There’s nothing more peaceful than spending some time in nature: hiking across a gorgeous mountain, camping next to a clear blue lake and waking up to the sounds of birds chirping alongside the sunrise. The scent of the great outdoors is invigorating! But no matter how well prepared you are for the elements, there will always be some inherent dangers associated with being in the wild…
Outdoorsmen on Reddit have recently been detailing terrifying encounters they’ve had in nature, so we’ve gathered some of their most unsettling stories below. We hope this list won’t deter you from going on that camping trip you’ve been looking forward to, but it may serve as a friendly reminder to always be aware of your surroundings when in the woods.
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Grizzly bear chasing a moose through the middle of our camp. Turns out you can fit about 10 full sized middle aged adults into a kevlar canoe in about .05 seconds.
Image credits: talkytalkerson
Was hiking a medium grade trail with my then 4 year old. About 3 miles in they are tired and want me to carry them. Managed to get another half a mile down the 10 mile loop when suddenly a chill went down my back. The woods went really quiet too.
I told my kiddo I was ready to go home and we’d finish the whole loop another day. Set them on my shoulders and had my head on a swivel. I definitely broke my personal record for walking time getting out.
Found out via local Facebook group a couple days later than a mama mountain Lion and her cub had been spotted by loggers not very far from that area. I never saw a thing, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t see me. It was just a very unsettling feeling.
Image credits: Altril2010
To hear what inspired this conversation in the first place, we reached out to Reddit user Inevitable-Print-702, who posed the question, “Outdoorsmen of Reddit, what’s your most terrifying encounter in the woods?” Lucky for us, he was happy to have a chat with Bored Panda.
“I started this conversation because nature can be both amazing and frightening. I wanted to hear what other people had to say about some of their most frightening experiences in nature,” the OP shared.
I was packing supplies into a shelter on the Long Trail. I was ten or eleven. I got 10 bucks for it each time I did it. I am coming back out and I hear a dog barking. I think
“cool. Someone is hiking with their dog.’
Then I hear another dog bark and another and another until there were about 20 different voices and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck go stiff. They could not have been much more than a couple hundred yards away.
I knew there was no way to avoid or outrun them so I climbed the hearest pine tree I could get to. I was up about 20 feet when this pack of wild dogs arrived and proceeded to circle the tree, occasionally following my scent up the tree trunk. Then they decided to try and wait me out (?). Only one person knew I was packing in and he wasn’t going to be home until 10:30 at night.
So we waited.
All I had was a buck knife and a wrist rocket.
So I made the wait as painful as possible. When I ran out of rocks, I used pine cones. Small green ones. I may have peed on them a few times too.
It was dark when they decided to leave.
I walked home after collecting a handful of stones.
Met my dad on the road going home.
NEVER so glad to crawl into bed.
Image credits: Tyrigoth
Had an over-curious bear climb up the tree I was in during a hunt and man I almost jumped out of the tree. He just wanted to say hi but s**t yo I definitely was scared to death
Image credits: MaximumMajestic
We were also curious how often Inevitable-Print-702 goes venturing into the wild. “I don’t know if I would consider myself an outdoorsman because I don’t get out in nature as much as I would like to because of where I live,” he shared. “But when I do get the chance, I definitely enjoy it!”
And he still has some scary stories to tell. “The most frightening experience for me was when I was walking on a trail and ended up reaching this one path that had about 50-60 banana spiders all bigger than my hands,” he told Bored Panda. “Having to duck and avoid them was enough to make my hairs stand up!”
Had a truck pull into my deserted primitive camping area on national forest land around 2 AM and stop right next to my tent. Now, in context, I was camping alone, this was a designated camping area, and I was the farthest back from the road, a good 200 feet. I had no fire going. Still visible from the road, though. Anyone just wanting to turn around could have done so right at the front. Around 2 AM, this truck comes in, drives all the way back to my tent, and stops right next to it, just sitting there. I could tell the type of vehicle by the silhouette its headlights cast through my tent. There was absolutely NO legitimate reason for anyone to do that.
So I’m there, in my small A-frame tent which I’d made the bad judgement of setting up with its door towards the road (thus providing me no cover to exit), and all I can do is sit there in my tent with my AR15 at the ready, freezing my butt off in 39 degree weather because I had to crawl out of my sleeping bag and was just in my underwear, knowing if they mean harm and there’s more than one person I’m almost certainly dead because I’m a sitting duck. Note: I had the AR15 in the tent with me because it was bear country. Fortunately for me, they probably decided there wasn’t anything worth stealing and left after a few minutes without getting out of their vehicle. All my valuable stuff was locked up in my SUV and all I had visible was some cookware and a small camp stove.
I learned a few things from that. One, get a bigger tent that I can more easily move around in and it’s quicker to get out of, and two, always set your tent up with the door facing away from the road to provide some degree of concealment if you need to exit.
Remember, folks: not all predators walk on four legs. Some walk on two.
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Image credits: WardenWolf
Walking from the dam to my house. Stumbled onto a litter of wild pigs and momma was not impressed. Chased me for about 2kilometers through the trees and waited at the bottom of one that I climbed for over an hour.
Image credits: Euphoric-Use7282
The OP also says that it’s possible for some people to have less frightening experiences than others in the woods, as “there’s always going to be some people who get luckier and have a more pleasant time.”
“However, I do think there is always an inherent danger when going out in nature,” he added. “After all, you’re entering something’s home, so it is important to be safe.”
Hiking in Australia I stepped on a common brown snake. Felt something squishy under foot and bolted like a m**********r. If the snake had decided to strike would have been a 30 minute countdown.
Image credits: bringdaruckus1128
When I was like 14 I was hunting deer with my dad and heard a weird sizzle. I heard 2 more and my dad screamed at me to get down. It was the sound of another hunter shooting in our direction. He hadn’t seen us despite the orange. I will never forget that sound. It’s a very different experience being on the other end of the bullet.
Image credits: Post-Scarcity-Pal
Inevitable-Print-702 shared that he found the responses to his post fascinating. “I didn’t expect the conversation to take off like it did, but seeing everyone’s stories and responses was very intriguing. It was awesome to hear the stories, but it further reaffirmed my belief that you must remain vigilant when going into nature.”
“I think it was interesting that most of the frightening responses included other people,” he continued. “For example, a lot of the stories included random strange men just wandering. Also, one that stuck out was someone saying they saw a severed ear on a trail. That definitely fits the description of a frightening experience in the outdoors.”
I got a couple that all vie for top place. This is one of my favorites to tell…Now.
Some of you may remember that back in 2014 a man named Eric Frein ambushed two Pennsylvania State Troopers, killing one, before fleeing into the woods, armed and intent to cause trouble, and beginning an almost 50 day manhunt in the wet forests of eastern Pennsylvania.
That part of Pennsylvania is beautiful but treacherous land. It’s rolling, gentle hills with thickets of scrub and hidden bogs. There are a million swamps to traverse, and some of those hills are secretly just piles of shale waiting to slide out from your feet. The tree cover is dense, and you cannot walk a straight line for fifty feet. Mr. Frein knew this land well, you see, and it’s why he dodged a massive manhunt for about six weeks, often teasing the trackers and their dogs. He laid traps, stored weapon caches, and generally relived Rambo: First Blood but with way less fighting.
I was working as a wetland scientist scouting out a proposed path for a natural gas pipeline through that land…in the middle of the manhunt. In the very same forests Mr. Frein hid in. So we were in the woods being stopped by search teams, buzzed by helicopters, and, in all likelihood, crossing old trails laid by Mr. Frein himself. When the pipe bomb traps hit the news, I spent every moment scanning the forest floor for tripwires. It was a frightening experience at odds with that land in early autumn: the bushes in the swamp started to turn firery red while the leaves went orange and yellow. The air is crisp and there’s enough green for it to stand out. Everything is covered in a light mist in the morning that burns off by lunchtime, and the sun is clear and warm. There is nothing so off putting as standing in radiant beauty believing you are in absolute peril.
I had to “clear the perimeter” when i was in the army out bush on training exercise. Was my turn that one sunny morning. Had to clear a bit further this time. Into the dry creek bed. Crawled under some scrub and looked up. Was surrounded by a s**t load of orb spiders who had webbed the entire area in the creek bed. I slowly crawled backwards and reported it clear.
The corporal thought i was taking the p**s because i was quick. He went himself and confirmed no enemies. Agreed with me that the creek bed was indeed “f****d”
Image credits: scotty899
Finally, the OP added that “outdoors can be both amazing and scary. I believe that everyone should experience nature and it’s beauty, but they should also remember to be safe.”
Enjoy reading through these stories, pandas, and then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda list discussing terrifying things people have witnessed in real life, look no further than right here!
Slipped and tumbled backwards head over heels down a rock face. There was about a twenty foot drop after that but I got wedged in between a tree and the rock face. Ended up walking away with just a couple bruises.
Another time in the Sierra Nevadas I fell through a hole that was covered in snow. My rifle stopped me from falling straight through and I yelled for help. When I was getting pulled out all I saw was a black hole beneath me that covered in snow again. No idea how deep it was or if anyone would have heard me if I just poofed through the snow into a crevasse.
Image credits: COCKBLOKALYPSE
A man walking his dog – naked
Image credits: angelicdollface
When i was 10 or 11, I was sitting at the top of a burm alone overlooking a beautiful valley, I must have sat there for a few minutes in the tall grass soaking it up, I panned my head to the left slowly and roughly 75 meters away, I could see the ears, eyes and snout of a cougar sitting in the grass, looking right back at me. I darted back to safety as fast as I could, but when I got there I realized that the cougar didn’t give chase, it must have just been soaking up the scenery as well.
Image credits: KibblesNBitxhes
I’ve told this story before, but when I was a kid there was a creek in the woods near my Grandparent’s house that I would hike to and play in. One day I climbed the berm next to the creek and saw a woman with long black hair wearing a white dress just kneeling over the water and staring into it. I hid behind the berm and just watched for a minute. Right as I was about to turn around and leave she suddenly stood up and screamed. Not a “Trying to scare this kid” scream, but more like a “Uh oh, I’m currently being burned alive” scream.
In response I promptly s**t my pants and booked it back to my Grandparent’s house. According to people on reddit I saw “La Llarona,” a ghost of a woman who lost her kids to drowning or something. I think it’s much more likely that it was a crackhead living in the middle of the woods somewhere (those woods were notorious for being home to a few drug labs and popular body dumping sites.)
Paranormal or not, still scared the s**t out of me and I never went to that creek alone again.
Image credits: SugoiBakaMatt
Man I don’t even go out that often but the one time I do I found a severed ear on a hiking path
Image credits: hausenbergerdorff
The woods in Sweden is not exatly known for dangerous animals. Sure there are brown bears, lynxes, elks and boars, but nothing realy to be affraid of especiall not near urban areas.
So I was out in the forest looking for mushrooms when suddenly all of my field of view was filled with something black screaming like a deamon from hell.
Turn out a western capercaillie (fairly big bird) was hiding under bush near the path, and got scared an flew away when i got to close.
Image credits: dankoman
Face to face with a cougar while making my way to the deer stand. I had to check my drawers afterwards.
Image credits: otcconan
I was on a month-long canoeing trip though the sub-arctic tundra. I was looking for a good place to set up my tent, I hadn’t realized I had just accidently stumbled within 10 meters or so of a massive Caribou bull and two cows
We all just stared at each other for a minute or so, then they ran off.
Image credits: Drach88
I was hiking alone in Northern Italy, although I knew severe thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. I figured I could get up and down the mountain (Grigna Meridionale) before 1pm and wait out the storms in the bar by my campsite. Instead, I got caught out in the open, thunder and lightning all around me, and I had to cling to a shrub while what I am sure was a weak tornado passed overhead.
The wind became deafening, the trees and shrubs all bent one way towards the ground, then after about 10 seconds they turned and bent the other way towards the ground, all while I was holding on for dear life getting totally soaked by the horizontal rain.
There was a major tornado that day in Bergamo from the same setup, so it’s not impossible that I had been caught in a spinup. 100% thought I was going to die.
Bullets whizzing over my head. Some smooth brains were target shooting in the middle of an established hiking trail. Wasn’t a one off experience either!
Image credits: _old_relic_
Partner and I set off for a weekend camping trip in the Rocky Mountains after work on a Friday. Late start, so we didn’t get to the road we were looking to camp off of until late. It was getting dark, we found a cleared area, parked my Jeep and hastily set up our 2.5 person tent, threw in our sleeping arrangements and dog, and hopped in the tent for the night.
We were playing a board game sitting cross legged around 9p when something swiped at the back of my head through the tent wall. We panicked a bit, used remote start on the car to scare whatever it was off. I tried to convince myself and my partner that it was a falling stick. There was no wind and we were in a clearing.
The next morning we came to discover that we were about 10 feet from a half eaten deer in a mountain lion’s pantry.
I got pet on the head by a mountain lion. Mind you I’m well above average height and this kitty was taller than me sitting down!
There was this trail I followed regularly from a bus stop a few miles through fairly remote forrests on the way to a cabin. It was a nice secluded hike. Not particularly difficult – just nice.
Well, this one time I followed the trail just about a week after I did it last time. I knew it well and could easily navigate it in the middle of the night.
Well, this time an entire f*****g MOOSE skeleton is right there on the path, in the middle of nowhere. It is just white bonesband nothing else.
It was freaky as hell because it hadn’t been there like 10 days earlier. That big fuucker had somehow ended up there. Did it die and decompose that quickly? Did somebody/ something move it there?
I have got exactly no idea how that thing ended up there and it still kind if freaks me out.
Image credits: KaffeMumrik
1. Shot a buck with my bow right at last light. Fell within sight and immediately a pack of coyotes started howling. I’m not really scared of yotes so I got down and guarded my deer while someone else went to get a fourwheeler. I figured they’d keep their distance, but they ended up howling and circling me close enough that I could see their shadows in the dark for a good 45 minutes until the fourwheeler arrived. They probably weren’t more than 20 feet from me at times.
2. Had a bear climb up into my treestand with me. Came within 2 or 3 inches of boots and started sniffing them. He wasn’t scared of me at all, but eventually he got down and walked away. Met him in the dark on my way out too.
Image credits: Ok_Button1932
I was all dressed up in a ghillie photographing bee-eaters and then some little boar piglets start getting near me sniffing at me. 10 seconds later I hear a very loud noise and the mom was running towards me. I left there my camera and climbed the nearby tree faster than a monkey. I stayed up there like an airborne turd half afternoon.
Image credits: Ares982
A grown man taking a s**t, when I was maybe 8-9. He was squatting in the trees off the trail, dressed in business casual. We made eye contact, he looked absolutely terrified, and I turned and started walking away. For some reason, he said, “Wait!”
I did not wait and took off running.
He might’ve been some kind of pervert with a sinister post-dump plan, but I think he just panicked and probably didn’t know why he said that. I like to imagine him fleeing through the woods, watching for the police and thinking, “why the hell did I tell him to wait???”
Image credits: FoldedaMillionTimes
We were on a two family camping trip and one by one everyone was coming down with a stomach flu. It didn’t get to me until the last day we were there. We were out shooting at targets when it hit me. Hard. Obviously no bathroom where we were so had to make due with a log. Floodgates opened and diarrhea everywhere. Then I felt a sharp pain in my leg. Then another one. I stood up, and realized I’d sat on a log with a wasp’s nest in it. Got stung 5-6 times in addition to having the runs and later throwing up too.
Image credits: scottwax
Watched a 400 lb 6ft. Grizzly walk past me about 12 ft away. Scratched his a*s on a tree for 10 seconds and walked off. Also lived in Yosemite saw bears coyotes and mountain lions a bunch.
Image credits: Signal-Priority2136
I one time got attacked by a Turkey when me and my buddies were in the woods playing barbarians.
We had make shift weapons (rocks taped to sticks and spears and stuff)
Well we were making pretend we were fighting other people (maybe 10 years old)
And all the sudden in the bushes comes out a Turkey. Masssssive Turkey.
It started flying at us with its talons toward us.
Petrified we ran as fast as we could but it kept like half flying and getting next to us.
One of my buddies was pinned behind a tree/ rock and the Turkey was closing on him.
We decided to attack it for real.
Smashed it as hard as we could in the neck and head with our spears and rock sticks, it did absolutely nothing.
It pissed it off far more. My buddy got out from behind the rock and tree blocking him from us and we ran like the wind.
The sounds the Turkey made as it chased us still haunts me.
Once we got to a backyard luckily a dog started barking at the Turkey and it turned around.
Must have had babies or something it was protecting. We were just lucky it wasn’t in a big pack of turkeys…
Now I appreciate thanksgiving much more so than before.
My dad was a professional land surveyor and I would work for him on weekends or during the summer. We were doing some work in a large conservation area, and had parked the truck in a wide path that was supposed to be only open to environmental police and such, but there was obviously illegal dumping.
We were going back to the truck for lunch, and when we stepped out onto the path near the truck, it was surrounded by at least half a dozen bikers who had broken the driver side window and thrown all the gear out looking for stuff to steal.
We were about 50′ ft from them, and it felt like hours of silence when one of them said to the others “he saw us, they can identify us….”.
I was 11 or 12, I don’t really remember, but I was old enough to know what he was insinuating. My dad stepped in front of me, made a gesture with his hand that was holding his machete (a common tool for land surveyors), and said “we didn’t see anything, we’re just working”.
Now, I know for a fact my dad was capable of hurting people (even his own kids) and he could f****n SCRAP. After a loooong pause, they backed away, got on their bikes and left.
My dad had us pack up only the important/expensive gear – stakes and property bounds stayed – and drove us out of there in the other direction. I’ve never seen him be that reckless with a truck, before or after. With we got to a nearby convenience store my body and mind completely drained of adrenaline and I f*****g lost it. I couldn’t even stand. I couldn’t believe those people were going to f****n kill us just because we caught them breaking into our car, but they absolutely were.
My dad was a s**t person, he was abusive and mentally ill. But there were a few times he showed he didn’t hate me, and that was one of them.
My dad and I went backpacking a few years back. We got to the trailhead later than we had planned and decided we were going to start the hike anyways. 4 hours later the sun is going down and we still had over an hour left till we got to a suitable site to drop down.
We’re now hiking in the dark with our headlamps when we here a low growl 20 or so feet off the trail from us. Then we heard something large moving through the underbrush and trees. We both looked at eachother and basicly ran up the trail as best we could in the dark on a rocky hill. It was 15 min before we stopped to catch our breaths.
Never saw it but hearing it so close by gave me a shot of primal fear that I didn’t know I had.
Image credits: kazariklightborn
When I was younger I went to a state park with my family, there’s a fairly large hiking trail up a hill that leads to a cave. Well me being a child I thought they were taking too long, so I took off up the trail into the woods, ended up losing the trail and screaming for help for a good 20 minutes. I fully convinced myself that I could survive for at least two days, build a shelter, and catch some food. I’m glad they found me before I set up camp. Another time I had just woken up from my first night on a camping trip and decided to walk to the lake. About 5 minutes into my walk I look to my left and see 5 wild boars about 20 yards from me, that was possibly scarier than the first in incident.
Image credits: NaturalResponsible75
Outdoorswoman here, ish, lol. I use the term lightly.
When I was in my early 20s, my friends and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to go night hiking through some woods said to be haunted. It was a very very very old town that died out due to some illness, I believe the rumors said tuberculosis. You can walk the horse path and there are stone foundations on either side of you. Really neat, actually. You were supposed to be able to hear children laughing and dancing in the trees, apparently.
Yeah, didn’t hear any children laughing, but I did record our whole hike.
That night, going over the footage with a friend of mine on his TV, he told me to stop and rewind. I did, and we must have rewound that thing 30 times.
There was a face peaking behind trees following us. Not a human face, a weird…. Gremlin type face, distorted. Large sunken eyes and a flat nose, pointy chin. We thought we were seeing things, but we watched it so many times, adjusted the brightness and contrast on his TV.
Sure as s**t.
Never went back.
I used to go running with my dad a lot. We almost always brought our dog, because we would be running through fields and woods and stuff like that and there were no people or cars around, so we always let her run without a leash.
At about a quarter of the distance there is a little river crossing the track with a sloping riverside path. The doggie loved to run ahead and jump straight in the water. On this day however, we did not hear the usual splashing sounds so we went a little faster.
Well, we found the dog on the riverside path, with her nose deep between the buttcheeks of a completely naked man, who happened to take his no less naked female acquaintance in missionary there.
Looks of mutual horror were thrown around until my dad called back our dog and we continued running while pretending that nothing has happened.
I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again.
I’ve encountered bears, snakes, moose, and recently a bobcat. But I never felt terror like I did when I was a kid.
I was at a beach in Juneau with my parents and sister when I was very young, it was a nice day the river was blue and so was the sky for once. A bunch of families with small children and babies were out just barbqueing. We were walking along the beach toward the picnic area and I heard a baby crying in the woods.
I learned about Kooshdakhaa and Wendigo and other stories about things mimicking people at school. But at the time it didn’t cross my mind that it was odd nobody else was concerned about this crying child. So my stupid a*s let’s my family walk ahead and I go into the woods.
I didn’t get very far when I centered in on the sound, I could still see the beach from the trees. I didn’t see a baby or kid on the ground anywhere, but I heard the sound again and looked up at a tree. It was a goddamn raven sitting there making baby noises.
A different raven swooped at me from the side and knocked my hat off and I took off running back to my parents. Later, the only thing I could think of as to why they did that was my hat was neon pink with sparkly sequins on it and they wanted the sequins. Scared the s**t outta me then and still creeps me out to think about.
While on horseback came across a deer carcass. Horse was spooked and about 30 yards away saw a grizzly stand up…… Felt my heart pumping hard
Image credits: Quiet-Cancer
I had a 10+ gator try to roll my skiff and it wasnt just once. He was pretty relentless.
Image credits: Tink2013
Fishing in Belle River, Louisiana with my cousin.
Heard a “plop”.
A Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth) fell off a tree limb right into the boat. Luckily my cousin grabbed a boat paddle and a well aimed slap shot sent it into the water. That just pissed it off so it stuck up out the water about a foot and started towards the boat, so we decided to find a different fishing spot.
I assume it fell out the tree but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did it on purpose because those particular snakes are a******s.
Decided to hike up Mt Warning (Qld, Aus) at about 10pm at night with my girlfriend. We were planning to hike up through the night which was about 3-4 hours, camp and smoke weed at the top and then catch the sunrise. Foolishly, we were hiking with a single torch and an iPhone light. About half way up and it’s pitch black, really quiet super creepy. We decide to have a break and take a seat on a log to chill. Out of nowhere we see a light way below us on the mountain side. It looked like a head lamp. Ok so maybe some else is hiking up in the middle of the night? Kind of freaked but whatever, we push on. For the next hour or so I would keep checking behind us and catching this light tracking behind us in and out of the tree line. We finally get to the summit which turns into a scramble and make it to the top. There is a platform up there so we set up and relax. I’m kind sketching out, the weed isn’t helping, but looking around expecting someone else to show up but no one came. We unpack sleeping bags, eat some food and no off to sleep. I woke up about 4am as the sky started to brighten up and find backpack gone with all out stuff in sprawled out across the platform. It was dead silent and just super eerie to wake up to. Anyways we both freaked, grabbed our stuff and basically ran back down the mountain.
Came across two grizzly bears in Montana.
Also bumped into a huge bison the same day he just ignored me thankfully and the bears. Not something I’d have ever come across as I live in Ireland so I was pretty scared
Hiking in Colorado through some old train tunnels with a friend, not far off from a fairly populated area. The train tunnels were fascinating, blasted out of mountain with some quite long/requiring headlamps, but definitely wouldn’t want to be there alone. We eventually dead-ended so backtracking the way we came. As we exited one tunnel, there was a severed deer head in the middle of the path that wasn’t there the first time we walked through. Not a recent kill, but still fully fleshed. On our way in to the area, there were some tents that were clearly used by homeless individuals maybe 150 yards off the path.
We took it as a clear sign we weren’t welcome and needed to leave immediately.
In the 90s, I was on a week-long backpacking trip with my uncle in the Colorado high-country. He was a professional rock climbing-trail guide at the time, so he knew his stuff while off-the-grid.
The second day in, we were following some old trail that hadn’t been groomed in years, and came across the outskirts of some random commune deep in the woods. We knew there were people there because we could see campfires and laughing/talking in the distance.
My uncle immediately freaks out, tells me to keep quiet, and then made us back track nearly five miles, and then around. It was the first and only time I’ve actually seen him panic off-the-grid.
Afterward, he lectured me that it was some kind of small sect or cult that had a rep for being very territorial in the area at the time, and was known to shoot at trespassers without provocation.
I was camping in northern Minnesota at a large boy scout camp. We stayed in these large canvas old school military tents with large door flaps. One night/ early morning a bear wandered in and sat down outside our tent with his rump right on the door flap. My tent partner and I could see the bear outline and hear him as he was chillin. We were mortified just looking at each other, completely silent. We were maybe 11 or 12.
He eventually wandered off/ was scared off. Older scouts and adult leaders scared it off eventually but man that was a tense moment.
Backpacking in Oregon a couple years ago. My dog found a black bear cub in a tree and ran over to it, very interested. The mom noticed and wasn’t happy. I called my dog back to me and the mom started following my dog. I wasn’t sure if mama bear was going to teach us a lesson or not, so those dozens of seconds before she turned around back to her cub felt like an eternity.
It’s not terrifying but very spooky. A few years ago, my brother and I went backpacking in the central Cascades in Washington. We climbed up into this little valley nestled off the PCT. If you don’t know how to get into it, you wouldn’t know it was there. We are the only ones in the valley, and we know this because we hiked the valley after setting up camp. That night, I could hear the sounds of guitars and singing throughout the night. The next morning, I asked my brother, and he admitted he heard it too. We both figured it was the way the wind carried sounds of the waterfall across the valley. It still was haunting, though. Went there last summer and did not have a repeat of that music.
Image credits: PumpkinGlass1393
On a trail in the Angeles National Forest with a friend, about a mile in we hadn’t seen anyone else since we entered. While rounding what we thought would be a secluded corner my friend pulled out a joint and went to light up, the noise of the lighter sparking caused something up the trail to turn around quickly… I couldn’t tell what it was right away because the lighting was dappled from trees above and it was colored the same as the trail and rock.
I grabbed my friends arm and quietly said stop, stand up, don’t turn around, walk backwards slowly… about 30 feet in front of us was a cougar. Easily bigger than any dog I’ve ever seen, save a great dane or bernese, but the musculature on it was otherworldly compared to any dog. It wasn’t crouched like it was going to come for us, it was turned halfway with it’s back arched, the way a housecat sizes up another housecat before they fight.
We backed up staring at the thing for what felt like forever, but was only probably 3-4 seconds before it realized we weren’t coming towards it anymore and turned tail. It bounded up what I thought was a sheer 20-foot cliff with such ease it made my mind truly spin at the power of nature and thankful I wasn’t asked to test it. We speed-walked back to the trail head with our heads on such a swivel they rightly should have popped off.
I’ve had several but the one that scared me the most happened when I was a kid. There was a railroad track behind our house, a small patch of woods, then a road with a larger patch of woods on the other side. Anyway, I used to go out and play in the smaller patch of woods by myself and nobody else ever went out there. Not other kids, nobody. It was like my little sanctuary where I could get away for a while and escape.
One day I was sitting on this little hill just daydreaming when I heard something moving through the woods to my left. It sounded like a person, but like someone who was trying to walk quietly. I had a strong feeling someone was trying to sneak up on me so I slowly stood up and looked off to my left to get a better view. Sure enough, a man was walking through the woods toward me and I noticed that he was stopped. Like he was trying to make as little noise as possible.
Well I was a kid and could run fast. So I got out of there quick and was practically in my back yard before he could take another step. I can still remember he was an older man wearing a blue windbreaker and I had a strong feeling that he had seen me in the woods before, maybe when driving down the road or walking on the track.
I still think he had gone in the woods that day to try to track me down and had very bad intentions if he would have caught me. I never mentioned it to my parents or anything but I just had a strong gut feeling that I narrowly escaped a bad situation that day.
A tie between two events.
First one I was venturing deep in the woods when I came across what I can only describe as a shanty town. The entire time I was there, I felt like I was being watched. So I waltzed on out of there as fast as I could lol.
Second one was when I stumbled on a black bear. I still don’t know how we didn’t hear each other but he was on the other side of a thicket when I walked passed it and spotted him. Fortunately for me, he was a scaredy cat, and he scrambled off when he saw me. Still scared the s**t out of me
Was in the Grampians,Victoria, Australia, rock climbing, searching for new climbs on the northern side to be exact. Came across a man at his caravan with a 44 on the table and a s**t load of green trees. Exchanged hello’s and I told him I’d go looking for climbs on the south side… turned around and walked out. Felt like I had a gun pointed at the back of my head.
Out camping. I was off foraging and finding kindling when I got a sense I was being watched. I felt a little off so I readied my hatchet. I couldn’t see what set me off, but I kept it in one hand while I got rest of my kindling. When I got back to camp I saw my site all messed up and several big claw marks on the tree I’d hung my food from. The food bag was still hanging there. I figured a bear or mountain lion was digging through my camp. My danger sense was still going, but I didn’t have the day light to get back to my car. I set my fire and kept myself ready for a fight. I prepped some alarm traps with a bit of 550 cord and my tent stakes. I improvised a hammock out of my tent tarp and the shredded remains of my tent. I used every last bit of cordage I had prepping for the night. The makeshift hammock was pretty comfy and where I positioned it I got a decent amount of heat from the fire. I think I dozed a few times in the night, but any stick crack or pop woke me up. At some point in the dark, my fire was low and I heard one of my alarm traps get set off. It sounded like the rope got tangled with an animal because it kept going a bit longer than I expected. My adrenaline kicked in and I jumped from my hammock in my camp shoes and made a bunch of noise like the hulk. Hatchet and camp knife in hands I rush the edge of my camp on the alarmed side and I heard the cans from my alarm travel away. Whatever it was, their element of surprise was ruined. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night and just kept an eye on my fire and the tree line. At dawn I did a quick recon and salvaged my traps. The one was missing as I suspected. I only searched a few yards around, but figured it was a lost cause. I packed up and hiked back to my car.
The scariest part was not knowing what was out there. Maybe if I would have seen it Ii would have been able to rationalize the situation, but that was the last time I camped alone without a rifle.
Outdoorswoman. Was hiking and came across a man riding a cruiser fully in the nude. Like no pants, no shirt. Nothing. He saw me approach, hopped off his bike and scurried off the trail for a moment. He came back (still pantsless but now wearing a shirt) and took off back into the trail. I didn’t want to keep going but it was the only way I could go.
Met a wild hog on a path one day. You know, leathery, angry, four-legged murder-tanks? I stopped, stayed completely still and silent, and it just looked at me, then went on.
I had no gun on me. Didn’t even have anything in the truck worth shooting at it. Went out there to do some fishing with naught but a .22 revolver for decapitating rattlesnakes. So glad it wasn’t feeling murdery that day.
I was backcountry camping in Yosemite (between half-dome and Cloud’s Rest) with some friends. Meaning we had regular tents/sleeping bags far out on the hiking trails away from the village. Sleeping around the fire pit were 2 tents and one guy in a [bivy sack](https://www.rei.com/media/5e6b8bba-584c-4c3e-8dbe-f75640da220d.jpg?size=784×588) (it’s like a bag your sleeping bag goes in to protect you from mosquitos or dew).
Around 6am just as the sun was coming up I was awoken to the sound of soft but heavy foot steps and heavy breathing outside of my tent. I then heard heavy sniffing from the direction of where I had propped my backpack up against a tree. Then the sniffing stopped, and in front of my tent entrance I saw a 3ft tall 250+ pound black bear walk over to the firepit and start sniffing the pit.
It was probably about 10feet from the entrance to my tent.
After about 30 seconds of sniffing the pit, the bear walked over to my friend who’s snoring away, on his back, face up, in his bivy sack, and began to sniff my friend’s chest and face. The bear’s nose was about 5inches from my friend’s face. All the while my friend was still sleeping. I knew if I made noise to scare the bear, there’s a chance I could wake up my friend, which would in turn startle the bear and then my friend might not have a face, if you get my drift.
After about 30seconds of sniffing my friend, the bear plodded off to where we had our bear canister wedged in a tree and knocked it about 50feet down the trail (it never opened it).
1. I saw a caiman eating a dog.
2. I nearly pissed myself out in the mountains, because I was listening to music taking pictures for tinder. And in-between songs I hear a rattling sound. Lo and behold behind me in the tree I was using for shade was a timber rattler very pissed off that I’m standing 2 ft away from em.
I live in a more rural part of Germany so one night when I was riding my bike back home after I went swimming I encountered a wolf. I got rather scared so I just drove to a farm that I knew and waited there for my parents to come pick me up while I got a hot cocoa from the people there.
I should maybe add that I was 15 at the time and knew the people at that farm because they’re our closest neighbours (but still 2 or so km away from our farm)
Canoe river trip, one I’ve done many times before. On a 1.25 mile portage through woods. Only a few miles from a town with a motel-taxidermy as the main place to stay. Group of kids show up on trail out of the woods. See me and go back in. They moved silently through the forest. Deliverance vibes all around. Moped out of there.
When I was maybe 11 or 12 I did this survival camp out with the Boy Scouts where weed build our own shelter and sleep in it over night and I couldn’t stop sleep walking and waking up pretty far from the campsite this happened maybe 5 times that night some times it was just out side the shelter sometimes it was completely off site and it was really hard to find my way back
Charged by a huge cottonmouth moccasin in the shallow waters of a lake. It was nesting season for mocs so obviously a female. Mocs are very aggressive and territorial.
I once saw a bear kill a moose pretty close to me
Not really out in the wild, but: I did pools in Phx, going up to cave creek, I consistently ran into lynx, bobcats, javelinas, and rattlesnakes. 2 lynx, sitting on the pool eq wall. Bobcats liked to wander around and slowly stare you down as they slowly amble away. A javelina pack where the old sow stood in front of me as the pack and little ones walked past. Rattlesnakes? Everywhere. Nests of them under houses or in the pool eq area. If you saw a straight stick, early in the morning, on the road.. it wasn’t. It’s a rattler.
I called an elk to camp.
Was camping with my family in our luxury camp kit( I have 3 types of camp kit). This one has a blow up mattress. I blow it up with an accordion style raft pump. This pump makes what’s best described as an elk mating bugle. This is no cell service deep in the woods type of camping. It was also rut season. Sitting around the camp fire after wife daughter and dog went to bed, I heard a large creature about 50’ from me. Never saw it but the mass and noise makes me think I called an elk from across the valley.
Wife’s sister and boy friend flew into town and they wanted to go camping. Was driving down a very rough road quickly (vehicle is modified and I enjoy off-roading) to an awesome campsite that has a bluff to sunrise and sunset with one road in and out. Again very deep in the woods. Everyone was falling asleep on the drive so nobody else saw. Driving down the road the largest cinnamon bear I’ve ever seen jumped in front of my 4runner ran 100 yards then ducked out. We were maybe 1/4 mile from where I planned to camp. Bear was the size of my 4runner from the windshield forward (guessing 1200+ lb). We did not camp where I planned. I’m comfortable with bear while I camp as they are usually 6-700 lb black bear and I have safe guards to fight that off. Not this bear, I could double my mace and guns and still wouldn’t mess with that guy.
Saw a puma chase and catch a rabbit. The poor rabbit’s noises were terrifying.
Image credits: flying-pineapple27
4am walking to my deer blind a female was screaming my name over and over, the closest house is a good 10 miles in any direction,I’m not well known in that area,and there’s no way my dad not only knew which spot I was hunting that day nor woke my mother(the complete opposite of a light sleeper and morning person) to beat me to my spot and beat me back with a cold car