I was moose hunting a few years ago and got dropped off by my mates on a point so I could watch the back side of a grassy bay where moose might come to feed. It was windy, snowing and raining and turned out not to be fit for man nor beast.
In pretty short order I got chilled, despite my warm clothes and rain gear. I decided to give up on the hunting idea and just sit by a fire until I got picked up. I always carry a butane lighter in my hunting vest, able to light thousands of fires, if needed. To my chagrin, there wasn't a birch tree on the entire point and the mainland was a mass of blown-down, sopping-wet, dead balsam firs. I could not come up with anything dry to start the fire. If only I could have gotten a small flame going, branches from the dead balsam would dry out in the heat and it would have been no trick to keep the fire going. Despite all my experience in the bush, I could not get the fire to burn. I ended up doing jumping jacks for about three hours.
When I came home to Nolalu that fall I was telling my story of woe to a teacher-friend of Brenda. Harry Sitch said the exact thing happened to him moose hunting one time although in his case he had waded out into a beaver pond to retrieve a fallen moose (a far better story!) From that point on, he said, he carried an old waxed milk carton in his pack (or vest, I forget which). The carton is waterproof and when lit, burns for several minutes, enough to ignite the tinder in a campfire under any conditions.
It was a good tip. Just cut the sides of the carton in strips and fold them back and forth over the base of the carton. The whole thing collapses to about the thickness of a deck of cards. When you need it,
just fluff-up the package a bit and place it under the tinder.
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