5 Wilderness Survival Skills ALL Hunters Should Know

Guest Post by Richard Douglas

Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my local Search and Rescue county and assist with training their tracking dogs. 

It was an amazing experience and I am very confident in the skills of both the dogs and their handlers. 

While I trust they would be able to find and rescue a person in the forest, I would never want to be in a real situation where I was the one needing rescue. 

The county I volunteered for is a very popular place for hunting. People travel from all over the state for the variety of wildlife including deer, elk, javelina, sheep, wild turkeys, and even bears. I’ve hunted here a couple times with my AR equipped with Scopes Field’s best scope for AR 10 and have had huge success. 

However, after listening to some of the rescue tales — of people who haven’t brought enough water or those who get seriously injured, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the 5 wilderness survival skills all hunters should know.

Let’s get started. 

#1: Locate Water

The most obvious skill for someone who is out trekking in the wilderness to know is how to locate safe drinking water. (Or the SAFEST drinking water). 

A human can only last a few days without water and should something go wrong on your hunting trip, the ability to locate this necessity is often the line between life and death. 

The safest bet for drinking clean water is to boil any water found in the wilderness. The process of boiling kills off many harmful pathogens that reside in lakes, ponds and streams. 

If you are unable to find a heat source for boiling, the safest alternative is to use rain or snow water, or water that comes from vines.

#2: Starting a fire

This goes in tandem with the first skill. 

Unless you pack a solar powered hot plate with you when you hunt, you should know how to start a fire with minimal resources. 

A common practice is to always bring flint and steel, since matches and lighters aren’t always reliable. Use the flint and steel to make a spark and catch small, dry foliage such as grass on fire. Slowly increase the size of the kindling, first add small sticks and be sure they catch, then move up to larger pieces.

#3: Navigating (without the use of electronics)

No electronics?! 

How did we ever get by without them?! 

There are centuries old navigation methods that you should have at least a basic understanding of before going out on a hunt. 

Remember Never Eat Sour Watermelon? Or whichever mnemonic you learned as a child to remember North, South, East, West. With that information and the knowledge that the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west, you should be able to figure out the general direction you are heading. 

At night time, knowing how to find the north star will benefit you because, well it’s north. Look for the little dipper and the tip of the handle is where you will find it.

#4: Encountering wild animals 

While it wouldn’t be much of a successful hunting trip if you didn’t run across any animals, it is common to run across ones that aren’t on your permit. 

It is important to know when breeding season is, since mothers protecting their young are often the most aggressive. Research what animals are likely to be in your area and how to react to each. 

A good rule that applies to all animals is: try to stay calm. Predators can sense fear and will be more likely to attack if they feel you are an easy target.

#5: Share your plan 

Hunting is often a loner sport, but you should always share where you are going and how long you plan on being gone with someone. 

Have a date you plan on returning by, and a person designated to call for help if you haven’t returned by then. Also, do not veer too far off your planned path or area. 

If someone needs to come looking for you, at least give them a shot of finding you.

Hunting is a fun and beneficial sport, and is often very safe if you stick to these basic survival tips. Just remember, always do your research and make sure you are prepared!

Author Bio:

Richard Douglas — the founder of Scopes Field, a blog where he reviews the best scopes and guns on the market — shares his top 5 wilderness skills that all hunters should know. 

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