As summer winds down after the end of Labor Day, a new group of backcountry travelers moves into the woods – hunters.
by Blake Miller
All too often, Search and Rescue teams are tasked to locate folks who are lost, poorly prepared and are not carrying the right gear. Carrying the right gear in the backcountry is what I’d like to focus on for a moment.
Check lists for hunters abound on the Internet. You can find suggested equipment checklists on forums and chat rooms, retailer’s and outfitter’s websites.
Personally, I build my check list on the foundation established on the “Ten Essentials.” From the Ten Essentials I’ll add hunting specific items. Here is what I use as my baseline:
- Navigation (map, compass & GPS)
- Sun protection (Sun screen, sunglasses, a hat)
- Insulation (extra clothing, gloves, knit hat, a sit pad)
- Illumination (head lamp, flash light)
- First-aid supplies (Check with the Red Cross’ web site or McCann’s book listed below)
- Fire starting material (metal match, cotton balls soak with petroleum jelly, REI’s storm proof matches, BIC lighter)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water) & filtration system
- Emergency shelter (not a space blanket but a windproof water proof shelter, and a blue poly tarp)
I’ll then add hunting specific items to the list by including:
Communications (signal mirror, a SPOT or ACR locator beacon, cell phone)
- Knife, saw and game bags
- Shooting sticks
- Surgical gloves
- Hunting license
I’ll take this list a step further by checking two of my favorite reference books:
- Surviving a Wilderness Emergency by Peter Kummerfeldt
- Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann
The intent of all this gear is that should you have to spend the unintended night or nights out you will be prepared. You may not be comfortable, but you’ll have far better odds at surviving.
I also recommend you involve children in the development of your family’s gear check list. Listen to their recommendations. Have them carry their gear too. Start them early and teach them what you know. Let them participate.
Have fun and be safe.Blake Miller
Blake Miller has made a career out of staying found and knowing where he is at all times. His formal navigation training began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1973. He served as an officer aboard several Navy ships over his twenty-year career; many of those tours included the duty of Navigator. Blake began working with satellite navigation systems at sea in 1976, culminating with the then-new Global Positioning Systems aboard the Battleship WISCONSIN in early 1990.
In 1998 Blake started Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival. Blake has taught classes to wild land firefighters, state agency staffs, Search and Rescue team members, hunters, hikers, skiers, fishermen and equestrians. He regularly teaches classes through the Community Education programs at Central Oregon (Bend) and Chemeketa (Salem, OR) Community Colleges.
As a volunteer, Blake teaches navigation and survival classes, to students in the local school district and conservation groups. He is a member of a Search and Rescue team.
Contact Information :
Phone: 541 280 0573;