Don't Forget (Legal) Pain Medication on Your Next Backcountry Hunt

There are a lot of factors that play into the success of a hunt, or even whether or not a hunt will happen.

You can get off on the right foot by having all of the proper gear, but sometimes things still go wrong. I've been preparing for my upcoming brown bear hunt for months, but I came to the realization that it might have been for nothing as I sat in the doctor's office on Friday. I've been sick for awhile, and unable to figure why.

As new symptoms began to show, the doc told me that I have shingles. Not only do I have the painful manifestation of the chicken pox virus, but it's on my face. He said that if it spread to my eyes and I went without treatment, I would probably go blind.

Fortunately, after getting on some antiviral meds, and a checkup, the doctor said I will be ok to go on my 10-day hunt. Because the condition is awfully painful, he prescribed some good pain meds.

This brings to mind an often overlooked, but potentially life-saving suggestion for hunting in Alaska: Even if nothing is wrong, it is a good idea to see if your doctor can prescribe at least a small amount of pain medication for emergencies. Trips like this brown bear hunt, and especially sheep or goat hunts present many hazards. One wrong step and you can earn a severely sprained ankle, or a fall could leave you with a broken arm. 

If you're miles from the air strip, a twisted knee or sprained ankle could mean serious trouble. The possibilities of otherwise crippling injuries are endless. But, if you have some good pain meds, they can either help you suck it up to get to help, or they can keep you from going crazy with agony while waiting for help.

You should of course, go about getting these drugs in a legal manner, and follow your doctor's recommendations for use. In a pinch, they can be a life saver. I know I had quite the scare, and this could end up being a pretty tough hunt, but I am going to give it my best, and am very excited to get out there and chase some bears!

Stay tuned on Live Hunt as I call in on the satellite phone to give regular updates on how my hunt is progressing.