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Communications Equipment in the
Communications Equipment in the Wilderness For Hunting,
fishing, hiking, boating or cycling By David Leonhardt
Communication in the wilderness is a matter of survival, as well as convenience.
Before even leaving home, communications must begin. In fact, our first two
communications tip do not even require equipment or gadgets.
"Make sure that somebody knows when you leave, when you expect to return (or get
to your destination)," advises Chad Brown, owner of Farm And Field Outdoors
Equipment Auctions ( http://www.farmandfieldauctions.com ). "Provide as much
information about your route as possible.
Things can happen. Rocks can fall on your head while hiking. Boats can tip over.
Firearms can malfunction. Somebody needs to know that you are late in
arriving...and where to send search parties to find you. In fact, this is the
same advice I used to
give drivers in winter weather when I was spokesperson for CAA Ontario.
The second tip is to never head into the wilderness alone. Just as one should
never go swimming without a swimming buddy, nor should one go long-distance
cycling or hiking, nor hunting, camping or fishing in a remote area without a
My wife's uncle took the business end of large falling branch on his skull while
out in the forest, knocking him unconscious and cracking his skull down the
middle. Eventually his skull will heal, but only because he had companions to
get him into town. Otherwise, he might still not be found.
Here is another report, this one from the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation about a fall from a tree stand: "The subject had no
communications equipment with him. No phone or radio. If the subject had left
word of where he would be and approximate hour of return, a response may have
been quicker. Cause of Death: The subject suffered a broken shoulder, multiple
broken ribs on one side, a punctured lung, and a punctured spleen."
This is hunting equipment?
Assuming you are still conscious, it helps to have some communications equipment
while out hunting, fishing or camping. Of course, there is the ever popular cell
phone, which brings instant communications to almost everywhere in the world.
maybe your wilderness trek.
But there are many places where cell phone range covers your fishing lake or
hunting woods. The best part about a cell phone is that, even in the wilderness,
you can have utterly normal conversations with pretty well anybody.
"OK, darling. On my way back into town I'll pick up some milk and peanut butter
and...wait! Was that a whitetail? Gotta go." Click.
Not only that, with a cell phone you can even catch up on your email while
crouching in your tent or scaling a cliff, with an email to phone service, such
as http://www.email2phone.net .
A two-way radio is a much surer piece of equipment, because it does not depend
on the cellular network to connect. The downside is that you get to speak to a
much narrower range of people: other two-way radio owners.
"Hi there, Big Bear, do you read me? Can you get a-hold of my wife to see if I
have to pick up milk and peanut butter on my way back into town? Do you copy?"
Before you leave on any outdoors trip, it is wise to check the weather forecast.
But the weather forecast can change quickly, so a cell phone or radio serves
"Whaddaya mean thunderstorms and hail?!? I just got here, darling, I don't want
to come home just yet. Oh...alright..."
Of course, you could just have someone email the weather forecast to you on your
Chad Brown also advises keeping a very loud whistle hanging from your neck. If
you are trapped under a tree, pinned down by a boulder, or wrestling a grizzly
bear, you might not have reach or the attention span to dial a number. If
anybody is within
earshot, they will come running...if not to help you, at least to capture it for
"America's Funniest Home Videos".
Our final tip might seem obvious, but make sure you know where to call. Have the
emergency number taped to the back of the cell phone (ignore your wife's idea of
tattooing it to your forehead; where would you find a mirror in the middle of a
ravine?) and make sure you know what frequency to call for help on the two-way
There you have it. You are prepared to go out into the wild and communicate. And
if the animals don't understand what you are trying to communicate to them, you
might not be any worse off than in the city.