Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Lost Hunters Guide - A Free Survival Manual

I recently discovered this great book, You Alone In The Maine Woods - A lost Hunters Guide. written by Gareth Anderson and John F Marsh, published for free by the Maine Warden Service. I heartily recommend it.

Not a guide to lost hunters, or a tale of a hunter's guide who is lost, but a great FREE survival manual - you could read it cover to cover in twenty minutes and live to tell the tail.

The book has had ten imprints since it first appeared in 1972. Unless you're in radically different terrain like the jungle, desert or tundra this book has just what you need. Simple, memorable, and printed with an orange cover to wave frantically at passing aircraft or other hunters!

The books authors had two outcomes in mind when they assembled the guide with the help of their local community of hunters, guides and back country enthusiasts.
  1. Be prepared to survive
  2. Make it easier for a rescue party to find you[r sorry ass].
Or as a wag recently put it "Relatives get a lot of comfort from seeing a body. The less decomposed you are, the more comfort they get"

One of the things i like best about the book is the authors offer the advice we've read before in the 'advanced guides' but they also offer the 'minimum bid' advice which you'd be a fool not to take. Making the steps seem simple everyday and followable.

Dress right for the worst conditions the terrain has EVER seen:
clothes can be taken off and put on as conditions change, ONLY if you brought them with you.

Carry water:
you might not be thirsty now, but you will be, and by the time stump water starts to look thirst quenching other problems will be mounting up.

Your minimum bid for a survival kit
Spare knife[s] or very sharp axe: Chop, Cut and Just in case
Waterproof matches AND firesteel: Firesteels are brilliant and waterproof, but the immediacy of a lighter or matches gives confidence, light and warmth. Best take both.
Spare compass: If the reasons for this aren't obvious, you best stay home.
Whistle: Even my three year old daughter whose had her sweets taken of her by her brother cant squeal as loud or for as long as a PROPER survival whistle.
Medication and if you wear them Spare Eyeglasses: not many people carry them, but without them the prognosis isn't great is it?
Emergency type foods: what else could take up so little space and lift your spirits? Take that too.

As ever, your pal
The Bushwacker.


Albert A Rasch said...


Where do you find this priceless stuff? You're a credit to the blogsphere!

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Iowa Woodsman said...

Nice post Pal. Look like a good read.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Glad you liked it, I'm really impressed with the book, it's the first time I've noticed a book reminding the reader to take spare glasses with them.

The elusive obvious!


Anonymous said...

I used to spend a lot of time in the Australian outback and used to have two survival kits. One was a small personal one that was always in the clothing I was wearing, the other was the primary one carried in my pack. I also carried army water bottles on a webbed belt.

The personal one was split between two tightly sealed, polished steel tins (which can also be used for signalling). Each tin's contents were then further sealed into ziplock bags.

I won't detail all the contents now, but I would add a few items to your short list: parachute cord, condoms, silk thread, a couple of large sewing needles and four tampons. Yes, the latter are not just the ladies. Tampons are excellent for treating deep, penetrating wounds—bullet, knife, impact with a branch/spike etc.

Even when I'm not out bush, I still carry a survival kit in the car and mini one on me. A former GF used to take the mickey out of my habit of doing so, calling me "Mr Be Prepared".

Then we went for a long beach walk, miles from help. She slipped and ripped her foot and leg open on a sharp piece of rock. I cleaned and closed the wounds, dressed them, immobilised her leg, and then carried her almost five miles to the nearest hamlet.

The relationship didn't last!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

thanks for commenting.

I just marvel at the world sometimes [well every day ;)], I realize that Oz is one of the worlds most urbanized society's, so surely that would mean it is more imperative to carry a survival kit when out of town?

Although I wholeheartedly agree with some of the items that are in most survival kit lists, as far as i can see there's a whole lot of hokum on the lists as well. Yours sounds like a first aid kit with extras, which in my view is a far more logical starting point than most of the lists i've seen.

thanks for stopping by

Matthew Brown said...

Great post, this book seems a good starting point for my future wilderness years. Happy birthday too Bushwacker.


Anonymous said...

great post

Shooter said...

great tips. I know how easy it is to die without fire (starting equipment)

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Welcome back Shooter