12/10/2012 18:41 EST | Updated 02/09/2013 05:12 EST

Winnipeg man insists he survived in woods for 23 days

A Winnipeg man who was reported missing in mid-November and found alive on the weekend is dismissing those who doubt his story of survival alone in the woods for 23 days.

Brad Lambert, 46, says he's tired and 40 pounds lighter, but otherwise in good health following his three-week ordeal.

But his story of survival had many wondering on social media how — or if — Lambert could have survived for that long in such cold conditions.

Temperatures in Winnipeg during that three-week period ranged between 3 C on Nov. 20 and –26 C at night on Nov. 26, according to Environment Canada data.

"People will believe what they believe. I'm telling the truth. You want to hear what happened, and I'm telling people what happened," Lambert said Monday.

Lambert was reported missing after he failed to return home from a deer hunting trip in Sandilands Provincial Forest.

He was last seen Nov. 15 at a grocery store in Marchand, Man., about 85 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg.

Lambert said he was only going hunting for one night when his black Ford F-150 pickup truck became stuck.

Slept in truck

Lambert said he had enough fuel to keep his truck running for five days, and he stayed warm with extra socks, gloves and a face mask.

He added that he started a fire to melt snow for drinking water, and he ate the lone apple he had.

Lambert said he slept in his truck every night, hoping searchers would spot him.

"My desire [was] to see my family and friends again, and see my young son, and see my wife," he said.

Meanwhile, an RCMP team along with friends, family and people from the Marchand area searched for Lambert, but could not find him.

Lambert said that finally, on Friday, he decided to try to find his way back home.

"I broke that cardinal rule of not staying put, but it was a gamble," he said.

"I was so fortunate to find the trail that led to another trail that led to a road."

Survival is possible, says expert

On Saturday, a man spotted Lambert walking on the side of a road.

The man picked Lambert up and drove him to the same grocery store where he was last seen three weeks earlier.

Lambert was then taken to a hospital for examination.

Dave MacDonald, the lead instructor with the International Canadian School of Survival, said Lambert's tale of survival is an extreme one.

However, he said it's possible to survive in such conditions if one has fire, shelter and water.

"Humans are tenacious, for the most part. We can survive most things, especially with a little bit of education," MacDonald said.

Lambert said he has spoken with Winnipeg police about what happened. Police said the matter is still under investigation.