Quiz: Test Your Outdoor Knowledge

This quiz covers a wide range of survival questions...if you get them all right, consider yourself an expert! Are you ready?

Outdoor Life Online Editor

1. Bear!
You're casting for trout along a river in northern Montana when a sudden crash in the bushes spins you around and you find yourself face to face with a big grizzly bear. It rears up to full height, bares its teeth and roars. Then it drops to all fours and rushes you. What would you do to survive this encounter?

A. Stand as tall as possible, wave your arms and roar back at the bear in an attempt to convince it that you're a threat to be avoided.

B. Lie face-down on the ground, cover your head with your arms and play dead.

C. Climb a nearby tree, preferably one that is small enough that it won't support the weight of the bear.

D. Dash across the river, because bears are often afraid of crossing current.

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[pagebreak] B. Lie face-down on the ground, cover the back of your head with your hands, spread your legs slightly to keep yourself from being rolled over and pretend you're dead, offering no resistance. Make no eye contact, and, if you can, talk softly to the bear. The bear is likely to maul you for a few moments, but then lose interest. Self-control in this situation is not easy and you might end up with some serious injuries, but this is your best bet for survival because resistance often causes grizzly bears to attack more forcefully. (On the other hand, you should fight back against an attacking black bear boar; he's not just roughing you up-he probably wants to eat you.)

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[pagebreak] 2. Separated and Lost
You and your hunting partner Fred have become separated in the Big Hole Mountains southwest of Yellowstone during a late-season elk hunt. The truck is several miles away. Night is coming on fast and it's beginning to snow. You've worked your way to a brush-covered ridge and can see the lights of Teton Valley way off in the distance. Fred is nowhere in sight. Yelling his name brings no response. Now what are you going to do?

A. Stop and make camp where you are.

B. Since you can now see the lights of town, keep going.

C. Retrace your route and try to find Fred.

D. Hike back to the truck, drive to town and alert the local search and rescue.

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[pagebreak] A. The snow is already covering your tracks and the darkness is gathering. The clouds may drop and leave you in fog. This is no time to be wandering yourself to exhaustion in unfamiliar country or to get injured from a stumble. Stop now and set up the tube tent from your survival kit. Then clear an area near the tent to get a fire going. The blaze may serve as a beacon for Fred to find your camp. He may even have already alerted search and rescue, and they may be looking for you. Your priorities tonight are to: 1) stay dry and avoid the elements; 2) put an obvious marker along the trail where you are camped; and 3) stay put and keep the fire alive if you can.

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[pagebreak] 3. Lightning on the Water
You're in a bass boat casting for the big one along a snaggy bank, nearly a mile downshore from the launch ramp. A clap of thunder turns your attention toward a massive cloud that is rumbling across the lake in your direction. Lightning splits the sky and another roll of thunder rattles the boat. It's coming your way. What do you do?

A. Get off the lake as quickly as possible and take cover in your truck.

B. Sit tight. If the boat remains still, it won't attract lightning.

C. Jump out of the boat and swim for shore, where you can hide under the trees.

D. Motor out to the middle of the lake, because lightning will hit objects on the shore that are grounded only.

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[pagebreak] A. Head for the launch ramp at full speed and don't linger in the boat at water's edge. Hopefully, you'll outr the approaching storm. Avoid things that conduct electricity-water, power lines, plumbing, metal fences, etc. Don't hide under tall trees. Avoid open spaces. The safest place is an enclosed building, but if you can't reach a building, get into a metal-topped vehicle (not a convertible). A vehicle offers protection because the lightning travels around the metal frame to the ground-not because of the rubber tires. If there's no building or car, crouch in a ditch or low ground among clumps of short cover.

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[pagebreak] 4. Stuck With a Knife
You and your fishing pals rode horses to a pristine lake that is seven miles from where you parked your SUV and horse trailer. And the parking area is 45 miles from the nearest town. As you're sitting around the campfire one evening whittling and telling lies, Ray Bob's knife slips and cuts a deep gash in his thigh. Blood oozes fast. What do you do?

A. One of you saddles the horses while the other tightly bandages Ray Bob's wound. Then you all ride like the wind to get to the hospital.

B. You grab a burning stick from the fire and carefully cauterize the wound to both sterilize it and stop the bleeding.

C. Earlier, you noticed yarrow (a healing herb that is especially helpful in cases of bleeding) growing along the trail. You go in search of the yarrow while your other friend wraps a loose band of cloth around the wound.

D. You give Ray Bob a pen to write his will, because he's going to die.

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[pagebreak] Sorry-trick question. The correct answer is none of the above. What you want to do is quickly apply direct pressure with your hand to stop the bleeding, using your fingers or the heel of your hand (put a bandanna or piece of tarp between the wound and your hand; avoid contact with blood if you can). Get Ray Bob to lie down on his back and elevate the leg. Make him as comfortable as possible, and cover him to prevent body-heat loss. Once the bleeding is under control, work a stack of compresses over the wound and beneath your hand. Do not release direct pressure with your hand until the bleeding has stopped completely, and then apply a cloth band (perhaps cut from Ray Bob's already ripped trousers) around the leg to continue holding pressure on the compresses. Do not attempt to move Ray Bob, except to slide him into a tent with his leg still propped up. As long as the bleeding is stopped, there is no immediate threat to life, so spend the night caring for the victim. In the morning, one of you can ride/drive for help while the other stays to take care of Ray Bob and instruct him in proper knife handling.

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[pagebreak] 5. The Right Elevation
You thought you had given yourself enough time for the return hike, but suddenly night is overtaking you as you follow your trail back toward camp, which is still a few miles away. The going is slow as you fight your way through dense foliage in the deep canyon. This broken country is nothing but forested canyons separated by bald ridges. Finally, in utter blackness and feeling the onset of a biting chill, you give up and decide to make camp. You have nothing but the clothes you are wearing. How will you make it through the night?

A. Camp in the deepest part of the canyon.

B. Climb to the ridgetop and camp there.

C. Climb two-thirds of the way to the ridgetop, find some cover and spend the night there.

D. Find the densest bunch of trees and hunker down for warmth.

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[pagebreak] C. This is going to be a frigid night. Too bad you don't have your survival kit so you could enjoy easy shelter and fire. The important consideration here is that you have nothing but your clothes for protection. You have a choice: be really miserable, or be only moderately miserable. Remember, cold air sinks to the lowest elevation. And if there is wind, it will often be strongest on the ridgetop. To find the warmest layer of air while still being somewhat protected from the wind, climb about two-thirds of the way up the hill, locate a spot that is as level as possible and snug down there. This is the "warm" zone, and the temperature in this zone can be substantially warmer than in the canyon bottom. Brush can serve as a windbreak, but what you really want to find is a thick stand of conifers, which often hold warmer air and block wind.

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[pagebreak] 6. Too Much Sun
It's late August and you want to do some preseason scouting. You've heard that some big bucks hide down on the slickrock desert, so you drive way, way out on flat dirt, the road barely visible. Without warning, your truck utters a death rattle from somewhere down in the crankcase. You've lost a rod bearing and now you're stranded in the most remote half-acre of terra firma you've ever seen. It's 105 degrees in the sun and there's not a hint of shade anywhere-no outcroppings or trees. Luckily, you brought a gallon of drinking water, and you figure that'll keep you alive for a day and a half. But what do you do as the water slowly disappears?

A. Drink the coolant fluid from the truck's radiator.

B. Urinate in the water bottle and let it sit out in the sun to kill any microbes. Then drink what's left.

C. Ration your water to a cup a day to lengthen your survival time and try to follow your tire tracks back.

D. Set out signal devices and then crawl under the truck to get out of the sun to minimize body fluid loss.

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[pagebreak] D. Radiator coolant is toxic. Urine will make you sick and you'll dehydrate more quickly. Rationing your water will not extend survival time-you should drink a small amount of water whenever you're thirsty-but minimizing body temperature and fluid loss will help you survive. Stay as cool as possible in the shade beneath the truck. Set out signaling devices and stay with your vehicle-that is the best way to await rescue, although telling someone in advance where you are going and when you expect to return is key.

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[pagebreak] 7. Breaking the Ice
Icefishing has lured you 100 yards out onto the mostly solid surface of Lake Ohmygosh. But maybe you should have passed on the second serving of Aunt Bertha's heavy-duty pumpkin pie: The ice below your boots collapses and you are immersed in frigid water. You try to climb out onto solid ice, but the ice just crumbles under your weight. A nearby fisherman yells that he's dialed 911 on his cell phone and the rescue squad is on its way. What should you do to make sure that your rescuers find more than a human popsicle?ember, cold air sinks to the lowest elevation. And if there is wind, it will often be strongest on the ridgetop. To find the warmest layer of air while still being somewhat protected from the wind, climb about two-thirds of the way up the hill, locate a spot that is as level as possible and snug down there. This is the "warm" zone, and the temperature in this zone can be substantially warmer than in the canyon bottom. Brush can serve as a windbreak, but what you really want to find is a thick stand of conifers, which often hold warmer air and block wind.

To see another question click "NEXT"

[pagebreak] 6. Too Much Sun
It's late August and you want to do some preseason scouting. You've heard that some big bucks hide down on the slickrock desert, so you drive way, way out on flat dirt, the road barely visible. Without warning, your truck utters a death rattle from somewhere down in the crankcase. You've lost a rod bearing and now you're stranded in the most remote half-acre of terra firma you've ever seen. It's 105 degrees in the sun and there's not a hint of shade anywhere-no outcroppings or trees. Luckily, you brought a gallon of drinking water, and you figure that'll keep you alive for a day and a half. But what do you do as the water slowly disappears?

A. Drink the coolant fluid from the truck's radiator.

B. Urinate in the water bottle and let it sit out in the sun to kill any microbes. Then drink what's left.

C. Ration your water to a cup a day to lengthen your survival time and try to follow your tire tracks back.

D. Set out signal devices and then crawl under the truck to get out of the sun to minimize body fluid loss.

To see the answer, click "NEXT"

[pagebreak] D. Radiator coolant is toxic. Urine will make you sick and you'll dehydrate more quickly. Rationing your water will not extend survival time-you should drink a small amount of water whenever you're thirsty-but minimizing body temperature and fluid loss will help you survive. Stay as cool as possible in the shade beneath the truck. Set out signaling devices and stay with your vehicle-that is the best way to await rescue, although telling someone in advance where you are going and when you expect to return is key.

To see another question click "NEXT"

[pagebreak] 7. Breaking the Ice
Icefishing has lured you 100 yards out onto the mostly solid surface of Lake Ohmygosh. But maybe you should have passed on the second serving of Aunt Bertha's heavy-duty pumpkin pie: The ice below your boots collapses and you are immersed in frigid water. You try to climb out onto solid ice, but the ice just crumbles under your weight. A nearby fisherman yells that he's dialed 911 on his cell phone and the rescue squad is on its way. What should you do to make sure that your rescuers find more than a human popsicle?