by Mike Porras
October’s big game hunting seasons are just around the corner, but early-season archery and muzzleloader hunters are already in the field trying their best to fill their tag with a variety of species, including bear, elk, deer, moose and pronghorn.
The excitement of the hunt can be overwhelming, and most hunters begin preparing by sighting-in their rifle or bow, taking a few scouting trips to the unit they will hunt and purchasing some of the latest gear, including new boots, a new coat and perhaps even a pair of warm socks. But, there are many other things hunters can do now to make sure their hunt is successful.
Remember, not every hunting trip ends with a harvest. The true measure of success means spending time outdoors with friends and family in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Success Is also measured by staying safe in the field and returning to your loved ones safe and sound. So before you head out, ask yourself; did you bring a survival kit and first aid supplies, and are they in good shape? Are you prepared to spend a long, cold night outdoors? Did you tell someone where you are going, and when you’ll be back? Can you make a fire and signal a rescue aircraft before it disappears below the horizon?
There are many survival tips available from a variety of sources with great information, and hunters are encouraged to seek it out before they head out on their hunt. However, by just following the basic rules below, you should be able to get yourself out of danger if you should get lost or have trouble in the backcountry:
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. If you change your general area, tell someone of that change.
- Never go into a wilderness area by yourself. Unavoidable accidents do happen.
- Wear proper clothing and bring proper equipment, keeping in mind that the weather can and will change.
- If you do get lost or stranded, stay put. We will find you if you have followed rule No.1
- Learn how to use a compass, take a map of the area and orient yourself thoroughly before leaving camp.
- Always carry a survival kit and know how to use it. A survival kit in the hands of someone who does not know how to use it can kill.
Remember, with a proper survival kit, you should be able to:
- Make a shelter – critical to get out of the elements
- Make a fire – to keep warm on a cold night, or nights
- Signal a rescuer – always be ready to signal! Plan for it and be ready to do so, quickly! Even an old compact disc to reflect sunlight will work.
Other supplies include a good knife (very important!) the ability to purify water and a first-aid kit to take care of medical emergencies. And don’t forget to bring your mobile phone with you. You never know when you may have a signal.
There are many resources for hunters that provide great information about wilderness survival. Books, websites, and information from friends and family are some of the best sources.
So, if you do not have a good survival kit, start putting it together, today, before you head out on your hunt. Also, you can visit CPW’s website for more details and watch a great video about surviving in the wilderness.
Good hunting, stay safe and return home safe and sound!