Safety Smarts

by Ross Cascio

Safety tips for outdoor recreation.

According to the most recent report published by the Outdoor Foundation, 144 million people participated in outdoor recreation in 2016. Whether your choice of activity is going for a hike in a park, fishing at your favorite lake, or hunting in the woods, it’s important that you do what you can to prevent being a victim of a violent 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. There is always strength in numbers.
  • Pack the right gear. Packing the gear 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.
  • Basic skills. 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 that can leave you vulnerable to attacks because you aren’t familiar with the area. Listen to what other outdoor enthusiasts 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 that don’t leave you blind-sided. 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.

For more information, check out the Krav Maga website.