Stalking - watch where you're going:
My pseudonym is no longer Xring. Just call me Spider Bait. I do believe
there is not a
single living spider in Mineral County West Virginia that DIDN'T bite me in the last two
weeks. This must be how spiderman started....Goochman, what's a sniper trainee to do?
Next thing I know I'll be spitting on my food and waiting for it to disolve before I eat it...
Scott Powers <email@example.com>
USA - Monday, September 21, 1998 at 10:11:48 (EDT)
Seriously though Scott you bring up a good point. If you guys are
just getting into the field
craft side of this buisness be damn careful to know the critters and fauna in your AO and
take action to protect yourself. You run into a lot of situations on your belly not normally
encountered when you are on two legs. Between heat casualties, critters and poisonous
plants I've probably had about a dozen serious incidents with students since I've been in
this buisness. Although a rare example, I nearly crawled on top of a "dud" M203 HE round
on Okinawa once. Watch where you are going.
Sherwood, AR USA - Wednesday, September 23, 1998 at 21:45:14 (EDT)
Spider Bait - Next time spread sulfur powder around your belt line,
cuffs, and collar! If you
can find old Lindaine powder, it even works better. Second choice is Lindaine cream (Crab
cream). Put it on the clothes, NOT the skin. You may experience odd neurologic signs if
you leave it on the skin for very long.
Fayetteville, NC USA - Wednesday, September 23, 1998 at 23:11:43 (EDT)
On the note of bumping into buggers in the weeds as Scott was talking
about. One little
thing that might come in handy for the occasion is one of the little bottles of pepper-spray.
Make sure that you get the good stuff. Also see if you can get the ones with the twist-lock
top so not to discharge during field operations. Granted, it won't help much with spiders
and such, but for the bigger pests, it beats firing a shot and giving your position away!
O.P., IL. USA - Thursday, September 24, 1998 at 16:58:20 (EDT)
D*mn Gooch, you are not going to let that Spider Bait thing go! I can not Wait to see you on Rod's porch, ducking and dodging that nasty eight legged yellow thing that looks like it can eat a full grown sheppard! Then we shall see who is Spider Bait! ;-)
Good thing I did not tell you about the flock of 32 turkey's I scared up on my first stalk at SMTC in '97. I can just imagine what moniker you'd come up with for me!!!
Ah, what a great seguay (even if I can not spell the word!). Back to field craft!!! How does one avoid scaring up the local fauna when in unknown terrain? This particular instance was a good object lesson. Thick briers, visibility limited to the next bush, terrain rolling. We had no idea that the flock was in the AO till they walked out of the bush in front of the observers. The Observers never saw us but they sure are hell knew we were there. So lets hear it folks, what are the options? (Al from NY, I know you are thinking NAPALM but that ain't one of them!) Hint: how slow can you go?
USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 19:48:22 (EST)
To: Scott (xring)
RE: Staying unfound by critters during a sneak.
Having found myself in this predicament over the years, I would say that varying circumstances will dictate a sneaker's chances of being compromised by the local animals while on a stalk.
Many times, I have found myself pinned down by various animals while on the stalk or in a hasty hide. What happens depends alot on the animal that pins me. Turkeys may or may not scatter like mad. It depends on how badly they were spooked. If they just "walk" away, as you described in your post, and show no signs of agitation or fear, and remain in a fairly orderly flock, and just feed their way away from you, they don't act as a giveaway to your location. The key is to FREEZE at the first sight or sound of turkeys (or anything else)and hope they haven't spotted you first. Actually, turkey behavior, if it is something less than their panic level, will probably give a hidden sniper away less than a deer. Deer are notorious for standing and staring and stomping and snorting at something they can't positively identify, but aren't spooked enough by the object to run. And don't think for a minute deer can't smell that burlap! Also, turkeys can be calmed down a bit if they are not spooked too badly by doing some soft clucks or purrs to them if they are in your vicinity. Yes, I know this sounds counter to the sniper's discipline of no noise, but if you are about to be compromised by a bunch of turkeys, and the consequence of that compromise is meeting your maker, I'm gonna do something right quick to make the turkeys feel and look as unconcerned as possible. Anyway, a flock of turkeys moving and feeding in an area where turkeys are known to move and feed may not arouse any suspicion. It all depends on HOW they move. The animals and birds that give a sniper away much more than deer or turkeys are the little critters: songbirds, rabbits, grouse, pheasants, crows, groundhogs (depending on the time of year), all the things that are hard or impossible to see until you spook them. Ever see a groudhog when he is spooked while it is out in the middle of a lush, green field feeding? It becomes a brown streak in that greenery as it zips back to its hole. Nothing could indicate something amiss any more than a spooked 'chuck. AND, they like to have their holes inside fencerows, treelines, under some sort of cover, the same places a sniper would use to move through an otherwise open terrain. Watch out for ground grizzlies! Ever see crows scatter out of a stand of evergreens when they were spooked, or hear them mob something they didn't like the looks of? Nothing makes more racket! Anyway, bottom line is, if a sniper badly spooks an animal or bird on his final sneak through an observed area in hostile territory, said sniper is most likely SCR*WED.
PA USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 22:08:14 (EST)
I have run into many critters over the years. Probably the most interesting was a pack Coyotes with pups. They sensed we were in their back yard and started circling about 50-75yds out. We tried the freeze routine but that just drew them in closer. After about an hour of 'sit and listen' we decided to try and flank them. WE hoped to avoid their roust and they would forget all about us. It didn't work. They continued to follow us for 300-400yds. My partner, who was a former MP dog handler, decided to break out the crushed cayenne he kept to avoid tracking K-9s. He dropped a pile here and there as we circled back. It didn't take long to change their mind about pursuing us. After that I, too, carry a pack of Cayenne for just such an occasion.
USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 22:45:10 (EST)
Turkey molester - As far as avoiding/scaring wildlife you can avoid stalking up wind from them if you ID them before they ID you. But from my experience you usually get on top of them before you see them.
This might sound a bit esoteric but you can also avoid looking directly at them. Animals and some humans develop that sixth sense which gives them that feeling that something is amis. You ever stalked a deer or other animal (human) and be scoping it out and all of a sudden it just looks right at you? When you are closing on a target or animal look off to one side not right at it. CALL THE LITTLE MEN IN THE LITTLE WHITE SUITS THEY ARE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY AHHA. (Anybody ever listen to Doctor Demento?) Hey, they taught us this shit at Mott Lake man! SF guys don't lie. Maybe they just taught us jarheads that and laughed at us while we practiced not looking at people. Rick, you guys wouldn't do that now would you?
Remember there are other things out there which can spook a critter. So spooking a critter isn't a 100% compromise risk. If you spook something freeze for awhile to avoid detection from an enemy and be on the alert for a search team. Then get out of there and use a different route. We military types can use distractions like a few rounds from a mortar etc to distract the enemy but a cop moving on a meth lab might have to figure another way to distract a lookout after spooking rover the 200 pound bull mastif watch dog. Had a buddy and former student of mine here in Little Rock do that when he was in full ghillie moving into an OP to watch a drug deal. First he noticed the water dish, then the stake and chain, then the pit bull. He said the dog just looked at him like, "What the f&$k over?" My buddy put it in reverse and found another vantage point.
Step one of a stalk -- ROUTE RECON FELLA'S.
Crushed Cayenne pepper sounds good on the dog. Don't forget the silantro
and cumun. I also prefer a little basal.
USA - Saturday, November 28, 1998 at 00:16:47 (EST)
Fieldcraft and animals: Gooch is, as usual, right about not staring at the animals. If you're trying to be stealthy, that is no time to get into a I'm-asserting-my-dominance type of staring contest with an animal. I find that keeping your head down so it looks like you're looking at the ground sometimes helps, it has worked for me with a couple of deer over the years at very close ranges.
Obviously, sneaking around comes with the territory for a sniper. That's also the best way to encounter an animal. If you want to keep the animals away, your best bet is to throw out noise discipline and make a racket as you go, but clearly that's not an option for folks who are trying to minimize their own target indicators.
Also, as an aside to an earlier post, I've read various things over the years about dropping cayenne pepper or this or that to knock a tracking dog off your trail. My understanding is that this just doesn't work on most dogs, and in fact it may help them track you by helping to "refresh" their sense of smell. In early February I'll be in another FTX with a dozen or more search dog teams, so I plan on asking a lot of these questions and taking notes. Email me if you have any questions you want answered and I'll add them to the list.
San Jose, CA USA - Monday, November 30, 1998 at 14:46:04 (EST)
Dave: your posts about staring animals brought this one back. I'm
calling coyotes with a fella that hasn't been out with NV equipment before.
It's darker than chocolate donuts and the NV isn't working but about 50
yards but we've got Wiley and his friends up about to where we can see
em. All of a sudden all hell breaks loose they go nuts howling and barking
and we think we're gonna get ate and then they go silent. We;re passing
a pair of bino's (gen 1 stuff) back and forth and finally I notice that
when I give em back to my co conspirator the dogs go crazy and when I get
em there' quiet. Finally figure out that he is looking and then holding
them down to his chest with the rear units exposed to the front. To Wiley
this looks like a pair of green devil eyes and he doesn't know whether
to fight or run.
When I whispered what was happening they must have thought the demons were laughing at him cause they went crazier yet and ran off barking and making a sound I've never heard before or since.
USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 01:40:09 (EST)
Back to Hot Tips & Cold Shots