Alabama Hunter Safety Course


The Big Three of Survival

If a hunter panics after getting lost, their chances for survival become very slim. Most people who panic will die of shock and/or hypothermia within the first 48 hours of getting lost. Remember to keep positive, think out the situation, and keep in mind the big three of survival.

For hunters who get lost in the woods, the big three of survival are shelter, fire and signal. Water and food are important, but not as important as these top three needs. Let's review each right now.


This will protect a hunter from the elements. Natural shelters can be rock overhangs or thick evergreen trees (e.g., cedar, pine, spruce or hemlock). A man-made shelter can be as simple as a garbage bag, poncho or space blanket, or more elaborate, such as a debris hut or a lean-to. Depending on the shelter you build, make sure it is clearly marked with blaze orange or a color not normally found in the woods. To mark a shelter you can, use blaze orange flagging tape, a blaze orange vest or some article of clothing that is brightly colored. Rescuers will see the color and check out the site.