Anyone who has ever hunted an elk knows how difficult, frustrating, physically demanding and even excruciating it can be. However, elk hunting can be addictive. One can become so easily obsessed that they focus so heavily on hunting that they may not realize how far they have gone, the time is now, and not quite sure where they are. Here we will discuss how these and other factors can combine to compromise your survival, and what gear to have with you at all times to ensure your survival in the hunt.
Imagine this scenario. You and your friend are elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains. You can head back to the truck in the early evening after walking all day with a #30 daypack. Fabulous! What a relief to finally get that weight off my shoulders!
You’re in the van heading to camp and you find a small gang of elk with bulls in the pack. These elk are traveling, so you have to move quickly to get to a point 100 yards away to get a shot. You have a knife in your pocket or belt, and extra shells in your pocket. Oh! Grab a rangefinder, shooting sticks and binoculars. We’re just going there, that’s all we need…
You get to the point in time to watch the last of the elk disappear into the woods. You notice that the trees are opening up a few hundred yards in the direction you’re heading, and there are a few “spur” hills extending from the ones you’re on that seem like a good place to shoot from. You get there, it’s in range, but the trees are too thick to get a clear shot or there’s a cow in the way. There’s an hour of daylight left, so keep watching, you’ll be sure you’ll finally get a shot. Next thing you know, I lost the elk, and it was dark. Excuse me – forgot to bring light. As a matter of fact, you have no cigarette lighter or fire starter, no water, no food, and you are wearing a light hooded shirt. It doesn’t matter – the truck is that way. You walk and walk, stumble upon sticks and stones. Now it’s totally dark and you’re finally admitting to yourself that you’re not sure where the truck is.
An elk has a way of dazzling the hunter, corrupting his judgment and leading him astray. Much like the sirens of the lore of the seas and the pipers. It’s easy to find yourself in this predicament. In this case, the hunters get through a very long, cold, sleepless night and find their way to the truck the next morning, no worse than getting dressed. This could easily have been a fatal mistake.
Here’s what you can do to ensure your survival on the next elk hunt; A must have for a small accessory set of some kind, whether it’s a waist/spout, a small shoulder or a best backpack for elk hunting. Many “module” type packages feature a small detachable package. This is a perfect system that makes it easy to ensure you have your essentials for surviving the night in one place. This package should be small, or you may choose not to bring it. Take it with you no matter how far or how long you plan to be from the truck or camera – your life may depend on it.
Basic survival equipment and supplies This package should contain:
Cigar or cigarette lighter and magnesium fire starter. A good fire starting material or material is optional.
LED headlights and extra battery pack. It is also a good idea to carry a small flashlight such as a mini-mag in the belt sleeve.