Wilderness First Aid for People and Maybe Dogs

Spent the weekend at a Wilderness First Aid Class to re-certify the first aid requirements for my hunting guide’s license.  The Fish and Game requirement is for just a basic first aid course but those are designed for people who are responding to a situation where professional help (ambulance or hospital) is going to be available in a relatively short period of time.  Some of the places I take the folks who hunt with me are back in on logging roads and then hunts that take us some distance away from the truck.  That being the case I felt it was important to get my skill set up to the point where I would feel comfortable doing more then a bandaid and call 911.  Many of the places we hunt are without any cellphone signal and if we ever need to get someone out it’s probably going to be hours not minutes before we can enough help to get someone back to the vehicle.  This was my second time taking the course as I took it originally two years ago when I initially got my guide’s license.  Although I got a lot out of the course the first time and it helped me decide what I needed in the way of a first aid kit, the second time around I feel like it made a lot more sense and I was able to get a better understanding of the methods being taught. I had also spent more time guiding and have a better understanding of who my clients will be and what I can expect for their level of fitness and other competencies.

I also re-certified in CPR, but without an AED and/or professional help soon, if your heart and respiration stop on one of our hunts, I’ll being doing CPR just to assuage my own guilt that there might have been more that I could do.  The survival rate of giving someone CPR with a heart related problem and no AED is 1 in 30 – 40K.  Now if you get hit by lightning or drown the survival rate with just CPR is like 3%.

One of the interesting offshoots of the first days training was that the instructor had extensive service in Veterinary EMS and had been part of Veterinary teams in both the Haiti Earthquake and Katrina Hurricane disasters.  He lives within an hour or so of the kennel and we talked about putting together a seminar for hunters and field trailers that might have to deal with an injured dog when they are far away from the nearest veterinary care.  For me, the nearest emergency vet clinic on the weekends is well over an hour away and you could double that if we were well back in the woods hunting.  I’m thinking of hosting this here at the kennel in the late spring or early summer on a weekend day if there is enough interest.  As I talk with the instructor I’ll post more details but I assume we would cover dealing with various types of trauma, wound care, first aid kit, etc.  Let me know if you think you might be interested.

Posted in Bird Dog Training, Current News, Dog first aid, English Pointers, Grouse Hunting, Wild Apple Kennel.


  1. An “in the field” canine first aid course is a great idea!! As a former EMT, I carry lots of resources in my vehicles, for horses, dogs, and people. Also carry a small kit in my saddle bag at trials and have used it many many times. Although distance would prevent my participation, i would be interested in hearing more and/or helping to develop protocols. Good luck!
    Cindy Findley
    NAFC/FC/AFC Timberfin Blazing Teal
    2xNAFC/FC/AFC Chukarhill Rimrock Ridge

    • Thanks for the response. I carry a very large first aid kit when I’m guiding and/or working dogs. My clients think it’s for them, but much of the stuff in it is for the dogs. I find that most vets don’t really understand what we ask our dogs to do and therefore tend to misdiagnose a variety of injuries and ailments.

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