Angler gets lost . . . gives up . . . lucks out

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by CATO, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Nothing says "I wanna die" like his "never give up" attitude . . . and after only a few days to boot. What a greenhorn.

    Angler Survives Five Days in California Wilderness | OutdoorHub

    Angler Survives Five Days in California Wilderness

    One angler from West Sacramento found that the relaxing fishing trip he had planned for quickly turned into a wilderness survival test. On August 6, Mike Vilhauer, 58, traveled to Lower Sunset Lake in California’s sparsley populated Alpine County for some fishing. According to ABC News, Vilhauer had set up camp near the lake with all his supplies when he figured that the fish were not biting. Hoping to remedy that, Vilhauer took up a butterfly net and wandered into the forest to look for some crickets as bait.

    “I was just zigzagging up and down the mountain,” the angler said.

    Vilhauer says he expected to only be gone for about 15 minutes, so he brought almost nothing with him except the net and his cell phone. Instead, the bait search took several hours and he noticed the skies getting darker the longer he walked. By nightfall, the angler came to the dreadful conclusion that he was lost and without a cell phone signal. Vilhauer attempted to return to the lake and his precious cache of supplies, but wandering about in the dark only caused him to become further disoriented.

    “Every time I’d walk up one ridge and go up the mountain, I’d think, ‘There’s the lake.’ And there would be nothing,” Vilhauer told CBS13.

    The fisherman described the first night in the forest as bitterly cold, and he decided to stop and make camp rather than continue stumbling in the darkness. Vilhauer laid under a pine tree and used willow branches to keep himself warm.

    “I hadn’t slept at all,” he said. “It was cold and I just tried to keep moving around. It rained every night.”

    For the next several days Vilhauer alternated between trying to find his way back to lake and fulfilling the bare necessities of survival. The lost angler drank from puddles and chewed on dandelions, all the while trying to get to a higher vantage point. Two days in, Vilhauer found a stream and began following it, only to find that it came to a dead end. At some point, the angler ran across a wolverine, a large deer herd, and saw bear tracks. By the time four days passed, he noticed search and rescue helicopters flying overhead but none stopped.

    “It was a big rush, and then the letdown. A big rush, and the letdown,” Vilhauer recalled as helicopters came and went.

    He had even built an eight-foot-tall message out of pine needles spelling the world “HELP.” Disheartened, Vilhauer says he began writing a farewell letter to his family on a piece of bark.

    On the fifth day, one of the helicopter pilots noticed Vilhauer’s pine needle sign. It turns out that the search for the missing angler had led in a massive rescue effort, the largest that local rescuers have seen this year. Vilhauer was given a small meal and transported back to civilization, where he greeted several of the search teams that had been combing the area for him. Despite five days with little food and cover, Vilhauer suffered no serious injuries and was able to move into a hotel after a quick check-up. He was later told that he was only four miles from the lake when he was rescued. And the kicker?

    “That’s when they told me, by-the-way, there’s no fish in that lake,” said Vilhauer.

    Despite his ordeal, the angler said he looks forwards to planning another fishing trip. Next time though, he will be better prepared—and likely bring someone else along, as well.
  2. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That seems to me that you might want to check that out before you go to a lake to go fishing. I'm guessing it's a man made lake?
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

  4. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Not necessarily, some remote lakes have other problems. Like being polluted in the past by acid rain and having a massive entire lake/pond fish kill. Nature may be providing some sort of natural pollutant to a point of not supporting fish. Sulfur might be an example of that. I am sure there are others. jus sayin
    kellory likes this.
  5. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Looks like there is a dam on the North side of the lake. "Lower Sunset 513-003 Dam".

    All true. But if you've never fished a lake before, it does behoove you to check it out before you go there fishing. Does the lake have fish? If so, what kind. Are the fish, if there are any, edible (could be high levels of a toxin that doesn't kill a fish, but makes them inedible to other animals due to the accumulating levels of toxin. So yes, there are a number of reasons a lake may not have fish.

    Love it, just to the NW of the lake is another lake, called "Hellhole Lake"
    kellory, Yard Dart and tacmotusn like this.
  6. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    6th runner up for this years Darwin Award, he survived despite being stupid.
    Yard Dart and tacmotusn like this.
  7. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I have hiked in to some remote lakes in the past. If they are named on a topo all the data you need is easily obtained. Contact State for nearest Ranger Station if on Federal or State land. Call ranger station and inquire. 2nd possible is County sources and regional Fish and Wildlife dept. Records on fish stockings on most lakes often exist. Personal Computers didn't even exist when I was doing this and I always was able to get info. This individual was either ignorant to the maximum or just stupid.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    He can never win, unless he removes himself from the gene pool. Honorable mention is he best shot.;)
  9. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Yep, sure is. This view shows that clearly. ...hard to tell elevation without a topo map, but that pic says it all. Despite Google's multitude of flaws, it has useful products.
    Google Maps[/QUOTE]
    Brokor likes this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    You can get the elevation from Google Earth.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2014
    CATO likes this.
  11. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    If you are going to be a Flatlander, and head into the wilderness, the LEAST you could do is get a small GPS, that could weigh less than 10 oz. and take a WayPoint at your camp, before you go wondering off thru the woods. I mean, Duh.... in this Day and Age.... Come On..... Some peoples Smarts make a "Bag of Rocks" seem like Einstein.....
  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  14. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Call me hard hearted but I hope Mr. Vilhauer get a bill for his rescue. [tongue]
    Mountainman and oldawg like this.
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