Stepping through unpredictable terrain and swampy knees high with gruesome, overcrowded insects have dominated the last nine days for Cam McLeod, Brian Schmegelski and the team trying to hunt in the area around Gilam, Mann.
It is not known whether McLeod, 19 and Smelgelski, 18 are consuming supplies, but Herman Kong, the founder and chief instructor of Maple Leaf Survival in Winnipeg, says they may be trying to find civilization and come back.
"They might get into small towns and if they end up in a bigger city, it's a totally different discussion," he said.
"How do they keep up with the news? Will they split up because people expect to see them together but can't communicate far enough? Will they recruit someone to help them? “
It is much easier to find resources and it may be easier to hide in the city
Dave MacDonald, founder and lead instructor at the Canadian International Survival School, says it can even improve their chances.
"It is much easier to find resources and it may be easier to hide in the city," he said.
"Everyone knows everyone in the country, people in the city don't even know the neighbor next door."
But whether they reach town or stay in the woods, the duo's mentality will be the difference between life, death and capture.
"If they are not on the same page, you will see power struggles, disagreements and their relationship could start to deteriorate," Kong said.
"If they agree on the next steps, such as the ultimate goal and whether it should be fulfilled in a certain way, it can help them in terms of encouragement and keeping each other calm."
Triple homicide suspects have survived near a secluded blue-collar town since they were first spotted in the area on July 22.
The suspects were reportedly spotted several times and stopped while driving by police stations from the Tatasquake Creek Reserve police stations, two hours away from Gilam. Each time, McLeod and Schmegelski avoided attention.
The case is dragging on, with RHMP traveling more than 11,000km near Gilam, but with no sign of any suspects, the military withdrew from the entire national search and police returned.
"On a good day, it can take 48 hours to find someone," Kong said.
"Many helicopters fly relatively low and can cause a lot of noise, so it would not be difficult for someone trying to avoid a sudden stroke."
MacDonald says search teams are as difficult as suspects due to the dense conditions.
"Exhilarating searches are made on the windows of observation. Just look through your eyes and they're tired, "he said.
"The heat can be brutal because you wear equipment and equipment, maybe even helmets, ballistic glasses … it's difficult for dogs, with all the horsemen and mosquitoes."
Guilam is home to black bears, polar bears, wolves and coyotes. It is also known for its sunny conditions.
"They call Manitoba land at 100,000 lakes," said Drew Dunbar, a hunter who works at Manitoba Fisher near Rocky Lake. “You beat, you're tired, you're wet, you're cold… but you can survive.
They know how to hide
Alleged killers may use rivers and hydro lines as guides, finding abandoned cabs and traps along the way. Brushing through the thick brush in the trash can burn as little as 5,000 calories, which is another juggling priority, along with the risk of injury from travel and water and poisonous plant diseases.
And as fugitive suspects, survival is different. Overnight fires can draw attention as well as the sound of firearms, making self-defense a wildlife challenge. Because they are teenagers, Kong adds that they can be more resilient but also make irrational decisions.
But BC teenagers who have traveled nearly 3,000 km for 10 days may not be amateurs in the woods, according to Schmegelski's father, Al.
"Knowing that both are totally in it, if there was a threat, they would do what they were really trained to do and camouflage in the woods," he told JEC news. "They know how to hide."
Covering that much distance for 10 days also leads Kong to believe there may be more to the shirts on the back and hearts on the throat.
"People assumed they had limited supplies, but they came with a car. Vehicle carries a lot and we don't know how much they have, ”he said.
Outdoor experience could facilitate vegetation foraging, such as cattails and berries, and hunt smaller animals in the woods, though both survival instructors emphasize that it is not impossible to step up in the woods without skills.
Manitoba RHMP on Monday found an 84-year-old woman with only minor injuries after missing four days, and in 2017 two young German tourists traveled more than 100 kilometers in 11 days, ending at Gilam feeling exhausted but unharmed.
"Your mind will create heaven or hell for you," Kong said.
"We have to take into account the fact that assuming they are very motivated, the consequences of capturing them are pretty serious – that motivation can help make a person stay in the bush."
When we got back to town, Sandesh, a staff member at Guillam's Rite Inn Inn Cafe, said things were back to normal.
"All the people were scared for a day or two … now all the people are busy," he said.
"It's a mystery, no one knows where they are … but illiquid is all the bushes and wildlife, they're probably dead – at least that's what people say."
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