Getting lost in the woods can be fatal, but more often it’s just embarrassing. I once headed into unknown territory in the West Virginia mountains following a six-inch snowfall. Believing that I could always follow my own tracks back to the truck, I paid little attention to my surroundings. Late in the afternoon, a dense fog rolled in and I began to retrace my steps. Unfortunately, the back trail had been followed by numerous other hunters in all directions; I quickly realized I was lost. The temperature dropped to seven degrees that night and the air was so wet and damp my “waterproof” matches wouldn’t strike. Luckily, my friends came looking for me and began shooting with a pistol until I got a compass bearing and returned their signal. No harm, no fowl? Not really. The worry and concern about my safety ruined the hunt for the rest of the group, and they left camp the next day. If you don’t do it for yourself, get a GPS for your friends and family.
When hunting, you have three critical locations: your stand, the recovery site, and camp. Bushnell offers the BackTrack Point-3 that covers these priorities and nothing more. They have upgraded their units with more information, yet these most basic three pieces of information will help you hunt more effectively and safely. The device is inexpensive, very simple to operate, and easily attaches to your belt or pack so you’ll always have it with you. It runs on two AAA batteries (you should carry extras just to be safe). Once you get accustomed to accessing GPS technology, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.