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When I had started my hunt earlier that day the weather had been perfect, but it had changed quickly. The once clear sky was now filled with dark moving clouds and large flakes of snow had started falling over an hour ago. I shuddered as I realized I would not have time to find the truck before darkness fell. It looked like I would have to spend the night in the bush. Nonetheless, spending the night was much safer than meandering around in the dark woods with snow falling. As tired as I was, I knew what had to be done.

My first step was to get organized before it became dark. While it is possible to establish an emergency campsite in the dark, it is much more difficult. Plus, with bad weather approaching it was important that I find all the dry firewood I could, and quickly.

Looking around, I was able to find a spot in a group of oak trees that was pretty much out of the wind. I made sure there was no dead tree limbs overhead that could fall on me during the night.

I quickly gathered up kindling for the fire, as well as a full nights worth of firewood. I knew the night would be cold, so I added a little more to the pile than I would usually have. I scraped the snow off the ground, dug a small fire pit, and started a fire. I filled my metal canteen cup with water and put it to boil near the fire as I started on other chores.

Snow was falling faster now as I opened my backpack and took out a poncho and a roll of nylon cord, approximately twenty feet. I tired the cord between two tree trunks and then draped the front of the poncho over the cord. Using the grommets on the poncho, I secured the poncho to the line. (You can also use a casualty blanket, see illustration) I then used sharpened stakes to pin the other end of the poncho to the ground. I now had a shelter from the snow and what little wind that was blowing.

While survival was no longer an issue, I wanted a little comfort to go along with my evening in Mother Nature's hotel. In just a few minutes I have removed some green cedar boughs from nearby trees and had placed them inside my shelter. To keep the boughs from irritating my skin, and making sleep more difficult, I covered them with my space blanket. The boughs would form a rough mattress for my nights sleep and insulate me from the cold ground.

Since I always carry a survival kit, containing foods and emergency supplies, I was prepared for the evening. I soon had a cup of coffee and a banquet of dehydrated stew (dehydrated meals are light and inexpensive to carry). I finished my meal with a piece of hard candy, which I knew was not only a treat, but also a way to increase my body heat. I felt much better with the fire burning, a hot meal inside of me, and a shelter behind me. I was content.

When the meal was done, I picked up my cell phone and called my wife. I informed her that I would not be home that night, explained why, and told her exactly where I was, or as near as I figured I was. I further informed her I was safe, had a shelter, and would call her in the morning as soon as I reached the truck. I did this to avoid a search and rescue mission being call to look for me and to give her peace of mind. The next morning dawned clear and bright, with snow covering the landscape. In less than an hour I had reached the truck, called my wife, and was on my way. Not a bad situation at all, if you are prepared.
 

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When I had started my hunt earlier that day the weather had been perfect, but it had changed quickly. The once clear sky was now filled with dark moving clouds and large flakes of snow had started falling over an hour ago. I shuddered as I realized I would not have time to find the truck before darkness fell. It looked like I would have to spend the night in the bush. Nonetheless, spending the night was much safer than meandering around in the dark woods with snow falling. As tired as I was, I knew what had to be done.

My first step was to get organized before it became dark. While it is possible to establish an emergency campsite in the dark, it is much more difficult. Plus, with bad weather approaching it was important that I find all the dry firewood I could, and quickly.

Looking around, I was able to find a spot in a group of oak trees that was pretty much out of the wind. I made sure there was no dead tree limbs overhead that could fall on me during the night.

I quickly gathered up kindling for the fire, as well as a full nights worth of firewood. I knew the night would be cold, so I added a little more to the pile than I would usually have. I scraped the snow off the ground, dug a small fire pit, and started a fire. I filled my metal canteen cup with water and put it to boil near the fire as I started on other chores.

Snow was falling faster now as I opened my backpack and took out a poncho and a roll of nylon cord, approximately twenty feet. I tired the cord between two tree trunks and then draped the front of the poncho over the cord. Using the grommets on the poncho, I secured the poncho to the line. (You can also use a casualty blanket, see illustration) I then used sharpened stakes to pin the other end of the poncho to the ground. I now had a shelter from the snow and what little wind that was blowing.

While survival was no longer an issue, I wanted a little comfort to go along with my evening in Mother Nature's hotel. In just a few minutes I have removed some green cedar boughs from nearby trees and had placed them inside my shelter. To keep the boughs from irritating my skin, and making sleep more difficult, I covered them with my space blanket. The boughs would form a rough mattress for my nights sleep and insulate me from the cold ground.

Since I always carry a survival kit, containing foods and emergency supplies, I was prepared for the evening. I soon had a cup of coffee and a banquet of dehydrated stew (dehydrated meals are light and inexpensive to carry). I finished my meal with a piece of hard candy, which I knew was not only a treat, but also a way to increase my body heat. I felt much better with the fire burning, a hot meal inside of me, and a shelter behind me. I was content.

When the meal was done, I picked up my cell phone and called my wife. I informed her that I would not be home that night, explained why, and told her exactly where I was, or as near as I figured I was. I further informed her I was safe, had a shelter, and would call her in the morning as soon as I reached the truck. I did this to avoid a search and rescue mission being call to look for me and to give her peace of mind. The next morning dawned clear and bright, with snow covering the landscape. In less than an hour I had reached the truck, called my wife, and was on my way. Not a bad situation at all, if you are prepared.
This reads just a dual survival episode but the cell phone to call the wife was a very nice touch.
 

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war comin, choose a side
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Good post :thumb:
This goes to show the more you know, the less you need. Good job for a survival scenario. Alot of idiots would have walked around until they got hypothermia and froze to death. Be prepared always. It seems you were.
 

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Just to be sure....This is not fiction?

Great story either way. I enjoyed it.
 
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When I was a kid, my brother and I used to walk off the ridge and down on a creek and walk about 6-8 miles down the creek to a sand bar to fish. We would take an old burlap feed sack with some potatoes,corn and apples in a sack to roast with our fish on a fire after dark. To sleep we would dig a low place in the sand and cover it with another couple of burlap feed sacks and if it got cold, put another couple sacks over us and cover that with a 3-4 inches of sand. Just made sure that it wasn't going to rain before we left home. Spent a lot of nights that way. Pops
 

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Thanks. I was not sure how to pack food and keep it light. Very smart. Since you have a cell you might like a gps as well. Not as much fun as camping out but gets you there. Of course not being there one has to make a choice.
see illustration-lol
 

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Thanks for sharing your story! We all think we can plan and prepare for most of what mother nature can throw at us, but it helps to hear other stories about sucess.
KS
 

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During a rainstorm/deer hunt, I found a covered tree area, hunkered down to the poncho idea and started a small fire. Heated up some water, added a tea bag, and along came my partner. He said he could smell the tea? His pack didn't have food, did have a water bottle w/ water, and a sierra cup, shared some tea and began to work our way back toward the roads. No sun, cloudy, used a topo map and compass to find out we were 1/2 mile off the path. We have hunted those Indiana woods for 12yrs(the trees all look alike in the fall) and were surprised to be that far off. No deer seen, no other hunters seen, cell phones don't work in the woods there. True story.
 

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SI vis pacem,para bellum
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///////////////

good stuff these r the right thing to be discussed real situations give allot of insight :thumb:
 

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I figured that I would weigh in as I spend quite a bit of time in the woods. I've never yet had to spend a "completely unexpected" night out in the woods while hunting, but it is good to be comfortable with doing it and especially important to be prepared to do it if you have to. In addition to the emergency poncho/tarp shelter already mentioned, which can weigh almost nothing, an emergency bivy sack can be a great thing to bring along on all hunting/hiking outings.

I'm getting too old to comfortably sleep on the ground and get up all night to stoke a fire. I would much rather hike out at night if I only have minimal survival type items for staying overnight (hiking keeps one warm, and I can nap the next day in the comfort of base camp or my own bed at home). An LED type tactical light for use as needed along with an LED Petzl Headlamp can be life savers for nighttime hiking (two lights is one and one light is none).

Where I hunt there is generally a good GPS signal but very poor cell phone coverage. The GPS really shines for finding the shortest/best way back to the vehicle at night after a long day hunting when you're trying to utilize every second of huntable light far away from camps/vehicles. That is probably what I like best about GPS.

So if you too are not a total masochist then having a few things along for a night out can be great comfort. I think one gets smarter and more attached to comfort with age? If a person really thinks that they may be staying out for the night in potentially bad weather but wants to still travel light, it is not a bad investment to purchase a 2 lb highly compressible down sleeping bag to go in the bivy sack and an ultralight highly compressible floorless teepee shelter which will shed any wind storm and be drier and less drafty compared to a poncho/tarp. Total weight of bivy/sleeping bag/and tent can be 3 - 5 lbs.

Finally, I always give my wife a time 12 to 24 hours beyond my expected time back, so that she doesn't try to summon the calvary for something minimal which has detained me.
 

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Good story. I have found myself minimally prepared in the back country in the past and have had to use the items available for comfort. I recently found this site that has ultra light weight thermal protection as well as great prices on Israeli Battle Dressings.

http://ps-med.com/products/detail.php?p=14

Linked is a blizzard sleeping bag that weighs less than a pound and it's packed volume is less than a liter. They happened to ship me a couple by mistake and due to the winter weather in my area I am going to keep them in my truck with my other gear.
 
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