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Posts Tagged ‘first aid kit’


With my every foot step on this stony path today, I was taken over by an overwhelming sense of happiness, I had just realized at that very moment that I have finally understood; what an incredible feeling it was. It has taken me a very long time and many years in the woods, but now I was able to listen, smell, see, read and tell.

Unless you truly listen to nature in every sense of the word; then I speak of a language that may only sound like the wind to you. The wilderness tells stories and holds secrets to growing and healing.

I soon discovered aspen wood chips scattered across that very path, where the beaver had dragged pieces of wood into his creek, really near to their lodge. I then picked up a pure beige walking stick with its bark completely removed by those incredible incisors.

A red-winged black bird was singing out from the cat tail right by my side, there were ripples in the black waters hidden behind the swamp grass and two morning doves on the ground just meters in front of me where not even startled to flight, my whole being was at a heightened state, I did not miss any of nature’s details and I could share it with others in the form of a story.

Wilderness is awesome and being a true outdoors-man is just incredible, maybe Henry David Thoreau is looking down at me and giving me a wink in acknowledgement saying you have finally understood.

When I wrote this piece, I was listening to “First Aid Kit – Emmylou” Their folk style was quite fitting.

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A few weeks ago I drove into a Tim Horton’s coffee shop parking lot and found myself behind an older Chevy truck that was on his way out and just about done backing out of his spot, and on his tailgate there was a large bumper sticker which said: Kids who hunt, fish and trap don’t mug little old ladies. My first reaction was a smile but then I thought to myself that there must be some truth to this saying. This is a pro then.

If children participate in a fun and educational activity like accompanying their family while on a hunt for example then they are more likely to avoid getting into trouble. My son has been coming along on my hunts since the age of three and he has learned so much from just being out in nature.

It is a very healthy way for them to spend the day outdoors and they usually go back home rejuvenated, you can see it on their faces. For them it is a day of hiking and observing.

It is also a great way to spend quality time with the family, creating memories which will last a lifetime. When my son accompanies me on my hunts however there are pros and cons.

My son is very much involved in the preparation stages, like getting the snacks and lunches ready, packing the kit bags with the right gear, filling the cooler with its necessary content and then loading the vehicle. But this also takes more time. This is a con then. We have been out together in all seasons throughout the year and this makes for a lot of pre-planning, especially during the winter months. You are no longer preparing just for one person.

Your checklist becomes a little more loaded, ensuring that you have the extra orange safety vests, additional food, water, gloves and snow outfits. You now have to be extra careful in having spare clothing, a complete first aid kit, and allergy medication if it applies to your situation. This is a con then because your kit is a little heavier.

Your family member’s age or their level of experience as well as their knowledge can have a direct impact on the success of your hunt. Experience has taught me that when a young person is accompanying you, harvesting game no longer is the most important element which contributes to the definition of a successful hunt. It is having fun and learning!

A practice which I have adopted while hunting with my son is in order to keep it interesting and rewarding; I do not take him on big game hunts like wild boar or turkey hunting in the early hours of the morning. Rather I take him along for groundhog and pigeon hunting, which has just enough of a challenge but increases our chances of harvesting something. The advantage with this strategy is that there is no need to walk for miles in the woods and then in the end having to carry them in your arms or shoulders which is not very safe. Fun and safety are paramount!

Additionally during the winter months, the shorter distances means that we can go back to the vehicle warm up have a snack, drink some water and plan for our next hunting segment. During the summer months, we normally pick a large boulder to sit on or a fence under a very large tree which provides us with ample shade. This is also a great time for them to use binoculars and have a feel for the land and animal life which is around them or maybe even take some pictures. This is a pro!

Still hunting is my preferred way to hunt and this sometimes involves going through thick brush and rough terrain, when a younger family member has come along for the day, you are limited on where you can go and the distance you can cover. This is a con. They may get fatigued or the cold weather and wind will be too much for them to handle for long periods of time. It is not uncommon for me to spend up to four hours at a time hunting snowshoe hare being exposed to minus twenty degree Celsius temperatures. I do not recommend this for younger members of your hunting party, they will get cold quickly and your hunt will be cut short.

Of course let us not forget firearm safety; my gun is never loaded when I am with my son unless I am ready to shoot. My weapon is always pointing in a safe direction away from anyone or is aimed at the ground.

When I am ready to shoot, I always ensure my son is directly behind me with a distance of about four meters between us and I never take a shot without checking his position where he is standing or kneeling, this way he does not sneak up on me by accident. I use the principles which we have been taught during our courses. When I am out with a younger member of the family, I am extra vigilant and do not allow any room for error.

Accidents do occur but they can be avoided by using proper handing and firing but also for the storing of firearms. If you are taking a break during your hunt, you will want to unload the firearm and store it in a secure area like a gun case and a locked trunk. Inform yourselves on the proper storage and placement of the firearm in and around vehicles whether it is a truck or an ATV or even a boat. Additionally inform yourselves on who is permitted to carry and use a firearm depending on their age. In my case, I am the only person using a firearm until the person accompanying is old enough and has successfully completed his or her courses.

Federal firearms legislation and hunters

In respecting the guidelines and laws you will avoid expensive fines or worse a very serious accident.

If a young person accompanies you on a hunt, there are definitely pros et contras but the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives, it is so rewarding to have someone come out and learn and be as passionate as you are about nature and wildlife. And on the drive home when they are knocked out in the back seat from fatigue, let me tell you when I buy a hot coffee it is one of the best coffees in the world. Just me and the road!

Notion of family, age required to hunt and initiation license

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There I was standing in my kitchen by the fridge getting myself something to drink, the milk container carefully placed on the counter top, I opened the cupboard door with my other hand in order to reach in for a glass.

Glass in hand, I spun around and faced the milk then the glass slipped out of my grip; fell to the floor sending chards of glass everywhere. I was quite upset and let out a few swear words but after all it was done, I just had an accident. I was mad because I knew that it could have been avoided, if only I had been more careful or moved slower.

For every accident this is the unfortunate truth, they can be avoided but sometimes other factors weigh into the situation and cause them to occur. Road conditions, your mental state or even over confidence and many other reasons can be a trigger.

The only thing we can do is be prepared for them with the right tools, whether they be in the form of knowledge or hardware such as a first aid kit, field craft kit like matches, a compass and other important items.

With the river now covered in ice, my waterfowl season is over until the spring snow goose hunt. This means, I will be spending long hours in the forest practicing one of my favorite hunts during the winter months, looking for the snowshoe hare.

Every time I step into the cold white forests, an accident could occur and the one I wish to focus on this time is getting lost. I consider myself an experienced woodsman, and even though we do not wish for it to happen, getting lost is very real and in the winter especially being unprepared could prove to be deadly.

My experiences have taught me that the sooner you accept the reality that you are lost and that now you must deal with it; your situation will have already improved. Last year, I read a book about wilderness survival and the author wrote that if you are lost, and your family or friends have a general idea where you are then they will come and find you so stay where you are. Make yourself comfortable! There was even mention of bringing a cigar or cigarette along to smoke, my interpretation was maybe this is to help you relax and prevent your mind from wandering too much, thinking about family and about predators such as bears and wolves or other potential dangers such as hyperthermia.

We know that every situation is unique and in some cases you might have to attempt finding your own way back, in this case travelling earlier in the day is best, so that you avoid getting stuck travelling at night. Because of the poor visibility at night you could walk right off a cliff or ravine and add additional challenges to your current situation. Always make sure you stay current and practice your map and compass skills prior to setting out, in case your GPS fails. When I go hunting, I always let my family know where I will be, I also provide them with a map and emergency contact numbers along with a cut off time to call if they do not hear from me.

ShelterSo, for this situation or blog post, if I were lost, I would plan on staying where I am until I was found and therefore building a shelter is absolutely necessary giving me a chance of survival. It can also offer protection against the wind, rain, snow and ultimately provide some comfort in your current predicament.

For well over two decades, I have spent many nights out in the wilderness, during all seasons using all kinds of shelters, lean-to, 3 sided lean-to, ice shelters, A-frame ponchos tents with bungee cords, tents, arctic tents as well as without any cover at all.

The 3 sided lean-tos is one of my favorite and is the one that I will be illustrating for this blog entry. One of the reasons, I really like the lean-to is because if you have rope and a small axe, then your shelter can be built really well but tools are not always readily available during an emergency or accidental situation and yet a lean-to can be built without the luxury of tools and rope.

Paul Tawrell in his book on camping & wilderness survival book writes about panic and fear, he actually says, “keep your mind busy and plan for survival”. Building a shelter can help with this very element of fear and by focusing on building your shelter, you prevent your mind from racing.

I actually spent three days alone in the woods and worked constantly at perfecting my shelter; I even went to the extent of removing all the rocks one by one from my lean-to all the way down to the river’s edge. First we should focus on choosing a spot to build the 3 sided lean-to, you will need to find two large trees about 7 feet apart , each one having a limb stump on the same side  and at the same height. I like to have mine just above the waist height; the reason for this is that you do not want to lose too much heat during cold weather ensuring your heat/fire reflecting wall where you will provide you with the most heat.

If you are building a shelter in cold weather, find a naturally covered area with lots of evergreen trees and avoid slopping areas, so that water may not run down into your shelter. Avoid open areas where snow can blow in and cover you with snow.

Find a cross beam pole about 8 feet long which will hold poles for your roof, if you have rope secure the two corners and prepare yourself by finding as many roof poles about 9 feet long and as many as you need to complete your roof and secure them with snow and debris at the base. Heavy snow works well.

For the two sides of the shelter find gradual sized logs and place them up against the side of the shelter and use snow and vines to hold them in place. Once all the three-sided framing is in place, if you have a poncho or even in some cases a parachute, place it over the roof part and cover it with snow and cedar and pine boughs and layer it, some even recommend using latticework in order to secure your shelter.

Once the outer part of your shelter is ready, you can now start focusing on the inside, you can make a rectangular mattress like shape with snow and then cover it with lots of evergreen boughs to provide a pocket of air between you and the snow. This creates a natural mattress and will help with keeping you dry and warm. If you have lots of wood readily available you can also place two small logs vertically the length of your body and then place small sticks across from top to bottom, then place cedar branches above this thus making a natural bed.

Now that the 3 sided lean-to shelter is complete, you can now focus on building the fire reflector wall. Bernard Mason in his book “Camping Craft” shows the distance from your lean-to entrance and the fire wall being at about 7 feet away. This is acceptable and shall reflect the heat back into your lean-to but will also be at a safe distance away.

The reflector wall can be built using two or four posts, two at each end spaced out from each other and by placing several logs about 6 feet long between them thus creating the wall, the fire is then placed and started in the inside part of the wall facing you. A teepee fire will work just fine, also make sure you choose your wood carefully for example choose Ash, Birch, dogwood or oak, you want to use wood that will burn for a long time provide good coals but also produce lots of heat once the flames have died down.

There are many great resources on the Internet as well as great books available and even companies that offer survival courses. On my OKB page, there are several books listed which I have read and used as references throughout the years.

Stay warm and be safe!

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