Friday, September 09, 2011

Well, He Survived...

...which I guess is the ultimate pass/fail question, but damn, he sure made it hard on himself.

A man who became separated from his friends in dense forest during a squirrel hunting trip in western Tennessee says he ate worms and drank muddy water to survive five days in the wild before he was found.

Bill Lawrence said he gathered rainwater in his hunting vest and tried to stay calm throughout his ordeal. Authorities say they conducted the longest search in decades in the 13,000-acre Meeman Shelby Forest State Park before the man was discovered Sunday.

Mr Lawrence lost sight of his two hunting buddies on August 31 while chasing a squirrel and became alarmed when his shots were the only ones he could hear.

Lawrence, a corrections officer, told The Commercial Appeal he tried in vain to find his friends or their truck, explaining, 'This is when I got turned around,'

At the time he became separated, Mr Lawrence was clad in camouflage pants and jacket, a hat and snake boots.

Meanwhile, Mr Lawrence kept walking, searching for food and water.

'I was drinking muddy water... eating worms. Yeah, I'd seen that on TV. I ate worms.'

Mr Lawrence said he had a shotgun, 15 shells, 2 bottles of water, a flashlight, a can of bug spray, a squirrel call and a can of dipping tobacco. But he did not have a cell phone to summon help.

He shot his gun whenever he thought he heard someone, but his shotgun shells ran out on Saturday.

Ok, his first mistake was to not be prepared for getting lost. No compass or map, and apparently no skill at figuring out directions without them; no skill at hunting apparently, since, armed with a shotgun and 15 shells, he was reduced to eating worms; no firemaking gear that could have drawn the attention of rescuers or cooked game; no Space Blanket to provide warmth and protection from insects.

Give him credit for using his jacket to catch rainwater. Have to fault him for panicking when he realized he was lost to begin with; when you realize you're lost, you're best off sitting down and working things out, letting the panic subside so you can make rational decisions.

Not even a savvy hunter, since he was hunting squirrels with a shotgun. If you're hunting squirrels for food, you use a .22, so as to minimize meat damage and to minimize noise in the woods that frightens other squirrels.

Have to give this guy a C in survivial techniques; he was reasonably prepared, and showed some ingenuity in acquiring water and food, but damn, it was messy.

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