S.T.O.P.—Stop, Think, Observe, Plan
To survive an unexpected situation, such as getting lost, you need only four things: a calm head, food, water, and shelter. Don’t panic! All of the food, water, and shelter in the world cannot help you if you panic in a survival situation. Keep calm and use your head! Your brain is your best survival tool!
You know what a stop sign is. Here’s what “S.T.O.P.” means in a survival situation:
Stop when you realize you’ve got a problem. The first thing to do is admit to yourself that you are in trouble.
Think about what you need to do to survive.
Observe the area; and look for shelter, fuel, etc.
Plan how you are going to use your survival kit and the other resources available to you. Don’t wait until dark to plan!
Remain calm. Think clearly. Use the tools you have available to you.
Stay put if you are lost. Don’t wander around and get yourself into deeper trouble. If you let somebody know where you were going to hunt, they’ll be looking for you in that area. Aimless wandering will only make the search more difficult. Rescue teams are trained to find you, so stay put!
Plan ways to signal for help. A signal mirror, smoke from a fire, etc. can all be used. One signal for help is three shots evenly spaced. Remember that shots are common during daylight hours in the hunting season. Wait until nightfall to shoot! Three of anything—toots on a whistle, smoke signals, etc.—also signal a need for help.