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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    My response to another thread got me to thinking. I'm a retired aircrew member, and spent a lot of time over the years taking survival/survival equipment training and refresher courses. The mindset has stuck with me, and when my buddy and I hunt, I normally carry a good bit of survival gear with me in case something happens and I have to spend a night in the woods, or some other issue crops up out in the woods. I have yet to make a wildlife photography outing that takes me any meaningful distance from my vehicle and civilization, other than the couple of trips to the boneyard beach. That beach not what I would call remote, but it is a 20 minute walk from the car over a trail that can flood at high tide, and another half hour to civilization. On those occasions, I normally carry a backpack with enough gear to spend a night in the boonies, and some basic first aid stuff. When hunting, at a minimum, I carry a tourniquet, gauze and tape, bandages, water, plastic sheeting and bags, matches and fire starter, a knife, compass, whistle, flashlight, wire saw, glow sticks, rope, gloves, poncho, emergency blanket, spare long underwear and socks.

    I may have to rethink what I carry as my new camera gear backpack is fairly full now. The items that take up the most room are the spare clothing. This may actually the most important gear on an unplanned extended stay in the cooler months.

    What do the rest of you carry when you are in such situations? I may be overthinking this due to my training, but I do feel that at least some type of a rudimentary kit is an excellent idea to have with you if you are in a situation where things may go south without warning.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Dangerspouse's Avatar

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    Not having had any similar training, I pretty much just jam a few squares of toilet paper into my pocket and maybe a candy bar. A bottled water also, if I don't forget and leave it on the counter (again). I don't even own a backpack, let alone anything to put into it. If something so bad happens to me that it requires a tourniquet to fix, well...I've had a good run. No regrets.

    I'm actually not lying here. Except: I don't pack toilet paper, either.
    "I finally made money in photography. I sold my camera." Unknown Redditor

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    Well, not sure I'd really need a tourniquet on a photo outing. Hunting is slightly more likely to encounter a serious injury requiring one. Of course, I could easily make one in the field with the rope and some handy small branches. The commercial model is small and easy to use, so I carry one, plus my hunting buddy is a retired paramedic, so he kind of pushes me on the medical stuff. Cutting branches and assembling even a rudimentary tourniquet while bleeding out might be problematic.

    Toilet paper and candy bar are comfort items. The water is a must IMO. Not mentioned, but a cell phone is a must also, although many remote locations don't have coverage, hence the whistle and compass, a map of the area wouldn't hurt either. Most places I go, a hike in a straight line in any direction will pretty quickly intersect a river or road.

    Again, I may be overthinking this, as the odds of getting stranded in the woods are very small. The odds of a traffic accident to and from are far greater. Still, it never hurts to be prepared, if not for yourself, for someone you care about. My daughter is usually with me on my photo outings. She may be a grown adult, but I still feel pretty protective of her. If something happened to her, I doubt I would survive the encounter with my wife.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    I carry a Black Rapid strap with a camera and lens attached... and a spare battery in my pocket... I've never needed anything else that wasn't readily available for a 1/2 day photo shoot... I may have a pack in my truck with other lenses and a tripod... I don't ever recall going somewhere that I was more than a 1/2 hour from my truck...


  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    Well, where I hunt, we are normally less than 1/2 hour from our vehicle also. The issue is tracking a wounded animal may get you off the trails and into a situation. The photo shoots at the beach are less about getting lost, than getting stranded. The strip of beach is separated from the parking lot by a fairly long trail through the marsh. It is raised a few feet from the marsh, but obviously can and does flood at extreme high tides. Also the gate closes 1/2 hour after sunset. I'm sure I could get a ranger to come and open up, but all in all, seems reasonable to be prepared for the worst. It's not uncommon for day hikers end up getting stranded and don't survive, or barely survive for want of a few basic items.

    Bottom line it is a personal decision based on experience, and perceived risk. Many places I don't worry at all about it. Others I make sure I have at least a few basics. In the past I just grabbed my hunting backpack and carried it with my photo gear in a separate bag. It stays packed, and has everything in it, so why reinvent the wheel. Now that my photo gear pile has grown and it's in a backpack, I have to rethink. Got me to wondering what everyone else does.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    I don't venture out alone very much, especially in a remote area, but I usually keep sunscreen and DEET in my bag along with a bottle of water and a couple snack bars. I keep some in the car too. I won't be trekking out into the woods alone, but we do have hiking trails around here, and the heat can take you down pretty quickly. Best survival things you can have is a buddy and plenty of water in case you twist an ankle on the trails. People die hiking alone. They end-up falling and can't be seen easily by rescue. These days you can get a GPS locator in case you get stranded. If you are an adventurer, it would be a good thing to have.

    My brother gave me a small survival bag that has a reflective blanket in it. I need to do an inventory and make sure I have enough stuff in case something happens even just driving somewhere by myself. You never know, you can get stuck in a traffic jam with no way off of the freeway on the hottest day of the year.
    "Connected to the universe by way of the star-stuff within"

    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    I admit to being too casual about this at times. I need to do a better job of carrying water with me, for sure. For the most part, though, I'm not too far from the car and there are usually other people in the area. I always have a cell phone. Hat and extra clothes when needed in the backpack.
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Peter7100's Avatar

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    I think a fully charged cell phone is the most important thing.

    Tokina 11-16 f2.8
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  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter7100 View Post
    I think a fully charged cell phone is the most important thing.
    I would put it up near the top, although there are a lot of places I go that do not have cell service, so I like to have backup. If I had to choose between a knife, and a cell phone, I would probably choose the knife. I can make and do a lot of things in the woods with a knife. A cell phone can only do one thing, and that is dependent on having a signal and battery power. OK on reflection, I guess it can do two as you can use it as a flashlight. For a little while. With a knife, I can make what I need to get a fire going and have light and warmth as long as the wood holds out. I could probably make fire without a knife, but it would be much harder.

  10. #10
    Senior Member

    Re: Survival gear when out shooting wildlife

    Great topic! In my camera bag, there's not much other than camera stuff- just a couple energy bars and a water bottle on the side of the backpack and an altoids tin with bandaids, alcohol wipes, water purification tabs, a tiny flashlight, a button compass, a couple sticks of fat wood and a lighter. A map is easy enough to fold up and add to the kit if its an area I am unfamiliar with. I always have a hat on my head, my phone in my pocket and (at least one) pocket knife. Here in the PNW, I have to adjust my needs to the season. In summer, bug spray and sun screen may take priority over the hand warmers and extra wool socks for winter. I do have more supplies in the truck and rarely venture far, but I understand the need for supplies to get back to the rig.
    Camera- Z6, D800, D7500, D40x
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