Taking Care Of Number One

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There is never a good time to cut yourself, but doing it in the backcountry - far from a hospital - is one of the worst times. I've done it and I know many friends who have done it to varying degrees of severity. Not all cuts are serious, but when they are, you can't afford to be without proper materials and a plan.Read More...
This is a thread for discussion of the article, Taking Care Of Number One, By Mike Duplan. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.
 

Barrelnut

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Great article. Aways good to have an article that bring safety back to the forefront, since this hobby does have it's hazards.

One tip I learned about knife handling is to be very careful where you lay a knife down and its orientation. Holding knives like the Havalon can be easily laid down with the cutting edge facing up, if one is not careful. Some unsuspecting buddy could then set down on it!

Always better to fold the knife or return to the sheath if possible, even when just laying it down for a few moments.
 

Bisbee

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I had a life changing event due to a knife two years ago. I came home for lunch and was washing a few dishes. I was in a hurry and cut my index finger on my left hand bad. A few days after ER visit I realized that I couldn't bend my finger. Got surgery to repair cut tendon and nerve. Wound up with a raging infection lost my finger and some of the use of my hand. I had to change careers due to the hand disability.
One little slip can change your life. Take care of what you have.

Bisbee
 

duckhunter175

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Solid article!!! Absolutely concur with first aid kit recommendations and would strongly recommend to anyone with sharp edges in the backcountry to put serious thought into a real tourniquet. With modern medicine the way it is today I will not wait 20 minutes for a pressure dressing to work on a severe gash, especially in a severe injury near a artery or on an arterial bleed. Use a TQ, get to medical attention and save the life, then the docs will earn their pay saving the limb.
 

Grumpy Leadslinger

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Good article. Puts things into perspective regarding some things we take for granted. As an addendum to the excellent field first aide recommendations, don't forget to elevate if possible. Also, be very careful where possible to use the cleanest water available to cleanse the wound prior to bandaging.

A few years ago I was field dressing a caribou as happy as you please. I inadvertently knicked a knuckle on one hand with the knife blade, and nicked my knife hand on a bone fragment. Since my hands were bloody from handling the animal, I didn't discover this until I was cleaning the blood from my hands and washing my knife and bone saw in a pool of what turned out to be stagnant water. Black flies did not help with the sanitation either. I became dehydrated and exhausted packing the animal out. I awoke in camp that night with a high fever and both arms swollen above my elbows to the point I thought I would have to cut off my wedding ring. I discovered a couple more nicks that oozed fairly constantly. I spent the next two days unable to function until the fever broke. After that incident, I carry some form of hand sanitizer and medicated handi-wipes into the field to clean up with frequently during and after field dressing.
 

Barrelnut

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Filled my buck tag this morning. After all the jubilee, hunter prayer, etc. I had to get down to business, all by myself, on the side of a mountain, with probably no one within 10 miles of me. This article popped to the front of my mind. Glad I had read it. I went forward with knife and a good deal more caution than in times past. And I still got my thumbs for typing this message. :)
 

RobStar

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Deja vu here! Just last season my hunting partner killed a nice Wyoming elk and when I got over to him twenty minutes later from my position he had split open his palm just below the thumb with a brand new Havalon he'd never used before. It was -14 degs F and he was standing there holding half-*** pressure on his hand when I arrived and it was bleeding quite a bit.

Fortunately I always keep a small but well packed first aid kit in my pack and have had the training to use it.

The laceration was about 2" long and mostly less than 3/16" deep but it took a long time to stop the bleeding with pressure. As a temporary fix and to continue with the field dressing I cleaned the wound, used Steri-Strips augmented with Compound Benzoin Tincture (sticky stuff) and then covered that with some Tegaderm. Over that setup I put a latex glove on him and then his insulated glove over that. It wasn't perfect but at least we were able to get the elk quartered, on the horse and get back to the controlled environment of our camp where I could properly clean and dress the wound.

Frankly it needed suturing IMHO but we had three other tags to fill and he wanted nothing to do with leaving camp for sutures. Over the course of the next ten days or so it was a constant effort for me to keep his wound clean and bandaged twice a day. While I have a lot of options in my first aid kit, I don't keep a lot of quantity and ten days wiped out pretty much every closure, gauze and bandage in my kit. That in and of itself endangered my ability to help someone else or even myself if needed.

The Moral of the story there is there needs to be a field essentials first aid kit in everyone's pack and then a more complete and thoroughly stocked kit back at camp.

This brings up another issue altogether and that is if you're the primary first aid responder in the field, who there is qualified and equipped to take care of you? More often than not that is the position I'm in; the guy who takes care of others in an emergency but there's no one to take care of me if I need it.

If you have a first aid, signalling or essentials kit in your pack (you do right?), do you tell all of your hunting and hiking partners it is there if needed? When you do it makes people think and if needed it saves valuable time and confusion.

Be prepared and make sure your hunting partners are prepared as well. Having a backcountry emergency plan is just as important as having a plan for your hunt.

Be safe out there!

Robert
 

Sully2

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If you have a first aid, signalling or essentials kit in your pack (you do right?), do you tell all of your hunting and hiking partners it is there if needed? When you do it makes people think and if needed it saves valuable time and confusion.

Be prepared and make sure your hunting partners are prepared as well. Having a backcountry emergency plan is just as important as having a plan for your hunt.

Be safe out there!

Robert


I always carry a GI bandage in my fanny pack / backpack..whatever. Might good for severe wounds such as you described. If ya cant fine any of them a female "sanitary pad" in a ziploc bag works wonders. Carry 2 and use 2 separate bags
 

Barrelnut

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Deja vu here! Just last season my hunting partner killed a nice Wyoming elk and when I got over to him twenty minutes later from my position he had split open his palm just below the thumb with a brand new Havalon he'd never used before. It was -14 degs F and he was standing there holding half-*** pressure on his hand when I arrived and it was bleeding quite a bit.

I'll get flack for this but IMHO, friends should not let friends use Havalons to dress game in the field. I've found them too much trouble and slow to change blades and then to store the used blades safely. Plus I always have to use a pair of pliers to change the blade so where is the weight savings here? I like a knife with more weight and better balance so you can grip and feel what is going on. Also I can touch up the blade on a Buck knife with a ceramic stone quicker than I can change blades on a Havalon. My Havalon stays in camp and is handy for caping but that's about it.
 

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