- Special Sections
- Public Notices
In the past few weeks we have witnessed the warm summer temperatures diminish as cooler mornings and evenings bring with them the hint of fall. The archery season is in full swing and thousands of wildlife enthusiasts are taking to the woods to enjoy the fruits of another hunting season. Some, however, may not enjoy their time afield as much as they had anticipated.
Each year we hear of someone who has gotten lost and had to spend a night or two (or longer) in the woods. Two such incidents come to mind, both of them occurred in the heart of the Delta. A young man squirrel hunting in an area forest became lost, but with assistance from another hunter, managed to find his way back to camp, over 24 hours later. The second incident was even more serious. A man was hunting on a National Wildlife Refuge with a friend and after splitting up for the afternoon, he failed to meet his partner back at the truck. After several days of search and rescue efforts, he was never found.
One way to reduce the probability of getting lost is to carry and know how to use a compass. A quality compass can be purchased at most sporting good stores and they are fairly inexpensive, ranging anywhere from $7.00 to $30.00, depending on the features. Some recommended features include night‑time luminous points, a graduated 0‑360 degree azimuth dial, declination scales and scaled protractor base plates.
Once you have purchased a compass, learn to use it; practice by using your compass in areas you are familiar with. Try taking a bearing to get to a specific spot and then getting back to your starting point by just using your compass. These types of exercises will give you the confidence needed to trust your compass. Also, practice using your compass with a map of an area you are familiar with as this will aid you with new areas.
Being lost is serious, but it does not have to be dangerous if you react properly. First, admit to yourself that you are lost. At that point sit down and think logically about your situation. The worst thing you can do is to panic. Calmly go over in your mind what you have done since leaving your vehicle or camp. What landmarks did you notice along the way and are any of them visible from where you are? Can you retrace your own trail?
Some tips you may want to remember are to never venture out alone if possible. If you are going alone, try to let someone know exactly where you will be and when you plan to return. Be observant of your surroundings. Do not wander around looking for landmarks or familiar area as this may only confuse you further. Do not attempt to travel in the dark as this may also add to the confusion. If you are truly lost, sit tight and wait for help.