I'm joining up to the Preparedness Challenge that Amy at Homestead Revival has been hosting on Saturdays for months now. I've joined up once or twice in the past, but really just haven't been doing much on a weekly basis to get better prepared. I've been meaning to, but just haven't made the time or money for it... Something I've been knowing I should remedy, but just haven't. Luckily our lifestyle makes us more prepared than a lot of people, but still no excuse to not be really really prepared!
This week grouse hunting season opened in our area, and since my husband is really into bird hunting we've been out multiple times, driving the backroads and jumping into creek beds at the slightest hint of grouse, hiking closed roads, trails, and promising ridgelines, and overall just spending a lot of time outside in the wilderness. Before we headed out the first morning, I went through the pack that currently has most of our go-bag-type items, made sure I knew what was in it, and shifted some things to the pack one of us would be carrying with us as we hunted. The main pack would stay in the vehicle, and have some of the larger items - crank operated radio, water purification tablets, a headlamp, energy bars, a big water bottle, etc. In the smaller hydration pack I put things that would be important to keep us going while we were out hunting, or get us back to the vehicle if something happened - compass, whistle, knife, some extra food, another headlamp, small water bottle, Little M's sippy cup, that sort of thing. Whoever isn't carrying Little M on their back carries the hydration pack.
I felt pretty good about what we had with us, and definitely more prepared than in years past. But as I haven't yet gotten around to actually putting together designated go bags for each of us, let alone vehicle kits, I knew I didn't have everything we might need, although I wouldn't have predicted the item that we ended up needing!
Yes, both back tires were off the ground and spinning freely, the jeep was caught up on the back right bumper after we cut the corner of this whoopdedo (what the forest service around here uses to try to close roads off from the public) a bit tighter than we should have... Of course we were able to made do with what we had, which was a simple jack like you would use to change a tire, but having a high lift jack would have gotten the back end rotated around and us back on the road a lot quicker (in my husband's more knowledgeable opinion - I've never really gotten badly stuck in the woods before). We do have a high lift jack, and at times it has been in one of the trucks, but I've never seen it in the jeep that is our main grouse hunting rig, and with only one, I suspect it would always be in the vehicle that was sitting back in the driveway at home... I guess I'll have to put a high lift jack on the vehicle kit lists! There really isn't anything like actually being there & surviving to realize what you really need!
The other preparedness thing that we have been doing this past week is working on our hunting skills. The daily limit on grouse is 4 per person. Opening day I shot 2 grouse and my husband shot 1, and the second day we each shot 4. Not bad shooting I would say! In a survival situation, it is reasurring to know that we could provide meat for our family (providing we had something to shoot with and were in an area where wild game was present of course!).
Not only were we working on our shooting skills, we were working on our dogs skills - we have 2 wire haired pointing griffons - bird dogs - and we've been honing their bird scenting and retrieving skills. It doesn't do any good to be a great shot if you can't find any birds to begin with, or if the bird falls into a thicket when it falls and you can't find it - so our dogs have been doing really well for us!