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country lawyer Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 08:58:13 AM
This hiker-murderer in our neck of the woods has given me the creeps.

You women who love the outdoors and solitude....tell me how you protect yourself out there? Or, do you even feel the need to?

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tribalcime Posted - Jan 21 2008 : 5:15:45 PM
There use to be this old lady who hiked all the time at church. She carried a golf club. She used it for a walking stick and said it would make a mean weapon if she had to use it .

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Woodswoman Posted - Jan 21 2008 : 4:32:33 PM
I also use many of the ideas mentioned:

I carry bear spray and a cell phone with me.

I have a large dog, but she is so darn friendly to everyone I'm not sure anyone would find her intimidating.

And, while I do like hiking alone sometimes, if I am going to be someplace I am not familiar with, or I am feeling at all uncomfortable about, I try to have a hiking buddy with me.


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"Nature brings to every time and season some beauties of its own".
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Amie C. Posted - Jan 18 2008 : 12:56:27 PM
This is an issue that's been troubling me for years, and I haven't really come up with a solution I feel good about. I like to go for short hikes alone in the county parks surrounding my city, so my worries are more to do with other people than with injury or wild animals. I have never heard of a hiker being abducted, raped, or killed in our local parks, but you never know when a crazy person is going to come along.

I don't own a cell phone or a dog. Neither would fit my lifestyle at this time. I tell my husband my plans before I leave the house, but the police attitude seems to be that a missing adult is not worth their notice until several days have passed. So I'm not sure how much good that would do.

I do think that attitude and posture can help. On the few occasions when I've met other hikers in the woods, I make it a point to keep several feet between us if they want to chat about the trail or ask for directions. I don't turn my back on them either.

I can't really see that a gun would be useful. If someone threatens you with a gun, it's already too late to pull yours out. I have carried pepper spray in the past, but I worry that it would blow back into my own face if I ever had to discharge it (after all, it's only useful at pretty close range).

I go back and forth about the safety issues, but I don't want to give up my solitary hikes. I suppose it would be safer to join some kind of hiking group, but being alone in the woods is what I really want.
Alee Posted - Jan 18 2008 : 11:31:54 AM
Yikes! I hadn't heard about that story, Mom!! That is really scarey!

Let's brainstorm some ways to make our woods safer and our hikes safer:

I will always:
Tell multiple people where I am going, when I am going to be back, and what route I plan on taking

Have a cell phone (charged) and with me.

Only carry protection that I feel safe with, be that a gun, knife, or bear spray. Remember a weapon that gets taken from you can be used against you

Will always have a protective dog with me.

And remember wild animals can be as dangerous as human animals if in the wrong situation at the wrong time.

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jenbove Posted - Jan 18 2008 : 11:19:48 AM
I agree, Pam. I don't know about you other moms out there, but having kids in tow has really heightened my sense of vulnerability. Before motherhood, I was hardly ever intimidated by striking out in to the wild, but now I fret about my little ones. It's tough to overcome sometimes, but the outdoors is critical to my sanity, and I know it's also vital for my kids' health, so I try to get out as much as possible in familiar environments where I know the terrain & feel pretty secure. Luckily, we have lots of private land around us & friendly neighbors. Not a guarantee of safety, but it helps.



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Sage Posted - Jan 18 2008 : 11:07:45 AM
The recent story in the news about the attack and murder of a women hiker should put us all on guard. She had a dog, a lab, with her but was still attacked and killed. We shouldn't be so frightened that we can't go anywhere but we can be smart about when and what we do so we aren't so vunerable.
PlumCreekMama Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 11:25:36 AM
Another good tip is to make sure someone knows where and when you are going and when you expect to be back. Tell them you will call them when you get back, so if they don't get your call, they know something is up. It's not just bad people out there you have to worry about, you could get injured or something, too.
jenbove Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 10:53:17 AM
My dogs give me a sense of security, too - especially our big boxer/shepherd mix. He looks pretty intimidating & is starting to act very protective toward me & the kids. My hub & I have discussed buying a pistol for years (we have a rifle & shotgun, but they're such a pain to carry for safety purposes). We haven't gotten the pistol because it scares us to have such a small gun that our little ones might somehow get their hands on & be able to shoot. We're conscientious gun owners, but still...
I tend to have a knife with me most of the time - who knows if it would do me much good, but I feel better having it.
I've heard women who live in rough areas of big cities say that our best defense is attitude. Walk with confidence & muster a tough demeanor around creepy peeps. Can't hurt!


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Alee Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 10:33:42 AM
When I go hiking I have a cell phone and I ALWAYS have my dog. She is super protective especially around strange men and in new environments. Most stalker/creepy guys won't go near women with dogs.

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country lawyer Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 10:14:16 AM
Hey Tasha! You know, there was an article in the paper about female hikers "packing heat."
I just never thought about it before. I have always thought of hiking trails and camps as peaceful enviroments filled with peace-loving people.
I'm curious if anyone carries a trakker?
GaiasRose Posted - Jan 15 2008 : 09:20:11 AM
we have weapons handy. It was a relief to know that we do, too, last week when a nearby empty rental was being used as a drug house. They got the guys, but it's still a little scary when things like that come into your environment! Be safe girlie!!

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