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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 5)

… I can’t really describe the taste of those fresh fish fillets fried over a hot little fire on the river bank. I was by myself which wasn’t really what I preferred, (my dad had other obligations over the weekend), but even so, as I settled into the little bedroll I had pitched in the bed of Uncle John’s truck and I listened to the screech owls scream at each other in the creek bottoms, I couldn’t really imagine that life could get much better.

I was wrong about that.

It was a few weekends later that my church youth group announced that there would be a creek run and that we would be participating. For those of you who are uneducated, a creek run consists of gathering any and everything that will support your weight through buoyancy, and floating it down the river. While you’re doing this you will be laughing, splashing, fishing, and trying your best to drown yourself and all your friends. It was a really great time, and unlike in the past, where I would have had to ask my dad to strap the two kayaks to his Subaru and take me to the drop off, this time I was able to throw both kayaks in the back of Uncle John’s truck and head out by myself. I also invited along the particular object of my affections at the time. Unfortunately for me I hadn’t bothered to tie my swim trunks particularly tight, and while I was showing off at some point they came of and got swept away in the current. I ended up having to borrow the object of my affection’s towel to wrap around my naked waist, and then I had to drive her home with no pants on. And “that” so they say, “was the end of that”.

Summer was a true blast in that truck, regardless of my failed attempts to woo the opposite sex, but the real excitement of having a truck came with the fall and winter…

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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 3)

As soon as I was free of the crash and saw the scene, I knew someone had to be hurt, (it never really occurred to me that I was the someone who should have been hurt). I immediately reached back into my car, rummaged around in the debris until I felt the familiar canvas of my medical kit, and rushed to the Expedition that I knew had been occupied by the woman. I picked her first for two reasons. First, I knew she was of “young mother” age, and, though an Expedition is technically an SUV, for many it serves the same purpose as a mini-van, albeit a 4 wheel drive one. So I fully expected there to be a child restraint seat or two in that Expedition. I wasn’t wrong, there was a child restraint seat in the back; however, it was unoccupied.   Second, I was a little pissed at the old man in the huge pickup truck to be honest.

As it turns out, both of the other drivers were fine, and even I was fine, though I turned out to be sore as hell for about a week afterwards. Unfortunately my car was destroyed front and back.  My dad came and got me and together we followed the tow truck to the impound lot, we grabbed the plates off of the front and back, grabbed my personal gear… and left my first car in a dirty old gravel lot, crumpled and destroyed, surrounded by the corpses and skeletons of other peoples dreams and visions that had been decimated in like manner.

I don’t know what made my dad think of it, but he recalled that his sister’s husband, my Uncle John, had mentioned a few weeks earlier that he had bought a new truck and had his old one up for sale.  Uncle John is one of those guys that you want to have as a neighbor and a friend. He stands 6’7″ tall and weighs in at about 450 pounds. He’s not fat though. He’s a big solid chunk of muscle on a steel alloy frame. He used to pick up trailers and pull them to a bumper hitch while the rest of us were trying to back up and align the two. John was also the type of guy who really took good care of his things. A chainsaw, for instance, was taken apart and cleaned after use instead of being thrown haphazardly into the bed of a truck…

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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 1)

When I first turned 16 my mom cashed in a savings bond that my grandma had left her, when she died, and bought me my first car. It was an old Ford  Focus with balding tires and I had found it while walking home one night from my part time job at McDonalds.

Mom was not thrilled with it, (she said it smelled “pissy”), but I loved it. It was white and the air conditioner didn’t work, and my dad had to buy me an aftermarket radio for Christmas that year so that I could stand to drive in it – in the summer – with the windows rolled down.

I only had it a year.

My dad is a cop and I have an older brother who is in the Marine Corps. Both of them are rough knuckled, aggressive men who spent hours and years sweating and grunting like pigs in a little, local judo dojo. My dad tried to get me started into that mess too, but it never really made sense to me. My soul led me into less hostile endeavors and I decided to pursue a career as a firefighter. I would rather nurture than kill it seems.

I enrolled in a firefighting program, in my sophomore year of high school, and it was while pursuing this training that I lost my car.

It was a typical hot day in the spring and I had just pulled up to a stop light in the middle of a large city that I had to travel through to get home from school. We had recently gone through EMT training and I had happened to bring a small medical kit with me that I planned to keep in my car in case I should come upon an accident or find someone in need; when suddenly, I was involved in an accident and discovered a need…

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Grubs, Slugs, and Earthworms: 3 Foods You Must Not Pass By in a Survival Situation

It is with great trepidation that I relay this information to you, strictly because it is to most people, distasteful.  However, in the interest of all aspects of survival, I feel like I must share these options with you.

Before we get started, let me say this: I would only use these food sources in one scenario – well, actually two – I would eat snails grubs and earthworms if I were A: in a position of needing to move quickly and maintaining strength, (i.e.; I were being pursued),  or B: I would resort to this if I were sick or wounded and had to have quick and easy proteins.

But this article isn’t about me; it’s about a quick and easy meal that will keep you alive in the event that you are caught in a life or death situation. Trust me, if you are starving, you will eat anything including the leather from your own shoes or backpacks. So let’s talk about how to eat these easy to catch, protein rich foods. First of all, you don’t want to eat them like you find them. Just because an old bear in the woods, or a skunk can eat earthworms right out of their nest, that doesn’t mean that you can. Your digestive tract is just way too pampered to deal with all of the residuals that come with such a meal. Secondly, understand that it does you no good to get food into your mouth or belly that won’t stay there because of your retch reflex.

  1. Earthworms: These should be purged before consumption. Much like a lobster, worms have a mud-vein that is full of worm poop. Worm poop is neither tasty nor nutritious. After purging, (leaving them contained in moist leaves for a couple of days), they should be boiled aggressively for at least thirty minutes.  Eat quickly with your nose pinched shut…
  2. Slugs: These should be cooked similarly to the earthworms above; however, I would collect snails in their shell before I would slugs. They are easier to handle, and there is less of a chance to come in contact with a toxic species, (Often due to their diets). The shell also gives you an opportunity to slow down and look for contaminates.
  3. Grubs: You should boil these as well, and my advice is to watch the local animal population to determine what local grubs would better serve as food. Bears, skunks, weasel’s, and Badgers  all eat grubs. Many of these are even tasty I’m told.

Just remember, there is always risk involved with consuming unknown sources of protein, so use caution and common sense as much as possible, and if a little bit of something makes you feel ill, you certainly shouldn’t consume any more of it.

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Survival News: Reviewing the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker™ Knife

I have been a survivalist for about thirty-five years now. I have also been a student of Tom Brown Jr.; having attended his standard class twice in the late 80’s. Back when I started learning this type of bushcraft, it was standard to head out into the wilderness with at least a bowie knife and a tomahawk. Those days; however, are over it seems. This is because my beloved teacher and mentor, Tom Brown Jr. himself, has created his own brand of knife that he has named the Tracker™. This knife, (made popular by a movie of the same namesake), truly seems to be the “be all-end all” in relation to survival tools, and here’s why:

  1. It has a chopping blade. The front end of the blade is not only useful for the fine skill usage such as skinning or separating bone, it’s also heavy enough to fulfill other needs such as cutting down saplings, breaking apart bone, or even throwing if the need were to arrive.
  2. It has a wood splitter. Another function of the tomahawk was that of splitting or shaping pieces of wood to make axe handles, bow drills, etc… The Tracker knife has a back portion of the blade that is perfect for splitting with an offset portion of the blade set aside for precision striking.
  3. It serves as a notch cutter. Often you find the need to carve notches for survival, making a survival bow or building a bow-drill fire set for instance. The top of the blade is serrated to make cutting notches very easy to do.
  4. There are many other functions too. Tiny notches on the wedge section of the blade work to trim cordage or cut fuzz sticks. The front and rear lanyard holes,  (on the handle and the kydex sheath respectively), serves in a pinch as a makeshift bow for a bow-drill, the offset curve of the wedge serves as a perfect surface for fleshing a hide.
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Carnivorous Deer? What you need to know

Recent articles in several different magazines have shown a disturbing trend in the deer population. That is the act of some deer trying to eat meat. Before we go any further, let me assure you that this is no attempt at science fiction, and the articles I’m referencing are from legit publications, not from some serial thriller rag like “Bloody Detective” or anything like that.

This article, for instance, recently published in Outdoor Life™ Magazine, follows a formidable researcher who documents several instances of deer evolving from herbivores to carnivores, a behavior that has never been documented before. That’s not saying that this behavior has not been replicated before; on the contrary, it could very well be a common practice among the deer population to consume proteins in whatever forms they can find them if driven by sheer hunger. However, consider then the fact that some deer have been documented consuming humans in the wild.  Recently, National Geographic published a story revealing that trail cam footage of a human cadaver placed in the wilds for experimental purposes was actually partially consumed by a young deer during a time when heavy foliage wasn’t covered by a plethora of snow.

As alarming as this might seem at first glance, one thing to note is the fact that in the Natgeo article, the deer is only noted as actually consuming a rib from the human body. One of the reasons for this, obviously, is because of the high calcium content coupled with the fact that rib bones are fairly soft and pliable, especially on the ends.

In any event, I don’t think we are yet to the place where it is necessary to carry “deer spray” while out hunting like it is in some areas to carry bear spray.  However, those days might not be far off.

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Squirrels n Such: 3 Reasons to Depend on Small Game in an Emergency

If you are a fan of old western movies, then you’ll remember the line in The Outlaw Josey Wales where one of the members of the cavalry unit, who is surrendering after the war, is told to turn in his rifle along with his two horse pistols. With a look of sheer unbelief he says to the Union officer: “I’ll be needin this… fer squirrels n such”. 

Needless to say, beyond great scope and setting, there was a lot of wisdom in that narrative. Because the truth of the matter is that rodentia are a viable means of food across the world.  The Rodentia includes beavers, muskrats, porcupines, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, marmots, chinchillas, voles, lemmings, and many others. What’s not included, (but should be noted), is that rabbits aren’t included as a member of the rodentia family, though they are rodent like in their mannerisms and they make an excellent source of protein for quickly gotten meals. 

So with that understanding, here are three important things to note about survival in a hostile environment.

  1. Food sources need to be obtained quickly. They also need to be easily prepared and discarded and then replaced quickly as well. This means that if you’re on the move you won’t have the time to prepare and deal with a large mammal such as a deer, an elk, or a bear. These food sources need to be killed easily, cooked quickly and evidence of their presence discarded easily.
  2. Small animals such as squirrels and rabbits take very little time to prepare. Not only can a small mammal be captured and killed efficiently, they can literally be cooked on the run. Even if using the meat as a base for a stew to feed an entourage or a small team or family, the cooking of the ingredients or the parboiling of the meat is easily achieved on the move.
  3. Small animals can be collected passively. Unlike deer or other large game, small game can be trapped while you sleep or pursue other endeavors, (yes, I know large game can be trapped as well, but not easily or quickly for that matter).  Simple knowledge of a trigger snare or a simple figure four trap can produce lots of small game in a very short period of time if set correctly.
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Fighting the Mob: 5 Survival Tips for Surviving a Hostile Crowd

If you have been watching what is going on in the world today, and specifically in the big cities in the United States, then you are likely noticing a disturbing trend. That is mob rule and mob attacks.

Recently at the Republican National Convention, a senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, found himself in the middle of a, In his words, hostile mob which might have killed him and his wife had 4 police officers not been there to intercede. Lets face it folks, if it can happen to him it can happen to any of us. The question to ask is this: What would Rand Paul have done if he had been alone with his wife? Here are 5 strategies to consider if you find yourself in such a predicament.

  1. Try to get out of it without any form of altercation. If you can go around people trying to block your way and they don’t physically stop you in some manner, take advantage of the fact that it hasn’t escalated to that point, swallow your pride, and keep moving. Don’t taunt back, but try not to look too intimidated or scared at the same time. Confident and indifferent is what you are shooting for.
  2. Stay together. If it is not possible to get peacefully away and you are getting jostled around, understand that the worse thing you can do is allow yourselves to be separated from loved ones or other members of your party. Smaller, weaker members should be prepared to get a firm grasp on larger stronger members. A good rule of thumb is to grasp each other by the belt and do not let go for any reason. Smaller people should be surrounded by larger members of the group, and the group should stay together. Predators work to isolate the weaker from the herd to kill them easier…
  3. Never turn your back. If a predator gets a chance to attack you from behind, it will deliver killing blows un-obstructed. If you are in a group, go back to back and maintain body contact so that you are not separated.
  4. Attack weak areas. If you have watched any of the clandestine footage of certain threat groups, you will see that they generally always train to eye gouge their opponent. There is wisdom in this. I teach women to attack men in one of four place depending on the situation. The eyes, throat, testicles, and knees.
  5. Use unconventional weapons. Keys, pens, belts, etc… All are items that have other uses but that can function fully as weapons. If you have to attack, attack in a way that is going to end the threat. Poke an eyeball hard with a pen, some keys, or your thumb if you have nothing else. Kick nuts like they’re a kickball in high school gym class that you want to send over the fence. If you pick up a BFR, (big F…… rock), hit them in the eye socket with it like you’re crushing black walnuts. The purpose is to make them not want to be in the altercation anymore.
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5 Things You Must Do to Prepare For the Coming Double Hurricane

Next week, for the first time on record, two hurricanes could hit  the Gulf of Mexico at the same time.

According to sources there have been two other times in history that two storms have entered the gulf at the same time, but they have never been hurricane force.

Though the threat of a double hurricane is looming, it’s not necessarily going to be the case because, as of this writing, one of the storms is merely a cyclone.

However, here are 5 things that you need to do immediately to be prepared for the emergency that is certain to arise if both hurricanes do hit.

  1. Get a portable temporary shelter. This doesn’t have to be a military surplus tent, but there is no better option than this. The problem is that in the event that two hurricanes hit at once the water damage and volume will be multiplied by two as well. If you have a home in an affected area you might be unable to use it for months after the hurricane is even over.
  2. Get plenty of waterproof storage containers. Even if you do have a survival tent for shelter, there is no guarantee in flood water that you will be able to keep it dry, together, and usable. Same goes for food and other supplies; therefore, make sure you get some containers that are able to seal tightly, (with a rubber seal preferably), and make sure that it’s buoyant. You might find the need to tow it with a kayak or other type of watercraft.
  3. Get some sort of an emergency flotation system. This can be something as simple as a heavy duty inner tube and paddle. A flat kayak works well too. It is important that you get some type of craft that isn’t susceptible to filling with water and then sinking should you find the need to brave the storm while it’s still raging.
  4. Plan for Potable water. This should be stored well as described above, but to be honest it’s a pain to try to haul around potable water. You would be much better off investing in a few portable infiltration devices.
  5. Get Non Perishable Food. That should be stored in a manner described above and secured tightly.
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That Coming Storm: 3 Re-purposing Rules in the Event of a Global Pandemic

If you have been paying attention, then it is likely that you have seen more troubling times right now than you have ever experienced before; that is most of you.  Many of the rest of you have been through far worse and will know all about the topic which I have chosen to cover today.

The topic that I wish to cover is that of re-purposing abandoned or discarded equipment and properties for your own use. Now let me make clear that I am not talking about stealing anything. I am talking about picking up, (or inhabiting), a property or item that someone else has lost their need for, either through death or other circumstances beyond their control.

This re-purposing includes the use of military surplus equipment of course; however, it is not in any way limited to such. The fact of the matter is that humans come and go, and they have for years. It was a common occurrence for settlers of the Americas to move into an area and take over a farmstead that had been abandoned by it’s prior inhabitants. Even as late as the early part of this century, (and even still in Alaska), it was a common practice to stay in cabins that others had left, (either permanently or temporarily).

However, at least in regard to re-purposing an abandoned house or building, here are three things you should always consider.

  1. Don’t keep it (too) nice. Nobody like weeds and disrepair, but keep in mind that in the event of a nationwide period of lawlessness, others are going to want what you have for their own use. On the same token, there will be many who will be looking for what you were looking for: something no one else is using. Therefore my advice would be to make it low-key, but leave enough evidence to others that it is being used on closer inspection. Hopefully, those interested then in usury will not pay it close attention, while others will see it’s unavailable.
  2. Don’t stay too long. In the event of an emergency, you’re better off to keep moving.
  3. Be cognizant of the fact that the original owner might be coming back; if he does, govern yourself accordingly.

 

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