First, remain calm. Allowing yourself to get over excited does not help your situation and, in fact, needlessly burns life sustaining calories. Remember that using your head will always be your first, last, and best line of defense in any trying situation.
Distil everything down to necessity. The three Main Concerns, in order of importance are:Water – Without water you will become dehydrated. This will first lead to confusion and carelessness, which can get you killed in an environment like this, then to death all by itself.Shelter – The elements can rob your body of caloric energy. If it is cold, your body will burn calories to stay warm, if it is hot you will sweat out minerals, if it rains your immune system will be taxed, leaving you susceptible to infection.Food – This is the last of the lot because you can go the longest without it. Be wary of what you eat, however, as it can be poisonous.
Assess your inventory. Everything you have and everything you know will be put to good use. Any ropes or lines, to include shoe laces and sweat pants draw strings can be used to make traps or fishing line. Any sharp pieces of metal or stone can be fashioned into a weapon or hunting tool. Hopefully you planned ahead and have some type of fire production implement. My suggestion is a magnesium bar sold at any Walmart or Dicks Sporting Goods. You shave off little bits of magnesium into a pile and the reverse side has a flint. Magnesium will burn very hot, and even wet tinder will light.
Stay in one spot, unless availability of food and water, or certainty of rescue makes you move. If there is a search party out looking for you, stay still or the amount of ground they will need to cover to find you will be much larger. Also, smoke from fires can lead rescuers to you, once the source of the smoke is found. If you have to move, the best course of action is to find a stream or river and keep to its banks, heading down stream. Rivers will eventually pass close to civilization or will lead to populated coastal areas. On the way, you can take advantage of the flora and fauna that can be found on the banks of drinkable water ways. If there are no rivers, choose the most likely direction and mark your course by the position of the sun. Keep the sun in one spot as you walk, i.e. always on the left shoulder.
Always be mindful of your surroundings. There are several reasons for this, but here are the essentials. Claw marks and old kills will let you know if there are dangerous animals nearby. Also, any left over meat on a fresh kill, while dangerous to hang around, can mean a free meal for you. If you can’t readily find water, several species of plant hoard water and eating them will provide you some moisture, and some trees can be scraped and squeezed for moisture. Look for paths in the foliage, as this will show you where rabbits and such might be found. These are great places to put string traps. To make a string trap, tie a small loop in one end of the string and feed the other end through it. This will make a noose of sorts that will tighten on itself as an animal struggles to escape. Anchor the other end to a thick piece of wood or a tree and place the noose just off the ground in a way that wouldn’t be readily noticeable at night.
Don’t let your fire go out. Always have enough fire wood handy
Stay away from mushrooms if you can help it. If not, never eat the ones with a vulva on the stem. They look like the mushroom grew and the stem ripped in two because it couldn’t hold the mushroom down any longer.
If you see claw marks on trees or have any idea you are in bear country, make as much noise as you can while walking. Don’t surprise a bear, they really hate it.
Try to boil any water before you drink it.
Tell people before you go anywhere. If you get lost, they will become suspicious if you are not back on time, and letting them know where you will be will cut down on rescue time dramatically.
Two items you should never be without when hiking or exploring; a knife, preferably a straight blade with a sheath and a rubberized handle, and a water bottle.
Complete any task you have with the least amount of energy necessary