If They Get Lost
Most of the time, getting “lost” is a matter of getting temporarily disoriented. Some people become so disoriented that they have to be rescued or spend the night in the forest. Getting lost can be a very serious situation-something that every hunter should think about before venturing out.
Hunters who calmly help themselves or others to cope with injuries and emergencies sometimes panic when they discover that they do not know where they are or how to return to their camp or vehicle. This creates a dangerous situation. Hunters with many years of experience injured themselves lost their gear and tore their clothes to shreds as they wandered aimlessly through unknown forests in panic.
Stay calm. Sit down and drink some water. Then decide what to do. The way they react in the early stages often determines whether their disorientation becomes a temporary inconvenience or a traumatic ordeal. If you keep your head cool, you usually have your benchmarks pretty fast.
Think about recent events to see if you can go back your way. If you decide that you cannot return to your camp or car, spend the night you are in. If you stay in one place, it is likely that you will be found in a few days, especially if you have left a hunting plan with someone or if you have separated from fellow hunters who may be relatively close.
Remember that most lost hunters will be located within 48 to 72 hours. You will shorten the time if you follow the guidelines of this course and remember these three priorities: protection, fire, and signal.
How to Avoid Getting lost
You carry a good map-preferably one that shows the topography.
Invest in a good compass and a Global Positioning System Unit (GPS), especially if you are hunting in a wilderness or even in a new place for you. Take extra batteries for the GPS unit.
Do part of your planning before hunting to learn how to use a map, compass and GPS unit.
When you arrive in your hunting area, use your map to orient yourself before leaving your camp or vehicle.
Stop frequently during the hunt and note the wind direction, sights, terrain, and other important points.
If possible, use a two-way radio to communicate with your partner or a group of hunters.
Plan your trips so you can return to the camp before dark.
If You Think You Are Lost
If you are in a survival situation, the most important tool is your brain.
Stop when you realize that you have a problem. The first thing to do is admit that you are in trouble.
Think about what you need to do to survive.
Observe the area and seek shelter, fuel, etc.
Plan how you will use your survival kit and other available resources. Don’t wait until dark to plan!
Stay calm. Think clearly. Use the tools that are available to you.