Survival photo

Photo by Jeremy Penaflor on Instagram

Deer hunter Gene Penaflor, 72, of San Francisco survived for 19 days after getting lost in northern California’s Mendocino National Forest. As reported by the L.A. Times, Penaflor and his partner had split up to hunt different areas when the retiree fell in a crevice and knocked himself out.

Penaflor then went into “survival mode,” as he told his family, and made a number of smart decisions that helped him live through 19 days in the wilderness.

As soon as he realized he was lost he stopped, set up camp and stayed put. He knew his friend would report him missing. He had brought two plastic trash bags he could wear to stay dry and a lighter to build a fire. He wrapped himself in leaves for insulation and crawled under deadfalls to get out of the weather. Penaflor wisely realized he would waste too much time and energy trying to shoot a deer so he killed and cooked squirrels, snakes, frogs and lizards and ate some algae, too.

Despite temperatures that fell into the 20s and snow, Penaflor remained healthy during his ordeal, although he lost 13 pounds. Twenty different agencies joined the search but he was finally found by a party of hunters who heard him yelling for help.