These personal safety issues are not unique to our avocation. People who backpack or rock climb and camp often feel quite uneasy the first night out. They, too, worry about bad people and rogue bears. But if you take reasonable precautions and follow a few basic rules (don’t hang with stupid people, don’t say stupid things, and don’t go to stupid places) you can reduce your chances of encountering problems to an truly acceptable minimum.
But something else needs to be stressed here. Obtaining and carrying a firearm (or even pepper or bear spray) no more makes you competent at self-defense than merely buying and owning a guitar will make you a guitarist. Competent instruction and some careful practice is needed in both instances! Otherwise, you are lulling yourself into a false sense of security. You also need to understand the applicable laws. All of this takes time and effort. Check with a local range, reputable gun shop, or gun club to find the right sort of instruction.
This doesn’t mean you can’t take steps now to protect yourself. Here are some starters: Don't frequent unusual or isolated areas alone. When you go out, have some dependable transportation, a reliable cell phone connection, and a top-rated flashlight. Local sheriff’s offices and wildlife officers will have information about any recent history of trouble (with human or beast) and can advise you on the safety of particular areas. Obtain this information as part of your homework. Such measures should ease your fears.
I write this professionally, after spending some years in high-end security work as an armed, licensed private detective and also as a state-certified concealed firearms instructor. My training and experience taught me that being prepared is far more about knowledge and mindset than about tools.
This is a wonderfully safe and peaceful hobby.
Be safe and enjoy many nights of clear skies!
Edited by Brianm14, 31 July 2021 - 10:00 PM.