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  • 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
    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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    • #3
      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

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      • #4
        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.
        "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
        Merle Haggard

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        • #5
          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!

          Patriot Life Member NRA
          Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
          Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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          • #6
            Combo helmet

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

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            • #7
              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.
              Proud to be an American!

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              • #8
                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...
                www.provingtrailadventures.com

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                • #9
                  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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                  • #10
                    Promote Awareness

                    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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                    • #11
                      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
                      If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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                      • #12
                        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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                        • #13
                          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....
                          Cold Zero
                          Member: S.C.I., N.R.A. Life Endowment Member & L.E. Tactical Firearms Instr.

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                          • #14
                            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.

                            Patriot Life Member NRA
                            Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
                            Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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                            • #15
                              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.
                              Cold Zero
                              Member: S.C.I., N.R.A. Life Endowment Member & L.E. Tactical Firearms Instr.

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