Better to go into the bush safely than being unprepared

Best to be prepared to stay overnight in the bush just in case

James Seeley

James Seeley

A huge component of hunting is safety, and when things go wrong out in the bush, the South Cariboo Search and Rescue (SAR) team is often called for help.

SAR search manager James Seeley says hunter safety is basically a matter of common sense, but there are a few key precautions that should be taken to ensure a good outcome.

Their most common call-out is for people who are overdue from a hunting trip, he adds.

“People usually phone us between 10 p.m. and midnight to report someone overdue and our response is based on age and physical condition. Typically, we’ll go out the next morning and find people have made a fire and waited it out.”

Seeley says it’s important that if people become lost in the dark that they stay put. He adds it’s easier to find people if they are not moving around.

Some of the basics to remember when going out in the bush include leaving an itinerary and route information with someone and sticking to it. Leaving a note with that information on your truck is also helpful, the search manager notes.

He recommends taking extra clothing and wearing clothes layers, so it can be removed if you’re hot and put back on when you’re cold. Packing high-energy snacks, such as protein bars and nuts, and bringing along extra water is also important.

“The two things that get people, who are stuck out overnight, are they get dehydrated and hypothermic. Take a lighter along and make sure you can start a fire.”

Toilet tissue is useful as it can be dipped into a fuel tank and used as fire-starter, he notes.

A common mistake made by hunters is relying on a GPS unit and then having the batteries run down, Seeley says, adding people should pack extra batteries or a compass and have the knowledge to use it.

Noting most area residents head out adequately prepared for their hunting trip, Seeley says it’s usually people from outside the South Cariboo who are unfamiliar with the territory that have the problems.

His SAR team is normally called out for between 12 and 15 incidents each year.