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.
There are some things you can skimp on, go without or leave behind, then there’s others you can’t. Many hunters go out into the brush with only a few Band-Aids and nothing else. But being so far away from a medical treatment facility means you need to be able to manage trauma long enough to be transported.
Here are some of the injuries I think you should be preparing for:
Lacerations and Bleeding Control
You are at a far greater risk of death from uncontrolled bleeding than from anything else. Being far away from EMS and law enforcement well stocked with tourniquets means having one on you is even more important.
Knowing how to control bleeding with direct pressure and wound packing ensures you aren’t taken out by a junctional wound.
Band Aids or self-adhesive bandages are the most often used item in any medical kit. Knicks, scrapes, and cuts need to be paid close attention to make sure it doesn’t become infected with minor wound care items, like anti-bacterial ointment.
Splinting Bone Fractures
Falls are common in the treacherous forests where big game animals thrive. Losing your footing on a mossy log or rock can quickly turn an exciting hunt into the worst day of your life.
Falling out of your tree stand is one the most common ways of getting injured on a hunt and learning a few methods for splinting a fracture could help you save your hunting buddy.
Moldable splints are great to have for treating fractures but are a little bulky to be carried away from camp. Fortunately, the forest is full of great splinting material in the form of tree branches.
Aches and Pains and Muscle Strains
After putting in the time and miles of the stalk, up and down the sides of mountains, you might get a little sore. I always have an abundant supply of both ibuprofen and acetaminophen and hand them out at the end of the day, as needed.
Having a few ace wraps of varying sizes can help to treat overuse injuries, like knee and ankle strains, that are likely to happen in your group as the hunt wears on. At the end of the day, it's important to Rest, Ice, and Compress the injury. Take care of yourself so you're able to walk off the mountain if you need to.