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Geocaching And Personal Safety


Flopka
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My mom and I just started geocaching and have been having a lot of fun. However, since I'm new, I don't know if this issue has been discussed here a lot or not... staying safe while geocaching.

 

I had a rather dismal thought the other day: it seems to me that many geocaching sites both (a) are in private, out-of-the-way areas such as isolated corners of parks, etc and (:P are very popular, being visited almost daily. So what's to stop a dangerous person from logging on to Geocaching.com, observing where the most popular waypoints are (but not too well trafficked), downloading the coordinates, and lying in wait for someone to arrive in a quiet spot away from the crowds to look for that geocache?

 

I know - this doesn't happen (at least I've never heard of it happening), but I read about people who go out geocaching alone, particularly women, and have to wonder about this. As geocaching continues to gain popularity and media coverage, you have to think about everything I guess.

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It's not just women. Everyone needs to be careful in public, whether they're geocaching or doing anything else. I found about 950 caches before I ran into any trouble. If I had trusted my instinct after being stalked on my first cache hunt, I would've gotten in the car and driven away instead of going back into the woods for that second cache. That was my mistake. So trust your instinct. For me it's now 200 something caches later, with no additional problems. Those are pretty good odds.

 

Some other "odds": The average volume of cache logs written is something over 15,000 per week now. Yet we don't often hear horror stories of geocachers being murdered, kidnapped or forced to drink subpar coffee. That is a whole lotta geocaching going on with very little trouble. Not much different than hiking, for example.

 

What happened to me was a statistical inevitability.

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By all means, trust your instincts. The only time I have been physically accosted (and it wasn't geocaching, it was on a public street in my sleepy small town, where nothing ever happens), my "alarm" went off in my head, but I didn't listen. Unfortunately, this happens to women a lot - was far too concerned with seeming "rude" to cross the street as a sketchy-looking guy approached me, and as a result I was knocked to the ground and had my purse stolen.

 

I have aborted two caches due to "creepy guy in he area" syndrome. Other than that, I have had no problems.

 

Just some suggestions:

Always carry your cell phone and a whistle - preferably a "safety" or marine-rated whistle. It may work to scare someone off, and it will also be invaluable if you get really lost while hiking.

 

Cache in familiar areas to start off with. If you have a dog, take it with you. If you have yet to meet caching buddies, attend a local geomeet and make some friends.

 

I did my first 100 or so caches solo. Then I met other cachers and have cached with company (male and female) a good deal of the time since. And even though I have been caching a while now, there are still areas I won't cache alone - mostly due to remoteness or length of hike from the car - I wait for someone to join me.

 

Trust your instincts, be prepared as best you can, cache with company if in doubt, and have a great time with your new hobby!

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Some other "odds":  The average volume of cache logs written is something over 15,000 per week now.

Minor correction:

There are about 70,000 logs written every week, buy about 15,000 different accounts. Taking into account couples, families, and teams that log under on account, that's probably more like 20-25,000 people a week out there geocaching.

Edited by Mopar
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I would be willing to assume the most dangerous part of geocaching is actually the car ride to the caching areas. Look How many people per year die in car wrecks per year in the U.s. Enough to wipe out small towns(40,000 plus a year).

I think it comes down to personal responsibility, If you feel that it is unsafe, don't do it. There are plenty of caches in well traveled areas to hit instead of remote ones. You can be doing a city micro and get hit by a car or robbed. You Could be sitting in your house typing in the forums and there could be a violent home invasion. You never know.

You must use common sense and be safe, pay attention, use your instincts,and it cant hurt to take a self defense course. We carry mace with us at all times, Pay attention, and if it doesn't feel right we turn back. Granted there are some characters in the woods, but they are everywhere.

I will admit I don't like the idea of my wife going out on any trails alone, but she does some times, not geocaching, but bike riding. I have confidence she can handle it though. And like I said before The car ride is the most dangerous part about it all. So be aware, be smart, Have fun, Live life. Or Stay in the house and hope some criminal doesn't bust down your door and hold you hostage. Life is risky, And finite. Make the most out of it.

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1. Try to avoid caching alone.

2. Pay attention. Look up from the "Go To" arrow on your GPSr and enjoy the scenery. Avoid committing "Magellicide." It's about the journey as much as it's about the destination.

3. Avoid looking like a victim. Be alert. Don't bring your expensive toys into bad situations. Keep the $400 camera and $500 PDA out of sight.

 

 

Stop and think about the scenario you proposed. The amount of time the bad guy would have to spend "lying in wait" would be impractical. You have a greater chance of having your laptop stolen from your car by a casual passer-by than someone who planned the whole thing.

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I think I should start off saying all of the following is fairly unlikely. Most of the perils of geocaching are the common, everyday, outdoor variety. I'm guesing you are a LOT more likely to trip on a root and break your ankle, or get a really bad case of poison ivy than to have a bad encounter with another person while caching. Far and away the most likely encounter you'll have while caching is meeting another geocacher at or near the cache! (Happened to me many, many times.)

 

The biggest problem isn't someone "lying in wait" for geocachers. This is unlikely to happen for the reasons others have mentioned. I think the biggest risks of a bad encounter with another human being are:

1. Secluded, hard to find spots where caches are hidden often make excellent sites for criminal activities of various sorts. If you stumble across something like this - get the hell out of there, and report it to the cache owner and the police at once. We had a cache here locally where local car thieves decided the area near the cache was a dandy place to dump a stripped vehicle. The odds are against stumbling across something like this - but it could happen.

2. Some types of people stalk others in some parks. Find out what parks have crime problems in your area, and don't cache in them alone or at night. Here recently, a cacher here locally (a friend of mine) was riding his bike around a park to check on a cache. He watched a guy walk out of the woods in the vicinity of one of his cache sites. The guy was wearing pants - no shirt, no shoes. This wasn't normal in that park. He then saw the guy start chasing a woman jogger. Fortunately he called the police as soon as he saw the guy (something just didn't look right) and they got there before anything happened, and arrested the guy. (It helped that the jogger was fast.)

3. For urban caches, know what parts of town have crime problems. Don't cache there alone. In some parts of town, that easy sounding 1/1 park-n-grab might well be a lot more dangerous than walking around the wooded part of a park alone at midnight. (This is true in parts of Dallas, anyway.)

4. Watch for signs that homeless folks are encamped near the cache, and avoid the encampments. Most of these folks are going to be harmless and leave you alone - but some few might be intoxicated or mentally ill.

 

BTW, if you like to cache alone, or at night, ask the cache owner if they think there are any problems with your doing this. They SHOULD be familiar with the area where they've hidden the cache. I know I've gotten emails from cache hiders that told me to avoid doing certain of their caches at night, because they know I like night caching. BTW, the most frequent encounters I have with other people when caching at night are with law enforcement folks of various sorts.

 

I totally agree with the folks who say to bug out the second you see something you don't like. You see a person who looks questionable - leave. There's a 99.9% chance they are completely harmless. Don't bother finding that out - just go. If it looks like you're about to enter a place where you don't feel safe - don't do it. You can always find another cache.

 

Aside from a cell phone, and maybe pepper spray, I think another good piece of safety gear is an emergency whistle. I also think a flashlight is a good precaution too, in case you don't get back to your vehicle before dark for some reason. (They also have some defensive uses - very bright flashlights may dazzle an attacker's vision, giving you an extra moment to flee or do something else. Some very large flashlights can be used as makeshift clubs...) Also, let someone else know when you are going caching, and the area where you are going to go. Waypoint your vehicle and know how to get back to it.

 

Just be prepared I guess. All of this stuff is pretty unlikely, but if it does happen, a little preparation could make a lot of difference.

Edited by Mr.Benchmark
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Wow, fantastic post, Mr. B.! What more can be said?

 

I guess this is an issue that has never seriously crossed my mind, being a rather stout male. We could all fall victim, though. Even with mace or a gun or kung fu mastery, you may not be able to react quickly enough to thwart an attacker.

 

Until now, my only irrational geocaching fear had been stepping into an old bear trap. :)

Edited by subterranean
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Around here, caches often go un-visited for 6 weeks. So move over here, and you'll be safer. I'll loan you a 100 lb. black dog - who will really enjoy the outing, and you should be pretty safe. Then again, as they used to say in the old west, "There are a thousand ways to die." Stuff happens. Yellowjackets happen. My left hand is starting to type pretty well again after 5 days. If you went bowling, the second-hand smoke would kill you, plus you'd need an escort in the parking lot.

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So what's to stop a dangerous person from logging on to Geocaching.com, observing where the most popular waypoints are (but not too well trafficked), downloading the coordinates, and lying in wait for someone to arrive in a quiet spot away from the crowds to look for that geocache?

 

Nothing, but I think the guy might get bored after a day or two and leave. If someone is out to do harm to others there are a lot more efficent ways than to lie in wait for what could be several days for someone to happen by to find a cache.

 

Of course anything is possible, but I'd be more worried about someone running a red light and t-boning my car on the way the cache. That is far, far more likely to happen.

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Nothing, but I think the guy might get bored after a day or two and leave. If someone is out to do harm to others there are a lot more efficent ways than to lie in wait for what could be several days for someone to happen by to find a cache.

 

My paranoid delusion along these lines runs like this: You have some crazy, but technically proficient Ted Kaczynski type guy who decides he hates geocaching. (Who knows why - he's crazy, remember?) He watches for a new cache, finds it, and replaces the cache with one containing a small explosive charge. Maybe it doesn't kill you - maybe you just lose some fingers. Still, it would be pretty horrible, and if the guy is smart, potentially pretty hard to trace. This would be a lot more efficient use of a crazy person's time than lying in wait by a cache. Some crazy people are quite patient, by the way.

 

Or you could get hit by a meteor! Really, if something like the above happens to you, then my conclusion is that your number was just up. There's no sense in worrying about it - it's totally beyond your control and there's no way to prepare for it.

 

Of course anything is possible, but I'd be more worried about someone running a red light and t-boning my car on the way the cache. That is far, far more likely to happen.

 

While I completely agree with this reasoning, I do think it's worth pointing out that many people incorrectly rely on statistical reasoning like this to assume they are safe. It goes like this: It is *extremely* unlikely that a person will ever be hit by lightning. So therefore, it's perfectly safe to walk around outdoors in the middle of a really bad thunder storm. The fallacy is that not all locations and situations are AVERAGE. Some places you are 10x more likely to be the victim of a crime, other places 100x less likely.

 

But this doesn't really have anything to do with geocaching - you can get in trouble going to the grocery store. There's no point in being paranoid about it - it's a fact of life. Know your area and take a few simple precautions - what more can you do?

 

I'll say it again - the most probably outcome of an encounter with another person during a walk outdoors geocaching is that you'll meet another outdoor enthusiast and have a nice conversation. I can't even begin to tell you how many times this has happened to me! (Not just geocachers - hikers, cyclists, park rangers, police officers, security guards, all kinds of nice people.)

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THe safety thing is a big issue with me. There are numerous caches hidden along a nice new walkway on our local river that are just perfect for lunch time finds, however, as a woman, I won't go by myself. Just too many weirdos out there for me to feel comfortable. :)

If there's a local forum for geocachers in your area, just post a message saying you are looking for a friend to do some lunchtime caching. I suspect you'll have little difficulty finding someone to cache with. This is definitely true in Dallas, anyway. Caching with a friend is a great deal of fun. I've met quite a few cachers, and they have all been exceedingly nice people.

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I've thought about this off and on, but what's always stopped me is imagining what could go wrong. Suppose someone like the park weirdo I mentioned before approaches you. (He's half naked, and he looks crazy.) You pull out your firearm, and tell them to stay the hell away. He's crazy, so he doesn't listen, and keeps coming towards you. You shoot him, he dies. So when the police arrive, you are standing there with a firearm, and a dead, half-naked guy. He probably doesn't look crazy any more - just dead. Now if the guy has a record of violent crime, or is carrying a weapon, your story is pretty believable and you probably get no-billed by the grand jury. (At least here in Texas where there's still an acknowledgement of the right to self-defense.) But what if the guy doesn't have a record and had no weapon? You are likely to be in a LOT of trouble. Maybe you get out of it, maybe you don't. In addition, if the guy has any surviving relatives, they are liable to sue.

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TAURUS_31046.jpg

I've thought about this off and on, but what's always stopped me is imagining what could go wrong. Suppose someone like the park weirdo I mentioned before approaches you. (He's half naked, and he looks crazy.) You pull out your firearm, and tell them to stay the hell away. He's crazy, so he doesn't listen, and keeps coming towards you. You shoot him, he dies. So when the police arrive, you are standing there with a firearm, and a dead, half-naked guy. He probably doesn't look crazy any more - just dead. Now if the guy has a record of violent crime, or is carrying a weapon, your story is pretty believable and you probably get no-billed by the grand jury. (At least here in Texas where there's still an acknowledgement of the right to self-defense.) But what if the guy doesn't have a record and had no weapon? You are likely to be in a LOT of trouble. Maybe you get out of it, maybe you don't. In addition, if the guy has any surviving relatives, they are liable to sue.

An old redneck saying...

 

"It's better to judged by 12 than be carried by 6."

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I've thought about this off and on, but what's always stopped me is imagining what could go wrong. Suppose someone like the park weirdo I mentioned before approaches you. (He's half naked, and he looks crazy.) You pull out your firearm, and tell them to stay the hell away. He's crazy, so he doesn't listen, and keeps coming towards you. You shoot him, he dies. So when the police arrive, you are standing there with a firearm, and a dead, half-naked guy. He probably doesn't look crazy any more - just dead. Now if the guy has a record of violent crime, or is carrying a weapon, your story is pretty believable and you probably get no-billed by the grand jury. (At least here in Texas where there's still an acknowledgement of the right to self-defense.) But what if the guy doesn't have a record and had no weapon? You are likely to be in a LOT of trouble. Maybe you get out of it, maybe you don't. In addition, if the guy has any surviving relatives, they are liable to sue.

I still reserve "run away" as option one.

 

The .38 is a last resort option.

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As another female cacher who on occassion has done cahces by herself, I don't like doing them alone for the fact it's more fun with others. But when I do go alone, I take into account my surrondings very well. If something seems funny, I don't go. I also take the short easy ones when I am alone. I have my cell phone on me and a small pocket knife (although not sure what good that will do me, lol). There is one cache in my area which I woudl like to do but a female was sexually assulted there a short time ago and the guy has not been caught, so my guard has been up and I will not go to that one by myself! It is also along a riding trail I used to ride on when my kids were in school. Not anymore :)

 

I say don't go alone, but if you do, just be very aware of what's going on and listen to what your guts tells you!

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I still reserve "run away" as option one.

 

The .38 is a last resort option.

I think that's smart. I agree 100%. I've met a few firearm owners that get those priorities backwards. Not the majority, just a few, but those folks worry me. Nothing makes me jumpier than a person with a hot temper and a pistol.

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I would trust my dog's chances with the weirdo before my limited ability with a firearm. For that matter, I trust his nose and judgement more than my own--LOL.

 

Case in point: I was going after a cache, several months ago. To my knowledge, this area is not really known for any shady activity, but I nearly always have Taz with me on night hunts. As we stepped from the manicured area of the park into the tree cover, I was checking our distance and bearing, in case we lost coverage under the trees. A few feet in, Taz stopped and growled. I looked at him with a What-the-heck kind of expression :) and then realized there was homeless guy sleeping in the bushes, about 10 feet ahead of us. We left a few dollars by his mattress, backed out quietly and went on to the next cache. I'm pretty sure this would have been a harmless encounter, even if the guy woke up, but you just never can tell.

 

My point is that I probably would not have seen the guy until I was right on top of him, without the dog. Also, Taz is a very friendly dog, but he seems to have a sense about people who are "out of place" or acting suspicious.

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One of the most important things to carry with ANY Self-Defense solution is the one thing that is almost NEVER mentioned. TRAINING.

 

Proper Self Defense training with a firearm would have answered your question about the shoot/no-shoot situation. I think the biggest surprise I see in my Basic Marksmanship courses is the singular surprise at just little firing a gun really resembles what you see on TV. The fact that it is very hard to hit a target at even 50 ft when you have never done it before shocks many. The fact that BIG guns are actually easier to shoot with then little ones leaves just as many confused...

 

Even things like Pepper Spray need training. Fox Labs has a wonderful 'inert' spray that uses the same base as the real stuff, but leaves out the 'hot' oils. Great to practice with. And how many times do you see people use pepper spray at arm's length? The proper use is to hold it close and use your free arm to defend yourself.

 

I get asked by neighbors all the time about self-defense and home defense. Most are pretty shocked when I'll go on for an hour or more and never mention the word gun. Simply put, a gun is not your first line of defense, it is your last.

 

Awareness is the real key. So many people walk around this world with their head in a daze. Even something as simple as walking with confidence with your head up, eyes scanning, and looking everyone you meet in the eye will instantly show that you are not a good victim.

 

Start playing games. As you go through your day, look for all the potential ambush points and ad figure out for yourself what is the way to avoid them. At first, the act of being activly searching as you go about will feel fatiguing, but eventually will become second nature.

 

I don't like things like whistles or sirens. First, society has become numb to the sound like we do with car alarms. Second, in many places nobody will help you. and finally, if you annoy your attacker, they might not just take your money now, but beat you senseless to shut you up.

 

A good book on the subject is "The Truth About Self-Protection" by Massad Ayoob. If nothing else, read it. It is a very interesting view of the whole issue of crime and crime avoidance by a Nationally respected expert and police captain.

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Certainly possibly something to be concerned about.

 

Consider what your capable of. Be aware of your surroundings. Trust gut instinct.

 

Dont get paranoid about all the potential threats.. I think the most hazardous threat is "driving" to a cache. Yet we all drive everyday and dont give that a thought. sooo Have fun, enjoy the sport.

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I did my first 99 solo, and I didn't worry too much about it until my dad figured out that geocaching was an international conspiracy of crazed psychopaths lying in wait to murder his daughter. Then I remembered, "oh, wait -- my dad's a nut!"

 

Seriously, what everyone else said. Be alert, trust your instincts, don't do the ones you don't like the look of, understand that your odds of smashing yourself up in a road accident on the way to the cache site are, like, a gazillion times higher than meeting Ted Bundy lurking around GCH59X. In fact, your odds of running into Ted crawling through your bedroom window are higher than finding him at the cache site.

 

The only thoughts that really worry me are chance encounters with imbalanced people living rough in remote places, or hard knots of teenagers of the angry-and-egging-each-other-on kind.

 

I'd carry if I could get a permit, but they're hard to come by around here. Eh. On the whole, I've become less worried the more I go out.

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Training is nice.  Too bad they don't have flouresent signs for me to read on my way to work so I'd know where to go to get it.  Sometimes this isn't the easiest thing to find when you are not plugged in to the right network.

 

Isn't that hard. You can contact the NRA for basic classes. Dispite what you might think about the political side of that organization, the training side has been around since 1871 and is so well respected, even in the ultra-liberal state of Massachusetts, all the NRA courses are certified for the mandatory training needed to get a firearm license here.

 

Another great place to start is AWARE. This organization was set up by women to help other women (and men) learn how to "not be a victim". It is run by Lyn Bates who was assaulted and vowed "never again". Call them for references in your neck of the woods.

 

Another good starting place is your local high school 'adult' programs. I used to teach a self-defense for women class at the local voc-tech. It was a mix of easy Kung-Fu/Judo techniques to break free of a 'hold' along with tons of situational awareness training.

 

Even something as simple as a Kubaton/persuader keychain is an amazing tool. So much so that several of my former students had them confiscated at airports after 9/11.

 

One of the reasons you do not see advertising is that most media companies won't allow it. Clear Channel, the largest billboard owner, flatly refuses to sell ad space to any pro-gun group. And since the ultimate best defense is a firearm in trained hands, that pretty much covers the whole gambit.

 

Heck, even Dukie knows a little about safety and is one of the best 'alarms' there is. And I'll tell ya, on the cold winter nights, that little 102 degree ball of fur curled into the small of your back is a hell of a lot more cozy than some electronic device on the wall. (:))

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well here is my take on this if you go out to remote locations but the worst thing that can happend is you give yourself a injury that's why you need to tell someone where you are going and about what time you are planing on being back

2.carry a whistle it will help alert hikers,search partys and any one else that goes out but you would need to blow it in threes that way they know you need help and a kid playing with a whistle :) .

besides getting injured the only thing that I can see is you get the cred scared out of yourself :D .

unless the is some highly organized crime out the using the area for the hide out B) or some one stalked you out there to kill you but then again he could break in to your house and kill you there :D

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One of the most important things to carry with ANY Self-Defense solution is the one thing that is almost NEVER mentioned. TRAINING.

 

Proper Self Defense training with a firearm would have answered your question about the shoot/no-shoot situation.

Excellent points and a great post. Thanks. I'm looking up local self-defense instruction now... I'll probably never, ever need to use it, but I'm out frequently at night caching in an urban area - it's stupid not to take some basic precautions.

 

I'll keep my options open on a firearm, though. They can save your life - but incorrectly applied they have a lot of potential to make a bad situation a whole lot worse. I remain unconvinced that I need one.

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In August, we went after a cache in a park in the middle of the Bow River in downtown Calgary, Alberta and found a (presumably) homeless guy in a sleeping bag right at the coordinates. We did not awaken him, left the area rather expeditiously. and accepted the DNF. A couple of other cachers also found the encampment, and the cache was soon archived.

 

So, yes, there are caching experiences that can be uncomfortable.

 

The fact that the fellow was homeless did not necessarily make him dangerous, but why take chances?

 

If I do not like the direction my GPSr is leading me, I won't do the cache. There are plenty

of others. I know there are some out there who will disagree, but geocaching is only a game.

 

And remember the general rule that it is best to not hike alone. If you are not comfortable with a group of two, round up some pals; they do not have to be geocachers to enjoy the quest.

 

.

Edited by The Old Bet Brigade
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I was interested to see that the cache that you've found is one that I found too. If you look like you know what you're doing and watch your surroundings, parks like that won't be any trouble at all. Also, there's some caches in the area that we aren't going to do. For a local example, the caches in the old Split Rock quarry. There's probably nothing wrong with them, but we still aren't going there. It's the "trust-your-instinct" thing that's already come up a lot in this topic.

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Sure, you could carry one of those around, or you could carry one of these around:

 

 

Trust me, the only thing carrying a gun will do is make you feel safer.

No, being uniquely trained and qualified to carry concealed and discharge aboard an aircraft in flight, I don't just feel better protected, I am better protected.

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There are more things to be aware of than 2 legged predators. Yesterday I was caching on the Continental Divide in Montana when it occurred to me that I had not come prepared for a bear encounter. Nothing happened and it was a great hike, but a little more planning before I try something like this in the future could prevent a very bad experience.

 

:P

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I see a common theme in this thread and it is something I whole heartedly agree with. A little twist to this theme is:

 

Your mind is the most dangerous and effective weapon you can possibly own. Train it and you will likely not ever be a victim. Gadgets can never fully replace knowledge.

Exactly. This means 'Get Smart'. A weapon may not be an option, so you better have something else in reserve.

 

I spend a lot of time in some rough areas in Chicago, using a gun is not my first response.

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I always take the Trusty Mr. D.W. along with me (see avatar pic). It's pretty heavy duty. Plus, the ole' elf face carving might just scare the attacker away. I kind of look like a Gandolf or something. I just may have strange powers....who knows?

 

If I get attacked, I'll wack 'em real good with this sucker, hopefully stun him, and then run like *@%*!!!

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Hmm, lots of good tips in this forum.

 

Couple of comments.

 

1. The comment above about "carrying a gun might make the situation worse" -- interesting, when I read that sentence, I had a completely different scenario pop into my mind (than the proposed above, of being charged for firing at someone you thought was suspicious). In my mind, I could see being confronted by a baddie, pulling out the gun in self-defense, and then the baddie managing to overpower me. Now, my gun is pointing at ME. Not cool.

 

Now, I dunno, having never even SEEN a real handgun in my life, maybe that's an unlikely situation. Maybe I ought to carry my bow and arrows with me (I'll change my name to LegolasCacher maybe?) I'm a pretty good shot with those.

 

2. Take kali (stick fighting)! Fun, good exercise, lots of mental and physical coordination going on, and all you need is a stick-like object (umbrella, cane, walking stick, or just pick something up off the ground...)

 

3. I have a friend who's pretty much paranoid, you can almost see in his eyes how he's always calculating ambush points and escape routes. Along his daily walk to/from school he has pointed out to me where several large sticks are hidden, just in case ("there's one in that bush right there...") The guy sleeps with a small replica sword. (Apparently his sister made the mistake of giving him a surprise wake-up call, exactly once, and has steered clear since...) I sometimes play a game in which I will try to sneak up behind him and grab him by surprise, and I have almost NEVER managed to do so. He hears me coming, sees a shadow, sees a subtle change in the light, feels a presence, whatever.. but he's always prepared.

 

I want to learn to be more like that.

 

4. My mother advises me to wear work gloves and prod things with sticks, especially while on the hunt. Not a bad idea, not so much to ward off "bad stuff" but to keep clean and away from poison ivy, snakes, spiders, etc.

 

5. The other day I found a "pipe" cache (cache container was a piece of 4" PVC pipe about 2 feet long). It briefly occurred to me what a mess it would be if I were to open the cache and trigger an explosive device. (Which led quickly to thoughts of "Hmm, what kind of practical jokes could I devise using the same sort of trigger?")

 

6. I would be less concerned with stalkers and the like and more concerned with more practical dangers and annoyances like poison ivy, wild animals or things like what to do when you find the cache and discover some jacka** has pooped all over it. (Never come across that myself, but a quick read of the forums and you discover that has happened...)

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In my mind, I could see being confronted by a baddie, pulling out the gun in self-defense, and then the baddie managing to overpower me. Now, my gun is pointing at ME. Not cool.

 

That is also a possible outcome, especially for people who are not trained with firearms, or so I've been told by my gun totin' friends.

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flopka, i am a younger woman who sometimes caches alone. i know exactly what you're talking about. i hope i don't offend any of the men who've responded, but i don't know if some of them can quite put themselves in the shoes of a 5'3 woman walking by herself in a remote area of a preserve. yes, auto accidents are far more likely. yes, people would be highly unlikely to use the geocaching website to find locations where some women may show up alone looking for caches. i think some caches are probably in areas, though that some surreptitious people would be more likely to lurk.

 

but using your instinct is always key. i can tell you that there have been a couple times where men walking in the woods or even on paths have really creeped me out simply because there was really no one else around and you just never know. i have done a cache in a location that is only 1.3 miles away from my house in a nature preserve where a woman was sexually assaulted several years ago. i have done a cache in a location that is in another preserve a mile away where a body was dumped within the past year. i don't live in a high crime area, but i do go to locations where things like that are possible.

squirrels moving suddenly in the woods tend to scare the bejesus out of me. i take care to be very alert when i am caching alone, but i know that i am pretty vulnerable. i've taken a judo class, but to be honest, i'm sure i would be pretty easy to overpower. i have taken a riflery class, but i don't feel comfortable carrying a hand gun, so it would be more dangerous to me to carry one. and as the sunset here in michigan comes earlier and earlier, i find that i really shouldn't be doing those after work caches by myself because it's getting dark too early (plus i'm slow at finding the caches and that doesn't help :P ).

 

i have a team of caching buddies, so i am lucky. the team with which i cache got me started on this game and it's nice to be able to call them up and ask if they would be willing to do a cache with me. in fact, one of those two caches that i mentioned above we ended up doing together because there are some places where even the two of them together felt a bit creeped out. it's valid to feel nervous. it's good to be aware that you are feeling nervous. and it's best, of course, to try to find some other cachers that you can go with. strength in numbers, right? and going in the middle of the day is probably safer than going very early or late in the day, as twilight hits.

 

i will probably look for some mace type stuff to hang on my backpack strap so i have something available at the ready. but i will also try not to put myself in questionable situations. it's hard because i wish i could be caching all the time!

 

all in all, it's important to remember that this is a game. when you don't feel safe at a particular cache location or approaching one, turn around. it's not fun if you're scared to be caching, and that's what this is about. if the cache isn't fun, stop doing it. come back to it later and preferrably with another person/people/adult.

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Trust me, the only thing carrying a gun will do is make you feel safer.

No, being uniquely trained and qualified to carry concealed and discharge aboard an aircraft in flight, I don't just feel better protected, I am better protected.

It is exactly this type of inflated confidence that makes a person carrying a gun actually less safe. You'd be more likely to avoid dangerous situations altogether, less likely to stand up to a dangerous confrontation, and more likely to make it home safely, without the gun. I know you'll disagree, but let's hope I'm never proven right.

Edited by subterranean
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Trust me, the only thing carrying a gun will do is make you feel safer.

No, being uniquely trained and qualified to carry concealed and discharge aboard an aircraft in flight, I don't just feel better protected, I am better protected.

It is exactly this type of inflated confidence that makes a person carrying a gun actually less safe. You'd be more likely to avoid dangerous situations altogether, less likely to stand up to a dangerous confrontation, and more likely to make it home safely without the gun. I know you'll disagree, but let's hope I'm never proven right.

this is not inflated confidence, this is a person who is qualified to carry a gun on an airplane. i would go with criminal anywhere under those conditions. obviously a man who has had the proper training. 5'0" woman here who has been shooting handguns since she was 12 years old. i legally carry everywhere i go. just because a person is unarmed doesn't mean they can't kill you. i would be fully justified in shooting a 6'6" 240 lb. man who is unarmed if he is running at me with hands raised to grab me. size matters in a situation like that.

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You'd be more likely to avoid dangerous situations altogether, less likely to stand up to a dangerous confrontation, and more likely to make it home safely, without the gun.

The man already said option #1 for him is "Run away." I say we take him at his word on it. What you say is likely true for some fool who walks around with a pistol with no training. People like that often reverse the priority, and think that "Stand and fight" is a better choice in all cases than "avoid and run away." Since Criminal has professional experience, paid for by my favorite uncle, Uncle Sam, I think we can trust that he knows what he's doing. Criminal is probably CORRECT to be confident - I wonder how many people he'll come across who might try to rob him will have had as much training in fighting as he has? Why, I bet the answer is "none." Don'tcha think training might make a difference here?

 

Avoiding a confrontation is always the best idea! If you get into a confrontation, trying to use a firearm when you have no real idea what you are doing might very well make it worse. But it might not, and the fact of the matter is that once you are IN a confrontation, you can either rely on the good graces of someone who's decided to do you harm, or you can try to do something about it. Whatever you choose to do may not make the situation come out happily for you or anybody else. My only point was that unlike hollywood, carrying a firearm doesn't assure you have a happy ending to the story, and that people who assume that it does are not being realistic. If you have to use a firearm, you are in real trouble. The type and extent of that trouble are going to vary with the circumstances.

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I guess you missed my point.

 

Criminal is human. He has emotions. He makes mistakes.

 

Edit: Just to clarify, I posted in response to uperdooper's post, before reading Mr.Benchmark's post. Another great post, Mr.Benchmark, I certainly have a hard time disagreeing with your logic. (I appreciate your post, too, uper B) ) I just wanted to mention... things got a little out of sequence there.

Edited by subterranean
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