Beware, mushrooms! or How not to get lost in the forest in summer

On Thursday, June 9, the head of the department of coordination of internal affairs activities for the search of persons of the Department of Criminological Investigations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Tver region, Lt. Col. Konstantin Molchanov and the head of the SOVA Press conference talked about why people often get lost and how they do not get lost in the campaign for mushrooms or berries.

Each year, up to 2,000 missing persons, relatives and acquaintances are reported to the Tver police. Most of the missing are men, about 66% of the total. Every year in the area people disappear both in the cities and in the forests. With the onset of summer, the number of new “forest losses” begins to increase. In 2022, according to the head of Sova VPSO, the loss of forests in the Tver region began in May, when people began to go to the forests for the first mushrooms.

– Several forest surveys and several extended ones have already been carried out. Not so long ago, we had a non-closed search, – says Sergei Alexeyev. – A woman left for Chernogubovo. We do not know exactly where he went. They literally controlled everything, combed the whole nearby area. There is currently no information. (On the disappearance of a resident of the Kalininsky district, he wrote earlier “MK in Tver”).

Most of the time, retirees get lost in the woods. But it also happens that adults go for mushrooms and lose their orientation. One of the most difficult, according to volunteers, is the search for people who have gone into the forest drunk. The complexity of such searches lies in the fact that a person could go in any direction.

To prevent your elderly relative from getting lost in the woods, have a precautionary discussion with him. Ask your grandparents to let you know in advance about their trip to the forest. Let them know exactly where they are going, give an orientation to the area: for example, a lake, a hill, a ravine. If search engines know where a person has entered the forest, they will find it much faster.


Also at the press conference, the head of the regional department of VPSO “Sova” Sergei Alexeyev said what to take with you to the forest if you are still going there:

– Modern phones, unfortunately, discharge quickly. Therefore, it is better to go to the forest with an old button phone or get a PowerBank. If you are taking medication, be sure to take it with you. Go to the forest for a day – take medicine for two days. Also make sure you have water with you. Take care of your snacks too. Due to the fact that it is hot in summer, it is better not to take the usual sandwiches in the woods, because they can spoil, it is better to put energy bars in your backpack. Also, if you know how to use a compass, take it with you. Why were there such cases: a man has a compass, but does not know how to use it and instead of going north he goes south. Make sure you have matches, a lighter and a knife with you.

If you realize that you are lost in the forest, do not panic, try to stay calm. First you need to find a place where the mobile connection will definitely catch on, call relatives, rescue service or volunteers there.

– Mention that you entered the forest from the place you lost, – says Sergei Alexeyev. – And then calmly prepare a place for yourself, maybe even for an overnight stay. Cut branches, make fire. And wait. It takes at least 2-3 hours for volunteers to come looking for you.

However, it happens that the search is much faster. For example, a resident of the Torzhok region was found in just half an hour. Some of the losers manage to get out of the forest even without the arrival of volunteers at the spot. If a GPS navigator is installed on the phone, volunteers tune in to a person who gets lost in the woods during a call. This happens quite often lately. But it also happens that the search is delayed for one night or for several days. The head of VPSO “Sova” recalls that an elderly resident of the Tver region was found on the sixth day. The grandfather was quite well prepared for the wildlife and managed to survive. And in the practice of Lt. Col. Konstantin Molchanov, there were cases where a young man and a woman spent almost a week in the woods before being found. They managed to survive thanks to the matches in their pockets.


Often people disappear into the forests because they have lost their landmark. But the main reason is the “natural traps”.

– There was a forest where people went many times and then the mountain mass was cut down, – explains the head of VPSO “Sova”. – While people were walking in the forest, they got tired and returning home, they fell on a glade where once famous trees stood. The mushroom pickers start climbing there, they get even more tired, they lose strength. Most of the time, we find those who get lost in such natural traps.

Finding a missing person in the forest is not an easy task. To find a mushroom picker lost in the thickets, the volunteers themselves must be well oriented in the area. “How is the search going on in the forest,” the head of the volunteer department told a news conference.

– It all starts with retrieving information. An investigation is underway, we call the hospitals, if necessary. Surprisingly, in the questionnaire we even specify how loudly the loser was watching TV, this will help you determine how well he is listening. After that, if we understand that the person is right in the forest, we determine the search area. The business mapper creates a map of the search area. All information is transferred to the coordinator, who sets the time and place of collection where we depart. Arriving at the place, we will definitely break into search teams, each of which has a leader, it is the one who leads the volunteers out of the forest. The team leader is an experienced researcher who has undergone special training. Knows how to use navigator, radio, compass. These people are responsible for the security of the team. Young volunteers function as eyes and ears.

After gathering volunteers in the forest, the cartographers divide the search area into squares, identify notable linear landmarks: gas pipelines, power cables. And the search starts either from the squares or from these landmarks. Most of the time, the missing are sought for an answer, as there is always hope of finding a person alive.

Unfortunately, some searches are delayed due to delayed application of related or insufficient information. In this case the “comb” begins.

– If we understand that the chances of finding a living are already small, because a long time has passed, then we start “comb”, – says Sergei Alexeyev. – Many people line up in front of a neighbor’s shoes. And they start combing the square: I go straight. In the “comb” a 500 by 500 square meter takes about 8 hours. Finding a man is sometimes difficult, even if he is 1.5 meters away from you, he can be hidden by grass or a hollow.

Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Molchanov says that sometimes during such investigations, not only a person’s body is found, but also his remains. In such cases, in order to understand if the right person was found, the DNA is compared from the findings and the epithelium of the missing person. This is how a person is identified.


During the press conference, the speakers reminded that even volunteers start looking for missing persons after the relatives filed a complaint with the police. There is a misconception that you have to apply three days after a person disappears. However, this is not true. You should go to the police as soon as your relative or friend disappears. The sooner the search begins, the more likely the person is to be found alive.

Konstantin Molchanov recommends that you report the loss of relatives to the BRNS (Accident Registration Office at the Department of Home Affairs) by telephone: 8 (4822) 32-95-18.

When hiking in the forest, make sure you follow safety rules. Thus, the collection of berries and mushrooms becomes a pleasant walk and does not end in tragedy.

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