How to Prepare for Backcountry Hunting Risks

How to Prepare for Backcountry Hunting Risks

The risks of a backcountry hunt include all of the normal risks associated with a typical hunt, plus many more. These risks are compounded by the physical distance that separates you from emergency assistance. For the unprepared hunter, a simple puncture wound can turn into a serious infection.

A burn from an overturned pot of boiling water can lead to intense pain and a trip that’s cut short. A sprained or broken ankle can result in an expensive helicopter evacuation. It’s impossible to make a plan for every single sort of emergency you might encounter, as even the most imaginative person would never think of them all. Rather, you need to assume a general attitude of caution and preparation, and maintain a flexible safety plan that can evolve with the situation.

MeatEater Suggestions from Time Afield

  • Keep a carefully inventoried trauma bag on you at all times.
  • On extended outings, carry an expedition-sized med kit that is tailored to the size of your party and the duration of your trip. Adventure Medical Kits makes great products.
  • Invest in wilderness first aid courses.
  • Always have a form of emergency communication. Be aware of cell service, or carry a satellite phone or satellite communicator.
  • Take care to monitor weather leading up to your trip and adequately prepare for any severe conditions.
  • Have a plan that every member of the party is briefed on. Be aware of evacuation routes and procedures in case of emergency.  Know who to call, and know the location of the nearest medical facility.
  • Share your itinerary and plans in detail with someone who is NOT on your trip, and make plans to check in with them before and after your hunt.
  • Connect everyone’s wives/husbands/immediate family before a trip, so that they can reach one another in case of an emergency. That way, you can reach everyone’s family with just one phone call.
  • Carry a GPS, physical maps, and a compass. Know how to use them.
  • Stay calm. Think clearly. Be observant. The guy who pays attention to details is the guy who survives. The guy who panics is not.
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