Hunter Dies of Hypothermia (Case Study Excepts 2005)

In Hunters’ Education classes we often discuss the rule of 3’s. I don’t think we emphasize the reality of it enough. Sure we pass on its 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, and sometimes we even get the 3 hours of extreme expose. But do our students really understand how dangerous each of these is? I’ve had students say , “Yeah- will its only 3 weeks without food, I’m going to die of thirst before that anyway”.
Are you kidding me? I often challenge them to do just the 3 days without food and all the water they want. I honestly don’t think outdoorsmen today understand the danger they are potentially going into, nor do they understand that once in a situation that the outcome can be bleak. William Syrotuck in his outstanding analysis in lost person behavior found that 50% of hunters who become the focal point of search and rescue operations do not make it out alive. The math is simple, if you get into trouble out there you may not be coming home.
I have included a link to an older story–but one I used as one of about 240 case studies I have done in my post grad/ doctoral work on survival psychology. The sad thing in this story is  a 49-year old experienced hunter was just going out for the evening, In his own words, he was “going to be right back”.  He survived the initial rescue, but never made it home. (SEE STORY HERE)
Every year sportsmen die because
1) Wrong Gear
2) Ego (“I’ve been hunting all my life…” till now…)
3) Lack of current and reinforced training in realistic conditions.
In hypothermic conditions both the body and brain attempt to deal with the situation. The cortex begins to malfunction and the victim often goes to sleep in a  hallucination of warmth and comfort. One survivor I interviewed a few years ago relayed a story taking off her ski jacket because it was “too warm by the fire place”.  After spending several days in critical condition she shared with me her story of the last thing she remembered was sitting by her fireplace at home and deciding to take a short nap and let the rescuers know she was home.
Very quickly- this is how hypothermia impacts the body as our core temps drop:
98.6- considered to be normal
91.0- Hallucinations begin
88.0- Shivering stops
86.0 Lose consciousness
80.0 Death knocks.
The odd thing is that often times hypothermic victims who arrive dead have a core temp of 93-95 degrees, meaning people of succumb to hypothermia way before the body is ready to die.
As outdoorsmen we train for that one shot each season. Tune or bows, adjust our sights, scout for sign, and some might even get into physical shape for the hike. We need to have a committed focus on survival skills so we can survive for the next season.

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