AND--I would be extremely reluctant to approach any house--especially a stranger's house--at night and would be careful anytime.
Not long ago, in a rural area, I got lost in the woods. Night fell.
I had no choice but to cross a stranger's land to reach the road.
As I walked down his long driveway, a car approached, obviously the owner coming home.
The car slowed as it approached me.
I was very, very, very careful to keep my hands exposed, to stay in the headlights, and to do nothing threatening.
The man stopped. His boy was in the car with him.
As soon as he rolled down his window, I said in my most polite manner: "I'm sorry. I got lost in the woods, and I'm trying to get back to the road."
It helped that I was walking away from his house.
He relaxed and told me to proceed.
It is true that I am white and have a sophisticated, educated accent. But even so--I was very, very, very careful. I couldn't help wondering later how it might have been had I been otherwise.
My advice to anyone who finds himself in such circumstances--especially if not white and not having a sophisticated, educated accent--is (1) to avoid any such circumstances if at all possible and (2) to be very, very, very, very, very careful if you can't. Never mind being right. Be safe!
I understand the arguments against the castle doctrine, but self-defense--especially as our world becomes more and more dangerous--trumps them.
Not to sidetrack this thread, but in all honesty your story sounds awfully bizarre. You’re in a rural area by yourself, get lost in the woods as nightfall approaches and you have no idea where you are? How would you know whose land you’re on in the first place and what direction the road was at? What were you doing in the rural woods by yourself in the first place? Do you normally just park your car in rural areas and walk into the woods without a clue as to where you are? You may be white, sophisticated & educated, but you better stay on the pavement from here on. You’re not making a good case for being sophisticated & educated. Let the farm boys & girls roam around in the woods at night. They will find their way home.