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  • Emergency Locator Beacon?

    I always hunt alone off trail in the mountains at altitude mostly when there is snow on the ground, often hunt till dark and am carrying loads of meat at night. That said I've been carrying an emergency locator beacon for probably 10 years or so, I'm on my second one now. I've always used the kind that connect to the Government Satellites as they send the strongest signal, and the satellites have the best coverage. They also cover the rest of the world though my days of wandering the mountains on the Burma border are probably over.

    Last summer I had a conversation with a ranger on Long's Peak where they seem to have rescues frequently, and he said the other option like the "In Reach" allows people to text, and via the text they can get an idea of the type and seriousness of injury. I hadn't thought of that. If I live until the batteries of me ResQ link are old I might go with the In Reach next time. Probably one of the better uses for $350 I've spent.

  • #2
    That is an excellent topic Rock ! I think of all the years that I hunted, many from tree stands, and no one knowing just where I was or where to look for me if I needed help. Many of those years were before such devices were available, but not in my later hunting years. Just never gave it a thought at the time. There is no reason for today’s hunter no to be equipped with such assistance !

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    • #3
      Yep, good topic. I've looked at those but haven't purchased. Generally I'm no more than a couple of miles from the vehicle when hunting one property and no more than a mile from the canoe when hunting another. However, a serious injury could result in at least a night alone before rescue,

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
        Yep, good topic. I've looked at those but haven't purchased. Generally I'm no more than a couple of miles from the vehicle when hunting one property and no more than a mile from the canoe when hunting another. However, a serious injury could result in at least a night alone before rescue,
        I read a magazine from NY, Conservationist, that has a column on Ranger activities. I think a lot of them are fake as when they reach the rescue vehicle location the person refuses transport to the Hospital. Most all the calls for help are by phone and the Rangers can triangulate a signal and get a fix on the location. Sometimes they can just direct the person back to the trail. Sometimes they call in a chopper or snowmobile. The High Peaks area has the largest number of calls for help. Biggest mistake people make are not to be prepared for weather changes.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

          I read a magazine from NY, Conservationist, that has a column on Ranger activities. I think a lot of them are fake as when they reach the rescue vehicle location the person refuses transport to the Hospital. Most all the calls for help are by phone and the Rangers can triangulate a signal and get a fix on the location. Sometimes they can just direct the person back to the trail. Sometimes they call in a chopper or snowmobile. The High Peaks area has the largest number of calls for help. Biggest mistake people make are not to be prepared for weather changes.
          I read that, too. Not surprising to see that most of those lost hikers are city folk who went out in sneakers and just their phones.

          Related note: I read this week that in response to the bumper-to-bumper parked cars along the roads in the High Peaks, they're starting free shuttle-buses through the region. It's great to see so many people liking the outdoors, but it's still depressing to see what some of those mountains are like on a busy day. Plus another part of the busing plan is to get more people to some of the mountains that aren't so popular. Probably good for the mountains to spread everyone out, but bad for the locals who've enjoyed having some spots that aren't crowded up.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MattM37 View Post

            I read that, too. Not surprising to see that most of those lost hikers are city folk who went out in sneakers and just their phones.

            Related note: I read this week that in response to the bumper-to-bumper parked cars along the roads in the High Peaks, they're starting free shuttle-buses through the region. It's great to see so many people liking the outdoors, but it's still depressing to see what some of those mountains are like on a busy day. Plus another part of the busing plan is to get more people to some of the mountains that aren't so popular. Probably good for the mountains to spread everyone out, but bad for the locals who've enjoyed having some spots that aren't crowded up.
            We climb further East, like Blue Mtn, Bear Mtn.. Not as high but still fun with nice views. Fire towers are usually open to climb up.

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            • #7
              I just got a Garmin 66i and finished setting it up yesterday. After recently moving to an area with easy access to quite a bit of remote country that does not have reliable cell reception my wife really wanted me to have some sort of satellite communication device. While I really enjoy being disconnected when I am in the woods, it is a useful tool and it will provide a lot of peace of mind to family back at home. I'm still getting used to all of the features but if anybody has questions about inReach technology I'll do my best to answer them.

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              • #8
                It might sound crazy but it can't be overstated how many people can't find their way in the woods, they get lost.

                Last summer I was walking up the stairs in my house, three steps form the top my knee kind of gave out. I had trouble making it to a chair, then it started to really hurt. I sat for five or ten, it didn't get better, back down the stairs I couldn't use the leg at all. Wife drove the car to the front of the house and I used a chair as my second leg to get to the car. At the clinic my wife got my a wheel chair, doc couldn't tell what was up, X rays showed maybe something, go to the specialist. I got some crutches. Ortho said my meniscus was hanging on by a thread but it would get better, and it did. Ortho said not to worry, wouldn't come back.

                I worry. What if that happened just a half mile from the road, what to do, crawl?

                I guess it's cheating, oh well. November is cold most places. Think about what it would be like if you got anchored to any particular spot. I've never broken a leg, probably slows one down considerable. I don't like sitting in the snow either.

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                • #9
                  I hunted the mountains of Montana and the flat boreal forests of Ontario for fifty years and got by without a beacon or even a cell phone. Mostly I guess because that technology was not available (or practical). Today I carry a cell and finding coverage in Eastern Montana improves every year. My brother and I had some problems last year with conflicting providers. He could only receive texts and I couldn't send any. When I shot my buck last year I had to call his gal back home five hours away and have her phone/text him. She bought him a RINO (?) for Christmas and she thought I should get one too. His two other hunting buddies have them and he expects they'll loan one of theirs when he comes over to hunt with me. No point in me making that kind of outlay for just a couple days a year. I'll send him back with a bottle of good hooch for the owner's trouble. That should work. I am pleased Mike acquired one though. He is pushing seventy with diabetes. I'll feel better when we're separated in the field.

                  A couple of times over the years it might have been nice to have a way to summon help. But in every instance I can think of right now, I probably would not have made it if I'd waited for help to arrive. I had to keep working at getting myself out of the pickle. Perhaps hunting or fishing with someone else would have been the safest option given the technology available. But I have always looked on that as a golden cage sort of thing. The rewards of hunting and fishing alone in the wilderness were always worth the minor associated risks.

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                  • #10
                    ...always worth the minor associated risks... !

                    Only if you consider your life as such !

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                    • #11
                      I found myself lost while hunting in the Adirondack Mountains of New York many years ago, and I had to spend the night in the woods at 4 degrees above zero.
                      Let me tell you that it is a dreadful experience to realize that you are totally incommunicado, that you are utterly incapable of making contact with another living person on this entire planet.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                        I found myself lost while hunting in the Adirondack Mountains of New York many years ago, and I had to spend the night in the woods at 4 degrees above zero.
                        Let me tell you that it is a dreadful experience to realize that you are totally incommunicado, that you are utterly incapable of making contact with another living person on this entire planet.
                        Dreadful? Really? It's what I looked forward to every year. My moose camp was 75 miles from town and I'd stay there alone usually at least ten days a year. Only once did a truck drive up the road and they turned around as soon as they saw the tent. Couldn't have been happier. My elk hunting camp was 26 miles from the end of the road. I usually had at least a week off during hunting season to stay there alone but bringing in camp ahead of time also required two overnight trips. A ranger station was seven miles back down the trail so it wasn't total isolation. Never saw a soul come through my camp. Guess I was always too busy to feel "dreadful." A black Lab (Ethyl or Pearl) was always along so I wasn't totally alone either. I sure miss it.

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                        • #13
                          Honker - You apparently fail to appreciate the distinction between voluntary and involuntary solitude.
                          Take your case and remove the dog, the truck, the familiar location, the ranger station and any means of communication with the outside world. Add the fact that nobody knows where you are and you are close to describing my situation.
                          Last edited by 99explorer; 09-15-2019, 11:21 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                            Honker - You apparently fail to appreciate the distinction between voluntary and involuntary solitude.
                            Take your case and remove the dog, the truck, the familiar location, the ranger station and any means of communication with the outside world. Add the fact that nobody knows where you are and you are close to describing my situation.
                            Hmmm. Okay, I have spent a couple of nights in the bush when no one knew where I was (once when I almost didn't know where I was). Twice was by choice: on the track of a moose someone had wounded and another time caught in a heavy snow storm on the way in to set up my horse camp (which was somewhat involuntary I guess). When hunting in the mountains with snow on the ground I would often stay until after dark before heading down, even in new territory. In the mountains one can pretty much always predict going downhill will result in finding a road or well-used trail. So I was never worried. Being alone in the woods after dark has never bothered me.

                            Once when moose hunting I got caught in a snowstorm after dark and couldn't backtrack. Cut it thin that night! At one point I had to make the choice between building a fire and staying the night in the shelter of a river canyon or cutting cross-country through an old cutting unit to the trailhead that led to my vehicle. Next to the river there was cedar to start the fire and plenty of small standing bug killed pine to keep it going but I decided to go for the trailhead. I was concerned my wife would panic when she woke in the morning and I wasn't home. It was a choice that by all rights should have cost me my life (and only mine - no dog was along that day). By the time I was into the cutting unit three hundred yards I could no longer hear the river and lost all sense of direction. Sticky blowing snow covered me head to toe and I wasn't really dressed for it with only a fleece jacket and wool shirt/pants. I tried to turn around and go back to the river but my tracks had been erased almost as fast as I made them. My flashlight was also essentially useless in that whiteout. I immediately shut out any feelings of "dreadful" or despair ... because they can trigger panic. Nothing for it but to shoulder on and not think about predicaments or consequences. Doubting yourself is a killer in those situations. That night I was saved quite literally by the hand of God. Suddenly I remembered the moon from the night before set on the horizon just after midnight and I also knew the trailhead lay somewhere west of where I left the river. "If I could only see the moon ... " And then suddenly a hole opened in the blizzard and there was the moon! It kept me on course till I reached the far edge of the cutting unit and then just as suddenly the hole closed. The trailhead was marked by some long strands of red flagging tape. Would I need to go north or south to find it? That could be a critical choice as I was now running very low on energy. Again, the hand of God intervened. When I hit the trees at the edge of the clearing I walked right into the tape! About an hour later I was back in the truck and on my way home. Then I had an exhausting drive seventy miles back to town in the storm (nearly clobbered a cow and two calves on the highway). Didn't crawl into bed till almost four a.m. The next morning my wife said she thought I came home rather late (her epilepsy meds usually put her down about nine). "Oh yeah, I got out a little later than expected." I never did tell her what happened. Let's say I was at times deeply concerned that night ... but never frightened or in dread. It was a remarkable experience. And that's how I have always looked on it.
                            Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 09-15-2019, 07:39 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I think that once a lost hunter collects his wits and decides to hunker down and spend the night in the woods, he has time to think and the feeling of dread sets in.
                              If he decides to make a break for it, he pushes on, sometimes in a state of panic, and he either makes it through as you did, or he collapses in a sweaty lather and freezes to death.

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