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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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Survival 101: 3 things you must consider when hunting with a throwing stick

By: Mr. X, survivalist

As we stood facing the long line of upended pieces of firewood – all set neatly in a row on top of the railroad tie which was itself suspended between two short fence posts buried deeply in the ground – I remember thinking again that this is stupid.

We were learning throwing stick from the Old Tracker himself, Tom Brown Jr. An avowed hunter and outdoorsman, I can remember thinking at the time that this was a ridiculous endeavor, because no animal was ever going to just sit still and let you hit it with a stick… ridiculous! Except, here I am decades later and I can assure you that hunting with a stick is completely do-able.  The trick lies in two areas; 1. slow down, and 2. move fast.

I know, a contradictory in terms right? Well, not really, because to be a successful throwing stick hunter you have to master both concepts. The nuances to hunting with a throwing stick are in-depth, and I will not be able to cover a lifetime of learning in such a short article, but I can give you the three main concepts right here, right now!

  1. Slow Down. You have to stalk to be able to hunt with a throwing stick. The real trick is to create an environment that triggers the instinct to freeze and blend in to the surroundings. It is this freezing in place that gives you the opportunity to throw your stick, otherwise you have to really hone those skills to be able to hit the animal once the flight instinct has set in.
  2. Move fast. When you are within striking distance, you must be able to throw the stick faster than the creature can flee for it’s life.  This takes being able to go from a non-threatening pose to a deadly one in much less than a second. To  really do this effectively you must learn to “cock” your throwing arm while still stalking because any threatening gesture will trigger the flight response, and animals, it appears, do have at least a minimal understanding of the basic concepts of physics.
  3. Throw True. The trick to effectively using a throwing stick lies in the same skillset necessary to effectively throw a tomahawk, but on a horizontal plane as opposed to a vertical one. (The exception would be if you are throwing at a squirrel on the side of a tree or something similar).

 

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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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Wilderness photography: tools to take it to the next level

If you are an adventurer, survivalist, hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman, prepper or any other form of military surplus equipment connoisseur, then you are probably a photographer as well, at least on some level. Photography is my passion. I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman; however, in this day and time I have traded in my rifles and bows for cameras.

Not that I have anything against hunting, I still will if and when the need arises, but in the meantime I prefer to keep my skills sharp by  taking photographs of the animals that I like to hunt and eat. I have found that it is less expensive in the fact that I don’t have to pay Big Brother for the privilege of shooting deer with a camera, (not yet at least). There are several plusses to shooting with a camera as opposed to using a rifle; if I accidentally shoot my buddy, it’s no big deal. Me and my buddy can each shoot the same deer, (several times), and if I happen to see the game warden sashaying down the trail, my guts don’t turn to jelly…

But that’s not the purpose of this blog, I want to turn you on to a great little invention that I have recently stumbled upon that has taken my wilderness photography to an entirely new level, that is the window based camera mount. I discovered this at my local outdoor outfitters store and couldn’t buy it quickly enough.

Now I don’t need to scramble for a camera when I see a sasquatch hunting feral pigs in a wooded meadow, or a fox squirrel riding a blue heron as it flies around Acton Lake… no, from now on I have my camera mounted to my driver’s window and merely have to turn it on and focus as best I can.  This thing is even designed to offer one handle operation for tilt and swivel.

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RDDUSA product review: the heated groundcloth

I was recently excited to see this new concept for outdoor cold weather sleeping, that of the “heated ground cloth”. This concept is not really new, we have all seen it put into play in movies such as Jeremiah Johnson, that 1980’s era movie which depicted our hero Jeremiah digging a hole and filling it full of ember from the fire to sleep on; however, if any of you survivalists out there have ever tried to dig a hole to sleep on, then you know what kind of misery it is to have such a task after a day spent hunting, camping, or surviving in the wilderness.

 

Now, I have spent many nights camping out in the elements, shivering and experiencing cold sleep which usually involves sleeping thirty minutes and then getting up to put more wood on the ash pit that I had somehow managed to waller into seeking the remaining warmth of the dying campfire. Luckily, this new product might offer some relief into future excursions.

 

The design is fairly simple, basically it is a minute water heating system that is designed to circulate your heated water through channels built into the fabric of the ground cloth. I am deeply impressed with this concept because I’m all about being comfortable even when I’m out in the bush. This device is fueled by a can of sterno; however, there has to be a way to bring this concept into bearing in the wilderness. The plus to this scenario is the fact that the hot water you are using to keep you warm all night will be utilized when not sleeping on it to make coffee, grits, oatmeal, and whatnot.

 

So now I have to go out into the shed and see what I can work out to accommodate this concept in the wilderness; however, these items are available on the online marketplaces. Just look up heated camping mat and you will soon be sleeping quite comfortably out under the stars.

 

In the meantime I will be conducting scientific experiments out in my garage…

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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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SPRING BEAR HUNTS; 5 OF THE BEST SPOTS FOR BEAR

Photo By: MPatterson

I have told you before about my favorite bear hunt plan that was going to be a combination military surplus tent adventure and hunting trip. In this endeavor, myself and The Wildman had planned on taking a black bear with a couple of spears in the Great Smoky Mountains, since we both fancied ourselves to be great hunters and survivalists. That was, until we actually arrived and found out two very key factors: 1. The black bears at the Great Smoky Mountains are protected, and 2. They are just little bitty things that are nearly as tame as dogs. After having fed several of them bologna and cheese sandwiches, and hearing one of them literally cry like a baby when The Wildman cuffed it on the nose for getting a bit “nippy”, we both elected to amuse ourselves with taking pictures and we left the hand forged spears in the truck. However, the North American Grizzly bear is another critter entirely, and if you are actually in the mood for a spring bear hunt, let me give you five recommendations, (according to LiveOutdoors), for an excellent bear hunt this year, where you will be more than happy in pitching your military surplus Army tent and making a week out of hunting this big, magnificent creature.

  1. Russia. In Kamchatka they offer more to enjoy than a milky butter rum drink, there are bear aplenty. Just a few miles away from Alaska, this territory is densely populated and very affordable in terms of actual cost. A guided hunt here starts at around $8,000.00 American and goes up from there.
  2. Romania. In the Carpathian Mountains is the place where 70 percent of the bear population can be found. These mountains stretch all of the way into the Ukraine, and this would be the site for a true and exotic adventure… there are many skeletons weathering on the crests and bluffs of these rocky mountains and not of them are quadrupeds.
  3. Canada. In Canada we have ample bear hunting in British Columbia, which will run you about $3,500.00 American dollars for a black bear and it just climbs from there for griz… however, there are ample griz and if you’re willing to pay you can harvest one for the hunt of a lifetime.
  4. Canada. Manitoba is another Canadian spot which just re-opened it’s bear season last year. Jump on the new season for a mere $2,650 dollars for a week in the wilds.
  5. Croatia. Gorski Kotar is a mountainous region in Croatia which is reportedly famous for it’s bears. Trophy hunting is the most expensive but is also most likely to be the most rewarding starting at $6,000.00 American.
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CAMPFIRE RECIPE; STEW AND BISCUITS, NO DUMPLINGS

A dutch oven and fire

I was perusing the news recently when I happened upon an article which had the uncommon ability to start my mouth to watering and which furthermore set my imagination onto a much needed adventure, which entailed it’s being transported immediately to an arctic environment where I was suddenly inside a small trapper’s cabin, in the midst of a winter storm. It wasn’t really much as far as articles go, just an idea for a simple campfire recipe of Dinty Moore beef stew and some Bisquick biscuits, however, the combination of the two together elicited an excited stimulus of Pavlovian dimensions in my tongue and belly and I immediately began to scheme. In the original recipe it called for a can of Dinty and some Bisquick and milk… pretty boring, so I went into the kitchen and began to concoct this:

JOHNNY’S WHATCHA-GOT? STEW AND BISCUITS

Ingredients: One small roast cubed, three potatoes, six carrots, and some peas of you’ve got them. In a survival situation, I would prepare whatever meat I could get, excluding fish, and use cattail tubers in place of the potatoes and wild carrots in place of the carrots, (think Queen Anne’s lace). The initial trick is to boil the beef first, until it looks a little “raggetty”. In a survival situation, or even on a military surplus tent adventure with the family I would probably pull some wild onion and garlic to enhance the stew and keep the black flies away. In normal situations however, there is no need to put them all through that. Feeds four. The biscuits are most easily prepared in a skillet and are a concocted from lard, flour, some baking powder, and milk. In a survival situation you might be ok trying to use acorn flour in place of regular flour; however, it will be bitter and most likely will serve you better as dumplings rather than biscuits. In any event, I can easily imagine trying to brave the wilds of an Alaskan Wilderness with a belly full of beef stew and biscuits much better than I can a mouth full of jerky and hard tack.

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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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