I trust my “Sixth Senses” and can be a little superstitious under the right circumstances. As a young lad I read all I could regarding survival stories, mountain men, trappers and other woodsmen from our colorful history. One series that I’m quite fond of are the stories written by Ben East for Outdoor Life. Ben was sent on missions to interview survivors in harrowing life or death brushes with Mother Nature. Stories regarding cape buffalo charges, lion maulings, snake bites, bear attacks and getting lost filled my mind for most of my formative years.
This simple kit is enough to keep you warm, dry and free from harm. Don't delay in adding these items to your fanny or day pack. It is easy to procrastinate and think, "It won't happen to me!" Unfortunately, this epitaph won't comfort your wife or family members left behind.
Rather than paying attention to math, writing skills or history, I was engulfed in a life or death struggle somewhere in North America or Africa. Mr. East’s interviews and captivating telling of such adventures kept me spell bound and aware of what can go wrong given the right circumstances.
Most, if not all survival stories begin with the same lines: I was just going to be gone a short time. I’ll just look over the edge and into canyon and return to camp. Its nice out, I’ll leave my coat and hat in the tent. I’ve hunted this area all my life, why do I need a compass? Sound familiar?
In moments of desperation Mother Nature may indeed become a little irritated with overpopulation and your presence on the planet. When the latter takes place, be on your best behavior and be prepared. Nature abhors a vacuum, especially when it’s between your ears, and taking you out of the equation is part of the selection process.
Every year there are dozens of Darwin Awards given out to individuals who fail to think before leaving the security of their homes. Don’t be one of them.
Living in 2009 and enjoying the benefits of high tech gadgets, satellites, cell phones, maps, Gortex and countless other creature comforts have indeed dulled our primal instincts. The world is tame compared to what our ancestors dealt with, no Indian attacks, buffalo stampedes, freezing “Northers” on the windswept prairies of Texas. Life in certain regions of the world has lost its luster. The domestication of man is almost complete in most areas of the world. There are no more adventures to conquer, unless of course things go WRONG!
As hunters we should be prepared for the worst should Mother Nature draw our name from the hat. Can you spend a few nights away from camp and be comfortable? Do you carry any food or water with you when you leave camp on that short hunt? Can you build a fire with one hand under inclement conditions? Can you find your way back to camp in a whiteout or fog bank? What would you do if you sprained an ankle or broke a leg 5 miles from camp in steep country?
Most hunters are in poor shape when compared to our ancestors. Desk jobs, inactivity and city life have taken their toll on most recreational outdoorsmen. Lacking experience and knowledge of “what to do” under tough conditions can render you a statistic. Listed below are a few things to add to your day or fanny pack when you venture into nature’s playground.