I always carry a gun, weather in the woods or the city! I worry more about wild critters in the city than in the woods. Around here, the worse thing you got to worry about in the woods is a rattlesnake.
Reminds me of a good story ... I was fishing with a friend in his boat at Apache Lake, AZ. My friend caught a very nice large mouth bass so he posed and I took a picture. We had drifted up to a bank that was about 6 ft high. When I got the pictures back (back in the old days of film cameras), there was a huge Diamondback coiled up not more than a few feet from my friend's head. We both grimaced at the sight.
It I lived where things like that lived I would carry all the time too. But I live on Long Island and people here question you when you pull out a two inch pocket knife. Upstate we don't have any Cougar, haha. I saw cat tracks as big as my hand when hunting two years ago. I was glad I had a pistol on me.
I was building something outside of town a few years ago. We would see yotes and stuff all the time. One day there was a cougar stalking across the field when we were working. we spent the rest of the day on the roof, and I hitched my Blackhawks holster to my nail bags.
I was salmon fishing in AK years ago and while talking to my buddy, all of a sudden we both stopped and could hear a bear very, very close just standing there breathing. The brush was too thivk to see him, but he couldn't have been 30' away..
Not a great feeling. My 44 was in its holster back at camp.
I can "relate" with Iowegan's story. Delivering mail in the foothills of Albuquerque a few years back, I sensed something behind me while I was stuffing the gang boxes with mail. I looked back and a 2 foot rattlesnake was a 1/4 inch from my leg with it's head, apparently sensing my body heat. I had a very "anxious" 45 seconds before it decided to back off and go about it's business! Also had black widow spiders "jump" onto my hand on three different occasions when opening mail boxes. Who says mail carriers don't earn their money!........................Dick
Just on Monday this week, my wife was out walking along a utility road, gravel & grass. She's not the most alert, and had already stepped over something before realizing it wasn't just a stick. So her feet had been within 4" of this snake before she knew it. Luck or blessing.
Looking up pictures on the internet, best guess is a copperhead. Still pretty cool out around here, and Jersey is pretty much northern limits anyway.
No handgun carry allowed here, east coast rules suck.