HomeOutdoorsMost Hikers and Hunters Fear the Wrong Things: What to Stress Less About, What Risks to Focus On

Most Hikers and Hunters Fear the Wrong Things: What to Stress Less About, What Risks to Focus On

by Will Shepard
(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Inexperienced hikers and hunters often fear the wrong things when they head out into the wilderness for a trip. A lot of these fears stem from horror stories that only come around once in a lifetime.

More specifically, there are things that are badly misconstrued and can easily be avoided. It’s similar to learning about how falling in quick sand might be a massive problem in our lives. But, in actuality, only people who travel in specific terrain will ever experience quick sand.

While there are a lot of things for hikers and hunters to prepare for before an adventure, some are more important than others. So, here are a few things that some people might be fearful of, but in reality shouldn’t fear at all.

Hikers and Hunters Shouldn’t Fear Some Things but Do Anyways

To start, bears are often thought of by hikers and hunters as a massive threat when in the woods. Even though there are many horror stories of people having horrific encounters, often the giants will leave you alone. In fact, bears kill only one person per year on average. If you can prepare properly to be in bear country, there really isn’t too much to be worried about.

Another fear that hikers and hunters have in the wilderness is lightning. While lightning is incredibly dangerous, the odds of getting struck by lightning are roughly 1 in 500,000. This means that if you can properly deal with an approaching thunderstorm, the chances of being struck are cut significantly.

Some hikers and hunters fear that other people might be out to get them. There might be some random person who’s lost their marbles in the wilderness and could pose a threat. You may have heard of some crazy story about someone being attacked by someone else while out on the trail. But, most people out in the wilderness have the same mindset as you and there isn’t much to worry about.

Managing Risk in the Wilderness

So, instead you should concentrate on the things that you can control. This means being prepared for the place that you are heading out into.

The first thing for hikers and hunters to focus on is understanding where they are heading. This means that you need to be very honest with yourself about what you can handle in a trip into the woods.

Doing a trek that your body can handle is one of the most important things. There is no shame in choosing a hike or hunt that might be easy. That way, you can work up to more difficult terrain later on without nasty consequences.

Make certain that you are completely ready for the environment you are heading into. This may sound like a reiteration of the above, but it is different. Be ready for the weather, the time of day, season, and other uncontrollable factors. In particular, hikers and hunters should be ready to stay out overnight if something happens. Be ready for an emergency and plan accordingly.

More to Keep in Mind in the Woods

If you decide to go out alone, make sure that you are absolutely dialed in your approach. Know exactly where you are going. More importantly tell someone where you are heading, when you will be back, and what they need to do if you aren’t back by a certain time.

A handy instrument to bring along on any trip to help in an emergency is a personal locator beacon. This uses GPS to contact an emergency system to get you out of whatever situation that you find yourself in.

Oftentimes something interesting pops up, and many hikers and hunters will venture off-trail to explore. This is completely fine. But, make sure that you are aware of where you are, how to get back, and set a time limit for when to get back to your previous location.

So, in summation, for hikers and hunters to alleviate the stress that may occur on a trip, follow these simple rules of thumb. Tell a friend exactly what your plan is. It doesn’t matter the size of your group, always let someone know where you are going, what you will be doing, and when you be getting back. This includes letting them know what to do if you aren’t back on time. It also means that they know who to contact if you aren’t back by a certain time.

And lastly, always prepare for an emergency layover. Bring extra clothing, extra food, and something to sleep in overnight. There is no such thing as being over-prepared.