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  #1  
Old 11-30-2013, 8:00 AM
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Default Hunting alone safely

Please share your strategies for safe hunting, I love hunting alone and backpack hunting alone, the following is my strategy for safety: Inform someone exactly where you are going and when you will return, if you don't show up on time have them look for you. keep some form of signaling device with you, (blaze orange vest is good, flashlight with strobe function) Always keep on your person in your pockets and small pack supplies and water to survive a day or two if unable to walk out. I always take an aspirin daily and keep a few on my person if there is any cardiac problems, I also have some powerful prescription pain killers from when I passed a kidney stone I keep with me in case I get mangled up somehow. I Wear good boots and watch out for rattlesnakes some of them are extremely deadly. Very Important, mark your trails with something reflective in case you have to walk out at night and keep a spare flashlight on your person as well. In my day pack I keep thermals (enough to survive a night out), windproof gloves a wool ski cap, matches, rain poncho, water, trail mix, 2-3 flashlight, some form of reflective markers, something blaze orange usually a vest. I NEVER separate myself from my pack or the items in my pockets. One thing I may start doing is bring one radio from a pair of FRS radios with a preset channel, leave the other radio with whomever has agreed to come look for me if I don't return on time. I learned the hard way one time, taking my pack off at night and having no reflective markers to mark it with, got lost and separated from my supplies, fortunately after a few hours I found my pack, could have ended up bad. Backpack hunting alone is an unparalleled experience but it must be done wisely.
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:03 AM
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:08 AM
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Its not really safe to hunt alone,
you must restrict certain practises if you go alone,
hvae a well planned trip with the right gear,
maybe even have a beacon with you/communication in case of a bad event
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:16 AM
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I have hunted by myself for up to 14 days at a stretch, it's empowering and really allows you to work some things out.

To be safe you need to be prepared for a short term stay, someone needs to know the area you will be hunting and your expected return date. Give it a try.
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:17 AM
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you should invest in a GPS handheld device and spare batteries. it is very comforting knowing that i can mark a spot and know exactly where it will be. This isnt an excuse to be careless but a very good add on. another good thing to have on you is a Life Straw. they are really neat and small. as far as coordinating with someone on a specific time i would recommend that you give them the worst case scenario time. What i mean by that is that if you plan on returning by say 6pm tell them you should be there NO LATER than 9. this is to give you a few hours in case you want to stay longer and to not worry someone for no reason. your advice on taking meds is a great one. Headaches, slip and falls and other injuries can and will happen to most of us and having either asprin, motrin or tylenol are a must have in anyones pack.
I also like to have glowsticks. they have many cool uses, are really cheap and light.
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:30 AM
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Hunt has a good list. To expand one item; tell someone where and leave them a paper map with the area marked or circled. Also leave a description of your vehicle with license plate #. I leave my wife a map bc under duress she may not remember the right details.

For the guy who says solo hunting isn't safe please expand on that and include your personal experiences as to why. Thanks!

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Old 11-30-2013, 8:32 AM
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Have a first aid kit and include a small mirror.

Have a sound device, I carry a whistle attached to a 12" length of paracord.

50' of paracord

a cheap poncho-Walmart has them for a few dollars.

extra batteries for flashlight

Thermacell if bugs could be a problem

A compass
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:35 AM
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It's not safe to walk across a road downtown LA but, I don't think about it and just do it. It's sort of the same when I hunt alone. This morning, I have a friend trying to fill his A32 deer tag on the property I'm living on. He's hunting alone but, I know where he made his stand today and drive by him every couple hours.
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:42 AM
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When covering new ground and long distances, check your backtrack. Do this so you will have an idea what things will look like on the return trip. Especially do it at key junctions and places that you sense may be less than obvious on the return trip, when you are tired and it is getting dark.

For example, a hidden "Y" may seem obvious travelled one direction, but can be easy to blow by on the return. So it it's good to turn around and take a gander at what it will look like coming back.


And nothing like leaving an actual marked map with someone. That's a lot better than them trying to remember "Coyote Something; gulch, canyon, camp, or corral, I am not sure."
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:44 AM
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good points guys! yes I do leave a map.
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Old 11-30-2013, 8:47 AM
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good list and advice, Hunt. i would add some first aid gear to the list which included wound management supplies including Quickclot
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Old 11-30-2013, 3:26 PM
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non-battery map & compass
Headlamp..I hate fumbling with a flashlight when I need two hands.
I wear turtleskin snake gaitors when I'm in rattler territory..light and easy to walk in.
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Old 11-30-2013, 4:10 PM
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When I reached my late 30's, my father and uncle hung up the hunting boots, and I started hunting solo.....then I started backpacking in from small camp grounds. My wife and I bought land in Idaho so I started solo hunting units 30-40 in some pretty intimidating terrain.

As a life-long backpacker, with a good portion of the PCT under my belt, I can say for sure that solo hunting is the most dangerous thing, without a doubt, that I do all year long. My wife doesn't sleep very well the week leading up to my departure, or when I'm gone.

I have a three page list of gear I bring, but right up at the top is:

First Aid Kits (note plural use)
ECR Beacon (ResQLink+ I bought last year works way better than SPOT)
GPS + topo and compass
Any kind of 'redundencies': batteries, fuel, fowl weather gear

I leave: maps and lat/long of where I'll set up base camp and park the truck (BLM campground) which I leave with my wife, my father, and a buddy who I know is capable of handling wife and father if something goes wrong, (b) the local DFG number/state police, AND, (c) the area I plan to hunt/stay--WHICH I NEVER DEVIATE FROM NO MATTER WHAT I'VE SEEN OR HOW MANY POINTS JUST BOUNDED OVER THE RIDGE.

It's all about building trust with the people who love you and will worry about you when you do assinine things like walk out into the woods by yourself.

Before I head off the highway and lose cell service I call my contacts (wife, father, and buddy) and let them know I'm going in. I've never gone past my "drop dead day", and when I get into cell range, they are the first ones I call. Building trust.

.....with all that said, I've gotten myself into a few "uh oh" scenarios when i've had to sit down and think of a safe way to proceed. It's the nature of the sport.

It takes a certain personality to solo hunt. Everything is done by Y-O-U and the camp chair you brought doesn't get much use.....always something to do.
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Old 11-30-2013, 5:08 PM
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+1 on the ResqLink personal locator beacon.
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Old 11-30-2013, 9:53 PM
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All good points.
Looking behind you is so very important, simple landmarks look so different especially at dusk and when you're tired your mind is playing tricks on ya.

I make a photo copy of my boot prints and leave it on the seat of my truck so in a worst case scenario S&R knows what boot prints to follow. Simple and could get S&R headed in the right direction.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:57 PM
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All good points.
Looking behind you is so very important, simple landmarks look so different especially at dusk and when you're tired your mind is playing tricks on ya.

I make a photo copy of my boot prints and leave it on the seat of my truck so in a worst case scenario S&R knows what boot prints to follow. Simple and could get S&R headed in the right direction.
As an extension of this maybe its overkill but I like to leave a packet of stuff that I leave with family in the car too. Out of site but when the cops break in to your car (and they will) they have it onsite. Making it easy to find you can never go to far.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:25 PM
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This is the reason me and my buddies bought Garmin Rhino GPS radios. My friends dad would ALWAYS deviate from the hunt plan and wander off. The Rhino has a "find my buddy" feature that will take you straight to the radio. We kept calling and calling for his dad for 2 hours and no response. I found him wandering back and fourth on a hillside. I called my friend and we hiked down to him. We thought he was going back and fourth trying to find a blood trail, but he set his radio down and walked away from it. DUH!! It's no good if you don't turn it on and have it with you!
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Old 12-01-2013, 5:22 AM
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Old 12-01-2013, 6:03 AM
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I hunt alone 80-90 percent of the time. I find that there is no better time for introspection than being in the woods alone. As far as safety and security in the woods the only thing my wife asked of me is that in case of an emergency i always carry a PLB in my back. it is not a fancy model, it doesnt have any fancy texting features or comuntication aspects, it is just a last resort item that is super light weight and is always in the bottom of my pack. That was the compromise i had to make with my wife if i was to continue hunting alone, which i love to do. As far as feeling safe in the woods by myself goes , i feel safer in the woods than i do anywhere else, that being said i do live in Oakland.


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Old 12-01-2013, 7:28 AM
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I drive Vasco Rd daily and to me that is far more dangerous and out of control than my solo hunting. There is risk in everything, less so if it is well planned and others are informed of your wherebouts and itinerary. I am not about to let fear of what "might happen" keep me from living my life or doing the things I love. Plan, prepare and execute.
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Old 12-01-2013, 7:42 AM
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A PLB is a must have. If solo hunting at night, multiple flashlights and spare batteries are a must have. I have never got truly lost but I have been in situations where I know what direction I needed to go to get back to my truck but couldn't find the way I had come originally. I've spent hours fighting through extremely thick vegetation to get back where it should have only taken a 1/2 hour if I could find the same way I hiked in. If you are truly lost at night DO NOT move around. Wait till daylight and reassess.
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Old 12-01-2013, 9:56 AM
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Like I mispelled in my post above, LOL, ACR is a fine product and well worth the $240ish price tag....which is a steal considering I bought it for a little above $300.



It stays dormant, with periodic test features, for 6 years and I like the fact the unit is not trying to pretend to be anything but what it is: a last resort, locator beacon.

I also like the fact my account, by way of registration, can inlcude medical information such as: medications I may be on, drug allergies, or medical conditions (i.e. heart condition, etc).

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Old 12-01-2013, 7:20 PM
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I have done nothing but hunt alone. I always text the wife once I get ready to leave my truck and call her when I get back to it. She has a pretty good general location of where I am and I always give her a solid timeline of when I will be done. I stick to that plan for her piece of mind.

My pack contains:
Medkit that can do everything up to broken bones and gsw's
1 mre
2-3 liters of water
Poncho
Emergency blanket
Fire starter
50 or so ft of 550 cord
Topo map and compass
GPS
Fire starter
Headlight
Flashlight
Multi tool
3 chemlights
Lighter
Binos
Gloves
Beanie hat
And anything specific I add for the hunt like extra ammo or calls

This all fits in my camelback motherlode pack with lots of room to spare and easily manageable on my back for the day. Also makes for a nice rifle rest.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:43 PM
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I do a solo 5-10 day archery backpack hunt every year. To add to the list duck tape small amount which has various uses, superglue for cuts and my cell phone. Sometimes you can get phone or text service which helps when you've been only talking to yourself for 4 days.
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Old 12-02-2013, 4:25 PM
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Howd this become a sticky? Do people really carry all this gear for a lonesome hunt? 90% of these post seem to have excessive gear. This thread should be called SHTF/End of the world while hunting. Just my opinion.
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Old 12-02-2013, 5:23 PM
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Howd this become a sticky? Do people really carry all this gear for a lonesome hunt? 90% of these post seem to have excessive gear. This thread should be called SHTF/End of the world while hunting. Just my opinion.
I learned the hard way, I have had two near bad experiences, one time as I was hiking in at night and it was black dark thirty, I couldn't see much at all. I set my backpack on the ground so I could easily bushwalk through some very thick brush over a ridge, find the way over, then come back for my pack, anyway, I got turned around, lost all my gear. It could have turned out bad if I was injured or bad weather came in, after a few hours of crawling on my stomach in brush so thick I couldn't stand up I did find the backpack. Yes, all my mistakes I agree, this is why I NEVER separate myself from the gear that would keep me alive for a day or two. I have also read experiences of other backpackers that became separated from their survival gear, not a good thing.

Just to demonstrate how easy things can go bad is my second experience, it was actually my son and wife. They went on a "short 1 hr hike" in Canyon Lands Park Utah. I stayed in the car to take a nap, after all, it was a short hike in a Park with marked trails, they will be fine. Well, the trails weren't marked, they took a wrong turn and walked in a few miles to realize they were lost. Utah weather coming in fast, high wind chill, rain and immediate temp drop down to about 45 deg, windy storm with night temps overnight would have probably killed them with hypothermia. They left with no lights or anything other than the light cotton clothes they were wearing, it was just a short trail hike and the weather was good. What was I to do? It would take at least 8-10 hours to drive into Moab and get a search party back to the area, hypothermia can kill in that time. I drove the car up to the highest point on a nearby road and turned the lights on and ocassionally beeped the horn. Luckily they faintly heard the horn and came in. Never again do we head into the woods without survival gear even for a little hike.
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Old 12-02-2013, 5:37 PM
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Howd this become a sticky? Do people really carry all this gear for a lonesome hunt? 90% of these post seem to have excessive gear. This thread should be called SHTF/End of the world while hunting. Just my opinion.
Or some people value their life and are thinking they have responsibilities at home to take care of like a wife and kid. therefore, dying or coming close to dying is not a good option and a little bit of extra stuff in the pack is no big deal. Just my opinion though
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Old 12-02-2013, 7:48 PM
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Or some people value their life and are thinking they have responsibilities at home to take care of like a wife and kid. therefore, dying or coming close to dying is not a good option and a little bit of extra stuff in the pack is no big deal. Just my opinion though
I agree with your opinion.
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Old 12-02-2013, 8:36 PM
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Howd this become a sticky? Do people really carry all this gear for a lonesome hunt? 90% of these post seem to have excessive gear. This thread should be called SHTF/End of the world while hunting. Just my opinion.
Quote:
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I learned the hard way, I have had two near bad experiences, one time as I was hiking in at night and it was black dark thirty, I couldn't see much at all. I set my backpack on the ground so I could easily bushwalk through some very thick brush over a ridge, find the way over, then come back for my pack, anyway, I got turned around, lost all my gear. It could have turned out bad if I was injured or bad weather came in, after a few hours of crawling on my stomach in brush so thick I couldn't stand up I did find the backpack. Yes, all my mistakes I agree, this is why I NEVER separate myself from the gear that would keep me alive for a day or two. I have also read experiences of other backpackers that became separated from their survival gear, not a good thing.

Just to demonstrate how easy things can go bad is my second experience, it was actually my son and wife. They went on a "short 1 hr hike" in Canyon Lands Park Utah. I stayed in the car to take a nap, after all, it was a short hike in a Park with marked trails, they will be fine. Well, the trails weren't marked, they took a wrong turn and walked in a few miles to realize they were lost. Utah weather coming in fast, high wind chill, rain and immediate temp drop down to about 45 deg, windy storm with night temps overnight would have probably killed them with hypothermia. They left with no lights or anything other than the light cotton clothes they were wearing, it was just a short trail hike and the weather was good. What was I to do? It would take at least 8-10 hours to drive into Moab and get a search party back to the area, hypothermia can kill in that time. I drove the car up to the highest point on a nearby road and turned the lights on and ocassionally beeped the horn. Luckily they faintly heard the horn and came in. Never again do we head into the woods without survival gear even for a little hike.
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Or some people value their life and are thinking they have responsibilities at home to take care of like a wife and kid. therefore, dying or coming close to dying is not a good option and a little bit of extra stuff in the pack is no big deal. Just my opinion though
Sorry but i agree with center_x.

Hunt describes situations that, well to be quite frank, deserves a little scrutiny for allowing to happen in the first place.

Its kinda like, i went to east Oakland to go shopping and my wife and kid went... i fell asleep in the car...

Personally i don't see how this kind of stuff can happen if you know what you are doing. Most of the crap people suggest putting in their packs is ridiculous short of TP. If you don't know the area? Don't send your wife and kid (your ultimate prized possessions in life) while you take a nap in your car into an area you know nothing about.

As the OP mentioned all were his mistakes. Its pretty easy to not make those mistakes though if you keep your head on a swivel like you should in the outdoors.

I also agree this is not sticky worthy.

Last edited by taperxz; 12-03-2013 at 6:37 AM..
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Old 12-02-2013, 8:39 PM
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I end up duck hunting alone quite a bit, sometime from a small boat in shallow water. My wife simply asks that I let her know where I'm going, when I expect to return, and how long after I don't return she should call for rescue. I simply take my gun, shells, maybe some water, maybe some TP, maybe a snack.

This comes from years of my climbing (rock and easy alpine) alone while we were dating.

I carry a cell phone, GPS (to mark interesting things, potential sites to revisit in the future, etc. I don't leave it on), a topo, a compass, headlamp and a first aid kit that includes basic first aid, some heavy duty pain killers, a small knife/scissors/tweezers, floss, ear plugs, space blanket bivy, 20 or so feet of 550 cord, flagging tape, small lighter, a few matches, a bit of TP and water tablets. My compass has a mirror on it and my wife (then girlfriend) long ago made a belt for me that uses a fastex type closure for the buckle that has a built-in whistle (I can remove the belt and the whistle side of the buckle one handed). Spare batteries too, at least for the headlamp. I've used most of these things at least once while climbing, hiking, backpacking or hunting (alone or with friends). My basic first aid kit is about the size of a 16 ounce water bottle, I don't remember how much it weighs.

If I'm hunting alone I carry a quick-clot with my first aid kit. If I'm climbing I'm usually in avalanche territory; if I'm by myself I don't carry an avy beacon, if I'm with friends I do. I wish someone would come up with a combination handheld GPS, PLB and avy beacon combination thing that was super light.
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Old 12-03-2013, 1:38 AM
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I guess it is natural selection. Guess that's why I don't rely on 20 pounds of gear to live. "Just my opinion though."
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Old 12-03-2013, 7:19 AM
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A lot of good replies. I carry my phone with a GPS app plus as backup plus a primary, dedicated GPS, and a Spot device as others have mentioned. I also do as many others have suggested as far as supplies, maps etc.
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Old 12-03-2013, 7:59 AM
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On public land hunts I just throw water, ammo, a knife, a small aid kit, a small maglite and food in a small, cheap backpack and make sure I have my lic and pig tags on me then go hunting. Light is right.

Last edited by MapleSyrupSmuggler; 12-03-2013 at 8:01 AM..
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:21 AM
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Personally i don't see how this kind of stuff can happen if you know what you are doing. Most of the crap people suggest putting in their packs is ridiculous short of TP.

I also agree this is not sticky worthy.
Bad things occasionally happen to good people. It's not hard, even while being careful, to sprain or break an ankle such that you can't/won't walk out on your own. Blisters can be debilitating after a couple of days of backpacking. Heart attacks can and do happen to people in the woods. Objective hazards (avalanche, ice fall, rock slide, flash flood, lightning strike, dangerous animals to some extent) can be managed with knowledge, but not done away with. I agree with 'light is right' and that for the most part you can substitute skill for stuff, but some stuff drastically increases your survivability. If you're just walking a half mile from your truck to your stand it doesn't make a lot of sense to carry overnight gear 'just in case'; but if you plan on walking more than a few miles in rough terrain I think it's a good idea to be able to treat yourself and realize that self rescue is often the quickest, easiest, and best method of rescue should things go terribly wrong.

We live in pretty mild country in CA (most of us, most of the year).

That being said, I feel this is sticky worthy simply because it's become apparent that a lot of people that occasionally drop into this forum aren't necessarily the most experienced outdoors people. Being alone in the woods when you are hunting isn't much different from being alone in the woods for anything else but if you have no background in it, this is useful information (that can be attained through backpacking, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, being a scout, whatever).
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:21 AM
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That's good stuff.

Press a button and watch the clock. DONE.
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:26 AM
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Howd this become a sticky? Do people really carry all this gear for a lonesome hunt? 90% of these post seem to have excessive gear. This thread should be called SHTF/End of the world while hunting. Just my opinion.
When hunting alone and in the middle of BFE, all you have is what you bring with you. If all you have is your gun and camo, you're screwed if you're hurt and can't move.

It's a "have and not need, instead of need and not have" mindset.
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Accuracy is not always the rifle, its the nut behind the stock.
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:36 AM
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That's good stuff.

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Old 12-03-2013, 8:38 AM
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Sorry but i agree with center_x.

Hunt describes situations that, well to be quite frank, deserves a little scrutiny for allowing to happen in the first place.

Its kinda like, i went to east Oakland to go shopping and my wife and kid went... i fell asleep in the car...

Personally i don't see how this kind of stuff can happen if you know what you are doing. Most of the crap people suggest putting in their packs is ridiculous short of TP. If you don't know the area? Don't send your wife and kid (your ultimate prized possessions in life) while you take a nap in your car into an area you know nothing about.

As the OP mentioned all were his mistakes. Its pretty easy to not make those mistakes though if you keep your head on a swivel like you should in the outdoors.

I also agree this is not sticky worthy.
Sounds good. We all got opinions. I just think about my future. Even so the places I hunt I never need a flashlight to find them in the dark because I know them so well. I'm also good at knowing my 20.
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:42 AM
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To those who say that bringing a lot of stuff for survival is pointless (regardless of your definition of "a lot of stuff") and that many of the situations described here can be prevented by paying attention, there is a saying that I learned in the Army that rings true for any situation.

"No plan survives contact with the enemy."

In this case, the enemy is the wilderness. She is a mean ***** and will ruin your day quick. Especially when her buddy Mr. Murphy decides to make a house call while drunk and on PCP.

Things go wrong. Small things at first, but they can very easily spiral out of control if you lose your cool or things get worse than expected, like weather.

To put this into a different perspective, just imagine someone coming over for a visit. They said that they were on the road and would be at your place in 20-30 minutes, but it's been 2 hours. The first reaction is traffic and they are simply stuck in it, but if they haven't called to say why they are that late, chances are that something really bad has happened.

It's no different than when doing anything alone while out in the woodline.

"Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance"
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Accuracy is not always the rifle, its the nut behind the stock.
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Old 12-03-2013, 8:46 AM
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Sounds good. We all got opinions. I just think about my future. Even so the places I hunt I never need a flashlight to find them in the dark because I know them so well. I'm also good at knowing my 20.
My point was more to the fact that the OP starts the thread with bad examples that lead to trouble. (trouble easily avoidable)

Survival skills can be found here http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/f...play.php?f=297


If someone is hiking in to hunt, usually they are doing one of two hunts, A simple day hunt that really doesn't allow you to travel that far from your vehicle or they are packing in. In which case they already have what is needed in their pack. How far can one get in steep rugged terrain on a simple morning/evening hunt? LOL are they running through these areas? Usually a slow simple pace is what is required for hunting or you just may be walking past a buck to try to get somewhere.

I too carry "what i think i need" I just thought that the opening to this thread was a little off kilter for an example of being prepared for something bad.
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