Every successful backcountry hunter has felt their quads burn during a steep incline, the weight of a full pack digging into their shoulders and the flood of adrenaline after that kill shot. You've trained for this: to both mentally and physically conquer the backcountry.
But mistakes — and injuries — can still happen to even the most prepared hunter.
The mountains are hard on everyone and, in this environment, one misstep, one slip of the knife and you're in a situation that demands more than grit — you need medical know-how and the unsung hero of your pack: a first aid kit built for the realities of the hunt.
At MTNTOUGH, we're not just about building muscle and mental toughness; we want to equip you for every curveball the wilderness might throw your way.
With the help of Ben Dillon, a seasoned backcountry hunter and physical therapist, we’re going to help you design the best first aid kit to handle whatever awaits you in the wild.
Ben has seen both sides of the coin — from the thrill of a successful hunt to the clinical rooms where inadequate first aid turned minor injuries into major ones.
So, are you “Always Ready”? Then, let's dig into why a well-crafted first aid kit isn't just a good idea - it’s a non-negotiable part of every mountain athlete’s hunting prep.
The Importance of a Hunting First Aid Kit
Your first aid kit isn’t just about having Band-Aids or gauze on hand; it's about being prepared for the real challenges that hunting in the backcountry presents. Whether it's a light abrasion or a serious laceration, your first aid kit can make the difference between a manageable situation and a life-threatening one.
Ben’s experienced the benefit of building a solid kit. He shares, “Fortunately, I’ve never sustained anything my kit couldn’t help me push through. My worst experience was an incident where I lost my footing, shifted downhill and caught a short, sharp branch on the right side of my upper thigh.”
“I sustained a wound an inch wide and half an inch deep,” he continues, “my kit had exactly what I needed to disinfect the wound: gauze and a pressure bandage to stop the bleeding.”
In the backcountry, your first aid kit isn't only for you. It can become a necessary resource that could save someone else's life. You never know when someone in your crew or elsewhere tumbles, sustains a serious injury and doesn’t have the appropriate tools to help them when they are miles from the nearest road or help.
Having the right supplies can make you a crucial part of someone else's survival story.
While space and weight are premiums when you're packing, balancing size and comprehensiveness is essential. Ben’s experience treating injuries has helped him work through this dilemma.
He says, “Call it experience or being overly cautious, but my hyper awareness of movement and injury paid off, with all those years treating hunting and hiking related injuries served up a load of horror stories that helped me build a kit for all situations.”
It's about making smart choices — packing items that serve multiple purposes and omitting what you don't need. This isn't just about being prepared; it's about being smart and prepared.
Your experiences in the wilderness — both good and bad — serve as the best guide for what your first aid kit should contain. Every scrape and every fall teaches you something new.
Even seasoned hunters like Ben will be the first to tell you that it's not only about having the kit with you, it's also understanding how to use everything inside and cultivating a level of mental preparedness so you can help yourself — or others — in a hurry.
Knowing how to use the items in your kit effectively is just as important as having them in the first place.
As you prepare for your next hunt, remember that your first aid kit is more than just a box of medical supplies. It's an essential tool that can save lives — maybe even your own.
Essential Items for a Hunting First Aid Kit
Packing a hunting first aid kit sounds simple, but it takes far more planning than dumping a few essentials into your pack and hoping for the best.
To be “Always Ready,” you need to meticulously assemble a kit where you have exactly what you need, where every item has a designated place and can still fit into your pack without chewing up valuable space or overloading weight.
Your first aid kit is your lifeline in the backcountry. It not only covers minor cuts and grazes, but major wounds, fractures and the potential for infection, dehydration, and pain that threaten your survival.
No pressure, right? Here's the shortlist of required essentials regardless of where you’re headed:
What Should be in My Hunting First Aid Kit?
A well-rounded first aid kit covering cuts, wounds, sprains and fractures while also addressing hydration and infection creates a solid base that should give you the means to handle minor issues before they become big problems. Adding in utility items like Duct tape and a multitool boosts versatility for tackling almost any situation.
In the heart of the wilderness, even the smallest injuries can escalate quickly if not addressed with the right tools at hand.
That's why your first aid kit needs to be equipped with the basics, the frontline defenders in your medical arsenal that tackle those minor scuffs, cuts and irritations head-on, preventing them from becoming gateways to more serious infections.Hunting First Aid Kit Essentials
|Band-Aids||These are your go-to for sealing small cuts and grazes, initiating the healing process right from the get-go and keeping infections at bay.|
|Steri-Strips||Think of these as your first line of defense for deeper wounds, working hand in hand with sutures to secure tissue and promote faster healing.|
|Moleskin||A true savior for your feet, offering protection against blisters and rubbing — whether applied directly on the skin or inside your footwear, ensuring you can cover more ground without the nagging pain of blisters.|
|Tweezers||A tool of precision, allowing you to safely and effectively remove debris from wounds; a true must-have in any first aid kit.|
|PPE/nitrile gloves||These gloves are non-negotiable as they ensure a barrier against pathogens and maintain a sterile environment as you administer first aid.|
|SAM splint||While it might take up a bit of space, having a SAM splint can be a game-changer, offering support for sprains and joint injuries and enhancing your mobility in tough conditions.|
|Duct tape||The versatility of Duct tape is unmatched: use it for wound closure, securing splints or even fixing damaged gear — a true multitasker in your kit.|
|Burn cream||For those unexpected burns, having a burn cream can offer immediate relief, reducing pain and initiating the healing process.|
|After Bite||A quick solution to the annoying and sometimes painful bites and stings, reducing inflammation and soothing irritation.|
|Antibiotic cream||Essential for wound care, greatly reducing the chance of infection and improves healing.|
|Prep pads||Used to clean and prepare skin and wounds using alcohol. They are especially useful for removing dirt and debris from skin, allowing for the adhesive in Band-Aids and Steri-Strips to stick to your skin to cover and close wounds.|
|Medical tape||A compact solution for securing bandages and gauzes, freeing up your Duct tape for tasks that require added strength.|
|Survival blanket||In extreme conditions, a survival blanket can be a lifesaver, helping maintain core body temperature and ward off hypothermia.|
|Trauma shears||Used to cut away clothing from injured people.|
|Multi tool||A versatile companion in any situation, not just in first aid scenarios but a handy tool to have in any survival kit.|
Whether it's managing pain from an injury, purifying water or maintaining hydration levels, the right medication can become your silent guardians in the wild. Here's what you need to bring along:Medications: Hunting First Aid Kits
|Aspirin||Beyond its ability to manage moderate pain and inflammation, it's a potential lifesaver for individuals with heart conditions, helping to prevent recurrent heart issues.|
|Ibuprofen||Your go-to anti-inflammatory agent, indispensable for alleviating pain from muscle and ligament injuries, headaches and reducing fevers.|
|Iodine||A small yet mighty tool in your kit, these tablets are essential for purifying water, ensuring you have access to clean, bacteria-free water — a fundamental survival need.|
|Electrolyte Tabs||These tabs work overtime to restore electrolytes and maintain fluid balance, aiding in reducing weight loss through improved fluid retention.|
The stakes are high in the backcountry. Injuries can escalate from bad to catastrophic in no time. From lacerations due to knives and broadheads to gunshot wounds and broken bones from falls, the list of potential hazards is long and unforgiving.
Your kit needs to leave you prepared to manage wounds effectively, focusing on key actions like clotting blood, closing wounds and reducing hemorrhaging to enhance your chances of survival. Here are the essentials that should be in your first aid kit:
|QuikClot + Gauze||Crafted from cotton, this is your first line of defense against infections, absorbing blood and exudate from wounds and initiating the healing process.|
|Chest Seal||A vital tool for managing gunshot wounds, effectively sealing both entry and exit points to reduce air and blood flow, enhancing your chances of survival.|
|CAT Tourniquet||A self-administrable device designed to occlude blood flow effectively, it's a crucial tool in your kit to manage significant hemorrhaging.|
|SWAT-Tourniquet||Compact yet highly effective, this stretchable band can be a lifesaver, helping to control blood flow by wrapping and tucking around the target area.|
|Suture Kit||Your go-to kit for closing minor wounds, promoting faster healing and reducing the risk of infections.|
|Super Glue||A quick and effective solution to close and secure wounds, aiding the healing process and preventing infections.|
|Pressure Bandage||Designed to protect the injured area while reducing bleeding without constricting blood flow, it's a must-have in your first aid arsenal.|
While every item in your kit holds its importance, there are five that stand as the pillars of a quality first aid kit, ready to face the toughest tasks head-on.
What Are the Five Most Important Items in a First Aid Kit?
Understanding the function, placement and application of each of these items not only equips you to handle emergencies effectively, but also significantly enhances your chances of survival, embodying the spirit of readiness in the face of adversity.
Crafting Your Survival Toolkit: Five Hunting Scenarios to Consider
The moment is nearing and the pressure is on to build the perfect first aid kit before stepping into the backcountry.Whether you're a seasoned hunter or just starting out, finding the right balance between packing what you need and not overburdening yourself is no small feat.In the world of backcountry hunting, dangers are many and varied. You will face uneven and steep terrain, harsh weather conditions that can lead to quick dehydration and the ever-present risk that comes with every minute spent out there. It's clear that each hunting scenario demands careful planning.
You're used to pushing your limits, but being prepared for the unexpected is just as important.
This is why it is essential to build a first aid kit that is both comprehensive and tailor-made to the specific challenges ahead.
Here are five different hunting scenarios. Each one impacts what goes into your first aid kit.
1. Addressing Pre-Existing Conditions
First on the list are pre-existing injuries and health conditions. These can be planned for in advance. Whether you're a hunter or just physically active, you know all too well how overlooking old injuries can ruin your trip.
Young or old, many of us are dealing with issues like torn shoulders, turned ankles and arthritic knees. Ignoring these problems doesn’t just threaten your trip, but has the potential to affect your life. Whatever these issues are, they shouldn't stop us from doing what we love. It's all about being prepared.
If you have joint, knee or ankle problems, make sure to pack compression bandages and SAM splints since old injuries can easily flare up. For those with heart issues, asthma or digestive problems, it's about raising the stakes and packing items like aspirin, inhalers, clean water and necessary medications. Knowing your own limits and needs are key to a successful and safe trip.
2. Preparing for Extended Hunts
The longer you're out there, the more the risks increase. Covering more ground and spending more time in the backcountry means a higher chance of running into trouble and getting injured.
When you're planning your pack, think about terrain, season, how long you'll be out and any pre-existing health conditions. This way, you can build a kit that's ready for anything.
Be thoughtful about what you pack. Learn from past experiences to judge the exact quantities of items needed for long trips that demand extreme caution. Your kit should be ready to handle both major and minor injuries, setting you up for a successful hunt.
3. Adapting to Seasonal Challenges
Different seasons bring different challenges and your first aid kit needs to match. In the warmer months, the threats of dehydration and exhaustion are real, requiring a good supply of hydration solutions, electrolyte tablets for fluid balance and iodine tablets for purifying water.
In the cooler and wetter months, it's all about staying warm and being ready to deal with falls and puncture wounds. Wet terrain increases the risk of slips and falls, meaning you'll need to be ready to deal with injuries like rolled ankles, joint damage, muscle tears and, even, possible breaks.
Having SAM splints and Duct tape on hand can be a lifesaver to help stabilize injuries as you find your way to safety.
4. Navigating Treacherous Terrains
Even the shortest hunts can become perilous when the terrain is against you. Rugged landscapes with uneven footing significantly increase the risk of falls and puncture injuries — a reality many hunters have unfortunately faced.
It's essential to pack items that can help you navigate these treacherous terrains safely. Include SAM splints and Duct tape in your kit to address joint damages or breaks that might occur. Also, prioritize hydration by having gels and fluids at hand; they can be your lifeline, helping you re-energize and mobilize, buying you the vital extra time to find help and make your way out.
5. Team Dynamics and Group Safety
Remember: your first aid kit isn't just for you. It can also be a resource that could potentially save someone else's life. When preparing, if hunting in a group, it's wise to collaborate with your fellow hunters to understand the group's strengths, weaknesses and pre-existing conditions. This collaborative approach not only reduces the risk factor, but significantly improves your group's overall chances of survival.
Given that hunting-related injuries often involve knife and broadhead penetrations, packing extra supplies with your hunting buddies in mind can be a lifesaver. It adds some peace of mind, ensuring that you are prepared to face harsh environments collectively and pull through any survival situations that come your way.
How to Use Your First Aid Kit Effectively
In the backcountry, having the best gear is just half the battle. What really makes the difference is knowing how to use that gear effectively, especially when it comes to your first aid kit.
It's about being prepared for anything and having the know-how to act quickly and surely in emergency situations.
That means being able to think on your feet, patch wounds, brace joints and even carry out resuscitation procedures at a moment's notice.
However, being ready to face such situations isn't about acting heroically. It's about keeping yourself safe, too, by avoiding unnecessary risks and knowing how to prevent further harm. That's where the tried and true DRS ABCD method comes in, which is a ridiculously long acronym, but also a systematic approach to first aid that can help prevent further injuries and increase the chances of survival.And while nothing can fully prepare you for the harsh reality of a life-threatening situation, being familiar with your first aid kit can certainly help. Practicing before your trip. Know your kit inside and out. This way, you will be able to use it effectively even in the most adrenaline-pumping situations.Take the time to organize and optimize your pack and build up your skills and knowledge. Backcountry hunters should be prepared and able to act not just with instinct, but with wisdom and expertise.
DRS ABCD: A Hunter’s Guide to First Aid
You need a proven strategy to ensure the best possible outcomes in emergency situations. The DRS ABCD is just that.
Here, we break down the DRS ABCD protocol, a time-tested approach to first aid that helps you act swiftly and safely.
- Airways: If the person is unresponsive, your next step is to ensure their airways are clear. Turn them on their side, open their mouth to check for any obstructions and clear away any foreign materials to help them breathe more easily.
- Breathing: With the airways clear, check for signs of breathing. Position yourself to observe their chest and listen for breath sounds. If they aren't breathing, it's time to initiate CPR.
- CPR: If the individual is unresponsive and not breathing, start CPR. Position yourself correctly and begin chest compressions: 30 compressions followed by two breaths, repeating the cycle until help arrives or you're unable to continue.
- Defibrillation: Though it's unlikely you have a defibrillator in your first aid kit, it's good to know that it can be a vital tool in emergency situations, helping to restore the heart's normal rhythm.
How To Handle Injuries and Wounds
When you're out in the field and an emergency strikes, knowing how to handle different injuries can make all the difference.
Here's a step-by-step guide to help you tackle various injuries and wounds effectively:
If the person is conscious and able to communicate, get all the necessary information about the injury. If it's a broken or sprained joint, here's what you do:
- Put on nitrile gloves to avoid infection.
- Clear away any debris from the affected area.
- Ask the person if they can move the joint to assess the damage.
- Use a SAM splint on each side of the injured area to stabilize it.
- Secure the splint with a bandage, medical tape or Duct tape.
Tip: Setting up the splint correctly can prevent further damage (skeletal, neurological and soft tissue damage) and help the person stay stable until help arrives.
Smaller in size, but no less important, you need to address smaller wounds to reduce bleeding and stop the spread of infection and other complications. Here’s how to handle small wounds:
- Wear nitrile gloves for protection.
- Remove any debris from the wound.
- Clean and disinfect the area with a prep pad.
- Apply antibiotic cream to ward off infection.
- Cover the wound with a Band-Aid or gauze and secure it with a pressure bandage.
Tip: For slightly larger wounds, you might need to use a suture kit, Steri-Strips or Super Glue to close the wound.
Large wounds can be serious and need immediate action to control bleeding. Here’s your action plan:
- Put on nitrile gloves to maintain hygiene.
- Find the wound and clear away debris.
- Use trauma shears to cut away clothing and access the wound.
- Apply a tourniquet above the wound to slow the bleeding.
- Disinfect the area with a prep pad.
- Pack the wound with gauze and apply a pressure bandage to control the bleeding.
Tip: Keep the person warm and hydrated while waiting for help. For moderate wounds, try using a suture kit to close the wound.
Advanced First Aid Supplies and Techniques
In the backcountry, we face dangers that go beyond scrapes and bruises. That’s where trauma kits step in, loaded with gear for the serious stuff and ready to tackle the kind of injuries that we pray we never have to see.
The Guts of a Good Trauma Kit
A trauma kit isn’t your everyday first aid box. It’s packed with stuff that can handle the heavy hits. Here’s what you should have in there:
- Tourniquets and Pressure Bandages: These are your go-to for stopping heavy bleeding fast.
- Chest Seals: Got a serious chest wound from a fall or an animal attack? These seals are a lifesaver.
- Suture Kits and Super Glue: Sometimes you've got to seal a wound quickly and these come in handy for that.
- Gelatin-based hemostatic agents: Think of this as a quick fix to stop bleeding when you can’t get a bandage on right. Gelatin-based hemostatic agents are a substance that can be used to cover the wound and create a seal to reduce hemorrhaging. This can be especially helpful if the area is difficult to dress due to the contours of the body.
Getting to Know Your Kit
Again, having a kit is one thing, but knowing how to use it is where the real skill comes in. It’s about being ready for anything and having the know-how to use each item effectively. Here’s how you get there:
- Regular Training: Get hands-on with your kit. Learn how each item works, so you’re not figuring it out in an emergency.
- Quick Draw System: Set up your kit so you can grab what you need without a second thought.
- Multipurpose Items: Items like Super Glue and Duct tape aren’t just for fixes around the house; they can be a vital part of your emergency response.
Handling Emergencies Like a Pro
When the unexpected happens, being able to respond quickly and calmly is key. Here’s a simple guide to handling serious injuries:
- Spot the problem: Find out where the injury is and how bad it looks.
- Clear the area: Get any dirt or debris away from the wound.
- Stop the bleeding: Use what you’ve got in your kit to slow or stop any heavy bleeding.
- Clean it up: Once you’ve got the bleeding under control, clean the wound to avoid infection.
- Cover the wound: Use bandages to cover the wound, keeping it clean and protected.
First Aid Training and Resources
True pressure is using your first aid kit when it really matters. From the outside, a box of bandages, seals and splints seems self explanatory, but it’s the nuances and proficiency with each piece that makes the biggest difference when facing tough emergency situations.
That's where CPR and wilderness first aid courses step in. These aren't just classes; they're survival boot camps, designed from real-life experiences of veterans who've faced the toughest situations head-on.
Led by seasoned first responders and military medics, these courses are grounded in years of field and backcountry experience.
They know the pulse of emergency situations, teaching you not just the tools, but the tactics to stay calm and focused when every second counts.
Staying current is key.
Regular refresher courses, typically every two years for CPR and every three years for first aid, ensure you're always ready to respond with the latest know-how. And the best part? You can usually knock these out in a day over the weekend.
You'll learn the DRS ABCD method mentioned previously, a tried-and-true roadmap to handling emergencies with a cool head and skilled hands.
It's more than a procedure; it's your playbook for staying calm, assessing dangers and taking decisive action, from clearing airways to administering CPR and defibrillation.
You'll get hands-on training on treating burns, cuts and sprains, applying splints correctly and dealing with insect bites. It's about arming yourself with skills that are not just invaluable, but also potentially life-saving.
So before you hit the most remote corners of the world, get to know your first aid kit inside and out. Be more than just prepared, be capable.
Packing and Maintaining Your First Aid Kit
Let’s break down how you can pack and maintain your kit like a pro, so you’re always ready and your first aid kit is always accessible
1. Open Pack and Layout Items
Start by laying out all of your gear. Open up those individually packed items now, so you’re not fumbling around when seconds count.
Take a good look at what you’ve got and ditch anything that doesn’t meet the mark.
Remember that this kit is about what you need, so stock it with items you trust and know how to use.
2. Customize Your Kit
Your first aid kit shouldn’t just be some off-the-shelf deal. Tailor it to suit your needs, adding in the brands and items you know and trust. Think tourniquets, Quikclot and trauma shears that you can use confidently and efficiently. It’s all about creating a kit that feels like a natural extension of your hunting gear.
3. Organize Based On Emergency
Now, let’s get organized. Think about what needs to be within easy reach in an emergency.
We’re talking tourniquets, gauze and chest seals. For smaller issues like cuts and burns, keep those items a bit more tucked away.
And a pro tip? Use Ziploc bags to keep everything visible and easy to grab, so you’re not wasting time digging through your kit.
4. Practice and Understand Using Each Item
Knowing your kit inside and out is a game-changer. Get hands-on with each item, practicing how to use them until it becomes second nature.
Work with items like CAT and SWAT-T tourniquets. Get a feel for how to apply pressure bandages and SAM splints correctly. It’s about building muscle memory, so you can act fast and instinctively in a crisis.
5. Maintenance, Restock, Reload
After a trip out in the backcountry, make it a habit to check over your kit. Restock what’s been used and keep everything organized. It’s easy to forget this step in the hustle and bustle of returning home, but taking the time to reload and optimize your kit means you’re always ready for the next adventure.
Leveraging Physical Fitness and Mental Toughness for Backcountry Safety
In the face of an emergency, every ounce of energy and every shred of mental toughness counts. Your physical readiness and mental resilience can be the decisive factors between overcoming danger or succumbing to it.
Navigating dangerous situations demands swift, decisive action and a clear head to recall first aid protocols.
Emergencies tend to strike when you least expect them and can catch you off guard and drained after navigating challenging terrains. It's in these moments that a Herculean effort is required to muster the strength and composure to operate under extreme fatigue, stress and harsh conditions.
Being prepared goes beyond having a well-stocked kit; it's about cultivating the physical endurance and mental grit to withstand the rigors of the backcountry. This is where the MTNTOUGH+ training is key to providing a robust regimen designed to enhance muscle endurance, strength and mental fortitude — all while boosting your metabolic efficiency to face the harshest terrains with energy to spare for emergencies.
MTNTOUGH's training programs push you to your absolute limit, replicating real-world scenarios with exercises like heavy pack training, farmer carries and high-intensity interval training on steep inclines. The goal is to forge a physique and mindset capable of bearing heavy loads and enduring the most demanding situations.
Drawing inspiration from military rucking, heavy pack training stands as the most effective way to simulate the grueling terrains encountered in the backcountry. It not only builds muscle and functional strength, but also enhances metabolic efficiency and movement proficiency, helping you understand your gear and its weight better.
By fostering grit and mental resilience, MTNTOUGH training equips you with the willpower and physical endurance to brave the toughest conditions, ensuring both success and safety against the unpredictable elements and threats of the wild.
Cold Weather Preparation and Safety
Preparedness is easily one of your best weapons in the backcountry, especially when facing the unforgiving chill of winter hunting. It's more than just packing an extra blanket; it's about strategic layering, staying fueled and having a first aid kit that's up to the task. Let's dive in.
Layering: Reduce Moisture, Regulate Warmth
Anyone who's trudged through the backcountry knows that even in the coldest weather, you're going to work up a sweat. And that can be a dangerous combo when the temperatures drop.
Start with a shell that allows your body to breathe while still blocking wind and keeping moisture out. GORE-TEX is a popular option for that. By wearing clothing that incorporates pit zips, you’ll improve your ventilation. This type of shell keeps you dry and able to regulate your temperature.
Next is your mid-layer: a breathable barrier that keeps you warm without overheating. If you find yourself getting too hot, don't hesitate to shed this layer until you cool down.
And don't forget a quality base layer, which lays right against your skin. Go for synthetic materials that wick away moisture and keep you dry. Trust us; this isn't the place to skimp.
The purpose of the entire system isn’t to keep you warm or cool, but to keep you comfortable. A simple distinction, but an important one.
If you build a system that can only keep you warm, the moment you ascend that first 300 yards, you’ll be sweating like crazy.
All of your layers should work in unison to move moisture away from your body and allow you to maintain a comfortable core temperature.
Fuel and Fluids: Keep Your Engine Running
Even in the coldest weather, staying hydrated is key. Yet, let's face it, subzero temperatures can freeze your water supply and leave you high and dry. The solution? Bladder insulation to keep your fluids flowing.
And when it comes to food, bring along stuff that's not just satisfying, but that will also give you the energy you need to keep going. Think high protein snacks to keep hunger at bay and healthy carbs and fats to fuel your adventure. Elk is an amazing protein source and jerky is a great way to bring it with you.
Quality food can boost blood sugar, energy levels, provide warmth and increase alertness to push through the icy landscapes and dangerous emergency situations.
Extreme Cold First Aid Kits
There’s no doubt about it — hunting in the cold raises the stake and carries its own set of challenges. When the temperatures drop, staying warm isn't just about comfort; it's about survival.
Make sure your first aid kit is up to the task with essentials like a lightweight survival blanket, heat packs and hand warmers to fend off the cold.
It's all about keeping your body temperature stable and staying safe out there.
Prepared, Efficient and Always Ready
Optimizing your hunting first aid kit can save lives. However, there the balance between having the correct item for the job while considering weight and conditions can be a daunting task. The key is to pack for necessity, not for comfort. Cover your essentials, which include minor and major wound care, falls, fracture and soft tissue injuries and medication.
Seasoned hunters will tell you that one thing is certain: when it comes to survival, understanding your first aid kit is your key. So, customize, adjust and most importantly, know your pack to arm yourself for emergency situations.
Want to build an elite engine capable of handling emergency situations in the toughest terrain? Gear up and sign-up for MTNTOUGH - the only fitness training program for backcountry hunters.
Try any program in the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Series for 14 days with our free trial - see for yourself how you can build military grade grit and mental toughness to prepare you for the hunt.
What Should Every Prepared Hunter Carry for An Outdoor Emergency?
For an outdoor emergency, a hunter should carry a hunting first aid kit containing a CAT tourniquet, SAM split, gauze, pressure bandages, survival blanket, antibiotic cream and pain relief. These items reduce blood flow to wounds, brace sprained or fracture joints and reduce infection.
Having a well organized first aid covering wound care, soft tissue injuries, fractures and allergy and pain medication can give you an arsenal of survival equipment at your disposal. It will improve your preparedness and increase your chances of saving lives.
When Should You Bring a Survival Kit on a Hunt?
You should bring a survival kit each time you head out into the wilderness. Hunting in the backcountry poses many risks beyond medical requirements. Packing tools such as food, water, shelter, communication and fire are all critical to your survival.
Strategically prioritize and pack items that have multiple purposes. This helps keep the weight down and conserves energy that is vital to not only surviving, but landing the lethal shots for a successful hunt. Remember this is about grinding through those tough situations. Your choices need to be practical and not for comfort.
What are the Big Three Necessities for Outdoor Hunting Survival?
The big three necessities for outdoor hunting survival are shelter, signal and fire. Providing you with shelter from the elements to stay dry, a signal to call for help and a fire to maintain core body temperature.
Shelter in survival situations should be marked with orange flags while you’re clothed in an orange vest. A whistle or flashlight to signal for help and a fire to remain warm, boil water and produce smoke. These components boost your survival and shield you from the elements while alerting rescuers.
What is the First Thing a Hunter Should Do in an Emergency Situation?
The first thing a hunter should do is Stop, Think, Observe and Plan (S.T.O.P.). In emergencies, the sympathetic nervous system automatically goes into survival mode, which drains energy. S.T.O.P. overrides this instinct with the high functioning cortex; it uses less energy to make better decisions.
An emergency in the wild can escalate quickly, inducing panic and causing a surge in adrenaline, breathing, and heart rate.In these moments, the best course of action is to tap into our body’s fight or flight programming by scanning our surroundings for any further potential hazards before handling the injury in front of us.