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How to Attract Attention When Lost in the Wilderness

Updated on March 15, 2014

Are You Really Lost?

If you are reading this hub, then you are lost in the wilderness. I don't know how you managed to get yourself into this predicament, but don't be embarrassed. It happens to a lot of people.

Before we get you outta there, lets take a look around and see how lost you really are. "Wilderness" is a rather broad definition. A big city dweller may define "wilderness" as being that smaller satellite city clinging to the outskirts of town.

Big town dwellers think the wilderness is smaller towns with only five or six places to eat, or maybe those miles of woodlands sandwiched between exit ramps. Small town folk may think of it as the place a mile out in the country where Grandpa's farm is.

And country people? Well, they just think of that as home. So look around you carefully. If you can actually see a house, or a large glow against the skyline, then you aren't doomed. You just took a wrong turn and you can probably back-track your way to the interstate.

Now, if you can't see anything but trees and trees and more trees. Then you are probably really lost in the wilderness. But don't panic. I am going to help you get rescued.

A little piece of my wilderness.
A little piece of my wilderness. | Source

My Credentials As Wilderness Guide

Why should you trust me, you might ask. Well, I have some pretty good experience with the wilderness. You see, I have lived in big cities, big towns, small towns, and the country. Once upon a time, I too became lost in the wilderness, and I stayed there for eleven years.

The directions to find this place read something like this:

" Leave the big city. Travel to this small city. Leave there and travel 100 miles or so until you get to a medium sized town. Look at it will be the last town on the map for a while. Leave there and travel 40 miles to you get to this town...that is not on the map. You may notice that houses and people are becoming scarcer.

Okay, now keep going. For six miles you will see nothing. Then hang a right. Now keep on that road for about 10 more miles. It will turn from pavement to gravel, then to rock, then to clay...then to a narrow trail. You will drive over hills and through creeks. (yes, I said through, not over.) Now you are in the wilderness. If you keep going, you will drive for thirty more miles of completely uninhabited forestland, and emerge in a new state."

As someone who had to travel over 30 miles to find a cheeseburger, and as someone who helped countless lost travelers find their way out of what I called "my back yard", I consider myself qualified enough to offer advice on what to do when you become Lost In The Wilderness.

Mentally Preparing Yourself For Rescue

Maybe it is a throw-back to our wild and woolly caveman days, but a lot of people get a little excited about the thought of having to survive an hour or so in the wilderness. They may start daydreaming about spearing fish for food and clubbing bears for the warm furs.

Purge those thoughts right now. You want to be rescued right? No one is going to come save you if you look like you are enjoying yourself. Don't you miss your television? Your coffee pot? Your indoor plumbing?

Of course you do. Coping with all the troubles and hassles of society is just a small price to pay for the luxury of owning that coffee pot. So take a deep breath, and say "I want to be rescued." Now you are ready to read the rest of this article.

More Tips For Surviving Until You Are Rescued

Call For Help

Screaming for help is the least fruitful way of spending your energy. Unless you passed a few houses and saw some people on your way in, then chances are that no one is around to hear you. All screaming is going to do is give you a sore throat and severe thirst.

This morning when you planned to get lost, you SHOULD have packed a whistle or a firearm if you wanted to use noise to get yourself rescued. Without one or both of these items, about the only attention you are going to attract is that of wild animals.

Everyone knows that the forest is brimming with lions, tigers and bears. Not to mention sasquatch, hogzilla, and spiders the size of elephants. There may even be elephants. These animals will probably eat you for one of the following reasons:

  1. They are hungry
  2. They are eager to sample an exotic food
  3. To get you to stop screaming. (even Sasquatch gets migraines, you know.)

If you don't have a whistle or a firearm to scare away the animals, then you will be better served holding in those screams for help until you actually spy a real human being.

Planes and Helicopters

We have all seen those movies where lost people jump up and down waving their arms at passing aircraft.

"Over here! Down here!" the scream at the skies. And we eat popcorn and sit on the edge of our seats hoping they will be rescued. Sometimes it works in the movies. In real life, this scenario is doomed to fail.

If you have only been missing a few hours, then it is highly unlikely that anyone is out searching for you with planes and helicopters. The pilots and passengers are not paying attention, and are probably too high up for you to be more than an ant-sized speck in the forest.

They can't hear you either. Have you ever been in a plane? Can you hear all the sounds of the people below? Unless you are Again, the only thing that screaming is doing is attracting more annoyed animals.

Many people suggest hanging something brightly colored up in a tree where it will be noticed. This may or may not work. Sure, it looks out of place. But in today's world, someone may just snap a photo of your undies hanging in a tree and post it to Facebook under "weird stuff".

Hold still! They are falling for it!
Hold still! They are falling for it! | Source

Playing Dead

Pretending to be carrion is a slightly more effective means of getting rescued. Find a comfy clearing and stretch out for a siesta. If you can hold still long enough, you will begin t look interesting to vultures and other scavenging birds.

Since there is not much excitement way out there in the country, your odds are good that someone will see the circling buzzards and decide to drive out and see what has died. Be warned though. Your rescuer is going to be plenty disappointed to discover YOU, rather than that cow that has been missing all week.

How To Build A Fire

Build A Fire

Now we get to the most fun and successful way to earn yourself a little attention. Not only are you going to stay warm, you are going to be rescued!

According to the survival manuals, you want to build a fire with high flames at night, and a smoky fire during the day. It is recommended to arrange three fires, either in row, or in a triangle shape to signal distress.

Let's be reasonable here. People who live in the wilderness areas burn things all the time. Brush, garbage, fields, ditches, fence rows...they probably won't pay much attention if you build a dinky little campfire.

Don't you want to be saved? Then you want to build a conflagration that will be noticed three counties away. Smokey Bear will forgive you just this once. Just be prepared to foot the bill for this drastic measure...that was probably someone's pine plantation you just toasted.


Wait For Rescue

Everyone knows that when you are lost you are supposed to stay in the same place, right? That makes it easier for those rescue teams to find you once they start looking. It might get pretty boring waiting around in that same spot for a few days. (or weeks, if you aren't particularly popular). But waiting has its advantages.

See, Murphy's Law still applies to your life, even though you are lost. Here, in the wilderness, it can work you your advantage! Here are some ways to have rescuers knocking at your door within minutes...just like at home:

  1. Decide to skinny dip or sunbathe nude.
  2. Go behind a bush with a good book.
  3. Try to take long nap.

Another reason to wait? Didn't you leave behind some unpaid bills? Do you think getting lost in the woods is going to stop bill collectors? Heavens no. They always know where to find you. In less than three days, Fed-Ex will show up at your campfire with a notice that you have been reported to a collection agency and the whistling sound of your credit score dropping will alert the world to your location.

Just email and SOS!
Just email and SOS! | Source

More Wildnerness Survival Tips

The next time you decide that you want to go play in the woods like our Neanderthal ancestors, remember to prepare yourself a little better. Before you leave the house, check that your pockets are fully stocked with these items:

  • Matches and lighters
  • Red undies to hang in trees
  • A whistle
  • A map
  • Money (sometimes you have to pay to be rescued)

As for now, you are only a few seconds away from being saved. Simple close this hub (hey! leave a comment first! Can't you at least thank me for my help?) and open your email or favorite social networking site. You are on your computer dummy, all you have to do is type for help.

You might want to climb a tree first. I hear Sasquatch coming...


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      This is very funny! But who can climb trees in order to get their undies up on the highest branch in the first place? I, too, grew up in the sticks where the closest hamburger joint was 30 miles away. The branches on most mature trees are well off the ground. Wouldn't you get better visibility if you simply removed all your clothes and ran up and down a large clearing waving your undies over your head? Regardless of the color they happened to be?

      Sharing with my followers because they will surly enjoy this hub!

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 

      5 years ago

      This was pretty funny and useful at the same time! I'm pinning it to my funny board. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Sharkye11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jayme Kinsey 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      @Billy-I am so glad you enjoyed it! This was yet another exclusive title that I could not resist claiming and twisting. The concept was just too fun. Thanks for the comment! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are too funny! You had me laughing out loud with this one. Thanks for starting my weekend off with a good laugh.

    • Sharkye11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jayme Kinsey 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you Rajan Jolly! :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting set of ideas. Thanks for sharing.


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