Going on a safari or just a day trip into one’s local woods increases the odds of accidents happening. Going hunting means that weapons will be brought along to take game, and knives will be carried to field dress animals. Add to that the dangers inherent even in the most innocent of outdoor settings and serious injury and death could easily occur with just one mistake. A good working knowledge of first-aid and some basic tools and medical equipment can save a life if there ever is a need.
First-aid for hunting is different than basic first-aid learned for daily living in a relatively safe and stable home environment. Accidents while hunting are more likely to occur and are more likely to be immediately life-threatening with prolonged extraction to a medical facility being added to the mix. A person could be accidentally shot at home and at a trauma facility receiving treatment within minutes of the accident. A hunter may have hours and even days before proper medical treatment can be obtained. This is why an education in Wilderness Medicine and always carrying an appropriate Wilderness Medical Kit can be of extreme benefit.
There are medical tools and products available to civilians that can improve the odds of surviving even a serious accident in the wild whether that wild be just out in the backyard or thousands of miles away in a foreign country while hunting large and dangerous game. The first thing to consider before going hunting is having a rescue team ready to come in and extract a victim as if he or she were a high value member of the military. The best way to have that sort of assurance is to purchase and keep the subscription and insurance active on a satellite messenger that will uplink an SOS to orbiting satellites essentially calling out the cavalry when things go bad. A couple of hundred dollars can get such a device along with subscription and extraction/evacuation insurance good for use around the globe.
The next thing to have on hand after taking a Wilderness Medicine Course is to have a comprehensive kit of first-aid gear on the person at all times. Every hunter should carry a pack with supplies needed to survive a night or two wherever he may be hunting, along with some emergency food, dry socks and a well thought out medical kit. A Wilderness Medical Kit usually contains some tools and medications that a home first-aid kit does not. High altitude hunters may carry medications to treat altitude sickness. An auto-injector containing epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis is also a good idea to carry where ever it is possible to be exposed to plants, bites or stings that can cause a severe allergic reaction.
Special kits carried by hunters also have more products to control bleeding such as Celox which is a granulated material applied directly into severely bleeding wounds such as wounds caused by stabbing, shooting or impalement. Celox is a brand name of a hemostatic agent that causes rapid clotting of major wounds. Pouches of Celox granules and Celox-A which is contained in an applicator that looks very similar to a tampon applicator should be carried in the kit. This type of Celox administration can be applied directly into wounds such as gunshot wounds. The Celox brand is a proven lifesaver. In fact military testing has indicated a 100% survivability rate for a test done by the US Marines.
Be sure to carry a few elastic bandages such as the Ace style of elastic bandage. Self-stick sports wrap is also a good wrapping material to carry in a hunting first-aid kit to hold bandages in place. Bandages should consist of as many 4×4 inch non-stick gauze pads that can be fit in the kit. No need to carry several sizes as smaller ones can be cut from the 4×4 inch size. Carry a few rolls of absorbent gauze to pack large wounds. A roll of duct tape can make the difference between life and death for some hunting injuries. Remember that it doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to work.
Each hunter in the party should be carrying his own kit with more supplies available back at camp. Every hunter who needs to have prescription medicine should carry his own supply with a backup supply at camp or carried by his hunting partner. A quick tumble into an icy river may lose that vital heart medication with the tumble actually bringing on an episode where it is needed. If a buddy is carrying a backup supply, the problem is solved before it even starts.
Be sure each kit contains components that are separated into individually sealed waterproof zipper style bags. That tumble into a river will ruin most items if they are not kept dry. Be sure to have a pair of paramedic shears, lots of pairs of nitrile gloves, a pair of tweezers, a CPR mask and a pair of Kelly forceps. Advanced kits carry a skin stapler to close wounds where it will be a long time before extraction. Before a skin stapler is used, the wound must be thoroughly cleaned requiring more things to be carried such as antibiotic wound washes.
Finally consider asking a trusted physician for a prescription of antibiotics and prescription painkillers to be filled to outfit a kit that will be carried into remote back country. It’s better to have the stuff and not need it than to need it and not have it. A raging infection can set in within hours of a wound. Prophylactic treatment using proven prescription antibiotics can save a life, and controlling pain when one has to walk out can make a difference on who actually makes it out alive if something should go seriously wrong.