Be prepared and never give up: The lesson of man who crawled miles with broken leg
In most instances, our big game hunting adventures go off without a hitch. We set out in anticipation of a great harvest with bragging rights aplenty, hiking through air thick with excitement. In a perfect world, we get the animal we are seeking, but that is not always the case. Sometimes we instead commune with nature without a big game animal making an appearance. Even days like this aren’t too shabby due to the relaxing environment and being able to do what we love. Then when all is said and done, we return home unscathed to family and friends at the end of the hunt.
That is, if things go according to plan.
At times life throws us curveballs in the form of best laid plans that go awry. It is because of these curveballs that we need to always be prepared for anything when setting out on a hunt, honing survival skills all year long. Though you may be fortunate enough to never need the emergency items in your pack, you should never hesitate to carry them. You also may never need to use survival skills you’ve learned, but having them in your arsenal is vital because the truth about hunting and life in general is that we need to always expect and be prepared for the unexpected.
A good example of a trip into the woods taking a turn for the worst is the story of John Sain. An avid hunter since the age of 13, Sain is far from someone you would expect to run into problems on a hunt, yet that is exactly what happened to him recently. As he stalked elk in the Salmon-Challis National Forest of McCall, Idaho, Sain took a misstep that brought his ability to continue moving to an abrupt halt when a shifting log caused an injury that rendered him immobile.
"I stepped up on a log, there were two logs, and my foot slipped in between them," he said. "My momentum went forward and it snapped the two bottom bones in my right leg, the tib and the fib, in half."
Being that he was six miles down the Jackson Creek Trail and out of cell phone range, Sain suddenly found himself in dire straits. The pain was intense and he had lost most use of his leg. At one point he decided to simply give up, taking the time to write farewell letters to family as he contemplated mercifully ending his own life.
But then he decided to fight.
Instead of succumbing to the pain and accepting defeat, Sain fashioned a splint for his leg out of cloth and sticks. Once this was done, he set out crawling over the next two and a half days. The distance he managed to cover still did not get him within cell phone range and his provisions were waning. Each night he built a fire for warmth and he survived on the little food he had, using a water purifier to drink. Even then, the pain and dehydration again brought him to the brink of giving up. Instead he held steadfastly to his faith and soon his pleas were answered.
On the afternoon of day four since being injured, two men on motorcycles stumbled upon John Sain. One of the men left to place a phone call for assistance and McCall Fire and Rescue set out to help. They were able to stabilize Sain while chainsaws were used to clear an area for Life Flight to land. It was thanks to the combined efforts of these people that Sain was then transported to a hospital in Boise where he is recovering surgery.
Though his experience was harrowing, Sain fully intends to return to hunting. What he does plan to change, however, is the supplies he carries along with him. In the future, he will be adding a satellite phone or GPS locator to ensure that he can summon help in the event that he someday needs it again.
This story should give us all a moment of pause before we set out on our next big game hunt.
You truly never know when or how tragedy may strike so it is imperative that you are prepared in the event that it does. We cannot eradicate the possibility of accidents or even sheer bad luck, but we can take steps to protect ourselves when it does. If you’ve been delaying adding some survival gear to your hunting pack, let this story serve as the push you need to not wait another minute.