10 replies [Last post]
Offline
Location: N. Utah
Joined: 04/01/2004
Posts: 60
Ever been lost or almost lost

I'll relate a story from me. I was up with some friends that were elk. hunting I was just up for the camping and to do some bird hunting. It probably has been at least 10 yrs since I was in the area before. Well anyway I went about 3 miles form where we were camping and descended down the side of the mtn. On the side I have never been before have my shotgun and son with me he was maybe 10 at the time. we walked for quite a ways cant say for sure how far. I knew the the way back should have been on my right side up the mtn. Well some clouds come in (by the way we were at 9000 ft elev.) And it started to snow and could not see any thing with the clouds. could not follow tracks back because their was none from the snow. 'to top things off my sons shoes got all wet. they were some suede shoes. And what happens to them is they start to shrink and his feet started to get cold. so I have to pack him around on my back to make matters worst. We did happen to shoot a couple of birds with all of this going on. the best thing i could think of doing at the time was to follow a game trail in the general direction back. After words we stopped under some pines and started a fire. I do smoke so had matches. I thought we could sit it out for awhile until the weather cleared. After about 3 hrs of this it started to clear up some. In the mean time my friends were getting worried about me, because it's not like me to be gone like this. Well we did finally get back to the general area that we came down the mtn. when my friends were there looking for us . It put more of a scare in my son than me. But now I go down the whole side of the mtn and think to my self I was only a couple miles from the road at the whole time. If I would have went down to the bottom their is a road that comes out to the top. But did not know this at the time.

Offline
Moderator
Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Ever been lost or almost lost

I can relate to you somewhat sagebrush.

About 12 years ago I was hunting the East Arm of the Apalachicola River. The area I was hunting is actually an Island, a large Island but an Island.
I camped on the end of the island where the River comes back together but traveled by boat up the East Arm about 3 miles. The day started out cold, with a heavy fog.
While in my stand I could hear some Hogs tearing it up inside a swamp but they were inside too far to see. After 3 hours of hearing them and seeing no sign of a Deer I decided to get down and stalk them hogs inside the swamp before they moved on. It was about 9:30 am now.
Off into the swamp I go, not paying any attention as to which way I was heading. After about 30 minutes of stalking I ran into a nice Boar, about 150 lbs, and spooked him which in turn spooked them all. They scattered but not far cause they really didn't know why they were spooked but they did start moving farther away from me while they rooted around.
I kept following them but couldn't get a shot thru the thick vegetation. Then it started to rain. Just a light rain but rain still. It was now noon and I had traveled in who knows what direction (all I knew was "that way") but I still pressed on cause I could get fleeting glimses of the Hogs in the short distance.
Now its 2:00 pm and it gets dark at 5:00 and its still raining so I decide to make my way to the rivers edge and mark this spot and try again in the morning.
The trick to hunting the river swamps and finding your way back is to listen for boats running the river and follow the direction of the flow to your camp or boat. I sit and listen.....nothing but rain hitting the dry leaves and spalooshing in the water of the swamp. I start heading toward where I thought I came from but in the rain and fog it all looked the same. I went a few hundred feet and stopped to listen for a few more minutes....nothing still but the rain in the water and on the dry leaves and suddenly I realized that I walked for 5 hours and its gonna be dark in just a little over 2 hours and I had no idea which way to go......I WAS LOST!!
I thought "hey!! its an Island and only about 2 miles wide and I must be in the middle so I only have a mile to go so I'll just walk this way and I'll find the river and go downstream till I find my boat". Off I go "this way". After about an hour I thought for sure I should have made it to the rivers edge by now but no river and no boat sounds and because of the fog and rain its getting dark fast..
So I turn left and take off that way. After about an hour again....still no River or boat sounds and now its dark. I start to panic but collect myself and sit down inside an old hollowed out tree trunk to get outta the rain and to think.
I decided that since I had my wet weather gear on and insulated coveralls and I was not wet or too cold that I would just spend the night insided the hollowed tree trunk and so I settled in. I was camped by myself and nobody was expecting me back home for another 2 days. Cell phone wouldn't get a signal either so I couldn't call...like I could tell them where I was!!
Around 2:00 am it stopped raining and about 2:30 I could hear a Tug boat pushing a barge down the river. At 2:45 I could see the lights of the Tug boat about 100 yards from where I spent the night!!!! I went to the river and followed it downstream but just kept walking and walking and still no boat. Now its 4:30 am and I finally come to my camp. I had either walked back toward my camp in the beginning or somehow walked back past my boat during my travels.

Lesson learned....never go into the woods without a compass, even if you have hunted there your whole life. I had everything else in my day-pack..water, Granola Bars, hard candy, Lighter, flashlight, first aid kit, snake bite kit, rope, garden shears(snips) and plenty of spare ammo but no compass.
Also having automatic bilge pumps saved the whole trip. It kept my boat pumped out so it wouldn't sink from all the rain.

Offline
Location: Missouri
Joined: 02/14/2004
Posts: 62
Ever been lost or almost lost

I've never been lost. I wandered around for 3 days once but I've never been lost; Jeremiah Johnson

saskie's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Ever been lost or almost lost

I'm one of those stories you hear about in survival classes where someone "just stepped out into the bush behind his house and got lost." N Sask - 1988. I spent the night in the bush and the whole time I was never more than 3 miles from home. About 3 days into the season. I wasn't and still am not the greatest tracker in the world. There are deer trails everywhere in the woods around our hay fields. There's no trouble finding them, but there's so many the trick then becomes figuring out which ones are in use and which ones are abandonned. Finally we got snow - about 4" - PERFECT! Got off the bus after school and immediatly headed out to see which trails the deer were using. I only had less than 2hrs so I wasn't really planning on hunting - more like scouting with a rifle. The plan was to find an active trail, and pick a place to set up for Saturday morning. In fact I almost didn't even wear proper clothes for being in the bush, but did thank God.

I drove partway down an old cart trail (just wide enough to fit a pickup, if you don't mind getting it scratched) that winds through the woods about 300yds in on the north side of one of a field where we had sowed oats and hay that year. It wasn't long (about half a mile) before sure enough, I found a heavily travelled trail. Stopped the truck and followed it up over the ridge. I could see that it kept going across a fairly open jack-pine flat and up the other (heavily timbered) ridge. I figured they were probably bedding up there, and didn't want to step out into the open because very shortly I the deer would start moving back out into the field. So I found a spot and decided since I was already there and had my rifle I might as well wait till dark.

After shooting light ended, I started back. It really went from twilight to black fast given the overcast conditions. The ridges were very heavily wooded with hazelnuts and other scrub. At times I was on my hands and knees crawling to stay on the deer trail that led back to where I parked my (light grey) truck. The coup-de-grace came when a branch snagged my glasses and sling-shotted them off my face. I crawled and crawled trying to find them, but it was useless at night. Try as I might, I just could not stay on the trail after that.

To make a long story short no matter how hard I tried, even though I knew the bush I was in was only 2mix2.5 mi, I could know walk in a straight line far enough to come out. It was 0400 before I finally made it out. At one point I had passed less than feet in front of my truck, but never saw it and didn't realize that I had crossed over the still undisturbed cart trail.

I can also testify first hand that your mind will play tricks on you alone in the bush at night. The RCMP parked right behind my truck and laid on the siren. Of course I heard it, but I figured that our neighbour (who wasn't well, and not expected to live) must have had a heart attack and it was just an ambulance. It also took about an hour of signal shots from our other neighbour before I clued in that it was someone looking for me, and not people out jacking deer at night. That was how I eventually walked out.

Offline
Location: N. Utah
Joined: 04/01/2004
Posts: 60
Ever been lost or almost lost

isn't is amazing how close you are to finding the right trail but still can't find it. probably most people are lost within 2 miles from where they started. This new area that I'm deer hunting now is new territory for me been at for two years now and starting to feel comfortable with it. the first year wandered off and ended up about 2 miles from where I started. luckily found a fence line and followed it to the road. looks like that i needs a gps.

Offline
Moderator
Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Ever been lost or almost lost

Me too Saskie. However most of my hunting is on Timber Company land and it is criss crossed with a gridwork of logging roads. We call each area "blocks"cause they are all almost square with a road on all 4 sides which makes it easy to get out. They are usually only a mile or so square. As you said, just walk a straight line and sooner or later you'll be on a road.

I usually only hunt the River for a couple of weeks in the middle of the season after the Deer on the land I usually hunt go nocturnal. There is very little hunting pressure on the river with hundreds of square miles from the Georgia State line all the way to the Gulf Of Mexico. You can also mix in a little fishing during the warmer days.

Once I started "Swamp Buck" hunting I used those lil reflective Tack heads but soon realized that if you get a lil off course they cant be seen. Now I use reflective tape and wrap it around the tree so I can see it from any angle. I just punch a hole in it and tie it together with sone twine always making the not on the side of the tree that is facing the direction that I want to be going. It gets dark fast inside a swamp and you have to get in the middle of them sometimes but hey.....thats where the big boys hide out once the shooting starts.

Offline
Joined: 04/10/2004
Posts: 29
this just might save your ass.

here's a link on how to use a wrist watch as a compass:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/rdoolan/compass.html

I tried explaining this to a friend of mine- after ten minutes of explaining this to him over the phone- he realizes his watch is digital eye roll

Offline
Joined: 04/10/2004
Posts: 29
Ever been lost or almost lost

actaully- I just thought more about this- even with a digital watch you can make a "clock-face" on the ground out of dirt and rocks and do the same thing- just remember it points SOUTH rather than North.

Offline
Location: N. Utah
Joined: 04/01/2004
Posts: 60
Ever been lost or almost lost

I don't want to sound dumb. But if one ends points south. What is the other end pointing too north? I checked out the link is their something that i am missing? But I have seen this done take the minute hand from a watch and place it on something so it will float in the water not running water. And it should point to the north. the sun sets in the west so if you are facing the sun, then your back is facing north.

saskie's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Ever been lost or almost lost

First of all - if you're facing the setting sun your back is to the east, not north.

Those are all good ideas, but as I discovered at about 1845, when I first realized that I had become turned around - they only work on sunny days, not at night or in overcast conditions. Also, moss will grow on both north and south sides of tree in a shady forest, and the chalky powder supposedly only found on the south side of poplar trees will occur pretty much all the way around, it will just be thicker and more obvious (in daylight) on the south side on more trees.

Bottom line if you are in the bush:

HAVE A COMPASS AND MATCHES - ALWAYS!

bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Ever been lost or almost lost

There is a lost story in the northeast forum you might want to read.

I've never been lost, although being outdoors in the mtns is easier than a flatland forest, imo. In the high country you always have land marks to gauge by (two draws over, sighting off a peak, gullies, etc).

That being said, you can't trust landmarks alone, in case a suprise snow storm hits and wipes out your gauges in a haze of white. Best to check the weather before heading out....

Related Forum Threads You Might Like