One of the primary principles and running points in a multitude of topics in self-defense and military/ paramilitary tactics is knowing when to fight, and when to run. This decision-making aspect and mindset will be discussed further at a later time, but for now let’s go over some key points when it comes to the basics of evasion.
Understand your route of evasion and maneuvering. Pretty self-explanatory, but you should always be studying the topography/ terrain of the area you are in and the area you intend to commit to evasion in, plan at least 3 routes of egress that will be known to you but much more difficult for your adversary/ those chasing you.
Carefully consider what you’re taking with you. Also pretty cut and dry, you should be testing your gear and understanding what is going to best help you in surviving the duration of your evasion and being out in the wild—how long do you plan to stay out there and keep this up? Always remember, ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain. Pack mindfully.
Timeframe. Consider the unknowns as best as possible—is there rescue/ help coming? Has there been any pre-planning for this situation and a rally point? Playing into point #2, how long can you keep this up before things get much more difficult and desperate? I.E. Do you have food and water to last ect...
Leave no trace. Arguably the most important factor once you’re in the evasion situation, you need to take every measure to conceal your presence, and leave nothing behind that will garner an indication that you were there or which way you may be moving. If you need to stash/ cache your pack or other items, do so with cognizance and utilizing your natural environment to the fullest advantages (same goes for when you need to stop and rest, create a hide that cannot be easily seen or found), either bury your waste (urine and feces and any trash) or take it with you in a sealing bag if it isn’t burdensome. Try to reduce making smoke or fire as much as possible—and keep your noisemaking (i.e. using a smartphone) to a minimum, it should only be used in emergencies if there are people actively trying to find you and are on your tail, and absolutely make sure you aren’t leaving a physical trail—utilize thick brush to move through to break up any path, utilize natural items in environment to rough-up and conceal or obfuscate your physical trail (i.e. use a small log with branches and drag it behind you to disturb the ground to eliminate footprints in moist soil), walk on rocks and river’s edge stones to keep from making footprints, things like that.
Don’t give up. Things will get hairy and desperate, but don’t quit! Do not cater to the idea that whoever is after you will treat you well and help you, they’re after you for a reason and if they do find you, it may not be pretty (Nick Berg’s beheading by Zarqawi’s ISIS or Operation Red Wings and Marcus Luttrell come to contrasting mind of many examples).
Remember the acronym S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L., this is a tried and true tool used in military survival/ SERE training: Size up the situation (surroundings, equipment, physical condition), Undue haste makes waste (use your senses), Remember where you are, Vanquish panic and fear, Improvise,Value your life, Act like the natives/ locals, Live by your wits and learn basic skills.
About the author: D.J. “The Metalhead Mercenary” is a US ARMY Infantry Veteran and Security Contractor, as well as a Tactical Instructor for GFS, he has over 21 combined years of experience and still currently works in the industry.