Scariest ever for me was squirrel hunting in January this year with a buddy of mine on his family's land. Their land had a small lake which they called a pond but it was about 10 acres in area and was almost 20ft deep at its deepest. It averaged about 10 ft deep around most of the lake - I'd fished it a lot with my buddy during the summer. Anyway not being much of an ice fisherman I tend not to wander out onto frozen lakes or waterways... see I'm an excellent swimmer but one of my great fears is to fall into a frozen over lake and be unable to get out.
Well we were on the far side of the lake and it was getting dark so we decided to call it a day for the hunt. Besides we'd limited out and were really just on a hike at that point. So my buddy says to me he doesn't really feel like walking around the lake and suggests walking across the lake. I was quite concerned and he eventually persuaded me to go with him. He re-assured me that it was safe - he and his brothers were just out on the lake yesterday ice fishing and there's about 12" of ice on the lake. That's enough to support a full size pick-up truck he told me. They'd been up and down the lake with four wheelers and it held up he said. Well I thought, "Fine, if it'll hold four wheelers with riders it'll hold me right?" So with that I walked out onto the lake with him.
We had gotten about 2/3 the way across the lake and the light had faded to almost black - of course it was cloudy and no moon was available for light. I reached up and turned on the LEDs in my hunting cap that my wife had given me as a gift (one of those caps that have the lights built into the bill of the cap) and gloated to myself that at least I had light. That's when IT happened...
There was a loud POP then a low rumble/groan and a very loud cracking sound could be heard. I felt the ice shake beneath my boots and I looked down just in time to see a large and clearly visible crack appear just in front of my feet. Well I just about had a melt-down and nearly dropped my rifle. I shouted a couple of colorful euphanisms then took off at a top sprint toward the closest shore.
Much to my dismay I got about 30 or so feet and slipped (no traction) and ended up falling on my face before sliding another 10 feet to a stop. Scrambling to get up to my feet I cussed and nearly soiled my pants till I'd managed to half crawl half run to solid ground. At that point I planted my back against a tree and checked myself to see if I needed new pants.
My buddy came walking calmly toward me as I looked at him, my LEDs illuminated his laughing face clearly as he approached. Once he was by me he helped me up and still laughing informed me that the crack was normal as were the noises - the lake was just shifting as the daylight faded and that happened every night. It did not however make for unsafe conditions on the lake and they'd spend many a night on the ice fishing through the night.
Then he said if I'd come out ice fishing with him more often I'd have known this and wouldn't have panicked like I did - besides in the event of broken ice (as were my fears) I was doing the worst possible thing. I would most likely have run right into a hole if there had been one. Gee that's really comforting isn't it?
This is who we are, what we do.