Hunting Season Survival Basics

Hunting Season Survival Basics

We all look forward to the upcoming hunting seasons and the adventures they will bring. Calling a bull moose across a boreal swamp, an elk bugling across a mountain valley, chasing sheep and goats along rocky cliffs. Perhaps you’re in a different country, continent or just trying to outsmart that big backyard whitetail. Whatever your pursuit it will provide excitement with unique challenges and hazards. Correct pre-hunt preparation will ensure you come home safe to share your stories. Here are some hunting season survival basics to help that happen.


No matter where your travels take you there are a few items that are absolute necessities in any hunting pack.

Water is essential. A way to obtain safe drinking water should be first on your list. This could be a portable filter, purification tablets or just a container to boil it in. Whichever is best suited for the situation.

Fire provides warmth, safety and comfort. Always have two ways of starting a fire with you at all times. Some combination of waterproof matches, flint and steel and a lighter is recommended. Try to store them where they are easily accessible.

Knife. A good quality knife or multi-tool is another must have, for too many reasons to even begin listing.
A length of strong cordage is useful for everything from shelters to shoelaces.

Survival blanket, plastic or a tarp can make any situation easier. If space and weight are an issue substitute in a heavy trash bag or two.

First Aid Kit. Injuries can make a bad situation worse. Start with a basic kit and tailor it to specific needs.

Light source. Flashlight or headlamps can make low light tasks much easier and safer.

quick deploy bracelet

The Survival Cord Quick Deploy Bracelet unravels in seconds in the event of an emergency.

Rope. Never under estimate the need for a length of rope or cord. It’s uses are nearly limitless making this tool invaluable in a survival situation. Check out the Quick Deploy bracelet that unravels in seconds when needed.


Orient yourself with the area. Get some maps, topographic, Google Earth or even just gas station road maps. Become familiar with what is in the area. This will help you make educated choices if you need to navigate on your own. G.P.S. units are great tools but rely on batteries. Be sure to carry spares. A compass never runs out of power but knowing which way you are headed is only valuable if you have a destination.


Now that the basics are covered you can start considering the more specific needs for your situation and prepare yourself appropriately.

What type of communication will be available? If there is cell service then maybe a backup power source is in order. Compact chargers are available that can be preloaded and even be charged with solar or fire as energy sources. If there is no cellular service a satellite locator is another option. Models like the Spot or Delorme InReach can provide backcountry correspondence. Do not forget to always give someone you trust a trip plan. In an emergency this can narrow things down greatly, saving valuable time.


Dress appropriately. Take into account the weather you may encounter. It can be +30 celsius and then snow in the mountains on the same week. Layers are key. With the availability of waterproof breathable clothing out there the options are endless. Start with a quality waterproof outer layer and work your way inward. Remember that it does not need to be freezing to get hypothermia. Water will conduct heat away from your body 25 times faster than air. Don’t forget about your feet. Make sure your footwear is suited for the conditions you will be in. Boots should be waterproof, have good support in the ankles and soles made of a durable fabric and be insulated if necessary. Moisture wicking socks are a good choice but should be changed regularly to avoid irritation.


Don’t forget about the bugs! It could be black flies in the tundra or mosquitoes in the jungle but they all can be a problem. Along with being annoying enough to cause bad decision making and no rest, Insects are vectors for disease. Wear clothing that will protect you such as bug suits or headnets. Repellents are a good option as long as you are able to wash it off regularly. Look into vaccinations for diseases you may encounter on your trip well in advance. Some need many months and doses to be effective.

If space is available here are some extra items to consider. A folding saw, duct tape, snare wire, a signal whistle, some trail marking tape, and zipper style bags. All have multiple uses and are welcome additions in any outdoor scenario.

There is no substitute for experience. Do your research. Talk to people who may have been where you are going. Talk to outfitters and locals about problems you may encounter and how to prepare. Get on the internet. Forums and groups exist for almost anything you can imagine. The more diligent you are in getting prepared for your adventure the safer you will be. Being proactive is your best way to avoid a survival situation. Be safe and happy hunting!

by Steve Yanish

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