Posted By Steve on 08 Sep 2012 09:10 AM
Another thought is that a lot of states allow atv use for disabled hunters. That makes getting in an out as well as handling the game a LOT easier if there's a winch on it. I have permission to use mine on a private farm locally and it makes things a LOT easier when I'm alone.
When any of us go out solo, we still carry the radios and have them on just in case someone else happens to show up. Standard rule is to announce your presence over the channel even if you think you're the only one there.
I don't have an ATV, myself (not even close to having a budget for one), but I'll ask if Eglin AFB has some that they loan out
to disabled (or partially-disabled, in my case) hunters. The worst they can do, obviously, is say no.....
As for radios and cell phones, I plan on taking my cell phone (in airplane mode except for GPS) until I can afford the $97
to buy the GPS I'm looking at (Bushnell HuntTrack 360500 1.63" Handheld GPS with Built-in Digital Barometer) and for
making an emergency call, if needed. I'll also be carrying my 2m/70cm HT with a repeater list for all of the repeaters
in Okaloosa County and surrounding counties (I only know two---our local amateur radio club's repeater in FWB---South
Okaloosa---and the big one in Crestview---North Okaloosa), as another method of emergency comms. I don't trust my
rapidly aging cell phone (Motorola Bravo MB520, Android 2.2) anymore....can't wait to get a new one (with Android 4.03),
but I know I can trust amateur radio. Got my Novice, then Technician in '84, and my General in early '86, and have helped
run disaster comms several disasters, along with being an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for the Brazos County ARES in
around '86--'89, and also as AEC for Okaloosa County ARES. And for what it's worth, I've been a Skywarn spotter (formal
NWS training) since around 1989, and made my first formal report of a tornadic system just a day or two after that first
Skywarn class. That particular system ended up producing a LOT of tornadoes.... But it was an easy one to spot: it
had all the signs.... VERY heavy rain, followed by heavy rain and hail, and then, at the rain-free base, a violently
rotating wall cloud (no debris, so no tornado yet, but the signs were all there, ready and spinning up). It was like a
photograph right out of the Skywarn training...a big and butt ugly wall cloud with well-pronounced rotation...and it
was only about 100 yards to the left from the road I was driving on....
 In my first Skywarn training, the area NWS Director doing the training first started out with the definition of
a tornado: a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm base and in contact with the ground.
He then showed a number of pictures of wall clouds, etc. and then later, gave us (what I later found was common
to all Skywarn classes) a quiz. He showed us a picture of a big, ugly wall cloud, with a funnel cloud descending
from it. Oh, and there was a bit of dust on the ground. He asked if anyone in the room (Amateur radio, police,
fire, amulance drivers, etc.---all with formal training for emergency comms via radio) saw anything immediately
threatening in the photo. We all stared at it for several minutes, until someone finally spoke up and said, "umm,
no...." The instructor then said, "Well, you better see something, because there's a tornado right in front of
your face. Remember the definition of a tornado, a violently rotating .... Notice that it doesn't say anything
about a VISIBLE violently rotating .... See that debris on the ground? That's your indication that a tornado
is there; it just hasn't sucked up enough debris to be visible yet." We were all looking around for someone to
leave, so we could follow them out.... The instructor wasn't done, though.... He then said, "And while we're
dispelling myths, you know how people say you can always tell when a tornado is coming, because it sounds
like a freight train? Well, frankly, that's bullsh*t. Most of the time, if you hear ANYTHING at all, it's after the
tornado has already crashed through your walls."