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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.