Author Topic: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.  (Read 15005 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« on: December 31, 2013, 01:12:31 PM »

  We've (some of us) have been discussing gear allot on the forum lately,  Knives,  Cookware,  Axes,  pack load outs, going light,  day packs vs. overnight or extended stay packs,  types and how much food do we bring with us on a day scout,  or for a long weekend.
  All these discussions are good,  we don't always learn something new together,  but we all learn at some point in the discussions and make use of it,  while I do enjoy talking about gear, skills, and how we apply them I just take them for what they are and don't carry the thought too far,  most of us have too much gear,  and most of us have pretty good wilderness and self reliance skills.
  What got me started on this thread was a Video on U-Tube made by a fellow up in Canada who's site goes by the name of Bushcraft Bartons,  I have enjoyed his videos for quite a while,  a couple of nights ago I watched one of his newer videos, this one was a departure from his normal format,  he set up a scenario where he played a Hunter out for a morning hunt,  not finding any game in the area he was familiar in and being frustrated about it he made the decision to go deeper into the forrest than he had gone before in that area,  at a little after noon he decided to rest a bit and then turn back.
 After a short rest he picked up his gun and game bag and started to move out,  it had gotten overcast and not knowing the area he suddenly became aware that he wasn't sure of his direction to get back to where he had parked his truck that morning,  so he decided to climb a steep hill in order to get a better look at where he was and perhaps spot some landmark that he might recognize.
 On the way up the hill he tripped and tumbled down the hill for about 40 feet coming to a stop against a huge pine tree,  then he felt a serious pain in his arm and shoulder that almost made him loose consciousness,  his arm was either broken or dislocated, after righting himself he managed to use his scarf to capture his arm to ease the pain and prevent more damage,  he was thinking, but not as well as he could have if the stress of being lost and the pain suffered in the fall had not affected his power to reason.
 Keep in mind,  this guy is a woodsman,  he's comfortable in the woods,  and he has wilderness skills,  knowing that he couldn't stay where he was and only having a few hours of daylight left at best he had to get back up the hill and find some flat ground in a sheltered area,  after doing that he sat down to rest and take stock of his resources,  in his pockets and game bag he had his fixed blade knife,  a ferro rod, a little tinder,  a SS cup, a small flash light,  a candy bar, a liter plastic bottle of water  and an extra pair of socks,  that was it,  he was going out to hunt for a few hours in a place he knew well,  he didn't need a compass or a topo map,  he was going to be home around lunch time, he didn't need to pack food,  and he had a half dozen shotgun shells for his gun,  His Gun, where was his gun,  it flew out of his hand when he fell,  and he didn't retrieve it. 
  He knew it would get dark soon,  and that would bring bitter cold,  and it looked like maybe some snow,  so he collected some pine boughs and made a quick shelter,  then he collected fire wood by breaking off the dead bottom branches from pine trees and breaking a few standing deadwood saplings between a crotch in a tree,  having only one arm made it difficult at best,  but he made a fire lay and used some of his tinder and some birch bark he found to make a birds nest,  next he planted his knife in a downed log and with one hand used his ferro rod against his knife to ignite the tinder and get a campfire going.
  Once that was done he poured about half his water into his glazier cup, added some pine needles and made himself some hot tea to bring his core temp back up,  all this shows that the guy was experienced, he was thinking,  he was doing allot of things right,  but he had also made a lot of serious errors in judgement.
  After having the hot tea and building up his fire he curled up in his shelter to rest............... .

  Now before you start posting,  wait for the rest of the story,  it won't be long.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 01:59:47 PM »

  Ok,  I'm back,  now before I go on with this story I want you to know why it struck home with me and has given me pause to do some deep thinking and reflecting on the way I prepair for just a simple walk in the woods on a sunny afternoon,  or go out in search of bushy tails for a mornings hunt.
  Way back when I was a young man,  the same kind if event happened to me,  I was hunting in the North Central part of Maine near the Canadian border in an area of the state that I had never hunted before,  I was only hunting that stretch of woods for the morning and planing to try another in the afternoon,  all i had with me was a pocket survival kit (which I found out the hard way wasn't much good for real survival),  to shorten the story up a little I got drawn into a cedar swamp by a big and crafty  doe,  it had been snowing at a rate of 2" per hour when I finally decided to give up the chase and get back to my truck where I was to meet up with my hunting buddies.
  The only problem was that I was lost,  it was almost a white out,  and my compass had pointed right to my gun barrel when I took a reading on my way in,  Like most people my first action was to panic,  I ran in one direction then the other,  I got hot and started stripping off my hat and coat,  and then it got calm and I knew I was going to spend the night in a blizzard with very little in the way of resources.
  About five miles from where I was another hunting party had gone in about the same time I did,  two brothers and a friend in their mid twenties,  like me they were supposed to meet at their vehicle at noon time,  the friend and one brother came out of the woods a little after noon,  they waited for the other brother who never showed,  so the the brother told his friend to wait there in case the missing brother returned and he went in search of his sibling,  20 minutes later the missing brother came out of the woods,  the other brothers body was recovered a few days later by a rescue chopper in a clear cut about two miles into the woods,  he had froze to death.
  I was lucky,  I collected wood, built a fire and a shelter in expectation of staying the night,  my friends waited about an hour, when I didn't show up they stared firing three shots and waiting for me to return a shot, then they started to blow the horn on one of the trucks,  from where I was I could hear it and walk in that direction, finally finding my way out,  but it could have ended much worse than just being ribbed by my friends.
 It's easy to Monday morning quarterback when the game was lost on sunday and you weren't playing.   :)

 So on with the story.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 02:16:48 PM »

  Ok,  so our hunter has fallen asleep,  it's bitter cold,  his fire has died down,  he's in great pain, he's lamenting how this could have happened to him when he hears something,  he's not sure what it is but he starts to yell,  "Hey, who's out there,  I'm over here, I'm injured,  I need help",  no one answers,  he hears it again,  so he grabs his flash light hoping to signal who ever is making the noise,  then he walks to the edge of his camp,  hears the noise again and he again yells out for help,  nothing,  so he ventures further into the woods in search of the sound,  and his flashlight goes out,  bulb burnt, batteries dead, he doesn't know, all he knows is that he can't see his hand in front of his face,  he's numb with cold,  and he's too tired to move,  he just needs to rest, close his eyes for a few minutes ................... ...................

  Do you pack enough in your minimalist survival kit to survive an unexpected stay in the woods ?

  Now we are open for discussion. 
 


 
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 02:31:45 PM »
Good thread.  Even down here in central FL, we can experience deadly temps and weather.  We always allow an emergency bag.  And have used it.  We've learned a lot during our P and M's.  I'm loosening up a lot this year as far as gear.   Maybe a one hand camp maybe a next step... >:D
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 02:45:04 PM »
It depends on the area you are in.  When I was elk hunting in Colorado the basin I hunted in was a little hard to keep your directions in due to the terrain and woods.  In the eastern part of the basin you could head downhill and down stream and come out at the highway but if you were too far west in the basin and got turned around you would go into an area with few roads and no ranches.  I always carried a USGS topo map, compass, space blanket, fire starting tools, mittens and a wool hat in the fall hunts up there.   If you fell and were injured to the point you couldn't walk it was best to have a box of shells to fire three shot volleys. 

While I never got in trouble out there we were always ready.  Other places I went were much easier to retain your directions and some of the gear was left out. 

Regardless of where we went we always told our wives or friends where we were going and when we were returning.  This was before cell phones and gps units so those things never entered into our gear choices.   
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 02:54:52 PM »
First thought: Such a great topic (again Moe!), and yet so complex that there are communities and forums and so on dedicated just to this one topic.  This is gonna be another one to watch... :popcorn:

I watched that video, and the follow up to it.  Pretty good stuff.

Your question is, "Do we carry enough stuff to survive?"
 
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is environment.  I think that is so dependent upon environment - geography, time of year, seasonal weather etc, etc, etc. So much depends on where we are.

However, I'll start off by saying that I don't have a PSK anymore. I carry a pack which is my home away from home (hopefully!). It just seems pointless to me to carry a PSK anymore.  I feel that the stuff we put in them is too small, too compact, too skimpy to be of any real value. Where I'm coming from a survival kit should be more like Mors Kochanski's than these altiod tin jobs we've all made ourselves.  Again, IMHO, YMMV.

For an example of what I'm trying to say, who wants to don a cheap plastic poncho and pull up a trash bag and spend the night like that when they could reach into their bag and grab a real, full sized emergency blanket? Why would you bother with a 2" knife blade when you can carry a spare knife in your pack?
 
I'd say that IMO the majority of the stories we hear and remember are the ones where people didn't make it, OR their stories are so interesting etc. that they take on a life of their own. I think the vast majority of 'survival' stories happen just like yours, Moe - someone gets turned around for a few hours and either spends the night tending a fire, or is found/find their way that same day.  I've been 'almost lost' a number of times.  Sucks, but it's not uncommon. The REAL survival, IMO happens when we leave word of when and where to be missed.

So to sum up: I make sure carry enough stuff to survive (I hope). In my pack.  Full sized, redundant, sure fire stuff.  Not gimmicks for me: fire, shelter, water, signalling and maybe a bite to eat. 

Get as comfortable as possible and wait.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 03:11:35 PM »
Good response KK.  I usually carry a 3 day assault pack type.  Plenty of room for a good night out when I pack for the predicted weather.  I spend a lot of nights out and depend on the weather channel to plan my kit.  We can go from 100 degrees F. to 20 degrees here.  From 75 F one day to freezing at night.  E- bags are essential.  Unless you're really good at suffering.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 04:10:03 PM »

  Good posts so far,  but I'd like to narrow the focus a little,  I may have included too much information,  but I wanted to give you all insight into my thoughts since viewing that video,  it really brought back a flood of memories about the few hours that I spent "twisted".
  I've seen or heard all too many stories of people who have lost their battle with survival because they simply weren't prepared,  most had the skills to survive,  some even had the skills and the tools but lost because they just lost hope and gave up.
  My post had as much to do with how one is prepared mentally as they are prepared physically and tool wise,  the fellow who got lost the same time I did was from Maine,  he was dressed for the cold,  he had a hunting knife and rifle,  and I assume he knew what to expect of the Maine woods at that time of year.
  When they found his body he was in a fetal position next to a tree stump,  all he was wearing was his insulated hunter orange pants, white tee shirt, and boots,  he had discarded his rifle and other clothing along his way,  he was wearing a belt sheath but his knife was missing.
  I talked to a local game warden the day after the hunters body was found and he told me that it wasn't uncommon to find lost victims in various stages of undress,  he said it was caused by panic,  they get so frightened about their situation that the body reacts by burning calories at a high rate,  they feel like they are burning up and start shedding clothes.
  As soon as hypothermia sets in it's all over but the funeral,  you loose the ability of rational thought, then motor skills, and then hope.

  When one thinks about it,  if you keep calm and use what ever skills you have as a woodsman,  you should be able to survive a night or two in the woods even in extreme conditions if you have some resources,  some basic skills,  and the right mental attitude.
 
  That Hunter in the Canadian scenario had all of those assets,  what he lacked was the ability to think straight,  and what put him in jeopardy was not using common sense,  he should have known that there are times when you aren't going to find game,  he should have known better than to go deeper into an area of the forrest that he didn't know without having a compass, map, and more survival resources,  once he had built a shelter and got a fire going he should never have left camp or lost sight of his fire,  and he should have never trusted his life to a flashlight.

  Hat's off to KK,  having a pack with enough gear and tools to make yourself comfortable in an emergency every time you go into the woods is a very important element of surviving,  the same goes for Max,  his pot & knife challenge meets offer practical experience on building survivability confidence with very little in the way of tools.

  Max,  the one arm camp challenge sounds like a fun idea,  it also may develope new ideas on team work between members to get some tasks done that require two hands.    :thumbsup:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 04:21:34 PM »
This is a great topic to make people think, and we don't need the obligatory "gear lists" to do it.
I'll tell you the ONE main thing that has kept me out of trouble, and getting into situations like described: "Have a plan, and stick to it!"

I can't tell you guys how many times I've been tempted to deviate from my day's plan. I could list a few, like when I was young and stupid and we decided we were going to "dog" a bull elk in relays until it was too tired to move. Ha!  I pulled the plug on that idea when the bull headed down into a draw that I knew would take me miles from camp.

The first question I ask myself when these temptations arise is, "Am I prepared for this?"  If the answer is "maybe", or any more doubtful, I suck it up and give it up.

It sounds like a cliche, but the first step in survival is not to get into a survival situation in the first place.  Of course, you can sprain an ankle a mile from camp, so there's always that factor. But there's a app for that, too. "If you are always anticipating that you might slip, or fall, you never will."
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 05:52:36 PM »
Great answers. Lots of stuff to think on.

I think that having the proper equipment with you is the second step (the first being having told someone about your plan and sticking to it). But even with these two elements (plan and equipment) the wheels fall off at the bottleneck of this whole topic: can a person keep their head?

The video Moe references at the beginning shows the guy making a stupid choice which results in his death. Moe's sad story about the brothers points that out too.

Re: OP's post... Once while we were all out on a deer hunt, my dad showed up in a spot he wasn't 'supposed' to be at. This stranger (dad) waved at me. I didn't wave back - who was this guy so obviously intruding on our hunt? I had no binos that day and I wasn't about to scope some dude (unsafe in a number of ways). So the guy waved and walked on, with me grumbling all the time. I just couldn't see dad because dad was somewhere else. My mind didn't make the adjustment.

Anyhow, soon enough I heard shooting from the direction the stranger went. We even talked about it at the vehicles. Turns out dad shot a deer where he wasn't supposed to be, I thought it was this stranger, and dad missed out on our help til much later. If he'd have been hurt, or lost back there, I'd like to think I'd have been able to put it together, but I really don't know how long it would have taken me to look for my dad where I was convinced he wasn't...

Don't change a plan you've shared with others.

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 06:07:03 PM »
... If he'd have been hurt, or lost back there, I'd like to think I'd have been able to put it together, but I really don't know how long it would have taken me to look for my dad where I was convinced he wasn't...

Don't change a plan you've shared with others.


Veering slightly off topic, but not that much, re: what KK says.

The worst survival situation would be a gunshot wound....or worse. We're all familiar with that old saw, "Be sure of your target, and beyond."  Well, when you draw down on an animal, and you know there's nothing but woods and brush behind it because your hunting buddies are "over there", or "down the creek bottom", you don't worry.
Then you take your shot and hear, "What the f---?!"  from somewhere down range. Turns out Mr. Dependable wandered off course and decided to check out the woods where you were hunting. His first clue was when your shot went through the deer and started clipping off branches a foot over his head!   >:(
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Offline diogenes

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2014, 02:21:20 AM »
Watched the vid and the follow-up vid. Good topic for discussion, Moe.

I usually (even for day hikes) have a means to make shelter, several ways to make fire, a cup to boil water in if need be, first-aid kit, and extra food. My kit is more than what I need for a day hike and I'm fully confident that I could spend a night or two out with it.

Now, one thing that got me when Finn (our dog) ran off a few weeks ago was that I forgot my headlamp. I sometimes use it around the house and I forgot to put it back in the pack. While I do keep a small led flashlight in there it really wasn't up to snuff for looking around past dark. I was really kicking myself. The worst time to forget something like that, just when I really needed it. :(

Note to myself: Always check your kit. Every. Single. Time. Next time it could be something else, something more essential than a flashlight. The fire kit for example. Also I just need to get another headlamp. :P
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 06:45:16 AM »

  Actually,  what ever experiences or stories along the lines of this discussion are not off topic or a derailment of the thread,  I know that I used the hunting scenario as the vehicle to open the conversation, but the main point is that we often make poor judgements or take risky chances that can get us into serious trouble because we didn't think ahead.
 In the case of the lost hunter,  when he left his car that morning he had a plan,  it was to hunt a patch of woods that he knew well,  all he needed was his hunting clothes, gun and ammo, his game bag,  a cup and a bit of water,  he was going to be out of the woods by about lunch time,  nothing to worry about right ?
 The hunter actually did a lot of things right and had some pretty impressive skills,  but on each end of that list of right things is his first bad choice of extending his hunt into a place he didn't know without a compass and the support of a topo map,  and his last choice to leave the safety of his fire and shelter in the middle of a very dark night trusting only to his small flashlight,  which failed him.

  The second point along the same lines that I wanted to bring up was that as mentally organized as we might be and not prone to bad choices,  stress, injury, shock, hypothermia,  or any number of unexpected things can upset our ability to react properly in a survival situation.

  The message in this thread is that we should always be as prepared as possible with the right tools, skills, and mental attitude that we can muster.

   I have a few more examples but would rather hear more from all of you guys first.
 
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2014, 10:01:34 AM »
Monday in the doc's office I was reading Outdoor Life's "This Happened to Me" section.
A rabbit hunter in N. Ontario was traveling by skis. Made the decision to cross a stream. The snow was deep and the ice thin. He went through up to his neck in the water. Lost his skis. His daypack was soaked, along with everything in it.
By the time he was able to gather a bit of tinder, he was shaking too badly to work his ferro fire starter. It didn't say if he had back up fire making ability, but a wet Bic won't work either.
He opted to make a dash for the vehicle. He was overcome by the cold, and his cousin (another hunting party member) found him bogged down and chest deep in snow with only moments to spare.
Got him back to their cabin and he recovered.
My thoughts reading that were that even if he had managed a small fire, being soaked completely in near-zero (he said sub-zero) temperatures, he never could have dried out enough to self-rescue. Second thought was, who the heck goes rabbit hunting when it's below zero?  Of course, being Canadian, his "sub-zero" could have meant just below 32F.  Dunno.....
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2014, 10:40:51 AM »
Monday in the doc's office I was reading Outdoor Life's "This Happened to Me" section.
A rabbit hunter in N. Ontario was traveling by skis. Made the decision to cross a stream. The snow was deep and the ice thin. He went through up to his neck in the water. Lost his skis. His daypack was soaked, along with everything in it.
By the time he was able to gather a bit of tinder, he was shaking too badly to work his ferro fire starter. It didn't say if he had back up fire making ability, but a wet Bic won't work either.
He opted to make a dash for the vehicle. He was overcome by the cold, and his cousin (another hunting party member) found him bogged down and chest deep in snow with only moments to spare.
Got him back to their cabin and he recovered.
My thoughts reading that were that even if he had managed a small fire, being soaked completely in near-zero (he said sub-zero) temperatures, he never could have dried out enough to self-rescue. Second thought was, who the heck goes rabbit hunting when it's below zero?  Of course, being Canadian, his "sub-zero" could have meant just below 32F.  Dunno.....

  That's a good example of what we're discussing,  did he screw up,  sure he did in making the choice to cross the stream,  streams indicate running water,  running water usually means thin ice in winter conditions,  but he had likely done it before and gotten away with it,  most of us have taken chances and haven't suffered for it,  but when you loose one it's easy to see just how foolish you were to take the risk.
  It's also a good example of just how fast you can loose your motor skills and your ability to think straight when you loose core temp or are injured in some way.
  How or what can we learn from his example,  well, thinking twice about crossing ice without checking it well ahead of us with a pike of stick of some kind comes to mind,  but having suffered mild frost bite in my fingers when I was younger,  I am well aware about how quick it happens,  I usually carry a ferro rod, bic lighter,  flint and steel,  and some tinder in my kit,  but in his situation with frozen fingers all that would be about useless,  but I've learned through this example that it wouldn't hurt to make up a small birds nest and tinder bundle ahead of time and keep it in a waterproof bag in my pack for cold weather outtings,  and have a fire lighting device that is easy to use when your ability to move is hampered. 
  One of the things that I am never without in my day pack is a reuseable safety blanket,  which may have helped in that situation,  carrying a few large crack and use hand or foot warmers is another good idea.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2014, 10:57:34 AM »
...,  carrying a few large crack and use hand or foot warmers is another good idea.
Taking the dunk in the creek out of the equation, Montana just keeps reminding my how quickly the cold can sap your ability, and your resolve. The hand warmers are a GREAT suggestion, because if your hands don't work, it doesn't matter what your knowledge bank tells them to do!
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2014, 11:23:53 AM »
Again - fantastic discussion here. :thumbsup:

My thoughts on the rabbit hunter:

1. We all make mistakes out there. I think it's a priority to minimize how many and how serious and how much impact they have. No one eliminates mistakes.

2. Interesting (a la OP's earlier) that someone knew where to look for him? (If I read that right.)

3. I know for a fact that water is actually technically warmer than a sub zero (Celsius I'm sure) environment - ESPECIALLY if there's any kind of wind movement. I remember from college that water stays somewhere around +4C under ice. IN THEORY, if help is immanent, as in you can see people coming, it has been suggested that you're better off in than out. Just a THEORETICAL argument - I'd always get out lest I drown - but once you're out of (your fetal position in) the water, you'll actually loose more heat on a subzero day - again especially of there's any wind at all. Again, not my advice or experience, but a theoretical discussion from a seminar by a world leading expert on hypothermia. Not applicable here, maybe, just an interesting thought.

4. If I were the rabbit hunter, once having made this mistake, I'd get out ASAP. Stip first, light fire second, while wrapped in the emergency blanket Moe made me take along. Of course, maybe by the time I got stripped id be done for. I hope to God I never have to find this out. Another thing I was taught was to drop in the snow for a roll around. This will dry you out quite a bit apparently, and the old time trappers used to dry their beaver off that way. I've done it with clothing etc, and it's actually surprising how well snow 'dries' stuff off (relatively speaking, of course).

5. This highlights the challenges of cold weather survival and fire making. You don't have much time before fine motor skills are affected and that zippo doesn't mean much. Zippos light on your jeans or back of hand if you can hold them. You don't need to depress a lever. I carry one everywhere now.

Great post. Just a few thoughts...
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 11:34:56 AM »
I've been hypothermic several times in IL, ID, MN, and, yes, FL.  I'm very aware of where I'm at on the heat loss now.  It can get you very quickly.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2014, 11:42:11 AM »
...
3. I know for a fact that water is actually technically warmer than a sub zero (Celsius I'm sure) environment - ESPECIALLY if there's any kind of wind movement. I remember from college that water stays somewhere around +4C under ice. IN THEORY, if help is immanent, as in you can see people coming, it has been suggested that you're better off in than out. Just a THEORETICAL argument - I'd always get out lest I drown - but once you're out of (your fetal position in) the water, you'll actually loose more heat on a subzero day - again especially of there's any wind at all. Again, not my advice or experience, but a theoretical discussion from a seminar by a world leading expert on hypothermia. Not applicable here, maybe, just an interesting thought...
All things being relative, I doubt I'd opt for the cold water bath to extend survival time. According to what I remember reading, the Coast Guard, Navy,etc. give a person in normal clothing about 20 minutes survival time in 34F-38F water. The crab fishermen in the Bearing Sea figure if you're in the water 15 minutes without a survival suit, you're dead.
How much time does a completely soaked person in 20F air temps have? Pretty much depends on the person, and their metabolism. One of the guys in "Dude, You're Screwed" was soaked from the crotch down in 18F temps and walked 5 miles without ill effects.  :shrug:
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2014, 11:47:18 AM »
I'm definitely in the camp of air before water.  I've spent a lot of time in the water.  It will sap you so fast you don't have time to think.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2014, 11:49:33 AM »
...
3. I know for a fact that water is actually technically warmer than a sub zero (Celsius I'm sure) environment - ESPECIALLY if there's any kind of wind movement. I remember from college that water stays somewhere around +4C under ice. IN THEORY, if help is immanent, as in you can see people coming, it has been suggested that you're better off in than out. Just a THEORETICAL argument - I'd always get out lest I drown - but once you're out of (your fetal position in) the water, you'll actually loose more heat on a subzero day - again especially of there's any wind at all. Again, not my advice or experience, but a theoretical discussion from a seminar by a world leading expert on hypothermia. Not applicable here, maybe, just an interesting thought...
All things being relative, I doubt I'd opt for the cold water bath to extend survival time. According to what I remember reading, the Coast Guard, Navy,etc. give a person in normal clothing about 20 minutes survival time in 34F-38F water. The crab fishermen in the Bearing Sea figure if you're in the water 15 minutes without a survival suit, you're dead.
How much time does a completely soaked person in 20F air temps have? Pretty much depends on the person, and their metabolism. One of the guys in "Dude, You're Screwed" was soaked from the crotch down in 18F temps and walked 5 miles without ill effects.  :shrug:
Agreed. TOTALLY theoretical. There's other stuff happening in cold water, as I understand it. I think the natural instinct is screaming "get out!" at the top of its lungs. And like I said, I'm getting out ASAP while the getting's good...

Of course, I'd say that being soaked from the crotch down isn't going to threaten your body's core as much as a total dunking...
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2014, 11:52:38 AM »
I'm definitely in the camp of air before water.  I've spent a lot of time in the water.  It will sap you so fast you don't have time to think.
Agreed.

This guy dunks student volunteers in tubs of icy water for parts of his research. It's nothing I'd volunteer for, I can tell you that. :crazy:
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2014, 11:55:02 AM »
.......it for sure will give a person 'blue-acorn-syndrome' REAL quickly, though!  :doh:
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2014, 12:05:31 PM »
I couldn't figure out how to tie a knot to secure my kayak on my truck in CO after a friend pinned in a rapid and we ran into the night in fastly dropping temps.

My buddy fished me out of Feb hurricane surf.  He carried me up the stairs off the beach.

I helped a guy coming out of a deco dive in 70 degree water that was incapacitated.

Keep that body temp where it should be.  Then hydration.  IMHO.



"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2014, 12:48:18 PM »

  Ok,  so our hunter has fallen asleep,  it's bitter cold,  his fire has died down,  he's in great pain, he's lamenting how this could have happened to him when he hears something,  he's not sure what it is but he starts to yell,  "Hey, who's out there,  I'm over here, I'm injured,  I need help",  no one answers,  he hears it again,  so he grabs his flash light hoping to signal who ever is making the noise,  then he walks to the edge of his camp,  hears the noise again and he again yells out for help,  nothing,  so he ventures further into the woods in search of the sound,  and his flashlight goes out,  bulb burnt, batteries dead, he doesn't know, all he knows is that he can't see his hand in front of his face,  he's numb with cold,  and he's too tired to move,  he just needs to rest, close his eyes for a few minutes ................... ...................

  Do you pack enough in your minimalist survival kit to survive an unexpected stay in the woods ?

  Now we are open for discussion. 
 


 
Had to revisit this post to refresh my memory.
It sounds like our hunter had what he needed for an unexpected stay in the woods. Gear, knowledge, etc. He was set with shelter and a fire. What tripped him up? A bad decision. Just one. Well, two, if you count letting the fire burn out.
Success or failure. Turn right, or turn left?  A lot, including surviving, can hinge on just ONE bad decision. Mother Nature rarely grants "do overs".
Our own minds and mental processes are our best resource...and our worst enemy. Pain and hypothermia are major distractions. Hypothermia being particularly insidious, because you don't think you're impaired until it's sometimes too late.

It's all well and good to harp on "core temperature", because at 95F you're ER material. But there's more to it than that. The brain needs nice warm blood to keep its processor working. It's my humble belief that you need a warm scarf around your neck, and a good hat covering your head and ears actually more than you need an Arctic parka. Yeah, we need to keep the boiler room warm enough to function, but if the control room above your collar goes whacko, it doesn't matter how comfy your guts are.
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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2014, 12:48:48 PM »
Great Thread.
I have to Think about not having the right stuff with me when I go out, its just a natural thing like muscle memory to take the right stuff.
I like to think so anyways, I would never head to a piece of woods very far without the right kit: fire making bits or whatever if there was the slightest possibility that I would get stuck out there. I have hunted woods several miles from the house with nothing more than my gun and a canteen and the clothes on my back, But barring getting shot or hog stomped I always think I could crawl back if necessary.
I have been very cold before, canoe goes over in december or january miles from the truck, scuba misadventure in 57* water, things like that. The canoe adventure worked out because I was able to get back in and my gear was secured so soon as I could get to shore I was able to get a fire going and get dry and warm, not easy to start a fire when your shaking so hard you bite your tongue.
The scuba was not as nice, no fire tools.
Point is, the old Boy Scout thing...Be Prepared...do that long enough and it becomes second skin.
I've done way more camping and hiking alone than in groups and was never a real good one for making and sticking to plans, so I am not real qualified to comment on them. But it does seem like a good idea.
Most of these stories I read, its pretty easy to Monday Morning Quarterback and see where the guy screwed up and I guess thats natural enough. I just can't see myself making those kinds of mistakes, walking along fine, realize I am lost and panicing, running around.
Maybe they didn't see it either, maybe they just never thought about it.
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2014, 01:12:21 PM »
I'm big on keeping the head and neck warm. 

Seems there's no simple answer. 

But a great thread.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2014, 01:24:19 PM »
... I have hunted woods several miles from the house with nothing more than my gun and a canteen and the clothes on my back, But barring getting shot or hog stomped I always think I could crawl back if necessary...
I'm guilty of the same thing more often than not. I know I should be carrying at least some 4x4 gauze, tape, and an Ace bandage. Cutting myself gutting a deer is a real possibility, and a sprained ankle you can't tape up will ruin your whole outing.
Quote
Most of these stories I read, its pretty easy to Monday Morning Quarterback and see where the guy screwed up and I guess thats natural enough. I just can't see myself making those kinds of mistakes, walking along fine, realize I am lost and panicing, running around.
Maybe they didn't see it either, maybe they just never thought about it.
I think threads like this, and even MMQ'ing tragedies are good even for folks with above average skills. They make us think, and re-evaluate our assumptions. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and I know I'm guilty of doing things I've done 100 times before without considering 'what-if' this time it went wrong.

I'll review what I've got from this thread out loud here....

  • Throw a quality 'space blanket' in my day pack. Even hiking a groomed trail a couple miles from my cabin could go bad if I became injured.
  • Put at least a 9x9 nylon tarp in there with the blanket.
  • Multiple redundant fire making tools, all in Ziplocs or waterproof containers.
  • Pre-made tinder bundles, even if I plan on using my Zippo.
  • Tell someone where to go look for the body. Even saying, "I'm going downriver, be back in 3-4 hours." is better than nothing. Then don't go upriver instead.  8)

All this is pretty basic, and just my 'new checklist' even for a day hike.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2014, 07:42:55 AM »

  Your post and Sixfooter's post are both enlightening in that they support the reason I thought about opening this thread,  many of us, me included,  have and still do unknowingly stretch the limits of common sense simply because our knowledge, outdoor skills,  and experiences,  coupled with some good luck have made us complacent in what we expect and how we sometimes don't prepare well enough.
 Like the both of you,  I give a lot of thought to preparing for the long treks,  when I've left the outcamp deep in the big woods for a day of hunting where I'll be miles from camp, deep in the woods, I think about where I'm going, what dangers I might encounter from weather changes to injury and I pack enough gear and food to last me at least a few days if I ration and a minimal first aid kit,  I'm not expecting to be comfortable,  but to survive in the event something goes really wrong.
 But,  until now, I have been much too casual about those times when I'm just going into familiar woods to hunt, fish, or just a for a few hours of alone time not far from home,  usually not more than a mile from my truck,  what can possibly go so wrong that I should have to worry about ending up in a survival situation.
 I'm starting now to understand that it's not so much where you are,  but what can change when you least expect it,  for those who have watched that Lost Hunter video,  you'll understand why I was so moved,  up until the time that he was injured his situation and mine were close to identical,  he got lost because he went deeper into an unknown area than he was prepared for in search of game,  I did the very same thing chasing a deer that was keeping just ahead of me and I wasn't paying attention to where I was going,  all my attention was on getting a shot at the deer.
 And like him I wasn't without survival skills,  and I had warm clothing, a good hunting knife,  my deer drag for cordage, a lighter and a match safe,  some toilet paper to help get a fire going, I was dressed in hunter orange,  I had a pocket survival kit with some tea, a packet of hot chocolate mix, a packet of instant oatmeal, a candy bar, my canteen and metal cup,  and I had my rifle and a handful of ammo.
 He may have found his way out even if he had to spend the night if it wasn't for him injury and a bad decision,  I wouldn't have had a problem if I had just carried a spare compass,  or if I had not got caught in a flash white out snow storm,  I was lucky that I had hunting buddies that knew about the area that I was in and took initial steps to signal to me,  the lost hunter in that video died because of a few small mistakes,  he really didn't do anything really dumb,  and that's where the importance of his situation is so critical to our learning from it.
 The biggest danger that we have to overcome in such a situation is the panic that sets in when you first come to the realization that you are in deep and immediate danger,  and if you haven't been there and felt that it's hard to understand, once you've experienced it and beat it you will be armed with the knowledge of how it works,  but that first time is something you will remember for a life time.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2014, 07:50:41 AM »
... I have hunted woods several miles from the house with nothing more than my gun and a canteen and the clothes on my back, But barring getting shot or hog stomped I always think I could crawl back if necessary...
I'm guilty of the same thing more often than not. I know I should be carrying at least some 4x4 gauze, tape, and an Ace bandage. Cutting myself gutting a deer is a real possibility, and a sprained ankle you can't tape up will ruin your whole outing.
Quote
Most of these stories I read, its pretty easy to Monday Morning Quarterback and see where the guy screwed up and I guess thats natural enough. I just can't see myself making those kinds of mistakes, walking along fine, realize I am lost and panicing, running around.
Maybe they didn't see it either, maybe they just never thought about it.
I think threads like this, and even MMQ'ing tragedies are good even for folks with above average skills. They make us think, and re-evaluate our assumptions. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and I know I'm guilty of doing things I've done 100 times before without considering 'what-if' this time it went wrong.

I'll review what I've got from this thread out loud here....

  • Throw a quality 'space blanket' in my day pack. Even hiking a groomed trail a couple miles from my cabin could go bad if I became injured.
  • Put at least a 9x9 nylon tarp in there with the blanket.
  • Multiple redundant fire making tools, all in Ziplocs or waterproof containers.
  • Pre-made tinder bundles, even if I plan on using my Zippo.
  • Tell someone where to go look for the body. Even saying, "I'm going downriver, be back in 3-4 hours." is better than nothing. Then don't go upriver instead.  8)

All this is pretty basic, and just my 'new checklist' even for a day hike.

   Good advice OP,  I would also suggest at least one liter of water,  a metal cup, and a few food packets including tea or coffee bags,  I always include a bag of M&M's in my kit,  it's good for a quick energy boost, keeps for a good while,  and helps bolster your spirits,  of course, you could probably do the same thing with a small flask of Southern Comfort.   ;)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2014, 09:43:10 AM »

   Good advice OP,  I would also suggest at least one liter of water,  a metal cup, and a few food packets including tea or coffee bags,  I always include a bag of M&M's in my kit,  it's good for a quick energy boost, keeps for a good while,  and helps bolster your spirits,  of course, you could probably do the same thing with a small flask of Southern Comfort.   ;)
I'll go with Plan B.  ;D
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2014, 10:08:57 AM »
I'm rethinking knife, pot,  firesteel.  But I'm still on the fence for central FL.  We can do it.  :)
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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2014, 10:28:43 AM »
Good thread Moe and folks.  It's been an interesting read.  I just don't know why anyone would go anywhere without even a daypack with basic gear like has been mentioned.  But to the mental aspect I guess we all never really know until were in that situation. 

I feel bad for the brother who came out after his brother went back in and didn't make it.  Not his fault but still that would weigh on you.
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Offline diogenes

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2014, 11:02:00 AM »
...

I'll review what I've got from this thread out loud here....

  • Throw a quality 'space blanket' in my day pack. Even hiking a groomed trail a couple miles from my cabin could go bad if I became injured.
  • Put at least a 9x9 nylon tarp in there with the blanket.
  • Multiple redundant fire making tools, all in Ziplocs or waterproof containers.
  • Pre-made tinder bundles, even if I plan on using my Zippo.
  • Tell someone where to go look for the body. Even saying, "I'm going downriver, be back in 3-4 hours." is better than nothing. Then don't go upriver instead.  8)

All this is pretty basic, and just my 'new checklist' even for a day hike.

   Good advice OP,  I would also suggest at least one liter of water,  a metal cup, and a few food packets including tea or coffee bags,  I always include a bag of M&M's in my kit,  it's good for a quick energy boost, keeps for a good while,  and helps bolster your spirits,  of course, you could probably do the same thing with a small flask of Southern Comfort.   ;)

OP, your list and Moe's additions are pretty much what I do. I'd add that I always have a basic first aid kit in my pack. Probably goes without saying. :P

Some people may think I'm overdoing it for day trips, but I'll be honest: I don't consider myself much of a woodsman. I doubt I could hold a candle to most of the guys here on this forum. None of the gear weighs much and if something does go wrong, I'd rather have things go as smoothly as possible. :shrug:

I will say though that have been guilty of straying from my plans but I'm usually able to at least get a text message through, even if it means climbing up on a ridge to get any reception.

Again, good topic for discussion, Moe. Some very thought-provoking stuff. Thanks. :)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2014, 11:30:57 AM »
Well, here's another anecdote to think about.
In the local town here, there is a 2.5 mile 'river walk' trail that goes from a park upstream and loops back. They've put a lot of work into it, and the whole this is blacktoped with exercise stations and benches along the way for folks taking their daily constitutional.
Just recently one spritely, but elderly lady was out for a walk, looking for deer, ducks and just enjoying a brisk winter day.  Just dressed like anyone would to go to town, with hooded jacket, gloves and walking shoes. She hit an icy patch of asphalt and fell, dislocating her hip.
Not having a cell phone, she lay there in the middle of the trail for close to 3 hours before a guy came jogging by with his dog. She was lucky. That trail can go a couple of days without being used in the winter.
There were houses within earshot of her, but being down on the ground the brush/trees muffled her calling for help, and hearing voices in the distance is not usually cause for alarm. She told friends later that if she had even just had a 'police whistle' she could have used that to draw attention. She was savvy enough to know blowing the 3 distress whistles would probably draw attention.
Anyway....FWIW. 300 yards from civilization, and she could have easily died from exposure.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2014, 05:27:48 PM »
...

I'll review what I've got from this thread out loud here....

  • Throw a quality 'space blanket' in my day pack. Even hiking a groomed trail a couple miles from my cabin could go bad if I became injured.
  • Put at least a 9x9 nylon tarp in there with the blanket.
  • Multiple redundant fire making tools, all in Ziplocs or waterproof containers.
  • Pre-made tinder bundles, even if I plan on using my Zippo.
  • Tell someone where to go look for the body. Even saying, "I'm going downriver, be back in 3-4 hours." is better than nothing. Then don't go upriver instead.  8)

All this is pretty basic, and just my 'new checklist' even for a day hike.

   Good advice OP,  I would also suggest at least one liter of water,  a metal cup, and a few food packets including tea or coffee bags,  I always include a bag of M&M's in my kit,  it's good for a quick energy boost, keeps for a good while,  and helps bolster your spirits,  of course, you could probably do the same thing with a small flask of Southern Comfort.   ;)

OP, your list and Moe's additions are pretty much what I do. I'd add that I always have a basic first aid kit in my pack. Probably goes without saying. :P

Some people may think I'm overdoing it for day trips, but I'll be honest: I don't consider myself much of a woodsman. I doubt I could hold a candle to most of the guys here on this forum. None of the gear weighs much and if something does go wrong, I'd rather have things go as smoothly as possible. :shrug:

I will say though that have been guilty of straying from my plans but I'm usually able to at least get a text message through, even if it means climbing up on a ridge to get any reception.

Again, good topic for discussion, Moe. Some very thought-provoking stuff. Thanks. :)

    Thanks,  I thought it was something that most of us could benefit from,  and the replies from the membership have raised some good points, I don't roam as far into the woods as I used, and I don't frequent woods that I'm not familiar with anymore unless I'm with someone who is,  so I have been guilty of just thinking about what I'll need while I'm out,  and not giving much thought to "what if's",  I guess watching that video and remembering how quickly things can go bad was the proverbial two x four that caused me to rethink what I carry and why,  and why it's so important to know what to expect if things do go wrong.
     
 
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2014, 05:38:02 PM »
I think I'm younger than Moe (unless he's really a pimple faced kid from Timbuktu hiding behind a cleverly fashioned facade) but there's still a LOT that I used to do that I do t anymore. And personally, I don't think it's because I'm a little older; it's because I'm wiser.

Knowing your limits is an important part of survival and enjoying the outdoors, IMO.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2014, 06:53:04 PM »
I think I'm younger than Moe (unless he's really a pimple faced kid from Timbuktu hiding behind a cleverly fashioned facade) but there's still a LOT that I used to do that I do t anymore. And personally, I don't think it's because I'm a little older; it's because I'm wiser.

Knowing your limits is an important part of survival and enjoying the outdoors, IMO.
I hear that! My limits have declined so much over just the past 10 years that it's really starting to aggravate me!  My mind still says, "Bring it on!", and my body says, "You go ahead. I'll just wait here 'til ya get back."  :-\
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2014, 08:51:41 PM »
Your correct OP.  It takes a period of adjustment so your mind quits writing those checks your body can't cash. 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2014, 10:30:59 PM »
I think I'm younger than Moe (unless he's really a pimple faced kid from Timbuktu hiding behind a cleverly fashioned facade) but there's still a LOT that I used to do that I do t anymore. And personally, I don't think it's because I'm a little older; it's because I'm wiser.

Knowing your limits is an important part of survival and enjoying the outdoors, IMO.
I hear that! My limits have declined so much over just the past 10 years that it's really starting to aggravate me!  My mind still says, "Bring it on!", and my body says, "You go ahead. I'll just wait here 'til ya get back."  :-\

   Like the song says,  "I may not be as good as I once was,  But I'm as good once,  as I always was".   :banana:
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Offline madmax

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2014, 12:33:54 AM »
I just started with the "I'm not bullet proof anymore" deal.  I'm paying attention.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2014, 08:11:46 AM »
Your correct OP.  It takes a period of adjustment so your mind quits writing those checks your body can't cash.
Aint that that truth, brother! Well said.
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Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2014, 01:26:20 PM »
I have to be honest, I do stupid things in the woods all the time. As such I can relate to those people who get themselves in trouble. I don't follow my own plans, I'm usually alone, I travel as deep into the woods as I can manage, and I go wherever I want regardless of the terrain. As a result, I've been seriously lost several times, and I've suffered injuries, the most serious of which was a dislocated shoulder.

Usually I have my backpacking gear with me, so it's not an issue. From time to time I get caught out with just my day kit. Since I am still alive, I suppose it was enough, but there were times when it sure didn't feel like it. For a trip that exemplifies this kind of stupidity when it comes both to gear selection as well as other mistakes which seem avoidable in retrospect, check out this trip report: http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2013/05/trip-report-sundown-wild-forest-turkey.html

I think it is very difficult to prepare for a survival situation because of the nature of survival situations. By definition, something has gone wrong. If I had all my gear with me, it wouldn't be a survival situation. If it was one, then something had gone wrong, but that is hard to judge ahead of time.

I also find that much of the information and practice we see for survival situations is not at all helpful or practical. Over and over we see people showing how to do things when they are comfortable, have eaten, and are warm. That in no way prepares you for when you really need the skill. Similarly, all those things we see about survival shelters, leantos, long fires, etc, are nothing more than staged survival. When is the last time someone realized that they were lost at noon? Almost never. It is usually about an hour before the sun goes down. So what good is knowing how to build a shelter and long fire which require seven hours to construct... with an axe (if I have an axe, why don't I have the rest of my gear). Anyway, these are just some of the things that annoy me when it comes to survival "education". I figured I would mention it in this thread.  If one is going to practice survival skills, make sure they are skills you can use in an actual survival situation rather than only in staged ones.

Offline Frugal Bohemian

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2014, 01:43:48 PM »
I think it is very difficult to prepare for a survival situation because of the nature of survival situations. By definition, something has gone wrong. If I had all my gear with me, it wouldn't be a survival situation. If it was one, then something had gone wrong, but that is hard to judge ahead of time.

That reminds me of something my son teaches when he's teaching martial arts to children.  The first rule of self defense is "no-be-there" (if at all possible, don't put yourself in a situation that's going to require confrontation).  Same with survival situations.  Carry some sort (however minimal) of the essentials, like Old Philosopher summarizes in his checklist, and you're not as likely to end up in a true survival situation to begin with.

I've got a small kit, about the size of a regular digital camera, that I call my I Shouldn't Be Alive Kit that's got all the usual stuff in it (no tarp though) and I throw it in my shoulder bag or cargo pocket or whatever.  It takes up very little room.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 02:18:44 PM by Frugal Bohemian »
"I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you..."
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2014, 01:46:32 PM »
...I think it is very difficult to prepare for a survival situation because of the nature of survival situations. By definition, something has gone wrong. If I had all my gear with me, it wouldn't be a survival situation. If it was one, then something had gone wrong, but that is hard to judge ahead of time.

I also find that much of the information and practice we see for survival situations is not at all helpful or practical. Over and over we see people showing how to do things when they are comfortable, have eaten, and are warm. That in no way prepares you for when you really need the skill. Similarly, all those things we see about survival shelters, leantos, long fires, etc, are nothing more than staged survival. When is the last time someone realized that they were lost at noon? Almost never. It is usually about an hour before the sun goes down. So what good is knowing how to build a shelter and long fire which require seven hours to construct... with an axe (if I have an axe, why don't I have the rest of my gear). Anyway, these are just some of the things that annoy me when it comes to survival "education". I figured I would mention it in this thread.  If one is going to practice survival skills, make sure they are skills you can use in an actual survival situation rather than only in staged ones.
Very valid points, IMO. Surprisingly, the Naked and Afraid 'reality' show comes the closest to showing "empty pockets" (hey..NO pockets!) survival attempts. I say attempts, because most of those participants got by on guts alone for 21 days, and very few workable survival skills. Harsh reality, IMO.
The other factor is N&A, though, is that they have a map, a basic plan, and a scheduled extraction time/location. So what?  So they know it's going to end eventually. A person who is truly lost and abandoned doesn't have that to knowingly look forward to. So we're back to mental toughness, morale, and 'hope' as a motivator, regardless of skills. FWIW....
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2014, 07:30:36 AM »
I have to be honest, I do stupid things in the woods all the time. As such I can relate to those people who get themselves in trouble. I don't follow my own plans, I'm usually alone, I travel as deep into the woods as I can manage, and I go wherever I want regardless of the terrain. As a result, I've been seriously lost several times, and I've suffered injuries, the most serious of which was a dislocated shoulder.

Usually I have my backpacking gear with me, so it's not an issue. From time to time I get caught out with just my day kit. Since I am still alive, I suppose it was enough, but there were times when it sure didn't feel like it. For a trip that exemplifies this kind of stupidity when it comes both to gear selection as well as other mistakes which seem avoidable in retrospect, check out this trip report: http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2013/05/trip-report-sundown-wild-forest-turkey.html

I think it is very difficult to prepare for a survival situation because of the nature of survival situations. By definition, something has gone wrong. If I had all my gear with me, it wouldn't be a survival situation. If it was one, then something had gone wrong, but that is hard to judge ahead of time.

I also find that much of the information and practice we see for survival situations is not at all helpful or practical. Over and over we see people showing how to do things when they are comfortable, have eaten, and are warm. That in no way prepares you for when you really need the skill. Similarly, all those things we see about survival shelters, leantos, long fires, etc, are nothing more than staged survival. When is the last time someone realized that they were lost at noon? Almost never. It is usually about an hour before the sun goes down. So what good is knowing how to build a shelter and long fire which require seven hours to construct... with an axe (if I have an axe, why don't I have the rest of my gear). Anyway, these are just some of the things that annoy me when it comes to survival "education". I figured I would mention it in this thread.  If one is going to practice survival skills, make sure they are skills you can use in an actual survival situation rather than only in staged ones.

  I agree with a lot of what you've said Ross,  if like you someone is an experienced woodsman and has at least a day pack with a minimum of items that can effect self rescue,  and has the presents of mind to remain calm, then you're right,  getting twisted or having a painful injury that doesn't prevent movement your chances of dealing with your problem is greatly lessened.
  I also agree that many of the "survival shows" that we see on TV are staged and if experienced enough, we can pick up on the BS and in our minds separate that from the reality,  for instance,  I watched a video by Ray Mears a few days ago,  Ray was on a backpacking trip in the Rockies, he was shown carrying a medium sized backpack and a GB forrest axe in his intro,  later, after putting some miles behind him he made camp near a small lake and caught a few small speckled trout for supper.
 The scene changes and we see Ray harvesting a piece of white Pine and carving out a bow drill set,  which he proceeds to use to get an ember to light his fire with the first try,  easy peezy, right,  like that happens all the time.
 Next we see him sitting next to the fire cooking his fish,  he using a medium sized iron skillet, has a Mor's pot hanging off a tripod,  and behind him is a Baker styled canvas tent with a good sized awning hanging off the front,  In my view, Ray is the man,  somehow he has managed to pack a hundred pounds of camping gear into a three day pack,  and every bow drill kit he makes gives him an instant fire, that's pure BS.
 But I do disagree with you on several points,  and here's where we view things a bit differently, my OP started out discussing those times when we don't expect to be camping,  just spending a few hours out small game hunting,  or by a fishing spot a half mile into the woods, all we've taken is a shotgun and a few rounds of ammo,  or a fishing pole and a pocket tackle box, and maybe a pocket survival kit,  most experienced outdoorsmen do.
 It also talks about those unexpected things like weather changes, injuries of some kind, your canoe gets upset and now you're wet and your canoe is washed away downstream with your gear,  now you're in trouble if the weather doesn't cooperate.
 You're right in that you can't prepare or train for every situation that might turn into a survival mission, but you can take measures to be better prepared for most general situations that an outdoorsman might find himself in if something goes really wrong.
 As an example, in my case I wasn't counting on getting lost while hunting, I have a good sense of direction, I'm not frightened of the woods, the morning stared out fairly clear and not too cold,  I had a compass,  I walked in to the woods and walked north,  the area I was hunting in was farming country,  even if I lost my way, as long as I headed south to get out I'd hit the town, a farm, or Rt.US-1, but if I walked in a northerly direction it wouldn't take but a half hour and I'd be in Canada and from there close to a hundred miles of forrest before hitting any major residential areas.
 Normally it shouldn't have been a problem,  but the temp dropped, a blizzard started, my compass chose that time to fail me,  and I was disoriented by the situation,  but it was before noon,  I did, with the help of my hunting knife manage to use blowdown material to build a small shelter, collect fire wood, and build a decent fire within the space of a couple of hours,  I was ready to spend the night,  but not until the initial panic of being lost wore off, it only lasted about five minutes,  but the memory will remain with me for a life time.
 As for learning from watching survival TV or videos,  I think there's a lot of BS out there, but I have also seen a lot of good stuff being shown that can help people work their way out of tight spots,  if they experiment with what they watch.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2014, 09:37:35 AM »
...
 As for learning from watching survival TV or videos,  I think there's a lot of BS out there, but I have also seen a lot of good stuff being shown that can help people work their way out of tight spots,  if they experiment with what they watch.
We always need to remember the target audience for these shows. If nothing else, they usually make the point to think outside the box; to consider options the average person wouldn't normally imagine. Face it, there are a LOT of people out there who need to call a plumber to change the washers in their kitchen sink faucet.  :P
My wife was fascinated by the 9V battery-steel wool demonstration for starting a fire. I yawned through it. She had to try it, and found the 'staged demonstration' made it look a lot easier than it was. But she did learn something from the show without her know-it-all husband having to teach her. A win-win for us!  ;D She has moderate skills with a ferro rod. Now even she looks at some of the demos on TV and goes, "Yeah...right..." when the tinder bundle explodes into flame on the first two strikes. What people get, or don't get, out of these shows in totally based upon experience.
As long as the show doesn't demonstrate dangerous practices (e.g., Bear's early antics, and DC's gunpowder fiasco), there is a bit of value for somebody out there, IMO.
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2014, 01:19:05 PM »

 
  Do you pack enough in your minimalist survival kit to survive an unexpected stay in the woods ?

  Now we are open for discussion. 
 


 


 Yes, to answer your question.


 Do I carry it with me everytime I go into the wilds?
No.


 Do I carry the necessary knowledge & skills to survive without it?
 Yes. so far...


 How do I know that I can survive without the kit?
 Because I practiced/trained in the skills & have gathered the knowledge in order to have the confidence level in myself to be able to do so.


  In saying what I did above,I am not trying to brag, but only to help make a point. I think if you train yourself to practice on how to survive the wilds with minimal, or no kit, you are doing the same thing as any other "trained" person, and will prepare yourself for being physically and mentally prepared for situations that become unusual. Then, also with that training you prepare yourself not only for the usual things to deal with, but also provide experience to help with those not so usual situations. For those that may not understand what I am trying to say, I will list a few occupations among many, that demonstrate what I am trying to say.  Law Enforcement, Fire fighter(inc. Smoke Jumpers), EMT/Paramedic, Military, Mountain Climber, Diver, Pilot, etc.. Even with that small part of a whole list, you should be able to understand that with training & then also with actual experience; you gain from actually practicing your skills & mindset in real life situations, which will narrow down the possibilities of getting yourself in a situation like the one used by Moe in the opening posts, or other similar ones.
     Additionally, those familiar with the Krakaneuners Pot & machete experience could use that as an example of what I am talking about in a group setting, training and working together in a group. Although not as "lone" practitioners in that example. Like the small list above usually train; it is helpful and fortunate to have a group to work with to train in skills & share knowledge. Some of us have only solo training to use now a days to practice our skill sets & gather knowledge. But most start in a group setting such as family experiences/teaching, maybe boy scouts/girl scout or similar, then on to other group training. Then it becomes the responsibility of the individual to practice on their own. At least that is the usual way things go, OSIT. 


  I realize that not all will agree with me in this, but after being in some "hairy" situations over the course of my life, I fortunately am able to still comment on something like this, if ya "get" what I mean since I am still around. I think that prior training, learning, and actively practicing skills and having a mindset prepared for stressful situations made the difference for me in those situations. That is why I commented as I did. To add... I am sure that there are many who have done the same, and would likely be better at saying what I have said here in this comment/post. I hope that my style of writing was understandable & is not taken as someone writing in a patronistic manner, as that was not my intent. Moe asked a question & this was how I answered it, in my own way.


   This is a good subject & very interesting one. I am enjoying reading the comments. Thanks to you all & to Moe for bringing it up for discussion.




Edit: of course...go figure...
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 01:29:46 PM by MnSportsman »
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2014, 01:42:27 PM »
I couldn't agree more. Practice breeds proficiency, and proficiency breeds confidence.
Knowing is not the same as doing. I 'know' several different ways of making fire. Am I proficient in all of them? Hardly! Do I have confidence in the knowledge alone that I could stay alive by making a friction fire? Not in the least!  :P :-\
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Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Survival, when fun turns into serious business.
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2014, 06:32:03 AM »

 But I do disagree with you on several points,  and here's where we view things a bit differently, my OP started out discussing those times when we don't expect to be camping,  just spending a few hours out small game hunting,  or by a fishing spot a half mile into the woods, all we've taken is a shotgun and a few rounds of ammo,  or a fishing pole and a pocket tackle box, and maybe a pocket survival kit,  most experienced outdoorsmen do.
 It also talks about those unexpected things like weather changes, injuries of some kind, your canoe gets upset and now you're wet and your canoe is washed away downstream with your gear,  now you're in trouble if the weather doesn't cooperate.
 You're right in that you can't prepare or train for every situation that might turn into a survival mission, but you can take measures to be better prepared for most general situations that an outdoorsman might find himself in if something goes really wrong.
 As an example, in my case I wasn't counting on getting lost while hunting, I have a good sense of direction, I'm not frightened of the woods, the morning stared out fairly clear and not too cold,  I had a compass,  I walked in to the woods and walked north,  the area I was hunting in was farming country,  even if I lost my way, as long as I headed south to get out I'd hit the town, a farm, or Rt.US-1, but if I walked in a northerly direction it wouldn't take but a half hour and I'd be in Canada and from there close to a hundred miles of forrest before hitting any major residential areas.
 Normally it shouldn't have been a problem,  but the temp dropped, a blizzard started, my compass chose that time to fail me,  and I was disoriented by the situation,  but it was before noon,  I did, with the help of my hunting knife manage to use blowdown material to build a small shelter, collect fire wood, and build a decent fire within the space of a couple of hours,  I was ready to spend the night,  but not until the initial panic of being lost wore off, it only lasted about five minutes,  but the memory will remain with me for a life time.
 As for learning from watching survival TV or videos,  I think there's a lot of BS out there, but I have also seen a lot of good stuff being shown that can help people work their way out of tight spots,  if they experiment with what they watch.

Well, that's my point. No one says you shouldn't be prepared, but once you are in the survival situation, it is usually because something for which you have not prepared has happened. At some point, we can just say that we should carry our full kit with us all the time, but we know that's not going to happen. I'm certainly not going to carry a "survival" pack that weighs as much as my regular backpacking gear. Most of us will have the basics with us in a small day pack, and we'll have to scramble to do the best we can if we are forced into that situation. You spend enough time in the woods, it is bound to happen. When we do train for those situations, we should try to make it realistic, i.e. an hour of daylight left after a day of trying to get out of the forest with minimal gear; not what we usually see of "survival" shelters which take a full day to build with an axe, and a fire which requires four hours of wood gathering. Sadly that's mostly what we see on forums, blogs, and even TV shows.