Notice: This website may or may not use or set cookies used by Google Ad-sense or other third party companies. If you do not wish to have cookies downloaded to your computer, please disable cookie use in your browser. Thank You.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trapping Basics 101


For an unarmed survivor or evader, or when the sound of a rifle shot could be a problem, trapping or snaring wild game is a good alternative. Several well-placed traps have the potential to catch much more game than a man with a rifle is likely to shoot.

To be effective with any type of trap or snare, you must—

• Be familiar with the species of animal you intend to catch.
• Be capable of constructing a proper trap and properly masking your scent.
• Not alarm the prey by leaving signs of your presence.

There are no catchall traps you can set for all animals. You must determine what species are in the area and set your traps specifically with those animals in mind.

Look for the following:

• Runs and trails.
• Tracks.
• Droppings.
• Chewed or rubbed vegetation.
• Nesting or roosting sites.
• Feeding and watering areas.

Position your traps and snares where there is proof that animals pass through. You must determine if it is a "run" or a "trail." A trail will show signs of use by several species and will be rather distinct. A run is usually smaller and less distinct and will only contain signs of one species.

You may construct a perfect snare, but it will not catch anything if haphazardly placed in the woods. Animals have bedding areas, water holes, and feeding areas with trails leading from one to another. You must place snares and traps around these areas to be effective.

If you are in a hostile environment, trap and snare concealment is important. However, it is equally important not to create a disturbance that will alarm the animal and cause it to avoid the trap.

Therefore, if you must dig, remove all fresh dirt from the area. Most animals will instinctively avoid a pitfall-type trap. Prepare the various parts of a trap or snare away from the site, carry them in, and set them up. Such actions make it easier to avoid disturbing the local vegetation, thereby alerting the prey.

Do not use freshly cut, live vegetation to construct a trap or snare. Freshly cut vegetation will "bleed" sap that has an odor the prey will be able to smell. It is an alarm signal to the animal.


You must remove or mask the human scent on and around the trap you set. Although birds do not have a developed sense of smell, nearly all mammals depend on smell even more than on sight. Even the slightest human scent on a trap will alarm the prey and cause it to avoid the area.

Actually removing the scent from a trap is difficult but masking it is relatively easy. Use the fluid from the gall and urine bladders of previous kills. Do not use human urine. Mud, particularly from an area with plenty of rotting vegetation, is also good.

Use it to coat your hands when handling the trap and to coat the trap when setting it. In nearly all parts of the world, animals know the smell of burned vegetation and smoke. It is only when a fire is actually burning that they become alarmed.

Therefore, smoking the trap parts is an effective means to mask your scent. If one of the above techniques is not practical, and if time permits, allow a trap to weather for a few days and then set it. Do not handle a trap while it is weathering.

When you position the trap, camouflage it as naturally as possible to prevent detection by the enemy and to avoid alarming the prey.


Traps or snares placed on a trail or run should use funneling or channelization. To build a channel, construct a funnel-shaped barrier extending from the sides of the trail toward the trap, with the narrowest part nearest the trap.

Channelization should be inconspicuous to avoid alerting the prey. As the animal gets to the trap, it cannot turn left or right and continues into the trap. Few wild animals will back up, preferring to face the direction of travel. Channelization does not have to be an impassable barrier.

You only have to make it inconvenient for the animal to go over or through the barrier. For best effect, the channelization should reduce the trail's width to just slightly wider than the targeted animal's body.

Maintain this constriction at least as far back from the trap as the animal's body length, then begin the widening toward the mouth of the funnel.


Baiting a trap or snare increases your chances of catching an animal. When catching fish, you must bait nearly all the devices. Success with an unbaited trap depends on its placement in a good location. A baited trap can actually draw animals to it. The bait should be something the animal knows.

However, this bait should not be so readily available in the immediate area that the animal can get it close by. For example, baiting a trap with corn in the middle of a cornfield would not be likely to work. Likewise, if corn is not grown in the region, a corn-baited trap may arouse an animal's curiosity and keep it alerted while it ponders the strange food. Under such circumstances it may not go for the bait.

One bait that works well on small mammals is the peanut butter from a meal, ready-to-eat (MRE) ration. Salt is also a good bait. When using such baits, scatter bits of it around the trap to give the prey a chance to sample it and develop a craving for it. The animal will then overcome some of its caution before it gets to the trap.

If you set and bait a trap for one species but another species takes the bait without being caught, try to determine what the animal was. Then set a proper trap for that animal, using the same bait.

NOTE: Once you have successfully trapped an animal, you will not only gain confidence in your ability, you will also have resupplied yourself with bait for several more traps.


Traps and snares crush, choke, hang, or entangle the prey. A single trap or snare will commonly incorporate two or more of these principles. The mechanisms that provide power to the trap are usually very simple. The struggling victim, the force of gravity, or a bent sapling's tension provides the power.

The heart of any trap or snare is the trigger. When planning a trap or snare, ask yourself how it should affect the prey, what is the source of power, and what will be the most efficient trigger.

Your answers will help you devise a specific trap for a specific species. Traps are designed to catch and hold or to catch and kill. Snares are traps that incorporate a noose to accomplish either function.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Small Game Noose Snares

Simple Small Game Noose Snare

Quail Snare

Squirrel Pole Noose Snare

Funneling Game

A simple snare consists of a noose placed over a trail or den hole and attached to a firmly planted stake or bush limb. If the noose is some type of cordage placed upright on a game trail, use small twigs or blades of grass to hold it up.

Filaments from spider webs are excellent for holding nooses open. Make sure the noose is large enough to pass freely over the animal's head. As the animal continues to move, the noose tightens around its neck. The more the animal struggles, the tighter the noose gets.

This type of snare usually does not kill the animal. If you use cordage, it may loosen enough to slip off the animal's neck. Wire is therefore the best choice for a simple snare.

Squirrel Pole:

A squirrel pole is a long pole placed against a tree in an area showing a lot of squirrel activity and uses the simple noose technique. Place several wire nooses along the top and sides of the pole so that a squirrel trying to go up or down the pole will have to pass through one or more of them.

Position the nooses 2 to 2 1/4-inches in diameter about 1 inch off the pole. Place the top and bottom wire nooses 18 inches from the top and bottom of the pole to prevent the squirrel from getting its feet on a solid surface. If this happens, the squirrel will chew through the wire.

Squirrels are naturally curious. After an initial period of caution, they will try to go up or down the pole and will be caught in the noose. The struggling animal will soon fall from the pole and strangle. Other squirrels will soon be drawn to the commotion. In this way, you can catch several squirrels. You can set up multiple poles to increase the catch.

When placing snares on game trails or near holes, place them in area where there are naturally occurring funnels.  If there are no naturally occurring funnels, make some.  See the diagram above labeled funneling technique. Also, read the post on snare 101 for baiting and scenting information.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Improvised Wooden Knife

When you hear the words "wooden knife"- what comes to mind? To me it used to be something I made and played with as young boy, not knowing it's potential deadliness. Now when I hear the words "wooden knife", I know it is something that could save my life in a wilderness or urban survival situation.

When I was a young and handsome boy, I was only allowed a pocket knife, one which could cut and cause wounds, but would require a lot of strength and skill to kill a person or large animal. But, with that small knife I was able to whittle larger knives and put fancy rope handles on them. I made wooden knives large enough to kill with little skill needed.

With my small knife, I was able to make bows, arrows, spears, darts, boats, forts (which we survivalist now call shelters) and other things to play with as boys my age liked to do.

Now put this same life experience into a survival situation where the only cutting tool you have is a small pocket knife with about a 2-3 inch blade. I would not want to try and fend off a charging wild pig with a small pocket knife, especially in a close quarters situation, like waking up in your survival shelter with one staring you in the face to see if you are potential food or not.

With a wooden knife the size of a Bowie knife, you have a much better chance of surviving a close quarters incident. True, you may have a spear, but how fast can you grab it with a two hundred pound Javelina named Godzilla getting ready to use you as a play toy! Think about it...

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Western Pepper Grass

Western (desert) Pepper Grass Growing In Mesquite Bush

Western (desert) Pepper Grass
The dried seed pods can be ground and make a good substitute for black pepper.

The seeds were a staple in the Ancestral Puebloans’ diet. The greens were also eaten and are rich in Vitamin A. The seeds were chewed as a relief for headaches. Other plant parts were used to cure dizziness and gastro-intestinal disorders. It has also been used as a disinfectant.

Lepidium fremontii (desert pepperweed) is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family which is native to the southwestern United States, where it grows on sandy desert flats and the rocky slopes of nearby hills and mountains.

The seed pods, leaves and flower petals are used to flavor soups, salads and meats. Pepper Grass has more of a horse radish taste and odor with a slight spicy hot kick like black pepper. A lot goes a long ways, so don't over do it.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Split-Stick Deadfall

Split-stick Trigger

This technique involves a lot less carving of angles and cuts than the figure 4 trigger setup and has a better chance of tripping when a prey engages the bait stick.

The important cut or notch on this setup is the one that is cut into the bait stick and holds the two splits sticks. The notch must have a snug fit, but not to snug. It needs to have a little play in it.  The notch in the video was a little too tight as you can tell when the trigger was being manipulated.

This could result in the prey becoming squeamish with all the moving of the parts and decides to take off looking for food elsewhere.

You can set up a lot of traps using this system in a short amount of time giving you a better chance to obtain a meal.  Set up about 8-10 of these traps in an area where you will be setting up camp.  Check them every 90 minutes and the first thing in the morning and just before bedtime. 

Remember to release all traps that were setup when they are no longer needed.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Improvised Spears

3 Prong Spear

Hard Wood Tip
4 Prong Fish Spear

Since the time of the caveman, the spear has been used as a hunting tool and weapon. Spear designs have come a long way since then, but the basics have remained throughout the ages.  The basics of taking a long hardwood stave and adding a killing or gathering tip to it will always remain.

A well made spear will give the survivalist the upper hand in many survival scenarios. The spear gives one a sense of protection against the wild, a sense of balance while walking the vast terrain, and gives the ability to help obtain food.

The spear gives you that distance you need between a predator and the wielder. That distance, with the ability to inflict pain, injury or death to an attacker may me the different between life or death in a wilderness or urban survival situation.

When time permits, the spear should be the first weapon or tool you should think about making before any other tool, that's if you do not already have a suitable source of protection, like a rifle or pistol. Even then I would still make one to use while walking about to help give you advanced warning of snakes and possible hidden holes beneath vegetation or snow.

A red or orange cloth or something similar can be tied to the end of the spear to be held high to help catch the attention of a rescue party if you happen to be in tall vegetation.  The spear has many uses- many that will save your life.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Basic Bundle Bow

The basic bundle bow provides a little more arrow flinging power than just a green sapling bow or green sapling that has the limbs carved to provide tillering and stability to the limbs.

The bundle bow will last a slight bit longer than the above mentioned bows and does not take very long to make since there is no carving involved.  Different sized limbs with different thicknesses can be added to get the right draw string weight needed to take down the bigger game animals.  Thus, giving the survivalist a better chance of making it out alive.

The personal protection of this type bow is also a plus.  Bears attacks are very likely in the wilderness and with the ability to reach out and touch that bear to try and keep it at bay can be the difference between life or death.

Lets not forget that these survival tools may, for some unforeseen reasons, have to be used against other people. Our world is changing rapidly. Change which is mostly for the worst.  The survivalist has to be prepare for anything. Learn it the easy way now or the hard way later.

Make yourself a bow and arrow and practice with it.  Practice with store bought bows and arrows as well. This way you get the feel of both worlds, which makes you better prepared.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Trap-Door Deadfall

Trap Door Deadfall
The material used for this deadfall was the stalk from the yucca plant. Once the platform is set into place as shown in the above picture, more weight is added on top. The weight should be around 20-30 lbs depending on the type animal that may be in the area.

The horizontal trigger stick should be covered lightly with leaves or grasses and bait placed on top of that.  The trap should be set up on a game trail that appears to be used frequently.

Smaller branches or grasses can be set up on the sides of the trap door leaving a small archway for game to walk into.  Also, small stick spikes can be added to the trap door to increase the effectiveness of the kill.

High or gusty winds will set this trap off inadvertently, so try and set it up in a place out of the wind if possible.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Cane Cholla

The cane cholla (or walking stick cholla, tree cholla, chainlink cactus) (Cylindropuntia imbricata) is a cactus found in arid parts of North America, including some cooler regions in comparison to many other cacti. It is often conspicuous because of its shrubby or even tree-like size, its silhouette, and its long-lasting yellowish fruits.

This species blooms in late spring or early summer. The flowers are purple or magenta, rarely rose-pink, about 2 in wide. The fruits are yellowish, tubercular like the stems, and shaped something like the frustum of a cone, with a hollow at the wide end where the flower fell off; they are often mistaken for flowers. The plant retains them all winter.

The fruits are also eaten by various wild birds and mammals, including pronghorn antelope, desert bighorn sheep, and deer.

One tablespoon of buds from the cholla cactus has as much calcium as eight ounces of milk. The buds are rich in soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar.

The fruit of some species is edible raw or boiled. To harvest it, twist it off the plant, or knock it off with a stick. Two long sticks can be used as tongs, or a pocket knife can be used. The fruit can be gathered and stirred with a stick or Chaparral branch, or other brush-like branch and then rubbed with a cloth to remove the glochids. Or wipe it with a wet cloth, or roll it in the sand and then soak it in water. Or, roll it in gravel or burn to remove the spines.

Peel the skin with a knife, or slice it away. The fruit can be impaled on a cholla thorn while you work on it. Some fruit is good raw, with or without salt, some roasted on hot coals for a half hour, which can be done before it is peeled, and some boiled and mashed, possibly with honey added. Some fruit can be dried and stored.

The dried cholla wood can be used for firewood, used to make picture frames, tool handles, lamp stands and many other items. The thorns can be used for sewing needles or to make improvised fish hooks.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prickly Pear Cactus

Nutrition Chart

Pick the young, glossy green cactus pads when collecting to eat. The older pads a more fibrous. The pads contain thorns and small hairlike glochids that will irritate the skin. The cactus fruit contain the glochids as well.

The cactus pads taste similar to green peppers with a little sourness thrown in. The peeled pads can also be sliced thin and boiled. The first water is poured off if you want to reduce the sliminess. Then, once cooked in the second water, you can seasoning, if available. The peeled pads can also be baked like squash or pickled.

The fruit is edible raw, with a flavor reminiscent of watermelon, or strawberry/kiwi mix, but with a more granular texture. The fruit is full of tiny seeds which can be chewed and eaten, swallowed whole, or spit out.

The fruit can be red, wine-red, green or yellow-orange. Indians would dry the seeds, and grind them into a type of pastry flour.

Cactus pads can also be used as a hair rinse and conditioner. Take small chunks of the peeled pads, add them to a container of water, and agitate. Strain out the cactus and keep the mucilaginous liquid. This liquid should be massaged into the hair, and then rinsed, resulting in silkier hair.

There has been medical interest in the Prickly Pear plant. Some studies have shown that the pectin contained in the Prickly Pear pulp lowers levels of "bad" cholesterol while leaving "good" cholesterol levels unchanged. Among other things, it helps the pancreas to produce insulin.

Although, the prickly pear cactus is about 80-90% water, eating it raw is the best way to obtain the fluids, which are slightly thick. The pads can be peeled and chopped up and then placed in a bandanna or something similar in order to squeeze the thick fluids out, which can then be sipped off the surface of the rag.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Making A Basic Bow

Basic Bow

A good bow is the result of many hours of work. You can construct a suitable short-term bow fairly easily. When it loses its spring or breaks, you can replace it.

The basic bow shown in the video came from the desert willow and is green, meaning it was still alive when harvested. If allowed to dry and become what is called seasoned over a couple of weeks, the wood will become more flexible, last longer, and capable of launching the arrow faster and farther.

Mesquite and juniper are two other sources of bow making material, but these should be seasoned (dead) to be used effectively.

Select a hardwood stick about 4 1/2- 5 feet long that is free of knots or limbs. Carefully scrape the large end down until it has the same pull as the small end. Careful examination will show the natural curve of the stick. Always scrape from the side that faces you, or the bow will break the first time you pull it.

To increase the pull, lash a second bow to the first, front to front, forming an "X" when viewed from the side. Attach the tips of the bows with cordage and only use a bowstring on one bow. This type of bow will be discussed in another episode.

When not using the bow, always release the string tension. By doing this the bow will last longer. During the evening you can fire harden the bow, if it is made of green wood, by holding it over the hot coals for short periods of time without burning the wood. This dries the moisture faster from the wood.

You should make a practice bow and arrows to use when not hunting to familiarize yourself with shooting one. Practice now when you are not in a survival situation and you will be one more step to being prepared to use one when the time comes to need it.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Pronghorn Antelope

The Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), is a species of artiodactyl (any of an order of ungulates (as the camel or pig) with an even number of functional toes on each foot) mammal endemic to interior western and central North America.

Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the Prong Buck, Pronghorn Antelope, Speedgoat, or simply Antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to convergent evolution. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.

Adult males are 4 1/4–5 ft long from nose to tail and stand 2 5/8–3 3/8 ft high at the shoulder, and weigh 36–70 kg. The females are the same heights as males but weigh 41–50 kg. The feet have just two hooves, with no dewclaws.

Each "horn" of the Pronghorn is composed of a slender, laterally flattened blade of bone that grows from the frontal bones of the skull, forming a permanent core.

Males have a prominent pair of horns on the top of the head, which are made up of an outer sheath of hairlike substance that grows around a bony core; the outer sheath is shed annually. Males have a horn sheath about 12.5–43 cm (mean 25 cm) long with a prong. Females have smaller horns, ranging from 2.5–15 cm (average 12 cm), and sometimes barely visible; they are straight and very rarely pronged.

Males are further differentiated from females in that males will have a small patch of black hair at the corner of the jawbone. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a scent gland located on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes, with a 320 degree field of vision. Unlike deer, Pronghorns possess a gallbladder.

Pronghorns can run exceptionally fast, being built for maximum predator evasion through running, and is generally accepted to be the fastest land mammal in the New World. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it is variously cited as up to 70 km/h. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs.

Bands of Pronghorns live in open grasslands, forming small single-sex groups in spring and summer, and gathering into large mixed herds, sometimes up to 1,000 strong, in the fall and winter.

Pronghorns can see up to four miles away and are always on the look out for predators.

If you plan on trying to catch one of these in a survival situation, it is best to have a good strong bow or a survival rifle. A .22 LR round can take down one of these if you are close enough.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mormon Tea

Ephedra Bush

Mormon Tea (Ephedra) is a branched broom-like shrub growing up to 4 feet tall, with slender, jointed stems. The leaves are reduced to scales and grow in opposite pairs or whorls of three and are fused for half their length.

Male and female flowers, blooming in March and April, are borne on separate plants in cone like structures. They are followed by small brown to black seeds.

The Indians prepared Ephedra as a tea for stomach and bowel disorders, colds, fever, and headache. The dried and powdered twigs were used in poultices for burns and ointments for sores. One tribe made a concoction of the entire plant and drank it to help stop bleeding.

Early Mormon settlers, who abstained from regular tea and coffee, drank the beverage made from this plant. A handful of green or dry stems and leaves were placed in boiling water for each cup of tea desired. It was removed from the fire and allowed to steep for twenty minutes or more. To bring out the full flavor, a spoon of sugar or some honey was added depending on individual taste.

Other white settlers used a very strong tea of the plant for the treatment of syphilis and other venereal disease, and as a tonic.

Although not as potent as the commercial relatives in China, the southwestern species contains enough ephedrine-related alkaloid ingredients to make it functional. The drug ephedrine is a stimulant to the sympathetic nerves and has an effect on the body similar to adrenaline. It has a pronounced diuretic and decongestant effect and was used wherever urinary tract problems occurred.

The dark brown resinous scales contain at least a third tannin and made an excellent external hemostatic.

The small, hard, brown seeds were ground and used as a bitter meal or added to bread dough to flavor it.

People cultivating their own ephedra should be aware that it is should not be used by those with known hypersensitivity to sympathomimetics, women who are pregnant or lactating, children less than 18 years of age, and people with narrow-angle glaucoma, seizure disorders, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, prostatic hypertrophy, arrhythmias, heart block, hypertension, psychosis, tachycardia, and angina pectoris.

Ephedra can cause palpitations, tachycardia, hypertension, arrhythmias, stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, insomnia, anxiety, hallucinations, tremors, seizures, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dysuria, urinary retention, dermatitis, dyspnea, contractions of the uterus.

Dried ephedra stems turned into powder (with ephedrine concentration of 1 percent) are used in a daily dosage of 3 grams on average. In this case the plant is taken in form of tea.


The average single dose of ephedrine for adults is 1530 mg, with a maximum allowed daily dose of 300 mg per day. When consumed as a tea, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of ephedra is boiled with 1 cup (250 ml) water for 1520 minutes, with up to 2 cups (500 ml) of the tea allowed per day. 

Mormon Tea, Desert Tea, Squaw Tea
(Ephedra spp.)

In a boiling pot of water, place a small handful of green or brown Ephedra twigs for each cup desired. Cover and steep 20 minutes. Strain and drink. There are many species of Ephedras in the Desert Southwest, but all make a tasty, energizing tea. Southwestern Indians and European desert travelers have long brewed Mormon tea or chewed the twigs to quench thirst and boost energy. Mormon tea is considered a general tonic for stomach ailments and kidney disorders.

Note: Those who are sensitive to caffeine should probably avoid this tea. The drug ephedrine is obtained from a Chinese species of Ephedra.

Non-prescription remedies which include ephedrine are applied in a dosage of 20 mg on average, with an interval of four hours. 150 mg is a maximal recommended dose for adults. Pseudo ephedrine is applied in a dose of 60 mg with an interval of 6 hours.

The tannin's in Mormon tea have an astringent effect to reduce body secretions such as mucus. There isn't enough information to know how Mormon tea might work for uses such as kidney problems and sexually transmitted diseases.

Mormon Tea is used for asthma, headaches, fevers, colds, allergies, bladder and kidney problems, and bursitis. Mormon Tea stimulates the nervous system and acts directly on the muscle cells. Blood vessels are affected, circulation is improved, and the heartbeat becomes slower and stronger. American Desert Herb is considered a bronchial dilator and decongestant, and contains vitamin B-12, cobalt, strontium, nickel and copper.

Mormon Tea is a milder member of the ephedra family than the Chinese variety, but it used in a similar fashion, but unlike E. sinica, Mormon Tea does not contain the high content of ephedrine, an alkaloid that is very effective medically, but has the side effects of raising blood pressure and heart rate. Mormon Tea, however, does contain nor-pseudoephedrine, which gives it similar asthma and respiratory support, supposedly without the side effects.

Mormon Tea has been used to relieve respiratory system ailments. It is said to act quickly to reduce swellings of the mucous membranes and dilate the bronchial vessels, reducing excess mucus and phlegm. While it does not cure asthma, it is believed to be effective in treating its symptoms, as well as the symptoms of hay fever and other allergic complaints. These decongestant properties are also said to relieve symptoms of colds, coughs, lung constriction and congestion.

The milder American ephedra in Mormon Tea is said to be an excellent diuretic that helps to eliminate fluids from the body and relieve excess water weight.

Mormon Tea is a central nervous system stimulant, and some claim its actions are similar to those of adrenaline. Although the alkaloid content is reduced in American species, both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine elevate heart rate and also blood pressure by constricting the blood vessels (vasoconstrictor). In turn, this action is said to force more blood to the extremities (head, arms, legs, feet), stimulating the brain and nerve centers and reducing fatigue and weariness. This feature is also believed to help to elevate low moods and ease depression.

Recent research into the effects of Mormon Tea claim that it has demonstrated antiviral properties, most notably in the treatment of influenza, and because it is considered a diaphoretic, the herb is also thought to reduce fever by increasing perspiration.

Mormon Tea should not be used by those under eighteen years of age. If symptoms of nervousness, tremor, insomnia, loss of appetite or nausea occur, discontinue or reduce the use of this product. Because Mormon Tea is an astringent, it may cause constipation. It is always advisable to consult a physician before using Mormon Tea for any specific applications.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rabbit For Lunch?

Rabbit is one of the wilderness game that can be caught fairly easy if done with patience. Although rabbit meat is filling and will stop the hunger pains, you can still starve from lack of fats not found abundantly in rabbit meat.

Rabbits can be caught by digging them out of a hole, or smoking them out. They can be caught with snare traps and dead-fall traps, and with improvised hunting tools like the throwing stick (rabbit stick) or bow and arrow.

Chasing a rabbit down on foot is out of the question, unless you get lucky. Rabbits can run up to 45 mph, like the Jackrabbit.

Jackrabbits are considered a hare. Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other leporids, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form.

Hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, relative to that afforded by a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are hence able to fend for themselves soon after birth. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.

All rabbits (except the cottontail rabbits) live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares (and cottontail rabbits) live in simple nests above the ground, and usually do not live in groups. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears, and have black markings on their fur.

Below are three rabbit breeds that you will probably come across if surviving in the Southwestern United States.

Antelope Jackrabbit

The Antelope Jackrabbit is found in Arizona in United States and the states of Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Sonora in Mexico.

The Antelope Jackrabbit is found in a variety of habitat. It can be found in grassy hills or plains. It can also be found in the deserts of the southwest as well. Jackrabbits are not uncommon in urban areas either, where they have adapted very well to human encroachment upon their habitat.

The Antelope Jackrabbit has a body length that ranges from 18 to 24 in. long. Its tail will grow to lengths of 1 to 4 in. long. Its front legs grow from 4 to 8 in. long and the back legs can grow from 8 to 12 in. long. The legs are where the Antelope Jackrabbit gets its name, after the fast, leaping animals of the plains of Africa called antelopes.

The Antelope Jackrabbit's ears grow to be 2 to 8 inches when fully grown. The ears of the Antelope Jackrabbit are not only used to hear but are also used to reduce and regulate body heat for survival in the hot conditions they live in.

Black-tail Jackrabbit

The Black-tailed Jackrabbit is a large, long-eared rabbit of the open grasslands and desert scrub of the West. Its fur is a dark buff color peppered with black, and its black-tipped ears are almost the same length as its hind feet.

The Black-tailed Jackrabbit spends most of its day resting in a scratched-out hollow in the ground. They are generally most active at dusk and throughout the night. Under the cover of darkness, they can forage with relative security.

Black-tailed Jackrabbits can be found on brush-lands, prairies and meadows.
They are often associated with pastures that have been grazed by livestock. Unlike other animals that need dense brush cover, jackrabbits use the high visibility of pasture lands to spot predators before they spot them.

Jackrabbits are strict vegetarians. During the spring and summer, they feed on clover, alfalfa and other abundant greens. During the lean fall and winter months, they subsist on woody and dried vegetation.

Jackrabbits always seem to be on their guard. They are very alert to their surroundings and watchful of potential threats. They rely on their speed to elude predators and, if they are lucky enough to escape, they will flash the white underside of their tail to alert other jackrabbits in the area.

The high prevalence of disease and parasites in wild jackrabbits also affects human predation. Many hunters will not collect the jackrabbits they shoot, and those that do are well advised to wear gloves while handling carcasses and to cook the meat thoroughly to avoid contracting tularemia. Most hunting of jackrabbits is done for pest control or sport.


Desert Cottontail
The Desert Cottontail is found throughout the western United States from eastern Montana to western Texas, and in northern and central Mexico.

Westwards its range extends to central Nevada and southern California and Baja California. It is found at heights of up to 2000 meters. It is particularly associated with the dry near-desert grasslands of the American southwest, though it is also found in less arid habitats such as pinyon-juniper forest.

Like all the cottontail rabbits, the Desert Cottontail has a rounded tail with white fur on the underside which is visible as it runs away. It is a light grayish-brown in color, with almost white fur on the belly.

The Desert Cottontail is not usually active in the middle of the day, but it can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon. It mainly eats grass, but will eat many other plants, even cacti. It rarely needs to drink, getting its water mostly from the plants it eats or from dew. Like most lagomorphs, it is coprophagic, re-ingesting and chewing its own feces; this allows more nutrition to be extracted.

The young are born in a shallow burrow or above ground, but they are helpless when born, and do not leave the nest until they are three weeks old. Where climate and food supply permit, females can produce several litters a year.


Mountain Cottontail

Mountain (Nuttall's) Cottontail is a small rabbit but its size is relatively large for the genus. Hind legs are long; the feet are densely covered with long hair. Ears are rounded at the tips and relatively short; the inner surfaces are noticeably haired.

It has pale brown fur on the back, a distinct pale brown nape on the back of the head, black-tipped ears, a white gray tail, and a white underside. A smaller size, the brown nape on the back of the head distinguish this cottontail from the Snowshoe Hare.

This species is confined to the inter mountain area of North America. It ranges from just above the Canadian border south to Arizona and New Mexico, and from the foothills of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and west to the eastern slopes of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada Range.

Most activity for these rabbits is before 0900 and after 1600 hours.

(Note: to prevent disease always attempt to cook rabbit until they are well done. Do not eat them raw if you can avoid it.)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Importance Of Food

Adequate nutrition plays an important part in wilderness survival. Maintaining proper nutrition while in a wilderness survival situation may be very difficult to achieve and many do not achieve even the minimum nutritional needs.

Survivors expend much more energy in survival situations than they normally would in their normal every day life. Basal metabolism is the amount of energy expended by the body when it is in a resting state. The rate of basal metabolism will vary slightly with regard to sex, age, weight, height, and race of a person.

The basic energy expended, or number of calories consumed by the hour will change as a person's activity level changes. A person who is simply sitting in a warm shelter may consume anywhere from 20-100 calories an hour, while the same person moving through thick undergrowth with gear, would expend a greater amount of energy.

Although you can live several weeks without food, you need an adequate amount to stay healthy. Without food your mental and physical capabilities will deteriorate rapidly and you will become weak.

Food provides energy and replenishes the substances that your body burns. Food provides vitamins, minerals, salts, and other elements essential to good health. Possibly more important, it helps morale.

The three basic sources of food are plants, animals (including fish), and survival rations. In varying degrees, both provide the calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins needed for normal daily body functions. You should use rations, if available, to augment plant and animal foods, which will extend and help maintain a balanced diet.

Calories are a measure of heat and potential energy. The average person needs 2,000 calories per day to function at a minimum level. As much as 6000 calories a day are needed when in extreme survival conditions, like the cold. An adequate amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins without an adequate caloric intake will lead to starvation and cannibalism of the body's own tissue for energy.

Fats- are more complex than carbohydrates. The energy contained in fats are released slower than energy in carbohydrates. This results in longer lasting energy. Sources of fats are butter, cheese, oils, nuts, egg yolks and animal fats. If you eat fats before sleeping, you will stay warmer.

Carbohydrates- are composed of very simple molecules which are easily digested. Carbs lose little of their energy to the process of digestion and are therefore efficient energy suppliers. Examples of carbs are starches, sugars, and cellulose which are found in fruits, vegetables, candy, milk, cereals, and legumes.

Proteins- are broken down into various amino acids during the digestive process. The amino acids are formed into new body tissue protein, such as muscle. Protein can be found in meat, fish, poultry and blood.

Animals For Food:

Unless you have the chance to take large game, concentrate your efforts on the smaller animals. They are more abundant and easier to prepare. You need not know all the animal species that are suitable as food; relatively few are poisonous, and they make a smaller list to remember.

However, it is important to learn the habits and behavioral patterns of classes of animals. For example, animals that are excellent choices for trapping, those that inhabit a particular range and occupy a den or nest, those that have somewhat fixed feeding areas, and those that have trails leading from one area to another.

Larger, herding animals, such as elk or moose, roam vast areas and are somewhat more difficult to trap. Also, you must understand the food choices of a particular species to select the proper bait. You can, with relatively few exceptions, eat anything that crawls, swims, walks, or flies. You must first overcome your natural aversion to a particular food source.

Historically, people in starvation situations have resorted to eating everything imaginable for nourishment. A person who ignores an otherwise healthy food source due to a personal bias, or because he feels it is unappetizing, is risking his own survival.

Although it may prove difficult at first, you must eat what is available to maintain your health. Some classes of animals and insects may be eaten raw if necessary, but you should, if possible, thoroughly cook all food sources whenever possible to avoid illness.

Plant foods- provide carbohydrates—the main source of energy. Many plants provide enough protein to keep the body at normal efficiency. Although plants may not provide a balanced diet, they will sustain you even in the arctic, where meat's heat-producing qualities are normally essential.

Many plant foods such as nuts and seeds will give you enough protein and oils for normal efficiency. Roots, green vegetables, and plant foods containing natural sugar will provide calories and carbohydrates that give the body natural energy.

In any situation where food intake is low, drink 6 to 8 liters of water per day. In an extreme climate,especially an arid one, the average person can lose 2.5 to 3.5 liters of water per hour. In this type of climate, you should drink 8 to 12 ounces of water every 30 minutes. It is better to regulate water loss through work or rest cycles because overhydration can occur if water intake exceed 1 1/2 quarts per hour.

Overhydration can cause low serum sodium levels resulting in cerebral and pulmonary edema, which can lead to death.

Always drink water when eating. Water is used and consumed as a part of the digestion process. In a survival situation, proper food can make the difference between success and failure.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Basic Green Bow

A good bow is the result of many hours of work. You can construct a suitable short-term bow fairly easily. When it loses its spring or breaks, you can replace it.

Select a green sapling or branch about 2 inches in diameter and 5 feet long that is free of knots or limbs. Carefully scrape the large end down until it has the same pull as the small end if you have the time to do so.  You can leave it rounded for field expedient use.

Always scrape from the side that faces you, or the bow will break the first time you pull it. Dead, dry wood is preferable to green wood. To increase the pull, lash a second bow to the first, front to front, forming an "X" when viewed from the side. Attach the tips of the bows with cordage and only use a bowstring on one bow.

Select arrows from the straightest dry sticks available. The arrows should be about half as long as the bow. View my post on how to make arrows.

Make one or two more bows as a back up if needed.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Chamisa (4 Wing Salt Bush)

4 Wing Salt Bush (Chamisa)

Native Americans of the Southwest harvested the leaves and seeds of the plant for food. Seeds were cooked like oatmeal, and the leaves were either eaten raw or cooked. Sometimes the ashes of the plant were used as a leavening ingredient for breads or were used in making a lye to soften the hulls of corn. However the seeds were prepared, they represented a good source of niacin.

The ground-up seeds were mixed with sugar and water for a drink called pinole.

Handfuls of the male blossoms can be crushed and mixed with a little water to create a soap for washing or treating ant bites. This suggests that the plant contains saponins, soaplike compounds. Navajos made a yellow dye from an infusion of the twigs and leaves.

Alternate Names:

chamiza, chamise, chamiso, bushy atriplex, fourwing shadscale, buckwheat shrub, white greasewood, salt sage, wafer sagebrush, box brush.


American Indians boiled fresh roots with a little salt and drank half-cupful doses for stomach pain and as a laxative. Roots were also ground and applied as a toothache remedy.

Leaf or root tea was taken as an emetic for stomach pain and bad coughs. Soapy lather from leaves was used for itching and rashes from chickenpox or measles.

Fresh leaf or a poultice of fresh or dried flowers was applied to ant bites. Leaves were used as a snuff for nasal problems. Smoke from burning leaves was used to revive someone who was injured, weak, or feeling faint. Hispanics use the plant for colds and flu.

In the old days the seeds were ground and cooked as a cereal, the leaves were eaten cooked or raw,or were dried and mixed with other ingredients to form cake or bread flour. Hard twig ends were used as swift or war arrowheads. (Stone points were used for game.)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Rabbit Throwing Stick

Rabbit Throwing Stick

The throwing stick, commonly known as the rabbit stick, is very effective against small game (squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits). The rabbit stick itself is a blunt stick, naturally curved at about a 45-degree angle.

Select a stick with the desired angle from heavy hardwood such as oak. Shave off two opposite sides so that the stick is flat like a boomerang. You must practice the throwing technique for accuracy and speed.

First, align the target by extending the non-throwing arm in line with the mid- to lower-section of the target. Slowly and repeatedly raise the throwing arm up and back until the throwing stick crosses the back at about a 45-degree angle or is in line with the non-throwing hip.

Bring the throwing arm forward until it is just slightly above and parallel to the non-throwing arm. This will be the throwing stick's release point. Practice slowly and repeatedly to attain accuracy.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bow And Drill Fire Starting Technique

Without prior training, this method is difficult to master and requires a lot of time to build the device.

You will need a tender bundle to start off with.

Fuel is divided into 3 categories: tinder, kindling, and fuel. (Gather large amounts of each category before igniting the fire.)

Tinder- Tinder must be very finely shaved or shredded to provide a low combustion point and fluffed to allow oxygen to flow through. (To get tinder to burn hotter and longer, saturate with Vaseline, Chapstick, insect repellent, aircraft fuel, etc.)

Examples of tinder include:

·Candle (shred the wick, not the wax).
·Plastic spoon, fork, or knife.
·Foam rubber.
·Dry bark.
·Dry grasses.
·Gun powder.
·Petroleum products.

Kindling- Kindling must be small enough to ignite from the small flame of the tinder. Gradually add larger kindling until arriving at the size of fuel to burn.

Fuel- Examples of fuel include:

·Dry hardwood (removing bark reduces smoke).
·Bamboo (open chambers to prevent explosion).
·Dry dung.

Bow and Drill:

This is a friction method which has been used successfully for thousands of years. A spindle of yucca, elm, basswood, or any other straight grain wood (not softwood) should be made. The survivors should make sure that the wood is not too hard or it will create a glazed surface when friction is applied.

The spindle should be 12 to 18 inches long and three-fourths inch in diameter. The sides should be octagonal, rather than round, to help create friction when spinning. Round one end and work the other end into a blunt point. The round end goes to the top upon which the socket is placed.

The socket is made from a piece of hardwood large enough to hold comfortably in the palm of the hand with the curved part up and the flat side down to hold the top of the spindle. Carve or drill a hole in this side and make it smooth so it will not cause undue friction and heat production.

Grease or soap can be placed in this hole to prevent friction.

The bow is made from a stiff branch about 3 feet long and about 1 inch in diameter. This piece should have sufficient flexibility to bend. It is similar to a bow used to shoot arrows. Tie a piece of suspension line or leather thong to both ends so that it has the same tension as that of a bow. There should be enough tension for the spindle to twist comfortably.

The fireboard is made of the softwood and is about 12 inches long, three-fourths inch thick, and 3 to 6 inches wide. A small hollow should be carved in the fireboard. A V-shaped cut can then be made in from the edge of the board. This V-shape should extend into the center of the hollow where the spindle will make the hollow deeper.

The object of this “V” cut is to create an angle which cuts off the edge of the spindle as it gets hot and turns to charcoal dust. This is the critical part of the fireboard and must be held steady during the operation of spinning the spindle.

While kneeling on one knee, the other foot can be placed on the fireboard and the tinder placed under the fireboard just beneath the Vcut. Care should be taken to avoid crushing the tinder under the fireboard. Space can be obtained by using a small, three-fourths inch diameter stick to hold up the fireboard. This allows air into the tinder where the hot powder (spindle charcoal dust) is collected.

The bow string should be twisted once around the spindle. The spindle can then be placed upright into the spindle hollow (socket). The survivor may press the socket down on the spindle and fireboard. The entire apparatus must be held steady with the hand on the socket braced against the leg or knee. The spindle should begin spinning with long even slow strokes of the bow until heavy smoke is produced.

The spinning should become faster until the smoke is very thick. At this point, hot powder, that can be blown into a glowing ember, has been successfully produced. The bow and spindle can then be removed from the fireboard and the tinder can be placed next to the glowing ember making sure not to extinguish it.

The tinder must then be rolled gently around the burning ember, and blow into the embers, starting the tinder to burn. This part of the fire is most critical and should be done with care and planning.

The burning tinder is then placed into the waiting fire “lay” containing more tinder and small kindling. At no time in this process should the survivor break concentration or change sequence. The successful use of these primitive methods of fire starting will require a great deal of patience. Success demands dedication and practice.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!