March 21, 2013
Spiridon Vinokurov, 48, was traveling on his snowmobile near the small village of Berelekha in Siberia when he became lost. According to the Siberian Times, a sudden snowstorm had blown in when Vinokurov was checking the traps he had set up near his lodge, where he had been hunting and trapping alone. The storm disoriented the man and without and landmarks to gauge his location, dread set in. Desperate, Vinokurov wandered the snow-covered wasteland until his vehicle ran out of fuel.
The hunter then continued the trek on foot, looking for any kind of shelter or signs of civilization. Rescue workers described his plight as stranded “hundreds of kilometers from any living settlement.” Even worse, a pair of wolves had picked up his scent.
“Two wolves were following me along the way,” said Vinokurov. “They kept their distance as I walked–but as soon as I went down on all fours and started to crawl they cut the distance sharply and were literally breathing down my neck.”
The ordeal went on for four days, during which the predators dogged his every step. The hunter had to stay alert and appear healthy so the wolves wouldn’t come too close. Vinokurov said the threat of being attacked motivated him to keep moving even when he otherwise would’ve stopped. Surviving four days in the permafrost of Russia’s most inhospitable region is impressive to say the least. The area he was in has been known to sport average temperatures of negative 47 degrees Celsius during the winter months. The region’s frozen tundra is nothing but an expanse of snow littered with gray rocks and a few, sparse trees. By the end, Vinokurov no longer had the energy to walk and began crawling.
Fortunately, he had scheduled a visit to family in the village of Aleko-Kyuel and they reported his absence to the authorities when he never showed. A rescue helicopter combed the tundra for the missing hunter and found him still 80 kilometers from the nearest village. Vinokurov was facedown in the snow and barely conscious.
Rescue workers quickly transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for severe frostbite. Vinikurov should count himself lucky, doctors do not believe that his injuries will require amputation. Furthermore, his survival alone and without much equipment in absolute wilderness is a testament to Vinokurov’s skills and endurance. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Read and join the discussion on Lost in Sibera: Hunter Battles Wolves and Bitter Cold at OutdoorHub.com.
January 31, 2013
In the summer of 1978, Russian geologists found more than they bargained for when they discovered the Lykov family in a remote forest 150 miles from the fringes of civilization. According to a story by Smithsonian.com, the geology team was sent to prospect for iron ore and had come across the family’s crude hut. It is hard to say who was more surprised, the scientists or the Lykovs, who had not seen an outsider for nearly 40 years.
At a loss for words, the team was greeted by an old man who said only, “Well, since you have traveled this far, you might as well come in.”
The 80-year-old patriarch of the family, Karp Lykov, brought the family into the wilderness in 1936 to escape religious persecution. He, his wife Akulina, and their two children traveled further and further inland into the vastness of the backcountry. The couple later had two more children, bringing the Lykov family up to two girls and two boys. Akulina passed away in 1961.
The gear they had brought with them started to break down and the family had to fashion clothes from bark and hemp cloth, tools from rocks and wood. The rudimentary cabin they called home was constructed from scraps of bark and wooden planks the family peeled off nearby trees.
Food was more difficult. The original seeds that the Lykovs carried into the wilderness provided for a few winters until wild animals destroyed their small farm. Siberia is a harsh land to live off. The family scrounged what wild berries and roots they could and eventually learned to hunt the wild animals nearby. Lacking firearms and even primitive bows, Karp’s two sons would prepare traps for small game. These traps were often simple holes with a layer of foliage to mask them, but as the boys grew more options became available.
Dmitri, the youngest boy in the family of five, captured the geologists’ attention as a skilled outdoorsman. He impressed them with his log cutting and built many fixtures around the cabin from what resources he had, including the stove. Dmitri also practiced persistence hunting to keep his family fed. It often involved hunting barefoot in the snow for days before he caught anything, and only then by wearing the animal out until it collapsed of exhaustion. This method hasn’t been used by the majority of hunters since before the invention of the pointy stick some several thousand years ago. Dmitri often carried home young elk after being gone for a week or more, bolstering the family diet of potatoes and berries.
The scientists were unable to convince the Lykovs to come back to civilization, but they did return to see the family several times. In the present day only Karp’s daughter Agafia, in her 70s, remains. She lives not too far away from where the original cabin was found and has no plans to leave.
Read and join the discussion on Isolated Russian Family Survives in Siberia for 40 Years at OutdoorHub.com.
December 10, 2012
A Winnipeg family is happy to have their family member back after he went out into the bush for a day hunting trip and didn’t return for weeks. A search party had even been officially called off when there was no sign of Brad Lambert after helicopters and foot search and rescuers could not locate him.
Lambert, 46, was hunting deer in southeast Manitoba when he took a “wrong turn on the wrong trail,” according to the Canadian Press, who spoke to Lambert. The last time anyone saw him was on November 15 when he stopped to buy supplies just southeast of his home in Winnipeg.
His truck later became stuck and soon became his only shelter from harsh weather. With no compass and an unusable cell phone, he placed all bets on being found by a passerby.
“I slept nightly in my vehicle, which was completely stuck, immobilized, out of fuel after five days, battery dead,” Lambert told Global Winnipeg. “Daily spent time trying to be noticed, building some smokey signal fires. Nothing to eat just, plenty of fresh water from snowmelt to ground water.”
His efforts to draw rescuers’ attention to him were futile so eventually he set out on foot through the thick forest until he came to a trail. He followed it to a road and began following it. A passerby later stopped for him and he was taken to a hospital and to see his family, 24 days after he had set out to hunt. Lambert credits thoughts of his wife and son were what kept him going.
Read and join the discussion on Canadian Hunter Stranded for Three Weeks Drank Melted Snow to Survive at OutdoorHub.com.
May 31, 2012
Jason Babin, defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles, had one of the better excuses to miss a team activity in the history of the NFL. He was stranded along with his guide in Cold Bay, Alaska living off melted glacier water and freeze-dried food for several days.
In his 9th season, Babin has become one of the more important players on the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense after registering 18 sacks and forcing 3 fumbles during the 2011 season.
Babin told the Philadelphia press that there was so much snow drifting over his tent that “the tent was in our sleeping bags.”
Babin had a few tips for anyone stuck in his situation. “You’ve got to pack your food, which are freeze-dried meals. You got to hike up a glacier with snowshoes to get your water. You gotta boil it. If you fall through and get while out hiking, no one’s gonna come dry you off with a towel. You’ve got to survive on your wits.”
Babin said he was doubly disappointed. “I don’t miss [team activities]. I’m not late.” Also, he didn’t manage to bag a bear. “Didn’t see the one I wanted,” he reported.
Babin’s experience didn’t sully him on risky activities. His next plan: Running with bulls in Pamplona.
Outdoor Hub, The Outdoor Information Engine - Rough Weather Strands Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Babin During Alaskan Bear Hunt