When you think about it, being alone in the backcountry can be quite dangerous. We take 911 for granted in modern times. They are a phone call away to whisk us to the medical facility of our choice when the unexpected happens. In the backcountry, we don't have that luxury, and first aid is often a forgotten part of planning for our hunting and fishing trips in the wild. Read More...
I hunt by myself quite often, and even when I'm hunting with a buddy, I'm often out of RINO contact. If you don't know what a RINO is, it is the best hunting device invented since the rifle. It is a radio/GPS, that tells you where your buddy is every time he keys the switch to talk.
I carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). They cost about $250, weigh less than 5 oz. and tell rescuers where you are and that you're in trouble. As long as you aren't in the very bottom of a deep canyon, it will reach a satellite eventually. I figure it is the cheapest life insurance I can own. It fits in the pocket of my BDU hunting pants, so it is always with me on a hunt. They tried these out in Alaska for a few years and the results convinced them to expand the system. It is a free service from our friendly government agency NOAA.
I'm 60 years old, and the older I get, the more I realize how easy it is to have a debilitating accident in the field. It has never happened, but the odds go up as I get older and my reflexes get slower. I once tried to climb over a very large rock to avoid brambles on both sides. Once I got my weight shifted up onto the rock, the rock started to roll. I grabbed my rifle and jumped to the side in time. The rock crushed a 5" thick tree 5 feet below me. That was an adrenaline rush. When I sat down, my leg was jumping up and down uncontrollably. Back then, I had no way to summon help, but my muscles were young and my reflexes quick. Every hunter should own a PLB.
I carry a first aid kit very similar to the list you have. I seldom use anything but the adhesive tape and the advil, but someday I may need it.
I also spend some time alone in rugged country each year. My emergency kit is similar to those discussed on this site. I would like to hear from our members which emergency locator the are using and why. I am 67 and it is past time for me to buy one. I have done a lot of research but I rely on LRH for good first hand information.
Let's hear what you are using.
I use an ACR. This is my second one. The batteries can't be replaced by the user, and are guaranteed for 10 years. The cost of replacement was nearly as much as the cost of a new, lighter, smaller unit. They have a couple of models, depending on whether you need it to float. I keep it in a fluorescent orange bottle cooler that would float if necessary. I wanted it as light and small as possible. My old one was so big that it wasn't comfortable in my pocket, and ended up in my pack. The new one fits great in a pack.
Mnowland, Im glad to hear you 1) have a first aid kit, and 2) confirm what the article says about using the basics more than anything. It does take a little forethought to have prepared a kit and actually be using it. I see so many people unprepared for an emergency. It doesn't always have to be YOU that gets injured, so you are like an insurance policy for your hunting partners. Im glad you mentioned the PLB's. Technology has advanced so much in the last 10 years with the GPS availability, that there isn't much reason not to take advantage of it. Relatively cheap "insurance" given the money we spend on firearms and hunt prices.
AZ, I know Les/Chris in the LRH store have some locators for sale.
It does bear to mention that when I spent a month in the Grand Canyon, the Satellite phone we thought would be the cats meow, was pretty much useless, since we were in a 1500 foot hole in the ground. (not really the equivalent of an outwest hunt geographically, but satellite tech does have its nuances) Make sure you really read the specs on the units before you buy. Making sure you know how to use and read GPS is very important. I was a Flight Paramedic for 10 years. We had many times where "Joe Fireman" turned on the Department GPS, and would give us incorrect data, vectoring us across the county, away form the accident scene. Not what you want if you or your buddy is injured.
Also, do you have a number to contact for help? Does your Satellite phone call 911 for the appropriate authority having jurisdiction or someone states away? It does not work like your normal cellular technology and the closest tower.
Good article. The PLBs are definitely worth the money.
Alot of areas can 2-3 days walk from the road end and if you fall/slip a broken leg/ankle wont be much fun. A PLB can get a chopper on its way in no time(here in NZ anyway).
Have heard of guys here miss using PLBs which really pisses me off. Guys that are late to work from from a weekend trip so they hit the PLB to get a chopper out of the bush.
Excellent article. Of great help for those who hunt away from the civilized centers. I thank the author because it has given me great information to consider. Usually mountain hunt deer, wild boars and pumas (live in Patagonia, in San Martin de los Andes) and often alone. Best Regards. Hector