“Everyone is lucky until they aren’t…” – John Barklow
John could not have said it any better and to take it a step further, luck breeds complacency which results in contentment and culminates in over-confidence. So if we take equal parts luck, complacency and contentment combined, you have the recipe for a potentially life-ending situation. This really strikes home in our location of Wyoming.
In January a local newspaper reporter went missing in the North Fork drainage west of Cody. A horseback rider found him earlier this week and it was determined he died from hypothermia. He was a little over two miles from the main road.
Why do I bring this terribly tragic example up? Lest we lose a life in vain. To learn and possibly save the life of another. Simply put, you need the proper gear with you at all times when you decide to leave the trailhead. A simple “day hunt” has been the downfall of more than one of our fellow hunters. On an extended backcountry trip, the risk factor is even higher.
With all the gear choices we have to make (and I know I am guilty of this) I tend to think of my bow or rifle as my most critical gear choice. After all, that’s what I am punching my tag with. But what if I were robbed of the chance by poor clothing choice? Your complete gear system should be purpose selected and tested for getting you out of a bind should you find yourself in one. This drill was eye-opening for me in more ways than one and I hope it is for you too. Don’t rely on luck, don’t ever be content and certainly leave the over-confidence for sharing with your buddies around the campfire.
Be sure to read the full Rewarming Drill article in EHJ 160 and watch it on our YouTube channel with Sitka Gear’s John Barklow and Eastmans’ own, Todd Helms. These two bite the proverbial bullet in hopes that you’ll trust your own system and gain some skills that you can take with you for a lifetime.
While this experience was incredibly rewarding and informative along with a good deal of fun, we must stress that this was an extreme test. We took very guarded steps to ensure the safety of all involved and had as much control as possible of the situation. Please DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to recreate this drill in any way shape or form. John Barklow is a professional with extensive training and years of experience. The Eastmans’ staff also made sure that every precaution was taken. We had a trained first responder on scene, emergency personnel a phone call away, heated trailer to retreat to, personal flotation devices on hand and plenty of people on hand to bail John and I out if need be. This is a dangerous drill and should not be recreated in any manner.