Your Hunting First Aid Kit

Your Hunting First Aid Kit

Hunting is a very safe recreational activity, and the odds of something bad happening are very small. But if something bad does happen – are you ready?

Along with the essential gear I put together for every hunt there is a first aid kit. No matter if it is deer in the deep woods or squirrels in a farmer’s back yard, I’m ready, and being prepared will help ‘you keep your head even if all around you are losing theirs.’

If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs…” Rudyard Kipling, “If”,

If you do nothing else, buy a pre-packaged first aid kit and throw it in your pack. Much, much better is start with that kit, customize it to your needs, and educate yourself on basic first aid. Even better than that is to have multiple kits, customized to your activities and ready for any level of disaster.

Maybe I’m obsessively ready, but if that’s a problem it’s a good one to have.

First Step: The Container

Your kit needs to be inside a container that will keep it organized, accessible, and protected. Waterproof and secure is essential. Plano (think tackle boxes) makes waterproof boxes in a variety of sizes; as does Pelican. Soft kits are fine, but need to be substantial and water-resistant. I use a variety of bags and cases ranging from zip-top bags to a larger Pelican case, depending on volume of supplies and activity.

Any variety of cases, bags, and pouches can be used for your kit, depending on individual need. You are better off having too much than not enough. Back row: Pre-packaged commercial kits are a good starting point. The green bag was from my days SCUBA diving, and included a device to check ears for infection, something I’ve never used hunting. Left: The Yeti pouch, Plano (clear) and Pelican (black) boxes are waterproof and will float. Always have a flashlight, gloves, shears, knife, tweezers, safety pins, tick remover, gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment, OTC medications, and after you learn how to use them a tourniquet and clotting agents. At top right are a water purification bottle and a Galco Ankle Trauma Medical Kit holster.

Step Two: The Contents

Always: A variety of bandages, gauze, tape, and antibiotic ointment will take care of minor issues. Failing to deal properly with minor injuries can enable them to become major issues, including life threatening infections (that’s happened to me). Also add triangular bandage, elastic bandage, burn ointment, and a variety of over-the-counter medications (aspirin, Naproxen, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacid, insect bite, Benadryl, and anti-diarrhea).

You will also need a small flashlight or headlamp, shears, sharp knife, Nitrile gloves, tweezers, tick remover, safety pins, irrigation syringe, and Sharpie marker. Depending on what I’m doing, I may also pack a C splint, cold packs, water purification tabs and bottle, fire starter(s), emergency blanket, and water.

If anyone has medical issues like diabetes or severe allergies be sure their medications go with you in the field.

Always have a cutting tool in your kit, or better yet, more than one. From left: EMT shears are inexpensive, light, safe, and will cut anything. SOG ParaShears are more expensive, but come with 11 tools, including a strap cutter and glass breaker. The Gerber Hinderer (red handle) was designed for first responders and has a blunt tip and serrated edge; the Bear & Sons Bear OPS automatic knife (orange handle) flips open using one hand with a button and has a rugged Tanto blade; the SOG Trident AG is razor-sharp with a secure non-slip handle. All three knives also include a strap cutter and glass breaker.

Step Three: Plan For Disaster

While hunting is statistically a very safe activity, if something bad happens it can be very bad. This is when people lose their minds and a calm head is needed to take care of things, and being educated is the path to confidence. A large wound or heavy bleeding needs to be treated immediately, or the victim may not make it to the ER. Have with you, and know how to use, a pressure dressing, a clotting agent, and a tourniquet.

Step Four: Never Stop Being Prepared

My first aid habit was earned the hard way, but I’ve got religion now. Wrapping a dirty sock around a nasty cut was the only option I had once, but not now. Maybe I’m obsessively ready, but if that’s a problem it’s a good one to have.

Galco Holsters makes an Ankle Trauma Medical Kit that I’ve used, and after an hour or so I hardly notice that it’s there. Made of comfortable neoprene, I typically load it with (from left) a tourniquet, assortment of bandages and sanitizing wipes, flashlight, shears, knife, gloves, and antibiotic ointment. This does not replace a kit in my backpack, but provides additional carrying space.

Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, Monoculars and Laser Range Finders are of course great at identifying distant objects, routes, approaching weather, all from a safe distance. In an extreme survival situation and providing the sun is shining, you could also use the lenses to magnify the suns rays and start a fire.

  • Hawke Endurance ED 8x32 Binoculars

    Hawke Endurance ED 8x32

    Binoculars

    Stunning optics providing crisp, clear and bright images with enhanced light transmission. Endurance models benefit from our System H5 optics. ED glass is utilised to reduce colour fringing. The Fully Multi-Coated lenses provide high resolution images which ensure no details are lost when viewing at distances down to 2m.

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  • Hawke Endurance ED 10x42 Monocular

    Hawke Endurance ED 10x42

    Monocular

    Stunning optics providing crisp, clear and bright images with enhanced light transmission. Endurance models benefit from our System H5 optics. ED glass is utilised to reduce colour fringing. The Fully Multi-Coated lenses provide high resolution images which ensure no details are lost when viewing at distances down to 2m.

    Find Out More

Jeff Davis
Outdoor writer

Disclaimer

References:

Adventure Medical Kits: www.adventuremedicalkits.com
Pelican Cases: www.pelican.com
Plano Molding: www.planomolding.com
Galco Holsters: www.galcogunleather.com
SOG Knives: sogknives.com
Bear & Sons Knives: bearandsoncutlery.com
Gerber Knives: www.gerbergear.com