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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Survival Sitrep

Situation Report , those who were in the military will know this phrase. And most will know it any way. “SitRep”.
If you find yourself in a situation where you must spend the night when it was not planned, or like Daniel Boone once said, when asked the question, “were you ever lost in the woods” too paraphrase his answer ” no but I was mighty confused once for 3 days” So, if you find yourself “confused” for a minute sit down and and ask yourself some questions, best if you have a notebook and a writing device, and write the questions and the answers down.
What is the character of the terrain?
What do have with you? (Take it out and list your gear)
Does anyone have any idea where you are?
My suggestion is to write down what you may encounter, weather, water and shelter come to mind.
You need a positive and complete report and what you need to do in the immediate future. Try to avoid any danger, as simple as tripping and turning an ankle,
what critters are in your AO. There might be conditions that could harm you. Make a check for, critters, tracks and dens. How much light is left… More on that in a minute.
Do you have knowledge of plants that might help hold back hunger or add to your rations? My list would include some of these ideas. Weather (what is it doing), water, terrain, animals, snakes, hunger, fire, shelter, not in any order at this point just get it down on your check list.
This activity will help you get yourself settled down and thinking in a positive mode.
How much daylight is left should determine you shelter building. If you have A Tarp or large garbage bags it can cut down on your building time. Depending on the AO, in the woods, you have a hardware store at your fingertips. Lots of useful wood for building a great shelter.
  • Pile on the brush deep.
  • The more you get the warmer you will be.
  • Make it small in order to hold in the heat.
  • Be careful of dead limbs above you. Even when not windy they have a nasty habit of breaking off and falling.
Good idea if you have time is make a smaller shelter under a larger one… helps a lot with insulation
If you can make a fire, try heating some rocks that can be moved intro your sleeping area. Also try and keep off the ground, heat rises and contact with the cold ground will draw body heat away. So if you are able and have the time make the shelter so you can build a bed frame up off the ground. This will pay off for a comfy warm night.
In the desert, never make camp in a dry river bed or any place that can carry water. Again, depending on what kind of desert you find yourself in, you may be able to build a wickiup . The same things applies. Heat stones to move into your shelter. If you are by water don’t camp too close as it will attract all kinds of critters, including nasty biters. However it would be a great place to set some traps. Please allow plenty of time to construct your shelter before it gets dark. Most books never cover the time frame it takes to build a proper shelter.
Keep checking your SitRep, so you are on point. Hopefully you have some kind of communication so you can alert the right folks you are okay but are just confused.
Being in reasonable physical shape will be a huge advantage. If you have the skills you will be able to fashion some great trap triggers. Set as many as you can, and continue to do so for the duration. Having some snare wire will be a giant plus. Keep track of where each trap is set and trip them all when you are leaving, make a map in your notes. Keep improving your shelter as well, it can be improved on everyday.
Planed survival is always best. That’s why you have a notebook that is water proof. I am Assuming you have at least one knife. If you do not, finding some rocks will get through the problem. Bash them and you will end up with a discoidal blade that will be very sharp and is an excellent cutting tool.
My suggestion is to stay put, unless you suddenly remember where you are and the confusion lifts.
A map might help, if you can ID some terrain features and you are really positive where you are on the map. But if it is say foggy you are out of luck.
A compass will help if you know what direction to go. That could be just as confusing, so you might be SOL.
Don’t panic. You have your SitRep to consult and other ideas might come to you.
Make yourself comfy by improving the situation every day. Folks will be looking for you. .Don’t be embarrassed you’re lost… it happens to the best of us.
Years ago, I was in the San Gabriel mountains and a fog rolled in. I knew this area well, so I kept going. I went left, I think, looked like it was down hill… it wasn’t and it turned out to be the wrong ridge line. I could only see about 12 or 15 feet. Seeing was zip. I walked looking for something I could ID… Didn’t happen. Then it started to get dark, wet, and cold. I had started above the city of Burbank. When it started to get dark, I could just make out some lights to my right.. The fog was lifting. I went down hill…Very rough going. I ended up coming out on the outskirts of the city of Glendale. I had hiked about 8 miles… I had no clue. When I found a pay phone, remember those?, I had a buddy come and pick me up . He still, to this day, makes fun of me. I would have been better off just hunkering down until the fog lifted, but I knew the area so well, I thought I would see something that would give me a tip. Did not happen. I have been hiking in the area since I was kid. It didn’t make any difference, over confidence and perhaps ego would not let me admit I was confused.
Be prepared and own the skills, and be ready to admit you are lost and or confused, no shame in that at all. I had the where with all to make a fine comfy camp, but I knew better, Riiiiiiight.
[At the time of this ordeal, more than 50 years ago, I was about 25. It had never occurred to me to apply a SitRep to hiking, camping, hunting or being turned around. After this little hike though, I reached back to my Marine Corps training and pulled out SitRep,.taking a notebook and pencil, thinking through to a positive conclusion by utilizing the SitRep]

By Dude McLean

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  1. Ive found this works well, by making notes and reviewing them at a later date.. make sure you dont take shortcuts as you might not recall your own shorthand... it only takes a few minutes and once in the habit it takes no time at all. even listing landmarks is a good idea..

  2. Over the years one of my more important notes/lists seem to have been more along the lines of "lessons learned" - then *fixing* what went wrong. Learning to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly is just as important in growing old as it was in growing up?

  3. good thoughts Dave you are right... thanks for the comments...