As a hunter, you’ll spend lots of time outdoors. No matter what you’re doing, put these basic outdoor survival skills in your back pocket.
Videos online can teach you how to quickly build a small fire. Even if you’re an experienced fire-builder, doing it without matches or a lighter is difficult. Combat this and buy a few lighters. Toss one into your hunting bag, car, hunting jacket, wherever! That one rogue lighter could save the day. You can also get handheld flint striker which lasts almost forever!
Another good idea is to throw a few chunks of fire starter in your bags. The dollar store sometimes has tiny ones for sale!
It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the wilderness. Whether by GPS, maps or compasses, or any combination of those, learn to get accustomed to finding your way around during the day or when it gets dark.
Investing in a GPS can be useful for not only making sure you don’t get lost in unfamiliar territory, but also for marking specific locations. Find the same spot next season, or locate your downed animal at night if you need to retrieve things from the truck.
GPS tip: If your phone has GPS, you can zoom into the area you will be exploring BEFORE you go, and your phone will download the maps. Since cellular service and GPS service are separate, so your phone will still track your location even if you don’t have cell service! A handheld GPS works this way (has all the maps already downloaded).
At minimum, get used to finding the North Star (at the end of the Little Dipper Constellation)— you’ll always know which way is North.
Alberta’s lakes, rivers, and wetlands aren’t exactly the best drinking water around. And even though they taste terrible, you can throw a couple water purifying tablets in your backpack or hunting bag. If you get into trouble, you have a good chance of hydrating yourself without getting sick.
There are also more advanced options like on-the-fly water filters and UV lights that do not change the taste of the water.
Overpacking isn’t a skill but being prepared is. A great idea is to always have some ultra thin water & wind proof pant covers and jacket/shirt. They weigh very little and pack down small. If you ever fall into water or get completely soaked, you at least have the option of swapping your clothes out.
A cheap pair of flip-flops or sandals are terrible for hiking in the bush, but they are also light and dry quickly. If your boots get soaked or are giving you unbearable blisters, you at least have something you can switch to if needed.
Extra dense foodstuffs are also a good idea. Nuts are boring, but they are also dry and packed with protein.
Hunting alone? Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. A single gopher hole in the dark can break your leg, and all of a sudden, the pleasant 500 metre walk to the truck can become a dangerous distance.