BlackOvis.com
Do you gather emergency firewood?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 09-Jan-22
Oryx35 09-Jan-22
jstephens61 09-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 09-Jan-22
Straight Shooter 09-Jan-22
Shuteye 09-Jan-22
DonVathome 10-Jan-22
Scar Finga 10-Jan-22
DonVathome 10-Jan-22
Scar Finga 10-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 10-Jan-22
Pop-r 10-Jan-22
LKH 10-Jan-22
elkmtngear 10-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 10-Jan-22
Rocky D 11-Jan-22
SlipShot 11-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 11-Jan-22
DonVathome 11-Jan-22
Rocky D 11-Jan-22
DonVathome 11-Jan-22
DonVathome 12-Jan-22
cnelk 12-Jan-22
APauls 12-Jan-22
goelk 17-Jan-22
From: DonVathome
09-Jan-22
I have never gathered emergency firewood. I was in AK last year and after days of rain that turned to snow and a long rough night that was the only time I have ever been nervous in the wilderness I mightin the future. This was AK, flown in, snowstrom, solo, 70 total pounds of gear. Minimal camp. You get the idea. I was above treeline so firewood was almost nonexistant. After rain snow, it was not possible to make a fire. Had I gathered a little wood befroehand I could have.

I figure a LOT has alredy gone wrong if you need a fire to survive. However gathering a small amount just in case?

So do you ever gather a stash of firewood just in case?

I am guessing 85% so no......................

I will vote first

No (but I might going forward)

From: Oryx35
09-Jan-22
I haven't in the past, but you've given me something to think about.

From: jstephens61
09-Jan-22
Gather kindling. Enough kindling, I can get a fire going.

From: Grey Ghost
09-Jan-22
I think if I was solo hunting above treeline in Alaska, I probably would have stockpiled some fire wood. I did a DIY caribou hunt with my cousin on the AK tundra several years ago. We used an air taxi service to fly us in and out. Mid-way thru our 2 week hunt, it rained/snowed for 4 straight days. Keeping a dry stash of firewood became our biggest daily chore during that time. I was never concerned about our well-being, but I think that was the most miserable 4 days I've ever spent in the outdoors. Without fire, it could have been dangerous.

Matt

09-Jan-22
Don I’ll go..

Safety and preparation is always my main concern when planning any wilderness hunt. If you’re talking about solo hunts (which I know is how you mostly roll) safety and prep should be your #1 times 10 concern! Especially if we’re talking AK, you can’t hunt the day you fly so yes I’d be gathering wood!

You planning on going to AK this year?

09-Jan-22
Above tree line or on the tundra. Unless you have a wood stove or a tepee to have fire in. It’s really only good for you mentally. A fire outside is usually a waste of energy.

There are survival videos on the subject

If it’s for your attitude and drying socks, it would be nice to have. If you were in a real bind you either get in your bag or start walking.

For a comfort fire it’s a good idea to have a stash of covered wood.

From: Shuteye
09-Jan-22
I used to but no longer. I have plenty of bottled gas and big buddy heaters. Even a couple little Buddy heaters.

From: DonVathome
10-Jan-22
Altitude sickness hits the nail on the head IMO. I will add my tent (Hilberg Atko 1) can, and was collapsing under wet snow. I woke up at 2AM to FINALLY not hear rain. That is good I thought. Then I realized it was a lot colder then the past nights and lsitened very closely. YUP, just what I thought........ IU could here the snow flakes huitting my tent. My next action, which I have done many time was tap tap the tent oevr my head - knowing full well it would produce a cold rain shower which it did. As expected I heard a lot of snow slide off my tent.

Next I got my headlamp and saw the bottom on he tent had collapsed onto my feet. Getting my sleeping bag wet. I immediatly got up and went outside to, literally, snwflakes 1.5" - 2" in diameter falling fast. My tent was already covered. Fixed tent crawled back in getting another fun wet shower. Set my alarm for every 20 minutes in case I fell asleep so I would tap the tent to make the snow slide off. Meanwhile thinking about no way to start a fire. I doubt if my tent collpased it would rip - my thought was maybe if it collapsed enough and a pole broke it could rip the the tent. The Atko only has 1 pole across the middle and if it broke at the top and ripped my tent now things got really dangerous fast. The stories of that area getting 40" of snow in a couple days at that time a couple years before did not help my nerves. Also the fact that my gear was all somewhat wet was not great.

I ifgured wortse case I was making a lean to with tent pieces and a tarp I had. I also have 3 contrator garbage bags. The lean to with afire MIGHT help - but as mentioned above gathering enough firewood could easily have killed mea lot faster then mother nature just sitting tight with no fire.

I still think the piece of mind would have been worth it - but I think, even in that situation which is about as bad as things get, it is highly doubtful that a fire would have been a lifesaver. Agan keep in mind open fire, not stove, very very very little wood. Even if I had a stash it would last hours then I would need to get more getting colder and wetter and working to keep the fire going.

SS no not this year, unless I draw muskox. Got a good bou, not the monster I was hoping for (and saw) but a good one - no need to go back. Got a good moose 2 years ago. I am out of the AK draws going forward. I LOVE Alaska, and will be back, not sure for what but not likely anytime soon.

From: Scar Finga
10-Jan-22
I am like Shuteye! But if I was packing in, and I have, I always stock up on extra kindling, firewood and have plenty of fire-starter with me!!

Nothing worse than being really cold and wet, and not being able to start a fire!!

On that topic, how many of you have actually tried to start a fire using nothing but what you have in your pack? It's not as easy as some people think!

From: DonVathome
10-Jan-22
I have started a fire with what is in my pack many times under adverse conditions - and often I made it harder for fun. Always been good with fire. With anything remotely resembling a fuel source I can make due. I even got my teenage girls excited about the challenge of starting afire with minimal stuff and wet wood.

From: Scar Finga
10-Jan-22
That's good DoVathome!! Very few guys I know have ever even tried it! When I take them out and ask them to start a fire from the contents in their pack, they end up looking like a deer in the headlights! LOL!

From: Grey Ghost
10-Jan-22
I've always read and heard that the most important thing in a wilderness survival situation is keeping a positive attitude. In a wet and cold situation, I think a fire lends itself to that more than anything. A fire can also be used for purifying water, cooking food, signaling rescuers, drying clothes, light, keeping predators away, etc...I've never heard anyone claim that making a fire was a "waste of energy". But then, I don't get much of my information from Youtube videos.

Matt

From: Pop-r
10-Jan-22
As Matt said I can't imagine not. It can save your life!

From: LKH
10-Jan-22
My brother and I were flown in to a small lake to hunt sheep in the MT Harper draw (only 4 permits per year but sheep few).

We paid for an extra gear flight and put 10 lbs of ready to light charcoal in the load. Was nice, especially for cooking sheep on a fork.

Spent 40 hours with the tent poles beating us two nights and one day. The guys the period before us said they hunted one day then spent a week trying to stay alive.

10-Jan-22
GG read the OP again. “ I was above treeline so firewood was almost nonexistant. After rain snow, it was not possible to make a fire. Had I gathered a little wood befroehand I could have”

Actually all the things you posted are what internet warriors will tell you to do.

Look up the U.S. Army Ranger re warming technique

10-Jan-22

Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Altitude Sickness 's embedded Photo
Also look up the U.S. Navy re warming techniques. In the Navy we learned even a warm shower wont work. Only being fully submerged in a warm bath will.

So since you don’t have a bathtub up on the hill you need to move to create energy or get in your bag if you have an appropriate bag

10-Jan-22
Don, You asked a serious question don’t be led astray be weekend warriors. Here’s how to rewarm yourself in the real world.

Search for this video “How to Survive Hypothermia like a Navy SEAL”

From: elkmtngear
10-Jan-22

elkmtngear's embedded Photo
elkmtngear's embedded Photo
"On that topic, how many of you have actually tried to start a fire using nothing but what you have in your pack"?

Idaho, 2017. Started it with tampons, and a striker. There was about 3 inches of snow on the ground, outside the grove. Most of that big dead log in the foreground, ended up burnt, by the next morning. Had to stomp out a couple little spot fires.

From: Grey Ghost
10-Jan-22
Jay,

The premise of this thread asked whether the average hunter would benefit from gathering emergency firewood in the event they may need it. To that extent, I think the obvious answer is "YES". It doesn't ask whether the effort is worth it *after* conditions have gotten severe enough that trying to gather wood and start a fire puts a hunter at risk of hypothermia. It takes only a matter of hours to gather enough wood and prepare a sheltered fire area that could save your life. I don't care where you are. Preparation for unexpected weather is at the top of my list when conditions are conducive to do so. I'm not a navy seal, but that seems obvious to me.

Matt

11-Jan-22
Matt, Sorry for my smart a$$ comments. I was concerned that some may have the wrong info on rewarming when hyperthermia sets in.

If you have access to unlimited wood and have an established fire. And it’s going before you get too cold. It’s a benefit. That’s a different topic than starting a fire in a heavy conifer forested area to warm your toes during lunch. My bad, I guess I read it differently.

11-Jan-22
Sorry phone auto correct keeps putting in Hyperthermia

From: Rocky D
11-Jan-22
This entire thread is technically a mute point. A survival situation is exactly that, you do not get to be in charge of the variables!

Unfortunately, when we are confronted with situations like this we are limited to what’s in our possession and whatever the environment or circumstances provides!

Talking about firewood above tree line is probably why a lot of people is not commenting on this post!

Don, be thankful that you are alive and learn from this situation!

Look at the situation you were in and think about your equipment and how you could respond differently! More than likely firewood will not be part of the equation! Also, consider minor tweaks to your gear to be better prepared the next time if there is a next time!

Think about how you can keep things dry better and if your sleeping bag does get wet then you have to resort to the gear you have!

If that had been me I would’ve probably gotten up I would’ve put on my clothes then I would put on my Rain suit, try to remain calm, and stay awake!

I have stated here before that in 1985 I got caught above tree line on a sheep hunt in Alaska and had to do just that!

You did but it took are we would not be having this conversation!

From: SlipShot
11-Jan-22
No but I always and I mean always have fire starter when I'm out. Just small water proof plastic vile stuffed with cotton balls soaked in vaseline. I also carry multiple ignitors, waterproof matches in a waterproof plastic container, lighter in a waterproof container. you can light this on top of snow and it will burn down to the ground.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Jan-22
Don,

If you don't mind me asking, did you know there was a possibility of rain/snow on your hunt? Did you hike thru timbered areas to get to your.camping spot above treeline? How far from timber were you, and was there enough time and decent weather to gather wood before the storms hit?

Matt

From: DonVathome
11-Jan-22
I knew about everything and I was far from having my life threatened. I hot what would be considered a bad stretch and was fine. That said had things taken another big turn it could have gotten hairy. Lying awake in the dark fours hours listening to the largest snowflakes I have ever heard did not help keep a PMA (positive mental attitude).

I would say by no means was I in any real danger, and I had a plb and sat phone, but one more big step the wrong way and it would have been a full time job staying alive.

I hunted that afternoon. Found fresh griz tracks 300 yards away - saw that griz later digging out ground squirrels with a glacier a as backdrop!

Lot's of good points here. I was mostly curious about how many guys gather firewood "just in case".

I was flown in and trees might have well have been on the moon for all purposes. I was at the foo of a glacier with a large river between me and trees. I did have bushes up to 1" in diameter around.

From: Rocky D
11-Jan-22
Don, I think that you and your equipment was weighed and measured and found worthy of taking on the challenge of hunting solo in Alaska!

My comment was not made to cast shade on you or your abilities!

Most do not possess the knowledge or confidence to go it alone!

From: DonVathome
11-Jan-22
Haha no worries. Experience and a level head (and good gear) go a looong way.

From: DonVathome
12-Jan-22
One thing I heard years ago was early hypothermia can make using a lighter or matches impossible - so you have to be careful and not wait to long. I read that touching your little finger to your thumb was a good test, if you can't STOP and warm up. I often do that check, never had an issue but it could save your life.

From: cnelk
12-Jan-22
I recently read a quote about fire making - and it made a lot of sense

"The longer you take preparing a fire, the faster you will have a fire"

From: APauls
12-Jan-22
I always have a days extra. But I have never been in a place where there was not some amount of wood around.

From: goelk
17-Jan-22
your tent failed you more than anything

  • Sitka Gear