I am retired from the U.S. Army, and safety has been beaten into my head since I was a private. This discipline has carried over from my military career and into my life as a civilian who hunts.
Because I hunt in a vast, 5,000-acre area, getting lost could be a very real and very life-threatening proposition. I take special precautions not to get lost, but in the event it happens, I carry a couple of simple items that would help greatly in my recovery.
A strobe light and whistle can mean the difference between life and death, so I keep them attached to my harness at all times.
The strobe light serves two purposes. First, it’s a point of reference when I get down after dark to go retrieve a deer. I turn it on and hang it in a visible place near my stand so I can’t lose my bearings while focusing on a blood trail.
Secondly, it allows searchers to have an easier time finding me should I get injured or lost.
The whistle also serves as a location device if I get lost. It can pierce out into distance where a human voice cannot, and it will not give out like vocal cords. It works day or night, rain or shine.
Strobe lights and whistles are very affordable and take up very little room. You can purchase them online or find them at practically any sporting goods retailer.
Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
Getting lost happens a lot more than you’d think, even to experienced outdoorsmen. I got lost in an ice storm while fishing alone in the Rockies in 2014. Luckily, I had the forethought to bring items such as a whistle, strobe light, laser pointer, compass, fire starter kit and space blanket — all of which came in handy. Eventually, I found my way out, but a hiker perished there later in the fall. Sadly, he did not have the proper safety equipment.