Expect The Unexpected: Survival Tips to Take Seriously
Text & Photos by Nancy Anisfield
Reprinted by permission of the Ruffed Grouse Society Covers magazine.
Spend enough time in the field, and it’s likely that something will happen requiring more help than a Band-Aid or more savvy than dialing a cell phone. Those of us who hunt and fish in remote areas should invest in a survival guide and read it… often. Here is a sampling of things that could make a difference when the unexpected happens.
USE YOUR DOG WHISTLE
Three blasts is the universal distress signal; two blasts is a response. That three and two rule holds for anything waves of a hat, shots from a gun, stone markers on bare ground.
BE ABLE TO START A FIRE
Keep a watertight medicine bottle or old film container with cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly. The balls will serve as a great fire starter, burning long enough to ignite tinder.
ALWAYS CARRY ASPIRIN TABLETS
For bee or wasp stings, moisten the aspirin tablet and tape it over the sting for 10-30 minutes. The pain will stop quickly and the subsequent swelling and discomfort will be minimized.
NEVER RELY SOLELY ON YOUR GPS
Always carry a compass and know your initial heading. If you lose your compass and need to find north, spiders usually construct webs on the south side of trees. If it’s sunny, put a stick in the ground and mark where its shadow ends. Wait a while, then mark the end again. Stand with the first mark on your left and the second on your right. A line drawn connecting those two marks should run roughly west to east; you should be facing north.
MEMORIZE SOME EASY ACRONYMS
If you are lost or in trouble…
STOP: Sit Think Observe Plan.
For an immediate medical check…
ABC: Airway clear, Breathing unobstructed, Circulation normal.
For limb sprains...
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
DON’T RELY ON SMELL OR APPEARANCE TO KNOW IF FOOD IS SAFE
Meat, fish, and dairy products should not be eaten if they have been at room temperature for over two hours. Butter, fruit, peanut butter, vegetables, hard cheeses, and breads are safe for a few days.
WATER – ONE GALLON PER DAY PER PERSON
Half for drinking and half for cooking and sanitation. If you need to clear particles or chemicals from water to be able to drink it, use charcoal or fine white ash from a wood fire. Stir it in the water for five minutes, then let the suspension settle for an hour. Pour it through a piece of fine cloth, and disinfect the water using heat or a chemical disinfectant.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO TAKE
Pack a mirror to flash signals reflecting the sun, a coil of wire or thin rope for making splints from tree branches, and safety pins to make slings or to temporarily close large wounds. Check online or in survival manuals for other simple items that are easy to carry.