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Johnny_Namakan

Have you ever gotten lost?

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Johnny_Namakan

After hearing about the man missing up in Northern Mn it got me thinking about the time I got lost in the woods up in Crane Lake. It's one thing that I never want to experience again! I was 13 and was on my first solo hunt. We were hunting behind our cabin on Crane lake up on the Canadian border. I was supposed to walk straight East into the woods and work my way to a power line and then follow the power line back home. I was young and inexperienced to say the least. After several hours of walking and not reaching the power lines I started to panic (#1 mistake). You stop making logical decisions and start to make rash decisions. I started walking faster and faster to get out of there. It was getting late and knew if I didn't get out of there soon that I would not make it out that night. To me at the time, that was not an option. i wanted out! These woods were new to me and I didn't know my way around very well. For some reason I didn't trust my compass (#2 major mistake). I somehow found a pair of footprints in the snow and followed them. They appeared to me to be the same print as my Dad's boots. But the tracks went in a direction that seemed the totaly wrong direction to get out to me. I followed them anyway, at a steady jog. To make a long story short, I did end up making it out to the power lines and caught up to my Dad. They were his tracks, thank God! My Dad was upset that I followed tracks to get out, because he said what if the tracks I was follwing were froma nother person who was lost. In my mind, it would have been better to been lost with who ever made those tracks than to be lost alone. I never made the same mistakes that I did that day again. I always get a compass reading before heading into the woods now, and hopefully I'll never get lost again.

Have any of you ever been lost in the woods before?

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Big Country

Which time? Never got seriously lost, but sure had that panicky feeling several times when I was younger. First time I used my G.P.S. I got sorta lost. Had my portable in a brand new area that had incredible potential. Put it out a month before the season and marked it on the G.P.S. Opener. Pushed "goto" from the dirt road and proceeded to my stand. All of a sudden things just didn't look or feel right. The horizon was putting me closer to the swamp, and I knew my portable wasn't there. Turned off the G.P.S. and started going in the direction that I felt my stand was in. After 30 minutes, sweating bullets, I turned the unit back on. I figured I was 20 minutes away from legal time and I sure screwed up so I might as well use the G.P.S. and try to figure it out. I knew if I had to I could get back to the main highway just from the sound of vehicles that were a very long way off. The G.P.S. began flashing "Approaching waypoint". I looked up and still saw swamp. I took a few more steps then 10 feet away was my tree with my stand in it. I could not believe my eyes. To this day I always trust my handheld. It has saved me several times, Lake Superior in a down pour, fog on Rice lake while heading to an island. I love modern electronics grin.gif BC

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fishermn

Well, I can't say I have ever really been lost, but a couple times in heavy snows I was sure starting to wonder exactly where I was grin.gif In any case, if you remember a few simple things, you stand a much better chance.

1. Compass - small and lightweight there is no reaon not to have one with you.

2. Know the area you are entering, and pick a safety direction that will bring you back out if you get turned around.

3. Matches in a waterproof container. Again, small and lightweight. No excuse not to have them, and you will be a whole lot more comfortable if you do have to spend the night in the woods.

4. Dont Panic. Panic is what kills people in emergency situations. Take time to get yourself calmed down, and make a plan. Dont just keep pushing til you are completely exhausted and much further away from where you need to be.

A GPS is a wonderful thing as long as you have adequate batteries shocked.gif

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echotrail

Same as Big Country said. I was not completly lost, just "Momentarily displaced". I knew my "Safe out" to a road was West but did not realize how far from the road I had gotten during the afternoon. As the sun was setting I kept increasing my pace and checking the compass I had pinned on my coat. At some point I pulled the compass off on the brush. I always keep a second compass around my neck on a cord under my clothes and I got to the road about 15 minutes after sunset.

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mntraveler

Well, it wasn't me and it wasn't for long, but a couple years ago myself and my two brother-in-laws were doing a drive for another hunting buddy. It had snowed the night before and everything was covered with 3" of heavy slop. This drive was one the other two had made hundreds of times before but it was my first. They told me to keep heading east and I will come out where I need to be. This worked out well for me since I had a GPS with the stander's tree marked as well as a compass, but those guys got turned around and circled back several times before finding their way out. Needless to say, even if you know where you are and have been in the woods hundreds of times, a compass and GPS are still essential tools. As others said, there's no excuse to not have at least one.

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slick814

Lost? Well, not really... turned around for a little while, sure, but I didn't consider it lost, because I didn't really care where I was at the time. wink.gif

Seriously, though, I had "outs" in all four directions, and knew them well. A power line in one direction, roads in two, and a farm in the other (if I missed the farm, I would've eventually hit another road). I knew that regardless of how turned around I was, I could eventually find my way out.

Which, as stated previously, is a key to not getting lost. Knowing the area you're in. Always have a direction you can head to as a way out, just in case. Know your landmarks. They don't change in a period of a few hours. A compass can come in handy, don't forget to bring it with you!

More often than not, it would be my guess that many times, something happens to folks who do get lost, like an injury, falling into a swamp or other water, tracking game and not paying close attention to where you've been or are going, trying to find a missing dog, etc.

Be careful out there, ladies and gentlemen, we don't want to hear about ANYONE getting lost.

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Johnny_Namakan

As everyone has agreed on, the key is to not panic and to trust your tools. So far nobody has chimed in that has actually had to spend the night in the woods. That wouldn't be fun! We are all rough and tough hunters I know, wink.gif , but I think most of us, whether we'd admit or not (I know I won't....ha ha), would be a little jumpy to say the least if we had to stay the night. I know I'd have and awfully large bonfire to sit next to that night and probably wouldn't sleep too much.

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BobT

Getting lost…hmmm. At what point does one consider himself lost? I guess it is anytime you begin to doubt your navigation equipment or your instincts. I’ve been there. It’s amazing how quickly that feeling of panic comes over you. You start to feel desperate to find familiar surroundings and then you start to doubt your compass or GPS. I’ve always prided myself with a certain ability to just know my directions in the forest. I felt comfortable being out there, always in control, and always having an instinctive sense of where I was relative to known places like my car, a road, or trail, etc.

On at least a couple occasions though, while deer hunting areas that I had been hunting for years I suddenly found myself not recognizing my surroundings. I think in most cases the main reason I began to feel uneasy was because it was nearing the end of the day and I found myself not sure I could make it to my destination before dark. I’d look at my compass and then look around and think, no way!

If you’ve never been in the forest after dark on a cloudy night or new moon, try it sometime. You can’t see didly and moving around is risky at best. Fortunately for me, in my situations I had the wherewithal to decide to trust my compass and let it lead me out.

This brings up an important thought. Many of us probably have a handheld GPS but it is important to also carry a compass with you. First, like my GPS, many do not have an electronic compass so one must be moving in order for the GPS to display the cardinal directions. When you stop, it doesn’t know which direction you’re facing so north is relative to the mapping software installed. Mine also doesn't seem to stay pointing the direction I was last moving either so I can't use it that way either. Second, a GPS requires batteries and they can lose their charge. Having a magnetic compass for a backup only makes sense. Third, if you get into a situation where you begin to doubt, you can reference both the GPS and the compass. If they both give you the same information, you should feel confident they are correct. Remember one works on magnetics the other works by satellite connection.

Bob

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tealitup

Ok Ill admit it. I got very lost in the woods. I had a GPS and a compass. Walked a trail north for about 4 miles. Then came accross a stream with alot of deer sign. Walked another maybe 2 miles. It was getting dark so I checked the GPS. The satilites were down and could not get a signal.

Compass well that was no good it was just spinning (I think ore in the ground??)

It was now o'dark thirty. I had water, flashlight, snacks and matches. Kept checking my GPS - still no reading. My watch said it was 1am.

My hunting party was out looking for me - I did not know - I shot in the air three times. I then said... well.. I am going to spend the night here. Wolves howling -hair on end.

I made a campfire and brush pile for me to sleep on/in. At about 3:30am my GPS started to work. I got up put the fire out and started to walk.

It was daylight when I made it out. I found my hunting party about halfway out - still looking for me. On the way back a nice buck stepped out onto the trail, but I was out of bullets and the guy who I came accross did not have a gun with him.

It was one heck of a night, but it did show me that I could spend the night in the woods without a problem. An instinct takes control and you manage.

I still go out into the deep woods, but now I look at my compass and GPS alittle more often - if they are not working I back off and wait.

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charliepete2

Nope never been lost...there is the time that I decided to tour a chest deep cattail swamp, swim a frozen creek, and cover myself in head to toe cockleburrs...but I just did that for the amusing anecdote I now share with my hunting buddies.

There was also the time my buddy and I were floating the chippewa and coyote hunting. Instead of carrying the canoe through the woods to the fire road like planned, my buddy told me, "I'll just hike back to the truck and pick you up at the next bridge." Unfortunately I thought he knew there was a bridge shortly ahead, about 5 hours later while I was shooting rapids in the moonlight I realized he was mistaken.

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FarByondDrivn

Got turned around in Ripley two years ago. Idiots that we were, we didn't bring a compass. It was reall nerve wracking trying to stay calm as it was getting dark. Finally some really nice guys picked us up and gave us a ride to our truck. We had walked out of the woods in exactly the wrong direction. I have a good sense of direction but from then on, I always carry a compass. Whewww!

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Ely Lake Expert

Well, does it count as lost if you find your way back in under a hour? tongue.gif

I guees I have been sort of lost but not really. Moreso like people said before. Its happened where I really wasn't sure where I was and have thought slightly panicky thoughts, but I have never gotten seriously lost.

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onthefly

A few "momentarily displaced" incidents, but never really lost.

Our hunting party did help a guy out though. We were sitting in our camper and heard him screaming about 2 hours after sundown. We drove up the logging road we hunt off of closer to the guy's voice. Eventually we found him. He was walking parallel to the road, following a creek he thought would take him out. He'd walked two miles, wet from falling into the creek and was pretty rattled. If he'd only had a compass...

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harvey lee

I have never been lost for the night.There have been two times while hunting and searching for a archery hit deer that I didnt know where we were.One guy with I told we would be staying for the night and he still laughs about it today.I was really thinking we were going to sleep in the woods.Not a good feeling at all.

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gspman

Got turned around grouse hunting one day. It was overcast and drizzling so I couldn't use the sun and there were no good landmarks. I thought I knew the way out but eventually figured out I wasn't going the right direction. Got my gps out and it turns out I was going in exactly the opposite direction I was supposed to be going. That feeling of panic is real and it's hard to talk yourself down when your heart is pounding and the adrenalin is flowing.

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JKing

I too haven't been "Lost" but down here in Southern MN there are plenty of reference points to go from. When I get up north it does make you think twice as you can walk 50 yards off of the road & get turned around because everything looks the same.

I use my GPS quite often but as Fishermn said earlier "A GPS is a wonderful thing as long as you have adequate batteries". Always carry an extra set of batteries in your pocket as you never know when they will run out or how long you will be spending in the woods.

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Cooter

Spent 7 hrs wondering around the middle of what must be the biggest swamp in Clark Co WI after walking in to our bluetick who had two coons treed in two different trees about 50 yrds apart. He was just within hearing on a cold Oct night. Like idiots we never took a compass bearing and shortly after killing the coons were thoroughly lost.

After the aforementioned 7 hr 'trek in da wrong direction' we were ready to start a fire and wait til morning, which was only 2 hrs away. Well I finally spotted a small, square chunk of standing oaks in the midst of the swamp/tangle hell we were in and knew it was a logging area so we got out - were so lost when we got the main logging road we didn't know for sure which way to go to get to the truck shocked.gif Got er figured out and arrived at sunrise.

Up nort in the great Chequamegon Nat. Forest I decided to hunt a new area alone, and then proceeded to still hunt a long ways, shoot a deer and decide to cross-country to the road. So while I'm draggin bambi and trustin the compass I go an hour after dark and figure I should be to the road by now. I ditch the deer and try to backtrack, scared crapless cuz I don't like wolves and bears and myself in a cold woods after dark but the final ridge I knew if the truck was there cool and if not I was screwed - the truck was there. Found the deer amazingly easy the next day and according to the GPS I didn't have the night before I was a quarter mile from the road and dead nuts in line with the cabin we were staying at.

Many other not lost but turned around and worried moments in addition - not fun at the time but provides a good story later. Mostly the times(this last year in Sept) when you start a blood trail at dark and none of the cheeseheads in the group have enough brains to either have a compass or to take a reading if they do crazy.gif Usually have gotten lucky to come to a road and then find out we're all going the exact opposite direction we should be going blush.gif

A fact: when alone with only a bow becoming 'lost' with Tinks 69 steaming from all your gear is very serious vs becoming 'lost' with firearms and at least one other person.

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MIKE IN lINO III

Probably the second year hunting by myself ( not following Dad around the woods ) I came upon one of the other guys in our group. I asked him what he was doing way back here. I figured I was 1/2 mile to a mile straight back of the cabin. He says what are you talking about, the cabin is right there. Sure enough, look thru the woods and you can make out the cabin. I started carrying a compass from that point on.

No problems since.

Mike

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