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 Post subject: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:55 am
Posts: 606
I just found out that Cheyenne teaches wilderness and Arctic survival

Since none of us live in Nunavut, lets stick to wilderness. Alaska, Montana, British Columbia, type places.

If you hiked into the mountains with only your backpack and rifle, without any of todays electronic toys and got turned around, how long could you survive

a week, a month, forever. ?

Has anyone here got turned around and had to find their way back ? If so please share your stories with us.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:49 pm
Posts: 32765
Location: Northern British Columbia
I've never been lost in my life, April. I've been confused once or twice for a day or two, but I've never been lost. I believe I might have once been able to survive for weeks, but I'm addicted to the Nosler Forum nowadays. :shock: Makes it hard to forego my fix each day.

In truth, for many years I carried only a couple of compasses and some staples in the knowledge that I wouldn't be out more than a week or so even in the event of an emergency. I usually had a map of the area I was exploring, though these maps were sometimes notoriously out of date. Also, I always informed my wife of where I would be hunting and gave her an approximation of my time out. I still don't own a GPS, though I do believe they can be a real life-saver. I never had any particular problems. However, I don't do that much any more. I would still be comfortable with my rifle, some ammunition, a few knives and my survival pack for a day or two.

Do I think I could survive for longer than a week? Yes, I believe I still have the mental toughness, though I have some doubts about the physical abilities any more.

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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:45 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Right here!
I've never been lost either. No matter what I go there I am!


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:55 am
Posts: 606
I have the same problem Dr Mike. The mind and heart is willing but not the body.

My husband and I trailered four horses to the Grand Mesa area of Colorado one summer. In our first ride out from our base camp we got turned around and ended up spending a night "lost". We made camp and roughed it a bit that night but found our way back to base camp the next afternoon.

To this day that is one of the favorite stories our children ( who are grown with children ) like to tell. The day (and night) we got lost in the Colorado Rockies.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 am
Posts: 6311
Location: East Coast
To be honest on my own I have never been lost and my Dad use to drop me off at 05 dark 30 and tell me to meet him back at the drop off point at sun down. This was in Green Ridge state forest which is one of the largest and roughest areas in the state I live in. No compass no map just using dead reckoning with a bag lunch and a thermos of coffee. He started doing this when I was 12 and use to free range the country side around my home when I was 10.

Now for the rest of the story.
While in the military I was out with my platoon doing night navigation training. The second luey platoon leader had a radio, map and compass and got us lost for 4 hrs.
Lost the only radio we had and to make it even worse the company was ready to send out a search party to find us which we learned about later.
It was a dark moonless night and we were in heavy forest cover with know view of the sky.
The luey went nuts because he would have to pay for the radio and wanted volunteers to help find it. Everyone refused to help him since they were all mad and it was only supposed to be an hour exercise for his benefit not ours since most of us were avid hunters and knew our way around in the woods.
I finally conceded to help him and back tracked to where we had taken a brake for him to check the map and compass with out the use of a light since it was against the rules of night navigation but ok for him to use to read the map and compass, I found the radio beside a large birch tree where he had set it down and picked it up and threw it at him telling him not to put down again.
When we got back to the rest of the guys I took the map and read where we were from remembering the terrain we had traveled over and head for the pickup point no more then a mile away and came right out to where the trucks were waiting to take us back to camp.
Needless to say he flunked the course and never lead us on another night adventure.

With my present age and physical condition I'm not sure how long I could survive without some type of shelter or equipment other then a knife, the mind and knowledge is there for living off the land but the body would probably let me down.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 13314
Location: Washington State
I've gotten a mite turned around in the deep woods.

Matter of fact, it was my USMC officer training in the woods of Quantico Virginia that built my land-navigation skills. I thought I was pretty good, after all I'd been backpacking and hiking "out west" since I was a little kid. But... I hadn't reckoned on the thick woods and gentle terrain of Virginia... One batch of trees and tiny elevation change looks just like another... I got real good at using map & compass, but I had to work at it!

Just a few years ago, 2014, I got real turned around in a densely wooded valley I was hunting in Wyoming. Went in a danged circle! So... knowing that the wooded area was surrounded by higher, barren ground, I just hiked uphill until I got out of the woods and got myself oriented to the terrain again. Had no map or compass on me during that hunt. I've rectified that!

Normally while hunting I'll have a light backpack with enough food, water, and extra clothes to deal with a night away from camp. That's been useful several times when I've simply pushed too hard, too far, and was unable to get back to camp in the dark. So, I'd stop, build a little fire, and hang out until morning. Much easier to navigate back when I can see where I'm going. Important to have confidence, and to be prepared.

My wife has NOT been amused when I've had to bivouac and haven't been able to get home or back to camp... She gets kinda worried that her ol' hubby might finally meet his match out there in the hills. Someday, that's real likely. Good a way to go as any.

Good subject. Thanks!

Guy


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:18 am
Posts: 256
Location: SW Virginia
I've got turned around a few times, but the worst was when I was around 16, I shot a buck around 3:00 and it wasn't a perfect shot..I started following the little drips off blood and kept my eyes focused on the ground and wasn't paying any attention to where I was going..He headed down a long steep hollow and after about an hour I found him dead. After I got him gutted I started to look around and I had no idea where I was or which way I came in..I thought I'd keep going down and I'd hit the road sooner or later.To top things off my flashlight died so I had to stumble my way along in the dark .About 3 hours later I saw a dim light in the distance and headed for it. Turns out it was a lantern outside a tent..The guys in the tent asked where we were camped and gave me and my deer a ride back..The lessons I learned was don't get tunnel vision on a blood trail and always keep up with where I'm at, and keep spare batteries, or even better, a backup flashlight. And I try to keep a little spare food and water, one of those Mylar emergency blankets and something to start a fire with.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 am
Posts: 6311
Location: East Coast
Hey Guy it was in those Va woods not far from Quantico at Ft AP Hill that the second luey got us lost while training.
Laurel thickets can be some real bad areas to get turned around in if not careful here on the east coast in the Allegheny Mts.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:18 am
Posts: 256
Location: SW Virginia
truck driver wrote:
Hey Guy it was in those Va woods not far from Quantico at Ft AP Hill that the second luey got us lost while training.
Laurel thickets can be some real bad areas to get turned around in if not careful here on the east coast in the Allegheny Mts.



We stomp some of the sound ground..And yes laurel thickets are bad news..More than once I've been down on hands and knees trying to get through one .It's real easy to loose your bearings in one....And for whatever reason, those darn green-brier patches love to grow smack in the middle of laurel...Usually come out the other side looking I tried to castrate a bobcat in a phone booth.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:51 am
Posts: 300
Location: Colbert, WA
Always have a compass and a small day pack with me...knife, rope, fire starter, water purification tabs, signalling devices, etc. Don't know that I want to spend a week in the woods in a shelter I built, but I think I could still do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:21 am
Posts: 244
I dont have a story to share about being lost but I will tell you that my wife and I were more than a little impressed with how well our friends in Montana and Cheyenne in the Northwest Territories of Canada can "read" the wilderness, the weather, and the animals. I am sure their are several on this forum, Dr Mike, Gil, Gerry, Hodgeman, Bear78, Salmonchaser, 35Whelen, Guy, Elkman, etc etc etc, and my compliments to you all.

And thanks for the stories posted I have enjoyed reading them.

Do all you fellows from the far North know how to cross country ski and do you ever do that when on a hunting trip or just snowshoes ?


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:27 am
Posts: 6238
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
I have hunted some pretty thick bush and timber always thinking I was as good as anyone but about 25 years ago I got turned around on a Moose hunt when I missed a creek that I was using as a boundary. By the time I accepted I was lost it was noon so I sat on a stump and was eating a sandwich when another hunter came by and gave me a idea where I was :wink:.
I now carry a compass in my pack and even took a course on how to use it :mrgreen:.
Now with our electronics and my supply of batteries I think that my getting lost days are over :shock:.

Blessings,
Dan

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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 13314
Location: Washington State
hunternyny wrote:
Do all you fellows from the far North know how to cross country ski and do you ever do that when on a hunting trip or just snowshoes ?


I cross-country ski a lot! Learned as a teen, and still at it in my 60's! (y)

Nordic skis and some good snow transform man from the slowest, most clumsy large mammal in the hills to the fastest and most quiet predator... Love it!

Last winter I was out mostly on snowshoes, but still did some X-C skiing. Hunted only from snowshoes though, not from skis last winter.

Last winter, on a snowshoe hike for coyotes:
Image

Guy


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:52 am
Posts: 504
Like Guy, I love to cross country ski hunt and do it every year in Sweden.

Best Regards

Jamila


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:37 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:45 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Right here!
I always noticed it was too hard to cross country ski and drink at the same time so I gave it up...............


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:23 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:55 am
Posts: 606
c. schutte wrote:
I always noticed it was too hard to cross country ski and drink at the same time so I gave it up...............


That would make it harder Charles, so glad you gave up---drinking!

Our family did a lot of cross country skiing together, but never hunted when doing so.

Guy, have you ever been flown in via helicopter for cross country skiing ?


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:47 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:59 pm
Posts: 4216
I have tried cross country skiing, but never did well with it. However, I have covered many, many miles on snowshoes for both work and play, and have found them a challenge on very steep ground. My hunting now is primarily early season where significant snow is seldom encountered.

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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:58 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 1828
Location: Delta Junction, AK
I've gotten turned around a couple of times. Not lost, since I new exactly where I was and where I needed to go...but in the dark couldn't make out the route between. We spent the night on the tundra in a drizzle. We chopped up a dead spruce and started a fire and got some rest around it until daybreak arrived...made it back to camp next morning none the worse for wear.

I could make it a couple of days out of my daypack without a lot of hassle.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 1828
Location: Delta Junction, AK
hunternyny wrote:
I
Do all you fellows from the far North know how to cross country ski and do you ever do that when on a hunting trip or just snowshoes ?


I vastly prefer cross country skis to snowshoes. I love hunting in winter and spring on skis- typically for ptarmigan but sometimes for caribou. Actually- pulling out a caribou on a pulk sled and skis is easier than packing them in the summer in some places.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:26 pm
Posts: 670
hodgeman wrote:
hunternyny wrote:
I
Do all you fellows from the far North know how to cross country ski and do you ever do that when on a hunting trip or just snowshoes ?


I vastly prefer cross country skis to snowshoes. I love hunting in winter and spring on skis- typically for ptarmigan but sometimes for caribou. Actually- pulling out a caribou on a pulk sled and skis is easier than packing them in the summer in some places.


Hodgeman I agree with every point you made.

John thank you, we are taught at a very early age

To go a step further we also carry our ice skates with us and when and where possible we ice skate.

Do you also ice skate the rivers and lakes Hodgeman ?

As an aside When I was in college I showed up at the hockey arena and they ask if I was there to try out for the cheer team and I said no I wanted play hockey. Unfortunately, no girls allowed, so I had to settle for pond hockey

oops forgot---April, We have never been lost in the mountains but when your out on the ice and get caught in a storm, it can be real tricky. We have at times just simply built an igloo and set it out rather than chance it.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:42 am
Posts: 13314
Location: Washington State
Europe wrote:

Guy, have you ever been flown in via helicopter for cross country skiing ?


Only in the Marines.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:37 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:30 pm
Posts: 1017
Location: Kansas City MO
I was lucky enough as a kid to have grown up fishing on the great lakes with my grandfather, father, and all of my great uncles. My brother and I were taught at early ages how to navigate by compass, landmarks, and stars. They were very adamant that if anything happened to them, we needed to know how to get back to whatever marina we used that day. We would chase the " bite" so one day we may be out of marina "A" and the next day 40 miles down the coast at Marina "B". I still have the navigation chart my gramps made back in the 60's or 70's with compass headings, distances, depth readings, etc... That chart stayed in his boat and then my boat through the years. I remember when I bought my first GPS and mounted it on the dash, he laughed and said something under his breath about relying on technology to find fish... haha. My two oldest girls saw that old map laying on my bench a few weeks ago and thought is was a treasure map! I said " well in a way yes it is".

Anyway I have never had to spend the night on my own away from basecamp, but I truly believe I could last a good while if needed. I always have fire starting materials, water, emergency granola bars, two compasses, cord, etc.. in my pack.

That being said I did get lost once in a pretty thick cedar swamp in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. I dropped my BIL off at his blind and drove a mile and half down the road and walked into the swamp a mile in hopes of cutting a big buck track in the snow and pushing him toward my BIL. Well nothing was moving that morning so I knew where he was, knew where I was, and instead of walking out to the truck, I decided to cut across country on a compass heading and get him.

Well after an hour or so I was surprised at the tracks I cut in the snow. Fresh boot tracks. My boot tracks. Yep I somehow had went in a big circle... :)

I learned a good lesson that day as cedar swamps don't offer the best landmarks to shoot a compass reading at so the rest of the hike to his blind I checked the compass about every 30 yards.. :)

When I finally got his blind it didn't matter anyway, I could hear him snoring from 50 yards away.


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:48 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:45 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Right here!
I've got a buddy who gets lost. He won't admit it but, he has more than once. On a hunt with his wife (huge mistake) we were in state owned land in a bottom area. Super thick and it was one of those November days when thick low clouds made it impossible to make any determination of where north was. Since I had never been there and the trail was very narrow I used orange flagging tape every 100 yards or so.

My buddy decided to take us off trail into the swamp and all we did was make circles trying to find that trail. His wife was giving him the what-not like she did every day, he was being silent and I was mad as hell for allowing myself to get in this position. Finally I just stopped and waited, noticed what remaining dead leaves were blowing in what direction and remembered that a Northern was coming in so I then knew where North was. I told the group I had enough of walking in circles so turned where I knew the trail should be. Not more than 50 yards was one of my flagging tape markers!


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 Post subject: Re: Survival in the wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 am
Posts: 6311
Location: East Coast
Gee Charlie that was a smart move remembering the weather front moving in.
When in heavy cloud cover not being able to see the sun knowing the prevailing winds and what side of the trees the moss grows on helps to find a northerly direction to travel. One can also make a compass with a needle or pin, a leaf and a still pool or puddle of water. :grin:


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