Every hunting season hunters get lost in the woods, and while most escape no worse than tired, cold, and hungry, the chances of getting lost in the woods of Idaho should not be under- taken. estimated.
Hunters can take precautions and prepare for unexpected situations in the woods.
Know the area you are hunting
Always be aware of your surroundings, highlights, river or stream drainages, and occasionally turn around and look behind to remind yourself of what it looks like when you return. If you are on a trail, do not hesitate to put a temporary marker at intersections. Things may look different when you return, especially if you come back in the dark.
Don’t just rely on electronics
Devices like GPS, cell phones, and two-way radios are handy, but dead batteries and other malfunctions make them useless. A map and compass are less likely to break down, but you also need to know how to use them.
Let someone know about your plans and set a recording time
Hunters are often away longer than expected, especially when chasing big game away from a road. You might want to set an absolute deadline and have someone alert authorities if you haven’t returned or contact someone at that time. Ditto for your hunting partner. Hunters are often separated, so set a meeting time and location, and decide ahead of time when a third party will ask for help if you or your partners don’t return on time.
Watch for extreme climate change
You’re more likely to get lost or roll over in poor visibility when it’s raining, snowing, or snowing, which are also conditions where it’s potentially more dangerous to get lost in the woods. Cold, humid weather can be the difference between an uncomfortable situation and a life-threatening situation.
Remember that even on a clear day, temperatures can change dramatically. A hot, sunny afternoon can quickly drop below freezing after dark, and daily temperature swings of 30-40 degrees are quite common in the fall.
Dress or wear clothes for the worst weather conditions you are likely to encounter
It is also common to quickly switch from hot and sunny to rain or snow. Dressing in layers is a good way to accommodate changes in weather, and wearing a backpack means you can store your clothes when not in use and keep them handy when you need them.
Here is more information on how to dress properly for the hunting season.
Avoid cotton clothing, which is comfortable when dry, but does not add heat when wet. Modern synthetic fabrics insulate even when damp or wet and generally dry faster when wet. They are more comfortable in almost all conditions than cotton.
Wool is also better than cotton, and modern merino wool is itchy and comfortable over a wide range of temperatures.
Be ready to make a fire
Whether it’s matches, lighters, or other devices, have a weatherproof fire starter and it’s good to have a backup. Know how to start a fire in all weather conditions, but remember that the cold does not end the fire season, so never leave a fire that is not completely extinguished.
Bring a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
They are invaluable for navigating in the early morning or after dark and keep you from getting lost, while just being handy for a variety of purposes.
If you get lost, heat, shelter and water should be your top priorities
You can go days without food, but staying warm and hydrated is essential to your survival. You’re not going to starve to death if you go out for longer than you planned, but it’s never a bad idea to take extra food with you. Commercial survival kits provide most of the essentials, but many are overkill, so don’t pack more than you are likely to need.
Think about exactly what you would want for an extended stay in the woods, and keep these items with you at all times. If you get lost, admit it yourself and prepare to spend the night outside. Build a fire to warm up and set up shelter. As you walk around, it will be more difficult for search and rescue personnel to find you. It also fuels your anxiety, preventing you from thinking clearly and making good decisions.
Don’t forget your vehicle and ATV
Have your vehicle backcountry ready and prepared for minor breakdowns, such as flat tires or dead batteries. A separate survival kit for your vehicle is a good idea.
Keep a set of dry clothes in your vehicle
It’s not necessarily about survival, but being soggy and wet can range from uncomfortable to miserable. Putting on warm, dry clothes for the ride home or camp is a big bonus for a little effort.