In the spirit of Halloween, I figured it might be fun to share this. Do any of the regulars here listen to the Big Buck Registry Podcast? They just did an interview with an author of a book centered on hunters who go missing under mysterious circumstances. (Link attached - episode 223).
I’m not going to opine as to the truth (or lack thereof) behind this author’s work, but if folks listen to this and it inspires (or scares) them to take a personal locator/satellite communication device into the backcountry/woods, I would consider that a win. And I don’t mean any disrespect to those hunters who went missing or their grieving families, regardless of the cause, it’s a tremendous tragedy. Me personally, I’m not so much worried about the boogeyman, bigfoot, or aliens out there…I’m more worried about stepping over some deadfall, snapping my tibia and dying of hypothermia when no one knows I went out for a “quick afternoon hunt”. I bought a DeLorme Inreach this year for just such a reason and I have been pretty pleased with it so far.
And for the record, no, I don’t personally have any “strange” experiences that happened in the woods, just a lot of unsuccessful hours spent chasing hoofed critters, lol. Anyone here have any spooky stories along these lines?
I've related this experience before, but I always enjoy telling it and making myself the butt of the joke. . .
I was 16 years old. I'd only been hunting a few years, always by myself. I had permission to hunt the same farm I do now, a large wooded tract that sits mostly up on a ridge top. There's an old truck road down the middle, which at the time I would drive, park at a certain spot, then walk a couple hundred yards to hunt.
I had done so, and was hunting around an old pond, in a climbing treestand. I saw some deer, but nothing to shoot, and as I was about to get down, a bunch of coyotes started singing. Now, I wasn't scared of coyotes then, and I'm not now. I stayed in the tree solely for the purpose of listening to them. I probably stayed 10-15 minutes after full dark. Got down, and gathered up my stand to head to the truck.
Now at that time, I was penniless. I did not own a flashlight or a headlamp. It never really bothered me, I had young sharp eyes, and could see pretty well in darkness.
This was a DARK night. Cloud cover, etc. I gathered everything up and started the 300-400 yard walk to the truck, mostly down this woods trail.
I hadn't made it very far, when I could hear something moving in the leaves. It seemed to be following me. I thought maybe it was a possum or coon, but when I stopped walking, it stopped too. It didn't bother me at first. But it kept following me. And it kept stopping when I did.
I can't remember what I thought it was, a cougar, some rabid animal, I can't remember. I just remember that after a few times of the this start and stop business, and the darkness of the night, I lost my cool, and ultimately took off at a dead sprint to the truck.
But again, being penniless, I wasn't giving up equipment, so I kept my stand on my back, and kept hold of my bow.
That thing chased me all the way to the truck!
I got to the truck, tossed the stand into the back, jumped in with my bow and fired up the Chevy 350 with aftermarket exhaust. That thing roared like a lion at startup.
Flipped on the high beams. . . . Nothing!
I locked the doors and sat there a minute peering in the darkness. I couldn't see anything, so finally I calmed down, and climbed out of the truck to make sure my stand was stowed okay, and there was the culprit. . . . my pull-up rope had chased me clear to the truck!
Haha that is a good one, Bake. I never had anything quite like that but did manage to freak myself out with letting my imagination run wild when I was a younger hunter. About the "scariest" thing I've encountered was bears walking in on water holes I was sitting on, but frankly that was more cool than scary.
And for those who don't have iTunes, attached is a link to the same interview on youtube.
When I had a showdown with a pissed- off lion at 10 feet in the heavy deadfall timber when alone and nobody knew where I was, I could easily have become one of those hunters who "disappeared". That was truly spooky.
That adventure, and later spearing myself through the calf, convinced me to start carrying a SPOT with me everywhere. Wouldn't likely have done any good if the cat jumped me, but hunting and adventuring alone like I do it provides some peace of mind.
Moose hunting in Newfoundland in September. Had an experienced guide so I left my gps at camp. When we headed back to camp, crossed the same creek going the same way twice in an hour. Ended up sleeping under a fir tree. Next morning The guide wanted to go back to the creek, but I insisted on going north by my compass because our camp was on a large lake to the north. Walked two hours and ran across guys out looking for us.
I broke my ankle up in some hills here local...lucky it was only 1/2 mile down to my truck. I shattered it when falling with an 80# training pack....not good.....my foot was just swinging around worthless.
Doing that way back in some of those nasty wilderness holes we all travel in would have been a trick.
Here in bush Alaska, I don't go anywhere without my Inreach Delorme if I leave town. Boat, snowmachine, or hiking- too much at risk and not enough people know to look. A lot can go wrong in a short time. Complacency can be deadly.
In the lower 48, I just used the buddy system (Check in and check out times- and give locations expected to be) , and made sure I had a basic survival kit. I had a few close calls in California - injuring ankles or a bad cut that took 6 hours to get to an ER. Never considered a SPOT or Delorme then, but I was also poor and didn't know any better.
Bake, that's funny. Reminds me of a little dog I saw once in a park in Bozeman. I walked up on and startled this little terrier dog. It jumped and ran, and when it did that, it farted, loudly. That scared it even more, and it ran faster, and farted more. The more it ran the more it farted, and the more it farted, the more it ran. I had split sides and tears streaming down my face seeing that. Lol!
I do worry some about accidents in the woods or mountains. My wife is under standing instructions to call a buddy of mine who knows the place I hunt well, if I happen to not return from a local hunt.
I always figure my odds are far better of getting hurt at home, probably in a treestand accident.
That said, I've had two really close calls in the mountains. One time I fell while skirting the head of a dropoff. I was about 1 foot from going over. Fortunately, I was only about 100 yards from the Ranger, but I still think it would have been difficult to find me.
The second was this year with my buddy. We had to hunker down in a little depression on an open mountainside while lightning raged around. We were far enough off the beaten path, and about hidden among little brush in that depression, that I'm not sure we'd have been found very easily, even by air. I don't know how a SPOT would have saved us, but I guess it could have given closure to our families a lot sooner.
I think about it every year. One of these years I'll probably invest in one.
I wish I could remember the authors name,,,, he is a retired LA homicide detective, who has written a book of disappearances of hunters in New Mexico and Montana and else where, and where he believe foul play did occur, or something could not be explained....
I am a SPOT owner. Used it paddling from 3 Forks Mt to St. Louis Mo. and only had it not send position a couple times. When I’m lying there in a mess I want some one to know I need help NOW. I don’t want my wife to 1 finally decide I’m overdue 2 find my buddies (don’t have many lol) 3 hope he can come within hearing distance of my whistle if I’m even still conscious or alive. SPOT has absolutely changed hunting for me. I check in nightly when I’m out for several days and carry it religiously during the day. Has totally took all stress off wife who used to hate me going out solo.
Jaquomo, coming that close to a pissed off lion sounds pretty hair raising. I've yet to come across one in person, seen alot of black bears but never a lion. After I listened to this podcast I listened to another of the author being interviewed and he said that there have been less than 20 fatal mountain lion attacks in the last 100 yrs (he was trying to make a case against animals being responsible for all the disappearances). Still, a mauling would be an awful experience no doubt!
TrapperKayak, your dog story made me literally LOL!
Geez Bake, I laughed so loud at that I woke the baby up!
My best friend and I had a similar experience once. When we about 10 years old we got up the nerve to camp in this thick stand of live oaks on his ranch we called the "spooky forest". Something kept rustling in the leaves around our tent, we were convinced it was a bear, or a lion, or some freaky rabid animal coming to eat us. Finally after over an hour we got our flashlights and .22s and went to confront our demon. It was a fat little toad, we felt so stupid...
I had an interesting one a number of years ago when I first spring turkey hunted in Michigan. In the area I was hunting a couple of hunters went missing and one was found shot in his stand. I was on an arson course for the fire department and decided that since it was turkey season I would get a license and hunt before class. I stopped in a small country store and was asking the clerk about any public land in the area to hunt. At the same time a gruff looking fellow in dirty coveralls came in. The clerk yelled hey Dennis this guy is looking to hunt turkey you know where he could hunt. They guy said just a minute i'm getting beer. I bought him a 6 pack. He told me to meet him outside at his truck and he would show me where to hunt. He came out and pointed to a beat up old pickup and said jump in. Once he got in he immediatley started to drive away. Suddenly the hair on the back of my neck stood up as I felt hot breath on my neck and a huge bouvier stood up- in the half back seat. He said hey man don't worry Agie dont bite. Everytime I moved the dog would growl at me. We went a bit and then turned down an overgown lane into a woods. I was thinking man how do I get this door open and jump before the dog gets me because I think I'm gonna be the next missing hunter they read about. I said hey man don't want no trouble just let me out and I'll walk back. He stopped the truck looked at me and started to laugh. After a short conversation about my reservations in the situation he began to laugh again and said ya I guess I can see where looking at me and the truck and the dog you might think I was taking you off to bury you somewhere. Turned out the guy was a great dude and owned over 4000 acres of prime deer and turkey land which I hunted for many years without ever actually going missing LOL.
The author just released a full length documentary/movie on the same book (stream it on Amazon). I watched it last night, you could perhaps explain away some of these but the first one in NY left me puzzled as did the elk hunter in MT. Tragic and scary. Anyone else check this out? Link is trailer on YouTube
With all the property line disputes, guys sleeping with someone they shouldn't (e.g. your hunting buddy's wife or girlfriend), drugs, alcohol and just plain mean people hiding out for one reason or another in rural places, its wonder this doesn't happen a lot more than it does.
Let someone know where you are all the time, even if its that "I was just going to hunt for a few hours" bit.... Sheriffs, EMTs, Rescue squads, etc. all talk about how those turn into disasters rather quickly due to complacency.
I was hunting Yukon years ago with an 50 something Indian guide who had been a guide his whole work life. Heard his Dad had an outfit when he was young. The story was he had a client when working for another outfitter that was going to head back to camp from a caribou kill as it was not terribly far and they could see some type of terrain from the kill site that was near camp. When the guide gets back with the bou there was no hunter to be found and never did show up. So the guide took the rest of the season riding trails trying to find his missing hunter. Kind of haunted him. The Indian did not tell me the story but another guide did on a subsequent hunt.
When I was 9 or 10 years old and living on the shore of Lake Erie in the late 1940s, I use to look under my bed to make sure there were no monsters under there that might get me in the night and carry me off. Not sure if this counts but I was scared as hell for a few years until I realized, all was good.
You got to understand , this was before we had a TV and the family just listened to the radio where you had to use your imagination and in many cases, the imagination got the best of us and lasted until the dark of the night. BOOO! my best, Paul
Slipshot, I heard on another podcast that the author mentions you need to purchase the book from his website, the ones on Amazon are all 3rd party sellers and horrendously over priced. I haven’t read his books so can’t speak to them, but I thought the documentary was really entertaining.
Zim, I’ll never hike in or out of the woods in the dark again without wondering if I’ll make it or not. I used to love sitting in my stand in the dark, peacefully anticipating the coming day and quietly waiting for dawn to break. Well, that’s over. Now, I’ll just be hoping to survive. It’s obvious that somethings going on out there and now I know it’s only a matter of time before whatever it is gets me.
That absolutely was not my intent, Busta! This story pulls at my sense of adventure and curiosity more than fear but I agree it's unsettling. I consider myself a pretty pragmatic guy but it does seem like something is happening . I first listened to this podcast last year and I still did my Whitetail hunts and a solo backcountry hunt in Colorado in the fall, I refuse to let something like this dissuade me. Ultimately, by my back of the envelope math your chances of being a victim here is infinitesimally small...the author mentions he has researched 1,200 cases for all the disappearances (i.e. includes hikers/campers, more than just hunters) and even if you compare that to just the hunting population that has gone to field over the last 30 years the percentages don't even compute to 0.01%.
In the end, all men get their ticket punched one way or another but not all men experience the awesome adventure of hunting. I absolutely don't want to scare people away from our passion!
the Dyatlov Pass Case i agreed with the narrator assessment. Fire broke out in tent during a bad snow storm There a place in Northwest Colorado they built a monument for someone who perished during a sudden snowstorm. Left camp and got caught in a sudden snow storm totally unprepared for the weather. Found his body in the spring In fact you can leave items in the monument for someone if they ever get caught in a sudden storm.