Hunters – be prepared this Roar.

The Roar has just started, and already we have a hunter being pulled out of the bush.


Thankfully, it’s a story with a happy ending.

Hunter doesn’t return when expected (which means he had intentions of some kind in place – tick!) – and just after expectant party calls the Police to notify them of his lack of communications, Hunter sets off his PLB (second tick) and is air lifted out shortly after.

The article then goes on to talk about Hunters being prepared, carrying a PLB wearing blaze and so on. It does, however, fail to address what seems the root cause of the issue – that being that the hunter got ‘disorientated’ – i.e. lost.

Why did he get lost?

I will give the individual fair credit – he had a PLB, so potentially (likely) also had a GPS on them. There is even the potential that the GPS was the PLB, in the form of a Garmin with inReach capability.

However, I would also put forward a hypothesis, that they weren’t as familiar with the operation of the GPS, or, for that matter, the Map and Compass they may have been carrying instead (I would suggest we carry both).

Over the years, I have found this a common theme – guys get all the toys, but don’t spend the time truly understanding how to use them. This happens from scopes and rifles all the way through the GPS units and other do-hackies we love to have.

Even in these times of ‘lightweight’ hunting – you still need the appropriate ‘what if’ equipment.

I have done it to myself a couple of times. I have been out in the bush with an early Garmin Tactix Unit, having decided to just use the watch instead of the handheld as my navigation system – only to find the early models, without GLONASS – had serious trouble getting a satellite lock under the tree canopy.

I did it again recently – when my new Fenix 5 (which now gets a lock) was still set to try and ‘on-track’ navigate – attempting to divert me a couple of kilometers to the nearest track!

I have wartch guys get lost, while looking at the GPS units in their hand, while I simply took the TOPO50 Grid Cord’s off my watch, put them onto the paper (laminated) map I had, and pointed out they were a kilometer or so away of where they thought they were. In that case, they were using the wrong datum. Again – technology is cool – but it needs to be understood and set up right to work!

Learn your kit!

This means spending time with it, before you need to reply on it.

  • If you haven’t checked if the safety on your gun actually functions, personally – you are being an irresponsible firearms owner.
  • If the only time your gun comes out of the safe is for a hunting trip – you are being an irresponsible and un-ethical hunter. Get to the range for some practice!
  • If you haven’t setup and testing your GPS unit out (go to your local part and do some GeoCaching!) – then you are being an irresponsible back-country hunter.
  • If you don’t have adequate first aid training and carry appropriate equipment on you – you are being an irresponsible person.

It’s not meant to sound harsh – but it is a call to action to have higher standards for both ourselves and those around us – the time of the old fellows saying – ‘I don’t need a map, I know this area like the back of my hand’ – is long gone. We have new technologies that can help and make this all very simple – but – we need to take the responsibility to learn and understand how it works. Learn your tools, become proficient with your tools, excel with your tools..

Seek out knowledge – find local groups that can help and educate on the skills you should have before you head out backcountry. Local orienteering groups, geocaching groups, outdoors educations groups – they are all able, willing, and likely very keen to pass on the knowledge they have amassed. Tap into it. Become a more skilled and better human being.


Ingpen prefers wearing blue hunting clothing, as opposed to orange which can fade, to help avoid being targeted.

“It’s not a colour you see in the bush very often.”

Sorry to break it to you – but all clothing fades – and faded blue hi-vis is just as useless and faded orange. The key here is the UV – that is what sticks out and catches the human eye. Orange, Blue, whatever – go out and treat yourself to new vest this year. That is what you should be wearing. You know what colour will likely stick out the most to another hunter in the bush? UV Pink.