Yeti

Why I Always Carry Survival Gear

Cav1

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Mar 9, 2017
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227
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Central Montana
I've got to ask...how close were you to using that "panic button"?

You know, I never even considered it. In the back of my mind the beacon is for something really bad, like a broken leg, life-threatening injury, or some other reason I couldn't make it out under my own power.

Now that I do think about it, I doubt Search & Rescue could have gotten to me until morning anyway. In the county we used to live in I was an S&R volunteer, so I also consider why get them out of their nice warm beds in the middle of the night just because I'm not in mine? The hardest part was just making the decision to spend the night. I knew I was no more than a mile or so from the truck and I sure wanted to go home to my wife, supper, and a warm home. The temptation was to keep on slogging, and chances are I could have gotten away with it. But once you slog until you can physically slog no more and for some reason you're still not back at the rig (I would have ended up in that big blow-down), then you're in a real pickle. That's why I've schlepping all that gear around for years, so that something like this is just inconvenient or uncomfortable rather than turning into a life-or-death emergency.
 

Bluejeep

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Jan 31, 2018
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Billings, MT
Not only were you prepared for your night out, but it sounds like you had done enough "war planning" in your head to have a plan already lined out and then was able to execute it. I have read a few stories of backpackers getting lost and then succumbing to the elements because they were more focused on walking out then staying the night. Seems kind of crazy to die of hypothermia when you have a shelter, sleeping bag, and extra layers of clothing in your pack, but once fear sets in, unless you have played out a similar scenario in your mind, getting out becomes more important then staying the night and staying alive.
 

MJE2083

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Oct 12, 2015
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Central PA
In a funny case of irony, my well meaning grandfather just gave me one of those "blankets" yesterday. I graciously accepted it, but this story was the first thing on my mind haha.
 

mtmuley

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Jan 11, 2009
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montana
Thanks to the OP. I carry much of the same gear you do. Sometimes I think it is too heavy. Not anymore thanks to this story. Hey, Tradewind, I'm covered in the survival area, and big gun area. Win Win man. mtmuley
 

Idahoarcheryhunter

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Jul 7, 2016
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Wherever the bugles are
Thanks to the OP for this write up, I now carry more survival gear than I would of years ago. I had one night attempting to pack out an elk in the dark that resulted in a very sprained ankle and one cold ass night with a small fire to keep me warm until good friends with horses could get to me the next day glad you made it out safe and sound.
 

Tikka06

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Aug 6, 2015
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East Tennessee
This was worth the read for learning how to dry boots out with the pebbles. Great write up. You write well. Please post more often.

I second what what Gerald said. I personally got a lot out of this. Thanks for filling us all in and everyone else that added also. This has been one of the most memorable posts in a while I believe.
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Almost Arkansas…..
The temptation was to keep on slogging, and chances are I could have gotten away with it. But once you slog until you can physically slog no more and for some reason you're still not back at the rig (I would have ended up in that big blow-down), then you're in a real pickle.

This is truth. It’s not just having the right stuff, it’s having the smarts to know when it’s time to stop and use it. It’s not always fun spending a night on the mountain but it’s better than being dead.
 

Tradewind

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Aug 19, 2015
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Thanks to the OP. I carry much of the same gear you do. Sometimes I think it is too heavy. Not anymore thanks to this story. Hey, Tradewind, I'm covered in the survival area, and big gun area. Win Win man. mtmuley

Gotta be in good shape to carrying that artillery around all season. :)
 

devon deer

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Aug 25, 2011
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Devon, England
What a result on the Elk and your night out, it's given me some great advice, many thanks for creating this thread, it just might save someones life!
I also love the pebbles in boot tip.
I also agree, never leave home without a compass, even knowing how to create a simple bearing can be a life saver.
Cheers
Richard
 

Cav1

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Mar 9, 2017
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227
Location
Central Montana
Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I'll be very glad if my story helps someone else out someday.

I guess the big thing is just to keep your head. In my old county years ago we had a lost hunter who was so freaked out that when two uniformed deputies found him he actually ran away from them and hid! It's hard to believe anybody could panic that bad but the mind can do strange things sometimes under stress.
 

mdhunter61

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Oct 3, 2010
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This is the best story I’ve read on any hunting or outdoors forum in a long time. Tons of valuable info and lessons learned for all of us to take away and think about.

If I may ask – can you share a little about your personal background? I ask because based on what you wrote, I think you would have survived with even less gear (although good o you for having it), albeit much less comfortably. I think you mindset was the key – staying calm, and making the decision to stay well before you were exhausted, so that you had energy to create your shelter.

Congrats on a great hunt and a memory that you’ll have forever, which may also save someone’s life by reading this and taking the info to heart.
 

Cav1

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Mar 9, 2017
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227
Location
Central Montana
This is the best story I’ve read on any hunting or outdoors forum in a long time. Tons of valuable info and lessons learned for all of us to take away and think about.

If I may ask – can you share a little about your personal background? I ask because based on what you wrote, I think you would have survived with even less gear (although good o you for having it), albeit much less comfortably. I think you mindset was the key – staying calm, and making the decision to stay well before you were exhausted, so that you had energy to create your shelter.

Congrats on a great hunt and a memory that you’ll have forever, which may also save someone’s life by reading this and taking the info to heart.

US Army veteran, retired Forest Service, and lifelong outdoor recreationist and hunter...you could say I'm fairly comfortable in the woods. I always thought the most important thing I ever learned in the military was how far you can really push yourself physically beyond what you thought were your limits. Age has taught me there are times when you really shouldn't do that even if you still can. A few years with volunteer search & rescue awhile back really drove home the need to stay calm and not panic. People who couldn't do the latter were the ones who wound up with the worst outcomes.
 

Flatrock

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Dec 1, 2010
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Bismarck, ND
Very good read! There are times when I think "man I'm lugging around too much survival crap". Glad I do though and I'll re-evaluate everything I have and maybe even add another item or two. Reading about Corey Jacobson and his buddy who put a broadhead in his leg made me rethink some things as well. It's crazy what kind of stuff can happen.
 

LuketheDog

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Nov 29, 2015
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Sedalia, Colorado
That's a great recount of your experience. It's wild how quick a situation like that can go from good to bad by simply adding the 'cold and wet' factor to the equation...good lesson!
 

WyoDoug

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Apr 8, 2019
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Cheyenne, Wyoming
I always got emergency and survival stuff in my pack if I am hunting, including a survival blanket that I can use to sleep under, first aid kit and stuff like that. Hopefully, I never need it but you never know. Having it allows me to hike further into the backcountry without excessive risk.
 

Mtnhunter1

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Mar 11, 2018
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Big Sky Country-The Last Best Place
Cav1,,,, I just read your very well written story from last fall and loved it! I have spent more than a few long fall/winter nights faced with this same situation. A cool head, and possibly being at ease with the circumstances, is needed in this situation. Being able to build a fire is a must in order to survive. Having the extra survival items will make spending the night more comfortable.

I know that your story just increased the weight of many packs! Congrats, that is a very nice bull!

Thanks for sharing your story/pics for all to read and see. Also, thank you for your service!
 

GlockZ

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Jul 31, 2016
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680
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New Jersey
That is definitely one hell of a story. Glad it worked out for you. I for one learned long ago, that if I'm gonna carry electronics in the field, to make make sure everything takes the same type of battery. Initially, it's a PITA when it comes to researching and purchasing, but once it's done, it's done. Now all I carry is a 10 pack of lithium AA batteries as spares and 2 Battery banks for my phone. My GPS and other electronics I take in the field all take the same battery.
 

glass eye

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Sep 3, 2012
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Location
El Centro, CA
In southern AZ. Survival gear is a Pistol. Alot of that country Randy hunts with down there is dangerous. He's got a bunch of people around Him., One or 2 guys go by themselves There could be trouble. 36c Has monster Coues but I will not go there any more . It is next to the rez. where the let the wetbacks thru. Its a shame. I know where to go but You risk Your life.. Not worth it...........BOB!

AZ 36b is why I always carry more than just a canteen of water. While packing out a javelina I hyperextended my knee. I tried hobbling out but every step was like an ice pick pushed into my knee. Nightfall was a moonless black night where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, literally. Dressed in just a T-shirt for the heat of the day, now the desert night temperatures plunged dramatically. Sitting in the pitch black, no flashlight, no matches, no jacket. While sitting down I leaned back and said God help me. My hand landed on something and I picked it up to find the perfect Y shaped crutch from a solid mesquite branch. If I had searched in the light of day to find one I wouldn't have found a more perfect one. I managed to hobble back to the truck on it. After that incident I'm always prepared now. Ps. I carry a handgun out there too.
 

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