Field Safety Question

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Field Safety Question

Postby Karen_P » Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:56 am

I took Blaze out to the WMA again yesterday to run and build confidence, and as I trudged down the seemingly same path for the 3rd time trying to find my way back to the path that led to the parking lot, and cursing myself for leaving the compass at home and paying more attention to Blaze than to my surroundings, I started to think about the NJ Bear Hunt, and the fact that there wouldn't need to be a bear hunt if there wasn't a bear overpopulation problem here, and that I was in the middle of a 4000 acre tract of forest.

I had my e-collar/remote, whistle, cell phone (still had 3 bars so it was usable), car keys, a tube of EMT gel, and a bottle of water for the dog with me and that was it. What should I be bringing with me that I didn't?

And what do you do if you get hopelessly lost in the woods?
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Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:00 pm

You might want to look into those handheld GPS units. My husband just got one and he ordered detailed maps for NY/NJ area and the thing is pretty neat. You could look up restaurants, gas stations, stores and it provides a map to your selection based upon where you are currently. I'm not sure how helpful it is if you are really remote, but you could figure out where are are in relation to major roads and get an idea of which way to go.

I get very lost and have no sense of direction. So when I take Rusty hiking behind our house I stick to a few well worn trails that I know very well. When we had first got our property, I took Rusty for a walk and got lost. There are hundreds of wooded acres behind our house and I wasn't sure if I was walking towards the house or in the opposite direction. It was very scary, I had a cell phone but how do you describe where you are? I sat on a rock and cried for a while and then kept walking. We were in the right direction.

Someone later told me that a few years earlier, some hunters got lost where I was for 10 hours.
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Postby Karen_P » Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:37 pm

Sandy, what a great idea! I wasn't panicked this weekend, as I figured if I stuck to the trail, I'd eventually find my way back to the parking lot, but it did get me thinking about what do you do if there aren't any trails and you get turned around.

Can you check the make and model of the GPS your husband bought? I just checked Cabelas.com and there are literally hundreds of them for sale.

Thanks!
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Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:23 pm

I just so happen to have all the order confirmations on my pc. He bought the GPS and accessories through Amazon. Knowing my husband, he also did a lot of research and comparison before he bought.

Magellan Meridian Gold Handheld (he said it's physically larger than many others but had more memory)

Kingston 256MB Secure Digital Card (additional memory for loading the detailed maps) - I remember he looked at the Magellan cards but they were much more expensive and he called to make sure he could use a different brand)

Digital Concepts Secure Multimedia USB Memory Card Reader (I'm no techie but I guess to load the software to the Card)

Magellan MapSend Direct Route (this is the detailed map software)

Good luck, I guess these things are good to have in general.
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Postby Dave » Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:50 pm

Sitting down and crying would be an option , just kidding :lol: Getting lost is serious if not prepared . You should carry matches , space blanket , water ,candy bars or high energy bars and have adequate clothing in case you have to spend the night . Hypothermia kills and this time of year a storm can blow in and when you thought you knew where you were .You end up going in circles till you are exhausted . I was on search and rescue for years . First rule if you are lost stop and try to calm down , figure out a plan and stick to it . Number one rule not to be broken ever, is have someone to check in with when you are supposed to be back and where you started , so that search and rescue knows where to start and when .I've gone high tech and use the Garmin vista . You can download topo maps and it comes setup with the major cities and highways of the US . I always have the compass and small topomap in case the batteries go dead . I could write a bunch more but this will get you started .It's OK to laugh after you are back safe .Think of being in the woods 5 miles from your vehicle almost dark and you finally look around to figure your way back and you don't have a clue because you've been tracking a wounded elk and not paying attention to the terrain .After spending a cold sleepless night and having 20 + people looking for you and finally having a search helicopter spot you 3 PM the next afternoon ...well you get the point . 8) Dave
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Postby Karen_P » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:08 pm

Thanks Dave. I'll definitely be more prepared the next time I go hiking with the boys.
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Postby CJ » Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:54 pm

GPS is deffinitely a great thing to have. I haven't had the $$$ to buy one yet, so I pretty much have the same stuff in my vest. H2O, EMT gel, collars/transmitter. The only things you don't carry that I do is one of those space blankets (the metalic looking things that fold up into a 4"x3"x1" packet.... no idea if it's worth a crap, but... I've got one, and one of those little magnesium flint fire starter blocks which is about 1"x2.5"x.5" Never know when you'll need to start a fire to keep warm or signal your location. Oh... and always have belt or something that can be used as a turnicate (probably spelled wrong) to stop your dogs or your own bleeding in an emergancy. That's my take on it anyway.
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Postby Jacksbuddy » Sun Mar 20, 2005 7:41 pm

Not to sound like a wise guy or anything but when was the last time you heard of a bear attack in NJ? :P
I wouldn't be to concerned about a bear attack, they want to avoid confrontation as much as you do. The only concern I ever have is inadvertantly getting between a sow and her cubs, then they can make quite a fuss.
Here is a link for New Jerseys WMA's click on the one you use, it will bring up a map that should show roads, trails and major terrain features. You can print out and carry with you. I have a folder that I keep in my truck that contains maps of all the game lands I use in PA.
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/wmaland.htm
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Postby Karen_P » Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:21 pm

Actually a bear killed a pony in Sussex County just this weekend.
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Postby CJ » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:25 pm

Jacksbuddy,
Wow, that's a great looking dog in your signature picture! Where'd you get him?
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Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:49 pm

I also heard that a dead bear was found in a backyard in Franklin Lakes. It was in the paper because the family called the DEC (or whatever it is in NJ) to pick up the bear and they are still waiting last I heard.

My concern about bears is not that one will attack me but rather that the dog will get into a scuffle with one. Last year in western NY, I had numerous close encounters. One in particular was real close - a bear came around the corner of my house while I was in my lounge chair - about 10 feet away. Rusty chased him about 75 feet to the woodline and his snout was just about attached to the bear's rear - he was lucky the bear didn't spin around and swat him. I had another encounter where I was walking up a trail, a bear came out onto the trail and stood up on his hind feet in front of me. Rusty was between me and the bear.

I agree that the bears don't seek out close encounters but my dog, at least, seems to think he's a Rottie in a 60 pound package. I always keep protection on me (in NY, not NJ)- not for me, but to protect my little tough guy.
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Postby Barb Wright » Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:41 pm

:shock: EEEEK....Sandy, you make the hair stand up on the back of my neck :shock: I live in Grizzly country and so far count myself VERY lucky as my two encounters were not close enough to be scary, but close enough and scary nontheless :roll: Whew...never want to be close enough to use the pepper spray....
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13
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Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:53 pm

It's gotten very scary. I've been going to this area - Sullivan County, NY for almost 20 years now (my in-laws have a home there) and did not see 1 bear until 5 years ago (when we built our home a few miles away). Now I see them spring to fall, and many times see mothers with cubs.

The two stories were from last summer. I had another encounter last summer that was almost funny. I was reading a book in front of my house and Rusty was on the driveway intently pointing a butterfly. I looked up and 50 feet past him a bear was leisurely crossing our lawn. He was in Rusty's line of vision but Rusty didn't see him. I jumped up and gasped when I saw the bear, the bear sprung straight up in the air like a cat, turned and was gone in a flash - he didn't see either of us. Rusty was none the wiser until a few minutes later he caught the scent and went crazy running and barking - 'intruder alert, intruder alert'. I was of course very happy he didn't see the bear, but thought his delayed warning was comical.

There has been a significant increase in development in that area over the past 5 years which I guess explains the number of bears that are now moving closer to homes. Two years ago, a bear killed a baby that was in a stroller. There are a number of summer camps nearby and when the bear came into camp, there was confusion and somehow the baby got left. A tragedy, shouldn't have happened. They did get the bear.
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Postby Dave » Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:18 pm

I live in Grizzly country also :o It's been a few years since I've been out with dogs in the mountains , but this year that will change . The Montana version of bear deterent is a combat semi-auto 12 guage with 00 buckshot and a couple of big slugs . During bird season I pack my glock with two extra magazines as back up . The least I ever have is Counter assault bear spray , that stuff really works on two legged as well as four legged scoundrels :wink: 8) Dave
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Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:31 pm

I'm going to buy the bear spray (this week). I always carry a Glock (40) too. I figure at a minimum I could make everyone stop in their tracks for a minute. It's unfortunate that you have worry about this, and I know every time I take Rusty for a hike there is a risk. I count myself lucky that I'm dealing with black bear as opposed to Grizzy. I'd probably carry the 12 guage too.
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