I want to thank Joseph Gleason from Captain Hunter for providing a guest post for us. Check out his article on the 15 Survival Tips for Hunting.
How to Not Die: 15 Survival Tips You Must Know When Hunting
When it comes to hunting, you must accept that there are a lot of risks accompanying our favorite sport. Out there in the wilderness, we are no always as safe as we perceive to ourselves to be. For that reason, I have prepared this quick article for you to read and remember: the 15 survival tips you must know when hunting.
Let’s get started:
- Prepare your gear
The most basic survival tip is preparedness. Being prepared to your utmost will lessen the chances of you being out of supplies, while increasing your chances of survival in an emergency situation.
Before going out to hunt, always take time to check your gear. Ensure that you have more than enough food, water, clothes, and a first aid kit with all the necessary medicines in your backpack. You never know when an accident is going to happen, or when the weather is going to take a 180 degree turn.
- Know what to eat when out of food
Sometimes, we cannot avoid the situation wherein our food supplies run out unexpectedly. When that situation arises, make sure that you know how to find food in your surroundings.
Depending on the environment, there are a variety of foods that are safe to consume. Examples are berries, fruit, and edible flora. When it comes to animals, you can hunt fish, amphibians, lizards, rabbits, or protein-rich insects to eat.
Tip: Be very wary of the things you consume in the wilderness. If you are not sure if you should eat it, then don’t. Moreover, any animals that are killed for food should be skinned, cleaned, and cooked as thoroughly as you can to prevent illness.
- Warm yourself up
Sometimes, your biggest enemy is the elements; and the most notorious killer is the cold. When day becomes night, the temperature drops to a significant degree, and when this happens, you should be warm enough to survive the night.
Before going out to hunt, make sure that you know how to light a fire with matches or a lighter. It’s also better to practice lighting a fire the old fashioned way (with rocks), but bringing sufficient matches, fuel, and lighters will do. Keep your fire going to maintain body warmth and provide light to yourself.
To avoid hypothermia and frostbites, wear and bring enough warm clothing on your trip. It’s most important to protect your extremities by wearing gloves and a good pair of insulated hunting boots. Secondly, find shelter as soon as you can to keep yourself warm and avoid winds (especially in the winter).
- Always pick the safest route
One of the most common causes of fatalities while out hunting or backpacking is falling from a high place. To avoid such misfortune from happening to you, I recommend opting for the safest route, even if it’s longer or out of the way. It’s also safer to pick the gentle slopes first before choosing a vertical climb.
Tip: it’s also better if you prepare yourself when going out hunting in mountainous areas. Get in shape and make sure you can handle the weight of your hunting backpack (while climbing) before you go and take on the challenge.
- Know your first aid
We may doubt that an accident is going to happen to us, but when the situation arises, what are you going to do?
Thus, I highly suggest that you read up on your basic first aid. At least when faced with a bloody wound or cracked bone, you would know what to do with your first aid kit.
- Always let someone know that you are out hunting
Whether it be your family, your friends, or the park ranger, always notify a loved one if you’re going out to hunt, and the expected date that you should be returning. That way, if anything happens and you do not return at that date, they would know that you’re in trouble.
Also, make sure that they know the proximate area wherein you will be hunting, so the search will be much easier.
- Maintain your energy and hydration levels
To prevent early starvation, dehydration, and death, make sure to keep up on your energy and hydration levels. It is vital that you do not panic and forget this, because this could cause further misfortune.
Ensure that you have eaten enough for the day, and make an effort to do so (hunt or forage). In the same way, ensure that you have drank enough clean water for the day. If your supplies are running low, find food and clean water as soon as you can.
Moreover, to preserve energy and water, do not panic and make unnecessary movements, as this can further deplete your stores.
- Always bring signaling gear with you
No matter where you go or hunt, always bring signaling gear with you, perhaps a signal mirror. If you fall over and hurt yourself, this will be your saving grace.
If you have a gun, shoot three times (the distress signal standard) to signal someone else.
- Walk in one general direction
If you become lost in the wilderness, walk in one direction during daylight and see where the path takes you. It also helps to make reference points to avoid walking in circles.
Moreover, look at the ground for animal scat or tracks. Chances are, they may lead to water sources or open areas in the woods. If it’s an open area, you have better chances of being spotted by an aircraft.
- Make sure you are in shape before hunting
For older people and hunters with certain medical conditions, always ask the opinion of your doctor before going out to hunt. Ensure that you are fit to undertake the physical exertion of your hunt.
I gave this tip because most people who die in the wilderness have died because of a heart attack. If you are prone to myocardial infarction, then it is wiser to consult with your doctor first before going out to hunt or hike.
- Know what do when face-to-face with a wild animal
If unexpectedly facing a bear, make sure you do the standard survival tip: lie flat on your back and play dead. Allow the bear to survey you (do not move at all) and move only when it’s gone away. Moreover, do not approach a bear cub, unless you are brave enough to face the mother.
Tip: carrying bear spray can also reduce risk of attack
Moreover, for animals such as mountain lions or coyotes, fending them off with weapons, loud noise, and making yourself as big as possible may be effective.
To avoid snakes, make sure to wear high hunting boots to prevent bites when hunting in snake-infested areas.
- Find and alternative route
For rivers and bogs, always look for an alternative route before crossing (if you absolutely have to), because another common cause of death is getting caught in a current and drowning.
If you are hunting with a group, take turns in crossing the river and use the aid of sturdy ropes tied on either side (either to a boulder or a tree). However, if you are hunting by yourself, look an alternative route to stay safe.
- Take inventory of your gear and supplies
To assess your situation and further increase your chances of survival, take inventory of your supplies. This will help you plan your next move and prioritize; whether you need to find food or water first.
- Keep a knife with you at all times
Not only will a hunting knife help you defend yourself, it will also provide you a tool for cutting edible plants, skinning animals, and gutting fishes.
Before you go out to hunt, it’s a great tip to invest in a great hunting knife. Do not forget to sharpen it, too!
- Learn how to navigate
If you do not know how to navigate at all, do not go hunting. At least learn how to use a compass, watch the stars, and see where the sun rises and sets. In this way, you know the basics of navigation and would know where to start if you are ever lost or stranded in the wilderness.
Accidents can happen in the most unexpected of times, and for hunters, this can be the most unfortunate thing to happen while out hunting. To increase your chances of survival, always keep these tips in mind and make sure to read up on other information on basic survival. You can never tell when you’re going to need them!
If you liked this article, please do us a favor and share this with your hunting friends. Don’t forget to leave a comment below on your suggestion or insights, we’ll be sure to appreciate them. Thanks for reading!
Joseph Gleason is the founder of Captain Hunter. We provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims.
Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.
Thanks again Joseph.
Use your instincts to survive