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Survival 101: Rabid Animals! 3 things you must always be aware of

If you have spent any time in the wilderness, then you have probably had the misfortune of coming across a sick animal in the woods.

I was driving through the local state park yesterday when I came upon this disturbing sight. This is a sick raccoon, which probably has the rabies. There are telltale signs that this guy is sick, and you should always be aware of these signs in case you are in a survival situation. Because, not only do you not want to get bit by this thing, you also don’t want to mistake it for a blessing and kill and eat it. Here are three sure signs that an animal is sick and you need to get it away from you.

  1. It’s out when it should be in. For those of you who don’t know, raccoons are nocturnal so at 12:00 noon on a scalding day he shouldn’t be awake, let alone staggering through a hot parking lot on a crowded beach.
  2. He curls into a ball. As depicted in the top photo, a sick animal will often curl into a ball because it’s gut is hurting it. This guy was biting at his belly as something ate him up from the inside.
  3. He’s lethargic. You can tell just by looking at this guy’s eyes that something is missing. Also note that those eyes are crusty. That’s never good. And to be honest, though I had diagnosed this poor wretched creature with rabies, it’s more likely that he is suffering from distemper, a disease that affects cats fairly often too. This can be misleading too because with diseases such as mange or rabies, quite often the animal will be bald in places where it has gnawed it’s own fur off. Diseases like distemper can render a sick animal with the appearance of a healthy one.
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Beaver Sign: 3 things you must know about beavers

 

I was recently visiting a favorite fishing spot, which I haven’t been to in a couple of years. As I was walking down the trail to the pond, I came across two rough looking characters who were dressed in blue jeans and wife beaters. They both grinned maniacally at me as one of them pulled something from his pants pocket.

“So it’s come to this”, I thought as I contemplated my chances against the two husky but out of shape and overweight fellows. I knew I could at least outrun them but it is unfortunately not in my nature to run. I was at least a little relieved when the fellow who had went into his pocket unrolled a handkerchief to reveal a rumpled Morel mushroom. “I fount one” He grinned at me through snaggly teeth and ratty beard, as his companion looked on approvingly. I nodded my acquiescence, and moved on down the trail at a steady pace. It was then that I saw the damage that had been done to the once beautiful lake… it was completely trashed!

Not by the two miscreants, they had only been hunting mushrooms. No! The lake had been trashed by beavers. There were literally no trees that had been left unmarred. Many had been stripped of bark, while others had been gnawed down completely. There were large piles of limbs and branches, (dams) all over the lake. It was a mess. Therefore, for those of you who are uninformed, here are three things you must know when camping in beaver country.

  1. The little rodents are dangerous. Not only will they drop a tree on your tent, they will eat you up if you bother them. Those huge, curved teeth that they are able to gnaw through trees with will go through your flesh and bone with no problem.
  2. They will kill every tree they can get to. There is a reason that the pioneers nearly eradicated these creatures from the face of the earth beyond the need for fur hats.
  3. They are sneaky and hard to find. One of the tricks of locating these creatures, (they will make many lodges and move from lodge to lodge), is to watch the lodges on a frosty morning sand look for one that is steaming. They usually sleep about 9 deep and the vents that they put in their lodges will steam on cold mornings from the breath and body heat escaping.  In the summer watch for the cloud of mosquitos hovering around the vent, attracted by the carbon monoxide being released.
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All Terrain Vehicles: 3 things you must consider about maintaining your ATV

If you use an ATV, then you realize that one of the big aspects of owning and using an all terrain vehicle is the fact that they require a lot of maintenance. That being said, there are several important questions that you must ask yourself regarding whether you want to try to use an older model ATV or whether you should invest the resources into buying a new one.

Unquestionably an ATV comes in handy for everything from treasure-hunting to deer hunting. They are great methods of transportation for military surplus tent adventures as well. These things can carry a lot of weight and if you can balance it on your ATV, then you can usually transport it wherever it needs to go. However, here are three things you need to think about when deciding what type of ATV to get and use.

  1. Parts availability. One of the biggest problems you’ll run into when keeping an older ATV is the fact that the parts for it are going to be hard to come, and it is certain to go down at some time or another. Your best bet if you are going to use an older model ATV is to buy some spare parts whenever you can and keep them. This means extra fuel pump and several filters, spare cables and custom fittings, and any fuses or spare switches you can pick up, as well as several oil filters.
  2. Ease of maintenance. One of the advantages of an older ATV is the ease with which they can be worked on. ANY incorporation of electronics into the power train is going to result in complications in the mechanical function of the ATV in the event of a SHTF type scenario.
  3. Ease of transport. The lighter your ATV, the better off you’re going to be if you have to push, pull, or carry it. I once had a Honda 4trax that was light enough I could load it myself into a pickup truck without a ramp. It was on 250CCs, but it worked great for everything I needed it for.
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Old school survival: 3 items you should not be without

By Mr. X, Survivalist

So, we have discussed the use of muzzleloading, black powder firearms, and we have touched on, in previous articles, how to make your own knives. Now I want to talk about the fact that there are three things you should always have with you in any situation, survival or not, because any situation can become a survival situation.

It is these three things that make up my survival kit and believe it or not, having a gun is not one of them. The three things that I absolutely can’t live without, (no pun intended), are these:

  1. A fire kit. By this I mean a good piece of flint, a hardened steel striker, and some charred cloth, or at least some strips of cotton fabric to make charred cloth with. We will go over exactly how to make charred cloth in a later blog but for now you should understand that charred cloth is a luxury but not a necessity.
  2. A good blade. There is nothing more important than a blade in the bush. The blade can actually take the role of the other two if needed, to an extent. If it is heavy enough it can chop limbs and trees, if it is hardened enough, (a trick you can learn if you forge your own blades), you can use it to strike your flint for fire-starting, and if your point is fine and sharp enough, you can use it for the intricate necessities of survival.
  3. A tomahawk.  There is nothing quite as luxurious as having a blade and a tomahawk together in the event of an emergency you have a weapon in each hand. Beyond that the tomahawk does great for breaking bones during butchering, cutting poles for shelters, and it even works great for striking flint for fire starting.
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Zippo Fire Kit: 2 reasons you can’t live without this kit

Everyone’s familiar with Zippo for their top notch, refillable lighters, but that’s not their only fire making item. Recently I came across a device that Zippo has introduced as a survival item, the Emergency Fire Kit. This comes in a waterproof  tube made of plastic, which makes it light enough to float in water. The kit also comes with five tinder balls that can catch a spark, wet or dry, and burn for five minutes a piece.

This is a great little addition to your survival kit; however it is a bit “gimmicky” if you ordinarily carry a lighter with you as a smoker. Where it isn’t gimmicky and becomes vital however, is for those instances when you need an extra edge to get a fire going. Here are two reasons that you really need one of this in your survival kit.

  1. When it is raining. If you’ve never tried to start a fire in the rain then you don’t know the misery of trying to hunch under a ledge somewhere, trying to stay out of the torrent, while you clasp a scratchy wet birds-nest in the hollow of your armpit trying to get it dry enough to combust from your body heat. This little kit comes with five combustable pellets that are infused with accelerant and fuel.
  2. In the event of a fall in the water during cold weather. If you’ve never soaked your lighter in the cold, you don’t know what fear is. I’ve had to start a fire with a shredded knot of tinder and a piece of flint, striking off of the back of my bowie with shaking fingers and knocking knees before finally catching a spark and gaining a life saving flame. Trust me when I tell you, that experience isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds…
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Hunting Season 2018: 3 reasons to learn to do things the old way

 

By: Mr. X, Survivalist

Today I want to talk to you about hunting, and not just hunting, but hunting with a black powder rifle; and not only hunting with a black powder rifle, but hunting with a black powder rifle that you have built yourself! The first black powder gun that I ever owned came in the form of a Connecticut Valley Arms .36 Navy Revolver kit that my dad bought for me at the the local VAL store.

I can remember opening this styrofoam box and finding chunks of raw white metal, roughly milled bronze, and chipped wood that loosely resembled the parts of a gun and which required six months of TLC to form a working firearm from. The end result was hours of shooting fun and the exhibition of God’s love and mercy in the form of his preventing me from actually killing myself. Years later when I received the above pictured .54 Thompson Center Hawken Rifle, the two made a complimentary pair of primitive weaponry that accompanied me on many youthful forays into the wilderness. These kits can still be had and the adventure still relived from places such as Dixie Gun Works, a catalog from which can be easily found online. Here are three really good reasons to learn to hunt with primitive weapons.

  1. You only get one shot. You’d be surprised at how much more cautious it makes you when you only get a chance to shoot once and then go through a three step process to reload. I can remember shooting for hours with my muzzleloader and only just getting it sighted in. You really learn to appreciate your shot.
  2. You can really improvise your ammunition. With a muzzleloader you don’t have to be a chemist to learn how to get black powder, it can actually be made in the wilds with the right substances. Ok, being a chemist would help immensely but it isn’t necessary.
  3. There is less chance of accidental discharge. Since the cartridges are actually broken down to three different components, the chance of accidental discharge is slim, especially since it’s obvious if it’s loaded or not.
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Honeysuckle: 2 reasons you must learn about nature’s treat

When I was a little boy running around my grandpap’s farm, some of my fondest memories came from learning from Grandpa and Grandma how to live off of the land.

They taught me many things about farm life and wilderness survival, having both lived through the Depression in Gobbler’s Knob, Kentucky… (Seriously)!

One of the things my grandma taught was one of nature’s simple little sugary treats, the dewdrop of nectar that can be ha from a Honeysuckle flower.

Now, don’t be surprised when you go to gather honeysuckle flowers, if you find it necessary to compete with any manner of bee-folk who will busily be buzzing around trying to gather sap themselves. Try to avoid the bees because if they sting you they will die, (usually because you slap the hell out of them), but sometimes because they are the type that gut themselves by using their stinger.

Here are two reason’s you should learn how to gather the drops of sap from these flowers:

  1. Because they are delicious. Though not much in quantity, these flowers are high in quality and the sweet droplets make a welcome respite when in a survival situation.
  2. Because they make a delicious and refreshing tea.  Simply take a pitcher of water, soak 25-30 flowers in it in the sunshine for 6-8 hours. The sun will brew the flowers into a crisp and refreshing sweet tea if you can get it cold, (a two hour dip in the creek will do it), but if you try to drink it warm you probably won’t like it much… at least I don’t.

I almost forgot to share the technique to enjoy the dewdrops of nectar straight from the flower. Simply pinch the petals between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, and pull the pistil out slowly with the other. The drops will appear on the end of the petals as the pistil is withdrawn… simply apply gently to the tongue for maximum effect.

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Military tent camping product review: The Hanging Cupboard

Whenever I go military tent Camping, I always seem to end up with my stuff piled on top of itself, pell-mell in a backpack. Getting what I need out of it can be a horrendous chore, and what normally happens is that I end up with an empty pack and my stuff scattered hither and yon all over the campsite to find what I need at the moment.

The good news is that for your next military tent camping adventure, you can have a nice portable hanging cupboard that will double as a backpack. According to the guys at Cabela’s you can:

Keep your campsite’s cook shack organized and clean with this weatherproof, collapsible cupboard. Extends to 30″, yet collapses to less than 2″ high for easy packing. Lightweight, water-resistant 400-denier nylon shell features three 22″L x 10″D shelves for food, camp equipment or other gear. Six divided outer pockets provide quick access to utensils or other necessities. Hangs from a tent frame, tree, R.V. or anywhere you need a portable pantry. Straps also make for easy rigging to a rope, so it can be pulled high in the trees at night, safe from marauding woodland critters. (http://reviews.cabelas.com/8815/516773/creek-company-hanging-camp-cupboard-reviews/reviews.htm)

This cupboard is perfect for a military tent because the hanging strap can be used off of the inner frame of your tent and is therefore off of the ground, easily accessible, and neat and tidy.

If you’ve never camped in bear country then I can’t stress enough the importance of having your gear, especially anything edible and/or tasty, up off of the ground. The reason for this is that bears are like raccoons in the fact that they will get into everything, number one, and number two, they believe that everything belongs to them. The best way to combat this issue is to get your gear up off of the ground.

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Survival poaching: 3 things you have to know to make meat in an emergency

Though I don’t in any way, shape, or form advocate the practice of poaching, I will tell you that in a survival situation you have to resort to any means necessary in order to get the nutrients that you will need to live.

That being said, you should understand that if you use some of the tricks I’m going to share with you today, you could very easily face charges in a criminal court if they’re ever discovered. The old adage “I’d rather be tried by twelve than eaten by worms” comes into play here though, and if your very existence depends on it, then the laws of nature and the writings of John Locke demand that you take the life of whatever you can in order to save yourself. Here are three ways to do it.

  1. Hook snares. Anything is susceptible to a hook snare. They are just what they sound like, a hook tied to a cord of some kind, with bait on it for an animal to gulp down and get hooked in the gullet. This is a very cruel technique and should never be used except in a life or death situation. Small hooks can be baited with kernels of corn and placed just below the surface of a lake at the bank for ducks and geese. Pieces of meat can be suspended with treble hooks from green branches for coyotes, fox, etc… Nasty bit of business and you should be in real trouble before you resort to this.
  2. Wire snares. Wire snares are effective as well, and can be set to trap and strangle anything up to a moose. For smaller game you can use old electric wire with the insulation stripped off to make a stout copper wire strand that keeps its form nicely, and which is strong enough to strangle anything up to a fox. You will need something more substantial than twisted copper wire for coyote, bear, deer, or moose. Basically set a wire snare wherever your desired animal may stick its head or foot. Attach the end to a sapling strong enough to hold it, or to a log big enough to eventually get tangled.
  3. Night shooting. Animals are largely nocturnal, and their eyes glow in light. This is a no-brainer if you have a gun with you, either build a fire or use a flashlight. When you see two eyes glowing in the darkness, shoot between them.
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The Appalachian Trail: Using military surplus to achieve your travelling dream

March 12, 2018

 

If you’re an adventurer, lover of nature, history enthusiast, or part time hippie/tree hugger, you should consider all or a portion of the Appalachian Trail as one or more of your summer adventures. Though the trail is roughly 2180 miles long and it encompasses 14 states, it has many numbers of accommodations available for travelers.  Many travelers along the Trail have found that used military surplus and tents have come in quite handy while traversing the trails. It stands to reason that military equipment would be quite well suited to travelling the Trail. Military backpacks and clothing, not to mention wool blankets and portable cots were designed to offer the best comfort and greatest mobility.

In the summer months, there are thousands of volunteers who commit thousands of hours of community work to the trail. This includes upkeep on the more than 250 three sided shelters which are available to those who do not want to pack the weight of a tent around. If you are a novice hiker, then Maryland and West Virginia offer the easiest parts of the trail to hike, and if you are a hard core, adventurer with granite thighs and stainless steel sinew you should jump in at Maine or New Hampshire, where the hard parts are. Those who have traversed the Trail from Georgia to Maine are said to have done the equivalent of 16 times, and have at some time or another been in the company of black bears, Moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, salamanders, foxes, chipmunks, bobcat, and whitetailed deer.

You’ll meet plenty of other hikers too. Two to three million hikers walk a portion of the Trail every year, and there are literally hundreds of access points. Of those that try to hike the entire trail from Georgia to Maine, (usually about a six-month journey), only one in four make it.  You could be that one in four, especially if you give yourself the advantage of gearing up with used military equipment and surplus before you start out.

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