BOISE -- In the past couple months, we've seen people stranded in Idaho's wilderness. Some survived and came home, others did not.
People are out enjoying Idaho's wilderness pretty much year-round hunting, camping or hiking. But, experts say around this time of year, people need to take special precaution because the danger increases.
"The wilderness can be pretty brutal any time of the year, but moving into this time of the year, it can really be challenging," said Jimmie Yorgensen.
Yorgensen is the president of Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue. He's been on dozens of rescues in Idaho's wilderness. Once, while training, Yorgensen himself was in a snow cave collapse.
"I was trapped," remembered Yorgensen. "I could not breathe, that weight was intense."
Yorgensen's friends dug him out after the longest one-and-a-half minutes of his life. "It was a scary, scary moment."
Sergeant Laytreda Schultz has worked search and rescue operations for the Elmore County Sheriff's Office for more than three decades. She's seen plenty of people pulled out of serious danger in the backcountry.
"The thoughts that go through their head are, 'They're not going to come out...,' said Schultz. "They've all said when they hear the sound of that chopper, they know it's done. They're good to go."
Over in the mountains near Banks, hunter Wally VanAntwerp knows all too well how unforgiving the wilderness can be.
"I had a friend in Wyoming," said VanAntwerp. "His dad walked around for three days in a circle. He died of frostbite."
But, while the wilderness can be brutal, scary and unpredictable, it doesn't have to be deadly. VanAntwerp was stranded in Wyoming once.
"We were in a bad spot and had to spend the night where we weren't expecting to," he said. "And that's why I'm always carrying a lot of extra gear."
VanAntwerp was fine because he was prepared.
"The first thing about being safe, is being prepared," said Mike Demick, the Information Supervisor for Idaho Fish and Game. "Take extra clothes with you. That will save your life. Extra water will save your life."
He, and all the experts we talked to, recommended keeping some essentials with you at all times when you're in the wilderness. Those are things like extra bright-colored clothes, a waterproof poncho, blanket, food, water, map, flashlight, fire-starting gear, and of course, your cell phone. You might not get a signal, but searchers can use it to track and find you, like they did with the Rice family in August.
Searchers say, people often get in serious trouble when they plan on a day trip, and when the weather turns, or they have equipment trouble and get stranded, they're unprepared.
Yorgensen says, "Always think about, 'If worse comes to worse, can I spend the night out there? And, can I keep myself warm and dry and give myself a chance?'"
Gregg Rettschlag is the vice president of Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue. He says if you are stranded, unless you're in immediate danger, stay put. "We have a hard time if we show up where we think someone is going to be, and they're not there. Then the guessing starts and the detective work."
Demick also says it's a good idea to check with the forest service or bureau of land management about any road closures or bad road conditions before you head into the wilderness.
But the best safety tip is one more thing you can do before you head out.
"Make sure that they tell a family member or friend exactly the area that they're going. If we have that, we can get to them a lot quicker," said Schultz.
Demick says, "Tell somebody where you're going, and when you expect to be back."
Yorgensen says, "Absolutely, number one, always tell someone where you're going to go."
So, apparently, it's like the Scouts always say, "Be prepared."