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.