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ID the Morel – Spring’s Best Mushroom

When the spring gobbler season and shed hunting is in full swing, you’ll probably spending a lot of time in the woods looking at the ground for antlers and turkey sign. Something else you ought to be on the lookout for is a weird little pitted thing that looks like a small, lumpy, brown brain. This time of year, that organism is most likely a common morel mushroom, a popular item of spring foragers. Here’s how to properly identify this delectable fungus.

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ID a Morel
The common morel (Morchella esculenta) is a prized wild mushroom that grows in forests and shady areas, primarily in April and May. These mushrooms are usually 2 to 4 inches tall. The tan, gray, or brownish colored head with irregular pitting is well camouflaged against leaf litter. If you cut the mushroom completely in half, it should be entirely hollow inside. Look carefully for the cone-shaped head to be fully fused to the stalk at the lower end.

mush2If the head is only attached at the top, and hangs like a skirt, you are probably looking at a false morel, which can be very poisonous. False morels (the genera Verpa and Gyromitra) usually grow in the summer and fall, which are great times to avoid anything resembling a morel. Another way to properly ID an edible morel is to make a spore print, which, for a common morel is yellowish. Here’s how do that.

Make a Spore Print
1. Handle your foraged mushrooms carefully, and assume that any unidentified mushroom is deadly. Get the whole thing if possible, but the cap is the part you need for spore prints.

2. Wrap each individual mushroom in wax paper or a piece of aluminum foil for transport. Plastic bags will make them sweat, and putting multiple mushrooms in a bag can create confusion.

3. Place the mushroom cap gills-down on a piece of white paper and set a cup or bowl over it. Allow it to sit several hours or, better yet, overnight.

4. Remove the cover and lift the mushroom cap. Observe the color of the spores that were deposited, and use that color for identification. Some mushrooms deposit white spores, which are hard to see on the white paper. Set a strong flashlight beside the paper, shining across the surface, to assist in your identification of pure white spores. Check this color against several guides, and double-check the mushroom’s structures against similar mushrooms to ensure that you have the right mushroom ID.

How is the morel hunting in your area so far this spring? Have you ever had a bad run-in with a misidentified mushroom?

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Checklist for Backpacker’s

Checklist for Backpacker’s

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Wild Plants to Cure the Flu and Common Cold

Can’t make it to the drug store right now? Whatever the reason, you do have some natural medicinal options in the winter season. Look for these three plants to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of your next case of the cold or flu. All you need is a sharp eye and a patch of wild growth to find these common and potent medicinal’s.

Mullein 
Mullein is a native plant, which favors dry, rocky soil and full sunlight, and is found throughout North America. An easy way to spot patches of this plants in cold weather is to look for the chocolate brown skeletons of the second-year plants. Look for 4- to 6-foot-tall stalks, which often have branching flower heads that resemble the arms of a saguaro cactus.

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The part you want for medicine are the velvety green leaves, which can still be found in winter growing in basal rosettes on one-year-old plants. Treat head colds by crushing the leaves into boiling water and breathing the steam. This medicated vapor acts as a decongestant.

barberryBarberry
The little red berries of barberry contain a compound called berberine. This acts as an immune system booster, helping your body fight off viral attacks like the common cold and the flu. The bitter taste of the berries isn’t very inviting, but eating a handful each day you’re feeling sick can shorten the illness, much like elderberry and Echinacea will. Look for small bushes with small dangling red berries. The two native varieties of the shrubs will have thorns in sets of three growing all over the twigs. The introduced Japanese species will have single thorns growing around the twigs. All three species can be used medicinally. As an additional point of identification, check the seeds in the red berries. Each berry should contain dark, slender seeds—typically two per berry.


Yarrow

This non-native plant grows from coast to coast on sunny open ground, although it’s originally nativeyarrow to Europe. Its most common use is as a poultice for cuts and other wounds. But you can fight colds and flu with it by making a tea from the leaves. Chop up the fresh leaves and add one tablespoon to one cup of scalding hot water. Soak the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes. You can sweeten the drink if you need to, or drink it commando-style. The anti-viral compounds help your immune system through its battle, while the diaphoretic compounds will get a sweat going to help break fevers.

Just make sure you use a field guide or guidance from an expert for positive identification of these plants. The last thing you need to do is poison yourself while you’re already ill.

rosehipsRose Hip Benefits
A Rose hip is the fruit of a rose. The wild dog rose is the type of rose most often cultivated for their hips. This plant grows up to ten feet tall and bears a white, very fragrant flower. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a wide variety of preparations. Rose hips are the best source of vitamin C; they contain 50% more vitamin C than oranges.
A single tablespoon of the pulp gives an adult more than the recommended daily allowance of 60 mg. They can be eaten raw, after being put through a blender, or soaked in water overnight and then cooked in the water for about half an hour. Because of the high vitamin C content they are an excellent immune system booster, and are often used as a supplement to prevent or treat a cold. The pulp from rose hips may be used in sauces or made into jelly.

Have you made medicine from wild plants?

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Making Waterproof Matches

When it comes to matches, waterproof ones are best, especially in dire circumstances like a flood. Since they’re much more expensive than their pedestrian cousins, you might want to make your own.

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Use the Candle Technique
Burn a candle long enough for a pool of wax to form around the wick. Blow it out, then dip the head of your match into the wet wax, about of an inch (3 mm) up the stick. Remove the matchstick and allow the wax to dry, pinching it closed to form a water-tight seal.

Deploy the Nail Polish Ploy
Coat your matches with clear nail polish to waterproof them. Dip the head of the match and a bit of the matchstick itself into the polish, then rest the match on a counter with the head hanging off the edge to dry. Survive any wilderness situation with these critical tips.

Try the Turpentine Trick
The easiest way to waterproof your matches is simply to drop them in turpentine. Allow the matches to soak for five minutes before placing them on newspaper to dry. After twenty minutes or so, you’ll have waterproof matches that will last several months.

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How to Make a Quick CAN Stove

If you suffer sticker shock after shopping for wood-burning camping stoves, you’re not alone. Why pay $60 to $100 for a titanium backpacking wood stove when you can make one out of a bean can for nothing. Sure, you could build a fire without any containment at all, but the low weight, efficiency, and minimal set-up time of a tin-can stove could make you a believer. And as long as there are sticks to burn, your stove will have fuel. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll have a lightweight bug-out-ready survival stove in no time.

1

The Gear List
To create a bean can stove, you’ll certainly need the empty can. You’ll also need a pair of tin snips. If you don’t have a pair in your tool box, borrow a pair. You’ll also need a tape measure, a pencil or marker, a drill with a ½-inch (or similar size) drill bit, and a file to remove sharp edges when you’re done. Gloves are a good idea, too,  since you’ll be working with a lot of sharp metal.

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The Procedure
Remove the can lid completely from a 40-ounce (or similar sized) food can. You could use a smaller can, but the 40-ounce size because one-quart water bottles will nest inside the finished stove. Next, make a mark all the way around the can about 1 ½ inches below the open top. Use your tin snips, spiraling in, to cut this ring off the top of the can, but before you start, determine whether you are using right- or left-hand snips. It will be easier if you cut in the correct direction. You could leave the can full height, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A shortened stove has better balance, and the last thing you need is for your stove to tip over.

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Next, make four equidistant marks around the mouth. Each mark will be the centerline for the four “teeth” on the top of your stove. Mark a line half an inch on either side of each of the four centerlines and draw a line around the can 1 inch down from the mouth. Using the tin snips again cut out the lines,  leaving four 1×1-inch teeth at the top of the can.

Next, drill eight equally-spaced holes around the bottom of the can wall. These will be the air intake vents. File off any sharp or rough edges from your metal work. Finally, before you start cooking food or boiling water over this stove, burn a few twigs for about ten minutes to get rid of the plastic can lining.

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The Effectiveness
Once your stove is complete, set some tinder in the bottom and some broken twigs on the top of that. Place it in a stable, level spot and light the tinder through one of the vent holes. Place your cooking pot over the top of the stove and cook away. You will have to remove the pot every time you need to add fuel, but this is far better than trying to create stove doors for adding fuel. It also forces you to set the dangerously hot pot out of the way when refueling. This stove can burn twigs, paper, cardboard and any other solid fuel that’ll fit inside; and it boils one quart of water in about eight minutes. The finished stove weighs only 2 ½ ounces.

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Stay On Track – Navigation Tricks

Getting lost is one of the primary reasons that people find themselves in a survival situation in the outdoors. It can happen to anyone, anywhere; but it’s much more likely to occur when someone fails to keep track of their location, or when navigation skills are lacking. Getting lost can be a preventable problem, if you take the right precautions.

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To avoid getting lost on your next hunt or hike, put the following tricks into practice:

– Get a map of the area that you are traveling to and study it before going.
– Take the map along, and use it and a compass (or GPS) while you’re there. If you’re printing out maps from your computer, don’t use an inkjet printer. If the map gets wet, the ink will run and turn into a rainbow-smeared mess.
– Imagine what the terrain would look like from a “bird’s eye view” and where you are in that terrain.
– Look behind you frequently, especially if you are returning in that direction.
– Look for and use landmarks, if possible.
– Study and remember the landmarks that you use.
– When traveling off trails, use prominent, distant landmarks and/or a compass bearing to travel in straight lines.
– Account for declination when reading your map and compass. Any good map should tell you how much to add or subtract for True North.
– Watch out for gun barrels and other metal items, which can pull the compass needle off course and distort your bearing.

If you’re heading into the woods this weekend, good luck and stay safe.

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Tips for Winter Weather

winter

Winter can be a cruel thing.  Snow, while pretty, can wreak havoc on driving conditions. The aftermath of ice storms, while beautiful on a sunny day, can cut power to your home for days and make driving nearly impossible.

Take for example the Nevada family whose Jeep overturned in the Nevada mountains. James Glanton, 34, and Christina McIntee, 25, thought to stay with their vehicle, making it easier for rescuers to find them, reported CNN. They also thought to heat rocks in a fire, then place the heated rocks in the Jeep’s spare tire to smokelessly heat their vehicle. By making use of some ultimate survival tips, they were able to stay alive.

Winter’s not just tough on humans. In early December, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued a dog that fell through the ice of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., according to a news release on the Coast Guard’s website.

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“The ice is really new right now, so it is really important to understand ice conditions,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Disher, officer-of-the-day at Station Sturgeon Bay. “In this case, the owner of the dog did the right thing by not trying to rescue her dog by herself and calling us for help instead.”  Click here to read five facts about ice

According to the release, the dog rested at a veterinary clinic and went home with its owner.

To keep safe, the Coast Guard encourages the acronym I.C.E., which stands for “Intelligence, Clothing, Equipment.” The Coast Guard hopes I.C.E. will help ice anglers and other outdoor sportsmen to know the weather and ice conditions before they venture out. Ice anglers should also dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature and wear a life jacket. Screwdrivers tied on a string around your neck are also handy to claw your way out of the water if you should break through the ice.

Read more: http://www.gameandfishmag.com/survival/10-ultimate-survival-tips-winter-weather/#ixzz3KIhTHRiG

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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in survival, Wawang Lake Resort, weather

 

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Hunter Fends Off Grizzly by Shoving Arm Down Its Throat

Grizzly

Sticking an arm down the throat of a bear is regarded by some as an effective last-ditch tactic for fending off an attack.

There are few animals in North America as frightening as an adult grizzly, and if one of these massive animals get it in their heads to attack you, your day just suddenly got a whole lot worse. Twenty-six-year-old Chase Dellwo was expecting to bag some elk in the Montana back country near Choteau last Saturday, but a chance encounter with a bear ended with him sticking his arm into its roaring mouth instead.

That decision may have saved his life.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, Dellwo was bowhunting near a creek bed with his brother Shane. Strong wind and intermittent snow and rain kept visibility to a minimum, but the brothers heard elk bugles in the area and Dellwo was eager to make his first elk harvest of the year. The hunter had been steadily driving the animals toward his brother, but the weather also hid a sleeping grizzly, which Dellwo practically tripped over. At less than three feet, there was little that Dellwo could do before the animal charged him.

“I had an arrow knocked, and I put my bow up in front of me and took two or three steps back,” he told the Tribune. “There wasn’t any time to draw my bow back.”

The grizzly knocked Dellwo off his feet and bit him in several places across his head. It then reared back and gave what the hunter later described as the loudest roar he had ever heard, before attacking him again and biting his right leg. It was at this point that Dellwo recalled that an old survival tip about how bears have sensitive gag reflexes—so the hunter plunged his arm down the animal’s throat.  The bear promptly left.

Dellwo is not the first person to have stuck their arm down a bear’s throat and lived to tell the tale. The trick is commonly regarded as a last-ditch defense against bear attacks. As recently as last November, a hunter in British Columbia used to same trick to disable and ultimately kill a large grizzly sow near Fernie. According to CTV News, Wilf Lloyd was seriously mauled by the bear before he was able to stop its biting by jamming his hand down its mouth. While the bear was still on top of the man, Llyod’s son-in-law arrived and shot it dead with a rifle.

Lloyd also received a bullet in the leg during the chaotic struggle, but he did not blame his hunting companion in the least.

“The man saved my life,” Lloyd later said. “What Skeet did and because of his fast reaction, the shots, I had maybe fifty stitches in my hand and that’s it. So I was very fortunate that way.”

Dellwo echoed Llyod’s sentiment after his own bear encounter. Shortly after the attack, he was able to reunite with his brother and was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for various cuts and punctures on his head and right leg. Dellwo expects to be back in the woods later this year for rifle season.

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks are currently investigating the case and believe that the bear involved was a 400-pound male. Experts added that the brothers seemed to have done everything correctly and that the bear will likely not be tracked down since the attack was not predatory in nature.   By: Daniel Xu

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The Wrong Turn

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 On Aug. 31, Bill Lawrence, 40, got separated from his hunting partners and remained lost for five days. As told to Colin Kearns.

Wednesday. I’d just killed my first squirrel when I glanced over for my friends Russell and Cris. They were gone.

Russell was the only one who’d hunted these woods, Meeman-Shelby Forest north of Memphis. We’d been hunting for 20 minutes and were deep into the forest. Russell and Cris stuck together, while I drifted to their left. I tried to stay within eyesight of them, but I was also watching for snakes. The last time I saw them, it looked like they were continuing in a straight line. Then I stopped to shoot the squirrel.

I thought I had an idea where they were, but an hour later I wasn’t any closer. I shouted, but the thick woods only swallowed my cries. So I turned to hike back to the truck, but an hour later I was even more lost. I kept walking, though, figuring I’d find a way out.

I walked, stopping to rest now and then, until it started to get dark. I’d fired a couple of shots but got no response. It never got cold, which was good because I had nothing to build a fire with. I doused myself with bug dope, then lay down. With my vest, I was able to cover my face and roll up the bottom end to use as a pillow. That dead squirrel in the pocket added a decent cushion.

I heard helicopters but they couldn’t see me through the trees, and I wasn’t going to run through the woods in the dark. I just prayed they’d find me tomorrow.

Thursday. I finished the last of the two water bottles I’d brought with me that morning. The days were hot, and I was walking and sweating a lot. I needed to stay hydrated. Fortunately, it rained that morning, and I managed to catch a half bottle’s worth of water.

I mostly squirrel hunt, but I have enough experience hunting deer and rabbits that I can identify tracks—and I know that if you follow those tracks, they’ll often lead to a water source, which in my case was a puddle in gumbo mud. I dipped my empty bottle and watched it fill with gray, grimy water. I didn’t want to drink it. I worried it’d make me sick. But what choice did I have? I was already getting dehydrated.

The taste was nasty—dirty and sandy—but the dip of mint Skoal I had in my mouth made it at least drinkable. I figured I should eat something, too, even though I wasn’t starving. I turned a dead stump over and found some nightcrawlers. They tasted about as bad as the gumbo water. I don’t know how many I ate—only that I’d never eat another one.

The rest of Thursday was a lot like Wednesday: Walk, then break for a nap. Walk, then nap. That second day, as I was walking—with no real end in sight—is when I started talking to God. Why is this happening? If I don’t make it out, will you take care of my wife and kids?

imagesTJNT6CHZThat night I awoke to a WHOOSHWHOOSHWHOOSH. Dazed, it took me a moment to realize that it was another chopper—and that it was right above me. I stumbled to find the flashlight in my vest. But by the time I turned it on, it was too late. After the chopper left, my flashlight burned out.

Friday. I kept moving and praying—all day. Walking gave me a purpose. Praying gave me strength. I truly believe my faith is what kept me from ever panicking. That afternoon I stumbled upon some persimmons. They were the most delicious things I’d eaten in a long time, and they were just sitting there on the ground, perfectly ripe, waiting to be found.
Saturday. I heard a low-flying chopper that morning. I took the T-shirt I had on under my camo shirt, tied it to the barrel of my Mossberg, and rushed to the nearest open area where I waved it around. But it never got close enough.

I was weak and tired. My body ached. For the first time I started to think I might not get out. I had started with 15 shells, and by then I only had four or five left. I’d been firing them and leaving the shells at spots where I rested. But on Saturday I decided to fire the rest I had at once. I didn’t know how much more of this misery I’d have to suffer, and I didn’t want the option of taking my own life.

Later that afternoon, as I was resting, I heard two sounds: a Harley-Davidson and a chain saw. I decided to stay put for the remainder of the day and save my energy. Tomorrow, I’d travel toward those sounds. I just knew that if I didn’t get out on Sunday, I never would.

Sunday. I came to a hill that I wasn’t sure I had the strength to climb. I sat down on a nearby log and prayed for strength. When I finally got up and walked to the hill, I glanced to the left where I saw a trail. And I took it.

Two miles later I hit a blacktop road. I fell to the ground crying. I flagged down a couple of motorcyclists who came down the road and told them who I was. “Son,” one of them said, “there’s a lot of people looking for you.”

They drove me to the camp the search team had set up nearby. Just as they got me on the stretcher and were about to drive me to the hospital, I was given a satellite phone. Kim, my wife, was on the other line. My eyes welled. “Hey,” I said. “I’m alive.”

Survival Analysis
Bill Lawrence had no method of striking fire, carried nothing to signal with but his shotgun, and possessed no tool to navigate to safety but his brain. When he became lost, he had nothing to eat but nightcrawlers and no means to disinfect water. He was unfamiliar with the country and carried no map. To sum up: He struck into the woods about as unprepared as a man can be. But before you criticize him too harshly, take a look at yourself. Have you ever been similarly unprepared for an emergency, using the excuse that you only plan to be gone a few hours and won’t stray more than a few hundred yards from the road? I know I have.

Lawrence’s ordeal should be a cautionary tale for all of us, emphasizing the importance of carrying basic survival gear every time we go afield, no matter how small that field we intend to hunt. A compass, a whistle, a sparking wheel, Tinder Tabs, and chlorine tablets weigh about as much as a tin of Altoids, and easily fit inside one. S - - t happens. Have a hat for it.

Lawrence’s reaction to being lost was to walk and then walk some more. By doing so, he disobeyed the four steps that almost ensure survival: Stop. Shelter. Signal. Stay. Had he stopped walking, tied his undershirt to a treetop or placed it in an opening where it could be seen or, better yet, spelled SOS in a clearing with branches or stones, then hunkered out of the wind to wait, he probably would have been found quickly after being reported missing. Ninety percent of search-and-rescue operations are resolved during the initial hasty search, usually within 10 hours.

One thing that Lawrence did do right needs to be emphasized: He never panicked and was determined to survive. The right attitude is one positive that can make up for a lot of negatives in any survival situation.

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Mauled by a Bear

This outdoorsman encountered the worst nightmare the wild can conjure. But thanks to smarts, willpower, and a little luck, he survived, and the lesson learned that could save your life. With survival analysis by Keith McCafferty

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THE MAULING (An older story but worthy of another publish)

On Sept. 26, Brent Prokulevich, 49, was bowhunting by himself for moose in Western Ontario when he was charged by a 300-pound black bear. As told to Colin Kearns.

I flew into the outpost camp on Saturday. My buddy Paul Patiuk and his son Kyle had been there for a few days already and would be guiding moose hunters for the next few days. The plan was for me to hunt on my own on Sunday and Monday in a spot Paul had scouted for me. Then on Tuesday, when their clients had left, we’d hunt together. One of the first things I asked Paul and Kyle when I reached camp was if there were bears in the area. They told me there weren’t any.

I saw no moose during my Sunday hunt, but I did get a cow to call back. I decided to leave my scent rag out overnight, hoping the scent would fill the area. The conditions when I returned in the boat Monday morning were perfect. A fog hung in the cool air, and the wind had died so my calls carried a long way.

In front of me was a dried-up beaver pond littered with dead poplars, leaving me with a clear shot if a moose wandered in. I got into position and readied my bow and arrows. I made my first cow call at 7 a.m. and followed up every 15 minutes until 8:30. That’s when I heard movement in the willows, 33 yards away. As soon as I saw the top of the animal’s back, I knew: S - - t. It’s a flipping bear.

He was big, about 300 pounds. He didn’t see me at first but when he did, our eyes connected immediately. “Get! Get! Get!” I yelled. But he never budged—until he came at me.

This isn’t happening. I grabbed my bow. This can’t be happening. I nocked the arrow. This is happening. I fired a prayer at 8 yards.

I raised my left arm and he locked onto it. We fell to the ground. He had me on my back, but when he let go of my arm I managed to get up to my knees. Then I heard this crunch on my neck. The bite to my arm I hadn’t really felt. This one to the neck, though, I felt. I kept yelling, and at one point I had a flash of my 17-year-old son, Brady. I’m a single dad and I’ve been raising him since day one. I wasn’t going to leave him to live by himself. Something in me snapped. I’m not dying like this!

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I couldn’t reach my knife, so I grabbed the other arrow and began stabbing the bear in his head, over and over. He let go of my neck and clamped on the back of my shoulder. Then, somehow, I knocked him right on his ass.

There was blood everywhere. My first arrow had entered his chest and must’ve exited through the bottom of his belly because his guts were spilling out. The two of us just sat there for a moment, staring at each other. He swiped at my right arm, then he turned and walked 15 yards before he sat back down. I was going to put another shot in him, but my bow was busted. So I got the hell out of there.

I jumped in the boat and drove around looking for help. But after about 15 minutes with no luck, I turned back toward camp. That’s when I saw the plane landing at camp. When I reached the dock I told Kevin, the pilot, what had happened. He left a note for Paul and Kyle, then we took off. We arrived at the hospital 30 minutes later. I walked into the ER and said to a nurse, “I’ve been attacked by a bear.”

The shoulder bite was a half inch from puncturing a lung, and the neck bite almost hit my spinal cord. But no bones were broken, and the puncture wounds are healing well.
I’m looking forward to hunting again. I’ve taken a couple of walks in the bush recently, which has been nice, but I find I’m looking over my shoulder more often. Every time I hear a little snap.

Survival Analysis
In the matter of risking encounters with bears, bowhunters start with three strikes against them. First, they hunt in early fall, when bears undergo hyperphagia, a period of mad foraging before hibernation that increases the potential for crossed paths. Second, by donning camo, using cover scent, and sneaking quietly through brush and timber, archers spike the odds of chance encounters within the critical 50-yard range, at which bears are more likely to attack. And third, by using lure scents and calling like animals that bears regard as prey, hunters actually encourage unwanted attention.

Prokulevich did the right thing by fighting the black bear. Playing dead is only effective at discouraging grizzlies, and then only under certain circumstances. But he probably could have avoided the attack altogether if he’d had pepper spray on his belt. Under the best of circumstances, arrows offer meager defense—and bullets aren’t much better. In most documented bear attacks, only three seconds elapse between the start of the charge and contact with the person. Do you really think you can raise a rifle, flip the safety, aim, and fire in that window? But you can flick the safety tab and depress the trigger of pepper spray in an instant. Plus, it works. In a study conducted by bear researcher Thomas Smith of hundreds of bear attacks, pepper spray deterred a charge in 92 percent of cases. Bullets deterred a charge only 66 percent of the time, and it required an average of four bullets to stop the bear.  (Be sure to check with local authorities on the legal uses of pepper spray in areas you intend to hunt)

 Stay Safe and Hunt Safe on Your Next Outdoor Hunting Adventure!

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