If you ever find yourself lost in the woods, the best way to assure your survival is to follow these seven simple rules. All hikers, campers, hunters and anyone venturing into the bush should be aware of some basic survival skills.
If you get lost in the woods the first rule is don’t panic. The trees that seem to be closing you in are your best friends. They will supply shelter, fuel and food until you are rescued.
Try to fix your position in relation to the sun, a high hill or a large lake or river. If nothing seems to help, follow the slope of the land downhill as this will often bring you to a lake, which may put you back on the trail.
Do not wander aimlessly; this will only waste your strength. For safety’s sake, do not climb trees or stumble around in the dark. While you still have daylight, find a clearing and make camp. Choose an elevated spot, where rainwater will not collect, and build a shelter of green boughs. Stay in the open where you can be seen by searching aircraft.
Gather dead, dry wood and build three fires in a triangle (three fires or three of anything indicate a distress signal). Add green boughs to pour smoke into the sky. In traveled areas, or near regular air routes, this is bound to attract attention – and rescue. Keep plenty of dry wood on hand in case of rain.
Remember the fire safety rules. Build a fire only on bare rock, sand or mineral soil (scrape away grass and organic material). Make sure you do not start a forest fire as it could trap you.
Locate Food Sources
Fresh meat such as rabbits or porcupines may be close by. A shoelace could be used as an emergency snare and the slow moving porcupines dispatched by a blow on the head with a stick. Early in the season, look in bird’s nests for edible eggs. In most areas, you can find clams, crayfish, frogs, or snails. Cook your game on a spit or on a flat piece of rock.
Berries, the seeds in cones, nuts and edible mushrooms may be available. Many green plants, roots, and most new shoots on trees are good to eat raw or cooked. CAUTION: Some berries, plants and fungi are poisonous. Stick to the items you know to be safe.
Don’t Leave Home Without Them!
Always carry waterproof matches, sheath knife, snare wire, fishhooks and line, compass, map, pocket first aid kit, and raisins or sweet chocolate. Ration your food and, once again, don’t panic.
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