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Considering the number of days that hunting activities take place each season, accidents and emergencies on the hunting field are thankfully rare, however, being prepared in the event of a difficult situation evolving may help save precious time, reduce further damage and possibly even save lives.
We consider a few ways which may help you to prepare for the unexpected on a hunting day:
1. Download the what3words app
Giving directions or explaining precise locations in rural areas can be difficult, particularly when under pressure or when dealing with an emergency situation, so download a free app called "what3words" on your mobile phone which will enable you to quickly find and share your exact location. Every three metres square in the world has been given a unique combination of three words and these can be used for navigational purposes, whether it's for providing to the emergency services or to somebody else in the event of other times of need such as a breakdown or a veterinary situation that requires attention.
2. Update In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts in your mobile phone
In the event of an accident which might render somebody unconscious, emergency contact details may be required. These can be stored in your mobile phone using the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency) and can then be easily identified should it be necessary to make contact with a loved one. Programming your phone takes only minutes to accomplish, yet it may save you and those close to you hours of anguish in the event of an emergency plus any medical history and background which can be provided by your next of kin may enhance the success of any emergency treatment.
3. Consider attending an emergency first aid course
Medical emergencies can occur anywhere and at any time, so having the confidence and ability to react immediately can help to save lives. Many hunt secretaries and other hunt officials routinely enrol on emergency first aid courses and some hunts even organise a group session to ensure that as many people as possible are competently able to perform emergency CPR if required in the absence of a medical professional.
4. Store other emergency contact details
Ensure other important numbers which may be required in an emergency are stored in your phone, such as your vet's telephone number or that of your horsebox or car breakdown company.
5. Carry useful items in your pockets or store them in your vehicle
Many hunting people habitually carry a pocket knife and baler twine in their hunt coats which can be used to perhaps hold together an item of snapped tack or mend broken fencing, however, there are other items that you might consider putting into your pockets including a detachable stirrup light, a reflective band or a high-vis item which may assist in case of being stranded unexpectedly in the dark. Water, first aid kits for humans and horses, painkillers, an emergency blanket, a head torch or other lantern, plus spare reins or stirrup leathers may also come in handy in your vehicle should you find yourself or others in need.
6. Be ready to assist with stray hounds or horses
If a horse gets loose or a hound is unexpectedly separated from the pack for any reason, it may be necessary to secure either horse or hound in respect of animal welfare for a period of time. Although not generally trained to walk on a lead, having a dog lead or similar in a vehicle - or a spare stirrup leather which can double up as a neck strap for those mounted - may come in useful until a horse can be returned to its owner or the hound can be reunited with the pack.
7. Ensure you have public liability protection
Hunts generally insist that mounted followers have specific insurance to cover their public liability and they also encourage all car and foot followers to consider this too, ensuring they have adequate cover. Public liability insurance, up to a limit of indemnity of £10 million, to cover you whilst engaging in lawful hunting activities is included in membership of the Countryside Alliance. Further details can be found here.