Every hunter should carry basic survival items, even for short forays from camp or the vehicle.
A classic case in point occurred a few years ago in North Idaho, when a muzzleloader hunter crossed very fresh tracks in new snow on his drive in to camp.
The tracks were hot, so he parked, took out his gun and started following them into the woods for a quick peek down off the road. Since he knew the area, he left his daypack in his truck.
While he was out, the light snow quickly deteriorated into a serious snow storm that covered his tracks and created whiteout conditions.
“He ended up spending two nights in the mountains,” said Josh Stanly, an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer from Wallace. “He made a good shelter and came out all right, but he didn’t have anything for making a fire.”
The map and compass that should have been in that pack might have enabled him to safely make it back to his rig that day.
Or the survival gear would have made the nights out in the snowy mountains more comfortable and safe.
Incidentally, Air Force Survival School instructors say some of their students need only a few minutes to build a fire in the damp woods, while others might work an hour to get a blaze going.
The time spread indicates that practice can help improve odds of building a fire and surviving an emergency situation.