A small first-aid kit can save the day
Over the years, I’ve discovered that an essential piece of outdoor equipment and one that many hunters and even fishermen fail to consider is a small, compact first-aid kit. It could be argued ad infinitum about what should be included in a first-aid kit, but I try to keep things simple by including what I feel might be required for me based on what I’m likely to encounter when I go hunting or fishing.
Packing a first-aid kit to take along on a morning or evening hunt near home is nowhere near the same as the one I take on our Canadian fly-in fishing trips. When no emergency medical help is readily available a more elaborate kit is in order. In addition to the requisite Band-Aids, bandages and salves, my travel kit includes such things as tweezers to remove thorns, splinters or even ticks; hand sanitizer; antiseptic cream; and Quick Clot in case of a severe cut. Also included are pain and fever reducers like aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The kit also contains some Tums and Pepto Bismol chewables. However, when I leave the house to hunt a friend’s nearby farm, I pack only the essentials in my hunting jacket in case needed to treat minor nicks, cuts or scrapes. I keep a larger kit in the truck for a more serious injury.
The small kit I carry in my shirt pocket will deal with any small cut and includes a few Band-Aids, a few alcohol wipes and a small tube of antiseptic cream. I also include four or five aspirin tablets in the unlikely event I may suffer a heart attack.
The most likely need for a kit this size is when a hunter is gutting a deer – a knife could easily slip while eviscerating the animal. Fishermen are not immune to cuts from fillet knives or from sharp fish hooks, either. The smallest cut should be treated immediately by cleaning the cut with an alcohol wipe and then applying the antiseptic cream. Covering the cut with a Band-Aid will aid in preventing the possibility of serious infection later.
Many inexperienced bowhunters forget the broadhead could still be in the animal and proceed with the field dressing chore only to slice open a finger on a razor-sharp broadhead. This is where a small first-aid kit could be invaluable.
Keep in mind, for the most part, the worst you’ll have to deal with are minor cuts or perhaps burns from the camp stove, so whatever you include in a personal first-aid kit should be items to take care of those situations should they arise. Just be sure the kit is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or the pocket of a fanny or backpack because it will do little good if an accident happens in the field and the kit is back at camp or in the glove compartment of the truck.
Before every hunting season I make a quick check of the contents of my kit and replace any packaged alcohol wipes that may have dried out and any aspirin that doesn’t look drug store-fresh. Finally, don’t assume a hunting partner or outfitter will have a first-aid kit available if an accident happens. Be prepared and carry your own.