It's Your Choice

Surviving? Or Surviving?



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PHTO0021.JPGPhoto Credit SSAR

By Mike Wallace

Superstition Search & Rescue

You have had a great day of hunting. Your sore feet testify of the miles you have hiked in search of your prey. The afternoon sky starts to darken. The wind shifts and your neck, wet with sweat chills, shivers as the temperature drops.

You ignore your instinctive feelings of caution and fear of the storm, having visions of antlers and stories to share. You are too proud to admit you are lost and far too good to get injured.

So, on you trudge, knowing that the truck is just over the next hill. The day soon starts to surrender to the push of cold and darkness. The colors of the forest flee as the grays of night chase them over the horizon.

Are You Lost?

As you stumble over the forest debris in darkness, you start to succumb to the realization that you are lost. The caution and fear that you have suppressed now drenches you with horror. Cold and terrified, you wonder how you are going to survive in this frigid expanse.

Have you ever been lost? If you havenít, you undoubtedly will be at some time in your life. If you spend enough time hiking, hunting or fishing, more than likely you will get the opportunity to test your ability to survive in the wilderness.

There are two kinds of survival. First, barely surviving and being carried out. Second, surviving in comfort and walking out. Both of these are ultimately a choice.

The First Choice

This involves entering the wilderness without emergency supplies or the knowledge and skills to use them when you are in trouble. This kind of choice will lead to panic and fear of the unknown and will complicate your ability to think rationally, which will damper your ability to make crucial decisions.

Thinking is your most powerful tool to survive. Though you may survive, with this kind of choice, you will most likely be carried out. Unfortunately, there are a percentage of those who make this mistake and never make it out.

The Second Choice

You learn before you go into the wilderness, how to survive without food or water with no survival gear or tools, in all kinds of weather and temperatures. Then you never put your self in the position to use that knowledge.

Always take survival gear, no matter how small your activity is. This kind of choice will allow you to clearly plan your survival strategy and the confidence to live in comfort in harsh conditions for an extended time. This will also enable you to hike out with those who find you ó with a smile on your face and a brisk step to your walk.

There may be a time when you find yourself in an uncomfortable state of confusion or you suspect that you might be lost. There also may be a time when you start to feel uneasy about which direction camp is. It is at these moments when you make your most critical decisions.

Take A Break

Before you get yourself really lost, stop and take a break; look around and see if you see anything familiar. Think about where you have hiked and the last place that you recognize and determine whether you absolutely know how to get back to that point.

If you donít know how to get back, you have several options ó one of which is wandering around until you are exhausted. This obviously is risky. It puts your body into a deficit, and if you donít find a way out, it will shorten your survival time.

Exposure does happen. And, it can happen to anyone regardless of income, popularity, age or gender.

There are many things that can be done to increase your odds of surviving. Stopping and using your brain is the first. Every situation is different; this is why your mind is your most important tool.

Learn How To Survive

John_W.jpgPhoto Credit Superstition Search and Rescue

If you lose the ability to think rationally because of exhaustion, dehydration, loss or gain of body-core temperature or blood loss because of a poorly managed injury, you severely lower your chance of making it out on your feet. Survival is a huge topic. Ultimately, everyone who enjoys the outdoors needs to learn how to survive.

In future articles, we will cover the following subjects:

∑ how to preserve your body core temp,

∑ methods to hydrate,

∑ finding food and shelters,

∑ the physiology of being lost,

∑ how to be found once you are lost,

∑ injury management, and

∑ methods of starting a fire, etc.

It is your responsibility to learn the skills to keep yourself alive.

Make The Right Choice

There are two kinds of survival and only one kind of dead. Make the right choice! Take the time to learn survival skills and teach them to your family members. Besides being great quality time, they may have to save your life some day.

If you have any information or questions you would like to share with us on this topic please e-mail the author Mike Wallace (Superstition Search & Rescue) at wallysfishing@yahoo.com.


 

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