A Winnipeg man has been reunited with his family after spending three weeks lost in dense wilderness, surviving on nothing but snow he melted for drinking water and thoughts of loved ones who were searching for him.

On Nov. 15 Brad Lambert set off on a deer-hunting trip near Marchand, Man. southeast of his home.  

At some point, Lambert says, he took a wrong turn on a trail, and within hours, he was lost. 

 “I spent nights in my vehicle and days building fires and looking for planes,” Lambert said. 

When Lambert didn’t return home, police, hundreds of volunteers and aircraft were deployed to search the area for him.  Authorities asked locals in Ontario and Manitoba to check sheds, outdoor structures and garages.

Archie Chabot, a member of Lambert’s search team, told CTV News it’s easy to get lost in the dense wooded area.
“It’s very easy to get turned around, you could wander in circles for days,” Chabot said.

Despite being an experienced hunter, Lambert wasn’t able to catch a single animal for food.  Some nights, temperatures dipped well below freezing. 

Canadian School of Survival’s David MacDonald said staying hydrated was key to Lambert’s survival. Too much longer, and the story would have likely taken a tragic turn. 
“Three days without water you can come close to death and three weeks without food you can certainly come close to death,” MacDonald said.

Though Lambert attempted to help searchers whom he assumed were looking for him by travelling by foot in different areas and sporting orange hunting gear, he was not spotted until he came across a road. Tired and hungry, he was picked up by a passing truck.

Lambert says other than fatigue, he isn’t experiencing any longterm effects from his ordeal. Back home, he is now able to eat and drink. In an interview with CTV News after his return home, the soft-spoken Lambert said he was grateful for the efforts of his searchers.

 “I’m just happy to home, safe and sound with family and loved ones,”he said.  

Chabot said he is surprised Lambert actually made it out alive.
“The will to live is an amazing thing, I guess,” he said.

With files from Canadian Press