A few years back, I was out bow hunting for deer. I was all by myself and the only one on the whole 11,000 acre private land hunting lease. I was about a mile from either my truck and the nearest house. It was early October and the weather was chilly, about 45 degrees that afternoon.
I decided that the area on the other side of the creek valley looked better for a still hunt and started down the steep sides towards the creek.
I was almost 3/4 of the way down to the small creek that was only about 4 inches deep and maybe 10 feet across.
Suddenly, my left leg sank down into the soft ground, up to my crotch. I didn't think much about it and simply used my hands and my right leg to push up while pulling my left leg out of the ground.
What I saw next, scared the holy crap out of me! I looked down at my left leg and it was COVERED with hundreds of very large (about 2-1/2 inches long) yellow and black striped Ground Hornets. They were all now crawling up my left leg, towards my waist!
They were pretty sluggish from the cold snap that had just passed through our area the week before (got below freezing the past 3 nights) and were crawling slow, but steady.
I looked at the creek and realized that the 4 inches of water would do nothing to help me get away from them. I knew that I did not want to panic at this time, because the activity would make sure they stung me.
I started slowly backing back up the slope behind me, with NO sudden movements. They were still crawling up my leg and were now at my waist.
Just as soon as I was about 15 feet away from the big hole I had punched into their ground nest, they started, one by one to fly back and into the nest. This seemed to take hours as I still slowly backed up the hill.
Finally, they all flew back to the nest, as far as I could tell. I could not see the back of my legs and I still did not want to make any un-needed movements.
When I was about 30 feet away from the nest, and hadn't seen anymore fly away, I turned around and ran very fast back up the hill and I didn't stop until I was back at the truck. DEER HUNTING WAS OVER FOR THE DAY!
I was very shook up for about the next hour or so. I went to my friends house that controls the hunting lease and told him what happened and where the nest was. We made a mental note to stay away from that area.
I was VERY, VERY lucky and I know it. I did not receive one sting. Hornets can sting over and over many times when they want to, and with that many on me, I would probably not have survived. There was no help around that could have even heard me shout for help and no one knew exactly where on the 11,000 acres I was at that moment. This was before cell phone days and I had no way to communicate with anyone.
The one thing that I feel saved me that day, was the fact that I always blouse my pant legs inside my boots when hunting. Had I had open bottom pant legs, the Hornets would have crawled up INSIDE my pants.
Also, keeping my head and remaining very calm, while almost in a panic inside my head, also saved my sorry hide.
Now, whenever I go out, I always let someone know where I expect to be and I always carry a cell phone and a radio (either FRS or 2-meter) and I check signal often.
I'll never forget that day.
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