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A survival plan is something every hunter should have

We might be able to tough it out with our survival skills when lost, but at some point wouldn't it be great if someone came looking for you? A survival plan will boost the chances you'll be found.

A friend and I once counted seven "Deer Creeks" we'd fished and five different "Grouse Mountains" in our hunting bailiwick. You can imagine the confusion had someone been searching for us. Besides telling someone where you're going, mark it on a map and leave it with them. And then...

Make a print of your boot soles. Searchers have a head start with this telltale evidence. This goes double for kids, any time of year, in any outdoor setting. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on soft ground or carpet, and step on it — with both feet.

I've made an informal study of search and rescue reports over the last few years. It's clear to me that just a few recurring errors are to blame for many of the volunteer callouts. Avoid them and you could save lives or at least the time, effort and risk of the worthy volunteers who end up bailing you out. Take a few minutes to...

Charge your cell phone battery. Avoid bucking snowdrifts on a road — they only get worse the farther uphill you go. Take a map and compass and learn how to head toward a major road if you get lost. Bring water. Tell someone when to expect you back. Take a waterproof layer of clothing. Learn how to build a life-sustaining fire.

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