Getting lost can be a very nerve racking experience especially when you are all alone out in the wilderness and night starts rolling in. People who get lost usually do so because they are ill prepared or because they don’t know how to use the tools available to them.
Being a hunter if you do get lost you should have a day pack with you that will have tools and rations in it that will give you an advantage in surviving, if not then it may be a little harder for you. You may be thinking, how do I survive, and what should I do to find my way out of the bush.
*NOTE: Before going into any forest or wooded area make sure to take a reading of the location of a road, camp or any other landmark so that if you do get lost you’ll be able to easier find your way back to a main road or your camp using your compass.
One of the biggest reasons that people get into trouble when they get lost is because they panic. The most important thing to remember when you find that you have no idea where you are, is to STAY CALM and dont panic. People who start panicking and freaking out start to run in every direction not only becoming more lost but also causing the body to lose energy and water that you will need to conserve.
Panicking also causes you to lose your ability to think clearly and rationally which is ultimately whats going to keep you alive. If you do in fact get turned around instead of losing it just stop and analyze your surroundings.
As you analyze your surroundings you should be looking for anything that can be used as a shelter. Shelter can be found in openings in cliffs or under a group of pine trees or even under a fallen tree. You basically want anything that will keep the wind and rain/snow off of you as the nights do get fairly cool.
Once you find shelter you may need to fix it up a little, what works very well is lushgreen pine branches. Break or cut off as many as you need and lean them up against or on top of your shelter to keep you dry.
START A FIRE
Now that you have found shelter you need to start a fire in order to keep warm throughout the night. Depending on the weather things may be dry or wet. Now if you have fire-starters in your pack, that’s a bonus, if not then you need to gather easily combustible materials such as pine needles, dead grass, leaves, etc. to start a fire, and then some twigs and small branches in order to keep it going.
In the event that it has just rained or snowed and these items are frozen or wet then you\’re going to have to look a little harder for these materials that are dry. Look for these items under trees that have a lot of foliage or under fallen trees. Once you get a small fire going you can gather some bigger stuff for fuel, starting out with some softwood and working up to hardwood that will burn for a longer period of time.
Whether you think you need it or not your going to need to get some sleep. The reason for this is that when you become tired your mind isn’t as able to think logically and you begin to lose your the accuracy of your motor skills. Rest revitalizes your body and mind and that way your mental focus and alertness will be renewed and you can function more effectively and efficiently.
Never go to sleep in wet clothing your body will lose more heat and use a greater amount of energy trying to keep you warm. Instead take off your wet clothes and lay them by the fire to dry up. Use your coat or space blanket to cover you up.
GATHER YOUR BEARINGS
Chances are that you are not very far from your camp or intended destination, which you often may miss in the dark. So after a night of tried rest you will now have a better overall view of your complete surroundings. It is now going to be your mission to find out where you are and where you have to go. Now if you were smart enough get a compass bearing of your camp or a road or another can’t miss object then finding your way should be fairly simple just follow your compass.
If you forgot then your best chances are to signal fire that can be made by throwing living grass leaves or other living vegetation into the fire. Next find the highest ground possible, even if it means climbing a tree. More than likely doing this will help you to see a land mark or smoke from your camp site or something that you will remember and you can follow. Before getting down from your high spot take a compass bearing that you can follow once you get down.
*NOTE If you are hurt and unable to move around or if you do not see anything upon getting to higher ground then your best bet is to stay where you are and keep the signal fire going. Also grab out your signaling mirror or anything metal that will create a glare in the sun because you may be there for a while.
Finding water is going to be crucial to your survival if you are lost for more than a day. Finding water out in the wilderness can be tough but is achievable if you know what to look for. Keep your eye out for lush greenery or a gathering of birds as this usually means a water source is nearby.
Common areas for water are: ponds,lakes,rivers,streams,rain/snow, and dew/condensation. Try to get water that hasn’t been sitting for awhile like in swamps or puddles, look instead for faster moving water such as streams or rivers. Another option is if you have a plastic bag tie it around a tree branch with a lot of leaves on it.
When the sun hits the bag the heat will draw the water from the leaves and condense in the bag leaving you with drinkable water. You can do the same with morning dew, take a piece of clean cloth and soak the cloth in the dew then squeeze the water from the rag into your mouth.
It is very important to note that all water sources are not drinkable as they are some need to be purified, you should never drink any water without at least first boiling it first unless there is no other choice as there bacteria and minerals that are harmful to the body.
There are 3 things you can do to clean the water up and reduce the risk of getting sick from drinking it.
This will get rid of any sediment or objects that may be floating in the water. This can as simple as putting the water through a piece of clothing, or anything else that is porous.
This is a very important step as boiling the water will actually kill the germs and bacteria in the water. It is important to note that boiling the water can not guarantee the EVERYTHING has been killed in the water but usually its enough to make it safe.
If you have any water purification tablets or any iodine that you can put into the water, this will increase the chances that everything will be killed in the water that may make you ill, if not and the times are desperate than boiling the water is for the most part good enough.
Finding food is essential to a humans survival. The most important things are protein and fats which is commonly found in meat, fish and bugs such as termites, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, grubs, etc. note* Unless familiar with a certain bug stay away from hairy insects as some are poisonous.
Now you may be cringing at the fact that I would even entertain the thought of eating bugs, but believe me if your starving it’ll be like a treat from heaven. Plants are also a great source of nutrients, however; choosing the right ones are important as there are probably an equal amount of plants that are poisonous.
Most commonly but certainly only a small hint is to stay away from plants that have a milky sap or white berries. The best way for you to tell which are poisonous and which aren’t are by getting a book and learning about the different plants.
So there is no getting around it, Getting lost sucks but it does happen and the best way to survive it is to be prepared for it. Make yourself up a survival pack before going on any type of adventure into the wilderness.
Also know how to read a compass and take a reading of your camp or something big and obvious before you go into any forest type situation. When prepared and you have the know how to survive if you get lost you will better your chances of making it back alive.