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Lost_not_found

Geocaching and personal protection

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After a morning of caching I asked myself ..."Do I need to be carrying some kind of personal protection?"

What brought this to my mind was the area I was in. Sure, urban area but with lot of vacant undeveloped land. I guess you could say on the border of rural / desert.

Had to walk along a dirt "road", past a few houses that may be occupied but could also be abandoned. The 'Deliverance' theme rang through my head and I could imagine a guy plucking a banjo with a shotgun next to his chair. There was a major road a few hundred yards away but ... in worse case... I may not be found for weeks.

I am a lone cacher with no-one Knowing where I'm going.

 

So... do you carry anything for protection?

If YES, what?

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12 minutes ago, Lost_not_found said:

After a morning of caching I asked myself ..."Do I need to be carrying some kind of personal protection?"

 

Hand sanitizer.   I have a tiny bottle of purell on every pack strap.   :)

 

There was a very informational thread on this subject, then political nuts and people who can't carry anything chimed in,  and it got closed n locked.

I'd say do what you feel is practical.   I do...

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If you cache in areas like me consider a PLB in addition to whatever your protection decision turns out to be. They are pricey but by the time I got mine I had already spent double on sat phone rentals.

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5 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Hand sanitizer.   I have a tiny bottle of purell on every pack strap.   :)

 

Ahhh, hadn't even considered that. Sun block on the other hand...  Todays temp =63f, but it felt way more and I could feel the burn. Not looking forward to the AZ summer.

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3 minutes ago, 31BMSG said:

If you cache in areas like me consider a PLB in addition to whatever your protection decision turns out to be. 

That would be a wise thing to have if I was to go further off the suburban track.

 

Side note. When I lived in Australia I had an EPIRB in the car anytime I went outside the city. Even a casual Sunday drive can get you in a place that is pretty remote.

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Depends where you cache, I suppose.  In the bush where I like to hang out, most of the hazards aren't people.

 

I go with: cell phone, PLB (personal locator beacon), 2 first aid kits (human-, cache-), hiking pole (pointy!), bear spray, fire starter, space blanket.  And in my head, a vague sense of bear psychology, and a sense of caution dialled up a couple of notches if going solo.

 

Never had to use any of the gear, other than the first aid kit to patch a scratch once.  :)

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37 minutes ago, Lost_not_found said:

So... do you carry anything for protection?

 

Are you asking about any form of protection, or the American euphemism "protection"?

 

Also, protection against what?

 

People? No.

Animals? Yes, depending on where I'm going. If I'll be out in the remote forest, bear spray.

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40 minutes ago, Lost_not_found said:

After a morning of caching I asked myself ..."Do I need to be carrying some kind of personal protection?"

What brought this to my mind was the area I was in. Sure, urban area but with lot of vacant undeveloped land. I guess you could say on the border of rural / desert.

Had to walk along a dirt "road", past a few houses that may be occupied but could also be abandoned. The 'Deliverance' theme rang through my head and I could imagine a guy plucking a banjo with a shotgun next to his chair. There was a major road a few hundred yards away but ... in worse case... I may not be found for weeks.

I am a lone cacher with no-one Knowing where I'm going.

 

So... do you carry anything for protection?

If YES, what?

We carry a bear whistle. Deliverance was a disturbing movie!  One time walking on a  narrow path deep into the woods, it got darker and darker, the sunlight left, and the feeling of dread got stronger. My survival instinct said...go back! My husband was disappointed but I firmly believe you should always listen to that primal instinct. It's there to protect you! 

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56 minutes ago, HunterandSamuel said:

We carry a bear whistle. Deliverance was a disturbing movie!  One time walking on a  narrow path deep into the woods, it got darker and darker, the sunlight left, and the feeling of dread got stronger. My survival instinct said...go back! My husband was disappointed but I firmly believe you should always listen to that primal instinct. It's there to protect you! 

The best defensive tool is your instinct. If something is telling you 'this doesn't feel good' it probably isn't, and you should reconsider what you are doing.

 

I've only been doing this a couple weeks but I have already assembled a pack to take with me even if I'm not planning on being more than 10 feet from the car. Plans change, stuff happens.

At the moment I carry: Pens, pencils (short ones sharpened both ends to leave in caches if there is not one and there is room), small note books, tweezers, telescopic magnet thingy, log roller, modelling clay (don't ask ;)), an assortment of things to leave if I take something, first aid kit, snacks, water, emergency rain poncho, flashlight, spare batteries.

Plus what I have on me all the time.

 

Since I don't go out into the woods (yet) I don't need to worry about bears, but around here there are Coyotes and other beasts. 

A can or repellent might be a good idea.

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3 minutes ago, Lost_not_found said:

Coyotes and other beasts

 

Coyotes are pretty harmless to humans.  I tense up when I see a dog, but relax if I realize it's just a coyote.

 

The pointed hiking pole I mentioned is largely to keep dogs at their distance; it's also one layer of defense against bears, should it come to that.

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3 hours ago, Lost_not_found said:

After a morning of caching I asked myself ..."Do I need to be carrying some kind of personal protection?"

What brought this to my mind was the area I was in.

That's really the question, isn't it?

 

Take geocaching out of the equation. Consider the area you are in. Prepare for that area appropriately, whatever protection you might need, from whatever hazards you might anticipate.

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Hmm...  I've met black bears about thirty seven times.  (Some more than once, such as Amparo Oso.)  When off hiking, the bears are more afraid of you.  I was off hiking, turned a bend in the trail, and met Stumpy (He lost part of one paw in a trap.)  I missed him by about five feet,  (I guess if I'd had a bear bell, he would have run off sooner.)  Well I couldn't move for about fifteen minutes.  But, I felt sorry for him.  He took off through the mountain laurel.  Pretty when blooming.  But, there's no give in the branches.  Brutal.

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Animals are the least of my worries. They are quite predictable. It is humans I am concerned about, yet I have yet to really run into any questionable humans. I just carry a Glock 27 while caching and try to pay attention to my surroundings. Which is a challenge while caching sometimes. You just have to keep working at it. Usually in the desert I bring a rifle too, but California keeps banning the best rifles to tote along. I guess I could start bringing the M1 Garand along again. 

Honestly your best protection is your brain. Stay out of areas that seem wrong and if you see something happening, take action. Your car is also a great protection device. Drive away or drive over the threat. 

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17 hours ago, Lost_not_found said:

The best defensive tool is your instinct. If something is telling you 'this doesn't feel good' it probably isn't, and you should reconsider what you are doing.

 

Yes! 100% agree with you. It's best to look like a silly scary cat to others than place yourself in potential danger. 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Lost_not_found said:

I've only been doing this a couple weeks but I have already assembled a pack to take with me even if I'm not planning on being more than 10 feet from the car. Plans change, stuff happens.

At the moment I carry: Pens, pencils (short ones sharpened both ends to leave in caches if there is not one and there is room), small note books, tweezers, telescopic magnet thingy, log roller, modelling clay (don't ask ;)), an assortment of things to leave if I take something, first aid kit, snacks, water, emergency rain poncho, flashlight, spare batteries.

Plus what I have on me all the time.

 

Since I don't go out into the woods (yet) I don't need to worry about bears, but around here there are Coyotes and other beasts. 

A can or repellent might be a good idea.

PS. An excellent geopack list! We bought a nice backpack for our geo-supplies. It's getting very heavy. lol  I was a Girl Scout leader for years and our motto was...always be prepared. 

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19 hours ago, Lost_not_found said:

After a morning of caching I asked myself ..."Do I need to be carrying some kind of personal protection?"

What brought this to my mind was the area I was in. Sure, urban area but with lot of vacant undeveloped land. I guess you could say on the border of rural / desert.

Had to walk along a dirt "road", past a few houses that may be occupied but could also be abandoned. The 'Deliverance' theme rang through my head and I could imagine a guy plucking a banjo with a shotgun next to his chair. There was a major road a few hundred yards away but ... in worse case... I may not be found for weeks.

I am a lone cacher with no-one Knowing where I'm going.

 

So... do you carry anything for protection?

If YES, what?

 

I am just wondering what you have against banjos and shotguns..  ;-)

 

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17 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

The pointed hiking pole I mentioned is largely to keep dogs at their distance; it's also one layer of defense against bears, should it come to that.

 

We took our daughter's old cross country ski poles to use as hiking sticks. Never thought to use them for protection. A great suggestion! 

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18 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Coyotes are pretty harmless to humans.  I tense up when I see a dog, but relax if I realize it's just a coyote.

 

I used to think that way...

I think it depends on the area.  Coyotes here in the NE are a bit bigger than their Western cousins. You know that.    :)

My neighbor called me a couple years ago, asking for help.  He was on his bike, and coyotes followed, then circled him. Bike now a barrier.

Every time he tried to get back on his bike again, one or two would reach out as an attempted nip.

Adding me to the mix was enough to get them to move on.  They're a regular in our game cams now.

We have them following us in the woods now, that noticeable bit of fur-flash behind a tree...

They've become enough of an issue that there's a few coyote "roundups" held each year, and there's no limit by the game commission.

 

 

Edited by cerberus1
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The past few years I've had half a dozen false charges with black bears.  Mostly in other states that have people sue to protect them.

These are the same people who feed deer, then whine about something being done when they eat all their outdoor plants...

They used to be the scaredy cats of the woods.  Now that these states near me aren't hunting them, they're a nuisance.

My last, a mangy bear, false-charged as I was attempting a "walk up the fallen/ leaning tree" stage to a multi.

Naked except for a boar-like ridge of hair on her back, I didn't know what it was at first.  Scared the (expletives deleted) outta me.   :D

Fell, landed with a thud,  my little colt mustang inches from her face.  Then I passed out...

I'm still suffering from injuries on that one, the docs found some extras while moseying around too.  But apparently I didn't seem tasty...   :)

 

 

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30 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

I used to think that way...

I think it depends on the area.  Coyotes here in the NE are a bit bigger than their Western cousins. You know that.    :)

My neighbor called me a couple years ago, asking for help.  He was on his bike, and coyotes followed, then circled him. Bike now a barrier.

Every time he tried to get back on his bike again, one or two would reach out as an attempted nip.

Adding me too the mix was enough to get them to move on.  They're a regular in our game cams now.

We have them following us in the woods now, that noticeable bit of fur-flash behind a tree...

They've become enough of an issue that there's a few coyote "roundups" held each year, and there's no limit by the game commission.

 

 

They do concern me a little, especially the coywolf-variety coyotes in my area. I've been weary ever since coyotes stalked and killed a young woman walking on a trail in Cape Breton (but it's never happened in the rest of Canada as far as I know). In the city that I live in, there's at least one news story of a coyote attacking a dog, every year.  I've encountered 4 coyotes while walking near a wooded area I frequent. They've all walked away except one which was about to pounce on my dog (my guess is she was female and protecting her lair). I spread out my coat to look bigger and charged at her a little, stomping my feet. She jumped about 3 feet in the air and hightailed it off the path and into the woods.

 

Edited by L0ne.R
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Be aware of your surroundings. Understand what the threats are. Be aware of your own abilities and limitations.  Remember, someone walking along with an expensive piece of equipment who's not looking up can be an attractive target of opportunity for the 2 footed animals. Remember that no cache is worth your health, or your safety, or your liberty.

 

I can remember only twice i got into real trouble caching. The first time I was in the brush in Texas. I underestimated my need for water in the August sun. Finished what I had and still had a 1.5 mile hike back to the car and more water. Ironically, the first symptom of dehydration is body chills. Got back to the car and my additional water and AC.  The second was bushwacking through a dense stand of thorn bushes. I tripped and fell backwards. Neither hands nor feet were able to touch the ground. I felt like a flipped turtle. To this day I still don't know how I got back on my feet.

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:02 AM, elrojo14 said:

Animals are the least of my worries. They are quite predictable.  

 

Depends on the animal.

 

In 2010 I found a cache that was at the entrance of Mikumi National Park in Tanzania.   The 9" long millipedes all over GZ didn't bother me.  Neither did the family of Elephants that crossed the dirt road about 1000' away.  I was a bit concerned though about that tsetse flies that were in the vehicle with us about 20 minutes earlier.

 

In 2018 went to search for a cache at the entrance of Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.  I was on a 2 day safari and this was as close as I'd get to a cache.  It was placed on an old cement bridge used for heavy vehicles crossing the Mara river near the Kenya/Tanzania border. As I walked toward GZ, a guard carrying a rifle called out to me and told me to stop.  The bridge is only a few feet above the water level, and there are hippos and crocs in the river.  The guard told me that he'd escort me out onto the bridge on our way back out of the park, but we didn't stop on the way out.  If you're wondering how dangerous it was, do a search on youtube for "mara river crossing crocodile".  

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2 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

do a search on youtube for "mara river crossing crocodile".  

 

OMG that's brutal. Thank gosh that guard stopped you. Not worth it. 

Why another cacher would endanger people like that is a head-shaker, no much much worse then a simple head-shaker. Maybe they had no idea about the crocodiles and hippos. 

Edited by L0ne.R

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1 minute ago, L0ne.R said:

 

OMG that's brutal. Thank gosh that guard stopped you. Not worth it. 

Why another cacher endanger people like that is a head-shaker, no much much worse then a simple head-shaker. Maybe they had no idea about the crocodiles and hippos. 

 

Oh, they know.  The CO of the cache works at the Mara Triangle entrance where the cache is located.   He might have been the guard that kept me off the bridge (I got to within about 30' of GZ).   I assume that the risk is pretty low at the actual location of the cache.  The consequences are severe though, and the CO may have deemed it safe enough with a guard.   

 

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I always bring water, bandages, in the summer sun spray and mosquito repellent.

Sometimes if I am going to be caching in the middle of the woods by myself I carry a small rifle.

 

OOH! and I did work on medieval armor and sometimes will wear a light chain mail shirt and metal arm guards. Worked on keeping thorns from cutting into my arms.

 

Which brings me to my story, after walking about a half mile in dense woods my rifle strap got caught in thorn vines and the ring that attaches it to the stock got ripped off. Luckily I was wearing this chain mail piece made of metal rings and I took a ring off my shirt and attached it to the stock of the rifle and fixing my strap. Then without me knowing it the magazine came off the rifle...noticed when I got back to the car...its out there in the woods somewhere.

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17 hours ago, Gabeman26 said:

I always bring water, bandages, in the summer sun spray and mosquito repellent.

Sometimes if I am going to be caching in the middle of the woods by myself I carry a small rifle.

 

OOH! and I did work on medieval armor and sometimes will wear a light chain mail shirt and metal arm guards. Worked on keeping thorns from cutting into my arms.

 

Which brings me to my story, after walking about a half mile in dense woods my rifle strap got caught in thorn vines and the ring that attaches it to the stock got ripped off. Luckily I was wearing this chain mail piece made of metal rings and I took a ring off my shirt and attached it to the stock of the rifle and fixing my strap. Then without me knowing it the magazine came off the rifle...noticed when I got back to the car...its out there in the woods somewhere.

You are walking around the woods wearing a mail (no chain in the name) shirt and vambraces with  a rifle ?!

  No wonder people are worried about being out caching ...  :laughing:

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They reckon the animal that causes the most deaths in Australia is the horse, so if I stay away from racetracks I should be fine.

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I'm mostly an urban cacher, and a female, so I know the feeling of going near weird places alone at night.
Personally I try to only go caching at night with a buddy.

 

Having a small travel size first aid kit is super useful...

but also BUG SPRAY!

I got stung like crazy one time when the GZ was in a literal red ants nest!!!

I wish i brought afterbite with me. : (

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The only times I've had a firearm on me near a geocache, I didn't know the cache was there, because I wasn't a geocacher yet.

 

f96f35c2-e664-40af-9ef2-7fcc27eb3fb8.jpg

 

Picture: in the vicinity of Ziggurat of Ur, which I believe at the time was just behind me to the left.

 

We've been in the vicinity of over 10,000 caches (including the DNFs) in the 13 years since we started caching, and somehow I've survived without taking a weapon with me.

Edited by hzoi
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I've never felt like I needed protection from anything, anywhere (cached in 29 countries, visited a bunch more). The greatest danger is falling off something but then we"re careful. Other dangers? I wouldn't put my hand in a hole "down under" as Australia has some very poisonous critters. We never felt unsafe anywhere, even close to home there seems to be a "hellhole" according to some head of state but we walked the streets with GPS hanging around my neck without a problem several times ;)

 

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DEET, because tick and mosquito bites are by far the commonest and most dangerous thing I encounter.  I don't leave my car with some kind of DEET and water.

 

@barefootjeff  -  In the U.S. an equine professional association gathered stats from emergency room visits on horse related injury. The number 1 cause of amateur fatality around horses turns out be riding drunk  (and #2 is riding double, which didn't surprise me)

 

I believe the (non insect) animal in the US that causes the most deaths is deer. Most that from auto encounters. 

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In my area cachers use permethrin. They spray it on their pant legs and shoes. I have used Buzz Away, a natural bug repellent. Works great when camping. 

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3 hours ago, HunterandSamuel said:

In my area cachers use permethrin. They spray it on their pant legs and shoes. I have used Buzz Away, a natural bug repellent. Works great when camping. 

 

Permethrin works (kills) on ticks.  DEET  is less effective on ticks (but works on mosquitos).   

 

I've used Sawyer Permethrin in a bottle to soak clothes.   Once clothes are soaked  (and dried) it'll stay effective for six weeks and six washes).  

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7 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Permethrin works (kills) on ticks.  DEET  is less effective on ticks (but works on mosquitos).   

 

To be clear though, DEET is a repellent.       Permethrin is an insecticide.

I use Permethrin because I want to kill whatever lands on me, not just make them uncomfortable.    :laughing:

Besides the fact that DEET melts most plastics, and stinks...

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5 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Permethrin works (kills) on ticks.  DEET  is less effective on ticks (but works on mosquitos).   

 

I've used Sawyer Permethrin in a bottle to soak clothes.   Once clothes are soaked  (and dried) it'll stay effective for six weeks and six washes).  

 

But you can't spray Permethrin on your skin can you? Going on several years now I cache exclusively in shorts.

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Worst thing I've found when caching was stepping in a wasps nest. About two hundred stings. Little b**tards.

 

Not sure a rifle would have protected me there, in fact, being the UK would have meant I would have had wasps on one side, armed police on t'other! :)

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15 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

But you can't spray Permethrin on your skin can you? Going on several years now I cache exclusively in shorts.

 

I wouldn't but that's because close family members have died of cancer. Not that warnings are saying it can cause cancer but I'm being careful.  Directions say to spray it on clothing and not your skin. Something that's natural like Buzz Away Extreme (citronella, geranium, lemongrass, cedar wood, peppermint) might be safer. Check your local health store, they are very helpful!

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:18 AM, hzoi said:

The only times I've had a firearm on me near a geocache, I didn't know the cache was there, because I wasn't a geocacher yet.

 

f96f35c2-e664-40af-9ef2-7fcc27eb3fb8.jpg

 

Picture: in the vicinity of Ziggurat of Ur, which I believe at the time was just behind me to the left.

 

We've been in the vicinity of over 10,000 caches (including the DNFs) in the 13 years since we started caching, and somehow I've survived without taking a weapon with me.

But, but everyone caches differently :D After our visit to Nasiriyah every piece of equipment capable of expelling lead was smoking before we got back to the gulf.

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On 1/13/2020 at 4:36 PM, on4bam said:

I've never felt like I needed protection from anything, anywhere (cached in 29 countries, visited a bunch more). The greatest danger is falling off something but then we"re careful. Other dangers? I wouldn't put my hand in a hole "down under" as Australia has some very poisonous critters. We never felt unsafe anywhere, even close to home there seems to be a "hellhole" according to some head of state but we walked the streets with GPS hanging around my neck without a problem several times ;)

 

 

Pretty much this. Common sense, water, sun and nature protection, basic first aid kit. The only place I ever felt unsafe was in Texas where I knew people were allowed to carry weapons. Other than that I'm generally not easily scared. Sure, things happen, like the taxi driver in Beirut who suddenly wanted twice the agreed fare and grabbed my bag (only contained extra phone energy, guide book and a rock). Should not have done it at a busy square as I grabbed his car keys and left the car, traded them for my worthless bag and left. :P

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Never felt I needed any personal protection other than situational awarenes and observation, but this was posted on a Facebook Group UK group very recently so thought I'd share it here, don't know if it is geographically locked to only work in the UK but....

 

Staffordshire Police post re "Hollie Guard"

Edited by MartyBartfast

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5 hours ago, terratin said:

The only place I ever felt unsafe was in Texas where I knew people were allowed to carry weapons. 

 

Maybe it's a region thing, but I'd feel a lot safer in areas that folks are allowed to carry a firearm...   :)

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35 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Maybe it's a region thing, but I'd feel a lot safer in areas that folks are allowed to carry a firearm...   :)

Yup, it's a region thing. I avoid those areas.

 

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13 minutes ago, on4bam said:

Yup, it's a region thing. I avoid those areas.

 

 

Don't go down to my cousins' place.  Rufus and Gator, they's mean drunks.  An' they's always drunk.

 

dfd8.jpg

 

 

Edited by kunarion

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31 minutes ago, on4bam said:

Yup, it's a region thing. I avoid those areas.

 

That's odd, I know you've cached here...

There's only 4 or 5 states in the entire US that make it tough to qualify to carry. 

The rest of the US does have permit holders, and some don't even require a permit (it's called constitutional carry). ;) 

 

Florida (where you've been...) has over 2 million permit holders.  Over 9% of the total population in the US have a carry permit.

 

 

 

Edited by cerberus1

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Avoid Oklahoma if you don't feel comfortable around firearms. We are now a permitless carry state. I am aware of several geocaching friends who carry a firearm with them for safety. 

Edited by Max and 99
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6 hours ago, terratin said:

The only place I ever felt unsafe was in Texas where I knew people were allowed to carry weapons

 

I agree. It's frightening that someone can shoot you (the "stand your ground" law) if they deem you a threat or even a  perceived threat. Geocachers at times can look suspicious and up to something of no good.

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2 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

That's odd, I know you've cached here...

 

Well, I avoid stepping in dog pooh but that happened too.;)

I must say I haven't seen anyone carrying weapons during our travels (except police and stuff) and we have visited 30-35 states over the years (starting 1986).

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7 minutes ago, on4bam said:

I must say I haven't seen anyone carrying weapons during our travels (except police and stuff) and we have visited 30-35 states over the years (starting 1986).

 

True.   That's why it's called a concealed carry permit.   If you had any issues, they were for naught.    :) 

 

  

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