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Top 5 Items: Hunter IFAK

Last week we talked about the 3 types of injuries you might face while hunting.

Being far away from medical help is the biggest reason why an emergency in a remote location is especially dangerous. Even a small injury can hold you back enough to turn a normal day into a life-threatening situation.

I’ve spent a lot of time living in arduous conditions and over time I’ve come to value some philosophies when it comes to gear.

Philosophy # 1

Lighter is better.

Anyone experienced in rough living has probably heard the term (or something similar), “Ounces = Pounds. Pounds = Pain.”

Hiking 5 miles into dark timber to shoot an elk then hiking out 250 lbs. of meat over several trips back and forth, and you start looking for ways to reduce your load.

Experienced back packers are always looking to cut their base weight at every available opportunity, throwing away any unnecessary food packaging or cutting toothbrushes in half so they don’t have to carry the extra weight of a full handle.

One popular way to cut weight and reduce misery on the trail is to carry items that can be used for multiple purposes.

  1. Tourniquet

Proper bleeding control is still the most important consideration in any traumatic event. Especially in a remote location where it could take hours to extricate after an emergency. Many people prefer the Combat Application Tourniquet because it’s widely trusted by professionals and is simple to apply one handed.

My preferred TQ for austere environments, however, is the SWAT-T because of its ability to treat injuries other than those on extremities. It’s also light weight and packs well, making it ideal for the back country.

Not only will it work as effective tourniquet, but it’s also a multi-use item that can be converted into a pressure dressing, a chest seal, sling, splinting, hunting rabbits, or whatever else you can think of. This helps to drastically reduce the weight of your trauma kit so you can go farther and longer.

2. QuikClot Gauze

Used along with the SWAT-T as your pressure dressing, a roll of QuikClot gauze can be packed into the wound to control severe bleeding. This is especially important for junction wounds like in your neck, groin, or armpit, where a TQ won’t work.

3. Tape

A multi-use item that can be used for everything you can imagine. I’m sure I don’t need to say, most people can see the value of tape when you need it, but in a wilderness survival situation, it might literally save your life.

This is a handy item for taping down chest seals, securing splints, makeshift bandages and any of the thousands of things you will need tape for.

4. Survival Blanket

Prevention of hypothermia is always a constant concern when dealing with trauma casualties no matter what climate or local you’re hunting in. It’s important to have a way to keep the victim warm while help trudges their way up the mountain.

Survival blankets are inexpensive, lightweight, small enough to pack anywhere, and could literally mean the difference between life and death in the wild.

5. First Aid

Not every injury you get while hunting is going to be a showstopper. Most injuries are going to come from minor scrapes, nicks, cuts, and bruises.

The most used item in any medical kit is the bandaids, and minor wound care products. Keeping a stock in your personal kit and at your base camp will help keep your quality of life up and your happiness at a maximum.

Other items, like ibuprofen, and acetaminophen for stiff muscles, and sports wraps for sore joints help after long days and nights hauling the kill back to camp.

If you want to know how to use these items, check out Emergency Trauma Response. 100% online, free and will help you get started with understanding the basics.

Emergency Trauma Response Training Course

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3 Most Common Hunting Injuries

Hunting in the back country of the Colorado Rockies is tough, even for the most experienced hunters and people come from all over the world just to test themselves here.

The wilderness you are hiking through to get an animal is usually difficult to access, even on a good day. Being so far away from hospital means even a small injury could become potentially life threatening because of how long it could take to get to help.

A sprained ankle at the office isn’t considered a medical emergency, but a sprained ankle on a mountain top 8 miles from the nearest road might mean significant danger.

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A Successful GN Conference

Success! The first annual Guardian Nation Conference was a big win. For me personally, it was the chance to shake off the rust and do some teaching.

This conference was the first time I’ve taught tactical medicine in a few years and getting back into the saddle was surprisingly easy. Since is this conference being the expansion of defensive shooting skills, I put together a class of some of the essential things that should be considered by a citizen carrying a concealed weapon.

Tactical medicine was how I earned my dinner for several years and it’s my favorite extension of medicine. So, I was excited to give my perspective on civilian CCW Tactical Medicine.

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Emergency Trauma: Where Do You Even Start?

One of the hardest things about trauma medicine is knowing where to begin. If you aren’t somebody who uses these skills on the regular, like an EMT or Paramedic, then you’re likely to be a little off your game. But that’s expected.

Emergencies are tense and scary and that can cause an unexperienced first responder to hesitate. But there are a few tricks that can help you make the right call when it matters most.

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Medical Trauma: What is Shock?

Shock is a term that can be very broad in its description but can also be broken down into more precise definitions. Many people mistake the term “shock” to mean that dazed and confused state some victims go into after experiencing something emotionally traumatizing.

Emotional shock is still a concern for a medic but is not usually considered life-threatening in an emergency. For our study today, we’ll focus on medical forms of shock and hopefully approach it in a way that’s easy to understand.

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Combat Gauze Vs. QuikClot

One of the things I say with regularity is how important it is to learn wound packing. But if you haven’t heard, here’s why:

Wound packing is an essential skill because a tourniquet (TQ) cannot be used to treat all life-threatening bleeding. Don’t get me wrong, TQs work great for arms and legs, but if you’re bleeding from anywhere else, such as your neck or groin, wound packing is the only thing that will save your life.

I’ve gotten some questions recently asking what I think is better, QuikClot, or Combat Gauze. There are a few differences that might help you understand what it is you’re carrying in your trauma kit.

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Time To Talk: Tactical Tampons


It seems to me that most rumors, if left uninvestigated for too long after being conceived, tend to die long slow, and painful deaths.

One of my favorite topics on this blog is investigating emergency trauma myths and whether they’re worth holding on to.

Some rumors (such as extremity elevation above the level of the heart to reduce bleeding) are actually found to be effective after being studied by health care researchers.

But most rumors (like, “your limb will amputated if a TQ is used”) are false, dangerous, and have killed many people over the years.

In this article we’ll be discussing why Tampons are a


terrible choice to stock in your trauma kit, and some items that will work much better for saving your own life, or the life of a loved one.

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Mountain Man Medical Talks Moose Safety

Photo: Reddit

Shortly after high school, I took my wife’s family out for a short summer camping trip to one of Colorado’s national forests.

It was just me, an overconfident 19-year-old, my future wife and her younger siblings spending a few nights under the stars. I showed them what I knew about building fires and throwing knives, but after a while we got bored and decided to head out for a hike.

While we strolled along in the back, her siblings ran on ahead and I lost sight of them for a short time.

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Should YOU Tourniquet a Snake Bite?

With summer comes outdoor activities like hiking and camping, and yard work. With the warmer weather comes more interaction with wildlife like snakes.

Knowing what to do with snake bites could help you to come out on top in a bad situation. In this article I will be discussing some first aid, dos and don’ts so you can save the day.

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How to Spot Head Trauma

There isn’t a lot a medic can do for head trauma to make the situation better for the casualty.

There are still things to be done, such as preventing further harm to the casualty and managing the airway but knowing what massive brain damage looks like can help you make the right decisions.

One of those decisions is whether or not to spend time helping the casualty at all. A good medic realizes some injuries are too severe to recover from, and while the casualty is still alive and breathing, the medic’s time is better spent on casualties who have a better chance for survival.

This is called “Triage.”

It may seem cold and heartless, but these are the realities that must sometimes be realized in trauma medicine. Doing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people means someone might get left in the lurch.

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