What’s in your hunting emergency kit?
This week I watched a Youtube video by an Australian youtuber known as Skidpig. The video was of him going hunting on a northern Queensland property with a group of friends. In the video he explains that he has never been to the property before and that he lent his GPS to one of his friends to use, which at first seems harmless enough as they are hunting in a group and are in the boundary of a property and not too far away from their base camp. However, the group gets split up and before long Skidpig found himself lost, with minimum supplies and with darkness swiftly rolling in to make things harder.
This video hit hard with me as we all get complacent at times and it made me realise that things that seem the safest are often when things go wrong, and you are the least prepared.
From this I started to think about what I take bush and if I would be prepared for such an event. I Think that my preparedness is a a good place although others sometimes scough and say I take too much. In this blog I am going to share what I take hunting in case of an emergency.
Firstly I would like to thank Skidpig for putting up the video even though it had the potential for a lot of negative comments or ribbing from his mates. I would also like to acknowledge that Skidpig had skills which kept him safe and saw him come out the other end of this and able to post his video.
The things that Skidpig did right in my opinion were, carrying water, using what resources he had wisely, using tools such as his firearm to help him signal, following fences and tracks, staying calm and hunting with friends.
The things I would have done different to Skidpig is have a plan with the rest of the group before hunting in case of someone getting lost or injured, remain where I was once I realized I was lost and wait for my friends to come and find me and take the equipment I am going to list below with me on every hunt so that I am always prepared if something happens.
So what are the things I think are important whenever I go hunting?
Skills and knowledge: It dose not matter how much gear you carry. If you have all the gear and no idea you are still in a world of hurt! Learn how to use the equipment you carry, learn some basic bushcraft and some basic bush skills like where to find water or food.
Water: Particularly in Queensland water is vital; it doesn’t take long to become dehydrated and once you are dehydrated it is hard to think clear and deadly mistakes could be made. I personally carry 2 army kidney canteens and a kidney cup that I can boil water in if I run out of fresh water and can find a water source such as a creek, dam or trough.
Fire: Take something that can make fire. Fire will not only boost your spirits, keep you warm at night, give you light, boil water to make it safe to drink, it will also make you easier to find. I personally carry a fire lighter, tinder, a bic lighter and a fero rod. With this I should always be able to get a fire started.
Signal: especially if you hunt in camo you will be a tiny hard to see dot in a very big wide-open land. Take something you can signal with. This could be fire, a flashlight, signal mirror, bright orange flag, Personal Locator Beacon and a phone or 2way radio. All this stuff will make you much easier to find. I personally carry a mini UHF radio, my phone, a SPOT personal locator, flashlight and a bright orange bandana.
Shelter: In extreme heat or cold shelter is vital. Shelter also makes an unplanned stay over much more comfortable and keeps your spirts high. I personally carry a space blanket and an emergency bivvy bag by SOL. I can use the space blanket with a little cordage to make a lean-to to keep the sun, wind or ran off me and the bivvy bag to sleep in.
Food: Although you wont die by not eating for a night or two food helps to keep your spirts up and also aids with concentration. You will also be less tempted to start wondering around aimlessly trying to find food or a way home. I personally carry a tea bag, some lollies and an emergency lifeboat ration. All of which are long life and store easily.
A knife: Tools help and an essential tool is a knife. It can help you get firewood, build shelter, procure food and much more. I personally carry a Sword skinning knife on my belt and a Morakniv as an emergency knife in my emergency kit.
A first aid kit: Carry what you know how to use, but make sure you know how to treat a snake bite, a large cut and a bullet wound at a minimum. I personally carry 2 bandages for snake bite or bleeding control, a triangle bandage for a sling, head wound or bleeding control, a chest seal for a puncher wound to the chest, tourniquet for major bleeding control, compressed gauze for wound packing and then some Band-Aids and wipes for minor injuries.
A map and compass: Its always better to have a plan and let people know where you are so they can come and get you. Staying in one place greatly increases your chance of being found! But if you have no plan and no friends then you want to pick a direction (hopefully the shortest one to civilization and keep walking it until you find help. In this regard a map and compass are very useful.
I have a couple other bits and pieces tucked away here and there such as a small survival kit with the same equipment just smaller that I keep in my cargo pocket just in case I get separated from my back pack.
With this small amount of equipment, I am confident I could easily make a day or two rough camping until help arrived. Is it time you rethink your survival equipment?