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Outdoor Trails & Tales: Always be prepared.
Outdoor Trails & Tales: Always be prepared.


Always be ready to take care of yourself.

This line popped out at me as I was browsing through some websites about First Aid for hunters. It’s actually a topic I’ve never really thought about when going out on outdoor adventures. Whether hiking or canoeing or fishing or archery, I always just assume everything will turn out okay and everyone will get home safe.

“Carrying a proper medical kit – and knowing how to use it – can mean the difference between your best day and your worst day in the field,” begins a November 2020 article titled “Tackling the Hunter’s First Aid Kit” on It’s also the article that contains the line, “Never assume the outfitter, your hunting buddy, or someone else along the trail will have a medical kit: always be ready to take care of yourself.”

I have bought small pre-packed First Aid kits before, thrown them in the trunk of the car and … they are probably still back there. One of the first suggestions in the article I read is not to do that. We should pack a medical kit with supplies that we have inspected and know how to use. 

An instructor at a Montana-based backcountry medicine business suggests that if a hunter could only take five items into the field the list should include:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Surgical masks, medical gloves, eye protection)

  • Hemorrhage control: Tourniquet, pressure wrap supplies

  • Chest seal for penetrating chest trauma

  • Dressings for blisters and other small open wounds

  • Communication device (cell phone and/or satellite device depending on location)

At a minimum, the instructor recommends that everyone should look up a “Stop the Bleed” course which highlights how to utilize direct pressure and tourniquets to stop severe hemorrhage.

Anyone interested in more details of what is in this instructor’s medical kit, can find the full article at and search for “Tackling the Hunter’s First Aid Kit.” It even includes a section on First Aid for dog owners. He recommends that upland and waterfowl hunters should carry a separate section in their medical kits for their dogs.



Another interesting article I came across while flipping through the digital archives of “Outdoor Oklahoma” at Oklahoma Digital Prairie,, is “First Aid Afield.” It was written by Ron Krajnovich and published in the October 1972 issue.

He starts off with a scenario that you and your hunting buddy have just returned to camp after a long day of sitting in the tree stands. Your friend reaches for the coffee and flips a pan of sizzling grease over on to the back of his hand. What do you do?

Breaking out the butter and spreading it over the rising blister should not be your first reaction Krajnovich wrote.  Actually, My first thought was to grab the mustard bottle and cover the burn with the yellow condiment. I read about mustard and burns somewhere along the way and have found that cold yellow mustard takes away the pain of burns and prevents blisters when I’ve had little cooking accidents.

Krajnovich wrote that your first reaction should be to have your friend dunk his hand into cold water as soon as possible.

I’m just going to admit right here that I don’t score very good on First Aid quizzes or tests, so I probably wouldn’t be the best person along to help in a medical emergency out on an outdoor adventure. So, the best advice I have is the first line of this column: Always be ready to take care of yourself.