Wilderness Survival: "No One's Coming, It's Up To You."

Wilderness Survival: "No One's Coming, It's Up To You."
"This article was written by Hunt Lift Eat team member Kerri McAllister. Kerri is a retired Green Beret and wrote this article to give the Hunt Lift Eat community a deep dive into his survival strategies and his ruck while he's out in the field. We look forward to more content form Kerri and you can go follow him on Instagram @kerritm84. As always, remember there's No Weak In The Wild and thanks for reading!" -Josh


Hunting season is here. Some folks are already pursuing game, while others start within the next few weeks. This means people will be leaving the concrete jungle and entering the natural world with only what they can carry with them. Some of these excursions will last for days or weeks, while others just a few hours and a few hundred yards into the wood line. Every one of them and no matter how far, how remote, or how rugged, stand just as equal of a chance of something going wrong. Be that inclement weather rolling in while on a stalk half a mile from your pack or disorientated coming out of a tree stand after last light deep in midwestern public land. The big question is do you know what to do and are you carrying the right items

"No One's Coming, It's Up To You."

Survival is all about 3s. The whole 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. So, in order to combat death while knowing those rules of 3s, I've got three more that I have taken from my time in Special Operations that directly correlate to our wilderness pursuits. You live out of your ruck sack, fight off your belt kit and survive out of your pockets. What this means is you have a 3 part system in conjunction with your mission specific items. For example, a tree stand and bow that will assist in your ability to not only have a successful hunt but to also better your chances of getting to do it again in the event things go sideways.

My Early Season Whitetail Mobile Hunting Survival System

Your ruck, this could be a literal pack that you carry everything you need to live in the mountains for weeks at a time. It's got your shelter, something to sleep on, in and under, it's got water and water purification systems, chow and spare clothing; all of which would have you pretty well covered against the rule of 3s. It can also be translated to your tree stand paired with your truck or hunting cabin for those who venture within a mile or so from them with no plans to extend your stay. Your ruck however is where the bulk of your survival gear will be, there shouldn’t be a need to have to modify or get creative with your stuff, it is what it is and it ought to be comfortable so you're able to hunt father and harder.

In conjunction with my truck that is usually within a mile or so from my stand, this is my “Ruck.”

Your belt kit, for most of us this is our bino harness. Every system I have ran not only held my binos and range finder, but also crucial survival items. I should be able to navigate, collect and purify water, build a fire to ward off hypothermia, etc. all from my harness. If you don’t have an extra range finder or general purpose pouch on your rig, you're doing yourself a disservice.   

With this “belt kit” and a little woodsmanship, I can make it through a night. I may not be comfortable but I will live.

Last but not least are your pockets. You can carry as much as you are willing to shove in your pockets, but it's not always fun (especially if you're putting a lot of miles on your feet under load). This is where your kit will become the skimpiest and your woodsmanship really come into play. Ideally, you won't be too far from your “ruck” and if you are I hope your “belt kit” is on you. Worse case scenario is  you better just be carrying what you need. My kit contains really rudimentary navigation, a cutting tool, a light and a way to make fire. If it came down to this ,I will be looking to build a natural shelter to get me out of the elements and hoping to come across trash for water collection and purification. This last bit is not a very fun way to spend unplanned time in the wilderness, but then again survival isn’t easy.

Specific brands and models of items don’t matter. Use the best gear you can comfortably afford and learn how to use it, and don’t buy premade survival kits and just let them sit there. Have successful hunts and go back to your families and loved ones until you're able to go out again.

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