cork face paintMaybe you forgot your alarm clock and you’re worried you won’t wake up in time to be on stand before daylight. No sweat, just do what outdoorsmen did before alarms were invented — drink a good draught of water before going to bed and let nature wake you up. If you want to rise even earlier, you drink even more water. Problem solved.

Simple pointers like these can be invaluable when you need them. You’ll find plenty more to try in this collection of problem-solvers.

Improvised Face Paint

Left your camo face net at home when you headed to camp for some bowhunting? In a pinch, use a wine-bottle cork or fishing cork to camouflage your face. Singe the end with a lighter, then rub the cooled black residue on your face. Soot from a piece of campfire charcoal works as well.

Loading A Deer Alone

If your solo deer hunt is successful, you won’t get in a pinch loading the deer if you bring a sheet of plywood cut to fit your truck bed. Drop the tailgate, slide one end of the plywood to the ground, and roll the deer on top. Now you can raise the lower end of the plywood sheet and slide it in the truck using your leg muscles rather than your back. This reduces risk of back injury, too.

jumper cable fire starterFirestarter

In an emergency, you can make sparks to ignite a pile of fire-starting tinder by smacking together the ends of jumper cables hooked to your vehicle battery.

Nature’s Thermometer

Wondering what the temperature is but don’t have a thermometer? Count the number of chirps a cricket makes in one minute, then add 40. The sum will be very close to the outside temperature.

emergency shelterEmergency Shelter

Stuck outside for the night? In a pinch, you can quickly erect an emergency shelter without tools in an area with downed timber. Wedge a ridgepole in the lower forks of two closely growing trees. Tilt branches against the ridgepole to make a frame. Strengthen this with limber boughs interlaced through the poles at right angles. Thatch the lean-to with evergreen boughs or leafy branches. Heat from a fire built in front of the lean-to will reflect off the back wall and keep you warm.

Hot-Water Heater

You can heat camp water by filling several ziptop bags with water and placing them inside a black garbage bag. Lay the bag on smooth ground in the sun. In just a few hours, water in the Ziploc bags will be warm. Carefully remove a bag from the garbage sack, unzip one corner and pour the water where you need it.

puppy lemon sprayPuppy Behavior Modifier

Got a hunting-dog pup chewing up everything in camp? You can stop this behavior in a pinch by spraying boots, leashes and other chewables with diluted lemon juice.

Shotgun Shell Match Holder

In a pinch, two empty shotshells, one 12-gauge and one 20-gauge, will fit snugly together to make a case for matches or other small items.

coin choke tube wrenchCoin Choke-Tube Wrench

Need to change your choke tube while you’re in the field and don’t have a wrench handy? Grab a quarter. A coin can be used as a makeshift choke-tube wrench.

Homemade Bean-Bag Rest

You can make your own shooter’s rest by cutting a 12-inch section from the leg of a worn-out pair of pants. Sew one end closed and fill with dried beans. Then sew the other end shut. Your homemade bean-bag rest will steady your gun while you sight it in.

hunting wind checkerMore Quick Tips

• You can determine the approximate weight of your deer on the hoof by getting the field-dressed weight and multiplying that by 1.3.

• A camp washing machine can be fashioned from a 5-gallon bucket and a toilet plunger.

• Fluffy milkweed or dandelion seeds make a handy wind indicator.

• Use dental floss threaded multiple times through the hole to replace a lost screw in your eyeglasses.

• Black pepper sprinkled in the body cavity of a deer will ward off flies, yellowjackets and other insects while the meat hangs in camp.

• A large Ziploc bag filled with air makes a handy replacement pillow.