OUTDOOR TALES: Worms and muddy water aid survival

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Outdoor Tales

By Phil Junker

In this part of the country, people hunting or hiking in the woods rarely get lost — really lost. Sometimes they are lost for a few hours, possibly even overnight, but rarely really lost.

In most of the lower Midwest, you can walk in straight line and you will find a road or find a stream to follow. People frequently get disoriented and walk in circles. And, sometimes injury can curtail movement.

It’s always wise to take precaution and be prepared — even on a warm sunny day. It could turn into a cool, rainy night or even nights.

It was with interest I read at the outdoorpressroom.com website about a Tennessee corrections officer who became separated from his squirrel hunting companions and spent five days lost in the 13,000-acre Meeman Shelby Forest State Park.

The man, 38-year-old Bill Lawrence, said reality TV helped him survive.

I’m not a fan of reality TV, especially shows like Jersey Shore, the Housewives of Wherever, Kardashians, and all that, but much to my wife’s chagrin, I do from time-to-time watch Bear Grylls and other survivor shows. I know there is a camera crew or person along, but there is some survival knowledge passed along.

Lawrence had his shotgun, 15 shells, and two bottles of water along on his hunt when he became separated from his hunter friends.

When he thought he heard vehicles or noise in the distance, he fired the gun, but the shells ran out. He became weak and left the gun behind. The water ran out, and he gathered muddy water in his T-shirt.

And, he ate worms. He said he learned about eating worms on a survivor TV show. They do contain protein.

On the fifth day lost, the hunter heard a motorcycle and followed the direction of the sound to a road where he was found.

He suffered from dehydration and many chigger bites. He was weak and sat by the side of the road, but will make a full recovery.

One thing Lawrence did right was hunt with friends, however, he still managed to get lost.

It is a good idea to carry a compass, some energy food as well as water. A survival blanket is very light and fits easily into a back pack. A cell phone can be very valuable, but there still are rural areas lacking reception.

I recall going on an early morning walk alone with my shotgun near Ely, Minn. It was foggy. I kicked up a grouse, followed it, followed it farther, and was lost. It can happen. And don’t believe the old tale about moss only grows on the north side of a tree.

Fortunately, I found markings for a snowmobile trail and followed it out to a road. 

I was lucky. It was cool and damp, and I was totally unprepared to be lost for any length of time. It’s best to be prepared.


Big Fine

A North Carolina man agreed to pay the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources more than $5,300 in restitution and fees after pleading guilty to federal charges of illegally killing and transporting wildlife from Kentucky.

U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Robert Goebel also banned 44-year-old Rodney L. Poteat of Salisbury, N.C., from hunting anywhere in the world for two years as a condition of unsupervised probation. Poteat is a former resident of Hart County. 

The restitution is to compensate Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for the fees Poteat would have paid for hunting in Kentucky for several years. 


Contact outdoors writer Phil Junker by e-mail at outdoorscribe@yahoo.com or check out his blog at outdoorscribe.blogspot.com.