How do you handle police matters

For those who are living in the wild or on the fringe how do you handle any police or rangers that give you a hassle … this came up on my forum after my last article on living a Feral Woodsman lifestyle… be interesting to see how one deals with the Leo’s ,what is your experience … thanks


Great question! (remember not to talk about illegal things on this website)

This one time I was harvesting Scotch Broom and a ranger truck saw my and whipped around and sped over to see what I was up to.

“What are you up to???”

“I’m harvesting Scotch Broom to make baskets.”

“OH. Great. Take it all please!”

Drives away.

I generally try to be-friend “authorities” if I have to come in contact with them. A lot of the places I go are so wild they don’t have many authorities, and are quite lawless. Here is the city things are very different. Rewild Portland partners with a lot of the government agencies so that we can have access to places. Another trade off is restoration work that we do for them.

Yep not talking about anything not legal… knowingly… Where I spend a lot of my time I never see anyone… …

in the past closer to L.A coming out of a canyon one time I had some plants, not the whole thing, I harvested and got a remark from a passer by… thats it…

Im wondering about just a hassle for any other reason than where you are or how you look… … and what you are doing?


When I was a teenager I went to a park with some friends. We were recently back from Tom Brown Jr’s school. Maybe 17? We went to a park here in town, a really wild one. The ranger followed us in. My buddy had a bow-drill bow sticking up out of his backpack. She thought it was a rifle. She was profiling us as bad teenagers. We respected that place and had a deeper connection to it than her. I tried to talk to her about plants and things and she was gruff and never looked me in the eye. I got annoyed because she just kept standing 10 feet from us and wouldn’t engage us, when we were clearly interested in learning more and looking for a deeper connection. So we left.

The next day we came back, but through the back entrance. We wanted to try the camouflage trail sit, where you get camouflaged and then sit as close to the trail as possible without getting noticed. We stripped down to swim suits and got camo’ed. We stalked up to the main trail/bike path and hid for a long while. Getting closer and closer. Eventually I crossed the path and hid opposite my friend. After 30 or 40 minutes of hikers, joggers, and bikers going by, I decided to travel back across the path. But just as I got up and crossed I heard a bike coming. With no time to duck away (or “sink and fade”), my only option was to climb a small cedar tree with the closest limb about 7 feet up, and it was a tiny thing. But I did it. Switched into “squirrel medicine” as the Tracker School would call it, and went up the tree like lightning, then froze, eyes squinting, lips curled in, wrapped around the trees form to disguise my own. As soon as I froze, the bike came around the bend. Guess who was on the bike? The ranger from the day before. My heart skipped a few beats as she rode by, eyes alert, scanning the ground just below my toes, without noticing me at all. I took it as a gift from the spirit of that place. I would never put myself in that position these days, as an adult. I can’t even imagine the headlines if I was caught doing that. lol.

teenagers are almost always a target… even young folks in their 20s… As an older man I find I get less hassles to none…

good lesson, peeps hardly ever look up. I wrote an article for Wilderness Way magazine " You are only aware of what you are ARE AWARE OF" … The point being most men think they are very aware but most missed a lot… How do you know what you missed , no one is behind you pointing out that person hiding just off the trail etc… We did tests and most missed things that when pointed out they were shamed… it does take a practiced eye. I steeped off on to trail one time and tapped a ranger on the shoulder , he all most had a heart attack… If you are in a national park the rangers have setups to look from cover… so act right and obey the law of the park… out in the sticks not so much unless poaching is going on…

I have also seen rangers who many times I call pine pigs… who just seem to hassle every one… Most are not very helpful , once in while there is an exception…

a friend of mine had a pack that sticking out was bow and drill set with some extra drills, the ranger stopped him and said the sticks were a weapon. what? he got a ticket , but chose to fight it. I was there as a witness in court… it stopped before it went to session… it was dismissed , but cost the guy the bucks for a lawyer… So you never know what stupid move is next…

That is one example of a hassle… what say you…


Avoid them. Don’t look like a rewilder, only discuss it with close family and friends, be as anonymous as possible online. Being an activist makes you the biggest target, and it’s pointless anyways because you can’t fix brainwashing with a bunch of ads and protests. The only people who have a chance are those few born with open minds. Bear in mind that this is an age where the feds infiltrate vegan potlucks and brand people terrorists for buying MREs. I’m just lucky I look like a 12 year old little girl in a bright pink Tinker Bell hoodie. If I’m caught out foraging for Queen Anne’s lace, I get all puppy-eyed and say I’m picking flowers for my mommy.

I’m a middle aged white guy with fishing and hunting licences. I dress in pretty Filsoney stuff in the woods. Cops don’t hassle me nearly as much as they did when I was a punk kid in a black leather jacket. I know that’s not much help but hey. Good luck.

Actually, just the other day a friend and I were out stump shooting. When we came out of the woods with our longbows, in our camouflage, there was a cop waiting by the vehicles in the parking lot. He said he was looking for someone “acting strangely” in the woods. He was very respectful, treated us like we probably knew the area better than he did. He wasn’t a ranger, just a town cop. I had the distinct impression that he really didn’t want to step into the cover of the trees. This was at a nexus of several trails, in an area with a lot of new beaver impoundment. Whoever the “weirdo” he was looking for was, they had a lot of woods to lose themselves in, for good or ill.