As we gear up with the best outerwear, supplies, bows, and firearms we can afford for hunting season, it is also the perfect time to consider the safety gear we should be taking along, too. And when we wander off the beaten path, we should always be carrying that safety equipment to help us handle the most common emergencies that we would face while out in our chosen hunting grounds. Here are three pieces of gear that you don’t want to get caught without during your next hunt.
1. Charged mobile phone
A fully charged mobile phone, or 2-way radio in a waterproof container, could be your ticket home. This technological wonder will allow you to call for help (or text, if the signal is weak) if you get into a bind in the backcountry.
Just make sure you only use it when you need it. A few years back, one hunter who was famous for his practical jokes fell from his tree stand and broke his arm and a few ribs. Luckily, he had his phone with him. But unfortunately, his first few calls for help to friends and relatives were not believed. Finally, he rang up a distant relation who was unfamiliar with the hunter’s pranks. This young lad came out to the woods, found the injured man and helped him hobble back to the vehicle. Moral of the story: carry a phone, but don’t use it to “cry wolf.”
2. Space blanket
This humble piece of silvery plastic can be used to wrap up if you get too wet or too cold, but it’s far from a one-trick pony. Space blankets can be used to signal for help, either as a reflective panel or cut into strips to mark camps and trails. They make a good rain catch for water collections. They can also be used as improvised ponchos and twisted into cordage.
3. A lighter
Even if you don’t smoke, a few butane lighters and some other fire makers should be scattered throughout your equipment and clothing. The advantages of this fire starter are plain to see: they are affordable, operate one-handed, they’re waterproof, and they can light hundreds of fires. And don’t ever make the mistake of thinking you won’t need fire in a backcountry emergency. Fire signals for help, boils water, cooks food, warms the body, lights up the darkness, and provides many other lifesaving tasks. Make sure the lighters are colorful, in case you lay it down or drop it. I had a camo lighter once—briefly.
What do you carry for safety equipment on your hunts and treks? Please tell us what you’re packing by leaving a comment.