Don't Go Alone

Years ago, whilehunting moose in the Blackwater Wilderness Area of British Columbia, I gotlost. It was no big deal, but it reminded me how quickly one misstep can turninto a scary survival situation. My guide and I had tied our horses severalhundred yards from a small lake so we could sneak in and, we hoped, find anunsuspecting moose. It was great country--wild, with millions of acres of blackspruce forest dotted with little lakes and potholes.

When we got to thelake, there weren't any moose, but the area looked so promising we thought forsure one would show up before the day ended, so we decided to stick around.That's when I realized I'd left my binocular in my saddlebag.

"Be back in aminute," I whispered to my guide, and I hurried off to the horses. I foundthem just fine, grabbed the glass and headed toward where I thought the lakewas. In all that dense forest, however, everything looked the same. The day wasovercast so I had no sun to use as a reference. I stumbled around for a fewminutes, then came to what I thought was the right lake. Wrong! I had found anentirely different pothole, which looked the same as the one I'd just left.

The sickeningfeeling in the pit of my stomach quickly grew as I realized I was truly lost.The area was full of grizzlies, and the thought of running into one by myselfwas about as appealing as eating worms.

This month, Alaskahunting and fishing expert Chris Batin shares some of his close calls andteaches us how to deal with those situations and make it home again in onepiece. Some are funny, some are frightening, but each one could really happen,and his advice might save your life if you find yourself in a similar jam.

So how did Isurvive?

After taking a fewdeep breaths, I slowly made my way back the way I'd come, hoping to find thehorses and not a bear. Fortunately, I stumbled onto the game trail we'd used toaccess the lake. I followed our footprints back to where my fuming guide waswaiting for me.

"Damn," hegrowled. "Where were you? The best moose I've seen all season just motoredoff into the woods on the other side of the pond. You could have potted himfrom right here!"

We never found themonster moose, and I never told my guide why I'd been gone so long. I never lethim out of my sight again, either. That's the first rule of survival.

Todd W. Smith Editor-in-Chief

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