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​​​​​​​​​​Video Survival Guide

Peter Kummerfeldt takes us through a 10 chapter step by step guide to surviving in Colorado's back country.

​The Art of Survival

​by 'Papa Bear' Whitmore


The Art of Survival is meant as a guide only and perhaps an inspiration to look further into the art of survival. It is designed to make you aware that something indeed could happen to you. Graveyards are full of people who said, “It could never happen to me."

Information was secured by actual survival trips into Colorado’s high country in winter weather and sub-freezing temperatures.

Credit for the information found in this pamphlet should go to many outstanding outdoorsmen and women who spent years collecting the material found here. From among the many, the author wishes to recognize the following: Gail Boyd, Jim Bunstock, Dale Gaskill, Dick Keeny, Harry Kissell, Joe Vogel, and Jack Wilhite.

The Art of Survival is dedicated to the hundreds of volunteer hunter education instructors who devote both time and money in keeping Colorado a safe and ethical place to hunt.

This pamphlet was prepared by 'Papa Bear' Whitmore for the State of Colorado, Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Preparation for the Trip

With four-wheel drive vehicles, snowmobiles and trail bikes, survival is a problem that any outdoorsman may have to face. Transportation may break down in a remote area.

There is no single answer to survival because no two situations are alike. Survival is a very personal thing; you are like no one else in the world. It involves varying challenges based on season and geography. ​However, there are some basic points which help to explain why some people pass a survival text but others fail.

We distill our philosophy of survival down into two words - staying alive. We must have some basic rules for survival.

Rules for Survival

  1. Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. If you change your general area, tell someone of that change. 

  2. Never go into a wilderness area by yourself. Unavoidable accidents do happen. 

  3. Wear proper clothing and bring proper equipment, keeping in mind that the weather can and will change. 

  4. If you do get lost or stranded, stay put. We will find you if you have followed rule No. 1. 

  5. Learn how to use a compass, take a map of the area and orient yourself thoroughly before leaving camp. 

  6. Always carry a survival kit and know how to use it. A survival kit in the hands of someone who does not know how to use it can kill.

To keep yourself alive in the wilderness, you must have given some thought to the possibility before the situation comes up. Survival is 80 percent attitude, 10 percent equipment, and 10 percent skill and knowledge to use that equipment. 

Equip yourself for the three necessities no matter who you are, where you go, or at what time of year. Let’s call them the Big Three:

  1. ​Shelter

  2. Fire

  3. Signal

Learn about survival skills by using the left-hand navigation links.