With all the technology at our disposal it seems like it would be almost impossible to get lost in the woods these days. But of course there are those good ol’ city folk out there that rarely step foot off the cement, let alone follow a dirt trail into the woods, so these are the people that could benefit the most from my Woodland Survival Guide. I intended for this simple guide to help even the most “citified” city folk survive getting lost in the great outdoors, and hopefully get you home in time for “House of Cards.”
Now the first thing most wilderness experts will tell you if you get lost in the woods is not to panic, but this is bullshit, you should panic, fear is a great motivator, fear is what will keep you alive. Because if you don’t “panic” then when the bears find you they are going to turn your lack of panicking into their “picnic” and you are the main course….So go ahead and panic.
Okay, so you’re lost, you are gripped with fear, and you’re really missing Starbucks right now, so what should you do? Once you realize that you are hopelessly lost, start dropping all your valuables and run, run as fast as you can. Leaving a trail of valuables will help you get located, not because anyone is looking for you, instead they are looking for the next valuable item some idiot dropped on the ground, it may sound stupid, but hey, stupid is what gets people found in the woods.
So, your running and dropping your valuables…try to capitalize on this blind, unreasonable fear your experiencing and sprint as hard and as fast as you can in any direction. Right now nothing else matters in life, not your family, not your job, not even your beloved cat, just run dammit! Sometimes it helps if you keep repeating “Dear God, this is not happening to me” over and over as you run. And I have been told by some city folk that they prefer to simplify it even further by repeating “No, No, No” over and over. Now the logic in running as fast as you can and as far as you can is that eventually you won’t be lost anymore, you will either get rescued by someone collecting your valuables, or you will stumble upon a campsite or town.
So if leaving a trail of valuables and running as fast as you can doesn’t get you “un-lost” then no worries, don’t give up hope just yet. If you have a canteen, water bottle or flask of whiskey start taking big wasteful gulps, hell pour some out in honor of your dead Homies. Perhaps you are now over your fear and have moved on to Hysteria, maybe you feel like collapsing on the ground like a little girl who lost her Barbie, maybe you are sobbing right now and snot is dripping from your nose, dammit you look pathetic, pull yourself together, you’re not dead…yet! Anyways there will be time for that later when you accidentally stumble upon a mother bear and her cubs tearing apart a small faun, and you know that faun isn’t going to be enough to curb their appetite. But for now you still have a chance, look around you, take stock of the situation. Then you know what to do, that’s right start running again, put the pedal to the metal….Get the hell out of there!
Alright, since I have been bringing up bears, and being attacked by bears, and eaten by bears. What should you do if you come across a bear? First of all, don’t be shocked by the pitch and volume of your screaming, it’s okay, lots of people in your situation would do the same thing, but urinating on yourself? Come on man die with some dignity! Okay, back to your screaming, go with it, they say it brings out your primal instincts. If that bear you are staring at starts charging you or seems aggressive in any way, you will need to use your head, you will have to outsmart this beast, so start running again, but this time right at the bear cub, grab it and hold it out in front of you, use it as a barrier between it’s really pissed off mother and you. Threaten to harm the cub, shake it, and maybe even spin it around like a little airplane, then release it and run like hell. Now some experts say a bear can run as fast as a horse for short distances, maybe it’s true, who knows. But I know what is a fact, that a man scared shitless that is being chased by an angry bear can run as fast a cheetah, so don’t worry about it.
I guess I should mention what to do if the bear does somehow manage to catch you. So if the bear knocks you down and is standing over you, quickly grab it’s fur and pull yourself up its mammoth body until you can grab its mouth, it will probably be open so try to push it together the best you can so it has a hard time eating you, also while you’re up there you should try head butting it, bears hate this. I learned that from a Wooden Indian in Vegas. (Note: If the bear is really determined to eat you then you will be eaten, so it might be a good time to start yelling “No, No, No” again)
So if you were lucky and didn’t come across a bear, you will probably need to stop running and make a camp before it gets too dark out. So ideally you want to find some type of shelter that will keep you warm, dry and offer protection from deep, gouging puncture wounds usually associated with a nighttime bear encounter. I would suggest stacking lodge pole pine tree’s into a log cabin style structure around eight or ten feet high. Cover it with a woven thatch and pine needle roof and seal the cracks between the lodge poles with mud or pine tar cement. If for some reason you are not able to achieve this before nightfall, which seems odd, because most men could handle that and still have time to craft a bed and mattress, but anyways if you can’t, then no worries, most bears and other creatures that could kill you sleep at night so you should be fine…probably.
You are probably getting hungry by now, you will need to maintain your energy so it would be a good idea to start looking for some food. You’re in luck, the woods can be an amazing provider and food is everywhere if you know where to look.
Now look around, look up, there in that tree, do you see it? It’s a tree rat, better known as a squirrel, they are everywhere, and they are easy to catch. Just sneak up on one that is feeding on the ground, grab it by the tail and fling it away from you as quickly as possible. With any luck it will hit its head on a rock and die for you. If by some unlucky chain of events it happens to land on you, quickly start running in a figure eight pattern while screaming “Get it off me, Get it off me” but nobody is there to get it off you , did you forget you are lost? But maybe, just maybe as your running around screaming the squirrel may fall off you and hit its head on a rock. Once you confirm it is dead, peel it open like a banana, pick out the gross parts you don’t want to eat and what you have left over is a protein rich source of nourishment which will help you keep running for a little bit longer.
So if you make it through your first day and night of being lost in the woods, you will awake with a new sense of purpose, you will suddenly feel like you can do anything. And after that wonderful squirrel breakfast you’re ready to focus all your energy on getting yourself rescued. If you see plane or helicopter don’t try to flash anything shiny at them, this can cause blindness for the pilot and they are likely to fly into a mountain. The best way to get their attention is to start a fire, a big fire, hell if you need to burn down a thousand acres then do it, it’s all about survival right now. Also try to make smoke rings that is always cool and your rescuers will probably be pretty impressed with you.
And once you are finally spotted and you know help is on the way, try to remain calm, maybe say a prayer of thanks and take some time to get your story correct about what happened to the others that you were with…oh yeah…I forgot about them.