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Women Geocaching Alone


Lady Bug Lady
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I'm interested in other female geocachers viewpoints on geocaching alone. I know it is like any other outdoor activity but there are places that I get the willies caching alone. Last week I was in an unfamiliar place in Ohio with my two sons, 10 and 12 when some quad riders came along. I swear I heard strains of the music from Deliverance. Does anyone carry mace or other such items with them?

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I have gone caching alone a couple of time and with my grandchildren 10 & 13. One time I had an uneasy feeling and it was a challenge to keep my uneasiness from my granchildren. Thankfully it had started to sprinkle so I didn't have to look for a reason to justify leaving. Although, if I had just told them I didn't like how things felt, they would have understood.

 

I have found your best defense is your gut. If your gut tells you something is wrong or you should listen. Even police officers will tell you this, many victims of violence have said they had a bad or uneasy feeling, just before an incident occured. However, they ignored that feeling.

 

Then there is common sense. everyone has it, but nont every one uses it.

Lilbluyze

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about 1/3 of my geocaching has been alone. i'm licensed to carry a handgun, so i do. always be aware of what's going on around you. i stop frequently to look around me and keep an eye on anyone that makes me feel uncomfortable. if you really don't feel right, wait and do the cache when another adult can be with you.

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I cache alone about 60% of the time. I have a dear friend who is my contact person. I call her when I am heading out, the general area I will be in and when I plan to return. If she doesn't hear from me around the approximate time I am to call her, she calls me. I am usually knee deep in brambles and forgot the time. I also carry mace and a whistle with me when I am alone.

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I have gone caching alone a couple of time and with my grandchildren 10 & 13. One time I had an uneasy feeling and it was a challenge to keep my uneasiness from my granchildren. Thankfully it had started to sprinkle so I didn't have to look for a reason to justify leaving. Although, if I had just told them I didn't like how things felt, they would have understood.

snip

I'd say next time tell them why you're leaving. It will teach them that paying attention to intuition isn't a bad thing.

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I cache alone at times and have never been particularly worried. But I also live in a relatively "safe" part of the country where hiking alone is not a big deal. I would not likely go out alone at night though in a deserted park or rural area. But I think that could be good advice regardless of gender.

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I only cache alone. I was nervous about some of the more remote parks at first, but I'm getting less so with time. I think that's because I'm realizing I can hear somebody coming from quite a way away so, unless someone is lying in wait, I get plenty of warning that I'm not alone on the trail.

 

Ironically, it's the urban parks in bad neighborhoods that worry me most, so I just don't do those. If I drive up to an area that makes me feel hinky, I just drive away again. Too many good caches I haven't done.

 

If I had a license to carry, I would, but it's dadgum near impossible to get one here. So I have a stick. Ahem. It's sad, but it's something.

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Consider getting or borrowing a dog!

 

About three weeks ago, I picked up a day-old puppy abandoned in a park in Havana, Cuba--I'm hoping he'll grow to a relatively menacing size for geocaching excursions <_< but its looking more and more like he's going to be some sort of weiner dog. Oh, well... at least he'll bark :huh:

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I cache alone sometimes, but I don't have a lot of advice to offer other that what has already been said. I always take my cell phone and a small first aid kit with me in case of emergencies. Just being aware of your surroundings and leaving if you feel uncomfortable are two other good strategies.

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Well, I'm not a woman, but I am a husband and a son, and so my advice is this: Please ladies don't go geocaching alone. I think the advice is well given to the men too. It's not a good idea to be going to unknown places in remote areas all alone. Take a buddy. Take your kids. But specifically women, please don't make yourself a target.

 

Just my $.02.

 

For me, I take my two young sons with me. DW sometimes joins us. I always leave a printout of the cache we're trying to find, so in case of emergency she has a good idea of where we went. My oldest son is old enough to run to get help if needed.

 

We should all practice safe geocaching. Man or woman, young or old, geocaching is a group activity.

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I always geocache alone. To me, it's no big deal, but I do carry a cell phone. I'm an older woman, and look like a grandma, so I doubt that some crazy sex fiend will stalk me. This is a relatively safe rural area of the country too, with no big cities even remotely near.

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I always geocache alone. To me, it's no big deal, but I do carry a cell phone. I'm an older woman, and look like a grandma, so I doubt that some crazy sex fiend will stalk me. This is a relatively safe rural area of the country too, with no big cities even remotely near.

rape is not a sex crime alone. it is a violent crime. it is a crime of power over another person. most of the boston stranglers victims were older women. when an 80 year old woman is raped and killed in her house, it isn't because the rapist found her attractive. the rapist wants power and control over his victim. age is no protection against being a rape victim.

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If I had a license to carry, I would, but it's dadgum near impossible to get one here. So I have a stick. Ahem. It's sad, but it's something.

Never, ever underestimate someone with a stick. Take up a martial art called kali (Cali?) or escrima. It's Phillipino stick fighting, and it is an EXCELLENT self defense art for man or woman.

 

Seriously, I believe all women should take some form of martial art for self defense. And ladies, should you ever be attacked, just remember: There is no such thing as a fair fight. Someone laying a hand on you gives up their right to have sight, hearing... the ability to have children at a later date, and in extreme cases, to live. Even if you are bare handed, you have knees, fingernails, elbows, etc. -use them-.

 

But that measly 'stick' can be vicious and successfully keep away an attacker, if you know how to use it. Like any weapon - whether hand, stick, knife or gun - you have to train in it to use it well.

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It doesn't bother me a bit to go caching alone. Sometimes you see plenty of wild life. I've seen deer, elk, raccoon, a bear, bobcat and once a cougar.

 

Depending on if it's hunting season I have my trusty Browning 308 or now I have my son with me (cause he has taken over my hunting rifle) :rolleyes: He loves that rifle.

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I'm not a woman, and neither is my caching partner who is my dad. We're actually both really kind of large guys. But we usually get a little freaked out while caching in places that are frequented by quad-riders. Just last week, we were caching at a place that is a known party spot, and we found at least 3 dozen empty shot gun shell casings laying around that couldn't have been there more than a day or so, cause if they had, the rain would have gotten them muddy...

 

But yah, it's kind of creepy when you know you're on someone elses "stomping grounds." I could probably beat the crap out of anyone who tried to attack me as long as they weren't majorly huge, but I usually have mace burried somewhere in my cache bag, and if I feel unsafe, I dig it out and put it on top of one of the easier access compartments...

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Never, ever underestimate someone with a stick.  Take up a martial art called kali (Cali?) or escrima.  It's Phillipino stick fighting, and it is an EXCELLENT self defense art for man or woman.

Oooh! Thank you, n00b. That made for an interesting lunchtime Google.

 

But while I am reasonably competent with a firearm, I would never, ever trust me with a small and dangerous stick. I'd have my eye out before you could say, "you're gonna poke your eye out with that thing!" The fine motor skills are good, the gross motor skills leave a lot to be desired. (You should've seen me trying to learn Tai Chi; I looked like a cow in a swimming pool).

 

My stick is a hiking staff, and every time I slip on the trail I say a quick prayer that I don't somehow manage to impale myself on it.

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I cache with my dog, and we cache alone mostly. We abandon any cache if we hear banjos in the background or suspect there are banjo players in the area. The other day I pulled into a parking lot to start out for a cache in a small park on a side street. I noticed that the only other car in the parking lot was a dirty old van. Abandoned cache immediately. There is no way I'm walking by a suspicious looking van in a wooded parking lot on a infrequently traveled street. Probably nothing and I would rather feel bad for judging someone unfairly than put myself and my dog in a vulnerable situation. With my luck recently, I'm more afraid of my car leaving me stranded than I am of encountering scarey cousins in the woods. But - you've gotta have good instincts if not a hardy dose of common sense. Folks intending on doing bad things will take the path of least resistance. I see a girl jogging in my relatively safe town and she carries a bat with her - one of the small trophey type - and she looks anyone square in the eye that passes her. I have bear spray but I'm afraid I'll blind myself with it if I carry it. I think a whistle is a great idea. I think reading logs to get a feel for a place and learning as much as you can about it before is also a good idea. Being scared is no fun. If you can't overcome that, then join up with someone in your area. The best thing about geocaching for me is the discovery of new and nice places. Not new and scarey places ! Don't hesitate to email someone who's logged a find or placed the cache and ask questions. And don't feel like you have to go out and 'get that one' just because it's there. Be selective with your safety in mind !

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From a guys view point. I love caching alone. However, tend to stay away from areas where there are children. As a parent, I can tell you that a lone male wandering around an area populated by children tends make my "parental protection meter" go crazy. Therefore, I can only figure, that if I was by myself around a group of kids, their parents would see me as some kind of threat.

 

papade

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Yeah you should listen to your gut feeling, my moms boss had a bad feeling one night when her son was going to a party, she was going to tell him not to go but what could happen, the next day they found her son in a ditch nearly beaten to death he had a broken leg and a broken rib and was bleeding pretty bad. They took him to the hospital and he made a full recovery. Now what have we learned. Not really related to caching though :rolleyes: .

Edited by SandLizard
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I usually cache alone or with my two little terriers. The only cache I was ever had concern about was in a rural park where there were a half dozen or more males cruisin' each other. I never felt threatened, but I know better than to hang around THAT sort of activity. I actually had to return to the cache 4 times before I could sign the log book.

 

Partly because I wanted to have a better sense of being safe, partly 'cause I'm getting older and less fluid in my movements, and partly 'cause I'm tired of sticking my paw in places that varmits live, I made my own walking stick. It comes in dang handy on all three counts, let me tell you. I took it with me to do some caches in CA (I live in CO) and went on an urban trail that had 19 caches along it. I had more dogs bark at me than I can ever remember, and every single one of the owners said that it was because of the stick I was carrying. NOTE: I was the only walker in LA with some sort of visible protection!! (LA IS safer than you think, actually.) :rolleyes:

 

So, if a bunch of dogs find the stick threatening, maybe it does have some impact on humans (short of direct contact, of course). :rolleyes:

 

Suggestions: The obvious ones, and ones previously stated. Also, don't let fear of the unknown hinder your caching, let caching allow you to meet others and make some cool friends.

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After reading some more comments, I will add some more about caching alone.

 

I like to cache alone at times. I really like to get out by myself in a rural area and have a nice quiet walk. That is a big part of what first interested me in caching. So I would never give that up. At the same time, I do have the luxury of being in an area where violence is rare. I also use common sense. I often go alone to spots where I know that other people around are likely fisherpeople or bird watchers and know that there will be a few of them there. Or I hike a regularly used trail. So, if there are any dangerous people lurking around, there will also be some good people around as well. I also don't go out caching in such areas at night alone.

I don't carry a weapon because I just don't feel comfortable with that.

 

Anyway, I have never been fearful about doing that. From my experiences around here, the dangerous types are not on the rural fishing, biking and bird watching trails. Instead they are lurking in isolated urban parking garages and such. I likely would not seek one of those caches alone during off hours!

 

I also refuse to let concerns keep me at home. I do try to use common sense though.

 

And yes, having a dog can help. I don't take my dog caching all the time, but I do take her for neighborhood walks after dark sometimes. Once a shady character started following us. The dog got very protective, turned around and bared her teeth and growled. The guy ran away pretty darn fast! Gotta love that dog! :rolleyes:

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As someone who has a fair amount of professional dealings with the "lesser" of society I would suggest a few things. If you are licensed to carry a handgun and can legally carry where you are caching by all means do so. That's just my opinion. Any kind of martial arts is also a plus, especially the Aikido/Jujitsu type that aren't dependent on size and power.

 

But for most carrying a handgun is not realistic. Me and my wife both carry as part of our jobs so it's just part of everyday life either on or off duty. For most people a good can of OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) is a powerful tool to have available. The most effective is FOX LABS. You can find them HERE .

 

Stay away from the keychain stuff as the small containers leak propellant at a small rate and need to be replaced frequently. The larger 2/3/4oz containers have a huge advantage of range and are fairly safe to carry with the "flip top" to keep from having them go off in a purse or pocket. Also I would suggest the STREAM units for outdoor adventures as the fog/mist can really hit you back when spraying in the wind.

 

This works good on 2 legged and 4 legged predators. Just type Fox Labs into your browser and order anywhere. Most gun shops or police supply places will have it. Freeze +P and Bodyguard are both good as well. If anyone tells you this stuff doesn't work they haven't been hit with it before. Results will vary but on average it is very effective.... :o

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I've been geocaching a few times by myself, a always tell the other half of my team where exactly I'm going and when I'll be back. I get kinda nervous sometimes, but its an activity I enjoy doing.. why should I stop cuz I'm worried someone is gonna attack me or something? Of course I would never cache in the dark by myself.. I hardly like walking to my car by myself in the dark!

 

I do always carry a cell phone and try to stay in cell phone range as best I can. And I carry almost everything except the kitchen sink in my bookbag incase something should happen.

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Never, ever underestimate someone with a stick.  Take up a martial art called kali (Cali?) or escrima.  It's Phillipino stick fighting, and it is an EXCELLENT self defense art for man or woman.

Oooh! Thank you, n00b. That made for an interesting lunchtime Google.

 

But while I am reasonably competent with a firearm, I would never, ever trust me with a small and dangerous stick. I'd have my eye out before you could say, "you're gonna poke your eye out with that thing!" The fine motor skills are good, the gross motor skills leave a lot to be desired. (You should've seen me trying to learn Tai Chi; I looked like a cow in a swimming pool).

 

My stick is a hiking staff, and every time I slip on the trail I say a quick prayer that I don't somehow manage to impale myself on it.

:o That's pretty funny... I kinda know how you feel, but I train a martial art anyway. I love it, it's fun and I always have my weapons (the first, of course always being my noggin').

 

Well, whatever you decide to do, goo dluck, be smart and safe and all that. And should someone be stupid, well... give 'em what they deserve! B):D

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I very frequently cache alone, and I can't imagine any reason to be afraid of doing so.

 

Learn basic urban survival skills: pay attention to your surroundings, stay alert at all times, walk confidently and believe that nobody is going to mess with you, choose your territory wisely. I certainly wouldn't go caching in parts of Oakland by myself, especially not at night, but I would consider most places to be no problem at all.

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Lady Bug Lady, my recommendation is to check with other geocachers if you have a concern about visiting a particular cache by yourself, or with your kids. I often go out alone -- and have gotten into some trouble when doing so -- and I also take my ten year old daughter along with me quite often, when the location seems appropriate.

 

By asking someone who has found most of the caches in the area for some recommendations, you can develop a good list of caches to do alone, even at night. A separate list of kid friendly caches can also be put together. Many local geocaching groups already maintain such lists on their websites.

 

Since we are both in the same area, I would be glad to answer any questions via e-mail. You could also join the local geocaching group, Tri-Go, and post there to ask which caches to avoid and which caches are OK. In Pittsburgh, we generally tend to avoid placing caches in high-crime neighborhoods. But still, some areas are generally safer than others.

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I Geocache most of the time on my own and when I'm out there, wherever there may be, I usually don't think about it. If I did I probably wouldn't go out. I did have a wee experience one time though that sent the willies through me. I was searching for a new cache way up in the boonies and low n behold I see an adult male wielding a machete. He was probably wondering what the heck I was doing way in the middle of nowhere but I also had to wonder about him but why did he have a machete? Although I did get the willies I continued on my hunt after we said hi to each other. Perhaps he was just a young fellow practicing some type of martial arts but with a machete???? That is the only time I've had an experience like that. I have however come upon bear sign or the bear itself but I carry a whistle and make a lot of noise so I believe any bears in the bush would be scared out of their wits hearing me ramble on. But this question sure makes a person think twice about where they are going and of course there are more critters out there than just bears so thank you.

 

Pattycat [:o)]

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Personally, I cache alone all the time. Although I prefer to go with friends, simply due to the fact that it's more fun to do, I will go alone if needed.

 

Personally, I have no qualms about going caching alone OR at night, although I am usually not going to go night-caching alone unless it's a drive-by sort of thing. I am a guy, and therefore this may be part of the reason that I am not really concerned. However, I also believe that I am capable of taking care of myself, and I set it firmly in my mind that I'll be ok. If I am night-caching, I also carry the club of choice of police officers: a Mag Lite 3-D cell flashlight. Spun aluminum filled with three D-cell batteries will make quite an impression on anyone who decides that he's going to attack me when i'm out alone.

 

Generally, I would have to agree with most of the comments made here:

Know the area

know your limits

Listen to your gut

Go with a friend, if possible(particularly at night)

On the off-chance that all the previous items don't help, carry some sort of defensive weapon that you can use if needed.

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This thread should serve as a reminder to all cache hiders. Before choosing a location for a cache, THINK about the safety of others. THINK about what it would be like in low-light or darkness. If your cache idea is a really cool one in a questionable location, be sure to note that in your cache description.

 

Last spring I hid a cache in a beautiful riparian undeveloped natural park. This summer I pulled it. There were several "homeless camps" in the area that had been established with the warm weather, and while they don't worry me personally, I don't really want to be associated with scary cache locations! There are just too many fun and safe places available.

 

Mr Smiles

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I always go with a dog or a human. I had posted this a few months ago but will repeat here-

 

If you like or at least tolerate dogs but don't have one-- borrow one from a shelter/rescue group. In most cases they will be thrilled that you will be taking the doggie out of prison for an outing and will even tell you which ones have leash manners (not pullers). Personally big and/or a bad rep breed is not necessary to scare off people; heck some mini poodles and daux's (not to mention Golden Retreivers, Labs, etc.) can be pretty intimidating.

 

win-win

 

you get a companion

dog gets exposed to the community and therefore a bit more adoptable

 

(For those long trips, many shelters will let you take Fido for a weekend sleep-over. If you are in a no dog place but have had Fido caching all day it should be pretty easy to sneak the tired dog past that nosy neighbor.)

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I Geocache most of the time on my own and when I'm out there, wherever there may be, I usually don't think about it. If I did I probably wouldn't go out. I did have a wee experience one time though that sent the willies through me. I was searching for a new cache way up in the boonies and low n behold I see an adult male wielding a machete. He was probably wondering what the heck I was doing way in the middle of nowhere but I also had to wonder about him but why did he have a machete? Although I did get the willies I continued on my hunt after we said hi to each other. Perhaps he was just a young fellow practicing some type of martial arts but with a machete???? That is the only time I've had an experience like that. I have however come upon bear sign or the bear itself but I carry a whistle and make a lot of noise so I believe any bears in the bush would be scared out of their wits hearing me ramble on. But this question sure makes a person think twice about where they are going and of course there are more critters out there than just bears so thank you.

 

Pattycat [;))]

Could have been a trail maintenance volunteer. Machetes are actually pretty good tools for that...

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I very seldom go with anyone. But I do have my two black labs. Their great with other dogs and people and seem to be very friendly, but don't get within my space or their hackles go up. I've had to warn a couple of different people that they were too close to me and to please back up or I wouldn't guarantee their safety from my dogs. Two huge black labs with their hair raised is a menacing site.

I do have a permit to carry and sometimes I do have it with me, but I generally feel if I need to carry a pistol into a certain area, then maybe its not worth going into.

I agree also that being aware of your surroundings is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. Most attackers are looking for victims that they can surprise and who aren't going to be able to id them later. Martial arts teaches you this, and as was said before, you always have your weapon with you. I'm not beyond picking up a rock or hefty stick if i feel the need. I think tho the martial arts gives you confidence and bad guys don't like confident people. they prey on the weak and timid.

p.s. For you women hunters out there, check out www.womenhunters.com

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I to am a grandmother I am never scared when I bring my 5 year old granddaughter. I am the protector then but when I do go alone I do sometimes get the willies.

My solution is I bring my mother, sister , nephew, friends, coworkers everyone loves geocaching but can't go often so invite everyone you know. I can almost get someone most of the time.

 

Something I plan to do when the weather is better is go on my horse. I am never scared in the woods alone then. Must be because of those 4 fast furry hooves.

thanks for the discussion It is good to talk about this problem.

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I say to myself when geocaching alone " I truly doupt that some bad guy is hiding behind a tree in the middle of the woods for who knows how long in the hopes that a lone woman will come buy. More of a threat is walking down a sidewalk where a preditor knows that eventually a lone woman will surey come by."

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Carry a cell phone. Carry some Fox OC. Carry a pocket knife--you never know when it'll be useful. Carry a firearm if you can legally do so in your state. Keep your wits about you, and listen to your subconscious--it youget a 'bad feeling' about something, go away. A dog is nice if you have one, but may not be permitted in all cache areas...

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From a guys view point.  I love caching alone.  However, tend to stay away from areas where there are children.  As a parent, I can tell you that a lone male wandering around an area populated by children tends make my "parental protection meter" go crazy.  Therefore, I can only figure, that if I was by myself around a group of kids, their parents would see me as some kind of threat.

 

papade

I have to applaud you for that decision! As a mother who visits park and things with her kids, nothing scares me more than a lone man walking around a playground or other child area.

 

I'm not too found of caching alone, but I have done it, and will also cache with my 2 kids. Most importantly I pay attention to my surrondings! And listen to my gut! If I see or seem that something is not right, we leave. I have done that at one cache. I have also become more "scared" to cache after a women was attacked along a well kept running path! A path I have gone on many times, but kinda creepy knowing it happened there!

 

I have been thinking about investing in some of that mace stuff and maybe I need to get some of that Fox stuff...just in case. I do carry my cell and first aid kit and walking stick. But basically I'm unprepared in case of an attack.

Edited by Team Snoopy
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this thread brings up a good point:

 

I travel, and prior to 9/11 would carry my pepper spray with me in my carry-on, so I would have it handy when I landed and headed into "unknown territory". Now, post 9/11, I have to pack my pepper spray into my checked bags, and dig it out when I get where I'm going. But, yeah, relative to the entire above thread about weapons-of-choice: definitely keep pepper spray handy everywhere and anywhere (heck, I even keep one in my bedside table.....).

 

On a related note: I've been half-heartedly searching for a collapsible heavy-duty walking stick, that I can pack into a suitcase and take with me when I travel. I've seen the fold-away canes, but I'm looking for something taller and less "cane-like". Anybody seen anything like this? If not, someone needs to invent this! (and can you do it before my next trip, in March...?)

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One thing that folks need to understand is the psychology of criminal types and how you can use that to protect yourself.

 

If you walk around scared in public of being mugged, you unconciously broadcast with your body language "Hey, I'm cringing and scared!". Criminal type LOOK for that kinda body language!

 

Folks walking around unconciously broadcasting fear - (or worse, fear + a need to please and appease everyone else) are unintentionally broadcasting a signal which actually ATTRACTS evil people. It's like an unintentional audition for being got. It's not your fault... it's something that has to be understood first.

 

In other words, If you walk around with that kind of "yikes! i might be attacked!" thought, you have a higher chance of a self-fullfilling prophesy ensuing.

 

Here's the deal. To change the way a criminal is looking at you and considering what to do with you, change your inner attitude and body language. Confidence, a sense of "folks, you REALLY don't want to mess with me. Period." Carry that around.

 

If someone starts to follow you, start mumbling and swearing something about "I'm so angry I'm gonna kill the next person who even LOOKS at me!" If they continue being that foolish, turn around with rage in your eyes, look a little surprised, and then look at them the way a lion looks at a delicious gazelle. They'll be outta there.

 

Been there, done that, am a female geocacher, I wear a black leather jacket and have absolutely no problem. ;):P

 

I plan on getting uber-powered pepper spray anyway soon just to back up the default "don't mess with me." ;):P

Edited by Sparrowhawk
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On a related note: I've been half-heartedly searching for a collapsible heavy-duty walking stick, that I can pack into a suitcase and take with me when I travel. I've seen the fold-away canes, but I'm looking for something taller and less "cane-like". Anybody seen anything like this? If not, someone needs to invent this! (and can you do it before my next trip, in March...?)

Many companies make exactly like what you're looking for. I've seen them run as little as $10-$15 to closer to $100 for some at specialty shops. Check out some of these to get an idea.

PS: They still aren't allowed in your carry-on luggage on airplanes. You will have to pack it with your checked luggage. Also, you might want to double check about the pepperspray before you fly next time. I seem to remember reading that it's against TSA rules to have it even in your checked luggage. (I guess if things shifted in transit it could go off in the terminal or plane)

Also, it's against the law to carry it without a permit in some cities/states.

 

Speaking of permits, we just hosted a geocachers-only training class for getting a concealed handgun permit in our state. It was done at a steep discount because the state certified instructor was also a geocacher. Several of the cachers in the class were women. I'm pretty sure the gals outshot most of the guys when we went to the range.

Edited by Mopar
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