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Survival 201: How to make meat in dire straits

 

 

 

Have you ever been in a survivalists dire straits? I’m not talking about the British rock band, but instead I’m speaking of, as Merriam-Webster puts it: “In a very bad or difficult situation”.  Dire Straits works like this: Imagine that you are on a five days fishing trip on Loon Lake in the North Woods of Maine. On the first day, as you are kayaking north along one of the many tributaries, you are suddenly overturned by a young cow moose who has ventured out into the lake for reasons known only to young cow moose, and your bungee strap, (which you had just unlooped to retrieve your camera to take a photograph of a different cow moose who was also swimming in the stream), snags around the moose’s neck and she swims off with your kayak, bedroll, rifle, and pack. You are left with your camera in one hand, (water soaked), and your kayak paddle in the other. It suddenly occurs to you that the last time you checked your GPS, you were 15 miles from your truck. You, my friend, are now in Dire Straits.

There are many issues here, but in this writing I want to address the problem of gathering emergency rations in the form of meat. Understand in this scenario we are only trying to get back to a place of restorability so that we can go from a survival situation to one of modern comfort. Hopefully you had the wherewithal to have a backup blade in your boot or strapped to your floatation vest. If not, better find some sharp rocks…

I like to kill two birds with one stone. So, if I’m trying to make my way to my car, and if I know I have to travel along a stream, I will generally travel at night and walk in the stream. I do this for several reasons, not the least is so that I can hunt while I’m traveling.  For some reason, I’ve always found that animals such as frogs, muskrats, raccoons, and waterfowl – creatures which are active at night – are more susceptible to  hunting because they don’t expect danger to come from the middle of the stream, they expect it to come from the forest. A homemade two prong spear, or gig is my tool of preference for this type of hunting because it’s easy to make and works great for frogs and fish if you drive them into the mud to hold them there until you can grab them The trick is to wedge them into the “V” of the spear.

 

 

 

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SWITCHBLADES: 3 REASONS THEY ARE A GOOD IDEA TO RE-LEGITIMIZE

Photo By: The Cross and the Switchblade

In 1958, after a wave of Hollywood driven rhetoric, the Switchblade Act came into effect which essentially took the ability of millions of honest Americans to have a spring assisted knife from being carried on the person. It had a lot to do with the gang violence of New York, and the knee jerk reactions of politicians and bureaucrats who believe in the demonization of everything. Thank God the movie “Gangs of New York” hadn’t been made yet or we would have one hell of a time getting hatchets and meat cleavers… but I digress. There is a new bill in the works which will reverse the act of 1958 and make switchblade knives a legitimate set of working tools again. The Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 was drafted by Arizona Representative Andy Biggs to counter this asinine offensive against cutlery freedom in the nation, which limits the ability for interstate trade and travel with switchblades. Nearly 40 states in the union have already legalized the use of switchblades in one form or another according to Knife Rights Chairman, Doug Ritter, as quoted in a recent article in Knife News. Switchblades are a long time favorite of law enforcement, the military, preppers and survivalists. They are also pretty popular with people with disabilities. Here are three good reasons to invest in a switchblade for survival beyond the fact that they look cool as all hell.

  1. The psychological effect. This effect doesn’t just work in favor of the bearer of the knife by scaring the shiz-izzle out of a potential adversary, but it also emboldens the bearer and elicits a feeling of power whenever wielded as a defensive weapon. Much the same as a policeman’s asp.
  2. It offers an excellent backup weapon. Let’s face it, we’re all vulnerable to catching a round and I have seen plenty of footage where a fellow man at arms caught a round which disabled him and which was soon followed up with a coup de gras… not good! A one handed man’s knife can come in very handy in a situation like that.
  3. They are highly collectible. Not only are these things effective, they are highly collectible if they are well made and produced reputably, specifically German and Italian manufacturers, Boker Knives being a prime example. They are perfect additions to the arsenal whether you are on a full blown survival trip, a military surplus tent adventure, or a family camping endeavor. There are even military surplus switchblades available though federal law prohibits their being sold.
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THINK YOU COULD BE A HUNTER – GATHERER? THINK AGAIN

Photo By: Wikipedia.com

Consider if you will, the Hadza people of Tanzania. They are a true hunter-gatherer society who’s men leave their grass huts at the crack of dawn, poison tipped arrows in hand, and venture out into the wilds of Africa in search of their next meal. This meal could be anything from a small frog or bird, to a full or half grown giraffe. The women also venture forth to perform the other aspect of their existence, the gathering. They go in search of berries, roots, vines and tubers which add supplement to their otherwise protein rich diets. This is everyday life for this indigenous people, and it is the same lifestyle that your ancestors lived so many thousands of years ago. It is the same life that we practice, train, and prepare for as survivalists; however, a close look at these people reveals to us, if we are completely honest, a strong deficiency in our commitment to make a living like they do. In all fairness it must be said that the ability to eek out a living on the plains of Africa is not going to be the same as trying to live in the wheat belt of America or in the mountains and fruited plains. However, it becomes apparent that society and evolution have not necessarily been good to us as far as keeping our survival skills keen goes. A recent study from Yale researchers has shown that these people exercise vigorously nearly two and a half times as much as the modern athletic American or European. As a result the studies further show that these people are extremely low risk for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They furthermore don’t seem to slow down as much or are effected as much by age as are their Caucasian counterparts. Nor do they suffer from dementia. Do you want to be a real survivalist? Take heed of these people then and see what it will really take in a post-apocalyptic society to stay ahead of the game… no pun intended.

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COOKING FRESH FISH ON A CAMPFIRE; 3 WAYS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

When I was a young wild-man in training, I had several opportunities to practice my survival skills and I took every opportunity to do so. This was the case when it came to young love as well, and the girls with whom I shared a mutual affection were often reluctant to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, specifically in the form of wilderness survival. I found out very quickly that the most adventurous of women of the era were more prone to brave the wilds of the local malls than they were to try their hand at living off of the land, and it was therefore a special treat for me when a young woman of my affection finally agreed to a wilderness respite in the form of fish, (apparently the only wild game she could eat). I easily caught us a couple of panfish each and set about to scaling them with a rock, gutted them with the same piece of shale, (I couldn’t find any chert at the time), and cooked them to perfection on the green boughs of a willow grill, on a bow-drill fire I had quickly built myself. To her credit, she did pick through the bones rather courageously if a bit daintily, and she was great company for the rest of the day. It was, however, our last date and I’m not so sure that she really enjoyed herself though she had assured me that she had. In any event, these ruminations have brought me to the present topic, that of cooking fish over an open fire. This is one of my favorite wilderness meals because it is so quick and easily prepared, and here are the three ways I usually do it:

  1. On a simple willow grill. It is just a web of green willow boughs placed over a bed of hot coals. Probably the easiest way to cook them, however, I recommend that you don’t fillet them if you’re going to cook them this way as the fillets tend to get flaky and fall apart and will go into your coals and get ruined.
  2. On a spit over coals. This takes a bit more time, but the advantage is that it’s quicker because you can build a hotter fire. Be careful of singing on one side and getting it raw on the other. Spit cooking takes a lot of attention and care.
  3. On a rock next to the fire. This works best for fillets, especially if you don’t mind eating fish crumbles. The fillets cook more thoroughly and there is less attention needed but they will come apart as you go to turn them.
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Why buy military surplus? Here’s four good reasons

Photo By: RDDUSA

Even If you aren’t an outdoorsman, tactician, doomsdayer, thrifter, anarchist, or survivalist you should still be looking for the best quality for the money when buying items for your family. There’s no reason to look further; military surplus is your answer. It doesn’t matter if you are seeking rugged, comfortable clothing that’s going to last for years, a backpack sturdy enough to live out of, or camping/survival equipment that is going to keep you and your family safe from the environment, there is no better option than military surplus clothing, tents, and gear. Here are four factors concerning military surplus that you should consider before buying anything else.

  1. Well manufactured. Think about it, the military requires stringent government regulations be followed in regards to any equipment that it has manufactured. This is because the military requires uniformity in all of its items and it demands that the best materials be used for manufacture. That means that this quality of material is passed on to you the civilian consumer. Think of the comfort you’ll have in knowing that millions of tax dollars has been spent by the United States Army and Navy in testing the quality of the clothing, tents and gear that you and your loved ones are using to survive.
  2. Good quality. Since the military uses only the best materials there are many different ways to upcycle military items as well. Repurposed fabric from army surplus tents can be made into clothing, waterproofing, upholstery, or car covers. Surplus gas masks can not only protect your family from gas attacks, they could mean the difference between dying from smoke inhalation and escaping to safety in the event of a house fire.
  3. Prolific and consistent. For nearly thirty years the professionals at RDD USA have been supplying the general public with the very best vintage and current military gear that can be found. They have a huge warehouse and compete in both the local and international markets, supply thrifters, preppers, military enthusiasts, campers, survivalists, upcyclers, and even governments; and they truly sell quality items.
  4. Economical. Why would you buy overly expensive equipment from a retailer whose bottom line is the almighty dollar when you can buy well researched and war proven equipment at a reduced price? Buying surplus is not only good for you, it’s good for the environment too as it provides a means of use for equipment that would be discarded otherwise. Do you and your planet a favor, the next time you are in the market for something, see if RDDUSA has what you need before you head to the local supercenter.
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CAREFUL HUNTING: 3 PITFALLS TO AVOID BEYOND MISSING YOUR MARK

It wasn’t long ago that a good friend of mine came banging on my door all a-quiver with excitement over the beautiful ten point whitetail buck he had managed to bag at my family farm. Stuttering and giddy, he retold the story of the kill over and over, and then showed me the tag he had, freshly printed, from his computer, (in Ohio, we tag deer electronically now, at least that’s how we check them in). In any event, I happened to notice that he had indicated on the tag that he had harvested the deer with a shotgun, and I knew that shotgun season didn’t open for three more days… My friend, (we’ll call him Tim because that’s his name), hadn’t been paying attention to changes in the game laws, and he though that gun season opened on Thanksgiving Day that year. It was actually a very simple but costly mistake. No, the Ohio DNR never came looking for him like I suspected they would, but he got so worried they might that he packed up everything he had and moved to Key West Florida. So, here are some tips for having a successful hunting season this year, and by that I mean one that does not involve a trip to court under a capias.

  1. Make sure of the season. I know that, in your area, trout season might have opened up on the same day for the last one hundred years; to the point that it has become a family tradition to go trout fishing on the first of April and you have been doing it for 80 of the one hundred years… but just for precaution, make sure you pull up the local and state game laws… just to be sure. Things change and so do procedures. Wildlife management is an evolving science.
  2. Check for zones. I was never so happy to have missed a shot one year, when I let loose an arrow at a turkey and later discovered that turkey season was only open in the Northern region of my state that year.
  3. Be cognizant of trailcams. Though I am no advocate of poaching outside of a survival situation, I am understanding of the fact that mistakes happen and I do believe in the concept of mental culpability. I’m reminded of the time a friend of mine shot a deer which ran into a thicket and stopped to look at him. He shot her again to put her down humanely, (he was sure he hit her the first time), and then… you guessed it, found two dead deer in that thicket. His first shot had been true and the mortally wounded deer ran into a thicket where her twin was bedded down and dropped at her feet. Said twin stood up and got shot too. THERE WAS NO INTENT TO BREAK THE LAW IN ANY WAY! This is a law abiding citizen who did the right thing, he called the game warden. Even though both deer were killed on his property and he had seven children, five of whom were of legal hunting age and all of whom were entitled to tag two deer each, he still paid a hefty fine. Simply because he was honest. I bring this up only because I recently read an article about a similar mistake which happened involving an elk that was shot on a trailcam, and the errant, (not criminal), hunter was prosecuted.
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RDDUSA PRODUCT REVIEW: 4 REASONS TO USE THE HELIO CAMPING LANTERN

If you’ve ever been on a dark camping trip then you know the misery of trying to stagger around in the night, tripping through the dew covered grass, trying to take care of natures business, fend off bears from the camp food stash, or stare precariously into the darkness in an attempt to discern a tree stump from a sasquatch. The good news is that Helio corporation has developed the perfect little camping light that is bright enough to light your entire camp up, but is small enough to take with you on any camping trip, military surplus adventure, or family outing. here are the product specifics straight from the manufacturer’s website:

“HELIO weights just 45g, even smaller and lighter than an egg. With this size and this weight, HELIO can be easily put into your backpack and you can hardly feel its weight. Due to our latest technology, the luminance of HELIO can reach 220 Lumens. It is almost the same as flashlight, and way more brighter than the normal lantern in the market. Helio dramatically improves all the features of traditional camping lanterns: a completely NEW type of lantern that can be plugged into a power bank. Due to the high quality of its LED, Helio is 30% more efficient than the normal lanterns. Moreover, it has a lifetime of 400 hours of uninterrupted light, when using a 10000mAh powerbank.”

Here are four good reasons to use a Helio lantern on your next camping trip, (though it is not yet in production).

  1. It’s rechargeable. At just a few ounces, it doesn’t even take batteries, but is recharged via usb technology. Later I will present a blog on the device that you need to keep with you as a support device for electronics such as this… a fire fueled usb charging device. Perfect for living off of the grid.
  2. It’s lightweight. This would be perfect for a backpacking endeavor or to take with you on the Appalachian Trail or some other long trek that is time consuming and remotely located.
  3. It’s going to be inexpensive. The technology isn’t complicated, it’s just well thought out.
  4. It’s LED. That means that the light could easily last for up to 400 hours. If used sparingly, this little monster could and will last you a very long time.

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