Birthday Night in the Woods

Chat about surviving, preventing, and being prepared for emergencies in the Outdoors
GeneralLee
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Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby GeneralLee » Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:27 am

Embarrassing to say the least, but on the night of my birthday Oct 26th, I was hunting a new tract of land, a 35000 acre tract of public in East Texas. I didn't have any previous experience in the area but the plan was just to scout until I found decent sign and set up on it. In I went 1.12 miles into the unknown, not knowing that my phone battery was on 15%. I got into the tree and realized my phone was nearly dead I sent my coordinates to a hunting buddy that was approximately two miles away from me and turned it off for the evening.

The plan was when I got down to get a bearing from my OnX and use my compass to direct me the rest of the way. Should of done this before I turned my phone off. Who knew that 15% could go to 0% with the phone off. Wasn't able to get OnX pulled up before it died. So at this point I was still fairly confident I knew where I was. What I underestimated was the effect the darkness would have on my confidence in my navigation skills. After walking in the general direction I thought to be correct, I quickly started to second guess myself. I stopped, pulled out my compass and seen the direction I was headed in. This immediately didn't help as I really started to second guess whether I was headed correctly or not.

Notes to consider:
The past 14 years of my life has nearly been exclusively spent on the same 1600 acre tract of land that I know like the back of my hand. I can almost photographically picture the aerial maps in my head when needed, so being unsure of my surroundings in a situation like this was a feeling I hadn't felt since being a teenager.

At this point, I was nearly having a panic attack. Busting through brush not certain of anything that I was doing. All I could think about was my wife being worried sick, my buddy back at the truck being worried, etc. I surely did not want to be the guy that had a rescue party searching for me because im a p*ss poor woodsman. So I stopped, and sat down and leaned against a pine tree. "Quit freaking out and THINK", I told myself. I started to think back to when me and my buddy were coming up with a plan for the afternoon. We were planning to split up and each walk a well known trail into the tract of woods and dive in from there to whatever location we chose. I remembered it was a south wind that day, so the plan was to enter the woods on the south side of the trail to allow me a decent access wind as I scouted my way in. So the trail must have ran roughly east and west. The kicker was, while the vast majority of the trail was well marked, 100 yds roughly past where I decided to enter the woods from the trail went from easily distinguishable to hardly noticeable as it dove into a patch of woods. I knew that if I didn't hit the right section of the trail I would surely walk right past it without even knowing I had crossed it. "North." I grabbed my compass, pointed it north and off I went, with a still uneasy feeling of whether or not I was going to cut the right part of the trail or not.

Well, after a long walk, I did cut the trail I was looking for and found my way out. My buddy was headed down the trail to come look for me and I met him. All he could think was that I had taken a plunge out of the tree and was laying on the ground with a broken back. Luckily that wasn't the case.

So now, I've had my reality check. Funny thing was is I have a battery charger, as well as a Garmin GPS. Neither item made it into my pack that evening. However, in the future my compass will stay in my hand and I will have a clear picture of my way back prior to wandering into the unknown. Figured I would share this even being as embarrassing as it made me. If it prevents someone from making the same mistake, then it was worth it. Don't be overconfident in yourself. Take the time to be sure of your exit route.


mheichelbech
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby mheichelbech » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:18 am

Thanks for sharing that. I’ve had similar occurrences coming out at night. Good you had the compass and got settled down. Looks like you were able to get it together and have it all come out well. Good reminder!
"One of the chief attractions of the life of the wilderness is its rugged and stalwart democracy; there every man stands for what he actually is and can show himself to be." — Theodore Roosevelt, 1893
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Ghost Hunter
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:29 am

I know that feeling.

I went into move a stand one time. Did not take a flashlight. On way out a thunderstorm rolled in just before sunset. It started pouring raining. It got dark before I could get back to four wheeler. Only light I had was when lightening popped. Storm rolled out and left me sitting wet in dark against a tree. I was prepared to stay night. About and hour later my cousin showed up with a light. He said he come look for me because I had not returned to house yet. He found me about 50 yards from four wheeler.
I live to release an arrow and watch woods grow into chaos and then grow quite as a mouse in just seconds.
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HunterBob
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby HunterBob » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:24 pm

Definitely a good reminder. I recently went into a new area scouting and ended up hunting two miles in. There are no trails and it is all ridges and streams. If it weren't for onx maps I wouldn't have gotten out in the dark. Was a little scary for me to rely that much on technology so I have made sure to keep a compass in my bag since and know the direction I need to head back.
GeneralLee
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby GeneralLee » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:55 pm

HunterBob wrote:Definitely a good reminder. I recently went into a new area scouting and ended up hunting two miles in. There are no trails and it is all ridges and streams. If it weren't for onx maps I wouldn't have gotten out in the dark. Was a little scary for me to rely that much on technology so I have made sure to keep a compass in my bag since and know the direction I need to head back.


It sure is. I've been practicing the same thing. I've also got a backup battery charger to prevent myself from getting into the same situation again. But the plan is to become proficient enough at navigating to not need electronics to back track my way out. Learning process for sure.
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hunting_dad
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby hunting_dad » Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:40 pm

Good post and good reminder to always be prepared and don’t take anything for granted. Way easier than you think to lose your way and find yourself in a bad situation. Glad you made it out okay

Oh yeah and happy birthday!
GeneralLee
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby GeneralLee » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:25 pm

hunting_dad wrote:Good post and good reminder to always be prepared and don’t take anything for granted. Way easier than you think to lose your way and find yourself in a bad situation. Glad you made it out okay

Oh yeah and happy birthday!


Absolutely is. After hunting 10 years on the same tract where you always know exactly where you stand, it's easy to forget to pay attention to your surroundings.
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218er
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Re: Birthday Night in the Woods

Unread postby 218er » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:44 pm

I always like to have a plan b route out of the woods. A compass that you can use to hit a significant landmark, road, creek, wetland, trail, etc is absolutely essential. If it makes you feel any better I got Lyme disease while out hunting on my birthday, October 9th.
Persistence is undefeated.


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