October 7, 2011
Bill Lawrence was on a hunting trip with his friends on August 31 when he was separated from the group. He tried shouting and scouring the forest for his friends, but it was to no avail. Bill was lost in the 13,000-acre Meeman Shelby Forest State Park north of Memphis, Tennessee.
He was chasing a squirrel when he began to feel disoriented. His friends were out of sight and hearing range. This is when I got turned around, he told the Kansas City Star
After many failed attempts to make contact with his friends or anyone for that matter, Bill switched into survival mode
. He was unprepared for the five days and nights that he would endure. Mr. Lawrence had only his hunting clothes, a shotgun, limited water, a flashlight, and a can of bug spray.
He did not have a cell phone or any sort of GPS device. If he was going to survive, he would have to ensure his own means of survival in the dense forest.
Bill estimated that he covered 35 miles trekking through the forest, looking for signs of a road or anything that might lead him home. But each mile he hiked only made him more confused, burned more energy than he had, and frustrated him mentally.
Desperate Means to Survive
He survived by eating worms he came across, drinking muddy water, and trying to fill his vest with rain water. His main focus while lost was to find water and food to increase his chance of survival
I was drinking muddy water ... eating worms. Yeah, Id seen that on TV. I ate worms, he said. During the time Bill spent watching extreme wilderness survival shows
, he had learned the basics of how he could survive without adequate supplies.
Additionally, he told reporters that he did his best to remain calm during the entire ordeal.
Mr. Lawrence fired off shotgun shells in the hope others would hear the loud blast. He fired one shell each time he thought he heard a promising sound, but each echoing shot brought nothing.
On September 4, he came across a road several miles from where he had been and collapsed. Exhausted from the last grueling five days, he laid on the road until drivers came to his aid.
I laid down in that road and just sat there.
By then I was just wore out, he said
The search and rescue efforts initiated after Bills friends reported him missing was a difficult task. It was the longest search effort the state park had seen in decades. Due to the sheer size and density of the forest, their efforts were futile. It was like trying to find a needle in one thousand haystacks.
Bills wit and will to survive brought him safely from the ordeal. He had witness different survival techniques on television and while lost, he didnt hesitate to take extreme action to survive. After he was rescued, he had only suffered dehydration and severe insect bites.