Josh Hopkins found himself lost in the wilderness of south western Nova Scotia on Boxing Day. Instead of panicking, the 11-year-old used quick thinking to help lead rescuers his way.

Josh has grown up surrounded by the outdoors and that day he ventured out into the woods to try the BB gun he got for Christmas. It wasn’t long before Josh got turned around.

“I ended up panicking for a while and then sitting down just to think about what I was going to do,” says Josh.

He was lost and his phone was quickly loosing battery power.

“It was at two per cent,” says Josh.

When Josh’s mom, Kathleen Hopkins, texted her son to return home she was surprised by the answer she received.

“His dad was here for him and I got a text back about half an hour later with GPS coordinates,” says Kathleen. “I instantly thought he was being a smarty pants when I said ‘where are you’ and he sent me numbers and I said ‘what does that mean?’ and he instantly responded with ‘it means I am lost.’”

Josh had used Google to help him figure out his location.

“I didn't know where I was so I just looked it up,” says Josh.

“He is a resourceful kid, so if he is telling me he is lost than he is in trouble,” says Kathleen.

It was getting cold and dark, so his family called the RCMP. Officers assessed the situation, brought in tracking dogs, and asked search and rescue volunteers to help.

In the meantime, Josh recalled advice he'd gotten from a search and rescue volunteer who came to speak at his school. He turned his camouflage coat inside out to reveal the fluorescent orange lining so that he would be more visible and he built a small lean-to shelter.

“Then I slept in it for a good 30 minutes and woke up and started yelling and whistling,” recalls Josh.

A neighbour heard Josh and eventually managed to get him out of the woods.

“We came out and there was a whole bunch of my family members here and they gave me a hug and hot chocolate and stuff like that,” says Josh.

“He came barreling out of the woods with a blanket wrapped around him and I said ‘come see me’ and he said ‘mom I need you to get me a new winter jacket because I broke the zipper on the jacket you got me for Christmas.’ Like that was the least of my worries, I was just so thankful to see him,” says Kathleen.

Josh says he has a new respect for the woods and plans to be more prepared next time he heads into the forest.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl