Trail blazing in the back country can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. Breaking away from day to day life and exploring new territories untouched by man can be both fun and a little scary. There is much preparation to be done before setting out into the wilderness such as obtaining maps, and the proper gear for your hike or stay.
One of the first things to check off the preparation list is a wilderness survival course. While it is not mandatory (there are no rules to this game), knowing how to survive in the wilderness is essential. Learning how to remain calm during an emergency, how to make a help signal, how to find or create a shelter if necessary and learning how to navigate with a compass are all things an individual should know before setting out on a trip through the wilderness.
The gear you bring with you is also essential to your trip. A backpack that is able to hold everything you need and is comfortable to hike with is a must have item. A first aid kit with items for bites, burns, headaches and even items to help with more serious problems such as a sprain or break is another item you shouldn’t leave home without.
When you are out there in the great outdoors being aware of your surroundings is important. Danger comes in the form of animal attacks, snake or spider bites, or running into a bee or hornets’ nest. Spiders are the most common and hidden danger, as they tend to like dark spaces to hide which can include shoes and sleeping bags. There is one spider in South America that reaches up to a foot long when full grown! While big spiders, like tarantulas are scary the small spiders can hide easier and can be venomous. Before sticking your hands or feet into anything dark, shake out your shoes or sleeping bag to ensure there are no biting visitors in there.
Snakes are another common issue while hiking or backpacking during the spring and summer months. Most snakes won’t attach unless provoked or stepped on, but it’s best to bring along some snake bite antivenom just in case. Pay close attention to the ground being walked on, avoid tall grass areas if possible, and wear long pants and sturdy hiking boots.
Being prepared and aware of your surroundings will make your backcountry exploration an enjoyable and safe experience.
Big game hunting has been a sport that has been around for thousands of years. There are ancient cave drawings of men in groups hunting the mammoth with rocks and spears.
When the term “big game” is used it is referring to animals such as bears, elephants, rhinos, big cats, buffalo and the like. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was a big game hunter who, after his presidency travelled to Africa where he hunted big game. Today big game hunting takes place in the United States, Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Argentina.
The debate about big game hunting is an intense one. Proponents of big game hunting will argue that they are bringing money into the communities while helping to keep the animal populations down. But as animal rights activists point out, much of the money paid for big game hunting never makes it to the local communities. Rather it ends up in the pockets of government officials and the parties which facilitate the hunting trips. Many of these poor communities are never seeing the monetary benefit but are watching their local wildlife slowly disappear.
In the United States hunting endangered animals is normally illegal, but ranches in the U.S. have brought in and bred some of these animals specifically to be hunted and killed. The argument is that even though the animal is endangered in its natural habitat, the animals on the ranch were specifically bred to be hunted and so don’t fall under the same rules. Needless to say this has those concerned with animal rights furious.
In Africa there are many species on the endangered species lists due to over hunting. Take for example an animal that is synonymous with the African plains, the Cheetah. The population of Cheetah in Africa has decreased in size drastically due to the demand for their beautiful coats and the loss of their natural habitats. The same can be said for the African Rhino whose population is also on the decline due to the value of its horn which is used as medicine.
The bottom line seems to be, if there’s money to be made its going to happen no matter if it drives a species to extinction or not. Hunting for “conservation” seems to be just another way to ease the conscious about the harm and damage they are doing because so far, the only ones who seem to come out ahead are the ones making the money.