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Start preparing your camp well before dark.

Look for a natural shelter, such as a rock overhang or a thick stand of evergreens. The site should be dry and well-drained and offer protection from the wind. Ideally, it also should be near water and plenty of firewood.

A lean-to built using tools from a field-dressing kit
A lean-to can be built using tools from a field-dressing kit.

If no natural shelter is available, pick an area with materials nearby to build a lean-to or debris hut. A lean-to is constructed by leaning branches against a horizontal support to form a frame for a roof. Be sure to position the opening away from the wind. Cover the frame with evergreen branches to block out wind or precipitation. If you brought a haul line with you, use it to bind the branches in place. Leaves and twigs may be heaped on top of the branches. If you need additional protection, add side walls. If you are in a snowy area, you might consider building a snow cave.

Lifesaving Rainwear

Most bowhunters carry a set of lightweight, soft rainwear in their packs at all times. This extra set of clothing can be a true lifesaver if you become lost. It serves as an outer layer to insulate and protect your body from wind. In addition, if your regular clothing becomes wet, you have something to protect your body while you dry your clothes. You can survive for a long time in a wilderness situation—even without food—if you can make a shelter, build a fire, and dry your clothing.

Bowhunter wearing rainwear