For all you outdoor fish heads and mountain slogging beast like myself…a handheld (GPS) Global Positioning System is worth its weight in walleye;) For example, in the dry arm of Fort Peck with the water levels high again, the night fishing can be excellent…at least until you have to get back to the ramp. Or when you’re still a couple miles back into a new hunting hole and it’s getting dark when you cut a fresh bull track. I don’t know about you, but I have gotten myself in some jungle freak bad situations doing dumb stuff. About eight years ago, I headed into a new area for an afternoon hunt. My plan was to get to the ridge and cut back a couple miles to an area I was familiar with and be out by dark. Low and behold…there is such things as finger ridges off the main ridge (SH*T.) Now with nighttime falling upon me (and of course dark of the moon) I was miles from my sought after destination. The canopy in the woods was so thick I could not see out to get any sort of bearing before it was dark. With nothing but a dying headlamp, my bow, my pack and my pee shooter 357 Magnum…I was lost!
Normally in a situation like this, you are trained to stay calm and build a fire…OH HELL NO! I was climbing over logs and running through the forest sweating like a rag horn in a rack bull fight. I was running and pulling through a swampy mountainside, so thick I had to push myself through bushes at certain points. I was falling and blaspheming every word in the book…even though I was in big time grizzly country looking back I was pretty safe. Although the creatures of the woods probably got a pretty good laugh outta me that night. I actually didn’t even know where I was going but with the shock setting in a guy starts to panic…in fact at one point I almost left my brand new Matthews bow in the woods because it was getting stuck on limbs. Finally after hours of hell, I was so exhausted when I came over a ridge and found a logging road I started crying in excitement.
I didn’t have a clue in heck where I was, but it was one step closer to civilization. As I started walking the road out and trying to talk some confidence into myself the unimaginable happened. As I rounded a corner, I came face to face with big beady glowing eyes. I could make out the figure of a big tom mountain lion and almost died. I remember as clear as day closing my eyes like a dumbass and telling myself it wasn’t true. As my eyes opened (and my underwear filled) the lion was on a dead sprint for me. I did what any man would do and pulled my 357 and unloaded the quickest six shots of my life directly at that bloodthirsty felines head. I was so blinded by the cylinder arc by the time I could see I was still alive and there was no mountain lion anywhere to be found. So if anyone found a mountain lion in the Lincoln area a few years back full of holes it was probably me. After spending half the night in the woods I finally found a main road and was safe…over 20 miles from my truck!
This whole story I just told you, which I hope you found more enthusing than I, could have been 100% avoided had I been carrying a GPS. There is not a more reassuring feeling in the world than that little computer screen. Last Sunday (not so funday) dad and trekked into a park we found on Google earth that took us almost three hours to get to. When we were finally getting close (about 45 minutes before dark) we were more worried about getting out of the woods than making it to the park. We stopped to collect our thoughts and I removed my GPS from my pack. The new GPS systems are so cool in that you can burn a line where you walked and make waypoints along the way. We made it the extra mile to the park which was beautiful and full of elk sign I must add…but no elk. Now with three hours back to the truck in the dark, pouring rain, and not to mention a horrible spruce tree slippery rock and downfall infested jungle the Rino 655t was going to be put to the true test. Although it was a long and miserably journey back to the truck there was no worry involved. I never looked more than fifteen feet in front of me (probably because I couldn’t see that far in the mess we were in) and walked us all the way out with a handheld computer screen. Dad made one very good point in the middle of the thickest Sh*thole we could be caught in…at least we can’t see how far this jungle goes in the dark
Finally making it to the truck, opening the cooler and seeing the gleaming blue cans of Bud Light was like opening a treasure chest full of elk teeth. I am a huge outdoor junkie as you all know and have made it through a couple life threatening situations. I’m not saying it’s important to have a GPS if you’re going to run like we do…it’s an ABSOLUTE MUST AND CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE! We have the Garmin Rino 655t which is a great unit. There are some other good units available as well…just don’t skimp on the good stuff. Remember, these things are a tool that can save your life. What I recommend to all new GPS users after you are familiar with the unit is to get a ways from your truck in the woods and use your GPS to get back. Make sure it is an area you are familiar with, then start walking and follow the screen until you run into your truck door…no cheating You will be surprised of the amount of confidence this will build in your outdoor skillset. And is great practice for the real thing-
- Always carry extra batteries for your GPS and headlamp.
- Always, and I mean always carry extra underwear in case of lion encounters!!!
Keep smashing the woods and water Kit’s nation!!! Cheers to “Jiggin’ the Dream”