How to avoid getting lost in the woods

The rescue serves as a reminder of basic tips to avoid getting lost and to make it more likely that you’ll be found if you do get lost.

Whether hunting, hiking, four-wheeling or riding a snowmobile, the steps necessary to stay safe in wooded areas are largely the same.

Police recommend having a cell phone or smartphone with you. Dispatchers can track your GPS coordinates if you call 911 from a mobile phone.

It’s also important to make sure that someone else knows where you’re going and when you plan to return, but those steps aren’t enough by themselves.

“Oftentimes, you’re getting lost and, for whatever reason you got lost, that means you either weren’t familiar with your surroundings or you went somewhere where you weren’t planning on going,” Michigan State Police Sgt. Kevin Dowling from the Negaunee Post said.

The Sunday night call was the fourth call about a lost hunter in Marquette County in the first three days of deer season. However, for the region as a whole, demand for rescue services has not been very strong so far.

“Across the Upper Peninsula, maybe a little more on the quiet side,” Sgt. Dowling said. “We’ve been fortunate so far. I think, up to this point, we have had pretty mild weather, which is always a plus.”

Sergeant Dowling says with the temperatures now turning cold, anyone who gets lost and isn’t found within 12 to 24 hours will have serious problems with exposure to the elements.

The Michigan DNR has released a list of 10 simple hunting safety tips. We have the list elsewhere on our website.