1) [ B ] A baseline such as a road or river. It is far easier to hit a long target, like a power line or stream, than it is a tall one such as a hilltop or a small one such as a pond. When leaving for a hunt, always note in which direction you need to travel to reach a baseline. Then, if you become confused, all you have to do is take a bearing with your compass in that direction and walk a straight line.

2) [ D ] Mark your position and try to find your way back to the last familiar place. This is called the “home base” method of navigation. Indicate your trail as you backtrack with bits of marking tape, toilet tissue, snapped bush branches, or tree blazes. If you can’t find that familiar place, return to home base and make a short foray in another direction. Repeat the process until you locate a spot that gives you your orientation. If you can’t, or darkness closes in, make camp at home base.

3) [ C ] Dropping your rifle and pack. Search-and-rescue personnel take this as an early sign of panic.

4) [ A ] See two landmarks marked on the map. By using the sight on your compass to take a back bearing from each of the landmarks, then plotting those lines on the map, you can determine your position as the point where the lines intersect. This method is most accurate if the two landmarks intersect with the hunter’s position at roughly a 90-degree angle.

5) [ B ] A forested north slope. South slopes, wooded or open, are subject to extreme temperature shifts–warm during the day, bitter cold at night. Forested north slopes may be chilly during the day, but the nighttime temperature will not fall as far as it does in the other locations.

6) [ B ] Old Man’s Beard. This hanging lichen, which ignites easily in dry weather, absorbs moisture from the air on damp days and will not burn.

7) [ A ] Energy bar. Many such bars are high in both complex carbohydrates and simple sugars, which can give you a boost of energy that lasts an hour or more, long enough to construct or improve upon a natural shelter. An apple is a hit of sugar that causes a brief spike in energy, followed by a crash as your body produces an overdose of insulin to counteract the rush. Save the salami for your midnight shivers. Fats and proteins release their energy into the bloodstream at a slower rate than carbs and help repair stressed muscles, as well as keep the body warm.

8) [ B ] Wind shirt. A thin nylon wind shirt worn next to your skin or over an undershirt will act as a vapor barrier and trap body heat more efficiently than a wool union suit or down jacket. However, once you have stopped moving and have gotten out of the wind, the down jacket and wool shirt provide more loft and dead air space and will keep you warm longer.

9) [ C and D ] The North Star lies beyond the Big Dipper. If you draw an imaginary line from the last two stars on the ladle, estimate the distance between those two stars, and then follow that direction six more distances from the ladle’s tip, you will find the North Star. The North Star also is the first star on the handle of Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper, but because the Little Dipper is composed of dim stars, it is easier to locate with the Big Dipper as a -reference.

10) [ ALL OF THE ABOVE ] Trying to find your way to safety or staying put is a judgment call based on many factors. If you have left a note at home, it’s probably better to stay where you are. It’s much easier for searchers to hit a stationary target than a moving one. Likewise, stay put if the weather is turning worse or if the terrain is rugged. And definitely stay put if you doubt your skills to survive another exhausting day of hiking. But if no one is likely to come looking for you, the weather is fair, and you are secure in your ability to survive, then it might be better to try to walk out on your own. Always mark a trail for searchers to track your progress.

11) [ B ] Being unable to accurately touch your thumb to the little finger of the same hand. Along with shivering, fumbling hands are one of the first symptoms of mild hypothermia, when your body temperature has dropped several degrees. Make fire now, while you still can.

12) [ B ] Within 3 feet of your vehicle. There will be a confusion of tracks both inside your vehicle and on any trail you might have used. This is a strong reason for you to make an impression of the soles of your hunting boots by stepping on a sheet of tinfoil and leaving it with an attached note of your hunting itinerary


(12) You’re ready to hunt anytime, anywhere.
(8-10) Bone up on your skills before you go hunting alone.
(6-8) Stick with a guide, tenderfoot.
(5 or less) The NFL provides an excellent alternative to hunting on cold November Sundays.