Hunting Alone and Feeling Good About It

Last year I started hunting alone for the first time.  It was amazing, so much freedom, peace and quiet, and big country.  As a woman hunting alone, sometimes it felt a little too big and I wondered - how do I keep myself, and my stuff, safe?  I drive my ATV to a good spot to walk in, then leave it there and hike into the backcountry.

Being in the backcountry alone means I have no one to watch my back.  I hunt big game - mule deer and elk here in Utah, so I always have my rifle.  There's more than the deer family out there though - the ranches where I hunt also have black bear and mountain lions, along with a few other hunters.

I grew up in a hunting family, and my dad was a law enforcement agent, so I grew up with guns in the house.  My dad also taught Hunter Safety, so the 4 Commandments of firearm safety were drilled into me:

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
  2. Always keep the muzzle of your gun pointed in a safe direction
  3. Be sure of your target, and beyond
  4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot

This kind of safety is second nature to me, but what about the other factors?

For mountain lions and bear, I do several things.  First, I stop often and listen.  When I stop, I look.  Not for a bear or mountain lion, but for something out of place.  That's how I spot any animal.  I don't really look for the animal, just something that looks like it's not a bush, or a tree, or grass.  Something a little out of place. 

Second, I wear my pack, even if I don't need much of anything.  I figure if a mountain lion decides I look like lunch and goes for the back of my neck as they like to do, I'll have a fighting chance with my pack on. 

Third, I carry a handgun.  A powerful handgun!  If I do need to defend my life, It'll be easier to grab my handgun out of my pocket than it will be to shoulder my rifle, especially at close range.

With all that said, I worry about other humans much more than I worry about either a bear or a mountain lion.  For hunting purposes I wear plenty of blaze orange and just hope and pray that there's no one around who thinks it's a good idea to shoot at a sound or movement in the brush.  I ALWAYS wear a blaze orange hat of some kind, even if just a bandana.

Which leaves me with my ATV.  I love that thing.  It's brand new, and I would be heartbroken if someone took it while I was hunting, or sleeping.  Sometimes I bring a trailer and hunt for a few days.  My ATV has to stay outside.  Of course I have the key, but what if someone took it anyway?

That's when I rely on my LightBug Zero.  I have it hidden away in a secret spot - and no, I'm not telling you where it is.  LOL!  I have peace of mind that even if it's taken, I can get it back.  And that's that - safety in hand.

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