Lost in the woods! Now what?

O.K. You’re lost. Now what?


If you don’t know where you are or which way to go, STAY PUT. People will start looking for you as soon as someone realizes you’re missing. Meanwhile, it’s time to use your No. 1 survival tool — your brain. Follow the STOP signs.

s_lost.jpgStay calm. You can’t use your brain well if you’re in a panic. Breathe slowly and deeply. Drink some water, eat a little something.

t_lost.jpgThink. How did you get here? Get out your map and see what you can figure out.

o_lost.jpgObserve. Look for your footprints. What about landmarks? Find the clues and maybe you can solve the mystery of where you are.

p_lost.jpgPlan. If you’re pretty sure of the way back, move carefully. But what if you’re wrong? Mark your trail as you move — piles of stones, broken branches. That way you can always come back to where you were.

trail_whistle.jpgGET NOTICED

Help searchers find you. The universal distress call always comes in threes: Three shouts, three blasts on a whistle. Start calling. Make a smoky fire in the daytime (toss grass or green leaves on the flames) or a bright fire at night. Spread extra clothing or any bright gear in the open to catch the eye of a rescue pilot. Make yourself comfortable. Pitch a tent if you have one, or make a shelter out of the wind. Use the gear you have to help you stay warm and dry. How long can you last? Without water, for several days. Without food, for several weeks.

lost_v.jpgBRIGHT IDEA

On a clear day, the flash of a signal mirror can be seen up to 100 miles away. Any mirror will do. To aim it, hold the mirror with one hand and extend the other hand in front of you. Tilt the mirror until its reflected light fills your empty palm. Make a V with your illuminated fingers, then sight through the V toward an aircraft. The lid of a tin can, a piece of foil or anything shiny can also work.

Comments about “Lost in the woods! Now what?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    these tips will help me if i got lost in the camping trip that i am going to this summer

  2. hjvbbbbbb says:


  3. Predator says:

    Earn Wilderness Survival for more info

  4. Blaze says:

    that is cool im glad i read that

  5. Wes says:

    If you recognize you are lost early enough and it is just a short hike,chances are you are only several hours or miles away from help. Make a lot of noise and someone will find you.

  6. thegirl says:

    way cool

  7. Rizk says:

    My dad taught me this one:

    When in danger, when in doubt,
    Run in circles scream and shout.

    Or in this case, blow a whistle.

  8. oreo-95 says:

    I’ve learned a lot of survival skills and these are very simple

  9. p0 bvcxbov says:


  10. outdoor guy says:

    i usally have a survival pack with me

  11. jfman says:

    good tips! but If im lost i’ll use my $150 spot sattellite messanger witch send 9-11 calls to a 9-11 center and that also gives them the exact location of you. but if i dont have that i’ll use those tips.

  12. D says:

    carry a small survival kit, they really do work!

  13. Bob5 says:

    These are really good Tips.

  14. alexnator450 says:

    I like the S-T-O-P thing. I will bring it up at the next troop meeting.

  15. philmont 09 75 says:

    Great tips try to find water and stay cool or warm depending on conditions avoid extra problems great info

  16. A scout parent says:

    Hug a tree and stay put. All children and adults should attend the hug a tree program. You will learn alot and it could save you’r life.

  17. draconic says:

    wutang, do u have 1 of those stater thingies.For one thing there fun to play with and they just might save your life someday.therereally cheap(like 2 dollars i think) at your local scout shop.

  18. draconic says:

    ‘ifs’ are never any good

  19. brules says:

    cool tips

  20. wutang says:

    how do you make fire

  21. Gothmog says:

    you might need to keep moving w/out doing the above so that you are able to be found if you are in a place where you are freaked out and know one could see you, like in a dense forest being chased by a panther?

  22. mitchellea4 says:

    lol, today i went back to the place the branch fell, it was kinda scary. but the branch was bigger than i rememberd it…lol, i remember the exact place, the fence was marked, lol

  23. 577111 says:


  24. old crappy fisherman says:

    i got shot once i went to the hospitle

  25. do yo says:

    stop}good one!!that was funny ha ha ha ha!!!

  26. AlbertaForestryFireFighterDad says:

    Best thing to do at any age once you notice that you are

    1 Stay Put

    2 Build a Fire ( parent teach your Kids early ) being to Cold can Kill you

    3 stay in sight of your camp ( look for water )

    Above all else First Aid to any injurys

    4 And if you have to Move make an Arrow out of Rock to show which way u went

    Some One will find u

    And above all else Learn how to Survive

  27. candace says:

    STOP! good one. ! !


  28. braidica says:

    once i got lost in the woods. it was freaky

  29. Ace#W34 says:

    saras brother those are good tips

  30. saras brother says:

    if you ever herd a partridg drum or havent, go in the forest with your dad or grandpa and sit on a log, but you HAVE to be early in the spring. but anyway sit there, you cant talk you have to be very quite or it wont drum, listen very closly and i will start eventuly, it is very deep and quite so listen and those are my tips.

  31. boy# 345 says:

    good tips

  32. ken says:

    some good tips

  33. Red C. says:

    Learned a neat trick recently with an acorn cap. If you are lost in the woods and don’t have a whistle, look for an oak tree. You can use an acorn cap to make a very loud whistle. You have to hold it a certain way (put the knuckles of your thumbs together to form a V and hold the acorn cap–hollow area toward thumbs–between thumbs and index fingers so only a small portion of the acorn is above the V formed by the thumbs. Then blow over the cap. Takes some practice but it makes a great, not to mention LOUD, whistle.

  34. ace # 4657893 says:

    once i got lost in woods. we got lost hunting, and the only food was to shoot a partridge. Eventualy we found the trail again

  35. mitchellea4 says:

    kk, ive gotten lost before, but i was only 7, i went biking when my parents told me to go no farther than the next 2 blocks, i didnt listen. i came to a dirt trail and folowed it for about 5 minuts leaving my bike at the begining of the trail. then i just wonderd off into the woods, pretty much just trying to find a new place, after about 8 min. i found out i had completely lost the trail and a big branch fell off a tree and i got really scarde but i was really small, so i ran as fast as i could to get away from the tree that the branch fell from, i had comletly no idea where i was. i ran farther and farther untill i was out of the woods, and i found myself in a place i had never been beforel. okay, so i was super scarde because i didnt know where i was, so i went into a convenyent store and i said i was lost, they let me use a phone and i turnd out i had ended up 3 miles from my house, my dad came and picked me up and sence then, ive been super carful about myself getting lost. and luckely i got my bike back : )

    but that was 6 years ago but i was super scarde, at least i new what to do.

    im a girl,


  36. Double D says:

    Oh yeah, 3-Drakel, try being lost in the mall with a bunch of people, and you’re thinking that some people are you’re mom and dad.

  37. Nate101 says:

    good tips

  38. 490 trooper says:


  39. Drakel says:

    I`ve been lost in a desert before! It was freaky!

  40. to_be_chuck_chick says:

    I pack a CD to signal. When flashing, just flash at the plane three times (the universal distress call). Also, tumbleweeds are great for smoke.

  41. joe97 says:

    Those are some good tips!

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