How do you become unafraid of the dark?
We came across this question while lurking on an Internet forum. The person who posted the question was new to night vision and was basically freaking out while outdoors in pitch black. It was funny reading internet tough guys giving combat-type advice.
Common sense practicality
Let's be real, you're not an "operator" behind enemy lines. You're a civilian looking to have fun using night vision. Nothing wrong with that! Do you really need to bring the ballistic helmet and assaulter load-out to feel safe? Although it looks cool, if wildlife is the concern, it's useless and extra weight. Pack relevant gear such as snake gators, whistle, bear spray, black light, etc.
It helps to spend time outdoors
If you camp, hunt, etc. and most importantly spend nights in the outdoors, then you should be good to go. It's good if you're familiar with how quiet (and loud) it can be.
What was that!!?
It's natural for humans to be scared of the dark. It helped our species from going extinct. Your senses go into overdrive at night and even more so in real darkness. The ability to distinguish natural sounds vs human and identify the insects/animals of the area will stop your brain from hitting the panic button at the first noise it cannot resolve.
Have high output white light & a gun
If you're not sure what the hell that is making noise, light it up! Not with lead but lumens dummy! If you're using IR, scanning the area with IR illumination will show you the eyeballs of any animals that are looking towards you. You can also blast a ton of white light into the darkness and yell "I'm Rick James!" This will let animals or people know you're a human. The gun is for extra confidence & true security "just in case".
1. Don't sneak up. Animals aren't used to humans wandering in total darkness. Don't surprise livestock or other animals and get trampled or bitten. Don't freak out humans at night, scaring the crap out of them and possibly getting shot in the process.
2. Know your surroundings. Do you frequent the area? Have you looked at it on a map or sat imagery? Are there humans nearby? Avoid using weapon mounted IR devices to scan areas where people may be. Don't shoot at eyeballs unless you ID what they belong to. Follow gun safety basics! Use handheld and/or helmet mounted IR illumination.
3. Practice SLLS (Stop, Look, Listen, Smell). Sights & sounds are intensified during the night. If you're hiking/exploring, especially in the woods or snow, you'll be making a lot of noise yourself and may not hear what's around you. By doing this, you increase your odds of detecting anything or anyone moving around near you.
4. Communication. If you're headed out of cell range, let someone know where you're going in advance or send a text/email on your way out. We like text & email because it leaves a time stamp. Carry a NOAA radio in case of weather alerts. A handheld HAM/FRS/GMRS radio is a great option to get NOAA and other freqs in case of emergency. Have a LED lantern/light equipped with SOS flash pattern and extra batteries for it.
5. Bring your dog. Of course, not all dogs are created equal, so use common sense. Use a strobe so you can ID your buddy. If you're around humans use a visible strobe. You don't want someone mistaking your dog for a coyote. Besides giving company so you don't feel alone, a good dog will alert you to wildlife, threats, and is a deterrent to predators.