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Question for other hunters: am I alone in this?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by cracked butt, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. cracked butt

    cracked butt Mentor

    Jan 3, 2003
    SE Wisconsin
    Hunting has pretty much always been a man's world, so I've never been comfortable in broaching this question, but now that we have relative anonimity of the internet, I don't worry about sharing my thoughts quite as much.

    Does anyone else have a fear of the dark, a fear of walking to or from their stand in the dark?

    I started hunting at age 12 and was always afraid of walking alone in the dark to my stand. On the farm where I hunted, I sat at the far corner of the property, at least a 1/2 mile walk through marsh, pines, and oaks. For the most part, I never minded walking through trees, but always had a fear when walkin in the open or on a trail surrounded by trees, marsh, or cornfields. Don't know why, maybe because its really the only few moments where I'm alone during my life and he fact that reduced eyesight negates most of my advantages against threats real or imagined.

    Carrying a rifle gives me a psychological boost, even though its unloaded and would take me time to load it. Carrying a compound bow, makes me feel very vulnerable as they are extremely slow to bring into use, while carrying a stickbow adds to my confidence a bit.

    Are any other hunters in the same boat or am I just a sissy? :eek:
  2. shooterrick1

    shooterrick1 New Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    am I alone

    No,and we're not alone in the woods,field or marsh. I've hunted since I was 12 also. We hunted on a farm we worked during summer in Pa. Knew it and everything on it by heart except at night. After I returned home from service old farmer said he lost a cow up in back pasture and would I go bring it back as it was snow and cold time around here. Took an old carcano rifle he had and went. Found the cow dead and the biggest wild cat feeding on it. Took the shot, cat screamed, gun jammed and I ran......Now I never go in the woods without a big bore double action revolver and have carried one for last 36 years. Rick
  3. c_yeager

    c_yeager Mentor

    Mar 14, 2003
    I don't hunt but I do a lot of camping by myself. Despite being quite well armed I still get a bit spooked from time to time out in the woods. And yeah, its worse in the clearings or near old railroad tracks. It's strange by the reason its scary for me is because you can see just far enough to get alot of shadows but not actually make out anything identifiable. At least in the trees you can make out a lot of the stuff around you.

    That is of course if the night doest feature a new moon or overcast (REAL common condition around here). Then your just sol in general.

    I think this is some sort of genetic memory to remind us that we are NOT nocturnal and shouldnt pretend to be. At night we are ill-suited to the wilderness and fall right off the top of the food chain.
  4. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Participating Member

    Feb 1, 2004
    Boise, ID
    Nope, your not alone.

    I have hunted or been hunting all my life. I grew up in the woods and I still don't like to be alone in the dark. I have never encountered dangerous critters in the woods, but I came close a couple of times. Smelling a bear while walking down a trail in complete darkness will deffinatly peg your "O-crap-O-meter"
  5. Charles S

    Charles S Participating Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    North East Texas
    I think it is normal to be anxious in an unknown environment. I know I was until I started going hunting at night all the time with my Uncle. My Uncle was a Raccoon hunter. Over time I have become quite comfortable in the woods at night.

  6. BenW

    BenW Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    As long as it doesn't keep you from hunting, you don't have a fear of the dark. You're just really really really really alert. :D

    I think it's natural for most humans (unless you're a vampire or something).
  7. bean357

    bean357 Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    The 2004 deer season was probably one of the most uneasy times for me as far as hunting/darkness. This was due to a number of cougar reports and sightings very close to where I hunt-within two miles as the crow flies. Images were also captured on game cameras, one of the cougar stalking a deer. A horse, other livestock and pets were also attacked or killed, allegedly by a cougar. I've been hunting since 11, and now hunt deer with bow, slug gun, and black powder. There was not one time I headed out for morning stand that thoughts of the big cats did not cross my mind! :uhoh:
  8. shermacman

    shermacman Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Yup, yer a sissy. A girlie-man, panty wearing, spaghetti spined, limp wristed, pencil neck geek.

    Afraid of the dark!?!?!? Ha!

    I have never been afraid of the dark...

    Except once, but I am still so spooked that I can't tell the story, and it was so humiliating because of what really happened, that I won't even admit to it...
  9. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Manassas, Va

    I know there's nothing likely to harm me in the forest where I hunt. It still doesn't keep me from having the "heebie jeebies" during that early morning trek to the stand. It was even worse when I sat in ground blinds. The dark was so close in and you were right on the ground with the critters...

  10. boohsdad

    boohsdad New Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    Have been doing it for over 50 years and never gave it a thought.Now will try to put this discussion out of my mind.
  11. smokemaker

    smokemaker Active Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    Western NY...yes, The Peoples Republic of New York
    It bothers me more to walk out at last light than walk in before first light. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because I know in the AM light is coming shortly. You are definitly not alone.
  12. redneck

    redneck Participating Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I haven't done much hunting that required me to be out in the dark, but I know how you feel.
    Around here, its because I KNOW what I might run into, and its not a wild animal. Working for a farm and going to a lot of different fields and properties, some pretty out of the way and deserted, I've found a lot of signs of other people being around where they shouldn't. And generally they've been doing something they shouldn't which shows how much regard they would have for me if I ran into them.
    I've found everything from deer carcasses with antlers removed to extreme acts of vandalism (some really disturbing spray painting inside an old farmhouse for example). Haven't seen it personally, but its pretty common for drug dealers to plant marijuana in farmers fields around here, and they're none to friendly if they find you out there either.

    Don't be paranoid, but be on gaurd. A little fear is a healthy thing.
  13. M67

    M67 Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Shame on y'all!

    Did no one else notice that new friend Rick just made his first post? :D

    Welcome to THR, Rick!

    On topic: No, I don't have a problem with being alone in the forest after dark. There is an increased risk of getting lost (don't ask) and if the terrain is difficult there is a risk of getting hurt, but I don't think that's what you asked. Perhaps being a little more alert at times, but not enough to prevent me from very nearly bumbing into a moose one really dark night. :)
  14. St. Gunner

    St. Gunner Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Devine Texas
    It has never really bothered me, though I do get told I am scared of the dark because I refuse to hog hunt with dogs at night, so some buddies started the rumor I am scared of it.

    Probably the most nervous I get at night is when I go out at night to call predators, we have alot of big cats here and I always wonder how many have come in real close when I was calling. Shoot even having a pack of coyotes can be exciting when they come rollinging into a 50yd wide clearing with you.

    The worst spook was one night I was calling and the next thing I knew javalina where all around me, I happened to be against a tree and found it very nice to be up in it soon after they arrived. :)

    I guess it is normal to be apprehensive at night, but I wouldn't say it is fear, because I keep doing it. Alot of it is the simple fact is man is poorly equipped to survive in a dark enviroment, our eyes are just not up to natures standards.

    Last year I did walk up on about a dozen skunks, that sorta sucked, but I managed to escape getting sprayed.

    We had a hunting accident this year where a kid was mistaked for a hog on an oat patch. So on my way out at last light(I bowhunt and quit before it is dark) I attach a LED flashlight to be belt that flashes. That is perhaps my biggest being shot on my way out by a neighbor. The light makes it a much kinder walk out of the woods...
  15. Greybeard

    Greybeard Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Denton County Texas
    Yep, it can be a little spooky out there sometimes, especially calling for coyotes. Ya never know when a cat of one flavor or another is gonna show up - or from where.

    Additional comfort found here in extra flashlight batteries - and a Crimson Trace laser grip on .357.
  16. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Participating Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    Small-sky country, again
    I actually started going in the woods in darkness more as part of duck hunting. It's hard to be afraid when that 9 month old Lab is doing everything her power to tell you HURRY UP STUPID!!!

    Ever since that Lab I've been in too much of a hurry to worry about boogers.
  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Elder

    Jan 1, 2003
    DFW Area
    I've gotten the heebie jeebies walking out to a stand. No moon and I didn't have a flashlight on me. Seemed like my footsteps crunching on the trail were extremely loud. Since I couldnt see much, I was trying to use my hearing to make up for it, but I couldn't hear squat while I was walking.

    It wasn't enough to keep me from doing it again, but it wasn't the most pleasant feeling.
  18. H&Hhunter
    • Contributing Member

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    Jan 28, 2003
    I've slept out in the deepest Alaskan bush, naked (stop it, not that.. :evil: ) with a pork chop strapped to my head just daring a grizz to have a go..And never lost a second of sleep.. ;)

    Hey man if you don't get the hebie jeebies from time to time while out in the dark you need to build some survival instinct.

    But in all seriousness it's good to have a little fear. But a man has to know how to control and direct it to his advantage. I mean the worst thing that could happen to you is having a hind leg ripped smooth off and then be eaten alive. I can think of worse things. Like having to repeat 7th grade. :uhoh:

    Use that nervous energy direct it focus it and don't let it control you. you control it.

    I can think of a couple of nights out in the bush when I awoke with ice water in my viens and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I take that as clue and never just blow it off. We have ancient instinctual senses that we don't even know about but they are there for a reason. Don't ingnore them.
  19. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Never hunted with Q beams from the bed of a P/U truck have you?

    What Darkness?

    Oops...I read about that somewhere - honest. ;)


    Normal for humans to get concerned about dark and / or strange surroundings.

  20. gunner03

    gunner03 New Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    n metro mpls. mn
    Nothing there at night that isn't there during the day,and yes I do get jumpy in the dark.I once had a small pack of wolves follow me just off the trail after dark.They stayed just out of flashlight range and all I had was my old bolt action .410. The faster I walked the less I could hear,so I had to go a bit slower than I would have liked.Only lasted about 1/4 mile but will stick in my memorys forever.

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