Getting lost in the woods can happen to even the best hunter, according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator. He encourages lost individuals to remain calm and just STOP.
SIT: When you realize that you are lost, take the time to sit down and collect your thoughts. You aren't lost. You have lost track of your camp, vehicle and everyone else.
THINK: What do I have at my disposal, both physical and mental, that can help me in this situation? Take an inventory of your survival kit items and how you will use them. Take an inventory of your mind; remember what you always thought you would do if you got lost. Most of all remain positive; you will survive.
OBSERVE: Look around. Is there shelter, water, high ground, an open area so searchers can see you? You will be easier to find if you stay in a location that allows you to build a fire and provide shelter. Set out signals that can be seen at a distance or from an aircraft.
PLAN: Now create your plan of action. Be positive and take care of yourself. If it's late in the day, build a fire for heat and signaling, find or make a shelter, and remain positive that you have the ability to survive.
Hammer said people who have completed a DNR Firearms Safety Training course or an Adult Hunter Education course should know about STOP. He said the best way to survive an extended period out-of-doors in Minnesota is to not let it happen in the first place. But plan for the possibility by having matches in a waterproof container, a compass, a knife, a small candle, a whistle, a pocket survival blanket, high energy snacks and a water container.