What's the most important thing to remember if you get lost?
Don't make it hard for people to find you. Stay put! Hug a tree!
Remember that the most important things for you to do are:
Wear bright colored clothes! You're easy to spot when there's a group of you on the trail. And if you should fall someplace where it's hard to see you, you'll be easier to find.
Carry a pack with your survival kit. We have suggestions for neat stuff to put in your kit. This is good for a day hike.
Grab a big stick to carry with you. No, not to duel with your friends, but to use as a hiking stick. When you walk, let it hit the ground a little in front of you instead of beside or behind you. Then, if you do startle a snake or another animal, they'll go for the stick instead of your foot! Animals would rather get out of the way than get in a fight, and usually only bite or strike when they are startled or feel threatened (when they have no place to get away from you). The pounding of the stick helps let them know in time that something big is coming their way. (In bear country, people put bells on their hiking sticks to warn the bears that someone is coming.) Hiking sticks are also nice when you're tired. Besides, you'll look really cool.
Watch where you step! Don't step over a log or onto a pile of rocks or leaves without seeing what's on the other side or underneath. These are places snakes like to hang out. This is where your hiking stick comes in handy, too. Helps you sneak a peek without getting too close. And remember to leave the snakes alone. They need a home, too.
Look behind you! Things look different on the way home, and it's easy to get lost. Stop every now and then and look behind you. Then, when you're heading back, things will look familiar. Pick out something like an unusual tree or rock or hill to help you remember the way. Give it a funny name to help you remember. Looking around also helps if you have a wise guy behind you....
If you get lost, find a spot, hug a tree, whatever, but stay in one place! If you keep walking when someone is trying to find you it's like you are walking away from them. Stay put and use your whistle. Blow 3 times to say "I need help!" Do this often so people can find you.
Learn more about being safe and smart outdoors in our Hunter Education survival skills web pages.