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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Measure Distance Using Compass

Your compass is a measuring tool that can be adapted to a variety of needs. As shown here, it can be used to measure more than just direction.

You can use your magnetic compass to determine the width of a stream or small body of water without having to get wet. This quick and easy method of determining distance using a compass may just come in handy. In any case, it is always a good trick you can use to amaze your fellow survivors.

Here is how it is done.

1. Standing at the edge of the water, sight an object directly across from you on the far bank. Take a compass reading on this object and mark the spot where you are standing.

2. Walk along the stream until the compass reading to the same object across the stream changes by 45-degrees and mark this spot also.

3. Now measure the distance between the two marks you set. This will be equal to the distance between the first mark and the object you sighted across the stream.

For example:

Say you are standing next to a stream and directly across from you on the opposite bank is a large tree. Take out your compass and sight the tree. 

Let’s pretend the compass reads 300-degrees (Azimuth type compass) or S30W (Quadrant type compass). Mark this spot and then walk either downstream or upstream until the compass sighting on the same tree reads 45-degrees in either direction from your first reading (either 255-degrees or 345-degrees on an azimuth type compass, S15E or N15W on a quadrant type compass). 

Mark this position also. The width of the stream is equal to the distance between your two marks on the ground. If you have practiced pacing (and every survivor should) you can count the number of paces between the two marks and calculate the width of the stream.

The best survivalists are skilled in using whatever materials at hand in novel ways that give him an edge over his environment. "Thinking out of the box" is a trademark of the true survivor.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Friday, July 14, 2017

Survival Uses For Sand Sage

Sand Sage has many uses. But it is hard to believe just by looking at the plant. Here are some many uses for Sand Sage in survival situations:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Bedding
  • Bug repellent
  • Relieve stomach gas
  • Promotes appetite
  • Assists in food digestion
  • Strong infusion was used in lotion form for treatment of snake bite injuries
  • Treat skin boils (The herb can be covered with water and allowed to soak overnight, and used as a tea the next morning, or a wash.  To make a poultice you would mash up the herbs and pour boiling water over them.  Place a linen or gauze type cloth over the wound or skin with the macerated herb inside it, and wrap it for security.)
  • Asthma treatment (a poultice applied to the chest and back nightly, as well as a tea internally (for 5-10 days) can be used.)
  • Treatment for colds and coughs (tea and poultice)
  • Treatment for headaches
  • Mouthwash
  • Shampoo
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Malaria
  • Bronchitis
  • Dandruff and hair loss
  • Cleansing wash
  • Quail eat the seeds and use the bush for nesting giving one an opportunity for catching them.
  • Forage for pronghorn antelope
  • Toxic to horses
  • Used by Native Americans in spiritual rituals and cleansing

As for tea, the dosages vary as widely as the herb itself, so my recommendation is start small, and see how it goes. Maybe 4-6 oz of water with 1/4-1/2 t of herb. You may even want to make sure you’re not allergic to it by testing a small patch of skin with a wash.

This herb takes some getting used to…yes, it’s bitter, but you can always add a little honey and see how it goes!

Sagebrush Tea

Place several Sagebrush leaves (preferably from a small plant) in a cup. Add boiling water, cover and steep 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten and serve. Native Americans regarded this bitter tea useful to promote sweating and to aid in digestion. Many prefer honey or lemon for flavoring. Note that the many species of Sagebrush are not really a sage, but are an annual evergreen shrub. All are aromatic.

Sand Sage contains camphor (40%) and Eucalyptol:

Camphor is anti-septic, counter-irritant, anti-diarrheic, and cancer preventative.

Eucalyptol is anesthetic, anti-bacterial, anti-fatigue, anti-septic, counter-irritant.

So what are the drawbacks?  Well, there are things to be careful of.  If you have allergies to Sagebrush, you probably don’t want it on your eyes!  And like any herb, there is too much of a good thing.  While there are no toxicity reports, there have been reports of possible liver damage, and inadequate blood clotting after prolonged use.  But keep in mind, the very same can be said for something as simple as acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) or aspirin.  It’s important to learn for ourselves all that we can, and ask the advise of a medical professional if you are unsure.  Better safe than sorry is still the best course.

Here is an interesting article from on how to make a tea from sand sage for medicinal uses.

by Laura Bergeson (2006)



I had the opportunity to listen to a tape made many years ago by a student attending one of Dr. John Christopher's lectures.  The tape was at least 20 years old, and Dr. Christopher was telling about spending time with an Indian medicine man and chief, who told him that the best way to extract the active principles in desert sage was by making a sun tea.  He said that the tea would contain all that a human being needed, without heating it.  Then the tape, brittle as it was, broke and was discarded, to my distress, but I still remember what it said. 
Michael Moore describes how to make a cold infusion:  “After pre-moistening a bit, wrap one part herb (dry weight) in cloth and suspend it in 32 parts of water (by volume) at room temperature, overnight.  Squeeze out the herb into the tea in the morning, and add enough water to bring it back to 32 parts.  Use 1 to 2 ounces of desert sage.” 
An old southwest use of desert sage is described by Sam Hicks in Desert Plants and People.  He writes:  “Mescaha (desert sage), one of the most prevalent aromatic shrubs of the southwest, is commonly used as a medicinal or disinfectant tea.  This tea is bitter and unpalatable if cooked too strong.  As an effective antiseptic for bathing wounds, the brush tips and leaves are vigorously boiled until the tea is deep green.  ... Several years ago a weak tea was customarily taken in the spring of the year as a tonic by ranching families of the west, and the frontier women of the Great Plains states used sagebrush tea regularly as a hair rinse.” 
As another use, “sage is sold in stores tied together in bundles, sometimes with cedar leaves, as natural incense or purifying sticks used in sacred spaces, homes and offices to clear residual vibrational energies.  Purification with sage still precedes native rituals.  The burning smoke is wafted around people and places, usually with a feather.  ...  Natives rubbed sage leaves on their skin to ward off insects and to mask scent while hunting.  A few leaves placed in hot water make an agreeable and stimulating tea beneficial for quickening the memory and senses.  I can also be gargled as a mouthwash for sore throats or used as a wonderful foot bath for sore, tired feet.” 
The aromatic smoke of desert sage was also used by the native people to benefit those with rheumatism or arthritis.  After a large campfire had died down to glowing coals, these were raked out and dampened desert sage branches were layered on top.  The person would then lie down on the sagebrush bed and enjoy the warmth and breathe the aromatic smoke, which was said to help arthritic conditions.
“The Western Indians (such as the Navajos) used the Wild Sage (Artemisia tridentata) of the great American Western and Midwestern desert and plains regions for resolving severe body crises such as tumors and cancers. ...The Indians had numerous other uses for the sage...., but its greatest value was medicinal. Sage tea was used extensively as a cure for asthma, taken morning and evening for forty days and at night a sage poultice was applied to the chest and back. Sage branches were burned as a fumigant and the baskets and blankets used during the birthing process were held in the smoke to retain the odor.
The Indians believed in the value of sweating in almost all illnesses and so used as a diaphoretic the sage in making a hot tea. A tea from the leaves of the sage bush was adopted from the Indians and became the standard eyewash of the United States Army in the West. One of the remedies for a headache was sage tea or a compress of sage leaves, the leaves being either crushed or boiled. There were almost as many dosages for influenza as there were herbal drugs. The favorites were hot juniper or sage tea and inhaling the fumes from a fire of sage. If one's legs were ailing, weakening, or shaky they were bathed in a hot sage tea, then poulticed with sage leaves. To steady and strengthen mind and nerves, the Indians, as they do today, drank sage tea.

... Sage tea also was used for paralysis.   Sage leaves, fresh or dried, were made into a tea for diarrhea, menstrual disorders, and swellings. It had a particularly favorable effect as a tonic after childbirth. Fresh leaves were crushed, strained, and mixed with lukewarm water for stomach distress or were chewed for flatulence or as a tea for indigestion. The powdered herb destroyed worms in children and was so accepted officially in 1840 by the incoming whites. The juice of the herb or its powder was put on moist sores which, with this procedure, were said to dry and heal quickly, as were "green wounds."
For numbness of the feet, a wash of sage was recommended, followed by the application of wax and ground nettles. This same sage and wax remedy was used for all foot injuries by the Aztecs.
Sage is still used as a shampoo to promote the growth of the hair and also used by the women as a solution to blacken their hair, combing it into their tresses daily.
In Taos, Indians say, "It is really good for everything"....By way of interest the sage as discussed here is Artemis tridentata or wild sage, whereas the common or garden sage found in many gardens is Salvia officinalis. These two sages, though bearing similar popular names, really belong to different botanical families and should be considered therapeutically separate. They both possess, however, decided aromatic, bitter, and astringent properties.” 
In the case of desert sage usage, it would seem that simple is best.  Complex formulas were not part of the lives of the native people, and they used the herbs according to their inherent wisdom and the resources available to them. Desert sage was made into an infusion or concoction, and taken internally, or used as a wash externally.  It was burned and inhaled.  It was used as a green poultice or made into an ointment, and it was effective.


Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, healthcare professional, or even the town gossip. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is for educational purposes only.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Update- Primitive Weapons: Bow and Arrow

Here is the primitive survival bow that I recently made using only stone tools for cutting and shaping.

Click here to watch the original video showing the making of this bow.

The bow has been indoors drying and seasoning, which allows the bow limbs to be stronger and more flexible than when it was when it was in the green state.

I also used the same cordage that was used in the video. I only sanded the bow a little to make it smother and to remove any splinters. I usually keep the survival items I make for show and tell when I give classes.

The bow pulled about 25 pounds at 28 inches. It is strong enough to take down small game up to 30 yards. I used factory arrows during the demonstration, but arrows can be made in the wilderness that can be just as effective.

This type a bow took a long time to make without the use of modern tools. This is a simple style bow to make when needed and for short term use.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Monday, June 26, 2017

How To Read A Compass

The videos above are excellent videos on how to read a compass. Land navigation is a very important skill set to have in the event you must travel long distances and you have a map and compass available to you.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Survival Weapons- Review of the Pocket Hunter

Product review of Dave Canterbury's Pocket Hunter. 

I gave the Pocket Hunter a 7 out of 10. The Pocket Hunter was reasonably priced. The blister package should be designed so that the fletching on the arrow does not get damaged. 

When  first taken out of the package, I found the Pocket Hunter to be securely built, but after putting a few arrows through it, the arrow rest adapter began to loosen a little making a rattling noise. The thumb screw could not be turned enough by hand to take the looseness out. 

I found it to be a little bit clumbsy when attempting to put the nock of the arrow onto the para-cord string for shooting. After putting a few arrows down range I was able to load the arrows a little faster. 

Once the arrow was loaded, I was able to put the arrows close to center target at 10 and 15 yards, but found it was harder to do at 20 yards and beyond without practice. 

Using the same arrows that came with the Pocket Hunter is important. I found that the arrow that came with the unit shot consistently every time. So use the same arrows or something similar. The Pocket Hunter also comes with a separate 3 pack of arrows at an additional cost. 

Other arrows I used performed much differently. Occasionally, I found the arrows to float around the arrow rest making the shot unpredictable. This was probably due to the arrow nock being too tight on the para-cord string. 

The para-cord release set up caused my finger to get sore, so using a shooting glove of some type will prevent that from happening. 

The arrow adapter and para-cord string can be removed converting the Pocket Hunter into a sling shot. Very versatile in the event you loose all your arrows. 

Over all I was satisfied with the purchase and will continue to practice with it so that I can become proficient enough to use it when the need arises.

If you want to make take down arrows for use with the Pocket Hunter, check out my link here to see how to make your own. This would make a small package together to put in a bug-out bag or survival backpack.

It is important to always practice with your weapon systems that you intend to use so that you can stay proficient with them.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Primitive Weapon- Survival Bow and Arrow

When early man first picked up a stone and learned to use it as a tool and weapon, he probably did not realize how that simple action would morph into the tools and weapons we have today.

I was curious to learn what early man went through by making functional survival tools and weapons from just rocks and sticks. So, I set out into the wilderness to make a primitive bow and arrow using only rocks as my cutting tool.

As I set out to an area that I wanted to make this video, about a 7 mile round trip hike into some rugged country, I collected items from nature that would assist in completing my project.

I was able to locate bones for arrowheads, green saplings for the bow stave, turkey feathers for the arrows, pine rosin and wood coal to make pine glue, yucca stick to make arrow shafts, rocks to fracture for cutting and sanding, and a nice survival site with trees and running water.

I was hoping to locate spruce trees or agave plants to use to make the bow string, but none could be found within the area, but are located in the region I was in (Chihuahuan desert). So, for the bow string I used my boot laces, which were made of para-chord. I also used a pocket survival tool that I wanted to test, which I used to start the fire with to make the pine glue.

It was a lot of hard work scraping, cutting, shaping, sanding and pounding to make a bow and arrow, but I was able to do it in about 6 1/2 hours. I sure have a lot of respect for early mans capabilities. They sure had it hard to survive off the land, but they did it and so can you and I.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!