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Thread: Sheep/Goat hunting and helmets

  1. #1
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    Default Sheep/Goat hunting and helmets

    In light of the recent sheep hunting accident where the young man had/has a brain injury I thougt I would start this thread. See thread here http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=4650

    I personally had considered a climbing helmet for my sheep hunt this year. I however did not bring it up on the forums, do any research or take one. So I was not very serious. Thankfuly I did not fall off a cliff 25 miles from the nearest road or I may have been the guy in the article.

    I have never read or even heard mention of sheep or goat hunters wearing a helmet in steep sheep country. Given the fact that this type of mountain hunting puts us in the same type of situations as mountaineers (whom a lot of wear helmets) it might be worth considering. I do not know all of the details of his injuries in this case but he did have head and brain injuries and was not wearing a helmet. Perhaps a helmet could have made a difference. I have however seen some things first hand.

    I am a Ski Patroller and have rescued injured skiers with head/brian injuries who were not wearing a helmet who hit trees. Last winter I rescued a snowmachiner with a bad head injury. He was in a collision with another machine and was not wearing a helmet. A ski clipped him in the side of the head, left a nasty gash and knocked him out. In this scene I was the first responder and personally provided care and transport. I can say with confidence that if he would have been wearing a helmet he would not have had this injury. If the head hits a tree or any other hard object the results can range from being uncomfortable to life changing or even death.

    I started wearing a helmet for downhill skiing several years ago. I also wear one riding my bike around town. In either scenario I am minutes away from EMS. When sheep hunting we are hours or maybe days from EMS. Why didn't I take a helmet? Not sure. I found myself in a situation where I could have fallen and sustained a head injury very easily. I am rethinking this now.

    A quality climbing helmet is less that $100 and only weighs about 8ozs. When not in use it can hang off the back of our packs. Here's an example http://www.rei.com/product/48018628.htm

    Why don't us sheep hunters wear a climbing helmet? Is it the testosterone macho hunter factor? Is it an issue of just not thinking about it? Is it the weight/bulk? Frankly non of these are good reasons. We take SAT phones and ELT's but they won't protect our brain. In fact they may only be good to recover your hunting partners or your body. Maybe we should do our loved ones a favor and consider this. Does your wife want to care for an invalid the rest of her life? Mine doesn't. How about our kids?

    This has really got me thinking. While this man was trying to save his sons life who was in seizures from a serious brain injury, I was sheep hunting but sitting next to a fire cooking tenderloins. Given a different twist of fate our roles could have been reversed. And, a helmet may have made a difference.

    Any thoughts?
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  2. #2

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    For me, I would have never thought about wearing a climbing helmet but it is not a bad idea. You could always paint it camo to blend in with the rocks......

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Hmmm....good topic for discussion. Like you, I wear a helmet when skiing, biking, and snowmachining. I was a ski instructor for 5 years and just got into the habit then when I was skiing 100+ days per year. Now it's just an automatic thing that I don't think about. It's already saved my noggin more than once, and I ski mainly in the backcountry where I'm not right near medical services.
    You're right, though, that typical sheep hunting is even more remote and dangerous. I had never given it a moment of thought, but this might bounce around in my mind before I head out next time. I might try to goat hunt in November, and I'm thinking that I might wear a helmet then. The last time I did a registration hunt I feel like I nearly tumbled down a 1,000+ foot cliff because of the thin ice covering the rocks. I'd hate to break bones in such a fall, but bones heal...brains don't always do likewise.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    -Brian

  4. #4

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    Gotta say it makes sense, even if the idea is kinda hard to get to. I did some bull riding in my youth in the days before helmets and vest, but still have my spleen and a few brains (some would disagree). Helmets and ballistic vests are now common for bull riders, but you still see riders without. Gotta say the guys look pretty strange doing their 8 in helmets, and I'm guessing helmets for hunts will split along the same lines as the anti seatbelt crowd.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Not so crazy

    This is not so crazy. A sheep hunter dressed in white with little horns sticking out of his helmet might have an advantage. Read Tony Russ's book about him doing it.

    Should work with goats too and it does work with moose. Several guides have little helmets with plywood moose horns sticking out.

    Probably should be done in the less populated area of the state though. Anyone who climbs alpine slopes and side steps across cliffs on shale is a little touched in the head to begin with. Can't wait for the next hunt!

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Default Combo helmet

    It would be nice to find one that works in the white water as well. Any suggestions?

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default We've considered bike helmets.

    Good topic, Perry.
    As a family we hunt an area that is full of nasty chutes and shale draws that we often have to climb single file. Many years of yelling "heads up!" as the rocks tumbled on down.
    We've talked about bike helmets for at least the climbers bringing up the rear. We try to stagger our approach where one is safe from the climber's debris above, but rocks aren't educated, and will do the unexpected. One sharp rock at speed could mean the end. :/
    I found bike helmets on ebay in camo but never got around to purchasing them.

  8. #8

    Default Helmets

    I just heard of this idea a few days ago. A guide I sometimes work for uses them for sheep and goat hunts. The primary reason is for protection from falling rocks, but would also protect you in a fall. This is one of those "revolutionary" ideas that will be hard to get a handle on. Wonder if there is some way to lighten it up or make it double duty. Like the helmet could also be your pot for boiling water, etc...

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    I know what you mean about falling rock. The chutes we were in this year were the same way. One guy at a time and stay out off to the side if possible of the guy above. I think the rock climbing helmets would add a little more protection. Also, my bike helmet is kind of wierd shaped which might be a hindrance. Pointed in front and back. My ski helmet would be too warm because of the insulation. I think I will be looking in to climbing helmets as time goes by. Black or dull gray would work. So would a can of Krylon. As far as whitewater I think they make helmets for that too. At least I've seen pics and videos of those guys in kayaks wearing them.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Thumbs up Promote Awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by Fullcurl View Post
    I just heard of this idea a few days ago. A guide I sometimes work for uses them for sheep and goat hunts. The primary reason is for protection from falling rocks, but would also protect you in a fall. This is one of those "revolutionary" ideas that will be hard to get a handle on. Wonder if there is some way to lighten it up or make it double duty. Like the helmet could also be your pot for boiling water, etc...
    I suspect it will be like when ski helmets first hit the ski industry. There will be points of view from both "sides". No matter what an individual decides to do I think it's good to promote awareness, raise the issue and give it some approval from the point of view of hunters. It just may make the difference for someone that one time. If one person reads this thread and wears a helmet on thier once in a lifetime sheep hunt to Alaska because a "sheep hunter in Alaska" thinks it's a good idea. And it saves thier noggin then I would be very happy and all this is worth it.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Even after several trips into the steep and crumbies I never thought of bringing a climbing helmet but its a good idea.

    Something else for sheep and goat guys to consider bringing is a climbing axe and instep crampons. The axe is for balance while side hilling and for self arrest in the event of a fall and can double as a monopod for the shot, and the insteps...well....if you've ever tried to cross an icy compacted snow field or ridgetop without them then you already know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Even after several trips into the steep and crumbies I never thought of bringing a climbing helmet but its a good idea.

    Something else for sheep and goat guys to consider bringing is a climbing axe and instep crampons. The axe is for balance while side hilling and for self arrest in the event of a fall and can double as a monopod for the shot, and the insteps...well....if you've ever tried to cross an icy compacted snow field or ridgetop without them then you already know
    I can see where the ice axe would be better than a trekking pole.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Default weight v. risk

    while a helmet may only weigh 8 ozs. i know of many sheep hunters who stay up nights working on their gear or racking their brains to cut weight and 8 ozs. would be a major victory.

    personally, i don't wear a helmet while skiing in bounds or with a helo. that is a personal choice, as i don't worry much about hitting trees.

    while a helmet would provide protection from a head injury , likely in a fall there would be multi system trauma that would be life threatening anyway. basically, minor head injuries with serious chest trauma and associated hypovolemic shock. i feel that many climbers wear a helmet to protect them from rocks falling from above kicked loose by their climbing partners, not as much to protect them in a fall.

    although a helmet is a good idea, i would rather save the weight and sheep/goat hunt w/o one. i would not discourage anyone who wanted to wear one and did not mind the weight penalty.

    life is full of choices....

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Ice Axe and Crampos

    Actually an ice axe and crampons are going to help more than a helmet. Some of that stuff up there on the slopes is just too slick.

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    Default safety equipment

    d.i.b.;

    agreed. on this last sheep hunt i had tyvek overwhites, mountaineering grade crampons and a handle with a hook on my walking stick that could be used to shoot off of or as a means to self arrest on a steep slope in place of an ice axe. at least till it breaks off...

    when i was a kid no one wore bike helmets either.

  16. #16

    Default helmets

    I hope I don't sound cynical here, but I am sorry, that is just a bit too far out there for me. I have a hard enough time with LAWS that require you to wear one riding a flipping bike! I almost hate bringing something like up, before you know it, it will be a regulation that all sheep hunters must wear a helmet! I am sorry for being so negative, but this one just rubs me the wrong way. I know no one suggested that we all have to wear them, but I always am amazed at how people's ideas get twisted and before you know it, I am protected from myself.

  17. #17

    Default ice ax and crampons

    I like the ice ax and crampons, but i don't have much use for traditional trekking poles. i doubt I will don a helmet while pursuing my favorite mountain quarry next fall, for the reason cited above about weight and multiple forms of trauma.

    The ewe i killed this year fell about 50 feet, just like a sack of potatos, and landed in a rock slide. She landed on her rump. There were guts hanging out of her backside, guts left in the slide, and most of the hide was torn off her rear quarters.

    Falls are nasty. I worry about it, but not as much as I worry about getting T-boned and killed or maimed on the drive to work.

  18. #18

    Smile Helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    I hope I don't sound cynical here, but I am sorry, that is just a bit too far out there for me. I have a hard enough time with LAWS that require you to wear one riding a flipping bike! I almost hate bringing something like up, before you know it, it will be a regulation that all sheep hunters must wear a helmet! I am sorry for being so negative, but this one just rubs me the wrong way. I know no one suggested that we all have to wear them, but I always am amazed at how people's ideas get twisted and before you know it, I am protected from myself.
    Northway, nobody's suggesting that we try and get a law passed here, it was an idea brought out by Snyd, and a very good one in my opinion. If you don't want to wear one then don't, thats your right. I don't think they need to impose this into the reg's either, it should be a personal choice just like motorcycle helmets.

  19. #19
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    It will never be a law. I hate the "it's for your own good laws" myself. It still isn't a law in the world of skiing and the helmet issue has gone through this kind of discussion for years and years. I for one am glad to see that they caught on. I have rescued skiers with and without and the helmet wearers fare better in my limited expierence. NSP doesn't even require patrolers to wear helmets. I wear one out of choice. Other guys on the patrol don't. No biggie.

    Interesting to note that this young man who fell suffered severe head trama. Sure, he may have suffered other injuries also. But the brain injury is what caused the seizures and put him out for several weeks. Not soft tissue or skeletal injuries. To say that one may be hurt by other injuries therefore why wear a helmet makes no sense to me. A better reason to not wear one would be because you simply don't want to. It doesn't take much of knock on the head to cause some real issues. Even a short fifteen foot fall with a 125lb pack on and a hard rock landing on the noggin is a pretty good recipe for a skull fracture or a concusion or brain contusion. With a helmet it could be a bell ringer and a "whew, that was close".

    I am glad that there is a response to this issue. I hope they keep coming. It would be interesting to hear from any individuals who have suffered skull fractures or brain trauma due to a fall, atv accident or other outdoor activity who was not wearing a helmet and see what thier perspective is.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  20. #20

    Default helmets

    I am sorry for sounding cynical. I know it is a good thought and idea brought about by Snyd. I don't doubt that it at all. I have been in some SUPER HAIRY situations both sheep and goat hunting. Most of them have resulted in "what in the hell am I doing questions" and luckily the outcome was good. I feel very badly for the young man who was hurt, just like I would anyone else in the same situation. I guess I should have just kept my comments to myself on this subject. I know I have more than "pushed" the limits on where I should have placed myself on the mountain and I try to stay away from those areas anymore, but that is tough to do when you know you "can make it"!
    Some people would think I am crazy just for the creek crossing that we have to make to get to where we sheep hunt. I know they have turned away 90% of the people that attempt it! Snyd, I am glad you didn't take it as I was bashing you as I was certainly not.

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