicle. I have never felt that I needed a gun in the back country, just a can of bear spray. Hawever, some of the people I have met at the trail head are a different story. Still, hit them with the bear spray first, use a gun as a last resort.

Jim McBride
Apr 13, 2010

I'm surprized none of your "weekend warriors" mentioned bear spray. I usually hike in areas where we have black and grizzly bears, cougars, wolves and an occaisional cranky moose. Many of us carry bear spray and it would be quite effective on a bad human. When in Grizzly country, I also carry a large hand gun. I don't like the weight but like the security.

Lochbain
Apr 13, 2010

This is one of the reasons I carry a .45 semi auto on my right hip, spare clip, hunting knife, and by normal belt clip knife. I'm set up to defend myself regardless of species.

Jeff Cowen
Apr 13, 2010

Hey Joan,

You must be French. Bottom line is this, if someone attacks me or my family, I will NOT roll over and let them harm me or my family. You can roll over and become a statistic all you want. Running into baddies on a trail is an exceptionally rare occurance. But all over the world hikers have been killed or raped.

Don't you come here and try to be holier than thou because us americans have enough common sense to make sure to take care of ourselves. Rabid dogs huh? No, we're all a very friendly bunch, but when the rabid dog comes along, us Americans WILL protect ourselves, not roll over and whimper like you. You think that makes us crazy? Lol, I think you are a retarded coward.

Jeff Cowen
Apr 13, 2010

Hey Joan,

You must be French. Bottom line is this, if someone attacks me or my family, I will NOT roll over and let them harm me or my family. You can roll over and become a statistic all you want. Running into baddies on a trail is an exceptionally rare occurance. But all over the world hikers have been killed or raped.

Don't you come here and try to be holier than thou because us americans have enough common sense to make sure to take care of ourselves. Rabid dogs huh? No, we're all a very friendly bunch, but when the rabid dog comes along, us Americans WILL protect ourselves, not roll over and whimper like you. You think that makes us crazy? Lol, I think you are a retarded coward.

Jeff Cowen
Apr 13, 2010

Hey Joan,

You must be French. Bottom line is this, if someone attacks me or my family, I will NOT roll over and let them harm me or my family. You can roll over and become a statistic all you want. Running into baddies on a trail is an exceptionally rare occurance. But all over the world hikers have been killed or raped.

Don't you come here and try to be holier than thou because us americans have enough common sense to make sure to take care of ourselves. Rabid dogs huh? No, we're all a very friendly bunch, but when the rabid dog comes along, us Americans WILL protect ourselves, not roll over and whimper like you. You think that makes us crazy? Lol, I think you are a retarded coward.

Truth
Apr 13, 2010

"Crazy, fear-driven, over-the-top Americans."
Dear Jody,
If you wish you can move or if you are not here in America please stay away.

Truth
Apr 13, 2010

"Crazy, fear-driven, over-the-top Americans."
Dear Jody,
If you wish you can move or if you are not here in America please stay away.

Jody
Jan 14, 2010

Honestly, where do y'all hike? I've day-hiked and backpacked miles for decades now and have never ONCE encountered a threatening person on a trail. In cities, yes, but NEVER in the back country...or front country for that matter.

Anonymous
May 25, 2009

Having had many encounters in my life with "this" kind of character be it back country to the larger cities first things first is don't panic.
survey your surroundings, Look for "buddies" that might be off trail, easy enough to do if you slow your walking slightly to a paltry 2 miles an hour.
Most likely he will confront you head on and try to use intimidation factors to bully you, he wont wait until you pass before a confrontation starts; most of the time.
If you are very threatened stop and step to the trail side to allow him to pass even if it is unrealistically far from that person meeting you by standing next to a heavy rock or club shaped stick close by.
IF by chance he does pass you and you are still frightened bow your head as soon as he passes to make it a harder target, easier to keep your whits from a back blow compared to a blow to the back of your head, use your pack as armor if you can and can remember.
Also no matter how fit you think you are on the trail it is more endurance than strength, this may not be true with him. Use that to your advantage for even though he is human he also just weight, pick him up and run into tree's, never mind the blows to the back or head because most likely they will be filled with pain reducing endorphins anyway and when the confrontation starts adrenaline will kick in. If you can carry a 30lb pack for 10 miles then a 200lb man should be jack for 10 ft.
Remember your safety and apply the opposite to the attacker, bones are hard to break but joints are not, bend back hands, elbows and the neck. Smash rocks and sticks at the head and spine and face.
Bite kick scratch and poke at the eyes, blind him before he does you.
If you have a knife do not be afraid to get it out, not threatening him because he actually just might be some evil looking guy because your a stranger in the woods too you know(book by the cover thing) and mean no harm, but if not use that knife and keep hitting until you realize there is no movement left or he runs.

Anonymous
May 25, 2009

Having had many encounters in my life with "this" kind of character be it back country to the larger cities first things first is don't panic.
survey your surroundings, Look for "buddies" that might be off trail, easy enough to do if you slow your walking slightly to a paltry 2 miles an hour.
Most likely he will confront you head on and try to use intimidation factors to bully you, he wont wait until you pass before a confrontation starts; most of the time.
If you are very threatened stop and step to the trail side to allow him to pass even if it is unrealistically far from that person meeting you by standing next to a heavy rock or club shaped stick close by.
IF by chance he does pass you and you are still frightened bow your head as soon as he passes to make it a harder target, easier to keep your whits from a back blow compared to a blow to the back of your head, use your pack as armor if you can and can remember.
Also no matter how fit you think you are on the trail it is more endurance than strength, this may not be true with him. Use that to your advantage for even though he is human he also just weight, pick him up and run into tree's, never mind the blows to the back or head because most likely they will be filled with pain reducing endorphins anyway and when the confrontation starts adrenaline will kick in. If you can carry a 30lb pack for 10 miles then a 200lb man should be jack for 10 ft.
Remember your safety and apply the opposite to the attacker, bones are hard to break but joints are not, bend back hands, elbows and the neck. Smash rocks and sticks at the head and spine and face.
Bite kick scratch and poke at the eyes, blind him before he does you.
If you have a knife do not be afraid to get it out, not threatening him because he actually just might be some evil looking guy because your a stranger in the woods too you know(book by the cover thing) and mean no harm, but if not use that knife and keep hitting until you realize there is no movement left or he runs.

frankie
Apr 11, 2009

this article is bull. if you see a predator just run. most hikers are way fitter than a predator, i would drop my pack to. just buy a handgun!

Peter
Mar 16, 2009

Why the male pronouns?

charlie
Oct 31, 2008

I will be carrying my 9mm automatic when i go hiking. Most of the time i am hiking alone. I am no danger to anyone except that person that wants to be a danger to me. I understand those of you that want to throw thenselvse on the mercy of the predator. That is your choice. I will not be defenselss.

Aaron
Oct 27, 2008

I don't carry a handgun because I am crazy or fear driven. I carry one because it is practical, common sense. I worked too hard and love my life too much to allow it to be ended by some random stranger. Self defense is a basic human right.

Jody
Oct 06, 2008

Pack a hand gun on a day hike??!! Crazy, fear-driven, over-the-top Americans. Pack a martial arts staff and threaten people with it on the trail? Geez Louise, you'd get arrested where I come from. I was thinking of checking out the Canyonlands of Utah for hiking potential one of these winters, but now I think I'll just continue exploring my own backyard where people generally behave like human beings instead of rabid dogs.

Blade
Oct 06, 2008

You can see that Tom has never been in such a situation, he makes all the right noises: "What if ... ?" and then dishes out some unfounded advice. Stick to backpacking articles, for safety go to www.nononsenseselfdefense.com

Paul J. Lewis
Oct 04, 2008

Fight for you have & never give up cash, because he will asume you have more to give.
Being a passave victim is what he wants.

janet
Oct 04, 2008

Please mr bad man, dont hurt me, i'll use skills i learned from backpacking magazine"


seriously....

faultroy
Oct 03, 2008

Interesting article along with some even more interesting commentaries.
The first suggestion that I would have is to run--immmediately. Many hikers are in far better condition than 99 per cent of the predators that one would most likely meet. So, the first thing you should do if you are either uncomfortable of suspicious is to move away quickly. If someone begins to follow you, move faster and keep going towards where you think people are.
The second suggestion would be to do what i do--I carry a hiking staff. No, not the silly ones that you see people carrying, but a "bo." A bo is an Asian fighting staff. They are usually 6 feet tall, and you can get them either in straight 1 1/4 inch diameter, or those which are
tapered from 1 1/4 inch in center to 3/4 inch are their respective ends. You can purchase a simple DVD on the martial arts use of the "bo," through any Martial Arts Supply house, or contact Century
Martial Arts Supply and purchase online like I did. I have two-- one in Chinese Wax Wood root which is supposed to be unbreakable, and another of Hickory. Believe me, a man or woman swinging one of these staffs and hitting someone in the shin or along the back will easily deter even the most determined attacker. And, its use by an experienced person will easily break arms and legs. And, of course it is eminently practical from a hiking/backpacking perspective.
It is much more civilized than carrying a firearm, and much more dangerous than any knife or sword no matter how large. And they have been used for tens of thousands of years for just such a purpose.
The information about a Stranger mentioning a weapon or wanting to rob you and you not resisting is totally wrong. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, just starting running and don't look back. Unless a person is standing in front of you with a shotgun in hand or a rifle, the odds are greatly in your favor in getting away. It takes a great deal of consistent and dedicated practice to be able to hit a running target with a handgun. Very few people are even capable of hitting a stationary target with a handgun let alone a moving target.

Oak
Oct 02, 2008

I would kick his ass

IowaTom
Oct 02, 2008

Those gun and knife ideas are all fine and good, but if you are not trained to use them, and even more important, not trained to defend against attacks by them, you are in trouble. As a 14-year martial arts practitioner and instructor, here is how I see it:
1) Don't go into known dangerous areas alone.
2) Your second best defense is to run, even from a weapon.
In the stress of a situation, inexperience at defense plus the effects of a potential adrenalin dump that freezes you cannot be discounted. Fights don't go down the way they do on TV dramas, and most people can't think straight in such situations no matter how well they can do it when calm. So bring your weapons if you feel better, but still run. As far as this "I refuse to be a victim" thinking, great, tell it to me from your wheelchair or coffin - no one comes out of an attack better than they went in.

Tim Austin
Oct 02, 2008

I read the "Menacing Stranger" article by Tom Wilmes and found his advice is perfect for the sucker victim backpacker. Predators of society love such advice because his victims will always be helpless and pathetic in his eyes.

Maybe a tiny bit of common sense and personal responsibility are in order when backpacking. Has Mr. Wilmes ever considered carrying a small firearm for self defense? Has he ever considered his duty to protect other hikers who might face a menacing stranger or aggressive animal? Has he ever considered that menacing strangers love to find weak victims but steer clear of strong, able, prepared and armed hikers?

Don't worry, Mr Wilmes. Feel free to be a victim all you want. But when you come running down the trail, without your backpack, crying and screaming for help like a little girl, I will pull out my handgun and stop the menacing stranger from harming you. Tim

Striker
Oct 02, 2008

I certainly agree with the comment above that if the person is brandishing a weapon and acting aggressively, you may have little choice but to used deadly force. I, too, carry a handgun when hiking and choose hiking areas where it is legal to do so with the proper permit.
Most hikers carry hiking poles which can be used effectively as a weapon, assuming you have thought about it before hand. Hikers also carry knives, which should be accessible. Such knives should be the kind that can clip on your pocket and can be opened quickly, the assisted opening type. A fixed blade on your belt can also be accessed quickly. What is even more important than the weapons available to you is your mind set. Do you have a survival mentality and a belief that you can win? I'm afraid that this concept may be less common in the younger generation of hikers today.

Angelica
Oct 02, 2008

Hike with a dog who will protect you (not a tail-wagging happy go-lucky lab or retriever). My dogs warn me of rattlesnakes, keep bears away and bark aggressively at anyone who seems threatening, particularly men who are alone.

Bob
Oct 02, 2008

If he comes toward you aggressively, step back and spray him with bear spray before there is physical contact. Don't get into a fight, this is as stupid as the "fight the bear article" they had on here a month ago. Who comes up with this nonsense?

jlh1958
Oct 02, 2008

A stranger brandishing a weapon and acting aggressively toward you is a much more deadly threat to your life than just about anything else you'll encounter in the wilderness. Shoot him twice in the upper chest, and once in the head (you do have a gun with you and know how to use it, right???). Then call the authorities as soon as possible. Pretending you'll have a chance to get away and "run to the nearest trailhead" is a recipe for becoming a dead hiker and a statistic. Be real.

Rob
Sep 01, 2008

It might work, but i usually just carry my knife in an easy to see location. It's even easier to reach, so if anyone comes at me i can just pull it out and tell em to f*** off.

Besides, in Australia no has many guns, and are even less likely to be all the way out in the bush(it's all in a "disease risk area", and all the roads either have a gate or a log blocking them.

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