It Pays to be Proactive

Outdoors with Forda Birds—By John Andreoni

I’m looking at the calendar and notice immediately that in less than two weeks, February 2018 will be history. Of course, we still have a number of days until the official arrival of spring, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s time to be proactive and start preparing for the season change. First, I’m ready to get my new fishing license, but that won’t go on sale until March 1. I assume there are technical reasons licenses aren’t available until the old ones are expired, but for those who plan ahead, it’s probably still an issue. Regardless, licenses will be available at the usual agents we’ve used in the past. I’m using the new on-line purchasing system because it’s convenient and I can get a free replacement license if I happen to misplace or lose it. I think the licenses are $19, if you’re a senior citizen born after January 1, 1938, the cost is $10, and if you were born before 1938 it’s free. The online system will automatically charge the appropriate amount, and I’m not ashamed of my $10 license fee.

Although I have to wait a few days before I get legal for the fishing season, I still have other preps that need to be done. My first catfish tournament of the year is March 24, if I can make it, and I need to pick up a pair of new flipping’ sticks to replace the ones that just gave up the ghost. The first crappie tournament of the Grand Lake Crappie series is April 15, and I have a lot of tackle to go over and some to replace. As far as my boat is concerned, I think it’s ready to launch without giving me too much trouble. My son and I replaced bearings on the trailer last year, so that shouldn’t be an issue. The rig hasn’t let me down so far, and I’m planning on another year of trouble-free boating…or not.

One thing I do plan adding to my boating safety equipment this year is a decent first-aid kit. That’s something a prudent person would do, especially if you don’t want to interrupt your day on the water. I know that if I’m fishing a tournament of some sort, I wouldn’t want to call it quits because of an injury unless it was of a serious nature. Having a medical kit aboard could turn a time-consuming injury into a minor inconvenience. Most fishermen have had fishing line cuts, knife cuts, imbedded fish hooks and other injuries while fishing. These can usually be handled with a decent first aid kit, especially if you understand how to use the supplies provided.

The next question is what constitutes a decent first aid kit. From what I’ve seen on the market, there isn’t a first aid kit designed to cover all contingencies. The two main limitations are the amount and selection of supplies and/or the size and weight. A first aid kit someone hiking the Appalachian Trail would make will be entirely different than a survivalist creating a SHTF medical kit. One needs to be light, compact, and easy to carry. The other could be heavier, bulkier, occupying a spot in some survivalist’s bug-out vehicle. It seems that various first aid kits are designed for specific sports. For example, a first aid kit designed for a day-fisherman would probably have supplies concentrated for cuts, scrapes, and other wounds. Throw in something for sunburn and insect bites, and just about all possible injuries would be covered. Hiking or sports requiring climbing and other similar activities also include the possibility of breaks, sprains, and strains. These injuries require additional medical supplies to provide appropriate aid.

Like many people, I’ve had enough experience to handle minor wounds and other injuries. I learned some of that from my mother. The Boy Scouts and the Army taught me the rest. I also know my limitations and make it a habit to take care of my own boo boos. I’m more than willing to share my first aid kit. I’m not much for providing aid. In terms of recommending the ideal first aid kit, I am totally unqualified. I do, however, think I am able to put my own aid kit together taking into consideration my personal medical needs and the length and conditions it will serve. A first aid kit I have in my boat will not be as extensive as the one I take on a two-week hunting trip.

The American Red Cross provides a suggested list of medical supplies needed to make a first aid kit for a family of four. They also offer a first-aid manual that covers just about all possible medical emergencies. A complete Red Cross aid kit can be purchased or an individual can roll his own. All of the required supplies are available at your pharmacy or super store. In terms of the first-aid manual, it doesn’t hurt to go through it in advance. It’s a lot easier bandaging a wound or stopping bleeding when you’re not trying to find the “how-to” in the book. Emergency medical treatment is definitely something that needs to be approached proactively. Having the equipment and knowing what to do with it can prevent a lot of bad situations. I’ll definitely have a first aid kit in my boat before I put it in the water this year. Anyhow, that’s my plan.