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Saftey when airguning in the wilderness


I enjoy hunting ground squirrel and Grey squirrel here in CA as well as many non game animals which may be invasive or pests. I often find myself in very remote places alone and out of cell phone service. I always carry extra water, food, money in case I need to buy a ride out of somewhere or bribe someone to do the right thing etc. I also carry a fire starter, cordage and a small medical kit and when possible in national forest I carry a 9mm pistol in the rare case that I run into a bear or mountain lion that wants to eat me. I feel very comfortable with my skills and preparations and feel most at ease alone in God's country.... At least I did. I got a pretty big reality check two Sundays ago when as I was simply walking down a steep trail in the hills of Napa wine country when I slipped. Now I've done this 1000 times b4 and like every other time I put my left leg in front of me and crouched down to slide with my butt on my right leg. Well this time my ankle rolled on a protruding rock and my tibia broke above my ankle and my fib broke at the knee joint. I had no cell service, no way to signal for help and no way to make shelter for myself. Luckily this was a rare time that I was hiking with a friend. He walked up to the top of the hill and called 911. Literally 5 mins later a helicopter dropped off a first responder and soon I was being flown down to an ambulance which took me to a hospital. Now I am not going to give up on hunting alone in the wilderness but there are some things I'll do differently. #1 I am going to buy some kind of GPS panic button rescue signal. Not sure which one but I need it. Second I will carry a good emergency blanket with one side hunter orange not only for signaling but shelter if I need to spend a cold night alone on a hill somewhere. I will also be better at telling people exactly what rout I plan on taking so if I miss checking in they can call emergency services. I knew all that stuff before this happened but I got cocky. I've been in the woods as long as I can remember and have always relied on my skillet and preparations to get me out of trouble. I've survived white out blizzards, allergic reactions, truck breaking down, etc. I feel more humbled now. A simple miss step could have cost me my life and my daughter could be raised by someone else. Not cool. Lucky for me God was with me and he had me with someone that kept his cool and quickly got help. I just wanted to let you guys know how quick things can go south so that when your out airgun hunting or even just hiking you will be prepared and have the things you need to get by. I can't stress how important some kind of signal is. The helicopter pilot was very insistent that I should carry a bright blanket with orange on it or at the very least a signal mirror. My friend waving his brown hat under a canopy of trees was not prudent. Lucky for me the helicopter pilot knew the area super well and hiked the same trail I did. If not I could have waited a long time for help. OK guys hoped this helped. I have had the surgery I needed and will eventually be OK. Looks like I won't walk for 6 months unaided by crutches or at least a cane but I will walk again and my baby girl still has a daddy. I am blessed beyond all I deserve and don't need or require sympathy. Just please go over your EDC and make any changes that might save your life...... Oh yeah almost forgot. I hate boots.... I mean I hate them. They are heavy and hot and lame. However I will be wearing them on hikes from now on. My trail runners failed me bad. I don't think I'd have a break at all if I had tall boots. Lesson learned. God bless everyone stay safe out there. 
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First, so glad that you made it out and that you are on the mend. Thank you for telling your story and giving, me at least, a definite wake up call. We spend so much on these rifles and preparing but how many of us have the equipment if an accident occurs. I think my next purchase will definitely be on the lines of a sat phone or something on that line.

Best wishes and stay safe...


Jan 15, 2021
Texas, United States
    Thanks for sharing your story. That is a very realistic scenario and it could happen to any of us in that environment. I think your ideas on better preparation are well founded and may help save lives. Men who live in those regions traversing familiar terrain daily have died in that fashion. Thankfully that wasn't your story. I wish you a swift and complete recovery.
    Thanks dudes. I'm glad I didn't die too. Sat phones are pretty expensive. I heard they have a cheaper button you press and they send the calvary. Not as good as being able to explain your particular situation but smaller lighter weight and much cheaper. I'll look into it later today and post some options. I'm way more likely to carry a small GPS with push alarm than a heavy brick phone. Honestly I'm considering aprs ham radio that GPS locates me and have all the local weather and repeater stations programed in. Not much bigger than a Motorola really. I could radio my dad off the repeaters or even use 6 meter to bounce signal off the ionosphere. I don't usually go farther than 200 miles from my house so I think that a viable option. Need more research tho. 
    Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you're recovering well for the most part. Def get one of these. Initially got it for a moto-camping trip over by BigSur couple years ago, for emergencies and to keep in touch w/the wife as it allows for x-amount of text messages base on whatever subscription you sign up for. Min is $12 monthly; get like 10 text messages allowance... all via satellite. Not for everyone, but figure its cheap insurance. These days I carry it every everywhere... never know when I'll need it (esp since I moto about often
     cuz traffic sucks here in Kalifornia :)
    Aloha Raden,

    Sorry to hear for your mishap, glad you made it out. Lucky you weren't alone and had a friend. We hear about these things all the time in Hawaii, tourist gets lost hiking, falls off of a cliff, falls down in a lava tube, the one's we could find right away has always been the one's who went alone. Hope you'll have a speedy recovery.

    Aloha, Keone
    A "GPS" is often the name used for handheld GPS receivers. These devices only tell you where you are by receiving a GPS or other geolocation service signal. What you are looking for is a PLB (personal locator beacon).

    PLB is cheap insurance at $10-25/mo and can give friends and family the opportunity to venture with you vicariously, or, if shtf, let someone else know where you were 0-30 minutes ago. Garmin and Spot are the big names, but there are others. Some offer non-emergency 1- and 2-way communication. My pick is Garmin inReach because it offers 2-way texting and is a full-featured handheld GPS navigator. There are a few PLBs with no service charge that are only for sending an emergency message. PLBs use a commercial satellite and monitoring service that relay your message to local first responders or Coast Guard in an emergency. Some do not have true global coverage, but all cover most of the inhabited and navigable planet.

    You can also get an EPIRB, which is only for emergency use. These have no service plan and are monitored by government agencies. Theoretically, an EPIRB offers faster response because it's monitored by those who do the rescuing, but that's only the case on the ocean or Great Lakes. On land an EPIRB message still must be relayed to local first responders. Some EPIRBs also have automated deployment options that activate when your vessel submerges or certain systems detect catastrophic damage. EPIRBs tend to be on airplanes and commercial shipping, but anyone can buy and deploy one and they are also found on ocean- and Great Lakes cruising yachts. 

    Both EPIRBs and PLBs need clear views of the sky to receive GPS signals and send their messages to satellites. In practice, they do have some success even with tree cover or from within a vehicle or vessel. There are radio-based PLBs that don't require satellite access to send a message, but their use cases are rather specific to military, aircraft, and some man-overboard applications. You have to go out of your way to find a radio-based PLB.

    A PLB is not a panacea. Batteries die, messages go unreceived, and signals get distorted. You still must always be prepared to survive and self-rescue. Also, don't forget that first responders will literally risk their lives to find you, and may choose to delay or forego a search and rescue if the risk is too great or they have higher priorities. 
    Yeah nothing is fool proof. I'm just adding redundancy to my systems. I think I'm going to go with the spot. I might look more into Garmin tho. No rush I won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I do think it's an excellent idea to carry one. I thought I was pretty prepared with my edc but honestly forget the GPS this would not have happened if I was wearing boots. Sometimes low tech beats high tech.