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article image72-year-old man survives wilderness eating squirrels, lizards

By Mike White     Oct 14, 2013 in Odd News
A 72-year-old man says he was able to survive living in the wilderness while lost for 19 days by eating lizards, squirrels and frogs. Gene Penaflor recovered in a hospital in San Francisco, California.
ABC reported Penaflor was found Saturday after vanishing in the Mendocino National Forest in Northern California. He annually takes a hunting trip in the area.
"He goes hunting every year, and he comes home every year," his daughter-in-law, Deborah Penaflor, told the media Monday outside the small home Gene Penaflor owns in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. "We'd gotten a little complacent that he would always come back."
As Gene Penaflor went to hunt deer, he got separated from his hunting partner. He passed out after hitting his head.
When he woke up, it appeared to him that he had been unconscious for a day. His chin and lip were badly gashed. He observed morning dew and fog and knew he had been unconscious for a while, according to Deborah Penaflor.
Penaflor discovered he could survive by shooting squirrels and other animals with his rifle and eating them. He huddled under logs to avoid rain and snow and stayed warm with fires he made from grass and leaves. He found drinkable water that came from a drainage source.
A group of hunters resumed searching for Penaflor Saturday. Someone in the group heard him calling for help. He was found about three miles from where he disappeared, at the bottom of a canyon.
Deborah Penaflor recalled there being "tears of joy" after her father-in-law was found.
Time reported the temperature dipped as low as 25 degrees at night while Gene Penaflor was missing. He also packed grass and small leaves around himself to help survive.
CNN reported that after Penaflor was separated from his friend he attempted to find his way out of the wilderness, at first. He quickly gave up on finding his way out of the Mendocino National Forest, a vast nature preserve.
His son, Jeremy, said Gene Penaflor won't be hunting for a while after being lost. He added it is okay if he decides to hunt again, "in a couple of years." Jeremy added he wants to be with his father, if he goes out hunting again.
Besides hearing Penaflor's call for help, someone told the hunter to call 911. Someone was able to lock in on his GPS coordinates.
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