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Survival 102: Making a Quiver of Survival Arrows, 3 Things You Should Know

 

As a follow up to the need I addressed for a survival bow comes the need for a whole quiver full of arrows to make it more beneficial to you than a rustic cigarette lighter. There are several ways to make arrows and they can be as complex or simple as you have the time to bother with.

First off you want strong, straight shafts that are flexible. Some people make arrows out of various reeds because they are hollow inside. However, I and my acquaintances have made it a practice to predominantly use cedar shafts for arrows for several reasons. They are strong, straight, and superabundant. You can literally find some type of cedar tree everywhere in the continental United States and abroad. However, you are not limited to cedar for your arrows and ash, oak, or pine shafts will work as well.

Your points can be as simple as a sharpened end, (hardened in a fire), or intricate to the point of perfection with the making of knapped flint arrowheads, aluminum or steel arrowheads fashioned from soda or soup cans, or any other combination of mechanical or metallic devices that are literally limited in scope to your own imagination.

Pine pitch and sinew makes an excellent binder to hold both your point to the shaft, and the fletchings to the other end. Sinew or natural cordage are used to bind the arrow together tightly, and  remember; in a rustic situation, the main goal is to simply keep it together for one or two uses before any part of the arrow breaks off. They’re not likely to be used over and over again without repair of some sort. Here are three things that you must consider in the manufacture of your arrows if you are to use them successfully.

  1. The shaft should balance with the point. If the arrow is too tip heavy, the drop in velocity will be considerable and each and every arrow should be practiced with to get a feel for how it flies before being shot into game or enemies. If you find your tip to be too heavy, consider a denser or shaft or one with a bit more girth for distribution. A very big pile of dried grasses twisted together, (think of a bale of hay), makes for a nice impromptu target in the bush, as does a body of deep water that you can retrieve your arrows from after you’ve shot them.
  2. Fletching should correspond with the arrow notch to avoid stripping. If you examine the diagram, you will see that an arrow is set up with three veins of fletching to help it achieve maximum stabilization during flight. These veins must be set up and used in such a way so that there is a bare area of the shaft that is going to make contact with the side of the bow as the arrow is launched from it. Otherwise your bow will strip that fletching right off as it is launched and the shaft will go everywhere except for where you want it to.
  3. Notches should not be a “V”. Traditionally notches are thought to represent a V shape; however, that is not what you are wanting to produce in your survival arrows. The best type of notch is to think of one that looks more like a “U” than a “V”. The notch should cradle your bowstring rather than pinching it so that it doesn’t launch off center.
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Survival 102:Making a Survival Bow

One of the best skills that you can have in regards to survival is the ability to create both tools and weapons that will give you the ability to survive indefinitely. One of these items is a survival bow. One thing you need to realize is that a survival bow can have more than one use. There are three uses I can think of right off the bat. You can of course hunt with it, you can use it to build fire, and you can use it to drill holes with in order to construct more permanent structures.

A survival bow on a base level is a pretty easy thing to build, and it can become as complicated and elaborate as you want it to; however, for a survival bow you’ll need to know just a few basic things to get started. Probably the most important factor to understand in the manufacture of your bow is the proper knots to fashion in your cordage. One of the easiest and most versatile knots is a variation of the hangman’s noose. This knot, when tied around a shaft with some length, will self tighten to the point that it is almost impossible to get loose. Also it will strengthen weak points on your bow, work as a handle, and affix fletching and arrowheads to your arrows.

Here are the important factors to consider when you are building your first survival bow:

  1. You have to use the right wood. My preference for anything survival is durable. The best wood I’ve ever used is Osage Orange, some people call it hedgeapple. It is extremely hard and yellow as the sun. Your stave should be slightly bowed, 3 to four feet long, and free from knots. It’s also best to get it a little green so there’s some flexibility to it.
  2. Follow it’s natural curve. Make sure that the bow already has a tendency to bow a certain direction. It will do you no good to try to produce a curve against the grain in any way.
  3. Trim consistently. The bow should remain thicker towards the center and gradually taper towards the ends consistently. It is up to you to shape your bow slowly using a knife of sharp rocks. And when you get the tips of the bow flat and somewhat pointed, make sure to notch the ends to hold the bow string.
  4. Prepare several strings for your bow. There is nothing more frustrating in the wilderness than not having the proper tool handy when you need it. Therefore, you should prepare three or more strings for hunting, (strings that will stretch tight from one end to the other, causing the bow to curve slightly to keep it taut. ) These hunting strings should be greased with animal fat to prevent rotting and should only be used when needed as they don’t usually last long. Once they are stretched out they can be used for bowdrill or for turning other spindles.
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Woodland finds: 3 Reasons you should never leave feathers in the wilds

I was recently walking through the woodlot that my wife and I have acquired for a little getaway hunting spot when I spotted a pristine turkey feather lying in the underbrush, and immediately to the left of it a second one. I immediately grabbed both of them up and took them to my car to keep for later use.

I consider things like this to be a gift.  And, I make no bones about my belief that this gift is from a Creator God who loves me and provides for me. “What kind of a gift is two feathers from God?” you might ask.  Well, I would counter by asking what makes a Godly gift valuable? Is it the amount of money that another man would give you for it, or is it rather more valuable simply because God gave it to you? I’ll go with the latter.

In any event, I never walk by several things in the wilderness. I never walk by a good piece of flint, I never walk past an empty birds nest, and I never walk by a feather of any sort.

There are many reasons to acquire feathers for survival situations, and the need and use of them goes well beyond  simple survival. Writing utensils for instance. Quill pens were in use by early Americans for centuries before the common writing utensils were invented, and if times get hard again, I can see them becoming fashionable again. Ink isn’t hard to make either, a very simple ink can be crafted from lamp black, egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey. (Inmates make tattoo ink in prison by burning petroleum jelly in the bottom of their footlocker and letting the soot collect on the top of of the lid from the smoke as it burns).

Here are three uses for feathers in a survival situation:

  1. Camouflage.  Native Americans didn’t just wear feathers as a status symbol. They offer a practical use as well. Much like a multicolored, three dimensional ghillie suits offer superior camouflage capabilities, so too does the advent of nature’s camouflage to your kit and apparel.
  2. Fletching. It goes without saying that adding fletching to your arrows or atl atl bolts will increase accuracy over distance. Never let an opportunity to save feathers go so that you can maintain a quiver full of arrows if needed.
  3. Fluff. Never forget the need for insulation in a wilderness survival situation, and never pass up the opportunity to gather some of nature’s best insulation.

 

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Combatting Covid 19; 3 things you must do from a warriors perspective

After the tenth or eleventh time some nine year old skateboarding girl killed me in a game of World of Warcraft™, I decided that enough is enough.

I have been in lockdown, you see. I don’t know why I have been in lockdown, it is not me who falls into the susceptible class of individual who is likely to die from a Covid 19 infection. I mean, I am turning fifty this year; however, I keep myself fit by running and lifting weights and to be quite honest I am a bit of a masochist anyway. I am one of those rare individuals who enjoys having a surgery done and who gets a kick out of the recovery process. I recently had a rotator cuff repaired and the challenges I faced in the 10 weeks of recovery were high times.

Along the same lines, though I do not necessarily want to be infected by Covid 19, I certainly don’t fear it. I never expected to live forever anyway and have been in many situations where I expected the sudden thud and tug of a bullet to be the last sensation I would experience as I shed this mortal coil and traversed onto bigger and better things. To be honest, even if the afterlife were to hold nothing more engaging than the act of being transformed from organic matter into a bear turd, (Timothy Treadwell), it would certainly beat getting my ass repeatedly kicked in World of Warcraft™ by some 10 year old girl.

And so, as I said, I decided that enough is enough. I have been social distancing for two reasons. The first and most important is the fact that I hang around some old codgers who are susceptible and I wouldn’t want to get them sick; secondly, I don’t like being around people all that much anyway.  But I have found myself getting lazy and soft, and so I came up with three things we must do during this pandemic to get ourselves prepared for seeing it to the end.

  1. Get back to the basics. I mean this on a deeper level than the simple act of buying more mason jars or extending your garden. Get back to your roots as a hunter gatherer. These are the most basic of skillsets that allow the survivalist to subsist indefinitely with nothing more than good information and a field of adequate rocks. A good guide to follow is the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. (Ol Tracker® hisself). Though possibly not in print anymore, Tom’s books can easily be found in the library and on ebay; and he has a plethora of videos on Youtube, AND a school in Asbury New Jersey. The skills you can learn from Tom are second to none and I can’t recommend him highly enough.
  2. Stay in shape. Though I have developed great finger dexterity by playing World of Warcraft™ so much, the rest of my body has gone a bit to flab over the last couple of months. Get that ass out of that chair and go work out!
  3. Stay close to God. Most of the men and women I know who are survivalists or warriors, (often the two correlate it seems), have a strong faith in God the Father, if that is who you are, make sure that you take the time to spend with him that he is entitled to so that your faith doesn’t wane.

Mr. X, survivalist

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A rough winter: 6 survival tips and tricks to get you through

I happen to own, through inheritance, a horse farm that I rent to others more prone to enjoy such things. Though I have had my time in the saddle, I have never really grown to enjoy it. Instead I like to be in the woods, either taking photographs or living by limiting myself to a survival bowie, a handful of salt, and the clothes I’m wearing… or both. I recently awoke to my telephone buzzing incessantly at 11:30 at night, it was a text from my renter, it said simply: “There’s no water”

We have just had a pretty good cold snap here in Ohio, and water, as it’s prone to do when exposed to freezing temperatures, will freeze. And so, I was a bit perplexed by the fact that this gentleman was calling my at 11:30 at night because his water was froze, and it made me think that perhaps we as a society have gotten to the place where we are way too dependent on others for our very existence.  So, here are six tips to keep in mind as we head into what’s likely to be a very cold, rough winter.

  1. Watch those forecasts. We have come a long way from the old Native American “weather rock” days. Modern forecasters are able to predict the weather to within ten degrees of authenticity and so we should not be surprised by any cold snap in this day and time.
  2. Make sure you are cognizant of the sacred four needs for survival. Those are: shelter, water, fire, and food. These four things are all that you need to live, or should I say… exist. This is the bare minimum that you must have to keep your heart beating, and that, in the end, is what survival is all about.
  3. Gather old clothes, dry foliage, hay, straw, etc. We are kept warm in cold times by dead air space. That is basically a layer of air formed between you and the environment that your body will heat up and maintain an aura of warm air around you. Therefore, if you want to survive a cold snap that involves your heat source going out, you need to learn to bundle up. Pile in blankets, stuff clothing with paper, cloth, stuffing, etc… and remember to stay dry.
  4. Have alternative shelter available. A nice tent, tarp, or even a small camper available for in the event that you lose heat in your house, or if you lose your house such as in a flood, earthquake, or fire, will be invaluable and none of these options are very expensive.
  5. Keep a  reserve of water somewhere.  Or get a means to purify water easily. You can’t last more than three days without it, but there are many easy ways to gather water during a cold snap. Frost and snow can easily be turned into potable water.
  6. Get some food together before you need it. You don’t want to have to eat poor old Fido because you didn’t prepare for an emergency. There are plenty of surplus MREs and if you’re not into that, you can find freeze dried meals at your local outdoor pursuit center. If you don’t have the budget for that, sardines at the dollar store are a great alternative.
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Survival 102: Growing Your Own Garden

I’m all for saving money, and one of the ways I do that is I have a backyard vegetable garden.
Right now half of you are thinking; “too much work”, or, “I don’t have a large yard or a tiller”.
That’s the beauty about this. I’m talking about raised bed garden, or gardening in pots. No expensive equipment needed, and fresh veggies from spring through fall.
You can go as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can buy the expensive cedar range beds at the garden center; or go to a home-improvement store, buy a couple of boards, (and usually they will cut them for free), and build your own.
Just a tip; keep your eyes open in late July into the fall when stores are clearing out their gardening supplies. You can find deals on beds, tools, pots, and seed.
Now, the whole point of this is growing stuff that you really like, (and buy regularly), at the store or farmers market like: salsa! Plant a tomato plant or two, a jalapeño pepper, and some cilantro. Buy the onion and garlic; they keep well, and when limes are on sale freeze the juice. Ta-da you’ll have the makings for fresh salsa on hand all year long and it will be so much better than that canned store-bought stuff.
Many plants now have been bred to be a bush type plant. That’s great for small gardening spaces, plant a bush cucumber or squash bush and have plenty for the season. There are many lettuce varieties with more flavor and nutrients than your bag of iceberg mix sitting in the store, and there are no worries about recalls.
They also carry strawberry pots; more expensive than a build your own 4 x 4 or whatever size you choose raised bed, but they last for years and take up minimal space. Fill them with ever bearing strawberries and have fruit from June until frost.
There are so many ideas for a small garden, get online, go to your garden center and get more. The more ideas the better. The main idea is this: it shouldn’t take you 10 years to recoup what you have in it. You can keep on hand the vegetables and herbs that you use regularly you can monitor how much or if you want to spray with pesticides… my tip, try to go organic as much as possible always keep an eye out for sales, or end of season clearance hit… Buy the seed starters when they clear them out and grow the plants yourself from seed, so much cheaper! And last of all plant what do you like this should be fun and enjoyable not another chore or an unsightly weed patch!
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Why survival? 3 reasons you need to hone your skills right now

There have been times over the years, as I live in luxury and ease, that I have questioned whether or not it was worth all of the trouble I have gone to in order to learn and live survival. There have also been long periods of my life that I haven’t bothered to hone these skills to their utmost. However, in these days and times I make it a habit to stay on top of these skills because by all signs, children, we are heading for some tough times.

You only need to read the news everyday to realize that we are heading towards a conflict, not only in the world, but within this country as well. With conflict comes hardship, and when society breaks down again, finally, it will be up to you to be able to fend for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you will need to have some survival skills in that time. Here are three scenarios that could throw us into a long term survival situation right now:

  1. War. You think it’s not possible? If so, it’s probably because you are a member of that privileged  generation who hasn’t had to live with the fear of an attack from a foreign, invasive army. The truth is that we as Americans are surrounded by enemies on all sides and there are many others who want what we have.
  2. Cyber attack. Whether you realize it or not, we are under the power of the Chinese and the Russians due to errant practices in the past. We have trusted hostile countries to act as manufacturers to supply the major components to our computers, which now run our power grids, weapons systems, public works, etc…  Who knows what kind of trojan horses they have planted on everything  from motherboards to cellphones.
  3. Far left election. Do you realize that there are political factions whose entire platform is to threaten our very way of life? They desire to take us back into the ages before fossil fuels and who knows if they will be successful or not?
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Finding the beauty: Tactics for Retaining Your Sanity in a Survival Situation

It had been a hard trip. I had started out three days prior, camping out along the paint creek area of southern Ohio, and had made my way through the landscape, ending up at a small tributary called Big Cave Run on the old map I had found at the local courthouse. It was an old property, (at least six thousand years old Biblically)… theoretically. Historically, the property had been documented by a governing source for over two hundred years. I had started out my survival trip with only the clothes on my back. I had made some slate knives on paint creek with the help of a huge block of sandstone that I happened to find sitting at the water’s edge. The wear marks on it told me that it had been a favorite place of others before me to sit and make tools as well.

The rain fell in a persistent patter. Not quite enough to send me to shelter, it was a warm early June, but just enough to keep the blackflies and mosquitos away, and to keep me soaked to the skin. By the time I had travelled the three mile distance to Big Cave Run, I had two knives, some cordage, a fish spear, and a trouser pocket full of frogs legs from the night before. I hadn’t been able to cook them because I couldn’t get a fire going to save me. And it was on Big Cave Run that I finally built a debris hut just so I could work out a fire kit. That night the rain finally stopped and I ate froglegs around a snapping fire while the spirit of an old indian kept me company. I left when he told me in the gathering darkness that this was no place for the living to have to be alone with the dead.

I left for him the spear and two knives to do with as he wished and I walked out of the creek bottoms and back to my car… travelling east.

This  trip lasted only three days, but in that three days I learned a valuable lesson on survival. That is to keep yourself involved in things beyond the plight at hand. The experience is so much more than where you will get your next drink of water or where you might sleep that night. Beyond the basic necessities of shelter, water, fire, and food, the most trouble you will have in a survival situation is keeping your mind occupied. Let it wander and entertain itself. At least that has always worked well for me.

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Running missions: 3 reasons you should keep an item of faith with you

If you are the type of rugged individual who enjoys the use of military surplus tents and equipment, (and it’s obvious you are or you likely wouldn’t be reading this), then you know what it’s like to run a mission.

And since the last installment was about the legendary Case™ trapper style pocket knife, I wanted to play off of that line of thought this week and talk about my personal Case™ trapper and explain why it has significance and what three very important reasons are that I carry this particular knife.  My particular Case™ knife has an excerpt from The Lord’s Prayer engraved on it’s white bone handle. This knife goes in my pocket everywhere I go and there is a distinct reason I carry this knife.

For those of you who were Ernest Hemingway fans, perhaps you will remember that he always had a good luck piece on him. Now, in his case the lucky piece changed regularly because he was prone to losing them. I personally don’t carry mine for good luck. I don’t believe in luck for one thing. I’m a man of faith who believes in the God of the Bible, and I carry mine instead as a connection between me and my Maker. Here are three reasons why I carry the blade I do, and why you should keep an item of faith on you as well.

  1. It gives me courage. If you believe in God, then you know that he is an ever-present help in times of danger. I have seen many people draw bravery from religious artifacts over the years, everything from Stars of David to St. Michael medals.
  2. It keeps me focused. When things are spinning fast and I feel like my mind is going ten thousand different directions a second, a brief pat of my palm on my left trouser pocket brings a feel of that familiar bundle that connects me to the Lord. That touch is often enough to get me focused.
  3. With it I’m always armed. I used to work in a maximum security prison, and I’ve seen dudes get killed with soup spoons sharpened on a concrete window sill. I know how much damage I can do with a knife of that caliber.
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Survival essentials: 3 reasons to keep a Case Trapper with you… no matter what

I have been a survivor all of my life, but I became a survivalist in 1987 when I took the Standard Course with the Old Tracker himself, Tom Brown Jr.

One of the things I had learned long before ever taking my first survival course was the importance of having a knife in your pocket. I grew up on a horse farm that also had a working herd of black angus cattle. My father, an old time cowboy, used to carry a pearl handled Solingen Cutlery stockman’s knife in his front right pocket which he used for everything from farm/ranch work, to entertainment. He even had one of the four blades on his full size stockman reserved for eating. He called it his apple blade. It didn’t escape my attention that the “apple blade” was also the preferred utility for cleaning the grit from under his fingernails when sitting around the stables at night after working horses.

We all know how important it is to have a good survival knife in your kit when on an expedition. However, you need to ask yourself how often the likelihood might arise for you to be thrown into an unforeseen circumstance where you won’t have time or opportunity to grab a kit bag, but will be forced to go with just what you have in your pocket. That’s why I always carry a Case™  brand trapper pocket knife. There are many companies that make these knives, however, few companies make them as well as Case™ does. Here are three reasons to keep a Case™ trapper in your pockets at all times.

  1. It has two blades. One is known as a clip point utility blade which comes in handy whenever you come across something that needs stabbed through… your belt for instance, if you lose weight and it needs to be tightened by making new holes. And lastly, the “spey” blade, which gained it’s name from the design which works perfectly for castrating livestock. It is also good for skinning by not having a sharp point that will slit your hide as you are skinning your game.
  2. It is well crafted. You might find other trapper style knives, but you won’t find one that is as well made as the Case™ brand. It is made to last and will hod up to the hardest abuse. There’s a reason you don’t find any cheap used ones on eBay.
  3. It has a lifetime warranty. If you manage to break this thing through normal use, you can get it replaced at no charge. Yet another reason you don’t find cheap used ones anywhere.
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