One of the running themes in our blogs is preparedness. Today I want to share a real life event with you and talk about the importance of a prepared mindset.
I’m not putting anyone on blast, not my point.
Deer season. A perfect time to get out into the woods and fields, reconnect with nature and maybe find yourself again in the process. Even people who have recently moved from more urban areas partake in a time honored tradition.
A call goes out to area entities that there is a lost/stranded hunter. It’s not any kind of desolate area, but rugged terrain. Did I mention that this call for help came in at about 8:30pm? And it’s snowing. Not heavily at first, but anybody around here that has been around awhile knows that early snow storms can get nasty, quickly.
Phone contact is made with the individual. He is able to provide a general area he was hunting in when he became “lost”. Party states he has 2% battery left on his smart phone. Ugggh.
Party is able to tell exactly where he departed from, direction he travelled, even has a very good idea of where he is in the land unit.
Party states he is cold & wet, has no way to get out of the now heavy snow or get warm. Part conveys that he has no food or water supplies.
Long story short, after an approximate 5hr effort, our lost individual is located on a little used access road that is deeply covered in thick, wet snow. Exhausted & near hypothermic, he is brought down off the mountain and is more than a little agitated that it took so long to be “rescued”.
Let’s break this down, you decide where the mistakes were made.
- Individual moved to the very rural area from a dense urban environment, hunting with a group of work buddies.
- Individual broke off from the group, went hunting alone, separate from the others.
- Even though it was Fall in the Rocky Mountains, individual was not dressed/equipped for inclement weather.
- Individual did not have any snacks or water supply.
- Individual did not have map of the area, no compass.
- Individual did have a smart phone (GPS, compass equipped) but the device was low on power.
- Individual did not have any method for making fire, no tools for making a quick shelter.
- Individual did hear the shots of other hunters/searchers looking for him, but had fired off ALL of his ammunition in initial attempts to respond.
My solution synopsis:
If you are going out into the woods with friends, STAY TOGETHER! If, for whatever reason, you are alone, make sure that someone back in civilization knows your itinerary (stick to it).
EDC. Every Day Carry. I’m not necessarily talking about your sidearm and knife. If you are out & about, and there is a possibility you may get stranded or separated from your vehicle/equipment, there are a few basic things you should ALWAYS have with you (knife, ferro rod/lighter, water).
- Knife – a quality knife is a must. However, better something than nothing.
- Ferro rod/lighter/stick matches – a ferro rod is a valuable commodity, but one you need to learn to use. Anyone can learn to use a Bic lighter.
- Water – you can only live 3 days without water.
- Shelter/survival blanket/reflector
Technology is a great thing, but is designed to fail. Most smart phones have functions for GPS/compass, or you can download an app. LEARN HOW TO USE THEM! If you are going to rely on this type of tech, make sure you have the device charged or the means to charge it in the field. (solar chargers are great) A basic nav compass (like $8) never needs charging, and are simple to use.
Follow your animal instincts. Get out of the weather, however you can. This individual actually fell asleep (early stage hypothermia) out in the storm, furthering his heat loss. Learn some basic survival skills (STOP= Stay put, Think, Organize, Plan).
Never use all of your ammunition in attempting to signal others. You might very well need to use it in obtaining food in the event it takes a while to get to you.
Hit me with your thoughts……..
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