Lost in the wilderness: 72-year-old man survives 19 days, eating lizards, squirrels

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by stg58, Oct 14, 2013.


  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    At 72 sounds like this guy had his priorities correct when he went into survival mode and much younger may have perished without their Facebook and iPhone...


    "He still had his hunting rifle, but he told his son that he didn't have the strength to hunt a deer. "He told me it was mainly in survival mode. He was trying to save energy," the son said.

    Instead, Penaflor focused on small game, foraged for algae in a stream and drank water from a creek. To stay dry, he crouched under a fallen tree, and to keep warm, he made a fire and packed dry leaves and grass around his body."


    .......................................................................................................................................
    (CNN)
    -- When he came to, Gene Penaflor knew he had to do something. He didn't know how long he'd been unconscious; just that he was in the wilderness, a man of 72 who had lost his way while hunting deer.

    He had to quickly figure out how to survive, what to eat and drink, and how to stay warm.

    And for almost three weeks, Penaflor did just that: subsisting on a diet of lizards, frogs and squirrels.

    Penaflor was separated from his hunting buddy on September 24. At first, he tried find his way on foot out of the Mendocino National Forest, a vast nature preserve in northern California. But he was disoriented and quickly gave up.

    He stayed put in hope that someone would find him. In his 19 days cut off from humanity, it snowed several times, and temperatures dropped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit some nights.

    Then help came.

    Penaflor made it to a hospital in the town of Ukriah on the edge of the forest, where his family surrounded his bed. Doctors checked him over and released him. He is back home, his son Jeremy told CNN.

    "He's good. He's hanging in there. He looks like nothing changed except he grew a beard."

    Lost

    131014010008-01-calif-hunter-1014-story-body. Hunter missing 19 days found alive
    Flank the deer on two sides; no matter where it runs, your buddy or you are pretty sure to bag it.

    It's a common hunting strategy. But it got Penaflor separated from his hunting partner on September 24.

    They had split up at their base camp, walking over separate ridges, and were going to meet up down the path a few hours later for lunch. Penaflor never showed.

    A day later, his hunting buddy reported him missing to the Mendocino County sheriff, who sent out a search party a day later assembled from nearly two dozen country and state law enforcement offices.

    After scouring the mountain range on foot and with rescue dogs, and in the air for four days, they found no clues leading to Penaflor.

    A hefty storm blew in, and they suspended the search.


    The accident

    Penaflor had walked out into the woods much farther than he had planned, his son said.

    He slipped on a steep slope and hit his head. It knocked him out cold, and he has no idea for how long.

    He still had his hunting rifle, but he told his son that he didn't have the strength to hunt a deer. "He told me it was mainly in survival mode. He was trying to save energy," the son said.

    Instead, Penaflor focused on small game, foraged for algae in a stream and drank water from a creek. To stay dry, he crouched under a fallen tree, and to keep warm, he made a fire and packed dry leaves and grass around his body.

    He never stopped trying, and his family did not give up hope. "We knew he was out there," said Jeremy Penaflor.


    The rescue

    The search party went out again Saturday to look for the 72-year-old, and this time the group was about half the size of the original one. But someone beat them to Penaflor.

    A hunter called the sheriff's office in the morning, saying he and his large group of friends could hear a man crying for help from down in a valley.

    The cell phone connection dropped out again and again, before deputies could note his location, the sherriff's office said. They instructed the hunter to call 911, and the operator locked in on his GPS coordinates.

    Penaflor's cries led the hunting party to him. They cut poles from trees and affixed their coats to them to fashion a makeshift stretcher to carry him out.

    Rescuers met up with the group hours later, as they heaved him up a steep hill. They called a helicopter to ferry him to Ukiah Valley Medical Center.

    Hugs and tears

    When his family saw him, no one spoke, Jeremy Penaflor said. "Just hugs. And we were in tears."

    He released a photograph to the media, showing his father in a hospital bed, smiling and giving a thumbs-up.

    No more hunting for now, the son said.

    "If he decides to hunt in a couple of years, that's fine. But we joked around and said let's make it a camping trip."

    If he goes out again, his son wants to be with him.
     
    tulianr, Yard Dart and kellory like this.
  2. kellory

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

    No radios no. Compass. No survival gear in cold weather. Glad he did as well as he did, but that was stupid.
     
  3. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Mebbe not the smartest but hoo-boy he's one tough old man !

    Absolute badass ! Heck I hope I make it to 72 let alone still be able to go hunting.
     
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  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Smart enough to survive, dumb enough to make the same mistakes most do when they venture to the great outdoors- not being properly equipped, dang near killed him.... lucky SOB.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
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  5. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    @stg58 great story!... Thanks for posting...
    Yup... and while maybe it was a "gene pool" type thing that got him into the predicament in the first place (face it, it will always be the unplanned, unexpected, lapse of judgement etc... type of thing that will get us into these types of situations)... he did what it took to survive... Lot's of good reads on this... and sounds like his story is textbook... made the first mistake that got him into the mess but had the presence of mind ... not to make any more mistakes to compound is first ... Your mind is your best tool... there's a post somewhere recently about strength vs toughness... sound like this guy is pretty tough and did what it took to survive.... JHMO
    Thanks again,
    Bear
     
    Tracy likes this.
  6. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Here is that toughness thread you mentioned:
    You May Be Strong . . . But Are You Tough? | Survival Monkey Forums
     
    Bear likes this.
  7. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    @Yard Dart thanks.... that's the one... everyone should read it and then take a good long critical look in the mirror IMHO... I did and honestly didn't like some of the things I forced myself to see... working on them and the article helps :0)
     
    Yard Dart likes this.
  8. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Flank the deer on two sides; no matter where it runs, your buddy or you are pretty sure to bag it.




    Did anyone catch this ? About the dumbest way to get shot that i know of !
     
  9. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Really? He looked just like a deer...
     
  10. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I'm surprised PETA isn't trying to have him executed!!! Or Fish and Game prosecuting him for squirrel hunting out of season!
     
  11. kellory

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

    Little known fact, when in a survival situation, game laws are suspended. He will not be prosecuted.
     
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    That is true in Alaska, but I am NOT sure one can say that in every State of the Union.... it would depend on the State Statutes of each State....
     
  13. kellory

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

    I think I overstated that. There are several states that will "forgive" such a violation, in court, as needful and unavoidable. Alaska goes a few steps further. But I have never heard of someone being prosecuted for staying alive.
     
  14. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    At least he knew enough about the wildnerness to survive in better condition than that IDIOT who ate his dog.
     
  15. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Glad he made it.

    But here's another perfect opportunity to jab a stick in the eye of the statists. Might be you're all getting sick of hearing this stuff but it has to be said. Again. And often. Our culture needs to be steered back to the ideas of freedom somehow. Anybody claiming dominion over nature to the exclusion of others feeding themselves via nature's bounty is not a good human being, but rather a tyrant through and through. Anybody supporting that tyrant is, in turn, a tyrant. And there are no good tyrants. Emergency or not, every human being has the natural right to take their sustenance from nature.

    This guy has it right.

     
    Yard Dart likes this.
  16. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    China survival food, you really think all those dishes at the super buffet are chicken?
    Personally, I would eat my dog, if he was with me he'd be as hungry as I am, better him than me! :)
     
  17. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    People who are stupid enough to go out in the wildnerness without knowledge(supplies are all well and good, provided *nothing* happens to them) deserve what they get. Interfering in natural selection doesn't help our species. This 72year old guy had knowledge. Dog-eater was a moron who tried to disregard the laws of nature and common sense and his dog was the one who paid for it.
     
    Gopherman likes this.
  18. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Lighten up a little, in a survival situation, you may have to go with the clothes you have on.
    In a situation like that, it is what it is. I'm not familiar with that particular story, I was just kidding, but, people have eaten each other many times throughout history.
    Easter Island is a good example, they depleted all there resources and turned to what was available, each other.
    The will to survive is powerful.
     
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