The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

This publication was produced by Game Council NSW PO Box 2506 Orange NSW 2800 Phone: (02) 6360 5100 Fax: (02) 6361 2093 Email: info@gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au

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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

LIST OF CONTENTS
Glossary of Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.1 Learning Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.2 Common Bush Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.2 Steps To Be Taken If You Become Lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.4 Distress Signals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.5 Map Reading and Ground Navigation . 4.2.5 Observation Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.6 Survival Kits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.7 Emergency Basic First Aid Kit Minimum Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.8 Learning Exercise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.8 Example Assessment Question . . . . . . 4.3.9 References for Further Reading and Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.9 Self Assessment Checklist . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.10

GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Aldo Leopold – father of modern conservation theory. ASAP – As soon as possible. EPIRB – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons. GPS – Satellite based Global Positioning System to let you know where you are and how to get to where you want to go. Hypothermia – The body functions run down from extreme cold. Hyperthermia – The body overheats and goes into an internal self destruct cycle. Lanyard – Attached cord. Myriad – Vast number.

BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

INTRODUCTION
Bushcraft and survival skills cannot be learnt all at once and solely out of a book. It takes time, practice and trial and error. This unit will provide you with important basic facts on bushcraft and a starting point from which to develop your bushcraft skills. You may wish to undertake the St. John’s Ambulance first aid course, which will train you to deal with medical emergencies. Every time you are in the bush, you should take every opportunity to hone your bushcraft skills. Your life could depend on them.

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UNIT 4.3

The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
On completion of this Unit you will: • Know about the common bush hazards and how to deal with them. • Have the basic knowledge to deal with hunting related medical emergencies. • Know what to do if you get lost. • Be able to improvise shelter and fire. • Know the basics of emergency signalling. • Have knowledge of map reading and compass navigation and know how to develop good location observation skills. • Be able to assemble a survival kit to suit your needs.

indicates the water is extremely dangerous and impassable. If you cannot determine the depth then you should only cross with a strong staff to probe the bottom and use a safety rope, always putting the staff into the water upstream and to your side. The water pressure will then keep the end down. Never cross in the dark or barefoot, always leave your boots on. Linking arms with one or two companions and moving one at a time, caterpillar style will allow the person(s) not moving to support the one that is moving until they gain a stable footing. Sending one person across tied to a safety rope held by the rest of the party is another good practice. Cross where the water is widest as the current here is usually at its slowest. Backpacks should be carried ready to slip off when crossing. Firearms must always be carried unloaded when crossing. If in doubt, DO NOT CROSS. Go elsewhere or wait for the waters to drop.

COMMON BUSH HAZARDS
High winds and bushfires
The most dangerous situations in the bush are high winds and bushfires. Fire is an obvious hazard. Report fires ASAP. Seek and follow the advice of the local bushfire brigade Captain.

Other hazards

The camping tools we use can present hazards if not used with care. Chainsaws, axes, knives, High winds are dangerous with the risk of falling power winches all have inherent dangers that must be recognised and avoided. Any vehicle trees or large branches. Both can be life threatening. Immediately exit timbered areas to recovery exercise should be done slowly and cautiously and members of the group not open farmland. Come back for your tent and directly involved should keep well clear of the gear later. It is replaceable, you are not. vehicles being recovered.

Flooded streams and rivers

Rivers and streams must always be crossed with caution, as they are a major killer. Flooding streams can rise rapidly so a return trip is not always as safe as when you first crossed. Water swirling high over large boulders, or the sound of submerged rocks rolling along the bottom
4.3.2

When hunting, avoid rock faces as the rocks can be wet and slippery and a fall may be life threatening. Hunting through bush after dark is best avoided. Do not camp under hollow or dead trees or limbs, as they can randomly drop or break even in the absence of wind. Check your camp area for bull ant nests, spiders,
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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

scorpions and snakes. Clear away debris and rocks before pitching your tent. To prevent your fire from escaping you should remove all inflammable materials within 3 meters of you fireplace pit when dry, and within 1 meter when wet. Make sure your fire is OUT when leaving camp. Cover your fireplace with soil when departing permanently.

Becoming lost

another person inside it with them, stripped to underwear for maximum heat transfer to SLOWLY rewarm them. Give small quantities of warm drinks if the victim is conscious but never give alcohol. Seek medical aid promptly if recovery is not quick and remain with the victim until such help arrives. It is critical that a repeat episode does not occur within 7 days.

BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

Hyperthermia occurs when we over exert in hot weather or where sweating is ineffective in high humidity. If allowed to get out of control it becomes irreversible and will kill. Symptoms are headache, flushed features, faintness, and absence of sweating after initially being profuse, mental disturbance, collapse and convulsions. Act early and quickly. Find Medical emergencies shade, remove clothing, create air movement and apply cold water or The most common medical emergencies are caused by cold and exposure, heat stress, burns, preferably ice in towels. Immerse in river. Arrange for medical help and evacuation to lack of water, cuts, falls and sprains. a medical facility. If hunting in summer, snake bite is an added but Dehydration will kill within one to three low risk. Most snake bites occur when people days and is discussed in further detail attempt to kill snakes, so leave them alone. If bitten, apply a bandage firmly but not too tightly below. so as to cut off circulation. Start at the top of the Gunshot wounds, because of the nature of limb and wrap down to and over the bite. the soft pointed ammunition and shot shell Minimise all further activity by the victim and loads used and their muzzle velocities, will arrange emergency evacuation. cause massive wounds that are often Getting lost is a possibility so always tell some one where you are going and when you expect to return, preferably in writing and do not deviate from this plan. This is the first rule of survival. Travel plans can be left with a relative or with the nearest Police Station. Remember to notify them when you return. Hypothermia is life threatening. It is most common if clothing is too light or becomes wet when there is a cold wind blowing. Speech becomes slurred, vision becomes tunnelled and thought processes become deranged and confused. Excessive fatigue, shivering and drowsiness is seen. Victims often deny that there is a problem. Action: Provide shelter from rain and wind and wet ground. Wrap victim in a warm sleeping bag, or foil space blanket and get
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immediately fatal. Such massive trauma can only be given minimal treatment as first aid. Immediate priorities are pressure dressings to reduce blood loss, treating shock by keeping the victim warm, positive reassurance to reduce fear. The urgent mission is to evacuate the victim to a highgrade hospital facility ASAP. Helicopter transport, if rapidly available is first choice, otherwise by car, but don’t kill
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UNIT 4.3

The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

paperbark even if raining, as the inner layers remain dry. A candle stub, grease paper or inner tube rubber strip is a good fire starter. Pick (Sprains, fractures, and wounds are dealt with small fine dead twigs from standing bushes for using standard first aid measures described in the early fuel, as these are usually the driest. the St Johns Ambulance first aid course.) Later use thicker ones, then any old wood, wet develops STEPS TO BE TAKEN IF YOU BECOME LOST or dry once itbe dried byenough heat. Wet your matches can placing them in Don’t panic. Stop where you are and think about hair under a hat or beanie. Build your fire within the protection of your chosen shelter your likely location and what to do next. Don’t against a larger back log to reflect heat. Fire and rush about, as you will only exhaust yourself. smoke is also a signal device (there will be Stay put, rest, think and wait awhile. If you more on signalling later). Practice your fire explore along the way you have previously making skills under adverse conditions before it walked, mark your path with pieces of toilet becomes a survival necessity. This is a skill you paper or bits of hot pink plastic tape tied to want to have mastered before it is really needed. bushes at regular intervals, each one being in sight of the next. If you do not regain your Water bearings and are still lost after this initial exploration then you will need shelter, warmth, Death from thirst may occur in one to three days water, and food - in that order. If you have only depending on temperatures. Try to locate a the first three then you can live for many days stream, soak, or rock hole. Birds can lead you without food. You must always carry a knife and to them at dawn or dusk. Water can be obtained a gas lighter as essential survival tools. with a plastic sheet and a hole in the ground by distilling picked foliage with the sun’s heat. Shelter Learn how to do this. If you don’t have much Strips or pieces of bark, shrubs, palm leaves or water, then you will need to minimise water loss grass can thatch a frame shelter tied with vines, through exertion, so you should stay in the shade and rest. Certain plant roots can be dug strips of bark, bootlaces or other sources. Or you can find a rock overhang, a hollow tree or a up which hold water and the liquid can be sucked from the roots. Car radiator water often log to keep off rain or wind. A lightweight contains antifreeze and is toxic so should not be silvered space blanket, emergency poncho or two large plastic garbage liners can keep you dry drunk. It can be distilled as above. and can act as a windbreak. Pack all three in your survival kit. Check them from time to time Food for deterioration or worn parts. Your bow or rifle can provide food and with a little care or you can make a spear, or make Fire snares or traps. A length of fishing line and a hook tied on a stick or used as a set line will Fire can be started using a butane lighter, matches, magnifying glass or flint and steel using catch fish. Have these in your survival kit. Learn to identify bush tucker plants and fruits and dry leaves and working inside a hollow tree or where to find wood grubs, grass hoppers and under layers of stripped stringy bark or yourself driving too fast as that will not fix anything.
4.3.4
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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

moths as they are all valuable survival foods.

DISTRESS SIGNALS

Choose your route via the easier gradients to avoid problems.

To find your location on the map, place The universal signal of three rifle shots or other your compass on it and rotate the map to align your map’s magnetic north (marked sounds spaced evenly fifteen seconds apart MN as distinct from the true north. Both means ‘come to me’, and these are answered are always shown) with the free-swinging with two shots of the same time interval to compass needle. The map is now confirm contact. Always carry sufficient orientated with your surroundings. Next, ammunition for a series of distress signals. A whistle is useful in some situations. Smoke from locate two high points around you and find them on the map. By drawing a line on green branches on a hot fire can be a good signal for aircraft, as are mirror flashes, flames, your map bearing from each high point, or a torch in the dark. The SOS distress signal in your exact location is to be found at the Morse code is three dots or short signals, three point where these two lines intersect on your map. The distance from this point to dashes or longer signals followed by three a proposed destination can now be further dots. It can also be written in sand or measured using a stick or other substitute made with rows of stones. ruler and then making a calculation using Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons the scale on the side of your map. (EPIRBs) can be carried. Once set off they It is always wise to carry a smaller spare cannot be deactivated. You will be charged for the cost of the aerial search even if the EPIRB is compass in case the main one malfunctions or breaks. A magnetic set off accidentally, you will also have to pay a $10,000 dollar fine for using EPIRBS in non-life compass is essential on flat areas without landmarks and in places where thick mist threatening situations. You can expect a delay before a ground party arrives. In remote areas, a occurs, but you need to take home base satellite telephone gives reliable communication. bearings in advance. Locate the direction of your camp visually or with the map MAP READING AND GROUND aligned as before and read off how many degrees on either side of magnetic north NAVIGATION this direction is and write it down. If your landmarks become obscured, then try to Good maps are essential for exploring new travel in line with the predetermined hunting territory. Get the smallest scale bearing. Small deviations will upset your (1:25000, that is, a scale of 250 meters of distance per centimetre of map, or smaller) and course, and here you will need to add corrections by dead reckoning. learn to interpret contour lines and vegetation types. The maps usually show height levels at 20 GPS units are another way of navigating. metre intervals with darker contour lines at They are expensive but reliable, provided every 100 metres. Rivers, creeks and dry water you know how to use them and do not run courses are also marked. The more closely out of battery power. Remember that thick packed the contour lines, the steeper the terrain. overhead tree cover interferes with satellite Joined contour lines indicate a sheer cliff.
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BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

4.3.5

UNIT 4.3

The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

location signals. The unit is heavy on battery power if used regularly so always carry a spare set of heavy-duty batteries. Continuously compare your location with a compass and map to ensure that you have a backup should your GPS fail. Do not risk becoming completely dependant on the GPS for your location and your direction of travel. You can run into a problem if you discover that you forgot to set the position in camp before you left or if the unit is damaged in a fall. Make a camp and wait if it gets dark, unless you have a torch by which to read your map. It is wise to wait until morning to continue or you will most likely become utterly lost. A satellite phone in remote areas can also provide reliable emergency communications provided you have a spare battery or means of recharging it.

Practice these observations because continual practice will improve your bush craft skills. Learn to feel comfortable and to be at home in the bush. Stay alert to your surroundings. It is when you don’t feel familiar and at ease with the bush that you can become lost. When you stop hearing the small birds twittering it is a sign that your observation and hunting alertness is flagging. Take a rest and recover this concentration before continuing. Use all your senses. We under utilise our sense of sight, smell and hearing. Alarm calls from birds tell you and the game what is going on. The passing of a fox or rutting stag can leave an air scent trail that will alert you to their presence. A small chip of bark from a limb overhanging a game trail may indicate the recent passing of an antlered deer.

Find and follow the game trails in whatever area you are hunting. They lead you to where the animals live and usually the game trail will be the easiest route and gradient through the OBSERVATION SKILLS country that you are hunting. These game trails Learn to orientate yourself to your surroundings will lead you up or down seemingly impassable rocky places, through or around thick scrubby and take note of the sun’s position at various patches and around areas of tangled, dead and times of the day as this can be related easily to north. Guess where north lies as you move about fallen trees, thus sparing you from battling through many bad places. Look also at the small and check this against your compass. Look for landmarks such as hills or other features. Look things around you. The sight of a patch of moss can indicate that water is nearby. Coloured fungi behind you regularly to check what your back trail and horizon looks like. That’s what you will growing on an old cut stump tell you there is probably an old logging track nearby. Your hunt see on your return journey so it pays to be can become a whole new exercise in detective familiar with it before turning for base camp. work that informs you about all manner of subtleties in your chosen patch. The more often Once in the bush, all trees, logs, stumps, and rocks will appear to look the same but they are you visit, the more you will see. Your hunting not. Each is unique and some are more unusual patch is like an open book with a new chapter to be read each time you visit. than others with big knots, lumps, peculiar twisted limbs, etc. These oddities can be useful Aldo Leopold in his series of short essays: A landmarks to particular parts of the track or to Sand County Almanac, leads us to such gulley entrances and should be noted for future revelations and this mindset can open a whole reference. Clumps of odd coloured scrub and new world to your hunting experiences. For rock formations can also be good landmarks.
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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

example, when you see tracks of a particular animal in an area, follow them, but also ask yourself, what is this one doing here and why. The answers can often be your key to future hunting success, but even more so, this will allow you to walk IN the forest and become part of it, instead of just walking THROUGH it as a visitor.

• Two large plastic garbage for shelter. • A compact polythene emergency poncho. • Light weight space (silver) blanket. • Ten spare rounds of ammunition, in a snap seal bag. • Light weight, very basic First Aid kit. • One water bottle of adequate volume.

SURVIVAL KITS
Survival kits are very personalised things. Each hunter will have his or her own variation. The few simple objects in it have a myriad of uses limited only by your powers of lateral thinking and improvisation skills.

BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

Optional items:
• Length of fishing line and hooks. • Rifle pull through. • Roll of red electrical tape. • Game carry strap for large, medium or small game. • A 30 metre coil of light pliable rope.

Minimal items are as follows:
• Spare folding knife- in case you lose your other one. • A second disposable gas cigarette lighter wrapped in glad wrap - you can check wind direction with your main one but it can malfunction, get wet or run out. • A plastic magnifying glass. • Small second magnetic compass. • Plastic whistle and lanyard. • A candle stub and three strips of inner tube rubber wrapped in grease paper and placed in a snap seal bag. These items can be used to light fires. • Several lengths of stout cord and two small coils of light copper wire. These can be used to repair bootlaces, rifle sling, belt etc. • A small torch, plus a set of spare heavy-duty batteries. • Small plastic signalling mirror. • A roll of hot pink plastic non-adhesive marking tape for marking trails.
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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

Photo: M Draisma

EMERGENCY BASIC FIRST AID KIT: MINIMUM CONTENTS
• Triangular calico bandage for wounds and fractures. • Bundle of bandaids. • Headache tablets. • Antacid tablets. • Water purification tablets, these can be used as a disinfectant wash also. • 10cm wide elastic bandage 2 meters in length. Can be used for snake bandage and sprains or wounds. • Clean handkerchief.

• Half toilet roll. A multipurpose item that can be used for wound dressing on top of a clean handkerchief, trail marking and the obvious.
All the items listed above are illustrated in this pack. Weight approximately 500 gms.

LEARNING EXERCISE
Assemble your personal survival kit. Hint: What you need in your kit will vary with the country you are hunting, the remoteness of your location and the number of people you are hunting with.

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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

Exercise

Make a list of dual purposes and alternative purposes for each item in your personal survival 1. Absalom, J. 1992 Safe Outback Travel, kit. You may wish to save on weight by not The Five Mile Press, Balwyn, Vic. duplicating items. 2. Australian Bowhunters Association EXAMPLE ASSESSMENT QUESTION National Bowhunter Education Manual. ABA. 3RD Edition. Bush hazards include high winds, wild fires, flooded streams, becoming lost and medical emergencies. True or False? List four reasonable precautions you would take when going bush. 1. 2. 3. 4. 3. Australian Deer Association Hunter Education Program. 10th Edition. A manual. ADA Victorian State Executive. Warragul Vic. 4. Harrison, M and Slee, K. 1995. The Australian Deerhunter’s Handbook. ADRF, Croydon, Vic.

REFERENCES FOR FURTHER READING AND LEARNING

BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

5. Leopold, A. 1933. Game Management. The Wisconsin University Press. Wisconsin USA. 6. Moore, F. Bush stalking Sambar Deer. SSAA Publications, Unley S.A. 7. Smith, G. 1992. A Guide to Hunting and Shooting in Australia, Shooters Association of Australia Publications, Unley SA.

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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

SELF ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST
1.

True

False

You should take shelter from high winds under trees. Water swirling high over large boulders or the sound of submerged rocks rolling along the bottom indicates that the water is extremely dangerous and impassable. Leave your boots on when crossing a flooded creek. Avoid rock faces, as rocks are often wet and slippery and a fall can be life threatening. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. The most common medical emergencies are caused by cold and exposure, heat stress, burns, lack of water, cuts, falls and sprains. With gunshot wounds, the urgent mission is to evacuate the victim to a high grade hospital facility ASAP. If you become lost, stop where you are and think about what to do next. If short of water conserve it by staying in shade, and resting. Exertion increases water loss.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

When you stop hearing the small birds twittering it is a sign that 10. your observation and hunting alertness is flagging. Take a rest and recover this concentration before continuing.

4.3.10

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The NSW Hunter Education Handbook

BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL SKILLS

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4.3.11

UNIT 4.3

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