How are you guys handling yourselves in strange circumstances off the grid?

leftcoastal

Member
I've been an outdoorsman most of my life and have come across some sketchy people while exploring along the west coast. It ranges from people cooking meth,growers (sometimes cartel) protecting their crops,to homeless addicts. Whether in the rig,on motorcycle,or in the boat I generally keep it moving and that has worked however I've heard stories of guys getting followed or chased back to camp and toyed with at night. Is there a database of areas with known issues yet perhaps?

Not here to spread fear but hopefully open the discussion as to what you have all experienced and how you're approaching or protecting yourselves and family.
 

gkieser92

Member
I generally feel safer in the woods than the city. In the woods, I'm rarely alone, and being on public land there's not much restriction on carrying a firearm, which is nice. Unless I'm hunting and carrying a rifle, my sidearm is always concealed, even though open carry is perfectly legal. If I have to engage with people, I do it at much greater distance than typical in the city. I can have a friendly conversation at 25 feet as much as 5 feet. I also am happy to move along if anything seems sketchy, which is pretty easy to spot from a distance if you're paying attention. If someone sketchy is in the woods, it's because they want to be left alone, and I'm happy to oblige. I don't know how to research an area ahead of time, though. Maybe the county sheriff can give you tips on areas to avoid, but that would just be the known areas and they may not take much time handing out travel advice.
 

SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
I had something like this happen once in the desert. Passed a guy trippin out in the middle of a wash and continued past him as he stared us down and made some gestures towards us. Later in the day we we're heading back to camp down another wash that was close by and he must have ventured over that way and recognized my truck because he completely lost his mind and ran towards my truck and tried to punch the windows out. I was going about 20 mph so he didnt actually do anything but knowing he was out there made me a little concerned overnight in the tent.

But with that being said, I always have my dog with me and I always carry a fire arm so if it came down to it I was covered.

Best thing to do is just be observant and avoid any potential issue.

But good thread idea!
 

leftcoastal

Member
I had something like this happen once in the desert. Passed a guy trippin out in the middle of a wash and continued past him as he stared us down and made some gestures towards us. Later in the day we we're heading back to camp down another wash that was close by and he must have ventured over that way and recognized my truck because he completely lost his mind and ran towards my truck and tried to punch the windows out. I was going about 20 mph so he didnt actually do anything but knowing he was out there made me a little concerned overnight in the tent.

But with that being said, I always have my dog with me and I always carry a fire arm so if it came down to it I was covered.

Best thing to do is just be observant and avoid any potential issue.

But good thread idea!
Reminds me in the 80's when I used to practice at a BMX track across from a satanic worship site out in the country. A few people starred us down as we entered the track mid week by ourselves. Thought nothing of it then came back to a switchblade in our tire and the cattle gates at the entrance locked up. Some people are just out of their minds.
 

rruff

Explorer
I've heard stories of guys getting followed or chased back to camp and toyed with at night.
I'm not sure what "toyed with" means, but... 13 years fulltime mostly on BLM and NF land, sometimes in cities hanging with homeless people just for fun. No guns, no weapons, no defense. Thousands of sketchy people encounters, people trying to scare me, had guns pointed at me several times. Zero actual problems... except with a couple cops.

Be friendly, look them in the eye, don't be threatening or aggressive.
 

leftcoastal

Member
I'm not sure what "toyed with" means, but... 13 years fulltime mostly on BLM and NF land, sometimes in cities hanging with homeless people just for fun. No guns, no weapons, no defense. Thousands of sketchy people encounters, people trying to scare me, had guns pointed at me several times. Zero actual problems... except with a couple cops.

Be friendly, look them in the eye, don't be threatening or aggressive.
Gun shots near camp, spotlights blasted on tents or campers in the middle of the night, rocks thrown, women harassed, spray painted messages,etc.. these aren't personal experiences but part of my network over the years. A few biologists I've known who did long field studies have had more than a few run ins.

Curious where abouts did you spend your 13 years?
 

billiebob

Well-known member
No doubt, once someone is paranoid for any reason...... mental handicap or drug induced or just a wing nut..... watching too much internet can drive anyone over the edge.... including perfectly sane you or I. The be observant, watch yer surroundings, be ready to move on is the same wether the threat is human or animal.

As mentioned, often the threats from humans are greater and less predictable. A gun only works after you pull the trigger. Justified or not, I'd sooner move on. 90% of the time my truck and trailer are connected and I park facing the best route out with most everything packed. I have no desire to shoot a bear, deer or human.

Camping on private land is rarely a good idea..... be sure you are parked where you are welcome.... even if it is "public land". Often the local public resents "foriegners" camping on "their land".

.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
I'm not sure what "toyed with" means, but... 13 years fulltime mostly on BLM and NF land, sometimes in cities hanging with homeless people just for fun. No guns, no weapons, no defense. Thousands of sketchy people encounters, people trying to scare me, had guns pointed at me several times. Zero actual problems... except with a couple cops.

Be friendly, look them in the eye, don't be threatening or aggressive.
On the money..... which is why I do not carry a gun which can only escalate a bad situation.
Unless the guy is psychotic, this..."Be friendly, look them in the eye, don't be threatening or aggressive" works everytime... heck works even if they are psychotic..... guns only work if you pull the trigger first.
 

rruff

Explorer
I started that trip with a loaded .357 handy... but I realized that unless I "greeted" everyone with the gun in my hand, it wouldn't be useful. I didn't want to live that way, so I got rid of it.

That pretty much removes the "fight" option, since I'm not a super ************. I could still be paranoid and fearful and ready to run (the "flight" option), or I can just be unafraid and friendly with everyone no matter how they are behaving. Amazing how well that works. Sure it may not *always* work, but I think the odds are better than any other approach.

Yes, it worked even on psychos... except for some psycho cops, who don't even look at you.
 

leftcoastal

Member
No doubt, once someone is paranoid for any reason...... mental handicap or drug induced or just a wing nut..... watching too much internet can drive anyone over the edge.... including perfectly sane you or I. The be observant, watch yer surroundings, be ready to move on is the same wether the threat is human or animal.

As mentioned, often the threats from humans are greater and less predictable. A gun only works after you pull the trigger. Justified or not, I'd sooner move on. 90% of the time my truck and trailer are connected and I park facing the best route out with most everything packed. I have no desire to shoot a bear, deer or human.

Camping on private land is rarely a good idea..... be sure you are parked where you are welcome.... even if it is "public land". Often the local public resents "foriegners" camping on "their land".

.
I choose this stance as well. Only thing I pack is bear spray, a few axes and knives.

If remote I'll survey entry and evac routes before settling in.

And private land is a big no no ha.
 

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