The Prepper’s Do It Yourself Fishing Kit

By John S

Fishing kitIn a survival situation being able to consume calories may mean the difference between life and death. The vast majority of survival situations end with a self-rescue, so the most crucial person involved is you.

Being able to gather food from the wild is a skill that needs many years to perfect. Hunting and trapping, identifying edible plants and fungus, knowing what to do in a variety of situations; this all makes up the constitution of a good survivalist. However, fishing is one of the most efficient and easiest ways to gather food from the wild. Depending on your location, this skill can provide you with enough calories to hike back to civilization, keep warm through the night, and eventually rescue yourself!

ASSEMBLING THE BASICS

As you may have guessed, the start to your DIY fishing kit will be hooks, line, and sinkers, but allow me to make a few important points.

1. The line should be 25-50’ of heavier test, 8-10lbs+. In a survival situation the last thing you want to do is give the fish a fighting chance! Using a hand-line or young sapling pole means you will not have as much room to play the fish, which in turn means that there is a greater chance a larger fish will snap your line. In a survival situation, this can be devastating!

2. Carry an assortment of smaller hooks. A large hook will catch a large fish, but might be too large for a smaller fish to fit inside it’s mouth. A smaller hook will catch a large fish and a small fish! The idea behind this DIY survival fishing kit is to make this as adaptable as possible to be useful in as many situations as possible. This is the root of any survival practice or preparation.

3. Include re-usable weights than can be tightened and loosened easily on the line with your teeth. While you can fish without weights, this can help present your bait in a far more attractive manner and allow you to land the fish that saves your life!

THE MUST-HAVE ADDITIONS

OK, we have the basics, but what else do we need to include in our DIY survival fishing kit?

1. Artificial Flies and Lures. Contrary to popular belief, you will not always be able to find live or natural baits. Some simple dry or wet flies, or a spinner or two, are items that can make a difference in you catching a fish or not! Be sure to include a couple general-use lures!

2. Salmon Eggs. Everything in the water loves to eat salmon eggs, these little round balls are generally great at bringing something into shore. I like to store these in an airtight bag or container; a used TicTac box with some plastic wrap around the top can keep your salmon eggs moist, round, and ready for your survival situation!

3. Floats or Bobbers. In murky water, without a modern fishing pole, it can be difficult to see when your bait is being attacked. A few simple floats will allow you to track your bait! I like to use the foam floats, if a plastic float cracks it will be useless, but a foam float can take a beating and still function!

4. Survival Items. Where better to store some simple survival items than in your survival fishing kit?

Imagine you are out in the backcountry with only this fishing kit to survive. Of course, you most likely have a knife of some sort, but what else would you want to have with you? In my survival fishing kit, I like to include 3 waterproof, strike-anywhere matches and a mini-cigarette lighter; a small waterproof bag (less than an ounce) of salt, a short length of thin cord (think 550 para-cord) and an emergency blanket constructed from mylar. These items cost very little and can round out your survival fishing kit quite nicely!

LETS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!
So now that we have assembled the basics how does this come together? I find the best way to carry the items I include in my DIY survival fishing kit is to use a bag, as it molds to the shape of my pocket easier than a box. Many times I simply use a freezer-weight Ziploc® Bag, but if you want something a bit more durable, try one of these sil-nylon stuff sacks.

INSIDER TIP: Line management is everything, and a bit of forethought can save you a lot of time untangling a mess of knots in your DIY survival fishing kit. Try to find something to wrap the line around, an empty spool of thread, an old bottle; these can help you manage the line far better than simply coiling it up. Also, loose hooks can cause more trouble than the fish they catch are worth! Be sure to stick the hooks into something like a foam packing peanut or scrap of cardboard.

I was hiking across Chilean Patagonia one summer and had run short of food; unfortunately, I had not planned a survival fishing kit well and was not prepared to actually catch a fish! I did have a few hooks, a dry fly, and (of course) my multi-tool and camping gear. While this might not sound like a lot to work with, I did have the crucial ingredient for the rig in my inventory – dental floss! I ended up using a length of dental floss with a smooth, straight stick for a rod and a bit of stone for a weight. I tied the hook inline about 6” up from the stone at the bottom of my jig, and when I dropped the bait in the water, it hung in the current perfectly!

I was lucky enough to find worms for bait, but if I had my standard DIY survival fishing kit, I would have fared much better and caught more fish. Before you forget the salt, let me say, brown trout in Chilean Patagonia cooked over an open fire might taste incredible, but with a pinch of salt, you can take them to the next level!

Good luck and happy fishing!

Compound vs Recurve Bow, Which One is Best for Survival?

by Brandon Cox – StayHunting.com

recurve bows vs compound bowsIf you’re in a survival situation or planning to live off the grid, you are probably interested in weapons. Specifically, what weapon should you take with you. Guns are a logical choice, but they’re hard to maintain over long periods of time because they require ammunition. Once you run out of ammo, the gun will be useless. A better choice for survivalists is a bow. But, there’s choices there as well. Here, we will compare a compound vs. recurve bow, which one is best for survival?

What’s the Difference between a Compound or Recurve Bow?

Many people have an opinion about which is better, but don’t have any evidence to back it up. To help you make the best choice for you, we’ll go over the differences between a compound bow and recurve bow. Bows have some similarities. Both a recurve and a compound bow use leverage as a mechanical advantage. Also, these weapons depend on stored energy to cast an arrow fast and far. In both situations, the arrow will travel much further than a person could throw it.

Recurve bows store energy as it is drawn. As more energy stores, it gets harder to pull the string. Compound bows are different because they use their mechanical advantage through cables and cams. Cables and cams let off some of the weight used to draw the string back. A compound bow will through an arrow farther than a traditional bow. The differences between compound bows and traditional models like a recurve have several other differences including price, accuracy, weight, power, and speed.

Price Differences Between Recurve and Compound Bows

Just looking at a recurve and compound bow, you can tell there is a price difference. A top of the line recurve bow can cost as much as $1500. However, most traditional archers can get a great model for around $200. Any archer interested in a compound bow should expect to pay around $250 for an entry level model. But, most compound bows fall in the $500 to $600 range after they are all set-up. If you are trying to decide what type of bow would be ideal for a survival situation, the prices for each model are similar.

Which is more Accurate Compound or Recurve?

recurve bows vs compound bowsWhen set up right a compound bow is extremely accurate. A peep, release, and other shooting accessories help make an average archer a great shooter. With the help of cams and other mechanisms, a recurve bow is harder to draw and increases the possibility of the shooter shaking or quivering. The movements can make shooting less accurate because of poor alignment. If you take an average shooter and give them both choices, they will likely be much more accurate with a compound bow. Since accuracy can be the difference between eating or starving in a survival situation, a compound bow makes a better choice.

Recurve Bows are Much Lighter than Compound Models

recurve bows for preppersAnother consideration to make for a survivalist is whether weight makes a difference. If you are going to carry your bow with you always, it might. A compound bow can be heavy. In comparison, a recurve bow is extremely light. In fact, a recurve bow could weigh just a fraction of a compound bow. Even compound bows made of super light material weigh more than a rifle, which still makes it pretty heavy. If you have a ton of ground to cover, will be climbing, or running, a recurve bow is a better choice because it won’t slow you down. Not convinced? Think about this as well. A bow isn’t the only thing you’ll be hauling on a daily or regular basis. Likely, you’ll also have a canteen, hunting light, knives, and much more. With so much to carry, it doesn’t make sense to weight yourself down with a heavy weapon too.

A Compound Bow has More Speed and Power than a Recurve Bow

We talked about it earlier, but it’s worth going over again. Not only is a compound bow more accurate than a recurve, but it also tosses arrows faster and further. Compound bows can do this because of their mechanical advantage. For even better results, archers can use a heavy arrow, which will go far fast and penetrate deep.

Does Shoot Ability Matter?

Now, it’s time to talk about shoot ability. It’s a controversial topic and those that favor either the traditional or compound bow may never agree completely. However, there are still a few topics to highlight for consideration.

When shooters aim, and fire a recurve bow there it’s silky smooth. There’s no jerks or unexpected hand movements. For this reason, recurves are often considered more shooter friendly. But, it’s important to consider whether losing some accuracy is better than a smooth shot. Other factors to consider include noise.

Compound bows are noisier than a traditional bow. Some older bow models make sounds like rifles being shot when the string is released. There’s also a ton more hand vibrations when shooting, which makes it difficult to repeat repeatedly.

The Perfect Bow for Survivalists and Preppers

Perfect bow for preppersWhen it comes to survival situations, the best bow choice may be one that is made of raw materials. Arrows and fletchings can be made with natural materials. Broad heads can also be made or be made of stone. If you have a traditional compound bow and run out of arrows, it’s not easy to make arrows for this type of bow. A wooden arrow in a compound bow could cause the arrow to explode and become dangerous. With all things considered, a traditional bow is a better choice for survival situations because the resources used to create are readily available in nature.

In conclusion, the best choice for survival situations are whatever you feel most comfortable using. If you are comfortable shooting a compound bow before you found yourself in a survival situation, you’ll still be most comfortable with that choice afterwards. The same goes for a traditional recurve bow.

Both weapons have relatively the same costs associated with them. As far as accuracy goes, the best compound bow has some advantages. But, in terms of weight and the ability to move while carrying the weapon, a traditional bow has the compound bow beat.
What this means is that it’s really a personal choice as to what type of weapon you want to use in a survival situation. But, because of sustainability and the ability to reproduce arrows and even the entire bow if possible, we recommend relying on a recurve bow first with compound bows as a close second.

The Most Important Hunting Gear for The Prepper / Wild Game Forager

by Daren Rifen

According to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service an estimated 90 million US citizens aged 16 and above participate in some form of wildlife-related recreational activities. 13.7 million of these are hunters, 12.7 million of whom use rifles, shotguns or handguns for hunting. This means that the remaining 1 million hunters use bows. With such a huge number of hunters, it is no wonder that an estimated $ 70.4 million is used on hunting gear annually. From this statistics, it is clear that hunters invest heavily on their hunting equipment. As a novice or beginner hunter figuring out what hunting gear to invest in can be a daunting task, especially given the wide selection of hunting gear available. While this can be challenging there are certain equipment that you should prioritize over others. If you want to make the transition from rookie to advanced hunter these are the hunting gear, you should buy.

  • A good hunting weapon
  • A quality pair of hunting optics
  • Camouflaged clothes
  • Knife and honing stone

Now let us consider the importance of each one of these hunting tools individually. This way you will know which one to buy first and which to buy last. However, if it is possible, it is recommended that you purchase them all at once.

A good hunting weapon

As already observed a staggering 12.7 million hunters use rifles, shotguns, and handguns for hunting. Another 4.5 million use bow and arrows while another 2.9 million use antique muzzle loaders. Thus, different hunters have varying preferences when it comes to hunting weapons. As a beginner, a rifle is a better hunting weapon than a bow. When choosing a rifle, it is important to consider the weight. A bulky rifle will weigh you down, and its recoil action will probably interfere with its accuracy. The cartridges or ammunition you are using on your rifle should be humane on the animals you are hunting. Light cartridges are more accurate but have minimal impact on far-off targets. When buying a rifle do some research on its cartilage and weight.

A quality pair of hunting optics

One of the most important hunting gear any advanced hunter must have in their arsenal is a good pair of hunting optics. There are several optical instruments used for hunting, with the most common being binoculars and spotting scopes. The latter have a more powerful magnification power than the former but are heavier. Thus, if you are a beginner having a good pair of binoculars will be instrumental to the success of your hunt. The best binoculars for hunting will give you an even playing field. Especially since a deer or any other wild animal have better eyesight than humans. If you can, also buy a best rangefinder to improve your hunting. Standard hunting binoculars have a magnification of 8X and 10X. However, some binoculars have high magnifications of up to 15X. It is important to note that the higher the magnification the harder it is to stabilize. Thus, if you are newbie a binocular with either an 8X or 10X magnification will be ideal.

Camouflage

Camouflage is the greatest asset that both hunters and soldiers have in their quest to conquer the great outdoors. Thus, it is important that you get clothes that blend well with your hunting area’s surroundings. In addition to clothes scent inhibiting products. Commonly known as scent blockers, these liquid products help you mask your body’s natural scent thus minimizing detection by animals. Scent blockers are available in the form of sprays and lotions that you can apply on your skin. In addition, to clothes you also need to get a great pair of boots that can withstand the roughness of your hunting terrain. If you are hunting during winter, then your hunting boots need to be insulated. Also, the outsole of a hunting boot needs to be made from rubber so that it does not make any sound that may alert your target of your approach. Finally, a good pair of hunting boots needs to be waterproof.

A knife and honing stone

Another important tool that you will need when going hunting is a hunting knife. There are generally two types of hunting knives, fixed blade, and folders. Fixed blade knives are cheaper, lighter and stronger compared to their folding counterparts. However, due to their size, they are not easy to carry around. Folding knives, on the other hand, tend to be costlier due to their folding mechanism. However, they are versatile and come in handy when you need to cut through bone and cartilage.

Archery as a necessary part of prepping: Reviewing two inexpensive bows for the WolfPack

Jesse Mathewson

“Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” Fred Bear
“Nothing clears a troubled mind better than shooting a bow.” Fred Bear

bowFor thousands of years, archery has been utilized as a tool for hunting, defense and waging war. It is the one tool that has seen the littlest real advancements and yet remains solidly on the forefront for sports related sales and use around the world. Sure, we now have mechanically driven bows, special wheels and different styles of shooting, however, the basics remain the same. A “stick” a “string” and another “stick” combined create one of the most historically terrifying and relevant tools of all time. Obviously, I am simplifying things to say the above, however, using pure reasoning, one can see this being a true statement in a general way.

I grew up shooting rifles, handguns, using knives and bows and arrows. It was part of the tradition of the rural American to have this knowledge when I was a child, these days people will call you negligent to teach your children these arts…and yet, I firmly believe the opposite is true. For safeties sake alone, knowledge of these tools is essential. So lets get on with the review of the Sammick Sage take down bow as well as the Sososhoot Buffalo style horsebow.

Takedown bows are superbly beneficial for individuals with space restricted, my Sammick Sage bow in its taken down configuration with two dozen arrows can fit inside of a 30” by 18” package and is less than “4 inches thick. I can easily fit string wax, spare strings, spare fletches and materials for building or repairing arrows and bow as well inside this package and it will be under 10 lbs. While I do not use a bow stringer, some recommend this and it is beneficial for most. In fact I should get one, if simply to extend the life of my bows. The horsebows are under 48” unstrung and strung and are about 2lbs lighter than the Sammick Sage package, with other measurements remaining the same.

bow-targetThe horsebows cost between $120 and $165 dollars depending on draw weight, on Amazon, this is something you should make sure you get correct. (Buffalo Hunting Bow and Arrow Handmade Recurve Horsebow Longbow for Adults By Sososhoot) A bow with 30-65lb draw weight will work to take medium game (deer etc.,) 40-120lbs will easily take much larger game. I have read stories of people with 45lb draw weights taking elephants so, don’t feel the need to be overly manly when choosing the bow you will use. You should be able to shoot 4-8 flights of arrows and not be sore afterwords. These bows are shipped from China, I own two currently and have purchased several as gifts, the shipping time is within 2 weeks generally.

The Sammick Sage recurve take down bow runs between $126 and $200 on Amazon, these you can get within two days if you have Prime, or a week without. They are absolutely worth every single penny and I have yet to have one fail or be a problem. Both companies are quite good about communicating and will work with you, yes, even and especially the Chinese company, Sososhoot.
The arrows I use range from Easton Aluminums through my cedar shafted wooden, turkey fletched favorites. (Huntingdoor Black Feather wooden arrows 30” length, tri tip bodkin style iron tip) Again, I have found best pricing to be on Amazon, and shipped from China by the same manufacture. I use the 3 sided 150 grain bodkin style tips and truly love them, they puncture well, cause rapid exsanguination, (internal bleeding leading to death) and are reusable. For practice I use the 150 grain field points or have made my own stumping arrows, “stumping is shooting small grass clumps/ wood stumps with flat tipped, or cloth wrapped arrows for practice as you are walking about the woods.” I have had two pass through shots at 35 feet and one at approximately 70 feet on Javelina. Upon inspection after death, one of the arrows had pierced a shoulder bone and gone through it.

girl-with-bowUnderstand that unless you have a serious set up with a dozen straw bales and styrofoam backstops, you will lose arrows during practice. Its the cost of archery, arrows are not cheap, HOWEVER, they are reusable and for myself at least I find that having 4 – 6 flights per bow is satisfactory and keeps the package weight under what I can carry with physical problems. This being said, as the old saying goes, one can NEVER have too much ammunition…so remember that. Unlike firearms, high capacity magazines and the like archery should be available and or can be made from materials close at hand.

Now for the meat and potatoes of the review of these bows. It is essential to understand these are low cost, but NOT low quality bows and arrows. They are worth every penny and than some. I have owned PSE bows, Bear bows and collectibles from several renowned boyers. I prefer these bows simply because I am not afraid to bang them about a bit as they didnt cost me $500+ as almost every major manufactures bow for adults will end up costing.

The pros of these bows.

Cost, they are quite simply the most cost effective approach outside of making your own, which is a skill you would be better for learning.

Longevity, I have been using one of the horsebows and a Sammick Sage takedown for over three years and shoot 3-4 times a week in my backyard, 4 straw bales, a sheet of half inch plywood and a $60 Field Logic Classic Block black and white target has worked well for 4 years now, and this is in Arizona sun, rain and more. You can easily purchase an inexpensive $15 or $20 foam and plastic block target from Walmart as well. Or, stuff a medium size box (24” by 24” cubed at a minimum) with crumpled up newspaper and this will also work.
Quality, again, after owning many different bows, I have not realized any real major loss in quality purchasing and using these versus the name brand ones that cost two or three times as much on average.

They work, are easy to take down and or are extremely light weight, being made of wood laminated with fiberglass for the horsebows and coated with faux snake skin for a fun look!
The cons, very few but there are cons!

They are inexpensive bows, you may have one that misses quality controls and need to return/ both companies allow for this and have solid customer service via email.
You will want to purchase spare strings, the strings that come with the bows are not the best. They work fine for quite awhile, but they are definitely a lower quality, thankfully you can purchase strings from Trad Gear on Amazon, B-50 Dacron 16 strand strings run around $7 apiece. Wait till you get the horsebows before purchasing new strings, this way you can measure the string that comes with it. These bows sometimes vary as much as an inch either way as they are handmade. The Sammick Sage has proper measurements available when you purchase them.

The horsebows do NOT have arrow rests on the bow or a place for one, the entire purpose of these bows is to shoot them from all angles, different sides and positions, literally shooting a horsebow is VERY different than shooting a standard recurve or long bow. But, they are designed for strength and the ability to be shot from horseback without getting in the way of riding the horse, the mongols, plains indians and more used similar bows and did so with great, deadly efficiency.

That’s it, all I can say is, practice daily, it really is a great workout and has helped me strengthen my core which is essential with a bad back. Besides, it is also quiet, deadly and something discounted by governments around the world as a threat. Understanding this, places you ahead of them in the eternal battle for our individual freedom. While they may kick your doors in for your guns…they wont look twice at the bows.

Comment, ask questions and please add knowledge. It is essential to our growth as a pack. Free the mind and the body will follow.

Best Camo Patterns for Every Season

When shopping for camouflage, it’s hard to resist the bargain area where camos are sold for less than retail. Usually, the camos featured in the clearance section are out of season. However, some hunters will jump at the chance to save on camouflage and wear it in the woods – regardless of season. Some hunters will even go as far as mismatching their camos with many different seasons in one outfit. While they may have saved a few dollars, they might have ruined their chance to catch a buck, which can be a much bigger loss in the big scheme of things. Why, you ask? Despite what people will try to tell you, camo patterns matter, especially when hunting whitetail deer.

Why Does Camo Pattern Matter so Much?

You don’t have to take our word for it, or anyone else’s just evaluate the science. Whitetail deer have one focus in life, and that is to survive. Scientists have told us that whitetail deer have 2 cone cell eyes. What this means is they don’t see the same way other animals or humans see.

Due to the way their eye is created, deer don’t see the colors yellow or red very well. Instead, they mostly see all colors in shades of yellow or blue with some shades of green. While their sight is somewhat limited, deer see the best in low light, which mostly includes sunrise and sunset.

Deer are also known to have great eyesight right after fresh snow hits the ground. While deer don’t usually see colors, they do have pretty clear vision. In fact, a deer’s eye can dilate anywhere from 7mm to 8mm. In comparison, a normal human eye can only dilate to a maximum of 8mm.

You’re probably catching on by now and realize that deer’s eyesight and changing foliage has a great deal to do with camo patterns. Basically, if you get caught wearing the wrong camo at the wrong time of day or season, your chances of killing a buck are based more on prayer than talent or planning. To avoid being caught unprepared, you need to know what camo patterns are best for which season.

Preferable Early Season Camo Patterns

In most states, early bow season for whitetail starts towards the end of September. Usually, the trees and grass are still pretty green at this time. This is a good thing for hunters because they can opt for their trusty green patterned camouflage.

Everything in the woods is pretty green, so a deer isn’t going to immediately notice you covered in a green pattern stalking him from the woods. However, as the trees begin to shed their leaves and the grass loses its bright green luster, you need to rethink the color of your camos if you want to go undetected.

Wear Broken Green Camos in Fall

Once the trees have changed color, you need to change the color of your camos. Since the area around you isn’t bright green anymore, you don’t want to appear that way to deer. Shades of green are easy for deer to see, especially when everything around you is changing.

You might think you can get away with wearing bright green camos if you’re sitting in a treestand, but that simply isn’t true. The only way a deer might not notice your green camo in a tree is if you’re sitting in an evergreen. Otherwise, if a deer catches a glimpse of you in the tree, you’ll look more like a blob sitting in a tree instead a part of the tree.

Since deer are engineered to focus on survival, the simple presence of a odd blob in a tree might be enough to spook them. And once deer runs, they’re sure to spook all their friends.

Instead, fall deer hunters should opt for a broken pattern. A broken pattern has a duller brown and green color with hints of orange and rustic changes, which will help you stay hidden in the woods.

Late Fall – Stick with Fall Camos

Luckily, you don’t need camos for every season. As long as there isn’t any snow on the ground yet, you can wear the same camos in late fall as you did when the trees first began to change. The only exception to this rule is right after it snows.

Don’t Cloak Yourself in White After it Snows

Many hunters want to cloak themselves in white camo patterns after the first snow. We understand the logic, but you have to remember that deer see extremely well after fresh snow hits the ground.

Instead of opting for an all white approach, hunters should try to wear camouflage with broken patterns. It’s important to avoid solid white, or other solid dark clothing. By wearing broken patterns in the winter, you’ll be harder to see and won’t spook deer as you climb into and out of your treestand.

Now you know why there are so many hunting camo patterns on the market. Not all are created the same nor do they all deliver the same results. Instead, each is unique and it’s up to you to decide which color or pattern is right for your area. No matter what color, shade, or pattern you choose, it’s important to keep the following information in mind.

Make sure your hunting packs match your camo (so they won’t give you away)
Never wash camos in a laundry detergent that uses UV brightening agents (it will make any camo easier for deer to see)
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it

Now that you know why camo patterns are important to the success of your hunt, you’re ready to go shopping. You no longer have to fear the bargain section. Just remember if you’re buying out of season camos at a discounted price, it’s important to keep those in the closet to the following year. It’s a bunch cheaper to buy new camos for every season then it will be to stock your freezer with meat for the winter if you lose out on a buck because you wore the wrong gear hunting.

Author: Brandon Cox from the StayHunting blog.

What Everybody Ought To Know About Bow Hunting For Survival

by JimShyWolf

Pic of Boy Shooting survival Bow Let’s clear the air first. I’m not a professional archer or survival bow hunter. I’ve never published an article in BowHunter or Archery magazine, nor have I ever competed in the Olympics in any venue, let alone archery. (Regardless what you may have heard to the contrary.) Nor have I ever traveled out-of-state to hunt any animal with a bow (and only did it once with a rifle, so am no expert there, either). Nor have I any formal education beyond what a college phy-ed class attempted to teach me after I’d been shooting and studying archery for twenty years. When push comes to shove, I am a ‘purist’ but I don’t let that stop me from using modern materials or style of bow.

At 64 years of age, what I have is more than fifty years experience shooting, hunting, ‘kind of’ studying archery from the bowhunting and zen aspects, and shooting since I was eleven because Mom didn’t think kids should have guns before they could walk. So my career with archery began as many do: parents don’t equate bows and arrows with their ability to kill. And, as any child of a parent knows, they’re wrong. A 45 pound draw hunting bow has the killing ability of a 30-06 rifle. Actually, in expert hands and in the right circumstances, even a 25 pound draw weight bow will have the killing ability of a 30-06, or any other shoulder fired weapon you want to stack against it.

Please note: I did not mention anything other than killing ability. I did not say “at 800 yards” or “point-blank range” or “with a 220 grain JHP” or any other round. I said “ability”. There isn’t an animal on earth that has been killed with a rifle before it was killed with a bow. We won’t get into how the first bow was accidentally made by a caveman when he discovered his fire drill bow would shoot sticks across the fire faster than he could throw it, or how Nimrod was the first Mighty Hunter with a bow.

But how does a bow have the same killing capacity as a 30-06?

Because of much the same reason a bullet does: blood-letting. A bullet has ‘shock’ value as well, yet an arrow will bleed even more quickly than a bullet because of it’s cutting edges. And when hunting or speaking of hunting, the arrowhead is equally as important, if not more so, than the bow or arrow. Let’s look at this from the beginning, getting to the arrowhead in a few minutes.

When it comes to surviving in a true wilderness setting, a bow, In My Opinion, is the absolute best weapon you can have. Better than a rifle or pistol for several reasons.

First: a bow can be made from almost any hardwood material, especially the maples, yew, ash, and best of all, the Osage orange. Birch, some pines, and aspen can be used as well, with brittle oak being a fairly down-the-line choice. There are exotics that can be used, but we’re talking survival in North America so will limit our choices to anything growing around us.

Second: an arrow can easily be made from reeds (think cattail for one) or whittled from other woods, Port Orford Cedar being the most commonly used (until the Spotted Owl terminated the harvesting of it, and over harvesting as well, to be totally honest). Cedars make the best wood arrows because they don’t warp as readily as most other woods, have a more stable grain pattern and can be reaved most easily into sheaves for arrow stock, and can be compressed most readily.

Arrowheads can be chipped from flint, or other stones, even panes of glass, any bone, or just the fire-hardened tip of the arrow itself. If you’re industrious, you can file steel down to a very serviceable point. But, we’re talking survival and what’cha got with you, not what you’d like to have.

Bowstrings can be spun quickly from the inner bark of many commonly available plants- milkweed being a common material or cut from any animal hide or, in a survival situation, from the cords of one’s jeans. (Just don’t tear away your groin cloth, Tarzan!) Now: name one bullet you can do this with. ‘Nuffa that. Now let’s get to the bow.

Regardless where you live, any archery shop now is going to convince you that “you must absolutely gotta have the very bestest top of the line got more speed than light double helix hyper snappy wheel compound that we happen to sell right here” bow. I won’t say BS on that, but I will tell you this: a salesman’s job is to sell. Not necessarily what you want or need, but to sell.

Here I’m going to state my opinions, not some scientific hyperbole an engineer came up with or what a catalogue will say. What kind of bow you get- be it traditional longbow, recurve, or compound- is up to your preferences. I’m going to tell you mine.

I shoot them all. I love them all. All are very serviceable and sturdy. The newest bow I have, a Fred Bear compound, is darn close to 30 years old and shoots as well today as it did the day I bought it- only more accurately ‘cuz now it’s got ‘sperience. It’s also the only bow I have sights on. The oldest I have is 53 and my son learned to shoot with it as I did: one arrow at a time. My second oldest- 39- is the original Fred Bear takedown with two sets of limbs (one target, one hunting) on a B riser (it came with choice of A,B, or C- diferentiated by length of the riser, which also was the deciding factor of draw weight). There are others in my collection- a Ben Pearson takedown (TD) a year younger than the Bear, a Paul Bunyan fiberglass longbow, and a very antique pure aluminum bow made by ParX of Jackson, Michigan. (I should google them to see if they still make bows.) Sorry- thinking out loud again, and digressing. Some odds and ends complete the collection.

My point is, it won’t matter what style of bow you choose, just be sure it’s the one you want and dream about. If your imagination is filled with Robin Hood or Fred Bear or Ben Pearson or Howard Hill, you would probably feel more comfortable with a longbow or recurve. Either will be a fine choice.

Longbows have a tendency to ‘stack’, which means they get harder to draw as you draw them. If it’s a very short bow, it will stack more than a longer bow. Recurves stack less than longbows due to the curve. Too, the length of your personal draw will also cause it to stack more or less.

Draw length is measured the old-fashioned way: Hold your arms out in front of you, fingers extended, to make an arrowhead. The distance from your fingertips to your chin is your arrow length, your draw length is from your wrist to your chin. Bowyers have simplified this for us, however, and make their bows with an ‘average’ draw length of 28 inches. The reason for the arrow length? So you don’t cut your fingers with the sharp broadhead, it extends beyond your hand. Arrows can be cut to length as required, even simply at home with a sharp knife.

If your dreams extend to the modern mystique of wheels and pulleys, cams and short, snappy- and very fast arrows- then you may be dreaming of a compound. Other than Bear, I won’t comment on who makes the best, but there are many out there. Some very good bows are made by some very unknown people, and a good way to learn about some is pick up a copy of a Bowhunter magazine. (No plug, just reference.)

Compounds do send arrows down range faster than other bows and use very light arrows. (Do not use a wood arrow on a compound bow- ever. Nothing may happen, but then again, you may end up with an arrow shaft in your forearm, or worse. That’s experience talking, and manufacturer’s direction.) If TSHTF, my choice will be the recurve or longbow because of the simplicity of their design, maintenance, and ease of repair. I just don’t have the shop to rebuild steel/aluminum/magnesium pulleys and steel cable strings.

Not to mention, compounds are much heavier than stick bows. I’d rather carry more arrows than more bow.

Arrows for longbows and recurves run from cedar to esoteric compunds like graphite. In short, any arrow can be shot from a stick bow. Wood and aluminum have been around for… well, ever, almost. OK- when Alcoa came out with their first aluminum arrows, I was skeptical. Still am, but dang, they shoot nice. Almost as tough as wood. Almost. In some instances, tougher: and they can be reasonably straightened of mild bends. (Wood can as well- use steam and pressure to do that, though.) Fiberglass and graphite… well, you ain’t gonna straighten those breaks. Some have told me graphite is tougher than wood, but my opinion is still out- and will be until I test some, which I don’t intend doing.

Compund bows shoot aluminum, ‘glass and graphite with equal aplomb, but never wood. (Don’t ask.) With today’s compounds, the biggest ‘thing’ is the speed factor. Everyone’s trying to get their bow to shoot as fast a 30-06 bullet. Or so it seems. I’ve heard excuses (ok, reasons) from things such as “the deer don’t jump the string” (which I laugh at), to “the lighter arrows need the speed” (which I agree with). To gain this speed of arrow, they use the lighter carbon or graphite arrow, which usually weighs less than the broadhead on the end. And speed creates penetration- which the lighter arrows need. Badly.

So my opinion of light arrows is still out. In “the old days”, we used to ‘spike’ our aluminum arrows with a wood arrow to increase the weight so they’d get better penetration. We didn’t need speed- we had power. Arrows are ‘fletched’ with feathers- real turkey feather is best and be sure they come from the same wing- or plastic vanes. The debate rages as to which is best. I’ve used both, have some mighty old arrows with turkey feathers. And some mighty old vanes as well.

The biggest problem I’ve had with vanes is cold temps. They seem to stiffen and don’t stabilize the arrow as quickly. But that may just be my imagination. Some say feathers aren’t as waterproof as vanes, but I don’t see that. I sprayed mine with Camp Dry once and forgot it. No problems. Water runs off like a duck’s back.

Some people also claim wet bowstrings stretch and make the bow lose power due to less ‘fist’ in the bow. To which I say nonsense: I’ve never lost ‘fist’ with a string or cable. (‘Fist’ is your hand-made to a fist, thumb extended upward, and from the riser to the string is the height of the string from the riser.) I will admit that a vegetable fiber string will most likely stretch, as will leather. Soak them in tallow before use.

What does make a bow lose power can be on the string, though. Silencers. Attachments that quiet the string vibration after the shot- which vibration is also what the animal hears and causes it to ‘jump’ the string- and evade the arrow. Silencers can be as simple as a feather tied to the string, both ends of the bow, or as complicated as gobs of rubber bands woven into the string layers. Here, less is more. Go as simple as you can get away with. Some people don’t use silencers at all.

Arrowheads (told’ja we’d get here) are what does the killing with an arrow. Where I live, there are several rules to follow with arrowheads used for hunting. (Note: in a survival situation, there is only one rule: survive. So forget about ‘nice’ and ‘laws’ and ‘fair chase’.) MN requires arrowheads “be of barbless design with at least two blades and a circumference of two inches for three or more blades and weigh 125 grains”. Which just means, go to your local sport shop and buy what they sell cuz they’ll most likely not be selling illegal products.

If they are, call the local game warden and let him know and your butt is covered when you go to court. Other states probably have similar rules, so check yours if you’re interested in being ‘legal’. Fred Bear makes the Bear Razorhead, which was an original design two-blade with a third and fourth blade insert, and which has probably killed every animal on the planet. They’re extremely difficult to find these days. Now hunters are using all kinds of jury rigged designs, some utilizing real jenyouwine razor blades as cutting edges.

Complicated monsters that cut quickly and cleanly, to be sure, but no where near as hardy as the old Razorhead. The closest I’ve seen to the Razorhead is the Magnus two-blade, and they’re great. Not to mention, take a very fine edge. Oh, yes- I sharpen all my broadheads. Not something you’ll do with the more modern designs- all you need with them is more razorblades. And a few hundred bucks. Dang- those heads are very spendy now!

Between a two blade and three, or four, blade the biggest difference is cutting power. Or cutting ability. An arrow kills by bleeding the animal out- so expect it to run and have to track it- like cutting its throat. The more blades, the more damage to arteries and muscle and veins and… you get the idea, and the more easily traqcked. The more damage, the faster it bleeds out. Too, shot placement may be a bit more precise with an arrow than with a gun because arrows do not go through bone. Hitting the critter in its vitals is, well- vital.

So practice-practice-practice! Side note on broadheads: round over the tip so it passes by bone rather than trying to penetrate it and getting stuck. You don’t need a pointy point, you need something that slides past the bone. Also, an arrow wound to a non-vital spot with a rifle can wel cause an animal to bleed out, so there are more areas to aim at with a bow.

Also, MN does not allow crossbows unless one is handicapped and proven by a doctor’s permission slip. I’ve shot crossbows, don’t own one, and have little to say about them. I have considered getting one just ‘because’ and no other reason. A friend uses one, loves it, and has lots of fun with it- but he’s not a hunter. Some compounds will draw hundreds of pounds and shoot a bolt (arrow) fast as… ummm… litning… but they lose speed, therefore power, quickly. Maybe others have more experience with them and can comment. Some states do allow hunting with crossbows, so they can’t be all that bad.

When it comes to shooting, a crossbow is probably the easiest to learn quickly since it’s so much like a rifle. Compounds are easy to learn and be accurate with when loaded with sights- and some with stabilizers, levels and flucks (or whatever they’re called)- but have their limitations in those condiditons. (More on that in a minute.) Most difficult- but certainly not hard- to learn is the recurve and longbow using instinctive shooting techniques (my fave method).

Shooting a bow is relatively simple. Nock and arrow on the string, push-pull the bow and string apart, bring the hand to your cheek, look at the target as you point the arrow at it, and let the string go. All bows are shot in that manner. The hardest part is doing the same thing over and over again and never varying that technique.

Let’s examine the shooting aspect a moment.

‘Instinctive’ shooting is how archers first shot. By looking at the target, pointing their arrow at it, and releasing. No sights, no levels, no floofloos. Use a push-the-bow-pull-the-nocked arrow method as you raise the bow to point the arrow at the target. The string hand anchors someplace on your face- usually the corner of the mouth- prior to releasing the shot. The bow arm is extended almost straight out, with just a slight curve, the uper body leans forward slightly and the head is ‘cocked’ over the arrow.

Focus on the target- a small patch of hair (in hunting)- and not on the arrow. Let your eye aim the shot just as you would by pointing your finger at it. Release smoothly- release smoothly- release smoothly- by extending the shooting fingertips. Right: don’t go past the first joint on your finger to pull the string-arrow. Just open your fingers and let the arrow go. Once released, hold the bow in place- don’t drop it or let it fly into orbit. And don’t let your release hand fly off into space, either.

Instinctive shooting can be done with any bow in any position. If you’re laying on your back, you can shoot with this technique holding the bow level with the ground, no need to bring it to a vertical position. If you’re leaning forward ducking under a branch, the bow can be shot without lifting it to a vertical position. If you’re hanging by your hair or the skin of your teeth, a bow can be shot without having to bring it to a vertical position.

Now let’s talk about sights and levels and stabilizers and… all those modern contrivances that require a bow be held vertically and level before it can be shot. Which usually includes all the compound bows being sold today because they ‘just gotta have all this stuff to make them work’. BS. IMO. Sights are wonderful on bows, just as on rifles and handguns. But they do limit a bow a lot more than a rifle- kind of.

When useing sighted bows, the weapon must be held in a vertical position for the sight to be any use. In short, you can’t ’tilt’ your bow and expect the sight to be ‘on’, ‘cuz it won’t be. Any deviation off the axis the bow was sighted in at will negate the sight. And in the bush, you’ll have a lot of fun trying to find a vertical position 100% of the time. For sure, it’s not the most difficult from a stand- though some shots from a stand with a sight are nearly impossible and only uncomfortable with instinctive shooting.

I enjoy the sights on my compound for tournaments and field shooting at the club, but for hunting I feel they’re pretty ‘iffy’ if I’m stalking. As to having a sight level… I ain’t building a house, I’m shooting a bow, probably at a deer or pesky wabbit or partridge… I don’t need no stinkin’ levels.

Two additional items you’ll need- again, don’t ask why, just trust me on this- are some sort of finger protection such as a glove or tab. Mechanical releases are very good, make the release butter smooth, but again, use the KISS principle. Unless you absolutely positively gotta have the latest gizmo… I prefer the glove because ‘it’s on my hand and no fiddling involved’ when I want to use it. Not the best for some, but for me it removes a lot of other dilemmas.

An arm guard is mandatory, especially if you’re shooting with a jacket or ghillie suit or long sleeves- anything the string can whack on its way to resting. And it’s doubly mandatory if you’re shooting sleeveless. You don’t need broken blood vessels in your arm swelling to the size of a birthday party baloon. Trust me on this- I know. (Don’t ask!)

If you’re going to hunt with a bow, be sure to spend time honing your tracking skills as well. Nearly any animal shot with a bow is going to move out of the area before it bleeds out and you don’t need to waste a life or food. After all, that food may save your life, or that of someone you love.

I know a lot of people have spent gazillions on their armories and think they have all the bases covered, but until they have a bow, they’ve only got to third base. Home plate is a long way off- about 90 feet, which is farther than the average deer shot with a bow. So might I suggest getting a bow and half-dozen or more arrows, a finger glove or tab, an arm guard, and a few hours practice to really round out your survival preps?

Who knows- the opportunity may arise you want a silent shot… and we haven’t even gone fishing or bird hunting yet.

Cold Weather Clothing A Prepper’s Guide to Staying Warm in Harsh Conditions

by Andrew Skousen and Joel Skousen, authors, Strategic Relocation and The Secure Home

Threats of the Cold:

Every year people die during the cold and storms of winter because of lack of preparation. Motorists get stuck in blizzards and succumb to the cold when their fuel runs out and old people freeze when their furnace stops working during a power outage. These kinds of deaths will be much more prevalent if war and/or an EMP strike brings down the national power grid for a time (a few months if we’re lucky, a year if the establishment doesn’t get their act together).

For survival situations, you have to consider if your main or backup heating systems are going to operate when the utilities are down. Stored fuels like oil, propane and coal are fine while they last, but these furnaces require some electricity to control and run the fan.  Renewable resources like wood are limited as well for those who don’t live near a dense, wooded forest. Fortunately, most wood stoves don’t need any electricity.  But ultimately, everyone ought to be prepared to survive without external heat.

A Better Way to Stay Warm:

To survive in the cold focus on keeping your body warm—not the space around you. Modern long underwear is thin and comfortable and will keep you warm down to 40 or 50 degrees depending on your activity and other outer layers. Even cotton works if kept dry, but when it gets wet it loses loft and keeps the water close to your skin drawing out heat and making you clammy and cold (this is why survivalists say “cotton kills”). Long wool underwear is still the best of nature’s fabric—especially if you’re moving a lot and perspiring. Wool retains some loft and the new Merino blends aren’t itchy and are machine washable as well. If the daytime temperatures in your house drop below 40 degrees, however, you’ll need a better heat retention system. Fortunately, there is a modern solution to keeping warm even at extreme temperatures.

The 3 keys to staying warm are: retain heat, evacuate moisture and stop wind chill. Jim Phillips, a scientist and experienced winter survivalist, is the originator of cold weather clothing made with open cell foam which does the first two.  A suitable shell does the third. Foam retains heat in the air pockets throughout its structure and evacuates water by soaking excess moisture off your skin like a dry sponge.

Foam clothing does this best if worn close to your skin with a breathable (non-cotton) layer in-between like polyester or nylon. Open cell foam allows hot air near your body to slowly migrate through the breathable foam, absorbing and carrying moisture on its way out. Cold acts like a vacuum pulling some of the warmth (and the moisture in it) outward. The colder it is outside the better the moisture evacuation works. The density of the foam retains warmth even as the moisture is wicked away to the atmosphere.

Phillips wears a windproof outer shell to keep wind chill down and found that with 1” foam clothing he could stay comfortable for days on end in the Arctic. You can still order clothes from Jim’s site ($175 each for the coat and pants or $315 for both) or if you know how to sew, you can buy kit materials from them with instructions on how to do it yourself.

Fortress Clothing:

We have recently been able to test the latest improvements in severe weather clothing with a slightly better type of engineered polymer foam (EPF) from Fortress Clothing. Fortress has pioneered the latest advances in this technology and found an optimal foam for density (retaining heat) and breathe-ability (evacuating moisture) and the results are impressive. They sell a complete package of ½” foam clothes they stuff in a “bug out bag” and the total package weighs less than 5 lbs. They say the comfort zone for these clothes is a full 100 degrees of variation (-30 to 70 degrees F) with the caveat that this range depends on a person’s metabolism, exertion level, hydration and health.

Fortress Clothing puts a rip-stop, windbreak fabric outside the foam and a polyester mesh on the inside so the foam clothes are comfortable and durable but they still recommend wearing an outer shell. They have found the shell can be waterproof as long as it isn’t tight fitting—you want enough air to circulate that the foam can do its job at evacuating moisture. That’s all you need for -30 degree conditions you say—only two layers? -No down, fur, or Gore-Tex? I was skeptical too.

We have tried these clothes out in the Rocky Mountains during a snowstorm.  Andrew also ran two miles uphill in freezing temperatures until he had built up a sweat. Then he stopped and waited to get chilled.  It never happened. He even lay down in the snow for 15 minutes but was still comfortable. He then tried them indoors with the furnace off, sitting for long periods at his computer in 50 degree temps. These clothes tend to maintain an optimum temperature in a wide variety of activities.

Consider the worst winter survival scenario: You are cold and wet after getting soaked by rain, melting snow or (absolutely the worst case) falling into icy water in a lake or stream. In normal winter clothes, the sudden freezing temperatures can bring on hypothermia within minutes unless you get a fire started quickly and have access to dry clothes. But, not so with foam based insulation.  As soon as you extract yourself from the water, the foam starts to drain and the air pockets start retaining warmth. Here’s a video of people who jumped into ice water with Fortress Clothing and documented how quickly they recovered. People reported feeling warm in less than a minute and actually dried out in about five hours—all without changing clothes or starting a fire, which normally spells death in any other clothing.

Other Fortress Improvements: Foam clothes are inherently bulky and tend to bunch up inside the elbows and under the knees, so Fortress designed some ergonomic advances into their outfits that increases comfort. They shape and sew the foam in these areas to be more comfortable. It still feels like a foam suit when you first put it on, but the foam is soft and pliable so it doesn’t restrict movement. You can even sleep in it comfortably.

Slits at the side keep the jacket from bunching up in your face when you sit down and the long tail keeps your back warm when bending over. The foam head covering is a balaclava—a hat and scarf in one. It’s not stylish, but you will love it when the wind is blowing. The wide, padded chin wrap does a good job of keeping your lower face warm too. A large Velcro attachment lets you adjust it over or under the chin at your preference (or wrap it behind the head, out of the way). But the feature we loved the most was the wide ring of double wind-stop material attached to the bottom of the head gear: it blocks all cold drafts and keeps snow from getting down the back of the neck—much better than any scarf.

The “hot socks” are great slippers around the house but you will want extra large boots to use them during work or outside play. I bought rubber boots three sizes larger than my feet in order to fit over the inserts. Even after walking a few miles my feet did not build up sweat thanks to the foam.

The mittens are simple but well made with full foam all around the hand and a generous cuff. Fortress cuts and sews the foam to match the curve of the hand so the mittens are useful instead of just filling your grip with foam. Hands seem to stay much warmer in these mittens even when you wear a less effective conventional coat.  And, with the foam jacket on, you often don’t need gloves since your core is warm.

The Fortress outfit is all black, but that doesn’t matter because you cover it with an outer shell of your choice. We recommend that the uninsulated shell have a hood so it fits over the foam jacket and hat loosely. The pants shell should be loose fitting too.  Ski pant shells are ideal, but so are coveralls or baggy workout clothes depending on the kind of activities you are engaged in.

You can also buy this clothing in the 1″ thick version that protects you down to a whopping -68 deg. F., but unless you are planning arctic expeditions or live/work where it frequently gets below -30 F., I doubt you will need the extra bulk. What we really like about this high performance half-inch clothing is that it provides warmth clear down to well below zero, but is light and flexible enough to be used for active outdoor work, hunting or recreation—horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking and snowshoeing—without getting overheated. With no more bone chilling rides on the lift, you will never have a more enjoyable ski experience than with this Fortress gear.

Cost and Discount Offer:

At over $700 for the complete bundle, these severe weather clothes aren’t cheap, but we consider them the ultimate in quality. We have no financial interest in any of the reviews we perform, but Fortress has offered a big discount for subscribers to Joel’s World Affairs Brief—a geopolitical newsletter, which alerts readers to all the current threats we face. Subscribers get a generous 25% discount when they order by December 10. Put another way, the coupon will repay the cost for the year’s subscription and still save you over $125 when you buy a Fortress outfit in the neat, compact compression bag that is ready to store in the back of your car or replace all your other coats and winter fuel supplies. (Create a login, pay and then click on “Latest Brief” to read Joel’s analysis of the Paris attacks with this coupon code in the Prep Tip at the end).

The Fortress website is (www.fortressclothing.com or toll free 855-487-9276). If you can’t afford the whole outfit, start with the jacket, and then the hat and pants. Everything is handmade in the USA with specially designed, high quality foam (a big part of the cost).

Remember too that this is inner wear that will last for decades. The outer shells you wear over it will take most of the wear-and-tear. And while this lightweight clothing package is the easiest way to tackle winter cold, without gas, wood or batteries, it also serves all your outdoor work and recreation needs during the remaining good times. Highly recommended. [END]

Hunter Gatherer Skills That Every Survivalist Should Have

By Shane S

As a survivalist, you will be hunting and maybe raising your own food. With that comes the responsibility of knowing how to do these things and how to store them effectively. You will need to know how to hunt, raise, preserve, and how to prepare it.

Hunting

huntingBeing able to hunt on your homestead or other grounds can provide you a variety of foods. From fishing to deer, you will be able to have several different meat sources. Be sure you understand your local regulations because every state is different. Check with your local game warden if you aren’t sure about the specific laws.

  1. Bow hunting – Bow and crossbow hunting can be used for a broad variety of game, including deer. Wild turkey and wild hog are also popular choices when it comes to bow hunting. Be sure to practice your bow hunting skills to ensure success while hunting.
  2. Shotgun – Okay, you may not find a hunter-gatherer using firearms for hunting, but our frontiersman-forefathers did. You can hunt small game, like rabbits, squirrels, and a variety of birds with a shotgun. Not many people hunt deer with a shotgun yet it can be done if you know what you are getting into. The range will be much less than a rifle.
  3. Rifle Hunting – Rifles cover a broad range of calibers and that means that you can hunt a variety of different animals. The big advantage over shotguns is the high degree of accuracy at a distance that you get with a rifle. You can hunt small game like squirrels or opossums to much larger game like deer, elk, moose, and even bear.
  4. Snares – Trapping with snares is popular for many different kinds of small game. Animals like groundhogs, wild rabbit and even possums can be caught by this method.

Raising livestock

Raising your own livestock is a great way to know where your food is coming from. You get to determine how your food is raised and you control what they eat and what kind of supplements, if any are given to them.  There are many different animals that you can raise on your homestead or compound depending on the space you have.

  1. Small herd animals – Goats and sheep can also provide food by meat and milk. They are generally easy keepers and are versatile around the homestead.
  2. Fowl – Chickens are a favorite among survivalists, homesteaders, and preppers. (It turns out survivalists, homesteaders, and preppers have a lot in common.) They are easy to raise and provide two different sources of food with their meat and their eggs. They are relatively low cost to feed and easy to breed. And then there are turkeys have the same needs and environment as chickens, and they get along pretty well. Turkeys can provide a good bit of meat to store, and they can easily be raised.
  3. Rabbits are a great source of meat and most people think they taste like chicken, perhaps a little more gamey. The rumors are true about rabbits –they easily reproduce, creating a self sustaining meat source. Rabbits are also popular for their fur as well.

 

Cooking Off Grid

Once you have the meat (or other food) you have to do something with it — cook it! When you are cooking off grid, unless you have a solar panel, most of your cooking will either be done outdoors or on top of a wood heater. Knowing how to properly cook your food items is imperative. These skills take practice, but with time you will have no trouble cooking off grid.

  1. Smoking – Smoking is a great way to prepare your food and every week or so you may find me smoking a pork butt or some brisket. A smoker or even a smoke house can be created on your homestead with a minimal amount of effort. This method will give you great tasting food and even help you to preserve your food items.
  2. Campfire cooking – A broad variety of foods can be cooked over a campfire. From stews to meats, campfire cooking is highly popular. You will need to make sure that you have the proper items like wood (dense hardwood if you have it) and a large cast iron dutch oven.
  3. Underground Oven – Cooking underground will allow you to cook anything that you would like and can help to cook things like bread and even biscuits. Vegetables and meats can also be prepared by cooking underground.

Making the Food Last – Preservation Techniques

canned food picPreserving your food is a good skill. Whether you hunt or grow your own, you will often have an abundance of food leftover. You will need food for long term storage so it is imperative to know how to preserve your food.

  1. Canning – There are many foods that can be canned including meats and vegetables. Canning your food allows it to stay good for a year or more. Canning can be done on top of a wood stove with ease. Make sure you do your research and learn how to properly can your food without any risk of bacterial contaminants.
  2. Dehydrating – Just by using the sun, you can dehydrate your foods. The great thing is that you can dehydrate almost anything: fruits, vegetables, and even meats. This is a good way to store a broad variety of foods for future storage. After dehydration, you will want to make sure that you a proper way to store the food.

Conclusion

Raising your own animals, hunting, and preserving are all must-have skills of a survivalist or prepper. There will have to be a trial and error process but with practice and research, you will have no trouble finding or raising, and preparing your own food.

Bio: When Shane isn’t hunting, hiking, or fishing, he blogs about all things outdoors at Outdoorsman Time.

M.D. Adds : If you’re interested in learning these skills (you should be) then as a first step I recommend that you order a copy of – The Modern Hunter-Gatherer: A Practical Guide To Living Off The Land.

Wandering The Wasteland After The Collapse – Are You Just Fooling Yourself?

Guest post by Bruce Buckshot Hemming

I was reading another survival blog when the age-old Semi versus Bolt gun argument came up.”Our character is out wandering around after the Apocalypse (Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse) and is attacked by dogs. He gallantly fought them off with his SKS. And made the comment that he would have been dead if he had only carried a bolt-action.”

I wrote the Dog attack 3 articles series back in 1999 first published on Captain Dave Survival site. The basic concept was that today people love their dogs so much they would not put them down and let them go. End result would be huge dog packs attacking and killing people. Since then many writers have put this in books and articles, one guy even used pictures of snares from my web site for his article without giving me credit for it. Since I know for a fact I was the first one to explain using snares as a defense against dog packs. The best defense to protect your garden and livestock or game animals would be snares. I would have 10 dozens coyote grade snares.

My latest Novel Grid Down Reality Bites again has using snares for defense against dog packs. When it takes $1000 to fill up your gas tank with hyper inflated dollars or $500 a loaf bread comes from Hyper-inflation as our currency collapses you will be darn glad you learned trapping and snaring skills ahead of time. But back to the gun talk.

Let’s see we have what I call the “Book of Eli” and “The Road” mentality what I call the fantasy survivalist. They assume they  can put on their backpack grabbed their SKS and wandered the land like young Grasshopper Cain from the 70’s Kung Fu TV series. A little reality needs to be brought up. One point is the standard carry load for the SKS/ AR is around 200 rounds. I know you think wow I would carry a thousand rounds right. Sure you would for about 100 yards. Then sweating like a stuff pig huffing and puffing you would realize the fact that 200 rounds plus the rest of the survival gear in your Bug out Back Pack is about all you can carry.

When the Backwoodsman interviewed me for an article on just 1 gun to carry I answer two guns. A .22 pistol and trapper Model 30-30. The trapper model is the short barrel lightweight Winchester Model 94. Having carried a rifle all day in the woods  you learn a few things like you know in thick brush that a short 30-30 sure is handy. That after hours of walking that lightweight rifle sure beats that heavy SKS. Common sense dictates that the more you work the more you eat. Think about it. You are an engine that needs fuel to keep going. Our fuel is calorie intake. The more you work the more you eat. The more weight you carry the more fuel you need.

We know the real men in the past, like the brave souls from Lewis and Clark were clearly working for a living. Man was the beast of burden in many cases. How much fuel did they use? I read a journal that said the party would consumer a full-grown 1500 pound buffalo in 2 days each man was eating 5-8 pounds of meat per day. The point being you need a lot of food. The other blog had a great point on bolt versus the semi. You are more likely to run through your ammo quickly with a semi then with a bolt.

A bolt forces you to be more accurate cause deep in your mind you are thinking make this shot count cause it takes so long to get another round in . Same with the 30-30 lever-action. But with semi you think no big deal I have 9 more shots who cares if I miss (or 29 more in AR/AK). Which means that Young Grasshopper you will be out of ammo for a Semi in a short time.

Now to decided how much ammo to carry will 140-200 rounds of 30-30 ammo. 400 rounds of killed them dead now hard-hitting Remington Yellow Jackets and 100 CCI 40 grain copper plated solid points. I once wasted a lot of time trying to educated a paper shooter on the proper ammo to carry. I recommends above ammo and soft point instead of Full Metal jacket.

He was part of the Semi auto the military know best FMJ ammo is the best crowd. This young 28-year-old got real defensive. When I try to explain that I have live off the land and have shot 1000’s of animals in my life he attacked calling me a bragger. Ah the young and the dead. LOL

You see I have shot a lot of animals with 22’s one lesson I learn early on was solid point ripped straight through the animal and did not drop them dead. End result lost animals that escape and died wasting them. Once I switch to yellow jackets end result a huge jump in dead right now animals equal more animals in the cooking pot.

But if you try to shoot a deer in the head with the Yellow jacket the rapid expanding hollowpoint will just flatten on the skull not penetrating and end result will be a deer with a headache. Hence the reason for the solid points. Of course the 30-30 would be used for deer most of the time but as a back up in case the 30-30 broke you could still shoot one.

When your life is on the line why risk it. Wandering the wasteland is a fantasy without re supply. But a small hunting camp with a hand pump Water well or maybe a 500-1000 gallon Cistern buried and fill with rain water off your roof would be a God sent in a true collapse. A wood stove, Axe, Hand saw, and a way to grow a garden would be paradise.

Everyone needs to remember Colonel Tanner  from the Movie Red Dawn (1984)

“You think you’re tough for eating beans every day? There’s half a million scarecrows in Denver who’d give anything for one mouthful of what you got. They’ve been under siege for about three months. They live on rats and sawdust bread and sometimes… on each other. At night, the pyres for the dead light up the sky. It’s medieval.”

You could inexpensively use square straw bales and stucco to insulate the heck out of the walls and give some ballistic stopping power. Don’t know how long it would last in a real firefight, or maybe you could use Ram Earth Bricks.

Traps: The 110 conibear is the best small game trap on the market followed by snares. I would go with a solar battery charger and NiNH batteries LED lanterns flashlights and you could have a pretty good life. It comes down to the basic first. Shelter a roof over your head, heat a wood stove, food garden traps snares hunting, water a well or Cistern with a water filter, lights plenty of NiNH batteries solar chargers 3 lanterns 10 flashlights, good knives – I like the Mora of Sweden All Purpose Knife or the  Mora of Sweden Camping & Hiking Knife. For less than $20 you could have a darn good life. Add some Yo Yo fishing reels to be your traps in the summer months.

If you really got fancy you could have a propane cook stove. 2 – 100 pound cylinders last about 1 year for the average person or 10 months for a small family. Make sure you buy for the house propane cook stove not the RV ones that use a ton of propane. Flint and Steel for when your matches and lighter runs out.

I just don’t get folks that don’t think this all through. The fantasy wandering the wasteland is a great movie script but is almost impossible in real life. A small 5 acre place like that would be worth it weight in gold or a truck load of Semi autos with no ammo in the wasteland of a true collapse. Take care of the basic first then everything else is gravy for making your life better.

by Bruce Buckshot Hemming – visit his website for survival trapping information and tools.

How To Start a Fire in the Woods

by Richard G – How To Start a Fire in the Woods

Fire and Life

campfireNo discover since the beginning of time has been more important to the development of mankind, then the discovery of Fire. The simple presence of a fire added to the routinely “normal” day in the outdoors instantly adds the feeling of safety to any situation. In any severe or extreme condition, the presence of fire, literally means life. There are many ways to start a fire. They all have the same effect. The Boy Scout Handbook states, “A fire can warm you, cook your meals, and dry your clothes. Bright flames lift your spirits on rainy mornings.

On a starry night, glowing embers stir your imagination.”  The base items needed to build all fires are, Tinder, Kindling and Fuel. Each of these must be collected and be prepared before any attempt to build the fire. These three items are common to all fires. Tinder is material that catch fire easily and burn fast. Wood shavings, pine needles, dry grasses, shredded bark and the fluff from seed pods all make good tinder. You should gather enough to fill a hat. Kindling is dry, dead twigs no thicker than a pencil.

Gather enough to fill a hat twice. Fuel, fuel wood can be as thin as your finger or as thick as your arm. Gather dry dead sticks and limbs. When gathering fuel wood remember these three rules. One, you must always have at least 3 sticks in the fire at a time or it will go out. Two, if you want to burn one, 3” stick, you need to have three 1” sticks burning first. Three, gather twice as much fuel wood then you think you’ll need. Once you have all of these items collected you are ready to begin building your fire.

In every case covered below you will use your “source” to ignite the tinder, which will ignite the kindling, which will ignite the fuel wood. The effect is always the same regardless of the cause of the initial item(s) used to generate the initial ember, spark or flame that actually starts the fire as these take many forms.

Most Common Igniters

The most common and easiest items used to start fires are matches and cigarette lighters. Matches work by striking them against a special surface in order to get them to ignite. The match heads contain sulfur (sometimes antimony III sulfide) and oxidizing agents (usually potassium chlorate), with powdered glass, colorants, fillers, and a binder made of glue and starch.

The striking surface consists of powdered glass or silica (sand), red phosphorus, binder, and filler. When you strike a safety match, the glass-on-glass friction generates heat, converting a small amount of red phosphorus to white phosphorus vapor. White phosphorus spontaneously ignites, decomposing potassium chlorate and liberating oxygen. At this point, the sulfur starts to burn, which ignites the wood of the match. (about.com/chemistry).

Cigarette lighters work by rotating a steel wheel that is in contact with a flint. When the wheel is turned the flint produces a spark which ignites the stored fuel in the lighter creating a flame.

Either of these when applied to the Tinder will result in a fire being started.

Metal Fire Starters

Magnesium and flint fire starters are also very common. A piece of flint approximately 1/8” x 3” will be attached to a piece of magnesium that is approximately 5/8” x 1” x 3”. It works by scraping a small amount of the magnesium from the block onto your tinder. (Magnesium burns at 5000 degrees Fahrenheit.) You then want to strike the flint in a manner to create a spark that will be thrown into the magnesium and tinder.

This is done by holding the bottom of your knife blade directly over the tinder and magnesium. You then place the top rear portion of the starter against your knife blade. Then holding the fire starter firmly with under your knife blade you draw the started backward quickly.

This produces a spark that flies forward from you knife blade into the tinder and magnesium. If you attempt the hold the starter still and create the spark by moving you knife forward across the starter you will most likely know the tinder all over the place.

Wet Weather Starters

Wet weather creates a particular challenge when trying to start a fire. I have found that taking cotton balls and coating them with Vaseline works wonderfully in wet weather. You can fit about 10 coated cotton balls in a 35mm film can. They work by removing one cotton ball from the can and stretching it out until the cotton ball is very thin. Using any of the above methods to light the cotton ball will result in a small steady flame that will burn upwards to 8 minutes.

Lightning was probably the cause of the first fire that man every got to enjoy. If you have got the time, lightning may start your next fire for you too. Otherwise it would be smart to be prepared with a few of the items listed here to help you build you next fire. It could well mean the difference between life and death for you.