Bushcraft First Aid–Book Review

by Gary Howes
Guns and Gunsmiths Editor

Scenario 1: You are in the backyard of your luxury home in the suburbs of a major city, climbing your apple tree to get the ripe fruit at the top. You fall however, and land hard on your leg causing what appears to be a compound fracture. Your wife is out shopping for a new bedspread so you can’t call her. What do you do?

Answer: You reach into your pocket and use your cell phone to call 911. Within minutes they are loading you into an ambulance and whisking you away to the hospital just a couple of miles down the road.

Scenario 2: You and your buddy Bob have gone hunting in an isolated forest miles from any town and with no cell phone service. You walk about a mile away from your campsite, and despite being old and overweight, Bob tries to climb an old tree to set up a tree stand. The branch he is standing on breaks and Bob falls, sustaining a compound fracture to his leg. You know there is no way you can carry him back to the campsite where you left the satellite emergency communications device. What do you do?

A traction splint like this can make a broken femur much more stable that a regular splint. Knowing skills like this can make a big difference in a survival situation.

Answer: You use the resources at hand to fashion a traction splint and apply just enough pressure to pull the bone more or less into place. You apply a pressure bandage to slow the bleeding and make sure Bob is as comfortable as possible and has water, then hightail it back to the campsite and call for help on your satellite thingy (you know, the one you should have had on you the whole time!)

What’s the point of this? Simply that if you like to spend quality time away from help, cell phones, the missus, ambulances etc., you need to be able to act as your own first responder in case of emergencies. You need to know what medical supplies you should always carry, how to diagnose a medical problem, and have a good working knowledge of what to do to treat and stabilize an injury or sickness until you can get to professional help.

There are many first aid books available that can give you the basics of first aid, but now there is a book written specifically as a field guide to wilderness emergency care—Bushcraft First Aid by Dave Canterbury (author of Bushcraft 101) and Jason A. Hunt, PhD. (Adams Media, copyright 2017 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.)

Compact enough to easily fit in your backpack, and heavily illustrated, this great resource has everything you need to know to assess, diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical issues from simple bleeding, treating fractures, blisters and burns, acute and chronic illnesses, insect and animal bites, contact with poisonous plants, and much much more. There is even a section on correctly identifying and using plant medicines that can help alleviate symptoms and prevent infections.

From cuts and burns to broken bones and head injuries, Bushcraft First Aid is the guide you need to stay safe through all of your outdoor adventures.

You can find it on Amazon HERE. Or you can ask for it at your local bookstore (do they still exist?) or a good outdoor supply company.

8 Responses to Bushcraft First Aid–Book Review

  1. Definitely going to have to pick this one up to add to the bush craft collection. You never know what little bit of information you can recall in a tough situation may dictate whether you make it home or feed the buzzards. Heck may have to get 2 and just keep one in my pack!

    • Yup, me too! Besides, I’ve already got the other three*. I might as well complete the set!

      *”Bushcraft 101″, “Advanced Bushcraft” & “The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild”.

  2. May as well see if you can pick up a combat medic manual too. I’m going to have to do that too, My combat medicine was over 50n years ago.

      • I know a kid who is going to be sent to Ft.Sam for his Medic training after he finishes his Basic training. With luck he should be able to procure a text or two. I managed to liberate a couple when I went through there in ’63. Combat Medicine has changed a lot since then, and even general emergency medicine. Even with over 50 years in the medical profession I admit I would be out of my depth in a lot of situations outside the hospital.

      • I think there’s a new 68W book out now. I think it’s titled 68W Advanced Field Craft Combat Medic Skills. I have around here somewhere a ST 31-91B. It’s a pocket manual titled US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook. Ray may be more help than me and I’ll try and dig in dad’s stack of manuals and see if I come up with anything more.

  3. Thanks Gary, I’m a retired Army Guy, a couple of indispensable items for major bleeds would be quick Clot impregnated bandages, and super glue, crazy glue , butterfly bandages.

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