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Thread: Scenario1: Deep cut in the backwoods

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    Default Scenario1: Deep cut in the backwoods

    I stole this idea from a wilderness canoe forum (BWCA.com). The authors posed a series of typical but hypothetical situations to see how experienced travelers would handle different situations. The exercise was very useful. Folks got to hear several different opinions and viewpoints. More importantly, it got folks to think about such a scenario from the safety of their keyboard.

    So, here is the first scenario... a deep cut while dressing a moose...
    You are on day 6 of a 10 day solo moose trip. Several folks know your general location but no one expects to hear from you for 2-3 more days.


    It is about 4 pm. You have 1 more hour of light. The temperature is about 40F and expected to get to about 25 during the night. No rain is forecast.

    You are on some backwoods river. Friends dropped you off upstream. Your truck is currently about 8 miles downstream. The float downstream is fairly simple (Class 1 and 2). You have seen a few other hunters on this river but not in the last day or so.

    You shot a nice moose. You tagged the moose and started the process. You're almost done with the top side. Your knife slips and hits your thigh. You get a large cut. It is about 3 inches long and about an inch deep (your knife was very sharp). The blood starts pouring out. But the blood is not spurting.

    Additional information: You're about 1/2 mile from the river. It is a fairly tough walk back to the river. You're camp is another 1/2 mile downstream once you get to the river. You only have the following gear:
    - bow and arrows
    - Bear spray
    - Game bags
    - 50 feet of rope
    - Small tarp that is currently under your moose.
    - Currently wearing decent base layer and one more layer. In your pack you have a slightly heavier coat, a hat, and gloves.
    - survival kit in a nalgene bottle: space blanket, knife, lighter, tinder, duct tape (3 feet wrapped around the nalgene bottle), 50' of paracord, signal mirror, whistle, water treatment pills, 2 snack bars
    - water: about 1/2 liter left in your hydration bladder
    - food: a few cliff bars
    - first aid kit: bandaids, butterfly bandages, ibuprofin, antibiotic cream
    So what do you do?

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Shoot myself in the head for not having a propper first aid kit with me when field dressing a moose.

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    Do what we do when hog hunting and a hog catches your leg with his cutters. Take off the pants, close the wound tight and duct tape it, put your pants back on and get to a hospital in whatever time and means that are possible. Or keep hunting if it don't hurt or bleed too badly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrex13 View Post
    Shoot myself in the head for not having a propper first aid kit with me when field dressing a moose.
    So, what's the proper first aid kit?

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    A proper kit has Lidocaine, sutures, needle and syringe included...........

    That wound needs cleaning, closing, and compression so that your mobility can be maintained without risk of infection or further injury.

    A fat guy has nothing too serious to worry about. A skinny muscular dude likely whacked his muscle.


    Thats a bad situation if your solo. That hunter is already in a compromised situation being he's only got one hour of daylight left and not done with his Moose. So a late night at the kill site is gonna happen. I say control bleeding, get cozy and let the clotting and compression work for ya. Once thats done he's got nothing better to do than keep moving and warm. I hope he's got a headlamp.

    Are you kidding me that this said hypothetical backwoods Alaskan traveler doesn't have a means to start a fire?

    3x1" wound is painful and such but not a game stopper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bighorse View Post
    ...Are you kidding me that this said hypothetical backwoods Alaskan traveler doesn't have a means to start a fire? ...
    His survival kit includes a lighter and tinder...

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    First and foremost would be to control the bleeding through first aid. I would then apply some antibiotic ointment and the butterfly bandages to try and close the wound. Then wrap it with cleanest dressing I had available at the time. Then it would be a matter of keeping the wound clean. If the bleeding is under control, I would finish proccessing the meet. After that it is time to get help from your buddies to get the meet back to camp. Once the meet is back in camp reclean and redress the wound trying not to reopen the would. After that I would try and get to a medical facility and get some expert attention.

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    Location of the cut and type meat showing will be important. Assuming its not arterial, primarily fat meat, clean and bandage, then use some duct tape to secure the wound. Work fast and keep moving till your back at camp. Inspect wound next day for signs of infection, if its ok start floating out, if infection is present, start signaling aircraft and watching for other hunters. After you get home have your wife/significant other kick you for not renting a sat phone or even owning a cell phone.

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    man im glad im fat i would just walk it off, i would take off my belt put it above the wound and cinch it tight and get back to the river then use the buterflys to close the wound and stop bleading and get out at first light but i wouldent be in a canoe either i would have flipped it about 1/4 mile from the landing and went home.

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    At least the leg is not spurting out blood, that is a sign you cut a major blood pipe, like your femoral artiery. Looks like there is enough in the first aid kit to help and stop the bleeding but with such a deep cut it will be hard to stop the bleeding. The hunter should use compression and a pressure point in the groin area to help try to stop the bleeding, and he has to press real hard. May have to use a game bag and use it as a bandage. The hunter could keep warm by cleaning the moose, but gonna be painfull hauling it a half mile to the stream, unless he it drags it with the tarp. Be one hell of a story to tell when you get back to the world.
    Hate America??....then get the Hell Out!!!

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    First thing is I would post this thread where it should be ; OUTDOOR SURVIVAL ! Build a fire with my road flare and call the troopers on my sat phone. Giving them my GPS location.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

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    Sounds Like Darwin just might add another one to the list.

    Given the situation described, the first task is to control the bleeding, everything else will follow. This is a dirty wound and it needs to be washed out then packed open until it heals but you can't do that in the woods. Closing it (sutures) will keep the bacteria in and Mr Magoo will have one heck of a bacteria battle on his hands. Sutures may be ok for the short-term immediate bleeding control, temp only, but it'll be opened and washed out when he gets to the ER then he'll be on IV antibiotics for 3+ days before getting the oral antibiotics. Stay safe, stay warm, and get to help...but in your scenario you said there is a 2-3 day delay in getting to help so he's going to probably have a serious infection. Now that I think about it a bit more, I think that tyrex13 has the best solution...yea, he nailed it.

    AJ

  13. #13

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    norsehunter has the right idea. stop the bleeding and if need be get to a hospital. lets face it we usually have sat phones anymore. everything has changed in the last 10 years when it comes to wilderness(so called) medicine because of our new communication abilities. I can remember when being on montague island felt truly remote, I don't feel that way anymore.

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    assuming clean game bags I would use one to make a bandage out of. I would cut it into strips and then fold one section into a compress and use the strips to secure it. This is not arterial bleeding so in the grand scheme of things not likely to be life threatening, it should be controllable with direct pressure. Elevate it for a while and let it clot up then start a fire and finish the moose the best you can. I would hang the meat and tarp it the next morning then hobble my butt out to the river.

    You said it is an 8 mile float does this mean that there is a raft in camp? If so I would hop in it then float out to the truck drive in to town get checked and stitched if needed then call my buddies to go and help me pick up the meat. If not then I would hang out by the river. If you are 8 miles from road access during moose season then someone will be by shortly.

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    I would like to ask a question first. Does anyone here go on a hunt like this by yourself? No hypothetical's other than what was listed above, not goat, not caribou, not deer. Moose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman1979 View Post
    I would like to ask a question first. Does anyone here go on a hunt like this by yourself? No hypothetical's other than what was listed above, not goat, not caribou, not deer. Moose?
    I would wager that plenty of people go on hunts like this by themselves. I hunt solo a fair bit - nothing exactly like what is described above - but solo nonetheless. That being said, as of two years ago I now carry a SPOT satellite messenger with me whenever I'm alone. I don't intend to rely on it to get me out of poor decision making, but when bad things happen, that button might just save my life.

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    I have a buddy that used to hunt moose 5 miles back up in the mountains on foot when he was younger. He said it would take him about a week to get it all out and butchered up. To my knowledge he got a bull pretty much every year and never saw any other moose hunters while back in there. He did mention that the few sheep hunters he ran across all looked at him like he was insane! He is in his 50's now and still hunts a over a mile from the road on foot and way up the side of a mountain. I have no doubt that the guy could walk circles around me in the sheep hills and I hope to find out next year if it works out..... So yeah there are some folks out there who do go solo for moose in places far worse than described.

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    Better use the butterfly bandaid and duct tape for the wound, and save the game bag for a bug net, lol.

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    I want to know how the tarp got under the moose ?

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    Easy, it's a pressure dressing situation, dress the wound and (3" long and 1" deep ain't much ') If it's not spurting or pumping you'll live if not severely infected.

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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