There is something about being in the woods with predators that can make your pulse race a little bit. However, every time you are in the woods, you are there with predators, so what makes this different? On this episode I dig into the fear of predators, where it comes from, why it comes, what to do about it, and when extra precautions really should be taken when hunting.
Fear is irrational by nature. The dark can make us afraid, the woods at night can make us doubly afraid, and predators in dark woods can be enough to paralyze some people with fear. But the truth is, darkness cannot hurt us, darkness in the woods is no more dangerous than darkness in your bedroom, and if there are predators in the woods, there are there day and night, whether you are hunting predators or not. But when we are hunting animals with sharp teeth or claws, we are more aware of them, and it weighs on us more.
Most predators are more afraid of us than we will ever understand. We have to work hard, do everything right, hide, and work to draw predators into gun range, hoping they do not detect us before we can pull the trigger. The moment they sense our presence, they often flea. So why would we be afraid of them? That occurs with far more animals than most people realize as well.
There are only a handful of north American forest animals that post any significant threat to hunters. You are more likely to be injured falling, cutting yourself with your own knife, or getting in a car accident on the way to the woods than being attacked by a predator in the woods. With rare exceptions, you do not need to carry a sidearm for protection from animals. Other hunters, maybe, but animals, almost never.
However, one of the best things you can do is gain all the knowledge possible and then contact your local game commission and local hunting guides, where every you plan to hunt, and ask them about what the local risk factors are during the time of year you plan to hunt there. There is no substitute for this because there are so many variables in different ranges and seasons, that only true focused locals will know what dangerous and when in their area.
In some areas, brown bears may pose a significant danger to deer hunters, in other areas allegators may be a threat to duck hunters. But the only way to know for sure is to contact local officials and follow their guidelines to stay safe when you are hunting. There is always some risk, but the kinds of things that most people fear are irrational and unrealistic. And the things that do merit some concern are often nowhere close to them.
In this podcast episode I go deep into the different predators most people hunt or are likely to encounter and talk about the risks and risk levels posed by each. This episode focuses on north American animals, yet many of the principles apply far beyond this region as well.