Preparing to Be Lost, Part Two

At some point, you’ve probably been lost. The first article of this series outlined what to keep with you so you are always prepared if you become lost while hunting.

People die when they do foolish things in the wilderness.  A few years ago there was a news story about a family whose car got stuck in the snow on some western wilderness road.  The husband went looking for help and died of exposure. The rest of the family stayed behind and were found and rescued.  Think of this example when you realize that you are lost and stay where you are when lost.

If you have followed the preparation advice from the previous article, you should have told someone the general area where you would be and when you should be returning.  Hopefully, you will also have some type of signaling device in your pack.  The best thing to do is stay where you are and signal.  If you don’t have a cell phone, a satellite phone or a SPOT device, find a clearing and mark out a large SOS. 

The next thing to do is to find a shelter and build a fire. You may find a natural shelter or you may need to build one.  Try to find a natural structure to eliminate some work.  If you are on a day trip, you have your space blanket to help.  If you are on a longer trip, you probably have a tent or other shelter option.  Next, build a fire.  A fire can keep you warm, but it also helps with visibility for searchers.  Once it’s hot, adding green branches will create thick smoke which can be highly visible. 

Finally, stay hydrated.  You probably have a water bottle or equivalent.  Find a water source, then use your filter or water purification tablets to make sure you have clean drinking water to stay healthy.  If you are lost long enough that you need to find food, make sure you know what plants are edible.  Since you are hunting, you probably have a weapon to help you find meat.  Meat is high in protein and can keep you going longer on less. Even if you are found, you still may need to hike out, so stay fed and hydrated.

These ideas may seem simple, but they can save your life and make sure you get home.  Panic can be a killer, so make sure to take a deep breath, you know what to do!