Over the past 50 years or so, in my excursions outdoors, I have been shot by a ricochet, injured my knee, broken a couple ribs, kicked by a horse, and got knocked unconscious when I fell out of a tram car onto some rocks. I’ve been lost, rained and snowed on, and had to spend the night out in the woods with no blanket or sleeping bag. I’ve been followed by a mountain lion, and charged by a bear, and struck at by rattlers, but fortunately I have never been seriously injured. I guess that there’s a lot of truth in the old adage that the Lord watches out for drunks and fools.
Probably one of the best investments I ever made was to take the time to take a basic first aid course. I called the local office of the American Red Cross and they are always offering new and updated classes with the latest techniques. If you’re going to spend much time in the outdoors I heartily recommend that you take first aid training. Just because I used to take dumb risks, please don’t get the idea that the outdoors is unsafe. Quite the contrary, if you use a little common sense and take a few precautions, the outdoors is probably one of the safest places you can be. Beyond that, first aid training is useful anywhere, I’ve had to use the Heimlich maneuver twice thus far, once around a campfire and once in a fancy restaurant. I don’t know about you, but I sleep a little better at night just knowing that if an accident were to happen around the house I can at least provide first aid until professional help can arrive.
A couple years ago I was wading in a remote canyon stretch of the Merced River when I slipped and struck my knee on a rock. I didn’t break anything, but my knee was bruised really badly and walking quickly became very painful. Fortunately I carry some prescription pain killers in my fishing vest and they relieved the pain sufficiently for me to make it back to the car on my own.
It is precisely for that reason that my fishing vest resembles a cross between a mobile drug store and survival kit. I have contacted my friendly local physician who has prescribed pain killers, medication for stomach distress, cramps and diarrhea, and an antibiotic eye ointment. I also carry a plastic poncho, a space blanket, snakebite kit, and sufficient emergency food to feed Grants Army for a couple days. I have a compass, waterproof match safe, and even some fishing gear, (in a fishing vest?). My vest seems like it weighs 40 pounds but it sure gives me peace of mind.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll want to put in your fishing or hunting vest is a snake bite kit called, The Extractor. If you recall the old snake bite kits with the rubber suction kits, you’ll find The Extractor a radical departure from their design. The Extractor consists of a bright yellow plastic plunger with interchangeable suction cup tips to fit the various parts of your body. If you should get snakebit, you whip out your extractor fit the appropriate tip on & press down on the plunger. Viola! The Exrtactor creates tremendous suction & sucks the venom out through the fang holes. In order to be effective you must have the Extractor with you when you’re afield.
Another emergency treatment for snakebite is a shock from a portable stun gun with a half million volts or more. It neutralizes the electric charge of the venom, which then passes harmlessly through your body. It works on snake bite, scorpion bites, bee stings and fire ant bites. As near as I can tell, the electric shock treatment was discovered by houndsmen who used it on their dogs who had been snakebit. It wasn’t too long before one of the Good Old Boys tried the shock treatment on himself and darned if it didn’t work. I don’t know if you recall a physician named Harry McClelland, but I went to Harry to try out the stun gun on myself. He suggested I stand on his lawn so that when I fell down, I would be less likely to get hurt. Trust me; you never want to use a stun gun on yourself unless it’s a life or death situation. But it apparently works.
The outdoors is really a safe place to be, certainly much safer than in your car or in a big city. Still it’s a pretty good idea to be prepared for the unexpected.
Until Next Week