Hunting is about truly experiencing the outdoors and participating in an ancient ecosystem. There is no feeling quite like the reward of your patience when your target steps perfectly into your sightline. However, not every hunting trip ends with a punched tag and a cold beer. Someday, you might find that in the heat of the moment you lost your sense of direction and if you don’t have a GPS or other navigational device, the situation could get serious. Copper Ridge Outdoors wants every hunting trip to be safe and successful, which is why today’s blog is going to be about the basics of navigating in the wilderness. Read on to prepare yourself for a bad situation and explore our collection of shooting gear, hunting platforms, and ATV accessories for everything you need to make your next trip the best one yet.
Navigating During the Day
If you are lost or disoriented without a GPS during the day, the sun is your best basic navigational tool. It rises in the east and sets in the west, so be mindful of the time of day and use the sun’s position to orient yourself to the cardinal directions. If you have a general understanding of where you are, you can use the sun to get where you need to be. If you’re not familiar with the land, you should find a topographic map of the area before you set out and bring it with you.
Navigating at Night
The moon is not going to be as dependable a navigation tool as the sun. Instead, you should try to orient yourself using the stars. Humans have traveled by the stars for hundreds of thousands of years, and while the skill has largely been lost to recent generations, the basics are not difficult to remember. Find the North Star and work from there.
Finding the North Star
Do you know how to find the North Star? You might be surprised by how many people do not. Polaris – the official name for the North Star – is not a particularly bright star and the constellation it resides in – the Little Dipper, or Ursa Minor – is not very easy to spot. The fastest way to find the North Star is often to find the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) first. It is a bright, easily recognizable constellation that will lead you right to Polaris. Simply follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the “bowl” of the constellation and it will point you to Polaris at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. Once you know which direction is north you can plan your route, but you avoid traveling at night if you can. It’s easy to lose track of landmarks and the path you have traveled and you are more vulnerable to injury thanks to tree roots or rocks obscured by the dark.
The very best survival tip we can give you: make sure you won’t need any of these tips. There are plenty of steps you can take to ensure you stay safe and easily found. Have a clear plan of where you are going and when you likely be at each location. Tell someone where you are going, check in with them periodically if you are on a longer trip, and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. While you’re hunting, you should always be aware of where are and if you are following your intended route. Staying on trail may mean a few missed opportunities, but it’s worth your health and safety. Stay tuned for more survival tips in this continuing series and come to Copper Ridge Outdoors for useful, high-quality hunting gear. Whether you want a ladder deer stand comfortable enough for two or you’re looking for steel hunting targets to improve your aim, Copper Ridge Outdoors can help. Explore all our collections today!