PDA

View Full Version : Stranger walks up in your camp


Doug.38PR
August 31, 2006, 10:38 AM
Say you are sitting in your camp with two friends one night out in the wilderness of say Colorado or Wyoming or maybe even East Texas. You have have a revolver on your hip for personal defense (primarily charging animals but....considering where I am going with this thread) and are sitting there drinking hot cocoa laughing over this or that when some stranger walks up into your camp. He has a rifle of some kind and a thick winter coat on. What do you do? What do you look for? How do react?

NOTE: some places (like national parks) don't allow you to carry handguns...some people do it anyway out of common sense . Consider both circumstances, handgun on hip or not (do you keep your Remington 700 close by? Subtly load one in the chamber?)

Both your party and the stranger are isolated from the rest of the world miles from civilization.

I remember about a year ago that oriental man (think he was from Vietnam or Cambodia. Somewhere in Southeast Asia) gunned down that hunting party in Wisconsin. Then there is the fictional movie Deliverance in which two inbred white trash goons hold up two campers with a shotgun and rape one of them (a scene in which my dad declared "This is why you should ALWAYS carry a pistol when you go camping. You don't know what weirdo is going to walk up in your camp.")

CDH
August 31, 2006, 10:42 AM
He has a rifle of some kind and a thick winter coat on.

I'm guessing he might be a hunter, possibly lost and cold.

How about: Invite him to join you and give him some hot cocoa? You'll know what he's all about by the time he utters his first sentence.

Carter

Glenn E. Meyer
August 31, 2006, 10:46 AM
Suggest he submit to a cavity search. But that wouldn't be the high road.

Be alert. Talk to him politely and see what's up. I take it he isn't walking out of the dark with the gun pointed at you. Then, break out the bacon grease, young man. :eek:

If he is an area where he has the same right to be as you - it is polite of him to walk up to the camp rather than just shooting you from the dark and then having his way with your corpse.

The Asian man incident was much more complicated and was precipitated an argument over hunting.

stephen426
August 31, 2006, 10:52 AM
I guess that is why you should not go camping alone. There is strength in numbers. I agree that everyone should have a sidearm for self defense, but I would watch how the stranger approaches your camp. He should call out from a distance to announce his presence and put you guys at ease that he is not trying to sneak up on you. Does he merely have his rifle slung over his shoulder or is he carrying it in his hands? How does the guy look? Is he dressed for hunting or does he look like some psycho? Does the weather dictate that he should wear a heavy coat?

I would greet him right away with something friendly and watch his reaction. Just because you are in a secluded place and someone stumbles across your path (public property I assume), you do not have the right to draw down on him and ask them 20 question just because he is armed. How would you feel if someone drew down on you just because you are carrying? Would you simply put your hands up in the air and say you you have no bad intentions or would you draw and demand they surrender? Its far more likely to end in a gun fight that way when neither party had any bad intentions in the first place.

One other thing to consider is bringing along an old trusty 4 legged friend when you go camping. His or her eyes, ears, and nose are far superior to yours and he or she will alert you to 2 legged and 4 legged visitors. Worst comes to worst, you can feed him to hungry predators and run! :eek: :D :p

Dan M.
August 31, 2006, 11:23 AM
As the rest of my party interacts with the stranger, I would (or hope one of my buddies would) step away from the fire and find a shadow to stand in to listen and watch from for a bit. Mr. Stranger could be part of a party of his own and is there to size up your group for less-than-friendly reasons. It would've been polite and proper of him to hail the camp before walking in with a rifle. My group should've heard his feet crunching on the ground unless he deliberately trying to sneak up on us.

isa268
August 31, 2006, 11:58 AM
my guess? he has a rifle if he wanted to kill you you'd already be dead.

so strike up a conversation, and if really is no threat, give him some hot cocoa, and talk guns.

springmom
August 31, 2006, 12:24 PM
Isa has it right. Flip it around...if you were lost in the woods and saw a campfire, would you rather walk up and be welcomed or walk up and be on the business end of a 30-06?

If he meant ill, you'd have already been dead.

Springmom

Capt Charlie
August 31, 2006, 12:29 PM
Ditto the hot cocoa. I've had this happen several times over the years, and I've found there's a big difference between the folks you bump into close to civilization and those you encounter in the back country.

Those that take the trouble to go back country are there to hunt, fish, or enjoy nature's majesty, and you have that in common with them. I suppose you could run into a pot grower or "Deliverance" style red-neck, but I think that's really rare.

Years ago in that country, it was tradition to offer the warmth of the fire to strangers. I really hope it still is.

Alert, but relaxed and friendly is my rule of thumb.

Glenn E. Meyer
August 31, 2006, 12:33 PM
I forgot to say, before you went into the woods - did you stop at a weird small town where an alien looking boy played the banjo really well? If that were the case, I would not camp in the neighborhood or wear the new 5.11 chastity protector pants with lockable Kevlar crotch.

What to do if Bigfoot walks into your camp and gives you a bouquet of roses and sighs? Bigfoot like cocoa and friends. :D

Friendly alertness is cool. BTW, if you go camping, does someone stand watch all night and wait for the Wendingo? That's what I'm afraid of.

Samurai
August 31, 2006, 12:41 PM
You could always just gun him down in cold blood and flee to Singapore!

What do you think you should do!?!? Say hello! Ask if he's enjoying this cold. Ask if he's had any luck hunting. Talk to the guy!!! If he wanted to go all "Benicio del Torro" on you, he'd have done it before you ever saw him.

Paranoia and guns don't mix. When you start thinking the WHOLE world is out to get you, that's when unsafe/rude behavior starts to manifest. Just be polite. He's armed, and so are you. Don't worry about it!

Edward429451
August 31, 2006, 12:48 PM
We've had that happen a few times while camping. We doled out some coffee to some hikers and all was well.

One time a carload of guys drove up the 4WD road and stopped. A bunch of guys got out and we stood up and asked what they wanted and they didn't say anything...My buddy got his MN in hand and I picked up my mini-14 and chambered a round ans asked again what they wanted. They answered this time and said they was looking for their friends campsite and that they'd look up the road further. They all clambered back in and drove off. Never heard from them again. We stayed up quite late that night to be sure no return suprise.

threegun
August 31, 2006, 01:46 PM
I have heard of some horror stories starting with a stranger entering camp however the vast majority have no bad intentions. I would simply be polite and prepared. If things got weird I would get more firepower closer to me. If the slightest threatening act either verbal or physical happened I would draw and either shoot (if justified) or disarm. Better safe than sorry. Let the sheriff sort it out.

teejhot.40cal
August 31, 2006, 01:59 PM
I have done a lot of camping over the years and couldn't tell you the number of times someone has walk into to my campsite. Everytime, they have left as friends. Give the man some coco and see what his story is.


One other thing to consider is bringing along an old trusty 4 legged friend when you go camping. His or her eyes, ears, and nose are far superior to yours and he or she will alert you to 2 legged and 4 legged visitors. Worst comes to worst, you can feed him to hungry predators and run!


__________________

Man your lucky, my 4 legged friend would feed me to the predator while they ran.:mad:

Sarge
August 31, 2006, 02:33 PM
If one of you were thinking fast you'd say "Howdy Pardner, hate to greet & run but nature calls and I'll be back to visit in a few."

Then sidle off a ways with your sidearm, and watch from the dark. Two can play this "Surprise" game.

VirgilCaine
August 31, 2006, 02:41 PM
If he didn't have the manners to announce his entrance with a "hello there, mind if I approach?" I would be on alert.

Otherwise, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

High Planes Drifter
August 31, 2006, 03:12 PM
In my whole life, and I've been hunting for over 20 years, I have never met an @$$hole in the woods. Met alot of folks that grew to be friends, but never a bad person. As a matter of fact, I stood in wedding not too long ago for a friend I met while rabbit hunting. The overwhelming majority of folks you run into in the woods, at least in my area, are folks just like yourself. I'd offer up a seat and cup of cocoa to the old guy and start chatting.

Doug.38PR
August 31, 2006, 03:13 PM
Well, not all villains have the obvious look and manner in which you can see their intent early and are able to respond. Many have a way about them that appears non-hostile and even polite to lead you into a false sense of security or to subtly and gradually intimidate you into their control. I don't mean scare you, but buy themselves just enough time by distracting you or to get your mind on something else before they make their move on you.

Obviously the first response isn't pull your gun, or rifle as the case may be, and take aim. But neither should it be to let your guard down once he says hello and approaches with the first impression of being a lonely hunter looking for hot cocoa and good company.

Yes, as Captain Charlie said, most folk's in the country are more laid back and are a lot more hospitable. Far less likely to come across some weirdo. While I live in the big city of Houston, I spend very little time there. 80% of my life and job is outside Houston in more rural small towns and counties working with such people (something I really enjoy. Get to experience the real Bible Belt)

But, at the same time parks and wildlife areas have had occasional trouble with riff raff or some psycho wandering the country. In fact, I believe Big Bend national park has had A LOT of trouble with illegals and drug smugglers in their park terrorizing and even killing campers and even park rangers.

HCfan
August 31, 2006, 04:06 PM
If he has a rifle, if he wanted to kill you, he would have done it at a distance (hence the rifle).

Offer him a seat at the fire, share you hot coco (we would have had a little bit of whiskey in it though) and chew the fat.

It's three on one if it comes down to having to protect yourself. I gather that the friends are equally armed as well?

2400
August 31, 2006, 04:10 PM
By the time "someone" has walked into camp one of us has already gone to take a leak and have a look around as well as listen. We greet them and offer some coffee or whatever we're having and a place to sit and visit. Almost everytime we have a nice chat with a lost, tired or confused hunter and get him going back where he wants to go.

ceetee
August 31, 2006, 07:48 PM
I don't get to do a lot of camping these days... too many responsibilities, I guess. I'd say, though, that if I were in this situation, I'd also have to do the "Excuse me for a while..." thing. Probably with a roll of paper, so I wouldn't be expected back anytime soon.

Maybe I've just met too many bad people in my life. Most of 'em act just like reg'lar folks. They'll sit and chat, the whole time they're sizing you up. They're looking to see if you've got anything they want, and they're judging you on you're mindset. They're deciding whether or not to try something. They'll make their move when you least expect it.

You may never run into this kind of guy out in the woods. But they are out there.

skipjack
August 31, 2006, 08:05 PM
I had an experience like this last fall in Pennsylvania. We have a cabin that is several miles off the hard road, back in the sticks. Two of us were in camp, when a nock comes at the door. We checked to see that it was 4 teenagers who had suffered a dead battery. My partner offered a jump, and we got them to sit in the bed of the pickup for the short drive to their vehicle. Upon arrival at the vehicle, I stood off to the side with a flashlight in hand, 1911 in my coat pocket. My companion was unarmed. We were careful, but cordial to our "guests". It kind of freaked us out to get company way out there, but we didn't let it show. We have had many visitors at camp over the years, but always in the daytime. Coffee or softdrinks are always offered, and we try to maintain a good rapport with the locals.

jrklaus
August 31, 2006, 08:15 PM
one of the things they taught us in Boy Scouts was to announce your presence and request permission to enter the campsite. A little common courtesy could go a long way to alleviate concern in a situation like this. And if someone refuses the request to enter, respect it. If they grant permission, you may have just made a friend.

Deaf Smith
August 31, 2006, 08:22 PM
I'd ask him if he knew how to dance. When he got that quizzled look on his face I'd whip out my hogleg and make him dance.... Teach him not to call out and ask permission to enter the camp.

On a serious side, since happly I shoot lots of IDPA I'd just ask him how I could help and but I'd keep track of his hands. If things did not look right I'd ask him to leave.

bclark1
August 31, 2006, 08:24 PM
i would refrain from paranoia. referring to the original post, i think if you're smart enough to carry a gun you should be smart enough to read a situation and determine the difference between a lost hunter and a crazed mountain sociopath.

the wisconsin thing was mutually aggravated. i'd be upset if a guy was hunting on my land without permission, but you shouldn't act like a redneck ******* and escalate the situation by harassing and threatening when there are guns involved. some cultures are admittedly notorious in wisconsin (where my hunting land's at) for not recognizing private property and not always respecting seasons, but unless he's at your doorstep that's for the police to deal with, not you.

it's been posted around before that a lot of - certainly not all, and i wouldn't count on it - but a lot of wardens and rangers understand your concern and aren't going to pat you down for a CW if they run into on state land.

Sarge
August 31, 2006, 09:09 PM
jrklaus

one of the things they taught us in Boy Scouts was to announce your presence and request permission to enter the campsite. A little common courtesy could go a long way to alleviate concern in a situation like this. And if someone refuses the request to enter, respect it. If they grant permission, you may have just made a friend.

This was common knowledge in this country for centuries, and it's good to hear that the Scouts are passing it on. Common courtesy required a "Hello, the fire!" or "Hello, the camp!" prior to walking up on either, and failing to do so would likely get your navel introduced to the muzzle of a gun. 'Sneaks' were treated as malfeasants until they proved otherwise.

Times have changed and it's probably not a good idea to automatically shove a gun at anybody & everybody who walks up on your camp. In fact, it'd get you charged with a felony in many jurisdictions. This is not to say that you have to wait until you are ambushed to respond. But before you swing a hogleg on anybody, you had just better be able to justify your actions and articulate your reasonable response to what any 'reasonable man' would consider a threat of death or grave bodily injury.

Dammit, now I went and took the fun outta Dougie's latest thread. Sorry.

JohnKSa
August 31, 2006, 09:24 PM
A thick winter coat in East TX? That is pretty suspicious! ;)

jfrey123
August 31, 2006, 10:01 PM
I was that Boy Scout growing up. First time I shot my Glock, it was in the open desert near a place where I grew up camping and shooting rifles. There were a few people at the site, and I went up to announce my intentions before proceding, making sure they saw me and acknowledged me before entering their camp. I just felt like that common courtesy should be exercised since they were there first, and they thanked me for it. "Now that's a true Nevadan!" the two armed older men said.

I think that's how a stranger approaching a camp site should act. I'm always armed when I camp, rifles before I was legal to carry handguns. I agree with everyone when they say if your perticular intruder wanted you dead, he would've picked you off from 50 yards with that rifle. Your fire makes you a perfect glowing target while completely blinding you to your surroundings.

However, the ol' Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" is still around for a reason. If someone just snuck into my camp quietly, I would have my hand near or on my pistol until I discovered his intentions. Usually when I camp, it's on open BLM land that you don't normally have any overnight neighbors. But I wouldn't be afraid to switch my hand from my gun to an empty cup for his cocoa if he didn't seem wierd to me.

Capt Charlie
August 31, 2006, 11:12 PM
But, at the same time parks and wildlife areas have had occasional trouble with riff raff or some psycho wandering the country. In fact, I believe Big Bend national park has had A LOT of trouble with illegals and drug smugglers in their park terrorizing and even killing campers and even park rangers.
Hmm. I'm thinking maybe we have different definitions of "back country", Doug ;) . I was a back country ranger for the USNPS for five years, and when we speak of back country, we're talking about remote areas that are perhaps several days out on horseback and at least several days on foot.

Our problem areas were always in the front country, trail heads, short nature trails, and other easily accessible areas. Most bad guys seem to have one thing in common: They're lazy :D . If it takes serious effort to get there, they won't bother.

Thefts were common around the campgrounds and trailheads at Grand Canyon, but on remote, difficult trails like the North Bass or Thunder River Trail, backpackers left their belongings out in plain view at their campsites, and I can't recall ever taking a theft report in those areas.

The sheer remoteness seems to separate classes of people. I'm MUCH more relaxed in the backcountry than I am walking the streets of my own neighborhood.

FrontSight
August 31, 2006, 11:39 PM
Great question! I'd gotta say, being from the Bronx, we'd watch the guy like a hawk from the second he got there till the second he left. It's so sad that life is like that. Seems we've almost eliminated the threat from attack by widlife (okay, rare bears, mountain lions & wolf attacks), and yet the one threat we have to fear the most is attack by our very own species. Something really wrong with this world.

TexanAmerican
September 1, 2006, 07:37 AM
Sounds to me a lot like the story about the guy that ran next door and killed his neighbor because someone SAID the neighbor molested his daughter. I think to make informed decisions based on sound thinking always takes precedence over assuming anything. We all know that assumption makes an ass or you and umtion. By the way, I doubt very seriously that coco is what I would be drinking. But that's just me.

Duxman
September 1, 2006, 08:27 AM
Hikers and campers are the friendliest folks that I know. Most of them around this area though (Shehnandoah, VA and such) are normally unarmed. Unless you count beer as a weapon.

Most of them invite you to join their camp / party and get yourself some free food and drink. (Sometimes free women.)

The last big camp-out my friends and I attended - there were some kayakers - and they had prime rib, angus meat burgers, gourmet hot dogs, and lots of beer.

Back to this particular scenario - I would probably let my instincts be my guide. Most of the time, if your gut feel tells you the person is OK, they normally are, but if your spidey sense is telling you there is something amiss....well I saw Wolf Creek and let me just say.....I would be on my guard for the rest of the trip.:eek:

springmom
September 1, 2006, 08:57 AM
Big Bend is an issue all to itself in this state. Because of the illegal trafficking of humans and drugs, that area has historically been pretty dangerous (relative to other parks in the state, that is). There was one incident some years ago of someone kayaking down the Colorado and getting shot at from the Mexican side of the border, and there are run-ins with drug traffickers.

But that sort of person isn't going to come wandering up to your campfire anyway, I expect.

FWIW, I too live in the Houston area, and I hunt alone in the Sam Houston National Forest without a qualm. I've had good conversations with other hunters (men, each time) who, in one case, helped me when I locked my keys in my truck :eek: or who were just curious to see a lone woman with a rifle in camo in the forest in the middle of the week :) I was armed, they were armed (not much point hunting if you're not) and everybody behaved and was civilized and pleasant. I do not worry about this. I wouldn't camp alone, but I wouldn't be afraid to camp up there either.

Springmom

BouncerDan
September 1, 2006, 08:07 PM
Something like this happened to me a couple years ago. I live in VERY rural florida. My family owns several thousand acres of land. At last count I believe it was over 5000 but not real sure anymore due to buying and selling.

Needless to say in small down Florida there is very little todo. So my all the young males in my family (we are very close) consisting of 4 of us aging between 23-12 like to get away and go camping. When we go we don't take cell phones or anything like that in an effort to get away from the modern world and all that implies.

On night on a other wise very routine camping trip a person whom looked like a hunter decided he would walk into our camp without announcing him self. Now to be competley honest we had mixed feeling about this. After all our camp site was less than 3 miles from four prisons (florida state Prison, Union correctional instute, New River Correction, And Bradford Correction Institue). The man was armed but everyone is down here. However we did find it weird that this man who was armed was walking around without a flashlight long after the sun had gone down. Not to mention he was on private property.

So after asking him several questions about what he was doing there and that kind of stuff (while my brother who was armed tryed to get an angle on him Just in case) We offered him a cup of coffee and asked him to move on.

We never saw or heard from him again. Although lets just say sleeping that ngiht wasn't a very easy task because that guy left a very bad taste in all of our mouths.

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 09:53 PM
When we go we don't take cell phones or anything like that in an effort to get away from the modern world and all that implies.


I wonder, sadly, how long it will be before any person who has an emergency in a remote area will be judged to have been negligent for opting not to bring a cellular phone with them.

These days, people act as though having a cellular phone is actual protection -- like you could stop an attacker by holding up your phone and announcing that you have the police on the line. :rolleyes:

I think that it is fast becoming expected that you will have a cellular phone with you everywhere you go. And while I think your preference for leaving the damned things behind when you go camping is right on (I think I would consider doing that, myself, if I went camping), I could see someone later saying, "Well, your friend might not have died of that snakebite if you'd just done what normal people do and had a cell phone with you!" in derision and judgment.

Or in the case of having to shoot a miscreant who attacked or menaced you, they'd say, "Well, if you'd done like normal people and taken a cell phone with you, you could have gotten the police out there to handle the situation!" (Never mind that we know the police would not be there in time to be of any help to you whatsoever.)

I am on the fence about whether or not to bring a cellular phone if I went camping. I am in favor of the quaintness of being old-timey and stuff, but at the same time, it is a real-world practical thing to avail yourself of all that could benefit you in a survival emergency as long as it is convenient to carry. I'd be torn...


-azurefly

Blackwater OPS
September 1, 2006, 10:11 PM
You don't have to leave it on, or tell your wife, gf, boss you brought it......... Besides, how many of these places really have cell coverage? Are we talking sat phones here?

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 10:14 PM
We never saw or heard from him again. Although lets just say sleeping that ngiht wasn't a very easy task because that guy left a very bad taste in all of our mouths.


Although I understand what you meant, I think this was a kind of unfortunate choice of words, especially after you told us there's not much to do in rural Florida... :P


-azurefly

DonR101395
September 1, 2006, 10:34 PM
The wife takes prone position in the tent with her M21 and thermal scope, little Janie and Becky Sue flank right to lay down cover fire, I get my nightsun spotlight to him then interogate............oh wait no


I offer him a cup of coffee while positioning myself with a clear background while I ask his intentions. If he seems ok I offer a second cup or send him on his way. Always being polite, but not a pushover.

+1 To asking before entering another's camp. It's just common sense, but then if it were common everyone would have it.
The way I explained it to my girls was the fire is like the t.v. in our living room and since it's not polite to walk into someones living room without knocking on the front door and being invited in, it's also not polite to walk into another persons camp without asking permission and being invited in.

Doug.38PR
September 2, 2006, 01:34 AM
Hmm. I'm thinking maybe we have different definitions of "back country", Doug . I was a back country ranger for the USNPS for five years, and when we speak of back country, we're talking about remote areas that are perhaps several days out on horseback and at least several days on foot.

Our problem areas were always in the front country, trail heads, short nature trails, and other easily accessible areas. Most bad guys seem to have one thing in common: They're lazy . If it takes serious effort to get there, they won't bother.

Thefts were common around the campgrounds and trailheads at Grand Canyon, but on remote, difficult trails like the North Bass or Thunder River Trail, backpackers left their belongings out in plain view at their campsites, and I can't recall ever taking a theft report in those areas.

The sheer remoteness seems to separate classes of people. I'm MUCH more relaxed in the backcountry than I am walking the streets of my own neighborhood.


Now that does make sense. I had both rural and rough country areas in mind but as you point out there is a fine line between the two. I have never been west of Texas (save a flight I took to Denver once to an uncle's mountain home, but that had plenty of civilization around) so just about all the wildlife area's I've ever experienced are truly in the bush but civilization is fairly easily accessible 10-20 minute away with a hop in the pickup truck and a ranger station even closer in area's like Lake Texana State Park south of Houston and Davy Crockett National Forrest in East Texas. The one trip I took to Terrell County, Texas (near Big Bend) is as far West as I have experienced and it is indeed isolated.

JohnKSa
September 2, 2006, 02:17 AM
Besides, how many of these places really have cell coverage? Are we talking sat phones here?Once you get a ways out of town and more than a few miles from a major road, cell phone coverage gets pretty scarce.

GlocksRfun
September 2, 2006, 02:28 AM
I do some camping. True campers are great people, they're a different breed. Always gonna help.. Out in the middle of nowhere... Like said many a times... If he/she wanted to kill u with a rifle, u'd be dead before u see em. I'd welcome him in and be polite unless things go down hill, then hope for the best.

BouncerDan
September 2, 2006, 06:49 AM
Besides, how many of these places really have cell coverage? Are we talking sat phones here?

You would be suprised about the cell phone coverage in Florida. In the area that I am in and do most of my camping verizon has full signal.

rick_reno
September 2, 2006, 08:26 AM
Is it chilly? I only ask because my experience is people who wear winter coats in summer are usually nuts. The opposite is true too - if it's fall and some guy shows up in my camp in a thong I'd be concerned.
If his coat is ok for the temps - invite him to have some hot chocolate. I've had this happen many times elk hunting and have never found myself in a defensive situation.

stephen426
September 2, 2006, 08:40 AM
You would be suprised about the cell phone coverage in Florida. In the area that I am in and do most of my camping verizon has full signal.

Like the geek in the Verizon commercial says... "Its the network". I guess there is a little truth to that after all.