Hiking: 'Boogeyman' Is A Complex

This week's rescue of 11-year-old Cub Scout Brennan Hawkins, who was lost in the rugged mountains of Utah for four days, was made more difficiult because of his reluctance to declare himself to strangers, namely, the very people who were looking for him.

That tendency is referred to by professional trackers and wilderness experts as "the Boogeyman Complex," according to Tom Brown Jr., an outdoor survival guide and founder of The Tracker School.

"(The Boogeyman Complex) even happens to adults," Brown The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Friday. "You get so panic-stricken and at the verge of shock, you don't even answer to your own name."

But Hawkins should have made his presence known to the searchers, Brown says. "He's lost, so he's going to have to get help any way he can. The things he could have done are: get to a clear area and write out letters with branches, so search helicopters overhead could see it, or build a fire."

Brown offered other advice on getting spotted if you get lost while hiking, and on avoiding losing your way to begin with. His suggestions were meant for kids, in particular.

Even if you're going out with your family on a short hike for 40 minutes or an hour or so, you should always carry some sort of survival kit, Hawkins says: "Especially with kids, (put one together) that they can wear on their back or a belt bag. (It should contain) water, a couple of granola bars, trail mix, that kind of thing. Maybe a signaling mirror. If the child is old enough, matches. Anything that the child can use if they get caught out overnight."
  • Brian Dakss

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