It seems like something's always going wrong in the field. Animal encounters, random injuries -- spend enough time outdoors, and you're likely to suffer at least some brush with misadventure. I used to edit a Field & Stream item called "Close Calls" which spotlights one such incident every month. And stories for it were never hard to find. Just a quick internet search turned up all kinds of mishaps -- a hunter falling from a snowy cliff, a fisherman getting lost in a swamp, an outdoors show film crew being charged by a grizzly -- there was always plenty of bad luck to choose from.
Just a quick skim of the news blog The Outdoor Pressroom today turned up, for example, this unfortunate doctor from Juneau, who was recently attacked by a brown bear near a friend's hunting cabin. He luckily survived the incident with puncture wounds, a laceration on the back of his neck, and hand injuries that required surgery, according to a Juneau Empire Story . The Pressroom also currently links to an unsettling news item about a big game hunter from Calgary , who was attacked by a grizzly late last month, and did not survive the encounter, according to the Edmonton Sun .
Apart from some slips, trips, and temporary losses of direction, my time in the out of doors has been free of any such serious incidents (knock on wood). But I wonder if other blog readers with more field time under their belts have had some close calls of their own. Not necessarily life threatening incidents -- but at least something that got your pulse going. Losing your way, twisting an ankle -- I'd be curious to hear about any such occurrences.
I also wonder what kinds of precautions you take against them. My first aid kit, I'll admit, is probably not as well-organized as it should be. I think I have all the necessities covered, but if I really needed something in an emergency, I might be hard-pressed to sort through all the gauze, tape, and antibiotic ointment packs in that little zipper pouch fast enough to find what I needed. A better kit is something I, personally, need to work on.
So, how cautious are you? If you go out alone, does someone always know where you'll be and when to expect you back? And is your first aid kit a well-organized tribute to preparedness, or an obligatory afterthought that just lives in the bottom of your pack? I wonder where we all fall on the spectrum of safety consciousness. -K. H.