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According to the most recent report published by the Outdoor Foundation, 144 million people participated in outdoor recreations in 2016. Whether your choice of activity is going for a hike in a park, fishing at your favorite lake, hunting in the woods or doing any other recreation that leaves you vulnerable in the outdoors it is important that you do what you can to prevent being a victim of an attack.
Tell a friend.
Make sure to tell a family member, friend or significant other where you’ll be and when to expect you home before heading out. This way if something seems amiss they will have all the information they need to inform the authorities. If you can, bring a buddy with you to do the recreation. There is always strength in numbers.
Pack the right gear.
Packing the gear you need to do your recreation is important and so is making sure you have the essentials in case of an emergency. Portable chargers and a self-defense tool like pepper spray are great additions to your gear bag.
Before heading outdoors it doesn’t hurt to know basic self-defense skills in case an assailant does approach you. The classes often teach body language and verbal skills that can also help deter a situation from escalating as well as physical skills to fend off an attack.
Listen to town gossip.
It’s always fun and exciting to try out new spots for fishing, hiking and hunting but can leave you vulnerable to attacks because you aren’t familiar with the area. Listen to what other outdoor enthusiast think of certain spots and what the safe areas are. Online forums and blogs are also a great way to learn about new areas to explore and which ones to stay away from due to safety concerns.
Don’t turn your back.
Try to pick spots to do your recreation that don’t leave you blind-sided and allow you to see all around you. Most assailants choose to attack from behind because the victim obviously can’t see them and rarely hear them in time to react. If you do have areas that you can’t see, make sure to turn around every once in a while and scan the area.
Take in your surroundings.
When you finally get to your favorite spot on the lake or in the woods make sure you scope out your surroundings and listen to your gut feeling. If something seems off or if a person is giving you bad vibes pick up and head to the next location.
Keep it on the low.
Music does enhance activities and if you must listen to tunes while doing your recreation keep it on low and have one ear bud out of your ear if using headphones. Assailants often look for people that are distracted and you won’t hear them approach with loud music.