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Your Move-Tigger version!

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Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 1]

You are elk hunting solo in a new area. You have been into elk every day. This morning you followed a nice herd bull and his harem back and are now 4.5 miles from the trailhead. The walk out is steep (up) in sections with bad footing, but some easy downhill as well. The winds finally turned on you and the whole herd boogered so you took a little nap and had a snack. It is now getting on towards late afternoon and you are thinking about how long you should hunt here given the big hike out. You love the area and are sure there are a lot of elk around given the sign. The area has a super steep area to the west and you are just below that where it flattens out a bit. You hear a bugle and it is game on! As you finish tying your boots, you notice the first snow flakes.

The bull is lower than you and up the drainage a bit in the dark timber typical of western mountains. The wind has overpowered the thermals (no sun) and the air is moving to the west towards the bottom of the north south drainage. You need to drop down to gain the wind and are doing that right now. The bull is sounding off every 5 minutes, so no need to call...yet! As you get to the bottom, the snow has picked up some and is snowing pretty good. You are slightly below the bull and sneaking in to 80 yards. The snow is heavy now and the ground is turning white so seeing Mr Big should be pretty easy. It is a magical moment when the bull bugles, you see his big rack, and the snow is coming down all around. He is at 35 yards and looking back. Perfect time to slip to the left 2 steps for your shot when it happens. Your left boot comes down on a 2" stick right in the arch. Your foot slips and your ankle turns. You go down in a heap with screaming pain in your ankle. All thoughts of the bull are gone. The snow is coming down hard. You look to the sky and realize that steep slope to the west kept you from seeing the big storm clouds you can now see. It is a blizzard. Visibility is less than 100 yards and dropping. You are dry. You have what is in your typical pack, so some of you are better off than others. You realize you cannot walk out on that ankle in the treacherous footing. You will be staying the night and hobbling out tomorrow. Temperatures is about 30 right now. Probably get down to about 20 tonight. Wind is 10 mph. You have 2-2.5 hours of daylight left.

Your move, what do you do now?
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby >>>---WW----> » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 2]

Been there / Done that! But I was only about a mile from my truck. I assessed my situation and figured I could crawl out if necessary. But I was lucky enough to get back to my feet and hobble out.

If I were in the situation you described in your post, here is what I would do. First, if you were in enough pain to make you scream out like you said, You probably need to take your boot off and check your ankle out. Some times a sprain can be as bad as a break. Wrap it up and brace it as best you can. I hope you have an ACE bandage in your pack! If it is serious enough and you have cell service, call out and explain your situation to 911 operator. If it isn't as bad as you initially suspected, you might be able to make some sort of a crutch and hobble out as far as you can with the 2 1/2 hours of daylight you have left. But for sure, don't try stumbling around in the dark, ESPECIALLY with a bum ankle. I have found that sometimes you can walk off a sprain if it isn't too serious. If that doesn't work, build a fire and spend the night.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 3]

A real hunter would still go after the bull. You have too much invested in the hunt to quit now. :shock:

More seriously: Is it going to continue to snow? That will make getting out harder. It could get real difficult. Is someone going to be looking for you very soon? Does anyone even know where you are? Can you get a walking stick and hobble out now? Can you hobble around enough to gather firewood to keep a fire going? How long can you keep it going? Think clearly. If you are really incapacitated, you need the assess your situation and make plans to get out. Your life may depend on making good choices.
I have sprained my ankle several times in the forest, and have always been able to walk out on it. I was never near 4 miles away from my vehicle. In this situation, if I can walk, even slowly, I am heading for camp or the truck. If I can, I am leaving my boot on to restrict the swelling, and heading for camp now.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Lefty » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 4]

We use to play hockey. So pretty good ankles.
Then running traplines I learned to be much more aware of risks when out and alone. And now with sever neorapathy I'm even more careful.

While we can't plan for everything, we can avoid a lot of problems.,
A few years back my brother went down . It wasn't what he wanted, he wanted to donate to the lack Football team, but the search and rescue, sheriff and emt/ fire dept all came.

The plan for me this year.Hunt where I get cell reception when alone .
Two neighbors and my Bishop( eclisiastic leader) required me to let them know where I hunt alone.

I text my wife often when service is available of where I m hunting. The ranchers and Sheriff dept know who I am. They have horses.
My Daughter and Andrew in a real emergency know how to get close to me with a ATV .

I use to keep caches . In Northern Utah I sold my cache, MRE, water, military feather bag, Silage bag ( plastic tube tent) candles fire starter.
Where I deer hunt I had "developed " locations fire wood, fire starter comfortable sleeping sites etc.
This up coming season were putting 8n a spike camp
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 5]

You may have missed this line: "You realize you cannot walk out on that ankle in the treacherous footing." Walking out now is not an option. What is your move? Please be more detailed than "I will build a shelter". How would you go about it? The intent of this post is for someone who may encounter a situation like this. You have limited mobility and have to spend the night. It is snowing, but you are dry at this point. What are your priorities? How do you solve the immediate problems? You have the typical resources available in dark timber (you don't magically find a cave full of supplies!).
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 6]

Are you going to be any better tomorrow off, or just more hungry and cold? I don't know. Your story reads like the storm has just moved in. Will you have a foot of snow on the ground in the morning? Is someone going to hike in 4 1/2 miles and be able to find you? I have no idea. Can you get cell phone service nearby? Do you even have a cell phone or InReach so you can get out? Once you take your boot off, will your ankle swell so you can't get the boot back on?
If you can move around enough to build a decent shelter and gather up enough wood to keep a fire going, why can't you move toward camp?
If the storm is really moving in and I have no other way to get out, I am heading for the truck now, and will go as long as I can, even if I have to crawl, hobble and roll. Just because it hurts, does not mean you can't use you foot.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 7]

Well, I always have matches, and usually plenty of water on me. I like food too, so I probably have at least an extra 6-800 calories of Just In Case granola bars on me. I guarantee I have a puffy and a rain shell in my backpack, and my wife likes me to have emergency communication abilities, so I've got a Garmin InReach to communicate with. Shelter, fire, food, water are my descending order priorities, and it's gonna snow, so I won't worry about water just now.

I'm pulling out my trekking poles from my pack, strapping my bow on it, and hobbling to the nearest grove of pine trees. I'm looking for a big one to be my shelter, and enough dead wood around it to make a fire easy. I probably checked the weather and threw in an emergency shelter, like a tarp, but I can make do without it. I'll scrape out a bed in the needles, collect a big pile of dead stuff, get a nice little fire going, then I'm sending some messages to find a buddy to come help me get out of there in the morning! This one is a piece of cake. Just need to keep your head clear!
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 8]

I like your idea Trumpkin. Assuming you have good communications, the weather will permit you to get a rescue tomorrow; you should have a comfortable evening by the fire. It is nice that there is plenty of good firewood handy. While you are laying around, call Dominoes and order a pizza. :D
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 9]

Malachi is going down the path I intended. You are going to stay the night, the scenario is meant to establish that. For whatever reasons, you have to stay the night. What are the little things you do or don't do.

I think staying dry is paramount. That means rain coats or shelter or both. Fire is important. What are some things you do if you don't get fire? How about if you do? What do you look for in the woods?
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 10]

Tigger: I commend you on starting this discussion. It points out an important need for all hunters. It would be helpful to let us know that your hypothetical person has communications, and will get rescued the next day if he just stays put. If that is not the case, then staying could mean that you go out on your own the next day, through deeper snow, with no food, and an ankle that is no better.

Years ago a neighbor went hunting in rifle elk season. He was tracking a bull in the snow. Up high the snow was over a foot deep, but it tapered off to nothing down a few hundred feet in elevation. It had turned to rain over most of the area. At some point he dropped down into a canyon. We looked for him for days to no avail. His bones were found the next Spring about a mile from the road. No one knows why he could not go any farther. We did not have InReach, or things of that kind in those days. His family knew where he should be approximately, but had no idea which way he went in the afternoon.
I think a good take on this "Your Move" scenario is to remember to let people know where you are and when you will be back.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Lefty » 02 15, 2021 •  [Post 11]

I have painter plastic, 3 sources of fire, candles always one more layer than I expect to need. In past Ive always planned to stay the night not being miserable. I use to carry more,.

Where I hunt down hill is people and safety

My first aid kit is what my military neighbor doc said to make, a comfort kit,
and left over pain meds from my hip replacement

Now I have backpacked and hope to do so alone this year. But getting to a used trail is important. I think I can deal with most pain. I just dont want to do more damage. And my current physical abilities Ill likely be waiting

I was a scoutmaster in Washington state. All my scouts could start a fire in pouring rain,.

I have some of these huge strike anywhere matches that burn for 4-5 minutes,.. I just looked on line,.. I cant seem to find them.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby 7mmfan » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 12]

Like Malachi said, my hunt is over, I'm strapping my weapon to my pack and getting my trekking poles out. Next, I'm heading towards the bottom and the thickest stand of trees I can find. This will hopefully break the wind and keep the majority of the snow off of me. I have multiple ways to make fire in my pack, so I'll decide which is best and set about creating a space that I can safely have a fire without burning myself up in the middle of the night. I always have a down jacket in my pack, and if there's even a snowball's chance in hell that there will be rain, I have a rain coat and usually pants as well. I hate being wet. So realistically I'm not worried about exposure. I have clothes, food, and heat. What gets most people isn't necessarily exposure, it's losing their cool. That is really where fire comes into play. When you have fire, you have something to keep you occupied. It's a full time job. I'd spend a lot of time gathering wood, different sizes of wood. Rocks to build a ring, and hopefully a reflector wall. All of this will take hours, especially if I'm hobbling around on a bum foot. By the time I have time to sit down and actually relax it is well past dark and I really have no choice but to ride it out. Just keep your mind busy with your fire and the next thing you know it will be daylight, the sun will be shining, and that bull is going to stroll by on the trail right above you.

Side note, I carry an inreach now, so I would definitely be sending my wife a message. Not a panic message, just a, "Hey, I'm sleeping in the woods tonight. Rolled my ankle and decided to hike out in daylight instead of dark. I have fire, and shelter. I'm good to go. I'll call you tomorrow when I'm out." Just being able to communicate that kind of message will help your mind grapple with the position your in and settle you down. Once you totally realize the situation you are in is not that dire, you'll rest a little more easily that night.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 13]

Great response 7mm! You pass and survive!

The person who decides to walk out on the other hand, fell down the wet hillside in the dark and put himself in a much worse predicament trying to walk out in a storm! By the time someone who tried to walk out decides to stop, he is most likely wet and could be very cold and disoriented. The resources at that spot, now in the dark, may not be of much help. One must be very careful assuming the storm won't intensify. How easy will it be to lose the trail in the dark, especially on the steep sections, and take another tumble?

Well Swede, the intent of the post was that you cannot get out today (which, ironically, is kinda why I said that!). You HAVE to stay overnight, so what preparations do you take? Either you have communications and will be rescued tomorrow or the storm is too bad to try and make it out in the dark (no way you make it 4.5 miles in 2.5 hours on a bad angle). Either way, you are staying the night. I put the limitation of a bad ankle on there so you cannot run all over the woods searching for that perfect cave. You have to make do with what is typical in any woods. Downed logs, pines and hardwoods, brush, leaves, rocks, etc. Do you build a fire and lean against the tree all night? Do you build a shelter and sleep? What do you do? Is your priority fire? Or staying dry? Do you build a really crude shelter or do you put more effort into a better shelter? This likely depends on what you have for clothes and how bad your bum ankle really is, but what is your thought process?

Lefty has stuff in his pack. What do the rest of you have? If you have nothing, are you saying you are incapable of rolling an ankle or breaking a leg? I know that statement is pretty direct, but I want to drive the point home....it could happen to any of us. One year, it was raining and we had to go down this steep drainage littered with blowdown. An hour later as I stepped out into a fairly level meadow, I congratulated myself on making it through that wet jungle without taking spill. I took one step and went down when my foot slipped on a wet branch I couldn't see. Irony? Yep. Result? I was flopping on the ground, luckily not hurt.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Trumkin the Dwarf » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 14]

I had it drilled into me as a kid that you ALWAYS are ready to spend the night out there. You can go as light as you want with your pack, but make sure you can survive the elements. I tend to over pack, but I've never been real afraid of spending an unplanned night in the woods.

I also have an uncle who got lost in a blizzard while skiing as a teenager. He and his friend had matches and some candy. They accidentally torched their 25' pine tree shelter in the middle of the night, but damn it, they made it through the night alive and were found by S&R as they were hiking out the next day!

Calm cool logic is your number one line of defense. After you calm down, you can address your problems in order of priority.
1. Get warm/stay warm - which means get dry/stay dry
2. Food/water
3. Getting out of there

There is gear that makes each of those things easier, but it's up to you to decide what gear is worth the weight.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Lefty » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 15]

I need to find a couple "overnight" stories of my Father in laws. Too many people panic. Mental prep is often bigger than physical prep
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 16]

Most years I do not activate my InReach. I have no communications out. Would someone find me before the coyotes and buzzards? Who know. I am prepared to take care of myself. It is a mindset. Personally I prefer that, but there are limits too. There is a fine line between faith or self assurance and foolishness. Really only you know your comfort level and capabilities. I know people that would not go out into the forest alone. I know people (me) that would not go into certain parts of Portland after dark, especially alone.
Years ago (about 1973) I was packing out a 1/4 elk. It was raining but the storm was breaking and it was going to get cold. I realized I would not get to the road before dark. There was about 10 minutes of daylight left. I decided on a spot to stop, and wait until morning to finish my pack out. I built a fire and stayed. There was enough wood around for the night and I had rain gear. No biggie.
Over the years I have had to spend a number of nights out unplanned. That does not make you anything special, but late for dinner. Whenever we go out hunting, we need to be prepared to survive at least a day or two. Even if I am staying close to my truck, I have items there just in case.
I have never stayed in place with a storm moving in, when I had over two hours left to travel. In this scenario, I might have to stabilize my ankle, and I may not get out that night, but I will be two hours closer to my truck when I start out in the morning.
Personally, I would not go down hill into a canyon even if I have satellite communications. Every step down is a step you need to need to take back up. What is that going to look like in the morning with your bad ankle?
If I don't have communications with the outside world, and no one is going to come for me for several days, I have to depend on myself. That has been my situation most of my adult life. Even with Inreach, I would not push the panic button until I am completely incapable of making it on my own.
If this situation is simply to discuss preparations for staying over night, fine.
If it is to see how we would deal with a situation, then I will decide how I will deal with it. Let's not talk "panic" as 7mm or Lefty suggested. I have been out on many adverse situations, and never panicked.
I no idea why I can't hobble out now, but will be able to in the morning with a sprained ankle. Why would I be more likely to fall now than in the morning, when there is most likely even more snow? I still have over two hours of light. I even have a good flashlight.
I have had several sprained ankles over the years. Not one of them healed noticeably overnight. You said there was some up hill to cover on the way out. If I was bandaging my ankle and preparing to get out of there, I would have as an objective to get as much of the uphill part behind me as I could, before I stopped for the night.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Lefty » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 17]

Swede wrote: If it is to see how we would deal with a situation, then I will decide how I will deal with it. Let's not talk "panic" as 7mm or Lefty suggested. I have been out on many adverse situations, and never panicked.
.


As you mentioned there can be a fine line between foolish and prepared. Previous experience , training, supplies are all part of it. Making sound choices too.

My father in law was on a dall sheep hunt. The three of them decided to go after their sheep and got them,.. But the storm they knew was coming caught them.
A bad choice got worse. During the storm the one man thought he wanted to take a short cut to an outfitters camp, and left the two. They all came out alive,, It was three days instead of ew hour pack. Their trophy's rotted on the mountain,.. and two never found their guns.
Ive tried to avoid stupid situations and reduce there risk.

Years back I posted part of a story. I had the dogs out checking some local elk country I could hear some sounds of a horse in distress. I wasn't sure what I was going to find and approached slowly. I could see a saddle horse,.. then a person,.. The guy was lost and bawling.
This wasn't deep backcountry: the wrong direct maybe 6-8 miles to road or ranch. otherwise 30 minutes a few direction walk to an ATV trail A nice sunny warm day and this guy barely knew where he had come from and apparently had absolutely no woodcraft or simple outdoor skills.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Indian Summer » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 18]

It isn’t going to be any easier walking out tomorrow. Suck it up and start putting one foot in front of the other! You were smart enough to carry trekking poles in that kind of country right? Try to get as much of the steep stuff out of the way as you can before it gets dark. 20 degrees is good walking weather. I have enough batteries to make it anywhere so it’s just a matter of time. Another day in the life of an elk hunter.


I will say that even though I can really start moving fast when I’m closing the distance on a bull I never take risks. Every step matters! Also I wear Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots which are an extremely supportive boot. No such thing as rolling an ankle in a boot like that. I’m more concerned about my knees than anything. Avoiding getting hurt is the only priority that is above killing a bull.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 19]

Okay point taken. But for you rulebreakers:

As you start your first steps toward walking out in blizzard with now zero visibility, you snap your fibula. Take that. Now what do you do? And if you still say you are walking out, I will break your other fibula, so there!

I know what you are saying, but I want to focus on how you prepare to spend the night. There are times where walking out is NOT feasible. And walking into the beginning of a storm is NOT necessarily a good idea. You might get caught in a bad place with no shelter. The wind could pick up and make it impossible to walk out.

If that happens, and you make the decision to stay, you are standing there looking at the woods going "Oh crap". What tips do you have for the average DIY elk hunter in that situation? How do you make a shelter? What style? Some great suggestions already on this thread. What else? What do you have in your pack that can help? I carry a big construction garbage bag. Fire starter obviously. 7mm mentioned building a reflector wall and having enough wood to feed the fire all night. Going for the thickest vegetation makes sense (Malachi has some great input on picking a spot!). Anybody else want to share what exactly do you look for? Downed trees? Overhanging branches?
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 20]

I always have a Bic lighter and a space blanket in my pack. I have some food too. I have a couple of good knives so they can be used to make starting a fire easier. Before Bic lighters, I used to carry a candle and dry matches. A candle is a great fire starter. It is just a little heavier than a Bic.
I used to be full of pee and vinegar too, but in my best days, I would never go 4 1/2 miles back alone hunting elk. Never mind the weather and the bad ground as described above. What were you really going to do with that bull if you shot it and he dropped down in the bottom of the canyon and died? How do you spell lots of C-O-Y-O-T-E F-O-O-D? If you get out and call Swede you help you, he will likely come, but he will chew your butt so badly that your ankle will be the least of your troubles. :lol:
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Tigger » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 21]

Good to know that you are an able and willing mule. Shoot me your cell number so I can text you when I auger one in some hellhole! I have earplugs!

And as far as the hypothetical, I had brought along a fork and some salt and pepper and planned on just eating him there.

Firestarters....good conversation point. Tons out there. What does everyone use?
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 22]

Tigger wrote:Firestarters....good conversation point. Tons out there. What does everyone use?


After a couple of harrowing tales from my youth of "geesh, I/we coulda died out there", I've always carried what I believe are the basics of emergency gear (including fire starting gear). Fire starting gear: one bic lighter, one magnesium striker (Doan's I think is the company), and 4 or so of the pitch sticks. What do you carry for first aid supplies could be another thread idea Dean ;)
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby 7mmfan » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 23]

I have 2 lighters, matches, cotton pads soaked in wax. I also have a baggy full of pitch that I break off whatever stump or log I come across that has the good stuff. I probably have enough for a long winter in the wilderness. Dad taught me how to build a fire while fishing the local rivers for winter steelhead. If you can build a fire in January in the rain on the side of a Puget Sound river, you can build one about anywhere. Knowing how to find good tinder is critical though, and not always easy. A good knife helps a lot.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 24]

A good fire starter for that area around Puget Sound is Western cedar bark. Pull some off the side of a tree and wring it in two and light the frayed end, then light. My fire starter depends on where and when I am out. I don't carry much in late August and early September. It would be very unusual in open fire season for me to resort to that. Now in late October and November, then I want more than my Bic. I still have several candles for just such a situation.
An open fire scar on a dead pine is a good place to find fire starter. We use to light them off in the winter just for the fun of it. One time our Ranger had to tell us to slack off, as he was getting calls from the public that the highway was socked in with smoke. That was January, and as crew of kids we were having a great time. We were not in the office all winter. He did not say to quit, and he did not quantify how much we needed to cut back. Bill Taylor was an excellent man to work for, and I miss him now. He put up with us kids, but we did a lot of work for him too.
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Indian Summer » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 25]

Ok so we’re staying out for fun. I have around 3 Bic lighters somewhere in there. A wicked crosscut folding saw to make firewood and tarp poles. My 8x10 Sanctuary siltarp. Some serious sitting clothes including the Sitka Incinerator parka. And sharp knives. So I’m going to get wood together first, and build a fire that I’ll light a little before dark. Then set up the tarp and line the bottom with pine boughs. Once everything is set and I light the fire I’ll get a good bed of coals going. Then I’m going to to cut my foot off above the injury and wrap it in aluminum foil with some butter and Alpine Touch seasoning and hang out and enjoy dinner under the stars until I jog out tomorrow afternoon. Probably gonna sleep in awhile....
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Re: Your Move-Tigger version!

Postby Swede » 02 16, 2021 •  [Post 26]

Indian Summer wrote:Ok so we’re staying out for fun. I have around 3 Bic lighters somewhere in there. A wicked crosscut folding saw to make firewood and tarp poles. My 8x10 Sanctuary siltarp. Some serious sitting clothes including the Sitka Incinerator parka. And sharp knives. So I’m going to get wood together first, and build a fire that I’ll light a little before dark. Then set up the tarp and line the bottom with pine boughs. Once everything is set and I light the fire I’ll get a good bed of coals going. Then I’m going to to cut my foot off above the injury and wrap it in aluminum foil with some butter and Alpine Touch seasoning and hang out and enjoy dinner under the stars until I jog out tomorrow afternoon. Probably gonna sleep in awhile....


:lol: It has been a long time since I have read such sarcasm. I.S. put his out for free. Mad Magazine is rather expensive.
Swede
Wapiti Hunting - Tree Stand Tactics
 
Posts: 8763
Joined: 06 16, 2012


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