Make the hunting experience more enjoyable with these survival tips
It’s hunting season, do you know where your compass is?
Given that many people no longer know how to use a map and compass, how about your GPS, cell phone and survival kit?
Every year, search and rescue teams are called to rescue more than a few hunters from the wilds and high country of Colorado.
Snowstorms, injuries or simply getting lost can turn a long-awaited hunting trip into a long-remembered bad experience.
Also, hunters from lower elevations, and those whose health isn’t the best, should remember that altitude can affect their ability to move easily.
Along with the elevation comes rapidly changing weather.
In the Colorado Rockies, that can mean fast-moving storms dumping a couple of feet of snow in just a few hours.
The following are some survival tips from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
You may never need to use any of this information, but then, you might need it the first day out.
Be prepared for all types of weather — wet, cold, dry and hot. Take appropriate clothing and the right kind of camping gear.
If possible, especially for those coming from lower altitudes, spend a few days at higher elevation before hunting season to allow your body to acclimate.
Heavy snowfall can occur starting in September, obliterating trails and making roads impassible.
High-country hunters, especially those who backpack into wilderness areas and must get out on foot, need to watch the weather closely and pick their escape routes before they choose a campsite.
Survival experts recommend that you never go into a wilderness area alone.
Accidents aren’t completely unavoidable. Learn how to use a compass, take a map of the area and orient yourself before leaving camp.
Explain to your hunting partners where you will be going and when you plan to return.
Always carry a survival kit and know how to use it.
Such a kit should include a knife, waterproof matches, fire starter, compass, reflective survival blanket, high-energy food, water purification tablets, first aid kit, whistle and unbreakable signal mirror.
If you think you may have to rely on a compass, practice using it before hunting season.
If you get lost, the most important thing is to calm yourself and take stock of the situation.
Sit down, regain your composure and think for a few minutes.
In many cases, a few minutes of thinking can help you figure out where you took that wrong turn and help you make it back to camp.
If you truly don’t know where you are, stay put.
Survival experts say survival is 80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment and 10 percent skill and knowledge.
If you are caught in a storm or forced to spend the night out, there are three keys to survival: shelter, fire and signal.
If you’re facing a night in woods, your first priority is shelter.
Even if you have nothing else going for you — no fire or food — an adequate shelter that is warm and dry will keep you alive until rescuers find you.
Stay dry. If you have extra clothes, put them on before you get chilled.
Know how to build a fire, even in wet or snowy conditions.
There are plenty of survival guides available that can tell how to build a fire (and, yes, some of those guides burn quite well.)
Finally, use that whistle in your survival kit. Its sound will carry farther and blowing it will be less tiring than yelling. Maybe somebody will wander by to see who’s being so obnoxious.