Ever been lost in the woods?

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Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Spindog » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:49 pm

I thought I would share this story on a couple sites I visit maybe it will help someone in the future. So I went for a little late afternoon walk and my dog jumped a deer. Trying to get him back my Astro had a power problem and lost power. We were on the backside of a swamp and were were going in opposite directions. It started to get dark so I abandoned the dog and focused on getting to my truck. He had a fully charged collar and we were not in Wolf country. Once it got dark my compass was useless. Did I mention I fell into a creek earlier? So now I am wet, it is 38 degrees, my dog is lost, dark, and I had no sense of direction. I remember thinking I have to stop wandering and come up with a plan. Don't Panic. So I sat down on a downed tree trunk and came up with this plan. Being somewhat familiar with the area I decided to stay on high land in hardwoods or fields and wander aimlessly till I hit a road or trail. I knew there was a decent size river on one side of me and if I hit it I would be cut off from any roads. Eventually I stumble upon the High Country Pathway Trail and take it to a road and head to my truck. Almost 10 at night. I plug my aux power cable into my Garmin and bingo it powers up. I pick up the dog and he is 700 yards down the road. I drive to a hunting camp within 200 yards of him and stopped. They told me they heard his bell a couple times knew he was lost. They called him a couple times but he would not come in. I gave a couple shouts and he came in quickly. It was about 9:30 at night.

Lessons Learned.
Need a light source (Bic Lighter) to see a compass
Deer Proof Dogs
Tell the wife (or friend) where you are going at all times.
Don't panic
Carry a cell phone even if you have no service. (Light Source)
Try and stay dry.

Turns out the power prong on the Astro that connects the battery to the circuit board broke off. I was able to fix it myself with a pencil soldering iron.
Dan J.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby orhunter » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:15 pm

Yes. Was deer hunting in semi familiar territory. Clouds suddenly dropped and had no reference to landmarks. Long before the years of GPS. Luckily a father and son came a long on motorcycles and knew where my truck was. Only a couple of hundred yards away but it could have been ten miles.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:02 pm

YES, deer hunting one afternoon, I always came out by the stars but that night it got cloudy , I had on old military clothes and they were ripped to shreds by the time I got out, this was 45 years ago. Forrest
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:47 pm

Sounds a bit scary and also sounds like you handled yourself well. Good Job and good thoughts for others to bear in mind.

Yea I have been lost a time or two. One instance that sticks with me was while coon hunting with my B&T Zeb over 40 years ago. I tripped on an unseen vine, fell to the ground and my head light went out. I fiddled with it to no avail. I had no spare light and it was the dark of the moon (perfect for coonhunting). I had hunted those woods before and had a reasonable handle on my bearings at the moment as long as I did not turned around.

I took off walking slowly in a direction that I believed would cross over an old farm road which I could then walk out on in relative safety to my truck. The woods I was traversing were dense and keeping my eyes intact was my biggest concern as I slowly progressed.

After some time I came to an old wooden gate which thankfully marked the entrance to the farm road I was hoping to cut across and follow to my truck. As I was climbing over that old gate, the rotten board I was standing on broke and I plopped to the ground.

My head light came on, just in time for the easy walking up the old farm road. :D
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby orhunter » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:30 pm

Oh and one other time. Wasn't really lost because I did have a GPS but wasn't using it. KJ and I were fishing outside the mouth of the Columbia and I had been following a charter boat through the fog as it appeared we were both headed to the same spot several miles to the south. The tank I was running on ran out of gas and I had to take my eyes off the other boat to switch tanks which was around 15 seconds. We got under power again and I though I could just go in the same direction and we'd be fine. It doesn't work like that on a flat ocean in the fog. After two or three minutes we crossed another boat wake which seemed odd. I switched screens on the Lorance to GPS and guess what, that was our own boat wake, we'd gone in a complete circle.

Ended up back at the truck once when hunting Chukars in the fog. I carry and use a compass in those conditions so I wasn't really lost but I knew I wasn't where I wanted to be. Walked back out to where I made the wrong turn and waited a little while for the fog to lift a tiny bit and could see where I wanted to go.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Sooty42 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:42 pm

On an evening turkey I decided to head back to the truck before the sun went down. After walking awhile I realized the sun was setting at my my back. This was not good because I knew my truck was more or less west of my location and the sun was getting low. I didn’t know this area very well and some how I got turned around in the woods. I panicked for half a second and then got my bearings and found my way out. Definitely looming darkness makes things a little sketchier if your lost or think you might be lost.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Dmog » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:00 am

Yes. 3 times that I remember. 2 in forests and one on water.

I grew up a flat lander so when I moved to Utah out elk hunting in the forest, no experience dealing with that, I got all turned around and didn't know up from down. Ended up following a creek down hill until a came to a road. I was pretty sure it was the road I came in on so I decided to follow it up hill. After about an hour walking on the jeep trail and the sun starting to go down, I was scared that I wouldn't find my truck and was getting ready to fire shots. Finally found my truck.

Another one when living in MT elk hunting, snow came in and visibility dropped to about 30 ft. I became dis-orientated and thought I was only two ravines over from the logging road and truck. I was lost and luckily I heard an ATV and headed that direction. Found the road and fresh ATV tracks. Was pretty sure I needed to head up hill but knew there was a better chance of getting out or finding someone down hill but was worried the truck would get snowed in. Started uphill following the ATV tracks. Found the truck and made my way out in about 2' of fresh snow. I was glad I had tire chains and put it on all fours to get out.

Last one I am sure I was in no danger but it still was a sick feeling and didn't help the family became worried. I was on a new large lake in the Ozarks and thought I kept track of how many fingers I had past to get back to the boat dock. Well, I overshot and found myself wandering up and down each finger going it had to be the next one. Finally found some fisherman in a cove and asked where the marina was, I am sure they got laugh at me when I left but I was about 10 coves too far. I run GPS now on the boat, on my phone, on my watch, and on the dog's.
You never have to tell a dog what time to be home, give them the keys, and they never ask for money.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Densa44 » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 pm

I'm not sure if this counts. My son and I lost our canoe and all our stuff on the Nahanni river in the Yukon. It was day 2 of an 8 day trip down stream, It turned out that the river had more water in it that week than in any other week for the previous 100 years. I had a T shirt, shorts and a life jacket, 17 year old son had one of those "farmer John's " wet suits and a life jacket. He had a couple of breakfast bars, we both had a jack knife, ones with partially serrated blade and 1 Bic lighter. It was June and at night cold enough to snow, it didn't but it rained all the time.
We ate ants, you can eat all you want, I lost 25 lbs. in 5 days.
The one tip that I'd pass on that I have never seen on any of those survival shows is heating large rocks. On the 4th day my son soon began to shiver uncontrollably and I knew that if I didn't do something right now he was a goner. So a I tried to gather the rocks that where around our very small fire, we had pretty much burned all the wood we could find, the sticks that we were burning were Tamarck and smaller than my fingers.
One of the rocks that I touched was about the size and shape of a loaf of Rye bread. I was nice and warm. I immediately shoved it between his legs where the femoral artery runs. The shivering stopped at that moment. I was down to the river bank in a flash and came back carrying all the suitable rocks that I could find. It took 3 rocks to keep each of us warm, so we heated 12 rocks in rotation, when the ones we were using to keep us alive cooled off , we just switched them for our second set.
The helicopter came after 5 days and we are both alive and well.
So if you have more than a jack knife and a bic lighter you are over supplied.
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Re: Ever been lost in the woods?

Postby Spindog » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:03 pm

After reading the above post I am never going to leave my truck without a knife compass and bic lighter. :crazyeyes:
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