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, December 10, 2015

Where To Locate Water In Desert Mountains

Should you find yourself in the mountains of a desert terrain, you have a good chance of locating a source of water by following these tips.

1. Check in the low concave areas in river beds, and arroyos where water would have settled at the lowest point. Dig down below the top soil. If you hit moist dirt within a foot of digging, you may have a chance of obtaining water. Keep digging deeper. If the soil gets wetter to the touch, dig a slight bit deeper and see if the hole to fill with start to fill with water. If the soil is just muddy and not wet enough to seep into the hole, you may be able to extract the water by placing the mud in a shirt or bandanna and squeezing the moisture out. 

2. If it has recently rained within a 2 or 3 days, try looking in the potholes of rock beds and other flat rocky areas.

3. It to a higher elevation on a hill overlooking the terrain and see if you can spot areas with green lush looking vegetation. Trees like willows and cotton woods need water to survive. Pick out an area and check it out. If that does not pan out, go to the next green area.

4.  Check at the base of hills and canyons where the water would drain from the top and down into the base of the terrain.

5. Watch for birds and insects. They are usually not too far from a water source, especially bees. Bees are normally within 5 miles of a water source. But, sometimes this is not a as reliable as the other sources.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Coping With Survival Stress

Finding yourself in a survival situation can be a very challenging, life changing event depending on your level of wilderness survival skills. 

No matter what level of survival knowledge one has, everyone will be affected by stress.

Here is a video produced in 1961 by the US Air Force on Survival Stress. Thirty three years later and the signs, symptoms and how to deal with survival stress remains the same. 

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Basic Military Map Reading- GRID, Distance, Elevations

Here is a very old video produced by the US Army on Basic Map Reading. It covers how to read GRID, DISTANCE and ELEVATION on a military style map. 

If you have access to military style maps, this video will assist the novice to the learn the areas listed above, or provide a refresher to those who have used this map system.

Either way, learning to navigate terrain is important in a survival situation.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Survival Food Procurement

Here is another excellent video produced by the US Army for procuring food sources in a survival situation. Although, the training is geared toward the US Army, the same techniques can be used by anyone caught in a survival scenario.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Field Craft Survival- The US Army Way

Above is an excellent video created by the US Army on wilderness survival field craft. The video show great examples of shelter, traps, fire starting, water procurement and much more.

The techniques, even though designed for the soldier in the battle field, can be adapted for everyone who may find themselves in a survival situation or are being chased by some sort of enemy.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tapping Into The Pine Cone

We all probably have an ancestor who ate a pine tree or part of it now and then. I know I did. And people may eat pine again. It’s a family with over 200 species and has served man well, famine food to ship masts. So much has been written about this family let me see if I can say a few things others haven’t.

Where ever there have been pines and people the people have depended on the pines. Besides food, they had and still have medical uses. Pines have been used for the making of stimulants, laxatives, diuretics and vermifuges, among many including Shikimic acid, the main crude ingredient in Tamiflu.

"male" pine cones and pollen
There are actually two groups of pines, softwood pines and hardwood pines. The soft pines have needles that are found in groups of five on twigs. Their wood is actually low in density. Hard pines have needles in groups of two or three per twig. Their wood is moderate in density. This may seem like a technical distraction but often telling pines apart is very difficult and how the needles arrange themselves is important… unless you are making pine needle tea, then just put a few needles or the tip of a young branch in hot water and you’ll have a nice serving of Vitamin C. Pine needle tea saved many a sailor in olden days from scurvy. (Despite what some websites say, in tea form the pine needles are no threat to pregnant women. In fact let me explain that.)

The basis for this rumor is a veterinary study decades ago. If you are a cow and you eat many pounds of Ponderosa Pine needles you have a 5 to 8 percent chance out of 100 of having an abortion or still-birth. If you boil a huge amount of pine needles in water for hours down to a small amount of gross liquid and you drink it, then maybe it would cause an abortion. A few of needles soaked in hot water is no threat to anyone except for possible allergies. Here’s what famous forager Euell Gibbons had to say: “When I was a boy we used to eat ponderosa pine for pleasure . . . called it “slivers”. In the spring the bark is really gorged with starches and sugars and tastes quite sweet. It’s also high in vitamins.”

The cambium of the pine (between the bark and the wood) can be boiled or roasted as a famine food, and makes a reasonable flour. Fried in olive or coconut oil it’s actually tasty. The cambium near the base of the tree is better than the cambium near the top of the tree. That bit of advice always struck me as odd as if I would climb a pine to get a strip of bark off the top when the bottom is so close and handy. And of course nearly everyone has had a pine nut or two. Animals like the pine nuts as well, including squirrels, turkey, quail, and brown-headed nuthatches.

The collecting of pine nuts for human use is a debatable issue. Some 20 species of pine have nuts big enough to harvest for human food. If foraging is a hobby, then go ahead and collect a few (put the brown, unopened female cones near a fire to make them open and release the seeds.) If in a survival situation, however, one could expend more energy collecting pine nuts than energy gotten from the pine nuts so it is a significant decision to make when out of food. Female pine cones can weigh up to 10 pounds and be two feet long. The pinyon pine, where we get the familiar pine nut in the US, is the only pine with one needle per twig.

Most pine seeds are too small to eat.

But, there is more to the pine than nuts, cambium, and needles. Like the cambium, the young male pine cones can be boiled and eaten. What is a male pine cone? Well, they are small, soft and papery whereas the female cones are woody and tough. Male cones really shouldn’t be called cones. Technically they aremicrosporangiate strobili. Say that at a cocktail party and see how many conversations you start. (Hint: micro-spore-WREN-gee-ate stro-BYE-lee) The best I can do is that a male pine “cone” looks like a small cluster of toasted coconut bits shaped like orzo. See picture, upper right. If you have a better description let me know.

Here is another little known fact: During certain times of the year vehicles and the ground is covered with a light yellow dusting. Starting in winter here and going into spring the pines have sex on their minds and the fellows are releasing pollen. For some pine pollen means misery from sniffling and sneezing. But pine pollen is more than just the mere powder of pine lust.

Pine pollen is a large particle, and since it depends on the wind, it can’t travel too far. It also has a waxy coating on it’s surface which makes it a minor allergy trigger, though a few folks are allergic to it. When the pine is pollinating other trees that are more significant allergens are secretly pollinating such as birch, cedar, oak and sycamore. Often folks who think they have a pine allergy are actually allergic to one or more of those other trees.

Which brings me back to pine pollen. It has over 200 identified elements from vitamins to proto male hormones… yeah, it’s a guy food. It’s been called the natural testosterone, androstenedione, but that is a marketing exaggeration. It has about 27 nano grams per 0.1 grams of dry weight, not suitable for the bulking up weightlifters want, but available none the less. Putting the pollen under the tongue keeps it from being destroyed by the digestive system.

Androstenedione is an adrenal hormone produced in humans. Reduce androstenedione by one molecule and you have testosterone, which both men and women have in different amounts. Androstenedione can raise testosterone levels. The effect lasts about a day. And this is how the Native Americans used it, for extra energy when they needed it. So when on the run, grab a little pine pollen. Pine pollen also seems to have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system as well. How do you collect it? Put a sack over the microsporangiate strobili and shake.

And what about shikimic acid and the flu? Processed shikimic acid prevents the flu from reproducing, thus reducing symptoms and the duration of the flu. The drug Tamiflu is made from the seed pods of the Chinese star anise tree which is 7% shikemic acid. Researchers have found that White Pine needles have enough shikimic acid, 3%, to make its extraction commercially viable. Spruce also have the acid and it is presumed other pines do in varying amounts.

The English name pine comes from the Greek Pitus thru Latin Pinus (PIE-nus and PEE-nus) by way of French “pin.” Contemporary Greeks say ;’ PEF-ko.” That takes us now to how the Greeks use pine, and that is to flavor a white wine called retsina.

Greeks have been making retsina for a few thousand years. It was an acquired tasted by accident. They stored their white wine in clay containers lined with pine pitch (to keep them from weeping.) The wine took on the subtle flavor of the pitch. Now days, retsina comes in a wide range of flavors, from delicate to intense. There’s one other advantage to retsina: Take it to a party and no one will steal your wine. To make your own retsina the short way, put a pea-size piece of pine pitch in a bottle of cheap chablis and let set in the refrigerator for a long time.

Young pine roots are edible as are stripped pieces of their bark. The bark can be seeped in water for its sugar and the water drank. Also, many pine trees have burls on a limb and those can be broken off and used as a throwing stick or mallets.

NOTE: The “Australian Pine” is NOT a pine. It can not be used like true pines.

IDENTIFICATION: Pines are evergreen and resinous trees growing to 100 feet tall, the adult tree has long needles in clusters of three to five up to 18 inches long.

TIME OF YEAR: Needles and inner bark available year round, young male cones and pollen in spring.

ENVIRONMENT: Pines grow well in acid soils, some on calcareous soils; most require good drainage, preferring sandy soils to accommodate a large tap root up to 12 feet.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Needles raw as a nibble or in hot water for tea, or chopped and used like rosemary. Inner bark near base is edible, preferably cooked, can be made into a flour, very high in vitamins A and C, young male cones boiled, pollen eaten as is. The core of young roots are edible raw when peeled of the outer bark. The young root bark can be seeped for its sugar content.

"Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rose Hip For Survival Needs

Rose hips are used for herbal teas, jam, jelly, syrup, rose hip soup, beverages, pies, bread, wine, and marmalade. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit.

A few rose species are sometimes grown for the ornamental value of their hips, such as Rosa moyesii, which has prominent large red bottle-shaped fruits.

Rose hips are commonly used as a herbal tea, often blended with hibiscus, and also as an oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade, and rose hip wine. Rose hip soup, "nyponsoppa", is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips.

Rose hips can be used to make palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage, popular in Hungary, Romania, and other countries sharing Austro-Hungarian history. Rose hips are also the central ingredient of cockta, the fruity-tasting national soft drink of Slovenia.

The fine hairs found inside rose hips are used as itching powder. Dried rose hips are also sold for primitive crafts and home fragrance purposes.

Nutrients and phyto-chemicals

Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, one of the richest plant sources available. However, RP-HPLC assays of fresh rose hips and several commercially available products revealed a wide range of L-ascorbic acid content, ranging from 0.03 to 1.3%. 

Rose hips of some species, especially Rosa canina (dog rose) and R. majalis, have been used as a source of vitamin C. During World War II, the people of Britain were encouraged through letters to The Times newspaper, articles in the British Medical Journal, and pamphlets produced by Claire Loewenfeld, a dietitian working for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, to gather wild-grown rose hips to make a vitamin C syrup for children. 

This advice arose because German submarines were sinking commercial ships, making it difficult to import citrus fruits.

Rose hips contain the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene, which are under basic research for a variety of potential biological roles, such as inhibiting oxidation of low density lipoprotein.

A meta-analysis of human studies examining the potential for rose hip extracts to reduce arthritis pain concluded there was a small effect requiring further analysis of safety and efficacy in clinical trials. It is not considered an appropriate treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

The plant is high in certain antioxidants. The fruit is noted for its high vitamin C level and is used to make syrup, tea and marmalade. It has been grown or encouraged in the wild for the production of vitamin C, from its fruit (often as rose-hip syrup), especially during conditions of scarcity or during wartime. The species has also been introduced to other temperate latitudes. 

During World War II in the United States Rosa canina was planted in victory gardens, and can still be found growing throughout the United States, including roadsides, and in wet, sandy areas up and down coastlines. 

In Bulgaria, where it grows in abundance, the hips are used to make a sweet wine, as well as tea. In the traditional Austrian medicine Rosa canina fruits have been used internally as tea for treatment of viral infections and disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract. 

The hips are used as a flavoring in Cockta, a soft drink made in Slovenia.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Rose hips are also used for stomach disorders including stomach spasms, stomach acid deficiency, preventing stomach irritation and ulcers, and as a "stomach tonic" for intestinal diseases. 

They are also used for diarrhea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention (dropsy or edema), gout, back and leg pain (sciatica), diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow and quenching thirst.

Rose Hip Tea:

Makes 4 cups

Rose hips produce a mild, tangy, fruity tea. Use them solo or combined with a hint of fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves. Chilled and sweetened with stevia, the tea is a vitamin-rich, sugar-free alternative to fruit juices or Kool-Aid that is appealing to kids and adults alike.

1) Combine 4 rounded teaspoons cut-and-sifted rose hips (ground in a spice mill or not) or 4 tablespoons whole dried rose hips with 4 cups of water in a nonreactive saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

2) Alternatively, place fresh or crushed dried rose hips in a warmed teapot, pour boiling water over them, and steep, covered, for 10 minutes.

3) Strain the tea and sweeten if desired with a scant 1/8 teaspoon stevia extract powder or 2 to 4 drops glycerin-based stevia liquid extract per cup. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate, covered, for as long as 3 days.


• Steep (or simmer if following first recipe) 4 to 6 fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves (2 to 3 teaspoons dried) with the hips.
• To make a punch, chill sweetened tea, add the juice of a fresh lime per quart of punch if desired, and serve over ice.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ground To Air Survival Signals

SOS - Day Time Ground to Air Signals It is pretty amazing that in all the lost hikers in the wilderness situations we have seen in the last six or seven years, none of them were located by, or used a ground to air signals.

Sometimes called a Ground Activation Signal (GAS) or Recovery Activation Signal (RAS) by military search and recovery doctrine and protocols, this is nothing more than a giant signal, almost always a letter, on the ground visible to searching aircraft. And by giant, I mean not a six foot long letter but a 30 foot long letter - the bigger, the better.

Military personnel who are lost or evading the enemy, often carry highly visible panels, called VS-17 panels. These are Orange or Yellow on one side and Carteuse (pinkish) on the other side that can be used to signal aircraft or as a recognition signal to let aircraft know it's safe to land. Many military members choose to carry a yellow or orange colored 3 foot x 3 foot cloth, such as a parachute for a flare, rather than the bulkier VS-17 panel.

VS-17 Panel

But no matter what day time signaling aids some soldiers carry, they are go on missions knowing what code letter to use as the GAS or RAS if they find themselves in a survival or evading the enemy situation.

This code letters are usually published to all military units and changed once a week, but if you are a missing soldier when the new code letter GAS/RAS comes out, your previous code letter is valid since personnel and units looking for you will know you are on the old letter.

Lost and surviving civilians can take a page out of this military search and recovery book by using a large, code letter to attract the attention of searching aircraft or even aircraft just passing by. Remember this has to be LARGE and visible from the air. It can't be an "I" or an "O". Rather, a "W", "K", "A" or an "H" would be more distinguishable from the air.

Your imagination (and physical ability) are your tools. Natural objects are your materials. The GAS/RAS code letter needs to be as different as distinct from the adjacent land as possible in color as searching aircraft may be looking for you at first or last light where shadows may be your enemy, or during the middle of the day when the Sun bleaches things out.

Rocks, sticks, logs, and cleared dirt are all good possible materials for a code letter. And if you vacate the area, leave the code letter up with an arrow showing your planned direction of travel.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Zero Rifle Scope In 30 Seconds

If you are lucky and have a rifle with scope in your survival situation, here is a great video on how to quickly zero your scope.  This comes in handy should you drop your rifle and the scope loses its zero, or you just acquired access to someone else's rifle and need to zero it for your use.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Desert Survival Crossbow

The video, photos and diagrams should assist you in building your own survival crossbow.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Desert Scrub Oak

Desert Shrub Oak can be found in open woodlands of pinyon, juniper and Joshua trees, on mountain slopes along desert edges, 3,000 feet to 6,500 feet. Leaves are 1.5" long, oblong in outline, yellowish green on both sides. Margins are toothed and spine-tipped, and apex is pointed. Acorns shaped like old-fashioned spinning top. Mature bark gray with dull cast. Shrubs are 10' tall.

Quercus turbinella is a species of oak known by the common names Sonoran scrub oak, shrub live oak, and grey oak. It is native to northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States from far eastern California to southwest Colorado, Rio Grande New Mexico, to west Texas.

Quercus turbinella is a shrub growing two to five meters in height but sometimes becoming treelike and exceeding six meters. The branches are gray or brown, the twigs often coated in short woolly fibers when young and becoming scaly with age. 

The thick, leathery evergreen leaves are up to three centimeters long by two wide and are edged with large, spine-tipped teeth. They are gray-green to yellowish in color and waxy in texture on the upper surfaces, and yellowish and hairy or woolly and glandular on the lower surfaces. 

The males catkins are yellowish-green and the female flowers are in short spikes in the leaf axils, appearing at the same time as the new growth of leaves. The fruit is a yellowish brown acorn up to two centimeters long with a shallow warty cup about a centimeter wide. This oak reproduces sexually via its acorns if there is enough moisture present, but more often it reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome and root crown.

This oak easily hybridizes with other oak species, including Quercus gambelii and Q. grisea. Many species of animals use it for food, with wild and domesticated ungulates browsing the foliage and many birds and mammals eating the acorns. Animals also use the shrub as cover, and mountain lions hide their kills in the thickets.

Uses: The Hualapai use the acorns to make bread, stew, and mush; they also also eat the acorns roasted. The Gila River Pima eat the acorns raw. The Cocopa gather the acorns for trade with the Paipai for sheep skins. The Havasupai use the wood for hoe and axe handles.

The leaves are valuable browse and emergency winter or drought food for wildflife in southern and central Arizona. Quercus turbinella can survive heavy browsing and may remain as almost the only forage on deteriorated ranges in Arizona. New, succulent growth is most palatable. 

Mule deer and desert bighorn sheep browse on Q. turbinella in Arizona, as do cattle, domestic sheep, and domestic goats. The acorns are eaten by cattle, collared peccary, wild turkey, mule deer, numerous rodents, geese, grouse, quail, scrub jays, and many other birds. 

The cambium is eaten by sapsuckers, the bark by porcupines, and the twigs by beavers. Quercus turbinella thickets provide cover for wide range of birds and mammals.

Even acorns that taste relatively nice straight out of the shell (such as most members of the white oak group) still contain tannin and eating large quantities could cause troubles (e.g., stomach upset, loss of nutrients due to tannin binding with proteins).
[source: wikipedia]

To remove the tannin: (in survival situation)

  • 1. Remove nut from the shell.
  • 2. Smash the nuts into smaller pieces to make leaching the tannin out faster.
  • 3. For faster leaching, you need to have a way to boil the kernels. Place the shelled, pounded kernels into the cooking container and bring to a boil and change the water every 45 minutes or so for about 6 or 7 hours of boiling. The other way is to place the kernels into a container of cold water and change out the water about every 6 hours. This may take up to a week to accomplish. A faster way of using cold water is if you have stream available. Place the kernels in a cloth bag or something similar and place in the stream of running water. It should be ready in about 2 days.
  • 4. After leaching, pound the kernels into a mush and spread out to dry into flour, or use the mush to make porridge or to thick soups.
  • 5. Add water to the flour to make bannok bread if you have the ingredients to do so. If the flour is all you have, you can make flat cakes and cook on a flat rock.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Poisonous Aspects Of The Datura Plant

Datura is a genus of nine species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are known as angel's trumpets, sometimes sharing that name with the closely related genus Brugmansia, and commonly known as daturas. They are also sometimes called moonflowers, one of several plant species to be so. 

All species of Datura are poisonous, especially their seeds and flowers.

Colors vary from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule 4–10 cm long and 2–6 cm broad, splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds. The seeds disperse freely over pastures, fields and even wasteland locations.

Datura belongs to the classic "witches' weeds", along with deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plants are toxic, and datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of potions and witches' brews.

All Datura plants contain tropane alkaloids such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine, primarily in their seeds and flowers. Because of the presence of these substances, Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison. There can be a 5:1 toxin variation between plants, and a given plant's toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions. These variations makes Datura exceptionally hazardous as a drug.

Datura toxins may be ingested accidentally by consumption of honey produced by several wasp species, including Brachygastra lecheguana, during the Datura blooming season. It appears that these semi-domesticated honey wasps collect Datura nectar for honey production which can lead to poisoning.

In some parts of Europe and India, Datura has been a popular poison for suicide and murder. From 1950 to 1965, the State Chemical Laboratories in Agra, India, investigated 2,778 deaths caused by ingesting Datura.

In some places, it is prohibited to buy, sell, or cultivate Datura plants.

Effects of ingestion

Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains, Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium (usually involving a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis (dilated pupils) with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.

In Pharmacology and Abuse of Cocaine, Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Related Designer Drugs, Freye asserts: Few substances have received as many severely negative recreational experience reports as has Datura. The overwhelming majority of those who describe their use of Datura find their experiences extremely unpleasant both mentally and often physically dangerous. 


Due to their agitated behavior and confused mental state, victims of Datura poisoning are typically hospitalized. Stomach pumping and the administration of activated charcoal can be used to reduce the stomach's absorption of the ingested material. The drug physostigmine is used to reverse the effect of the poisons.

Benzodiazepines can be given to curb the patient's agitation, and supportive care with oxygen, hydration, and symptomatic treatment is often provided. 

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buffalo Gourd Survival Uses

Cucurbita foetidissima, has numerous common names, including: buffalo gourd, calabazilla, chilicote, coyote gourd, fetid gourd, fetid wild pumpkin, Missouri gourd, prairie gourd, stinking gourd, wild gourd, and wild pumpkin.

The feral perennial buffalo gourd has evolved in the semiarid regions and is well-adapted to desert environments. It contains high amounts of protein and carbohydrates and yields abundant oil. The carbohydrates that are formed in the tap root have led to the idea of growing the plant for biofuel.

The fruit is consumed by both humans and animals. When mature, a stage marked by increasing desiccation of vine, leaves, fruit-stem, and fruit, the fruit begins its final gourd stage.


The buffalo gourd has the potential of being a crop adapted to arid to semiarid lands.

Fresh gourd: The fresh young gourd can be eaten like squash. When the fruit is mature, it is no longer edible due to bitter compounds.

Oil: The extractable oil content in whole seeds reaches from 24.3% to 50%. Linoleic acid, an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid, comprises 38% to 65% of the oil. A characterization of the oils from buffalo gourd indicates that this oil is similar to other common edible oils.

Protein: Whole Buffalo gourd seeds contain approximately 31% crude protein, which is usable for human consumption and for feed. The seeds can be roasted and eaten like pumpkin seeds. The seeds can also be boiled and turned into a mush, or dried into a flour.

Starch: Is mainly located in the tap root which forms after the first year of growth. The starch content in the dried root is between 47.5% and 56%.

Fodder: Fresh leaves or the whole plants can be used as animal food.

Biofuel: Biodiesel can be produced from the oil in the seeds. But the main interest to produce renewable fuels is to produce biofuel with the carbohydrates which are located in the tap root.

Other uses: In many Native American cultures, the fruit and other parts of the plant, buffalo gourd oil, were used for soap. The young leaves can be used as a mild soap. Take few leaves in your hand and add water and then agitate by rubbing between your hands to produce a green soapy froth.

Furthermore, the protein can be used for industrial purposes (water paints, paper coating, adhesives and textile sizing). The Zuni people use a poultice of powdered seeds, flowers and saliva for swellings.

The dried gourd can be turned into containers to hold water or food.

The dried gourds are also used to make ornaments.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bait Stick Twitchup Snare

Materials needed to build this trap:

1 straight stick 1 foot long and 1/2 inch diameter.
1 "V" shaped stick with legs that are 10-12 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter.
1 bait stick that has a side branch coming out that is at least 4-5 inches long.
A young sapling to use as the engine.

Locate a known small game path and assemble the trap in the path as shown in the above diagram.

The baited trigger stick length will be determined on how deep you have to pound the v-stick into the ground. The trigger stick should be at 90 degrees to the long straight stick.

When setting the trigger stick onto the straight stick, leave barely enough edge so that the slightest touch will cause the trigger to release. Also, ensure that the loop of the noose is surrounding the baited trigger and larger enough for the game to enter and get caught.

Set up several of these traps at different game path locations in order to give you a better chance at catching something.

Stay Prepared!  Stay Alive!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Storage Clamp

Squirrel Midden/Larder

Clamping is a technique used to store food for long periods of time without the need for electricity or refrigerators.

Grey and Red Squirrels use a type of clamping when they store large amounts of pine cones. These clamping piles are called larders or middens when squirrels make them and clamping piles or clamping storage when humans make them.

[Storage clamp:  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-  A clamp is a compact heap, mound or pile of materials.[1] A storage clamp is used in the agricultural industry for temporary storage of root crops such as potato, turnip, rutabaga, mangel wurzel, sugar beet etc.

A clamp is formed by excavating a shallow rectangular depression in a field to make a base for the clamp. Root crops are then stacked onto the base up to a height of about 2 meters. When the clamp is full, the earth scraped from the field to make the base is then used to cover the root crops to a depth of several inches. Straw or old hay may be used to protect the upper surface from rain erosion.

A well-made clamp will keep the vegetables cool and dry for many months. Most clamps are relatively long and narrow, allowing the crops to be progressively removed from one end without disturbing the remaining vegetables. The use of a clamp allows a farmer to feed vegetables into market over many months.]

Coming across a large midden in a survival situation can give one a golden opportunity to catch a squirrel or two by setting traps and snares or shooting them with a bow, sling shot, blowgun or rifles.

Keep an eye out for large piles of pine cone debris as this will indicate that there are squirrels in the area. Squirrels will normally start their middens in the late fall to prepare the winter days ahead.

Also, where there are squirrels and large middens, there may be a water source near by. The midden shown in the video above was located in the Sacramento Mountains in Southern New Mexico.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Survival Lean-To Shelter

The lean-to is one of the easiest and most used survival shelter. It can be constructed in less than an hour with different type of materials. This basic, one-sided design will give you shelter from wind and rain.

Tie a long strong pole between two trees. The two trees should be wide enough for you to lay down with the shelter being able to protect the full length of your body. Cover one side with lodge poles, brush and branches. Then, pile leaves, grass or any other vegetation that is available on top. 

This shelter has two drawbacks: 1) it doesn’t hold in heat well; 2) If the wind or rain changes direction you’ll no longer be sheltered.

Building a wooden wall in front of the shelter will assist in blocking out the wind and will reflect a fires heat back into the shelter. Check out my post on Tee-pee Survival Shelter to see how to add a fire wall.

This shelter offers little in the way of insulation; and only deflects wind and reflects the heat of the nearby fire, but it’s quick and easy to build.

Survival shelters like this may be hard to see from a distance, so hang up something that will attract attention to the shelter.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Boy, 10, Reveals Survival Tips That Kept Him Alive in Wilderness Overnight

"I just read this story about kid getting lost on a camping trip. It goes to show you that at least a little retained knowledge of wilderness survival can save a life."

This 10 Year Old Kid Survived In The Wilderness Alone – You’ve Gotta Hear His Story

Boy, 10, Reveals Survival Tips That Kept Him Alive in Wilderness Overnight

Now this is EXACTLY why it is important to teach your children survival skills.

A 10-year-old boy takes the time to share the survival tips that kept him alive overnight while he was alone in the Utah Wilderness.

Malachi Bradley, 10, got lost in the terrain of Ashley National Forest during a camping trip with his family on Sunday and miraculously survived. He was found alive over 30 hours after being lost.

So how did he live to tell the tale? With survival tips he’d been taught by his dad.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here,” he told INSIDE EDITION.

Here are a few of his tips:

Malachi knew he could use his hoodie to filter muddy lake water.

Another survival skill came during the bitterly cold night; the boy drew his legs and arms inside his t-shirt to contain the warmth.

One other thing he did was shelter behind rocks that were still warm from the sun.

“I knew I could survive two weeks, maybe less, without food, so I tried to focus mainly on water,” he said.

Malachi was located on Monday afternoon by helicopters.

“I thought, ‘Yay, now I get to see my family,’” he said.

The great thing is that he is now home with his parents with only a few scrapes. His parents are thrilled to have him back.

His mother said: “I thought I would bury my son.”

His pupils and teachers at his school, Sego Lilly Elementary School just outside of Salt Lake City were extremely happy to see him.

Malachi got a hero’s welcome on his first day back at school.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Medical Use Of Maggots/Survival Food Source

Maggots in medicine Ancient therapy making comeback as wound-healing option


These aren't your grandfather's maggots.

Maggot, or larval, therapy has been around since ancient times as a way to heal wounds. Now, the method has gone high-tech--in some ways--and it's being tested in a rigorous clinical trial at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla. Recruitment is now underway.

The study involves veterans with chronic diabetic ulcers on their feet. The maggots feasting on the dead or dying tissue in their wounds--and eating germs in the process--have been sterilized in a pristine, pharmaceutical-grade lab. Instead of roaming free over the wounds, they are contained in fine mesh bags, and removed after a few days.

Welcome to maggot therapy, 2015.

"There's an eight-step quality-control process to how these medicinal maggots are produced," notes lead investigator Dr. Linda Cowan. "Every batch is quality-tested."

Cowan has a Ph.D. in nursing science and is a wound-care specialist with VA and the University of Florida. She has studied maggots in the lab, combed through the available research on them, and seen firsthand what they can do in wounds.

"As a clinician, I was very impressed by the literature on larval therapy. And sometimes we would have patients come into the clinic with what I call 'free range' maggots--they're not sterile, they're not produced specifically for medicinal purposes--the patients got them at home, unintentionally. But they really clean out the wound nicely."

Cowan, like other researchers, tends to prefer the scientific term "larvae" over "maggots," but they mean the same thing. The whitish worm-like creatures are young flies, before they mature into pupa and then into adults. For therapy, in most countries, the green bottle fly is the insect of choice.

Co-investigator Dr. Micah Flores, whose background is in entomology--the study of bugs--admits that "maggot" does have a negative connotation for most folks. "It can be a scary word," he says.

Cowan points out that in the study's recruitment flyer "we use the term 'medicinal maggots.' We want people to know these are not home-grown on somebody's windowsill."

The VA study will involve up to 128 Veterans. It's comparing maggot therapy with the standard of care for diabetic wounds--a treatment called sharp debridement, in which a health care provider uses a scalpel, scissors, or other tool to cut or scrape away dead or unhealthy tissue. The procedure promotes wound healing.

Nearly a quarter of VA patients have diabetes, and about a quarter of these will have foot wounds related to the disease. In many cases, the hard-to-heal ulcers worsen to the point where gangrene develops and amputation is required.

The Gainesville researchers will examine how well the wounds heal in each study group. They'll also look at maggots' effects on harmful bacteria. In addition to clearing out dead tissue, maggots disinfect wounds by ingesting bacteria and secreting germ-killing molecules. They also eat through biofilm--a slimy mix of micro-organisms found on chronic wounds.

Turn back the clock about 90 years, and there was a researcher who grew maggots on a hospital windowsill, as unscientific as that sounds. Dr. William Baer had treated U.S. soldiers in France during World War I and noticed that large, gaping wounds that were swarming with maggots--sometimes thousands of the creatures--didn't get infected, and the men survived.

Baer came back to Johns Hopkins University and experimented with the therapy, only to realize that maggots could spread disease as they devoured decaying tissue. Two of his patients died of tetanus. He made some progress with using sterilized maggots, but soon antibiotics would come on the scene and maggot therapy--with its high yuck factor--fell into disregard.

"Antibiotics were the new cure-all, and so we didn't need the maggots around too much anymore," says Cowan. "But they've never gone away completely."

A few studies took place in the U.S. in the ladder half of the last century, including some at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. But it wasn't enough to place maggots in the pantheon of modern medical miracles. Meanwhile, the therapy continued to attract interest in the United Kingdom, where a game-changer occurred a few years ago. A Wales-based company called BioMonde came out with the bag concept, which caught Cowan's attention right away.

She had been interested in studying maggot therapy. But she also realized that many clinicians, as well as patients--and their caregivers at home, who would have to change dressings--might have a hard time warming up to the idea.

"When we started talking about doing this study," says Cowan, "we were interested in the yuck factor. One of my concerns was other clinicians. They have to deal with this. They may be turned off by what I call the squirmy wormies."

Cowan recalls one nurse colleague who would recoil when patients showed up in the clinic with wounds that had attracted a few maggots.

"She just had an aversion to larvae of any kind. When a patient would come in, and they would have these free-range maggots, she would not want to deal with them. She would come and get me, and I would take care of it.

"I realized she wouldn't be the only clinician out there who would feel like this. So I thought this product would really make a difference."

That said, Cowan believes many patients are undeterred by the insects, bags or no bags. She tells of one veteran who has been struggling with a non-healing diabetic ulcer for three years. "He said he is willing to try anything that might work."

That attitude is not uncommon among those with diabetic sores, says Cowan, although she senses that veterans, as a group, may be a bit less squeamish than the general population, and thus even more receptive to the therapy.

"When we go through the informed consent form with them, we explain the study and we tell them they could be randomized to the 'sharp' group, which is the standard of care, the same kind of debridement they've gotten in the past--or they could get the maggot therapy. We've done about 21 informed consents so far. Overwhelmingly, people have been disappointed if they weren't randomized to the maggot group."

BioMonde, the company sponsoring the trial, has said it will provide maggots for up to two weeks of treatment for any patient who did not receive the therapy during the study but wants it, and whose physician believes it would be appropriate.

Both groups in the study will receive treatment over the course of eight days. Along with studying the veteran patients and their wounds, the researchers will survey their caregivers and clinical providers. "One thing we want to find out," says Cowan, "is whether this yuck factor is really an issue. And who is it the greatest issue for? Patients? Clinicians? The wife or husband who has to change the dressing?"

To examine the main study outcome, the team will photograph each wound before and after each treatment. Then, wound-care experts who are blinded to which therapy was used--maggots or sharp debridement--will visually assess how much viable versus non-viable tissue remains.

Just as important, the team will study the therapies' effects on biofilms. A biofilm is not a movie about someone's life--it's a soupy mix of bacteria and other germs that resides on or in a wound. Experts believe it may be part of why some wounds--such as diabetic ulcers--are so difficult to heal. Cowan's group has studied biofilms in the lab, grown on pieces of pig skin, and she says the maggots are the only therapy that appears to completely eradicate them.

"A biofilm is a party of poly-microbial organisms," explains Cowan. "It could be bacteria, fungus, virus--all of them. They spit out a protective coating that protects them from things you would put on the wound, like an antiseptic gel. Also, it protects them from things you might take inside the body systemically, like antibiotics. So it's tough to get rid of these biofilms.

"You can debride with a scalpel, and you can cut away what looks like dead or unhealthy tissue, but you can't see biofilm. And if you don't completely get rid of a biofilm growth, within 24 to 72 hours it can completely regenerate, with its protective coating."

Cowan collaborated with Dr. Gregory Schultz on numerous studies involving biofilms at UF's Institute for Wound Research.

"Both independently and collaboratively, we tested quite a number of products," says Cowan. "We tried all kinds of expensive things. There were some that were more promising than others. We would get some good, favorable results. But there was nothing that was getting rid of everything--until we tested the maggots."

The group published a 2013 study in the journal Ulcers that included before-and-after pictures, taken with an electron scanning microscope, attesting to the maggots' handiwork.

"The results were mind-blowing," says Cowan. "The photos show the difference with the larvae at 24 and 48 hours. At 24 hours there were hardly any [bacteria] to count, and at 48 hours the biofilm was completely gone. Not one organism left."

She points out another benefit of the maggots, versus drug treatment: "It's hard for bacteria or other organisms to develop a resistance to something that's going to eat them." Drug-resistant bacteria are a huge problem in U.S. heath care.

Flores, the entomologist, wants to peek inside the maggots, to see what they've ingested. After they are removed from a wound, the bagged maggots are being frozen for later analysis. (Not in the same freezer where the lab crew keeps their Haagen-Dazs, by the way.)

"My background is studying insects--flies in particular," says Flores. "So I'm very interested in what's inside the larval gut, what they've been feeding on. Are they picking up the same organisms we're seeing growing on the wound? Does it match up?"

Flores and Cowan say theirs is the first study to do this type of analysis. And there should be plenty to look at: Between dead tissue, bacteria, and biofilm--an all-you-can-eat buffet for maggots--they take in enough grub to noticeably blow up in size.

"They do a great job," says Cowan. "They plump up to the size of a small jelly bean, whereas when they go in, they're smaller than a grain of rice. So it's pretty impressive."

The team is also looking at biomarkers of wound healing as another study outcome. Enzymes known as MMPs, for example, rise in response to inflammation. Levels drop as a wound heals.

Pending the study results, Cowan hopes to see maggot therapy catch on in the U.S. as an evidence-based way to treat wounds--not just diabetic ulcers, but other types as well. One example might be deep skin wounds in combat veterans. She's already gotten calls from plastic surgeons interested in the therapy.

"If the maggots can clean up a wound, they can possibly make advanced therapies more effective so you don't have to repeat them. For example, if you take a skin graft from the leg and put it on the belly, if that wound has a chronic biofilm, that graft is not going to take. But if you clean it up and then do the skin graft, it may take. What a win-win that would be."

[Source: EurekAlert, The Global Source for Science News, 17 August 2015]

Charlie's Comments: "I have heard of this type of treatment being used in third world countries where there is limited supply of antibiotics. The treatment seems to be very effective if supervised correctly. Who knows, one day we may have to resort to using this type of treatments."

P.S. Don't overlook the maggot as a source of food. Check out the video below that I recently viewed on youtube and learn how to safely prepare them for eating.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tee-Pee Style Survival Shelter

The Tee-Pee (Tipi) shelter has been around for ages. It is a simple design that can house many people depending on its size. Native Americans have used this design throughout the many areas of the United States.

Wood is plentiful in forest areas and the frames are using transported to the next location when tribes had to move.

To make this style shelter, you will need an ax for bow saw to cut the lodge poles. Lodge pole is the name given to the long poles of the frame that will hold the covering. The covering was usually made from buffalo hide or some other type of animal skins. Very seldom did you see an outer covering made from cloth or canvas, which would have been very scarce back in those days.

The lodge poles need to be at least 10 feet long and 4 inches in diameter. Eight lodge poles is enough to make a good long term survival Tee-Pee.

The frame is started by laying 3 poles on the ground and then tying the top narrow ends together. The frame is then stood up and each leg of the poles are equally spread out in a circle. The remaining poles are then placed evenly around the frame and tied off at the top.

An ideal outer covering for the frame would be a tarp, or old parachute that would cover the entire dwelling. But, in the event there is none, you would need to resort to covering the outer frame with pine or juniper boughs and tree bark as shown in the video.

Leave an opening at the top of the shelter to allow smoke to escape the shelter should you opt for a small fire inside. The opening can be covered if it starts to rain.

In the video, the fire will be outside near the entrance. A wooden wall is built to reflect the heat back into the shelter and to help block the wind. A door can be made to cover the entrance for colder days.

Make sure when placing the brush covering on the frame that you secure them in place. If not, the winds could blow them off leaving holes in your shelter.

This shelter is for long term stays in the wilderness. As each day passes, you should be upgrading the shelter by adding more external padding and improving on your bedding.

Be very, very careful when using a fire with this type shelter, it could catch fire quickly. You do not need a very big fire with this shelter. Keep the fire small as it will help conserve your precious fire wood.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Forked Twitch Up Snare

Forked Twitch-up Snare

This version of the Twitch Up Snare I call the Forked Twitch Up Snare. It may be called something else, but not sure. 

This is a good snare to use when you have good game trails and plenty of young saplings. If saplings are not available, but only stout tree limbs, you can use a large rock or log as the engine. Just tie the heavy object to the end of the cordage where the sapling would normally be and then throw the other end of a tree limb and set your snare.

For the game animal you are attempting to snare, make sure your forked stake is strong enough to withstand the pull of the sapling (engine). The two legs should be able to be pounded into the ground without breaking and deep enough not to be pulled out of the ground by the engine.

If you plan on using this design, make it larger in size to account for the size of the animal.

The noose end of the snare can be placed under the bait stick, as shown in the above photo, or can be draped over the bait stick so that when the prey sticks its head up to the bait and removes it, its head gets caught in the noose.

You can use chunks of cactus, prickly pear fruit, peanut butter, fresh vegetables, berries or other similar appetizers as bait for this trap. If at all possible, and if available, use gloves when setting this trap. Animals have a keen sense of smell and if they smell human scent, they may not attempt to take the bait.

After setting the trap, wait about 5 minutes to make sure the forked stake does not pull out of the ground, if it does, make a longer stake and reset it.

Setting 6 or more of these traps is your best chance of catching something. Make sure you place foliage or stones on the sides of the trails to funnel the prey into the snare.

Always check your traps daily for prey. It is a waste of food and inhumane to leave an animal in a trap, especially if it is still alive and suffering. 

When you leave the area, release all your traps. If you are still in a survival situation, take your snares with you to use a your new location.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!