No Bug Out Bag, No Survival Items

One Mans Story

Several years ago I was hunting in the Strawberry mountains of Oregon. We were up early that first morning and worked our way to the base of a shale hillside, left the horses, broke up into 2 groups, but I hunted alone that day. I am an experienced hunter, fairly experienced woodsman and consider myself fully capable of surviving in the wilderness. Because we were in a hurry to get out of camp, I forgot my Bug Out Bag and when I realized it wasn’t with me we were too far down the trail to go back.

Well guess what happened. I got turned around at the end of the day and after trying several trails I realized that I had no clue where the trail back to the horses was. As the afternoon was quickly disappearing, I found a place to “hole up’, gathered firewood, and was pretty ready to spend the night. I thought I’d try just one more time to find the trail before resigning myself to a lonely night in the woods. By sheer luck I caught a glimpse of dead fall that I had seen earlier. I then recognized a butte and knew where I was. I had to clamber down a rather steep cliff, banging up a brand new rifle pretty badly and just after dark I stumbled down the ridge to where we left early that morning. Everyone was waiting for me and we made our way back to camp getting there late that evening.

I was tired and really mad at myself for leaving my Bug Out Bag. I had no map, no food, no compass, no protection from the elements, no matches or lighter, no first aid supplies. It would have been a very cold night up there because that evening it snowed about 18”. Thankfully I didn’t panic and I logically thought through what I had to do. I also made my mind up to set a time for the decision to stay put and make the best of what I had, build a fire, and wait for the morning rescue team to come. I took enough ribbing to last a lifetime when I got back to camp; something about being no Jeremiah Johnson.

Now if I am in the woods so is my Bug Out Bag.

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