I’m in a Search and Rescue unit. It’s my job now :). My best advice for survival from the perspective of someone who looks for lost people?
-Know your limitations: Are you really going to be able to improvise that snare? Do snares even work? Carry three days worth of food (I carry 2 MREs, Trail Mix, and a couple power bars). How do I get three days worth of energy out of that? The best thing to do in the woods when lost is make yourself visible and stay put, unless you can hear the interstate nearby…Carry a whistle and some orange.
-Navigation Skills are your friend: GPS doesn’t always cut it in the woods. Learn to use a compass the correct way. Have an extra compass. Have a map. People get disoriented very easily.
-Water and Shelter: Carry some bottled water with you, and keeps some purifying tablets. 8×10 tarps are your friend. Try to get something bright colored for your tarp (eg. don’t buy a camo / black tarp). Get some 550 cord or a clothesline to string up your tarp. If it’s going to be cold, carry cold weather gear. Bring waterproof matches, and an alternate fire starting method. Do not rely on your improvised bow to make fire.
-It is a good idea to have basic first aid available, a flashlight, a multitool, some 550 cord, etc.
-On the subject of fire arms: Fire arms are good noise makers. If you have predators where you live they make good protection. They will get you dinner. Make sure you learn to use a weapon. It’s amazing how versatile a .22 is, and how lightweight the ammo is.
-If you are learning to survive for the end of the world: Don’t plan on living off the land. Have a cache somewhere if you are into that sort of thing. When the day may or may not come, have a place to go and get there. I am a CBRNE specialist in the Air National Guard, and so I have a somewhat different view on what to do when the stuff hits the fan.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS…Do not hesitate to ask me. This is one of the subjects where I feel I can give real good advice. Look around on the internet, find things out by all means. As a disclaimer, the above is just a quick guide. But really the most important advice I have is STAY PUT, BE VISIBLE. http://www.sarbc.org/litw3.html And finally, feel free to email me at gking86 AT gmail DOT com. Try to put Survival in the subject somewhere. I will answer, but it may be a couple days.