It’s finally time for a vacation. You’ve been working your butt off and finally booked that AirBnB secluded cabin you’ve had your eyes on for months.
But as the trip approaches, you begin to question some of the intricacies of staying in such a place that you’d never really considered before.
Will you be able to cook in the cabin? Will you need to bring your own sheets? And are there tips for staying safe in such an area?
It’s this last point that we’re going to focus on today.
What are the particulars of self-defense in the boonies that you’re going to want to know?
Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
It’s Not Just People
A few years ago, a relative who lives in the sticks was carrying her toddler into their house late at night. A rabid raccoon attacked them.
She held her toddler up high as she kicked the raccoon repeatedly until they could get inside the house.
The kid was okay, but the mom had to get a series of rabies shots.
While urban environments typically have people as the main threat, in the boonies, you also have to realize you’re sharing space with the animals around you.
Whether we’re talking about bears, skunks, mountain lions, or rabid dogs, you have to be aware that you may not be as alone as you think — and you aren’t always at the top of the food chain.
Case in point, check out my prior article, The Night of the Grizzlies.
But…It’s also People
My intentions here aren’t to terrify you away from such places, they’re awesome, but I have to say that many of the murder stories you hear come out of the sticks are truly bizarre. We’re talking horror movie caliber stuff.
Rural folk are good people. Should they hear that you’re in trouble, they will come running to help.
The problem is that, in many cases, they won’t ever hear you until it’s too late. In my region, it’s not uncommon for it to take 30 minutes before cops can arrive.
Do you have what it takes to keep yourself and your family safe in the interim? Here are a few tips that I believe will help you to do so.
Tips to Stay Safe
Keep Your Weapon on Your Person Outside
You might be working your 55-acre farm when a black bear pops out of the blackberry bushes to your left. Perhaps you’re walking around the property of a secluded AirBnB cabin in the afternoon when a random car pulls up.
Maybe you are on a nearby trail when a mountain lion decides you’re on his lawn.
Any of these situations can happen, and they can happen fast. The fact of the matter is you don’t know what could happen next.
In such an event, you likely won’t have time to retreat to the cabin bedroom, pull your pistol out of the nightstand, and ready yourself.
Should it end up being a nasty situation, do you have what you would need on hand?
(Psst..check out our article on the Best Handguns for Beginners & Home Defense for some guidance.)
Semi-Auto Pistols Are Where It’s At
I’m definitely a revolver fan, and I personally prefer the way they look and feel to a semi-auto. However, semi-auto pistols are your best platform for defense when traveling or staying in the sticks.
You could pack up a truck full of AR-15s, a bag full of mags to your vacation spot — but I’d argue most don’t do that.
Pistols are relatively easy to pack away, conceal, and take with you in the woods.
Additionally, semi-autos offer some distinct advantages.
Need some help picking one? Check out our guide to the Best Concealed Carry Pistols.
Mount a Flashlight to Your Pistol
If you’re going to be out in the sticks, you will be in a lower-light environment compared to the city. There are no streetlights, no cars, and no surrounding apartment buildings. Your surroundings can be incredibly dark.
This is one of the main reasons I think you want a semi-auto rather than a revolver.
It is much more convenient to have a flashlight mounted to your pistol rather than to have to hold a light in one hand and a gun in the other.
An under-barrel mounted light will help to ensure that you always have the means of shedding some light on the situation as well.
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By doing such, there’s no separation from your light source; if you have your pistol, you’re good to go. There’s no fiddling in your purse/pockets for a flashlight, and there’s more control over the weapon.
We have the low-down on pistol lights here!
Look Into Red Dots
Red dots make target acquisition much faster, something that’s of particular benefit in low-light shoots.
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If you are considering adding an optic to your pistol, you don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money; just make sure it has the battery life and durability to sustain itself during some outdoor use.
We walk you through our top picks in the 11 Best Pistol Red Dots article.
Consider Installing Night Sights
I like extra layers of insurance when it comes to this kind of stuff. Stuff happens; batteries run dry, and gear malfunctions. When such is the case, I still want to be able to see the sights on my weapon.
While the majority of engagements are simply point-and-shoot situations, I don’t think anybody would argue with me that it’s comforting to know there are useable sights on your handgun.
In a low-light situation, night sights help to ensure just that.
Be Proficient In Clearing Malfunctions
Should your weapon malfunction, do you have the capability of clearing the jam as you hide behind a woodpile in deep darkness?
This is something I’ve been practicing myself lately, with the aim of becoming more proficient in field stripping and such.
While I personally don’t think the odds of your needing to field strip are high, I do think the ability to clear a malfunction quickly and safely is a necessity — particularly in low-light settings.
For more info, check out our article on common handgun malfunctions and how to clear them.
Lock Your Doors and Windows
This isn’t the 1950s anymore, y’all!
I’ve read a lot of true crime stories, and you’d be surprised at how many cabin murders happen because people had poor security practices. The harder you make it for somebody to break into your boondock residence, the less likely the bad guy is going to stick around.
Returning home to intruders in the living room isn’t fun. Being asleep when intruders walk through the front door isn’t fun, either. So, please, lock all entrances to the house.
At the very least, you’ll buy yourself some time to lock and load, barricade, and call for backup.
We have more tips on better securing your home in 12 Easy Ways to Secure Your Home from Bad Guys.
The point is that things happen, even in the boonies, and you need to be prepared to defend yourself.
Boonie defense is largely the same as home defense, but should I be at home, I’m more liable to reach for an AR-15 than a pistol.
But if you are in a traveling situation, as mentioned above, some of these tips might be useful.
Have you had any strange defense stories? Let us know in the comments below! Vacationing in bear country? Take a look at our article on the Best Bear Defense Guns for Hikers and Backpackers.