Navigation Tricks

Getting lost is one of the primary reasons that people find themselves in a survival situation in the outdoors. It can happen to anyone, anywhere; but it’s much more likely to occur when someone fails to keep track of their location, or when navigation skills are lacking. Getting lost can be a preventable problem, if you take the right precautions.

To avoid getting lost on your next hunt or hike, put the following tricks into practice:

– Get a map of the area that you are traveling to and study it before going.
– Take the map along, and use it and a compass (or GPS) while you’re there. If you’re printing out maps from your computer, don’t use an inkjet printer. If the map gets wet, the ink will run and turn into a rainbow-smeared mess.
– Imagine what the terrain would look like from a “bird’s eye view” and where you are in that terrain.
– Look behind you frequently, especially if you are returning in that direction.
– Look for and use landmarks, if possible.
– Study and remember the landmarks that you use.
– When traveling off trails, use prominent, distant landmarks and/or a compass bearing to travel in straight lines.
– Account for declination when reading your map and compass. Any good map should tell you how much to add or subtract for True North.
– Watch out for gun barrels and other metal items, which can pull the compass needle off course and distort your bearing.

If you’re heading into the woods this weekend, good luck and stay safe.

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