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Two legged dangers in National Parks

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by wbwanzer, Dec 21, 2011.

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  1. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Member

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    I'm always surprised when I see on forums that folks talk about two legged predators in national parks (or state parks). I don't doubt that it has ever happened, but just how much of a problem is it? Of course when you're hiking in the woods you are usually in secluded areas where there are usually no houses and sometimes few people. Easy pickings for predators, sure. On the other hand the folks I see hiking in parks usually look like tree hugging nature lovers who are the least predatory.

    Have any of you ever run into problems (with two legged critters) in state or national parks? If you have, tell us your story, if you don't mind.
     
  2. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    Do National Forests count? This story is from 2007:

    "FAIRPLAY, Colo. -- The man accused of strangling a University of Colorado-Denver graduate student appeared in court Monday where he was formally charged with first-degree murder.

    The suspect, who has used the names Dennis Cook, Dennis Lee Cook and Robert R. Amos, is accused of killing a Colorado Geological Survey intern as she was conducting a geological study with her professor in a remote part of the San Isabel National Forest."
     
  3. 7thCavScout

    7thCavScout Member

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    google 'marijuana fields state or national parks' and you'll find out how dangerous getting off the beat and path can be.
     
  4. 2WheelsGood

    2WheelsGood Member

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    The Appalachian Trail alone sees its share of crime.
     
  5. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Member

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    I'm in Maryland and go to the mountains in Virginia every year, so Appalachian Trail is the type of area I'm talking about. Any first hand stories?
     
  6. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    No, National Forests do not count. They are totally different entities than national or state parks.

    Parks are much, much more heavily patroled and monitored. Don't ever fool yourself. A park is a park, I'm not saying it isn't dangerous, but you have a lot bigger chance of running into a Mexican DTO marijuana field in a national forest than in a park of any kind. Also, animals in parks, of course can still be extremely dangerous, but they are a lot more habituated to the presence of people than in National Forests.

    Parks see many, many, many, times the human traffic as do National Forests. But your chance of running into a two legged predator are probably much lower in a park than in the forest.

    Would I carry a gun that can handle 4 legged predators in a park that warranted it? You bet. Would I carry a gun that can handle two legged predators in a park that had no population of dangerous animals? You bet!. I will always be more leary of people than animals. Animals in general are fairly easy to predict. A certain stimulus provokes a certain response. There are general guidlines to follow in dangerous animal territory that will keep you relatively safe. People are not predictable. Only people will ellect to hurt or kill you do to "just in case" situations.

    "Hey, I should kill this guy because he may report the location of a pot farm, or a drug deal."

    With an animal, I'm not saying always, typically when the "threat is past" the attack stops. If the threat is far enough away, retreat is a better option.

    Do you see a lot of two legged predators in parks? No, I don't think so. Am I going to be prepared for one regardless if permitted by law? Yes.
     
  7. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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  8. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Member

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    Well I guess I was really thinking of any park (or forest) where there are trails for hiking and enjoying mountains and woods.
     
  9. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Member

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    I have a first hand story from when a group of us 4-wheel drive enthusiasts took a weekend trip to the Ouachita National Forest. We did this pretty often back in the day, still do occasionally but the moneys tighter, so it's not as frequent. This was on one of our earliest trips, and we had stopped for lunch on top of a mountain on an old logging trail. We had set up the grill, gotten situated, and two rough characters emerged from the woods with a riot gun and a AR, and asked just what exactly did we think we were doing. We carefully explained that we were just fixing lunch, and that they were welcome to join us if they'd like. They declined, took a seat on a log about twenty yards away - just far enough to be able to watch us all easily, but close enough to hear what we had to say. We quickly finished up, loaded back into the trucks and made dust. They melted back into the woods. When we stopped later, a couple of the other guys told us they had noticed a couple of other fellows in the woods just watching.

    Here's the thing, there were 7 or 8 trucks and about 20 of us there, including wives and girlfriends and some kids. I was the only one armed. It gives me a bit of a cold chill to think what might have happened if there were only three or four of us in a couple of trucks. One CCW gun against an AR and a pump shotgun plus two more in the bush isn't exactly good odds. I can't really describe their demeanor in any word except menacing. Flat out. Once they had settled on the log, they tried to be nonchalant, but there is no doubt in any of our minds that they had, or were making plans. To this day, the only reason I'm sure something worse didn't happen is because there were so many of us. We aren't exactly an easily intimidated group, but that little confrontation scared us pretty bad. They certainly weren't going to allow us to stick around, much less wander off the logging trail. After that, we never went back to that particular trail and we stayed well armed.

    Now, this is also a part of the country where during the 1980s the FAA issued warnings to private pilots not to fly below a certain altitude, as there were reports of people on the ground shooting at airplanes, supposedly confusing private pilots for the DEA spotter planes. It was a pretty lawless place apparently, especially if you are an outsider. In the 1990s the DEA cleaned out large chunks of the Marijuana fields in the national forests, supposedly arrested most of the really big growers, but it's tradition there and I can't imagine that made the forests any safer. I also read in a newspaper years ago that that portion of Oklahoma had the highest rate of missing persons reports out of the state.

    We used to not put much faith in what we heard about the dangers in the National Forest, but that little experience certainly made us believers. It's something to think about. In terms of police presence, there is probably less in the big forests and parks than there is in rural areas, much less cities. And when you get off the paved areas, you are pretty much on your own. No cell service, no place to flag down travelers who may help you, ect. You best be prepared.
     
  10. kayak-man

    kayak-man Member

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    I haven't run into any problems yet, and I hope it stays that way.

    That being said, I've heard a few news reports about people killed in the boonies, and the chances of running into a pot-grow, meth-lab, or someone poaching, would be enough to tip the scale in favor of carrying if I didn't already carry everywhere I can.

    Keep in mind, you're not just carrying for when you're in the park: you're also carrying for when you leave and return to your car. Personally, there's no way I'm going to survive climbing a mountain, crossing flooded rivers, or scrambling over seaweed covered rocks racing against the tide, and then after all that, allow myself to fall victim as I'm getting back into my car.

    Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson
     
  11. critter

    critter Member

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    I had a friend who was a forester for a private but very large landowning company. He was once asked if he had ever found any dope plots planted in the woods. His reply was that his best day was ELEVEN plots! Any one of these COULD have become dangerous had the 'guards' in and around been so inclined.
     
  12. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    Think about it from the predator's point-of-view. I have countless opportunities for stalk & ambush. I can do this deed here with minimal risk of any witnesses seeing me, hearing anything or finding my victim. I can leave the scene quickly with the benefit of cover and vanish into thousands of acres, exiting when/where I wish with no pinch-points or video surveillance. These folks are mostly left-wing sheep, some have cute butts & I'm a wolf. Where better?

    You wanted a first person story. Here it is, believe it on not. I was a backpacker/technical climber as a college student (late 70s) and spent a lot of time in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Red River Gorge). I saw these solo adventures as soul-cleansing weekend vacations from the study/social pressures of a Major (HUGE for me) University. I was driving my old VW Bug out a goat-path dirt road, wrapping-up my stay on Sunday afternoon. The sun was getting low & I see a well-equipped hiker ahead on the same path. I stop & offer a ride out. He says sure, throws his gear behind the seat & plops into the passenger side. We do the intro thing as I pay attention to some tight curves at ~20 mph. Less than 2 minutes pass when I glance over to see a large knife pointed near my right eye, "I want all your sh#t & I'll kill you for it".

    Don't want to sound cliche' but...what a SURPRISE! Everything went into slow motion (again cliche') but I realized he wasn't buckled-up. Neither was I, this was a '68 Beetle!. But I knew what was coming & had the steering wheel to brace against. For those who don't know, the '68 VW Bug had a completely vertical, unpadded, solid stamped-steel dashboard.

    I slammed that brake petal for all that little 4-wheel hydraulic, drum brake system was worth, holding myself stoutly off the steering wheel. He flew forward and face-planted HARD just above the glove box. Bouncing back I (happily) watch his face spewing crimson as knife clattered somewhere in floorboard. There's a little elastic-topped vinyl map pocket on the low/front of my door (maybe VW's Deluxe interior?). That's where I kept a Ruger .22 autoloader (Standard Model, 4.?" barrel, fixed sights) when I traveled. This guy, groaning, gathered himself just in time (leaking blood through both hands holding his nose) to turn toward me and see that pistol aimed at him from my left hand. I wanted distance so I popped my door open and went around & opened his. Now I'm miles (and MILES) away from another human being, much less a phone, I'm 19 years old & have a felon at gunpoint. I didn't want to ride out with him. I have NOT been here before.

    I'm not proud of this last part & am thankful the statute of limitations has long-since expired. I told him to take his boots off. He complied & I pitched them in the car. Then his jacket. Then his shirt. Then his belt & jeans. I just kept going...until he had nothing on but socks & underwear. I left that 20 something-year-old almost naked, bloody nosed, on a backwoods goat-path, in a very deep edge of the DBNF, and waved smiling as I drove away. I got; $24 from his wallet, a slightly-used North Face VE-24 tent, a nice Schrade fixed-blade knife (turned-out smaller than I first thought), a Case XX Stockman folder, a Zippo, a Lowe backpack, a cool Swiss Camp Stove, and one of the biggest lessons of my then young life. With the hindsight of 35 years, I hope he made it. I tossed his clothes in the trash (they were bloody) at a restaurant called "EAT" in Slade, Ky. And THAT'S why being armed in the woods is a good idea.
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    That is typically in the National FORESTS, especially in California

    However, most park rangers are now trained more in law enforcement than being park guides, including crime scene investigations. They also carry on their person and in their trucks some potent firepower - there must be a reason for this


    But that also makes them the easiest prey
     
  14. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    If you hike very much in the forests in New Mexico, and probably most other areas of the country, you WILL come up on pot fields. They are everywhere. And they are often guarded by folks who don't care very much about the law. THAT is why I always carry when I'm driving around in the boonies, and when I'm hiking. And I always try to stay at condition yellow, all the time. I think it's very foolish to hike/bike/ride in the backwoods without some kind of SD protection.
     
  15. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Risk levels aside, if you make it a point to carry anywhere you go, you ought to carry in a national/state park/forest too. On the other hand, if you don't usually carry, I'd be somewhat confused why you'd go out of your way to carry in a national/state park/forest.

    Reason is mainly a matter of mindset. I would think that if a person has the mindset that carrying is needed anywhere, he would be of the mindset that carrying is needed everywhere. I'd avoid locations that prohibit CC like the plague.
     
  16. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    I did but couldn't find a single incident of a hiker or other person being attacked by this supposed menace. But it must be a huge danger as the government never lies in it's war on drugs.
     
  17. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    This seems awfully optimistic. Maybe the risk is very insignificant, as you suggest. That doesn't mean the risk is absent entirely. Would you leave a firearm at home just because it's unlikely that you'll run into an illegal farmer? I wouldn't - there's no reason to gamble with your life, even if the odds are heavily in your favor.
     
  18. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    A federal LEO friend of mine forwards the weekly internal report for all the National Forests and National Parks in the nation. There are litteraly hundreds of incidents across the nation every year of violence, assault, rape, murder, robbery, and drug trafficing in these settings every year. I carry a 5 shot .357 to the city with me that I travel to to do my shopping in. When I go to the woods to play on my own time, I carry a semi-auto that holds 15 rounds of .45 acp +p and a spare magazine. Soon, it's going to be an AR pistol.

    The woods are great fun, and a wonderful place to be, but criminals get brave in the woods when they think they have little to no chace of getting caught at commiting a crime.

    Yes I've had a gun pulled on me by someone in the woods.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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  20. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    Ghost Tracker...so you picked up a "felon" and then commited a felony in the process of getting away from the situation...wow
     
  21. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    I
    Lots of folks disappear in "Little Dixie". Couple years ago a real estate friend told me about a married couple who disappeared while looking at rural property. The OK national guard used to mobilize a unit every year to clean out the pot fields along the Red River and other places in "Little Dixie".
     
  22. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I read your post and had to go back and read his. Heck of a way to discourage a guy from robbing people in the future, and that's assuming he survived the woods. It's entirely possible the would-be thief died out there.

    I'm not sure I agree with what Ghost did, but at the same time... bad things happen to people who put a knife to my head after I do them a favor.
     
  23. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

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    When the National Parks were trying to keep guns out, they cited a statistic to support their contention that people didn't need protection; there were only eight rapes in all the National Parks. That is certainly well below the average for anywhere in the US, but it's of little meaning if you were one of the eight.
     
  24. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Its awfully optimistic not to worry about being the victim of a crime that has never happened before? The risk of a lightning strike in clear weather is not abscent but i still leave my house. I would venture that most illegal farmers are not willing to risk a murder conviction to protect a field of pot from discovery. And if there is a cartel guarding it you better have more than a conealable side arm. Now i'm not advocating leaving a gun at home but i see pot fields as NO reason to change carry if i other wise wouldn't.

    Ghostracker, did the guy from your story happen to be carrying a banjo?

    Hikers are not readily targeted by criminals because most people don't hike with valuable belongings. Parked vehicles of hikers are another story. I think women have a little more to worry about but on the whole i see no reason for fear of parkland.
     
  25. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Member

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    I'm the OP. I live in Maryland. Need I say more?
    I do have a Utah non-res permit that allows me to carry when in the NP in Virginia but I'm certainly not used to it. I would carry all the time if I could.
     
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