We all enjoy getting out in the woods and searching for game. Our thoughts of coming up victorious are at the forefront of our minds throughout the season. Still, are we prepared for the worst-case scenario? Usually, the time when we are unprepared is when we least expect it. Make sure you hope for the best experiences while at the same time expect the worst. Below are nine essential survival tips when lost in the woods. If you remember these tips, your chances of survival will increase dramatically if ever you become lost while in the woods.
1) Stay Together!
DO NOT separate if you are with a friend or even a pet. A friend or a dog can provide body heat for one another in colder temperatures. You can cuddle up and stay warm. Do not let a dog loose, but keep them close by. Companionship is also essential. Often, people act strangely while alone and lost and are quicker to make irrational decisions. You and your friend have a better chance of surviving by keeping each other in check and bouncing ideas off each other.
2) Stay in one place or area.
DO NOT WANDER! This is the most important rule. If you can walk away from reading this list and can remember just one of these survival tips, please remember this one. When you wander around, you are almost impossible to find. The reason is that those searching for missing people move very slowly while searching for clues, and if you are always on the move, then it becomes difficult to catch up to you. Sometimes surviving depends on hours or even minutes. Another reason for not wandering is the great possibility of falling and getting hurt. When you are lost and then become injured, you can become hopeless, and it is quite a tragic event.
3) Keep Warm.
Keep warm with the clothes you are currently wearing. Never shed any clothes! Look for exposed skin such as fingers, neck, and even your face. Try to find ways to cover these parts even if they don’t feel cold at the time. This strategy is not to “become” warm BUT to “remain” warm. If you are wearing a jacket, make sure it stays zipped. Though you may feel more warm than desirable, the heat may save your life in near-future encounters with changing weather temperatures and conditions.
Try to keep moving by collecting brush, branches, and leaves. Later it can be used to stay warm while you sleep. Try not to overexert yourself. The key is to keep moving so you keep your blood flowing through your body so you can remain warm, and at the same time, not tire yourself. Make sure to keep your eyes open for any possible searches if you choose any little projects.
A good tip learned the hard way is to watch out for shoelaces. Branches have a tricky way of sticking into the tied laces and undoing them. Double knot your laces. If you lose a shoe for just a few seconds, your toes may never find warmth again until you are located. The most essential clothing article is a hat. If you don’t have a hat, try to find something that will cover up your head as best as you can. Over 70% of all your body heat leaves through your head. Remember this!
4) Find a Warm Waiting Place, Not a Hiding Place.
A warm waiting place means a cozy place out of the wind and rain but not a place where people are searching for you can not see you. Find a large tree and remain still. If you jump into thickets or bushes, searchers may walk right by you.
5) Put Out Something Bright.
While you sit and stay warm, put out something bright to make searchers aware of where you are. We don’t expect you to create an entire camp from scratch but make a flag using what you have. Try not to take off any clothes to make your flag. You need to keep your clothes on to remain warm. Some trained search and rescuers’ suggestions are white paper, money, hair ribbons, a strip from an orange garbage bag, etc.
Also, what has helped in past situations is spell the word “HELP” or “SOS” on the ground using rocks and sticks or even make a large arrow with them, pointing to where you are. Do Anything that will attract attention to where you are.
6) Look For Searchers.
In previous situations, people who become lost give up hope and forget people are searching for them. Always expect searchers to be coming and begin looking for them. You should wait near an open space, if possible. If you hear someone coming towards you, move to the middle of the clearing and call. Never run in the direction of the noise. Let them come to you. If you hear an aircraft, lie down, so the pilot will have a bigger target to look at. Like making an angel in the snow, you should wave with both your arms and legs. Stand up after the aircraft has passed because the ground can be cold.
7) Do Not Lie on the Bare Ground.
The only exception to this rule is when an aircraft is flying above you, so laying on the ground for a very short period, attracting attention, will be more beneficial. Being on the ground for any length of time can be dangerous. The cold ground will steal your body heat from you. If possible, build a mattress using available materials such as branches, moss, leaves, etc. Try to make the mattress as thick as the one you have at home! After the mattress is finished, gather the same amount of the same material and use it to make blankets. This is a survival bed.
8) Don’t Eat Anything you aren’t sure of.
Do not eat any mushrooms, berries, or Anything else unless you are 100% sure what they are. Being hungry is not as bad as compared with being violently sick. Even field experts have made mistakes by not properly identifying wild berries. In turn, this can be fatal. If it doesn’t directly kill you, it can inhibit your chances of staying warm, being found, and making rational decisions. And remember, there won’t be someone there to look after you. You can last for a long time without food, but you cannot go without water.
9) Stay Away from Lakes and Large Rivers.
You must have drinking water to survive, and you need to be careful where you get it from. Don’t go near any large bodies of water. Instead, you should drink from a smaller water supply than you are, so you can’t fall in. Another water source can be found on leaves in the form of dew.