Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us
by Dave Robinson
Originally published October 03, 2013
Fall hunting season 2013 has begun in Southern Oregon. Every year the news media carries stories of lost hunters, overdue hunters and sometimes a dramatic rescue thrown in for good measure. I recently read the story of a 46 year old Canadian deer hunter who had taken a wrong turn, then got stuck in an unfamiliar area of backwoods Manitoba. He had no cell phone service, no food and survived by melting snow water. Twenty-one days later he walked out to a main road where he was picked up and given a ride back to town.
Obviously he did several things right because he lived to tell the story. But even a novice can see a few mistakes he made. First of all, he was out in unfamiliar territory (or he probably wouldn’t have taken a wrong turn) all by himself. A hunting partner would probably have been a good choice in this instance. Secondly, the article didn’t mention one way or another, but since he got stuck, let’s assume he was driving a two-wheel drive rig. It is always a bad idea to go four-wheeling in a two-wheel drive.
I recall some years back an elk hunter was reported overdue from a hunting trip in the Elliott State Forest.. As information became available, we learned we were going to be searching for a woman with two small children, driving a (get this) blue Oldsmobile. Seriously? After searching the mountain roads all night, we finally located her slid off the road in that Oldsmobile. No one was injured as they had the good sense to stay in the vehicle. To this day I still wonder where she thought she was going to stow that animal for the trip home.
Our Canadian hunter had no food along as he obviously wasn’t planning to spend the night. I recommend packing at least some minimal gear as though you just might be overnighting out in the woods. I posed that suggestion to a young man just recently and he deftly produced his cell phone, commenting that if he had a problem, help was just a phone call away. Hundreds of square miles of our prime hunting grounds have no service. A can of Spam, a jar of peanut butter and maybe an MRE or two would be good to have along. Just in case. Fire-starting implements, a hatchet, a GPS receiver and maybe even a small tarp could ease an otherwise uncomfortable night in the out-of-doors.
Take a tip from pilots who file a flight plan. Always let someone know where you’re going, who you’re going with and when you plan to return. Then be responsible and courteous enough to stick with your plan.
Following a few common-sense rules will go a long way toward making your hunting trip safe, successful and freezer-filling. As always, send your hunting-mishap stories or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.
additional columns by Dave Robinson