The Realities of Winter Living

Winter in the Canadian wilds is a complex subject, which cannot be covered in a book, let alone a single article. Due to the vast challenges that are unique to winter, being combined with the variety of climates Canada has to offer, it is very difficult to generalize it enough to make basic guidelines.

Due to this, this article will focus on winter in Ontario Boreal forest. In this scenario, it will be February, with a deep amount of snow (well over one meter deep) and has remained colder than negative fifteen degrees centigrade. Dangers at this time of year in such a region include but are not limited to; hypothermia, dehydration, frostbite and snow blindness.

With deep snow covering the majority of otherwise accessible supplies, the woods wanderer must learn to adapt to the frigid temperatures with intellect and proper equipment. The most immediate danger is hypothermia, which can set in as soon as three hours or less, depending on the situation. Proper clothing and layering is a must. Avoid cottons, simply because the moment the cotton material is wet, it loses over 90% of its’ insulative value. The moisture can come from falling into a creek, snow melting through the clothes, or simply perspiration (sweat). Wool is heavy, but its’ insulative value is second to none. It is breathable and capable of remaining extremely warm, even when soaked. Breathable is better than waterproof in the dead of winter, simply because of the dryness of the air. Remember, this is February in northern Ontario. The biggest danger of waterproof clothes in such a situation is that perspiration will remain in the clothes and near the body, making the woods wanderer colder than they would have been if dry. Take note that even with modern waterproof materials, many northern native peoples still prefer buckskins, woollens and even canvas. Why? Because these fabrics breathe. Cotton should still be avoided due to perspiration, but expensive modern waterproof breathable like Gore-tex are not necessary.

Several layers should be worn, between three and five layers. Five being optimum for extreme cold. The layer closest to the skin should be soft and light. Modern merino wools and polyester “micro-fleece” are incredible as this “Base Layer”. The next three layers should be exceedingly thicker. The final layer should have large pockets, a hood with fur trim (ideally from a wild canine, as their fur shed snow and ice-build up exceptionally well), and cuffs that can prevent snow from getting in. The classic winter parka is a perfect example.

At least three pairs of wool socks is almost mandatory in such an environment. Again, thinnest and softest sock closest to the foot, thickest one closest to the boot. There are several means of footwear for winter. One choice is the classic heavy duty winter boot with a felted wool liner that can be removed and replaced when wet. This can be made from rubber, plastics, or a vast catalogue of different materials, and personal choice is often difficult to render the “perfect” winter boot. Another option is to wear a regular boot inside what is called an “Overboot”. An overboot is simply a piece of footwear that protects the boot and foot from the extreme cold, and occasionally (depending on material its’ made from) from moisture. Such footwear coverings comes in a great variety. If money is strict, a good choice are cheap army surplus “Tent Boots” which are nothing more than a quilted nylon legging attached to a traction tread. These go good with a pair of knee-high moccasins. Another option if money is more loose are the Neo brand of overboots. Avoid steel toe boots, as steel conducts heat away from the body.

A woolen watch cap or skull cap, combined with a large thickly insulated hat. Cossack hats are a great choice for extreme cold, again, fur is very good as shedding snow and very insulative. A balaclava (also known as a ski mask) is extremely valuable for the colder days, when the face is exposed to frostbite situations. A thick, long scarf is warm, comfortable and helpful (used as a sling, a rope, a packstrap, etc). Finally -clothing wise- a pair of wool gloves inside a large pair of mittens is invaluable. Finger can lose feeling quickly in cold weather, especially if in tight fitting handwear. Due to that, wear comfortably fittinf thin wool gloves inside large roomy mittens. If one takes note of the mittens worn by northern peoples, there is usually a cord attached from one mitten to the other. This is often attributed to the fact that such large mitts can easily fall off. The cord helps prevent that. As well, with the gloves and mitten combination, one can slip their hands out of the mitts for more intricate tasks (tying, untying, cutting, etc) without having to put down their mittens anywhere.

Outside of clothing, fire and shelter are precious, but those can be described to better detail in other articles. Simply remember to find dry firewood, and that the shelter must be able to keep ones’ body warm as well as dry.

Travelling for firewood, food, supplies or other things in snow that is powder or loosely packed is difficult. The foot just seems to break right through. This can slowly but surely exhaust the woods wanderer and overtime saturate the feet with melted snow. Skis are often used in Europe and much of Northern North America by descendants of Europeans. However, the thick woods of the Boreal are often too dense to easily trek through wearing cross country skis. On the other hand, a well made pair of snowshoes are invaluable in the Ontario north. Snowshoe distribute the weight of the wearer, to lessen the depth of snow they have to walk through. After a few hours using snowshoes, new timers will often feel sore in the thighs, hips and knees. However after a few days on the trail, snowshoeing becomes as natural as a leisurely stroll.

For such a region, there are several designs that are better than others. The classic Beavertail snowshoe, though good, is not best. Bearpaw, Ottertrail, and Ojibwa snowshoe designs are far superior. The absolute best is the modified or “elongated” Bearpaw Snowshoe. This design is superior due to the length (allowing better strides and weight distribution) , the rounded heel and toe (making it maneuverable in the dense woods) and all-around lightness. The design is so well thought of, that the majority of “modern” snowshoes, made from carbon fiber, Kevlar, aluminum, titanium, and other contemporary materials use the Elongated Bearpaw snowshoe. Now, of course, this is mostly an opinion that can be argued by anyone who uses another type of snowshoe. However each snowshoe has been designed for a specific region, and the three mentioned (Bearpaw, Ottertrail, Ojibwa) are ones that suit the Ontario Boreal forest perfectly. Experimentation with different models is the key to perfecting the right snowshoe for the right climate and terrain.

There are some who argue that modern snowshoes are superior to the traditional wood and rawhide snowshoe, whilst others argue the reverse. The truth is that both have merit and both have drawbacks. The modern snowshoe is lighter, often stronger and some even fold up to fit inside a small rucksack. However, if they break in the woods, it is very difficult to repair them. On the other hand, a heavy, cumbersome pair of “Hickory’n’Hide” snowshoes can be repaired and even replaced by an individual well experienced with a knife and axe.

W. Ben Hunt describes in his book “The Complete How-to Book of Indiancraft: 68 projects for authentic Indian articles from Tepee to Tom-tom” how to make what he called the “Alaskan Eskimo Snowshoe”. This is, in fact, the Ojibwa Snowshoe, otherwise known as the Cree Snowshoe. Regardless of which first nation it is titled after, the book shows a good template on how to make these rugged, effective pair of snowshoes. If such a pair is unable to be made, he also shows how to make “Wooden Snowshoes”, which are boards of wood (basswood or ash preferably) that are shaped like elongated Bearpaw snowshoes, and the toe stem bent into an upward curve. This upward curve is needed in any snowshoe, to help it lift over the snow, rather than get dug into it.

In the woods, snowshoes can be made by simply lashing evergreen boughs to ones’ feet. Though these are not the best choice, if no other choice is capable than the evergreen boughs must suffice. The best are the wicker snowshoe. This requires two large piles of thin shrubby plants, such as dogwood, willow or even wild grapevine. Simply weave the materials into two large circles, making the hoops out of several sticks at a time (like wicker). Afterward make a base inside of these circles by pushing sticks through, making a crude, but very effective snowshoe. There are as many ways to make a pair of snowshoes as there are people wanting to make them. So researching and experimenting is paramount.

On such a large layer of white, like a winter field or forest, the surface is able to reflect a great deal of sunlight. Over between a few minutes and a few hours of exposure to so much bright light, the eyes can begin to feel like sand is being poured over them. This painful sensation can continue for days, even after tears and cold compress. What caused it? The Ultraviolet light reflecting off the snow slowly caused photokeratitis, which is basically a sunburn to the retinas. It is said that fresh snow reflects eighty percent of UV rays, compared to sand or ocean water (both reflect under thirty percent). Commonly called “Snow Blindness” it can be detrimental and must be prevented at all costs.

The Inuit people carved (and still do carve) antler, bone and ivory goggles to combat. These are made by shaping the material to the shape of the head, to fit comfortably over the eyes. Narrow slits are cut horizontally where the eyes are, and the insides are either painted or charred black. This cuts down on a great deal of UV light, the snow goggles acting like squinted eyelids, and the blackened insides absorbing the light rather than allowing it to remain bright. A pair can be made in under two hours with a light piece of wood such as cedar, poplar or basswood. The Inuit snow goggle must fit snugly to the face if they are to work properly. Therefore it is best to make them rather than buy them, to make sure they fit perfectly.

Ski goggles or smoke-tinted lenses on sunglasses are modern alternatives. However, it has been noted by many outdoors experts that such goggles or sunglasses either let the ultraviolet light in from the sides, or fog up, and many suggest the traditional wear of the Inuit people.

If prevention against snow blindness does not prevail, seek medical aid. If that is not possible, bed rest with cold compresses and “artificial tears” to help hydrate the eyes is the best means of recovery.

Protecting the skin from windburn and frostbite is crucial. Frostbite is the freezing and damaging of the dermal layers (skin). This can lead to severe pain, and if not treated by doctors, can lead to nasty infections. Again, prevention is heavily important. Many native peoples and northern explorers have used grease, rendered from animals. Covering the skin with these processed oils helps cut down on wind-chill and even protects against frostbite. Pilots in the First World War often used petroleum jelly for similar reasons. Wearing a face mask such as a balaclava is a good tip as well.

Facial hair catches moisture from breathing and freezes. This leads to a lot of frostbite cases on the face. Regular shaving helps cut down on this danger. Facial hair does not provide a great deal of insulation in the first place, so do not feel bad about cutting off. Some anthropologists believe this is why Native peoples did not often grow facial hair, same with many other northern peoples. Exposure to such a frigid environment could perfectly well make the bodies adapt to not grow hair around the mouth and nose, just as well as it adapted the typical Inuit to their frigid environment (barrel chest with large nasal cavities to heat the arctic air).

In high stress, the human body produces greater amounts of Urea. This toxic compound is removed from the body via urinating. In frigid weather, the body is definitely being stressed, and due to this a greater amount of water must be consumed, to help prevent dehydration or urea-poisoning. Fresh snow is usually only 10% water, the rest of it being air. Due to this, eating snow will make the woods wanderer often thirstier. Melt the snow by any means possible, whether it be by melting over a fire, near a fire, or inside the shelter. Drink it warm, and if possible make it into a tea to assist in acquiring vitamins and electrolytes. Scurvy is a common plight in the north during winter. To prevent this, a constant intake of vitamin C is required. This can be done by making tea out of pine needles, cedar needles or any other edible evergreen. The Labrador tea plant is another option, being an evergreen marsh plant that is very common in the north woods that is rich with vitamin C.

A great deal of preparation, practice, and prevention is involved in a safe time in the winter woodlands. However, when one takes into consideration how much more time would be involved trying to fix the problem versus simply preventing it, one can see how simple of a life it really is, even in the wintertime. Living in the wilderness when the snow is on the ground, the lakes are frozen and the woods are silent is a peaceful, beautiful experience very few ever witness. To simply snowshoe out with a toboggan loaded with the right gear and the right food (high calories with a great emphasis on fats, carbs, and proteins) is an amazing adventure that more of us should try this coming winter.

Basic Rules For Survaval

Here are some basic rules for survival that could help you on your next outing!

This is one of the most important rules for me, Were “Two Is One And One Is None” This is a rule I got from a buddy in the military, and has become one I use in all aspects of my life! What it means is, if you carry one and it breaks, you have nothing! But if you carry two and one breaks, you still have one to use! Also, you have the broken one for spare parts”

if they’re both the same”! It’s a simple rule, but I’ve used it for many years and it’s never failed me and even helped me out of some big problems as I’m sure it will for you as well! Just as a side note you will notice in the kits I put together and things I do, that more offend then not there is more than one form of an item, it may not be the same but it does the same purpose” such as water filters or shelters” and this can save you when you’re far from help or a store to get a replacement! After all if you’re on a trip which you spent thousands of dollars on, and hiked many miles back to a sweet fishing spot, only to find your fishing rod is broken, your whole trip is wasted, but if you had a spare all that you have put into the trip is not lost!

I have added this part to the Rules Of Survival for the fact that many have asked about thing of this nature and about Bear Gryls, Now this is all about RISK people see Bear Gryls on TV taking chances to make TV entertaining, but I have to say one of the rules and probably the most important one of all, is not to take RISKS. Take your time and don’t cut corners or take chances like jumping off cliffs into water, if you break your leg or do something like that you will end up making your Nightmare even worse instead of better slow and steady wins the race!

“Panic & disorientation” One of many things I’ve learned over the years, which may save your life is not to panic. One of the most frequent things people do when they’re lost is trying to get out as fast as they can, sometimes darkness is coming and they are running through the woods trying to find any way out. This is probably one of the worse things you can do, if you do this there’s a 100% percent that you will get more lost because you’re not paying attention to landmarks and points around you. So if you’re lost you should take stock in where you are and what you are doing at all times and think. Taking the time to think may keep you from going in circles.

“Fire” is a thing that some people will think they can do without, but that isn’t the case. Without fire, animals will come around and even though it may be summers you can get Hypothermia and die at night when the temperature drops. It can get quite cold in the summer and without fire or some form of keeping yourself warm, your body will shut down and you will be in a world of hurt. There are many ways to still stay warm, by moving around and getting a shelter ready gathering wood, hunting around for something to eat. Any one of these ways can save your life but don’t sweet, this can have the opposite reaction by cooling down your body and making you wet and colder than you were when you started.

“Food” depending on how big you are! You can survival quite a while without food, providing you have way more body fat to keep your body running. Most people can last three weeks without food, but you will get sick very sick so in a survival situation you should try to eat anything food that becomes available.

 

 

“Shelter” You should acquire a shelter A.S.A.P, shelter is one of the must-have things to survive! It can keep you out of the wind and rain and can be a good task to keep your temp up when it gets cold. You can use just about anything for shelter, from a poncho to a large fur tree. You should keep in mind the better the shelter you have the warmer and longer you can stay there, and the better you will feel about your very bad situation! And staying put can get you found much faster.

“Stay in one place” As your mother may have told you when you were little, “stay in one place so I can find you”! Well it applies here too, when searchers look for people they work on a grid. If you keep moving, you may move into a grid were they had searched the day before and that will make it very hard to find you. But if you stay in the one grid, when they search your grid you will be found by processes of elimination!

 

“Water” is your body’s largest chemical component; the average human body is over 70% water. Water is a must if you plan to survival in the summer, you can lose quite a bit just sitting still on a hot day, your body will need approximately 3 liters to maintain. But if you are lost in the woods you will use allot more! The best thing to do is try to stay calm as much as possible, which I know can be very hard when your mind is running a 100 miles a minute and you’re feeling that you will never get out. Its best to sit down and think it out, this saves water, calories and your sanity!

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

Before All Else Fails, Run! Strategies from a Flight-First Perspective

What is the primary skill needed to survive a zombie invasion? An individual may practice superior marksmanship, wear the most fantastic home-built armor, and possess the best maps and equipment. However, if one can’t run at least six miles without stopping, one is in a brief, flesh-rending world of hurt. This article will expose some of the disadvantages of dependency on armor, armaments, mechanical transport, and excess gear in general while illustrating the advantages of using one’s ability to assess danger, combined with natural speed and agility to evacuate before the full onslaught of zombies.

This article uses The Key Emergency Principle and applies it to a zombie attack.

Wikipedia wrote:

“The key principle taught in almost all systems is that the individual, be they a layperson or a professional, should assess the situation for Danger. If the situation is too dangerous, the individual must consider whether to approach the scene or leave the area if appropriate.”

Some may question the prioritization of agile retreat over the sturdy defense. However, this joke speaks to the advantages of a flight-first strategy:

A bear is about to attack two people on a trail. One man begins tying up the laces on his running shoes. The other asks, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” The man in the running shoes replies, “You’re right. I can’t outrun a bear. But I can outrun you.”

One individual stays to fight, risking death. The other leaves, not risking death, and leaves the bear with someone else to attack.

Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse

The Disadvantages

Stand And Fight: Death by Encumbrance

Encumbrance is an evil almost as great as ignorance in the struggle against zombies. A human carrying extra weight with limited mobility creates the ideal opportunity for a zombie: slower prey. They appear to have nearly limitless endurance and an unquenchable desire for living human flesh. Even if one assumes zombies are slow, shambling, and uncoordinated, the encumbered human then subtracts any advantages of speed and agility (and reduces the possibility of hiding). Therefore, the heavily armed and armored individual is ultimately a can of Spam waiting to be peeled open by the zombie foe. Guns, bullets, and armor are heavy. Ammunition will eventually be expended and then begins a forced retreat, much slower than that of an unencumbered peer.

Armor will not only sap energy and coordination, but it also greatly increases the possibility that the individual wearing it will hook him- or herself on fencing, windowsills, doorknobs, or any other snag. Every additional object strapped, hooked, or tied down on an individual’s body increases the possibility of tripping or losing one’s balance. Sadly, once a human has fallen, the advantage swings fully to the zombies.

Encumbrance also limits escape options and reduces noise discipline. The more armor one wears, the less exits are available. Small windows and gaps, for instance, become impassible. Furthermore, silence is sacrificed because the encumbered individual has so many attachments (such as extra clips, grenades, and armor pieces) that could strike against each other.

The Zombies Are Here, Where Is The Gear?

Gear dependency is another grave illusion to which a survivor may fall prey. All the gear necessary to survive a zombie attack cannot be worn continuously unless one is willing to risk ridicule, ostracism and/or incarceration. Unless one is on the S.W.A.T. team, public display of armor and firearms is frowned upon. In more rural regions an individual may be able to have gear more at the ready, however, most of the American population lives in highly urbanized areas. They do not have constant, ready access to necessary survival equipment. For example, residents of Los Angeles who are not cops or gang-members have little to no consistent access to firearms. The hot climate also discourages even the most creative survivalist from wearing armor constantly. Even if one has prepared a bug-out bag, there is no guarantee that the individual will always have it within reach. There are just too many occasions (church, a date, work) where the wearing of firearms and riot gear is unrealistic. One cannot depend only on the proverbial sword and shield.

Driving Away: You’re on Empty

Another assumption is that the survivor will find a car, bike, or, god-willing, a motorcycle readily available when the zombie outbreak occurs. Surprisingly those in rural areas will have a better chance of finding and effectively using motorized escape. For those living in densely populated areas, motorized evacuation will be a very uncertain scenario.

Once again, using Los Angeles as an example: L.A. has the highest car density in the United States, but, even without a mass panic, the city’s freeways and streets already suffer from gridlock. It will be so much worse if zombies strike. Those few who do have a vehicle and a clear exit will be willing to fight to keep their advantage. Fighting with other survivors over a car would be extremely costly in time and potential injury.

One might own a motorcycle. However, the risks of dying in a traffic accident go up exponentially when on a motorcycle. One may not even be alive to be running away from the undead in the first place. Additionally, there is still the issue of fuel and/or repairs for cars and motorbikes — at some point they run out of gas and fuel may not be readily available.

Bicycles are a great idea. In practice, most American cities are designed in favor of cars over bicycles. Few people use bikes as a primary mode of transportation because of the inherent difficulty and danger (few bike lanes, fast traffic). One is much more likely to be caught commuting in a car when a zombie arrives. If one is fortunate enough to have a bike, repair issues and impassible areas are still a concern. For example, bikes do not run well over broken glass or even loose sand and gravel. Finally, it is also difficult to ascend a stairwell or jump through window riding a bike.

That being said, one would be foolish not to use a mechanical advantage: car, bike or otherwise. No matter what mechanical advantage, the point remains the same: an individual can only consistently depend on two things:

  • One’s knowledge of impending zombie doom.
  • One’s healthy, uninfected legs.

Flight-First Solutions

Why Running A 5K Matters: Tag, You’re Dead

The first 30-60 minutes in a zombie-overrun area will be akin to a game of tag. It will be the most important game of tag one has ever played. The rules will be difficult because all zombies will be “it” and the only goal is to avoid their grasp. Killing zombies doesn’t matter in these opening moments. Escape is the only priority.

One’s initial assumption will be to run as fast as possible. That assumption is flawed. Sprinting can kill. The individual will run out of breath quickly and will be at greater risk of zombie attack. Zombie endurance appears limitless, while human endurance is finite — it must be used wisely.

The individual using a Flight-First strategy does not need to be a sprinter. One must be able to run when zombies are present; and jog when they are not. The individual just needs to stay ahead—and avoid being surrounded. These training suggestions below will help prepare one’s mind and body for this method of retreat.

Beginner:

  • Indian File: A group of runners runs in single file. The person in back has to run to the front, forcing an increase in the pace.
  • Fartlek: Loosely defined as “Running Play.” An individual or group runs a distance at varied and random paces. At any time one runner can pick up the pace, forcing the others to catch up.
  • Pyramids: Often done on a track. The runner sprints 200 m; walks 200 m.; sprints 400 m; walks 400 m; and so on.
  • Tag/Two-hand Touch Football: Any of these family-friendly sports is an effective training aid that encourages players to dodge and avoid contact.

Intermediate:

  • Trail Running: This increases endurance; and can include many obstacles to increase one’s running dexterity.
  • Scrambling/Bouldering: This is another increase in dexterity for both legs and arms. One can scramble down hill or up and over boulders and rocks.
  • Paintball: This is an excellent sport that will encourage use of cover and concealment, and team movement. The Human side must be poorly armed. The Zombie side, however, should only be allowed to shoot opponents within six feet.
  • Local Running Events: Any 5k fun run is an excellent source of practice. A finishing time of 33 minutes means one has a decent chance of being an initial survivor. Walking speed is about 13 minutes. The 33 min. finisher has run about an 11 min. pace. Furthermore, the individual has learned to run in a crowd–very important during a zombie outbreak.

Advanced:

  • Parkour/free running: Seen in many recent action films including Casino Royale, Parkour is a sport or form of martial arts that emphasizes flight over fight using direct, efficient movement through extremely challenging urban environments. A Parkour practitioner can jump through windows, climb vertical walls, and jump from heights that should be fatal. Unless one has trained for years in this sport, this would be an ill-advised strategy against zombies. The risk of injury is too great.
  • Half/Full Marathons: While Parkour is very useful in initial encounters, one can train more easily for distance running; and therefore more likely accomplish the needed endurance goals.
  • Night Running: This is an extremely risky proposition, but a zombie is not going to play fair. One may have to run at unfavorable hours under unfavorable conditions. Practice with caution in familiar areas.

Why Marathoning Matters: I’m Outta’ Here

Running a marathon to escape a zombie might seem ridiculous, but if one has the endurance to jog out of the infected area, that individual has a significant advantage over much of the population. The goal is to get off the zombie dinner plate (i.e. crowded city areas) — go somewhere, anywhere that a zombie isn’t. Putting 10, 20, even 30 miles of distance you and the outbreak is one of the best survival strategies.

Human beings have a long tradition of distance running that can be resurrected. The mileage covered by members of traditional cultures often sounds astounding. For example, according to Ultramarathoning.com, an adult Apache could travel 50-75 miles per day over rough terrain! However, according to the site, the ability to cover extreme distances was not due to a genetic advantage, rather to life-long conditioning. There are numerous training regimens (more than can possibly be covered here) which can prepare an individual for a marathon (26.2 miles) in five months! The regimens vary widely and are appropriate to different levels of age, experience, and fitness. With careful research one can train to this level without injury.

Sadly America, among many Western nations, has fallen victim to the silent plague of poor diet and inactivity. That means that much of the living will be hampered by excess body mass, and low endurance. On a more selfish level, these less fit victims act as bait, expediting the more fit individual’s withdrawal. This is a double-edged sword, however, as this might cause the initial outbreak to go exponentially faster than previously theorized because of slow human retreat. Those that turn into a zombie will no longer lack endurance and will be able to prey on those who haven’t turned with devastating effect. It will be all the more important to escape quickly before one is surrounded.

Speed and agility will keep the individual alive for the first Tag You’re Dead encounters. But one’s endurance is the likely determinant of initial survival. Then the individual will have time to be concerned about food supply, fuel, water purification, etc. One must keep in mind that into a zombie does not appear to prefer particular individuals. If contact can be broken, a zombie will likely go after easier prey. And, unfortunately, easy prey will be readily available.

Equipment

If I Only Had Three Things And 90 Seconds: Gear to Get You in the Clear

  • Shoes–Always have a pair of trail-running shoes handy. They should have sturdy soles (for example, http://www.vibram.us/), reinforced toes, and sturdy laces. Regular running shoes won’t cut it. One is likely to put a nail or broken glass through the bottom of the sole. There are a few types of light hiking boots that would be appropriate. One must test them for lateral mobility.
  • Water Bottle—Preferably this bottle should be made of unbreakable plastic, be easy to grip, and have a simple filter. One can run without food for a long time. Dehydration, however, is a constant risk.
  • Cash—(Not an ATM or credit card) Cash can mean salvation on the first day–maybe even first week. The reason is one will be running from an outbreak to a (hopefully) uninfected area. The individual may be sweaty, breathless, kind of wide-eyed and scary-looking to the local merchant. But when the money is presented, the merchant will almost certainly provide a plethora of Gatorade and Slim Jims. Cash can buy that gun, medicine, and/or bus ticket out of town. Cash is the lightest and most valuable tool during the initial outbreak. Past that point it’s toilet paper.

Five Minute Head Start: Five More Items

The Flight-First individual has shoes, water, cash and a lead. Here are some more items to have in ready reach.

  • Cell Phone– Again, like cash, this will only serve well in the initial outbreak. Find the location of friends and allies. Are the escape routes clear? It’d be even better if one has a hands-free device. Then jogging and running will be easier.
  • Runner’s fanny pack (or some spiffy SWAT belt)– This item will serve well throughout the zombie infestation. Better ones hold two water bottles, and have a pouch that can hold a pound or two of food or supplies (or a hand gun for that matter).
  • Nutrition Bars—Avoid the cutesy low calorie, organic soy stuff. The survivor wants as much fat and protein as the stomach can tolerate, with a lot of preservatives. Look into Pemican brand, or military rations. When running, don’t snarf down the whole thing; take small bites with water. That will help to prevent cramping.
  • Multitool/knife—At some point during the escape it will be a necessity.
  • Flash light: Ideally this would be mounted on a pistol!

Weapons from a Flight-First Perspective

Run-N-Gun: Notes on a Fighting Retreat

Even the most strident Flight-First strategist will pick up Something to keep zombies out of grabbing reach. There are three categories of weapons to consider, based on encumbrance, availability, and effectiveness.

  • The ideal weapon would be a semi-automatic handgun with a 14 round clip; at least 40-45 caliber (with 2-3 more clips). The weapon is light, and can be stowed at the waist or small of the back for effective running.Remember, the primary strategy is retreat. Making a moving head shot at a moving target (even a slow zombie) is problematic. The target area (brain pan) is less than 9 square inches. Only shoot at a zombie if it blocks an avenue of retreat. If a head shot is unlikely, shoot at the center mass (with a high caliber/hollow point bullet) of the zombie. Hopefully the removal of several pounds of flesh will unbalance the zombie in such a way that it slows, stumbles, or falls – or is even incapacitated if enough supporting structure is wrecked. These techniques have not endured rigorous scientific evaluation. A shot to the brain is the only certain means of destroying a suspected zombie. One must balance the risk of missing that difficult shot against the reduced effect of a strike to center mass. Use the gun to help a retreat, not to get a high score.
    Other guns are valuable. Use them as long as they don’t impede retreat. But, when the ammunition is expended, is that shotgun worth carrying anymore? The handgun is by far the most valuable weapon in a Flight-First scenario. It works; and it is light enough to keep when the ammo runs out.

 

  • Now, for those individuals who don’t have a concealed carry permit, the best choice is a good hammer. One could have a hammer in one’s desk at work; and, compared to an axe, not risk a tense discussion with someone in the human resources department. It stores well in a car or on a motorcycle (i.e. the police don’t consider it a weapon). Running with a hammer is possible. It can be stowed (with some forethought; extra Velcro) at the waist, or small of one’s back.
    Go for as big of a hammer as can be carried; something forged in one piece, with a sturdy grip. An Eastwing 22. oz framing hammer (see Homedepot.com) would probably be the largest useable size at 15 inches. Again, this weapon is not for the holy grail of head-shots. It is meant for smacking hands and arms away (also good for breaking through windows, and breaking off door knobs).
    Other small bludgeoning/hacking devices (such as a hammer/axe) are also plausible. The weapon should not be longer than one’s forearm because, in order to run efficiently one must be able to stow it on the body—without impeding arm or leg movement.

 

 

  • Bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, swords, etc. are all problematic because of encumbrance (also most can’t bring a sword to work–golf clubs, maybe). They may have the advantage of keeping zombies a little farther away from the individual. But the two-handed stick is subtracting the individual’s initial advantages: speed and agility. Unless one is a ninja master, hauling the extra weight, and/or clumsily moving with the weapon attached to one’s body will quickly become tiring—and dangerous.

 

Armor from a Flight-First Perspective

Ten Minutes to Spare: “Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart”

When it comes to armor, the individual is one of two categories.

  • Very lucky. The individual and S.W.A.T. gear are in the same room/car/house. Put on the lightweight anti-riot gear and the boots in which one can run a marathon (this gear is available). Get dressed and go!
  • Not so lucky. The individual and S.W.A.T. gear are Not in the same room/car/house. One should make a beeline for the nearest mall/sporting goods store and grab/buy:
    Sporting Equipment from contact/running sports. It’s that simple. They’re light, aerodynamic, and designed to protect you from strikes (you will have to make some adjustments regarding bites).

Why choose sporting goods stores? The odds of an individual running across some major sporting goods outlet in a populated area are far higher than running across an armory or Army surplus/gun store (except maybe in Texas). Target, Walmart, K-mart, REI, SportsChalet, Big 5, Chicks, etcetera are all examples of store chains that proliferate in the Los Angeles area. Furthermore, one is less likely to be shot at while running willy-nilly into these stores. (See the L.A. Riots. The gun store owners were Very adept at defending their property. WalMart was far less defended).

Choose from: Baseball, Hockey, Football, Soccer, Skateboarding, Lacrosse, Paint-Balling, and others. All have some piece of equipment that could be used as a defense against zombie attack. Before selecting from this cornucopia of gear, one must ask two questions:

  • Is it light enough to run in for long periods?
  • Does it provide any practical coverage?

For example: Although a football helmet provides plenty of coverage, one can’t expect to wear it for miles. A better example: Shin guards from soccer or skateboarding. They’re reasonably light, and will provide some protection from scratching and biting–and the potential injuries of scrambling through broken windows.

Keep in mind a scratch from a zombie is almost as bad as a bite. One may not turn zombie, but the likely infection could be a killer. Furthermore, if other survivors see bloody scratches all over the individual, they are much more likely to shoot for sake of precaution.

The ideal, and reasonably available, anti-zombie wear comes from paint balling. The gear is made for simulated combat, is designed to be light, and is resistant enough against bites and clawing. The face mask, elbow/shin/knee guards would all pair excellently with the ad hoc hockey/baseball/skateboarding helmet. Paint ball masks also afford reasonable protection for the eyes, nose and mouth. These areas are crucial.

Covering orifices is almost as important as scratch/bite protection since zombie infection appears to be passed through bites and contact with infected fluids. So, for example, while one may have pulled off the best head shot ever, where did that brain matter go? If it was into the individual’s eye; there better be one bullet left.

Face masks, goggles, even sun glasses are a must–anything to cover the eyes. One’s nose, mouth and ears should also be lightly covered (i.e. be able to breath and hear, but avoid blood pathogens). It’s a difficult compromise. No one runs well with a lot of weight/obstructions on the head and face. But something is needed if a zombie is close.

Prioritize limb/hand/foot/face protection over the torso. If a zombie is close enough to be biting at one’s stomach, then it’s already over. Again gaiters/shin/knee guards are needed to get through broken glass windows–and of course to kick a zombie away if necessary. The same goes for arms and hands. One needs gloves (No open fingers!) that provide enough dexterity to fire a weapon. Finally guards up to the elbows are needed to reduce the chance of zombie bites.

Armoring from a Flight-First perspective is a difficult balance. Even the smallest amount of additional weight is tiring after a few miles. Armor is a fall back. The individual must be able to run first.

A Note On Bug-Out Bags; Make Light of Them

One should have in a Bug-Out Bag.
The caveats are:

  • It must be in a tactical backpack (i.e. something that straps tightly to the hips, shoulders, and chest).
  • It must be light enough to jog with for long periods.

Otherwise, it’s just an encumbrance. And encumbrance equals death. One’s extra roll of bandages will do little good while the zombie chews off a leg.

In conclusion, to prepare from a Flight-First perspective, follow the Key Emergency Principle. If you are in danger, leave the area!

Shotguns: The Ultimate Survival Gun

Everything you probably need to know about Shotguns.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” Teddy Roosevelt (excerpt of a West African proverb)

INTRODUCTION

Get ready for a wall of text unlike any this site has ever seen. Below is a all encompassing introduction to shotguns, their parts and use. This article is to help anyone interested in shotguns whether novice or expert. I hope in writing this article it will help entertain and educate the members on shotguns and raise the bar on informational articles.

Shotguns come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Shotgun use is broad; from sport to hunting, law enforcement, home defense or even the military. In the tactical world a person who specializes in shotguns is often called a Pepper, PP (point pepper), Scattergun or Doorman. Shotguns are by far the easiest survival firearm to obtain, use and maintain. They are inexpensive and extremely reliable. Smooth bore shoguns can fire any appropriate gauge of ammunition except for sabot rounds.

ANATOMY

Here is a brief description and break down of a shotgun’s main functioning parts.

The “receiver” is where we will start, since it is the main body of the firearm. It is the housing that all other parts of the gun are in or connected to. Inside the receiver is the “action”, or method used to slide the chamber open, which connects to “the bolt”, the part that holds the bullet in the “firing chamber”, usually located in the first 3” of the barrel. The bolt has an “ejector” and “feeder” attached to it. The ejector pulls the shell out of the firing chamber and ejects it from the gun, while the feeder takes a new shell from the “magazine” and places it in the firing chamber.

The magazine is a spring loaded device that holds ammunition that will cycle into the chamber. Internal magazines can not be detached to add more ammunition, where as removable magazines plug into the receiver and can be changed to add more ammunition. Internal magazines are usually a long tub with a spring on that pushes the shells to the loading ramp. The spring can be removed for cleaning via the “barrel screw cap”. Shotgun internal magazines often have different spring settings or caps and spacers for laws limiting capacity in certain states or countries.

The feeder, ejector, bolt and action work in a single mechanical motion to pull the old shell out of the magazine, cycle a new shell into the chamber and reset the “hammer” making the gun ready to fire again. The hammer, usually seated behind the bolt, is connected to the “trigger assembly”. When the trigger is pulled the hammer is released and it strikes the “firing pin”, which usually runs through the middle of the bolt. The firing pin strikes the primer on the shell, igniting the round. The “armature” the object or objects being fired travel out of the firing chamber through the “barrel”. At the end of the barrel, if the shotgun is equipped with a “choke tube”, the armature is guided into a smaller concentrated spray. Choke tubes are usually adjustable or removable.

The “recoil”, or rearward force of a fired round travels through the receiver and into the “stock”. The stock and/or handle, also known as a “pistol grip stock”, pushes back into wherever it was placed for the shot. If the stock is not “seated” against your body, it will make a hard impact that will probably hurt quite a bit. Once the stock is seated on your shoulder, as you look down across the top of the receiver, you will see the “sight” and will be able to aim the shotgun by lining it up with a target.

The only two parts left are the “safety”, which keeps the trigger from activating the firing pin, and the “slide lock”, also known as the “action release lever”, that locks the bolt closed. This is a basic description that applies to the majority of shotguns. In some models or descriptions the parts may have different names, but the purpose is the same.

TYPES

pump action shotgun
Pump action shotgun is the most common type of shotgun in the world. It has a internal magazine tube under the barrel and a slide handle that fits around the magazine. The pump action is simple and reliable. They come in a wide variety of styles to suit the shooter and purpose from tactical military to casual bird hunter. If you are thinking about buying a shotgun this is the best place to start.

breach loading shotgun

Breach Loading shotguns are a one or two-barrel single-shot variety. The gun “breaks” at the action and the two halves of the gun fold into an “L” shape exposing the receiver. The shells are loaded directly into the barrels and the breach is snapped closed when straightened back to normal. Typically breach or break shotguns have 2 barrels configured in either a side-by-side or an over-under configuration. These guns are primarily used for sport shooting or hunting and can handle ammunition fired at a lot higher pressure than most other shotguns.

lever lock shotgun

Lever Lock shotguns were typical in the old west. Rarely used or made anymore, they are prized by wild west enthusiasts and collectors alike. A lever lock has a lever that creates a trigger guard when closed. When opened it cycles the next round into the chamber from the internal magazine tube. The spent round is ejected from the top. This type of gun usually comes in smaller gauges like 36 and 48, because it was meant to be used mainly while mounted on a horse.

Bolt Action shotguns are meant to be accurate above all else. They are used exclusively for hunting and can chamber extremely high pressure rounds. Often, Bolt Action shotguns are used with single projectile ammunition like slugs or sabot rounds. More often they are rifled barrels, not smoothbore. This helps with long-range accuracy.

semi-auto shotgun

Semi-auto shotguns fire whenever the trigger is pulled and a round is in the chamber. A growing number of external magazine varieties are becoming available. The most common type of semi-automatic shotguns are made for duck, goose and turkey hunting. They typically have an internal magazine tube and hold 3 + 1 rounds.

tactical shotgun

Tactical shotguns also come in a wide variety of types and loading types. These shotguns have been designed or redesigned specifically for close to medium range (10-75 yards) against humans. They are much lighter than sport or hunting variants and are a lot more resistant to jamming and weathering issues.

full auto shotgun

Fully Automatic shotguns continue to fire once the trigger is pulled until the trigger is released. There are few designs of Full-auto shotguns as they are only allowed to be used by the military, and are classified as destructive devices instead of firearms.

AMMUNITION

shot
The shotgun’s most versatile part is the ammunition. I’m going to list a few and give a brief description, from least to most dangerous.

  • Less-than-lethal rounds are a rather large group of rounds designed to hurt or stun but cause no long-term damage.

Bag Shot
Shoots a lead powder-filled bean bag with a smaller charge. Once the bag hits the energy dissipates over a large surface area to cause a generalized blunt force trauma. It is exclusively used against the torso of humans to cause sudden pressure to the liver or the lungs. Ballistic armor does not help reduce the impact much and has the same results as an unarmored opponent. Bag shot is only used over 15 yards, but under 25 as to make sure the momentum is sufficient to cause the desired effect without causing severe internal damage. Major trauma or death could be caused under 15 yards.

Rubber Shot
Also know as riot shot, is a less than lethal round over 15 yards. Much like the Bag shot it has less powder behind it and it disperses 00 rubber buck shot. It has been used to stop rioters near police lines all over the world. It is often employed after a chemical dispersant has already been used, because the rubber balls can break bones and cause massive potentially life threatening internal hemorrhaging.

Baton Shot
A less than lethal round used for taking down singular agitators in riot scenarios. It fires a dense foam baton about 2″ in length from a 3″ magnum shell. The Baton breaks upon impact but releases large amounts of kinetic energy into a small surface area. Used properly it should knock a person to the ground with a center-mass hit.

  • Home-Defense Shot encompasses a wide variety of usually self-loaded or specialty-loaded rounds.

Pepper Shot
Rarely seen in today’s gun stores, but was widely used in the 1920-1950’s as a means of home protection that has little collateral damage. The round is packed with different grounds of black pepper as well as with dried pepper corns. The idea of this round is once fired at a person and the pepper blinds the attacker. Even with a center mass shot. The corns create bruising and let the attacker know that they have been shot with something. Without sight the attacker cannot tell what the actual damage to his body actually is.

Salt Shot is illegal in most states in the US, because the rock salt is meant to be embedded in the eyes and skin surface causing permanent blindness and severe scarring.

Sand Shot
Used in close range to cause large amounts of surface bleeding with little actual life-threatening damage.

2 Inch Shot
A form of usually 00 buck shot in a smaller shell with less powder. The effective range of 2″ is only a maximum of 50 yards. It is often used in enclosed tactical situations and for self defense.

  • Foul Hunting Shot – Range in pellet groupings from FF-9, with 9 containing the most pellets and FF containing the biggest pellets.

Rat Shot
A size 9 shot which is similar in size to sand. It is used mainly in house defense, hiker shot for snakes and wild animal deterrent, and for hunting rodents. The shot does not have deep penetration but creates a large surface wound and quickly leads to heavy metal poisoning.

Grounding Bird Shot
Size 4-8 is mainly used on quail, pheasants and grouse, birds that are ground-dwelling and take to flight at close range to the shooter. The shot is not deep penetrating. It is used more to break the fragile bones and have the bird fall out of the sky.

Varmint Shot
Size 5-9 is used mainly for deterring small animals like dogs and wolves or for hunting rabbit or squirrel. It is not deep penetrating and requires a shot usually under 30 yards for a kill.

Water Foul Shot
Has a wide range from BB-6. This shot is used mainly for deeper penetration on larger birds like duck and geese. The range is longer due to fewer shots at larger weights. The effective range is usually under 50 yards.

  • Large Game Hunting Shot – Range in number just like bird shot from triball-4.

Buck Shot
Usually ranges from 4-00. 00 buck shot is the most common hunting round in the entire world. It’s mainly used in hunting deer and elk. It is widely used by the police and military in most countries.

Boar Shot
Also called “Tri-ball” or “3-ball”, has 3 large pellets used to make a deep penetration and instant kill. The round is often used in close proximity to the target. Boar hunting requires an instant kill as a missed or non
lethal shot means the boar will charge you.

Bison Shot
00-0000 has deep penetration, often passing through most targets. Bison shot usually has a higher powder charge.

  • Long range shot is usually a slug variant and are effective from 50-150 yards maximum.

Slug shot
Fires a single large lead slug that has rifling on the bullet itself to impart some stabilizing rotation. It is typically used for large game like deer, elk, bison, moose and bear. It has deep penetrating power and isusually fired at 50-75 yards.

Sabot rounds
Uses a rifled barrel and are also used in hunting large game, but in more open,longer
range situations. The effective range is 100-150 yards maximum.

Magnum Shells
Typically used for longer-range flying targets and sport shooting (Trap and Skeet) are packed with 2 to 2 1/4 ounces of shot and are usually 3″ in length. Choke tubes are required to have the shot narrowed to a small spray at longer distances.

  • Military rounds (most are illegal in every country, or highly restricted)

Breaching Shot
Also know as a “Hatton Round”, it is a 12 gauge round of metal powder and wax or plastic. The round fragments and disintegrates after leaving the barrel. The effective range is under 1 foot. If fired at an individual it can have lethal results under 10 yards.

Ferret Round
A type of breaching round that disperses gas or powder when the armament breaks through a window or door. Often used to disperse pepper gas inside vehicles and homes for tactical entry.

Tazer Round
Shoots a battery-charged round that deploys stabilizing fins. When the fins lock in place 4 barbs are pushed out of the front of the projectile. When the barbs penetrate clothing or flesh they send an electrical shock through the target, immobilizing them.

Flechette Round
Contains about 20 steel feathered bolts that are loosely welded to a wire strip, much like nail gun strips. Soft armor is completely useless against flechette and it was internationally banned for war in the Geneva Convention as cruel and unusual armament.

Dragon Slug
Shoots a payload of magnesium powder that ignites and disperses on impact. The maximum effective range is only 25 yards before the fuse burns out.

Dragon’s Breath
A 9 sized pellet of magnesium mixed with a small amount of Thermite to create an extremely hot spray of inflamed metal and gas. Again, the maximum effective range is under 25 yards.

Armor Piercing Shot
Typically 1-6 tungsten or steel darts that are backed by a large powder pack. There are AP rounds that can penetrate 3a with a 1/4 steel trauma plate. They are sometimes carried by anti-terrorist teams, but they are illegal for police to carry.

Buck and Ball Round
Often marketed as the optimal defense or war wound. It contains both a singular fragmenting slug round and 4-8 00 buck shot. This is one of the few rounds that can literally knock a 200lb person off his feet, because of the timing and grouping of the impacting rounds.

Strung Round
Fires a set of .50 lead shot connected by a steel wire. The balls penetrate the flesh and drag the wire between them causing massive internal wounds and a huge exit wound.

Rocket Dart
Also known as the “Momentum Sabot”, is a small hollow steel bolt that is fired out of the barrel with a small charge. Once the armature is ignited by the initial blast it propels itself towards the target and stabilizing fins pop out. The armature is less-than-lethal under 10 yards, as it requires distance to gain maximum force at 150 yards.

Frag 12
Comes in 3 variants; High Explosive, Fragmenting Explosive and High Explosive Anti-Personnel, A.K.A. Claymore grenades. It is a 12 gauge grenade round that releases stabilizing fins. Unlike 40MM rounds Frag 12 is meant to be shot at a straight trajectory and is meant for tactical strikes more over than suppression fire.

CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE

shotgun cleaning kit

Why are shotguns so versatile? Because some pump actions and breach loaders never HAVE to be cleaned. A firearm should always be treated well, by cleaning and/or regular maintenance, but a few types of shotguns just don’t require it to function.
For those of you who do not have a shotgun that you would risk never cleaning or oiling, first consult your owner’s manual. In your owner’s manual it will specifically tell you what you can and can’t oil. It is not intuitive what should be oiled on a lot of different types of shotguns. In shotguns specifically over oiling will gunk up a gun and make it non-functional.

Basic cleaning and inspection should be done on all guns after they cycle 100 rounds or more, or are going to be stored for a long period of time between uses. A service gun should be cleaned after every use, allowing it to be at peak performance at any moment.

Step one – Always make sure the gun is disarmed and unloaded. Cycle the chamber a few times to make sure, and open the bolt to look inside the firing chamber to visually see that no round is in the chamber. Place a finger into the firing chamber to make absolutely positive no rounds are in the chamber or can be cycled into the chamber. Once the gun is fully disarmed close the breach and pull the trigger to make sure it is functioning properly, then open the chamber again and leave it open.

Step two – Bore cleaning and inspection are the second part to a good cleaning cycle. Get a shotgun bore solvent and place it on a bore mop or wad of cloth. Stroke the bore solvent down the inside of the barrel into the open breach. Make sure to get the entire bore coated and inspect with a flashlight in the open breach and physically look down the barrel. Let the solvent soak for about 15 mins and while it’s soaking in, pull out your tooth brush. Using a light bit of solvent on a rag coat the inside of the receiver, and brush with the toothbrush getting the wall, ejector, loading ramp and firing pin area. Once the breach is cleaned and the bore has had time to soak, use a wire brush to scrub the barrel, removing any residue stuck to the sides. Once the barrel is well scrubbed, add solvent neutralizer to the end of a bore snake. Pull the bore snake through the barrel of the gun, cleaning out the rest of the residue and solvent. At this point the barrel should be relatively clean. Finish the job by adding neutralizing agent to a clean cloth and wiping off all the muck left in the breach.

Step three – Oil it. Put a tiny pit of gun oil on a mop or cloth and push it through the bore. It will put a tiny layer of protection inside the bore that will keep it from corroding. Open the breach and lightly oil the bolt rail and/or chamber. Lightly oil the ejector and the join connection, the action, slide, and the loader. Do not lube the firing pin, as it can guck up with dirt and unspent gunpowder.

Step four – Buff up the outside with a silicone infused cloth. Wipe off any excess oil and cycle the gun a few times to make sure the action is sliding smoothly. Inspect all the junctions where moving parts meet. Look for wear and tear and corrosion. Check the safety and trigger functions. Load the gun and cycle a full magazine out to double check that it is clean and working smooth. Congratulations, the gun is clean. Time to stow it away.

Field Strip will require you to read your manual and follow the recommended field-stripping protocol. You should strip your gun down to its major parts for a fine cleaning and inspection every 1000-2000 rounds. Follow the procedure in your manual to disconnect the slide, magazine, receiver, barrel, and trigger assembly. Check for any wear or corrosion on all moving parts. You should never take apart the trigger assembly. With the gun broken down it is easier to oil all the parts of the gun that require it. Make sure to check and clean the firing pin assembly.
Once you have finished the cleaning, inspection, and oiling, replace any broken or worn parts. Do not put a broken gun back together unless you absolutely have to. After the gun is put back together follow the previously mentioned step 4.

Full strips should only be done by certified gunsmiths. Usually full strips are only done in the event of a 10k shot tune up, where pins and other parts are swapped out for new ones. Or during major repairs where many internal parts might have been damaged.

HUNTING

shotgun for hunting
Tactics for hunting, much like armed tactics, have entire books written on them, so I will touch on these topics and give you a general idea of how to set up for certain game. The majority of game on earth can be and usually is hunted with a shotgun. Rifle seasons are becoming smaller or non-existent in some states and countries. It is always best to go hunting with knowledgeable and responsible hunters who will teach you the proper etiquette and techniques.

Sweeping a field is mostly used for hunting small birds or grounding birds like pheasants and quail. The hunters will form a line across a field with tall grass. They will slowly walk across the field with either dog or beaters slightly in front of them. The the bird will take flight when threatened and the hunter calls out location and direction if it takes off in his square so the hunter next in line can take aim and fire.

Stalking or tracking is by far the most rare form of hunting as it is difficult and time consuming. Basically, when fresh tracks, droppings or an animal is spotted, the hunter begins to follow it to find its general behavior and direction of travel. The hunter then tries to circumnavigate the prey to get into a shooting position while the prey freezes or becomes distracted. Only the most skilled hunters employ these tactics as masking scent, wind direction, body control and noise control are all huge factors. In general, this type of hunting is more trouble than it is worth.

Tree stand or elevated platform hunting is common for big game like deer, elk, and bear. The hunter looks for signs of high animal activity through the woods and finds a location where it is likely that the desired animal will wander by under normal activities. They either erect a platform or tree stand about 15-25 feet high, allowing them to stay hidden and masked from the prey. The prey wanders by or is called to the area with mating calls. There is usually a lure or sent lure in the prime shooting location. When the prey gets to a desired location and the shot is taken, the hunters must track the injured prey.

Hunting from a blind is most often employed for large water fowl. A blind is open on the top or has a flip mesh top and conceals your location, sound and scent. The blind usually has peep windows so that you can see the prey. Calls and lures are used to get more prey to the location surrounding the blind. When the first birds take flight, usually because a dog is released, the hunters jump up out of the top of the blind and begin a salvo into the flock that recently took off. The dogs retrieve the downed birds.

COMBAT TACTICS

combat shotguns
The shotgun has many uses in tactical encounters, from high collateral damage to acute non lethal action. The most important place to start is close counters, because in general most shotgun action will be 5-40ft according to the IDPR (Illinois Department of Professional Regulations).

How to Practice
Most important to tactical shotgun practice is multi-firearm shooting. You need to learn to use at least a shotgun and a handgun. In body guarding, armed escorts, tactical entry and tactical team dynamics it is of utmost importance to know when and why to switch between weapon platforms. This practice is to make sure to you reduce the chance of friendly fire. If you are in front or on point, use shotgun. If anyone on your team might be in the line of fire in any way switch to handgun. The transition has to be smooth and without thought. In tactical competition shooting you must recognize if there are non-combatants at the station and act accordingly. If there are non-combatants then you must use a handgun to neutralize the threats and switch back to shotgun when going to the next station. There are competitors who are so exact with shotguns that they can hit a threat without hitting the non-combatant, but it can still hurt your overall score. Since a shotgun user is usually on point, it is important to practice obstructed-view shooting. This means practice moving around corners while maintaining a shot profile (an idea of what you are aiming at). You should never pop around a corner to shoot. You should always have your gun pointed forward and ready to aim. My last tip is always have 2 rounds in hand. Get used to loading on the fly. When you load 2 pull out 2 more. Try practicing the fire 2 reload 2 pull 2 as fast as you can. It is not easy, but just like handgun grandmasters, shotgun grandmasters reloading is as impressive and important a feat as firing. Ambidexterity in shooting is a must. Practice both sides, and allow for a sling or harness that won’t inhibit switching grips.

Entry team and door breaching
In the world of forced entry the front man is always the Pepper. A relatively new use for shotguns is door breaching, a.k.a. opening a locked door quickly. Usually a door breaching team consists of a Shield (1/3” steel plate backed by a hardened Kevlar), Pepper, and Ram or sledge hammer. They sneak close to the entry point and the Pepper will hide behind the Shield on one side of the entry and the Ram will wait on the other side. At this point the Pepper manually loads a “breaching round” and lines up to hit the door handle/lock mechanism down and toward the door frame. A distraction, usually flash grenades or 37mm smoke/TS rounds, are sent through the windows. Almost immediate to the distraction, the Pepper fires at the entry lock and drops behind the Shield to chamber a lethal round. The Ram hits the door dead center or towards the damaged end to knock the door open and the Shield opens his shield and body to cover a portion of the door to cover the approaching entry team. After a clear is given by the Shield the Pepper takes point and covers the main entry point from the inside as the rest of the team enters the residence. At this point the Pepper usually switches to handgun to follow the allotted team in clearing the building.

Clearing a house (solo or with a team)
When clearing a house work 1 room at a time and try to make it impossible for anyone other than your team or loved ones to get behind you without notice. In a team dynamic, 2-7 members, the point and rear are a constant. A 2-person team is not 1 guy in front, one guy aiming over his shoulder. There should always be a point or forward and a guard or rear. Point, usually a shot-gunner, makes sure the area to the front is clear of threats and reacts to threats as encountered. The guard makes sure that the immediate area cleared remains neutral. Imagine for a second that there is a hallway with a room at each end. The point is at one end of the hall and the guard is at the other end . The point’s job is to watch a 45-degree region to the front and nowhere else. The guard’s job is to cover 270 degrees from the back of the forward to the entire room previously cleared.
As a point you always keep an area of 45 degrees in front of you while you move. If a member needs to relay information to you they usually use hand signals by reaching around your shoulder so you can see it in your peripheral if auditory transmission is not possible. The point absolutely should never look backwards or stop observing the forward profile. When rounding corners you find a position in which you can see around the corner but do not give away a position. The shotgun should be pointed in the middle of the 45 degree visible space, not to the angle that will be soon revealed. As you slowly move from the wall into the cone of death (the area where you are in danger of being shot at) you move away from the wall in a backward 45-degree foot pattern. Sometimes this is called slicing the pie or the Z-pattern. The Z-pattern is like it sounds: you clear the inner angle walking to the door, fall back as you scan the inner room, and come forward to reveal the last angle from the opposite side of the entrance. Once the inner room is clear there are still 2 blind spots to check: the walls closest to you on either side of the entrance. This is problematic if the room is large enough or the door is in the middle of a room. When there is only one blind spot from the tip of the z-pattern you aim in the direction of the blind spot and rapidly pan at a rear-diagonal angle through the door and keep moving. If resistance is met you have the advantage of already being aimed at a fixed target and you are moving in a fashion that is not instinctual to track by a shooter.
If there is a closed door stand to the side of the door with the handle on it and turn the handle until it is ajar. Then get back into shooting position while the door is still mostly closed. If no observable actions have taken place move to the opposite wall by the door hinges. Use your foot; open the door slowly, no more than half way. Once the area is clear to the half of the room visible move into the room alongside the wall that was already cleared. Move around the outside of the room with the gun pointed towards the center. Clear the area that was not observable behind the door. When a room with a door is cleared, lock the door if possible and close it behind you. If it’s not possible put an item on the closed door that will not be able to be put back into position from inside the room, thus ensuring the area remains cleared. If rounds are used in the act of clearing a room reload before you move on. Always keep a full firearm so you don’t have to stop and reload when you run out. After a hallway or entrance is clear drag a piece of furniture across it and prop it so if its run into it falls over. The idea is that a person can not rush you and catch you by surprise. In moving around a house you will give away your position constantly. Just make sure that someone will have to do the same thing if they are trying to come after you.

Open warfare
I’m going to start by saying good luck. A shotgun’s effective range is 10ft-200yards max. If you are shooting 12ga 00 buck, which is used in most militaries, then your effective range will be more like 75-100 yards maximum. In open warfare you will be put on point only when the perceived shooting range is under 25 yards, like in jungles or urban regions, or whenever there is a choke point and no observable long,range vantage points. In warfare the Point relates to a fan formation or triangle. The point is the tip of the triangle that moves ahead of everyone else to clear or scout for the group. Its called the fan formation, because much like a Chinese fan the 2 wings can move in and out making a steeper angle but leaves a single point at the center. Other then specialty scenarios, a shotgun has limited use in open warfare. It is a close-range weapon compared to a rifle and is over-powered by alternatives such as full-auto suppression fire, grenades or 40mm grenade rounds. The shotgun’s use has sharply declined in military service since Vietnam, and today it is limited to special forces and rare situational use.

Civil Unrest Pacification (Law enforcement applications)
From a lone gunman, to a road block, or riot, the tactic is always the same: get behind cover and aim center mass. It is the policy of US law enforcement agencies that lethal force is to be expected when a firearm is pointed at any person. As such non-lethal ammunition is only ever loaded after a call is made to attempt to use non-lethal force. Other than cover and aim there is only 1 place where police tactic change: a riot. In a riot defensive line, the shield wall is backed by a row of officers with long batons called a Tanjo. Behind them are a row of shot-gunners. Behind them are grenadiers and another row of shields, then usually some cars or firetrucks with water cannons. When orders come for the shotguns to move in,usually because the pepper spray/ tear gas and water cannons haven’t done enough to disperse the rioters. The shot-gunners load non lethal rounds as appointed by the department. They move forward to the shield wall and aim through the clear shields. When the officer in the shield wall drops the shield low, the already aimed shotgun fires and the the shield comes back up. Rubber ball ammo is used most often in US riot scenarios. These balls cause large welts and bruises. If an agitator is too close the trauma is usually enough to make them fall to the ground and incapacitating them for a few minutes. If the agitator is in range of the wall they will move forward to cover the officers behind them, so they can drag the person back to safety and arrest them. This technique was repeatedly used in LA and Seattle to apprehend armed and violent rioters with out killing them.

Team Dynamic
A person who specializes in shotgun usually specializes in multiple weapon platforms. The shotgun is a specialty tool that isn’t often the right tool for the job. When a shotgun is needed there is no better tool. In SWAT and similar teams the world round, shotgun specialists study the use of 37/40mm grenade launchers, handgun, SMG and compact rifles. They aren’t “shotgun specialists”; they are often the “weapons specialists”. As a sniper is to a rifle the shot-gunner is to its shotgun name-sake. A broad specialty with many weapons and ammunition, not an acute but finite use on a single weapon. So if you aren’t the best shot in the world, then learn to be a good shot in everything and you will have a use in any team dynamic.

Upgrades (warning highly opinionated)

shotgun upgrades
With all the “Tactical” and after-market parts out there, it is easy to get lost in what’s useful. A shotgun never “needs” optics. They don’t effectively shoot so far you can’t see and it takes away the ability to see the peripheral area. If you need to upgrade the aiming potential of the shotgun, try a night site ,iron sight, or bead sight. Other than that a shotgun is perfect as it is. Pistol grips by themselves are rather useless as you can no longer get a proper shot lined up. Folding stocks and adjustable stocks with a pistol grip are a good tactical pick, as the grip allows for more control of the weapon and when not in use the gun collapses for easier storage or carry. Slings are a very useful upgrade. Make sure you don’t over load a bandoleer sling full of rounds, or you won’t be able to lift or maneuver the gun. Make sure that the orientation of the sling allows you to use it to keep your shotgun shouldered, and allows for the slide and ejector to operate uninhibited. Gun lights or aiming lasers? If you are really into tactical shooting and competition or in the field of enforcement the light is a nice improvement. It can be set so that the light shows the general spray pattern of the shot you are using. It allows for reactionary shooting, without aiming. It also gives you a clear view of what you are about to shoot. Aiming lasers, not really useful honestly. If the light doesn’t work and you can’t aim a shotgun, then you have no business using one. Bayonet? Ha! If you ever would need one this would be the gun to put it on, but seriously would you ever really need a knife on a gun? Extra rounds mounted to your gun… Unless it is recessed into the stock seriously what is the point? It throws off the balance of the gun, they usually rattle and become loose. They snag on things easily and the rounds aren’t that easy to pull out and load into the gun. Get a nice shogun ammo pouch for your tactical belt and you will be better off.

REFERENCES

15
Course notes and seminars
“Center Axis Re-lock” by Paul Castle is a course designed and taught by Paul Castle or Saber-tactical for Pistol, Shotguns and Rifles. The class cost about $1500 now, and as of yet there is no major literature produced by the creator.
Illinois Department of Professional Regulations- Shotgun qualification course notes.
Useful tactics for counter terrorism and personal protection Seminar notes.

Website articles
Mossberg 590 Owners Manual
http://www.rarewinchesters.com/articles/art_1895.shtml
http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/quotes.htm
http://www.pageresource.com/html/
http://survivalcache.com acticles; Mr. Smashy’s 8 part series on the Survival Shotgun
http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2009/08/27/long-range-taser-found-to-be-a…
http://www.shotgunlife.com/Shotguns/cleaning-your-shotgun.html
http://www.tetraproducts.com/images/pd-cleaning%20instructions-shotgun.pdf
http://www.trapshooters.com/
Wikipedia articles for; Shotguns, actions, riot police, forced entry, Mossberg, Bennelli, Winchester, Remmington, hunting, large game, small game, water foul hunting, flechette, explosive rounds, gauge, and Hello Kitty ™

Books & Magazines
May 2011 issue of Guns and Weapons article LE Shot-shell Firepower and Combat-proven ammo tactics to keep your shotgun ready for the fight!
August 1999 issue of Guns Magazine article MMC Tactical Shotgun Sights -by Roy Huntington
The Tactical Shotgun: The Best Techniques And Tactics For Employing The Shotgun In Personal Combat by Gabriel Suarez
“Field and Stream” magazine, 2009,2010, January-March 2011

Personal interviews of experts in Shotguns and tactics
Personal interview with Chief Inspector David Hughes on close combat tactic in policing and private enforcement.
Personal interview with Jerry Herbeck, NRA member and avid sport hunter.

Picture Sources
(1)http://www.internationalfirearms.co.uk/user/cimage/BigShotgun.jpg
(2)http://63.149.92.171/images/50120cas3WTYPE.gif
(3)http://www.mossberg.com/images/Mossberg_Guns/930/NEW/50411.jpg
(4)http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQLqoTKYgHkXXp3DujetefBaGGJ__4RuNKlQ_KSONgYSj07VC49Pg&t=1
(5)http://www.originalprop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/terminator-2-winchester-shotgun-custom-original-prop-01-x1200.jpg
(6)http://www.armusa.com/images/Mossberg3.jpg
(7)http://cdn5.thefirearmsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/images-mossberg-guns-930-new-85370.jpg
(8)http://img.tamtay.vn/files/photo2/2010/11/27/23/766994/4cf13416_33d502f7_spas12.jpg0d763628-e081-227f-dad901a8bf230c6d.jpglarge.jpg
(9)http://members.shaw.ca/tmcveigh/Projects/GunRights/images/striker.jpg
(10)http://www.tgscom.com/images/sharedimages/ammosupply/shot.jpg
(11)http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/321077760/Shotgun_cleaning_kits.summ.jpg
(12)http://i.ehow.co.uk/images/a02/6e/b1/choose-duck-hunting-shotgun-1.4-800X800.jpg
(13)http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRIm7RBKZZAg4QvgEjI13fjTvEEiw4-NgNiytArR3AM3CXRkLni&t=1
(14)http://lh6.ggpht.com/_kIWY2DV0KnE/Sl6cuD4L6MI/AAAAAAAADxY/4MiGAt9VEsQ/Rooney%20gun.jpg
(15)http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_110wcPq1TEY/TVFiBv1vgtI/AAAAAAAAGzY/HZ8gtyi7skY/s1600/hello%2Bkitty%2Bshotgun.jpg

How to make Snares and Traps

There are many methods of catching your wild food in the wilderness, but knowing how to make Snares and Traps, is one of the most essential survival skills you will need to learn before venturing out into the wild.

If you prefer to and can afford the gear, maybe a shotgun would be a more predictable way to get live game.

While it is more than possible for you to survive for several weeks without any food, it is not generally recommended you go out and try.

So, by knowing exactly how to go about catching your food, using the various trapping methods available, will ensure you always have a good supply of fresh food when you need it.

There are other methods of obtaining food – fishing, for example, can prove very good, and doesn’t need to be a time-consuming exercise either – see my article:  how to catch fish easily..

Snaring and Trapping is designed to kill an animal by either choking, crushing, hanging or entangle the animal until dead, thus making it safe for you to approach the animal.

As with all things survival – the most effective traps are usually the simplest – the key to good trapping is not so much using the latest, super high tec, trap. But knowing and understanding an animals habits in order to position your traps in the very best places where you have a higher chance of actually catching the animal.

Without doubt, good trapping comes down to location, location, location….

Firstly,  take a look at the basics::

Most snares and traps use a combination of the three basic methods shown below –

 

The Simple Snare

Dead Fall Traps

The spring Snare

survival skills showing deadfall trap

You can make any of these without any equipment at all, however, having a few essential survival tools will make the job so much easier.

To make life easier I always have the following survival equipment with me whenever going out into the wild:

  • Survival knife – an essential bit of equipment – see article: Choosing the Best Survival Knife
  • Wire Snares –  A set of Wire Snares – reasonable thickness, 3/32″ for small game
  • Paracord – everyone needs to carry  550lb. strain Paracord – apart from snares, paracord has many uses
  • Survival Axe – an essential bit of equipment – see article: Best survival Axe Guide

 

Starting a Fire in the Wild

Basic Survival – Starting a Fire in the Wild

 Basic Survival – Starting a Fire in the Wild

There are many different methods of Starting a Fire in the wild – all are possible if you have enough time and the materials, but you must have the basic survival knowledge and learn these skills before going out in the wilderness.

However, if you do ever find yourself in a situation where you are miles from home and need a fire urgently, your fire starting material must be readily available and your methods uncomplicated.

There have been cases where hikers, hunters, and others have been stranded out in the cold because the matches they had with them in their pockets were useless and would not light.

If you carry matches in pockets next to your body, they will absorb any moisture and perspiration, making them damp.

Any matches that are left in your backpack and exposed to humidity will also be useless as well.

How To Make a Fire in the Wild

As with everything, survival – preparation is the key to success – and starting a fire in the wild definitely needs preparation.

There are lots of ‘modern’ ways to fire starting, and, if you apply survival rule number two, you will never have any problems. That is, Keep It Simple.

 

It is essential that your basic survival skills include knowing how to start a fire in the wild by ensuring you actually carry a means to create a high-temperature spark, and have the tinder available to turn that spark into a good, workable flame.


There are many excellent survival knives that have a built-in fire starter, like the Survivor HK Fixed Blade with fire starter, that is perfect and work really well –  (shown here on the right)

 

 

But, as with all survival, always carry a spare. A simple Ferro Rod Fire Starter will slip into any small space and be a perfect emergency backup.

In fact, you can also get yourself some very nice outdoor fire starting kits like the Spark-Lite Military Edition Fire Starter kit – shown here on the left –

These kits have a Ferro rod and combustible tinder in a waterproof container.

Perfect as a backup fire starter.

 

 

But,  starting a fire without an ignition source is a whole different ballgame –

You will always be able to find Fire starting materials – they are everywhere – lint in your pocket, thread from your clothing and of course dry tinder made from wood.

However, you will still need to have an ignition source: 

 

The Bow Drill Method

A bow and drill is a method that has been used to produce a hot ash ember for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It is simply based on friction to to create a fire.

This method of starting a fire can uses various designs and raw materials but the overall basic concept is always the same –

create enough friction that will cause heat and produce an ember.

You can use a shoelace, rope discarded by others or, if you wear a Paracord Bracelet, then that is ideal (hover over link – this one even has a fire starter built in.!)

How to Make a Fire in the Wilderness

The overall concept is to try and spin the main drill, using the bow, fast enough and long enough to create an ember in the fireboard. To make a hot ember good enough to start a fire will take a lot of effort AND practice.

Make sure you have dry tinder available close to the fireboard – once you have an ember you only have to move the fireboard a bit closer to combine the tinder and ember.

Some experts will tell you to catch the hot ember under the notch in the fireboard and, using a leaf or piece of bark, move it across to the tinder.

However, moving the ember can cause it to extinguish, you can drop it or the wind could blow it away.

Move the board away and bring the tinder to the ember.

 

 

The wood file.

A much less complicated method than the bow and drill above –  but will require more effort and both pieces of wood must be very dry for this procedure to work.

However, this method has been field-tested thousands of times and the wood file will definitely produce a hot ember, but you must practice patience and attention to detail.

 

 

Easy, additional source of ignition.  steel flint and striker fire starter

When you are in the wild, you tend to carry lots of odd things – alcohol wipes or hand sanitizers in particular. These will all contain some alcohol which, in itself, is ideal when used as an emergency fire starter.

Squeeze an alcohol wipe over some dry tinder or squeeze a drop of sanitizer on the tinder.

Use the steel and strike it against flint – this will create a spark, which in turn will ignite the alcohol and you have a flame to start your fire.

Just about any knife blade and flint or even a hard stone and steel can be used together to create a spark.  Natural forming flint is the best material to use with steel.

 

Even more alternative fire starter ignition methods

fire starter using glassesTake a piece of broken glass or you can even use a pair of glasses to magnify and focus a sunspot at some dry tinder – after a short while the tinder will ignite.

For the very best results, the sun should be directly overhead, but this method will generally work anytime the sun is shining, you simply have to position yourself correctly.

 

 

Another way to improvise is by using a soda can bottom as the reflective material –  simply magnify and direct the sunlight to create a fire in dry tinder. You will have to polish the soda can bottom to give a highly reflective finish.

Use any piece of soft cloth to buff the metal to a high shine.

Next, position your dry tinder on the ground and move the can about until sunlight is reflecting off the can onto the tinder.

This method will take a lot of patience and a steady hand but will definitely work.

 

battery starting fire with steel wool

 

Another very quick and efficient way to start a fire in the wild is using a torch battery.

If the positive and negative terminals of the battery are ‘shorted out’ they will produce a spark good enough to ignite your tinder into a flame.

If you have any steel wool – this makes the perfect conductor and will flame up instantly.

All these methods of starting a fire will work – some better than others and some quicker, with a lot less effort than others, but the overall principle is to not over complicate things – use the simplest and easiest methods where ever possible.

I’m sure if our ancestors had Ferro rods and survival knives with fire starters they would have used them too..!

Now you need some wild game to cook

How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build a Survival or Emergency Shelter and Set Up Camp 

 

A good survival or emergency shelter is the absolute number one priority for survival in the wilderness – whether you are out in the wilderness for fun or been forced there by natural disasters.

If you find yourself lost or you’re stranded or even if you simply realize you don’t have enough time to get back home before dark, it then becomes very important to build a shelter

In any survival situation you can apply the survival rule of three to ensure success.

You will need to build a shelter within three hours, this may even be accelerated in cold conditions, especially if someone is suffering from hypothermia.snow shelter

 

 

However, you may well be lost in a cold climate, and if this is the case you must build a shelter almost immediately to prevent any hypothermia.

A shelter is your ‘home’ and defends against the elements, from potential predators, and even insects bite and stings.

It provides you with comfort and will physiologically boost your moral. Being able to ‘get away’ from the outside is essential for your well-being.

A survival shelter can be simply shelter constructed without using tools

A live tree is first used as the main center support. This can be a fork in the tree trunk or even cut down tree stump.

Find or cut a good solid branch that’s straight and place that firmly

 

into the ground and rest the other end into the fork in the main tree.

Use smaller branches to form the sides of the shelter – as many as you can get and as close together as possible.

Gather up as much vegetation as you can find and layer the outsides of the frame – layering from the ground up so the layers overlap the layer below to form a drip plate. The vegetation should be at least 2′ thick to ensure against any rain getting in.

Remember, an essential survival tool that will definitely help make the whole process quicker and easier is a woodland survival axe – in fact, some survivalist rate a good axe as a far more essential tool than a good quality Survival Knife

 

 

The shelter above forms the basis of most woodland shelters – but there are variations, like this lean-to woodland shelter.

Still based on the main support – this time between two main solid trees, then the branches are stacked up against the side and, again, covered with a thick layer of whatever vegetation is available.

If you think it will rain then the vegetation must be at least 2′ thick and layered down the side to help the water runoff, and must always have a good slope as well.

 

The snow cave survival shelter

This too can be constructed using snow, sticks and leaves, using the snow as the main building material – if you had to leave your home due to natural disasters in the winter, it would be very tough to survive – even surviving in the winter for ‘fun’ is a huge challenge.

snow shelter

Never burrow into deep snowdrifts – the soft snow can easily collapse.

Instead, it is much better to build a standalone shelter from the snow. In that way if the structure was to collapse you can get yourself out easily, otherwise, you may suffocate.

Make sure that the snow cave is built big enough to ensure that any part of your body is not touching the sides at any point.

If your body comes in contact with the very cold surface it will literally drain the heat from your body exposing you to the risk of hypothermia.

 

Always rake the snow off the ground inside the shelter and then put a layer of leaves or whatever vegetation is available on to the ground. This must be done to form insulation between you and the ground.

Additionally, put a thermal blanket on the ground if no vegetation is possible – something like a  Mylar Emergency Blanket is ideal for this.

Take advantage of your surroundings. 

Yet another snow survival shelter method is to dig out the snow from under a tree, down to the bare ground and then pile up all the snow along the sides.

Then use the tree itself as shelter and place pine boughs, or a tarp or poncho over the top to give you overhead cover.

You can even build your fire inside the snow shelter, but make sure to leave room for the smoke to escape.

 

As well as natural materials, you can use a wet weather poncho, various camping tarps and thermal blankets as survival shelter materials.

Once you realize you are in a more dangerous situation, you must always have your survival shelter constructed before dark. It is definitely recommended that your shelter is set up as soon as possible and you begin setting up camp immediately.

  • Always stop for a few minutes and take a little time to evaluate your situation and your surroundings to ensure you are making clear, correct decisions based on your survival.

 

Basic Shelter Materials – be prepared before you go out in the wild.

 

Ideally, and thinking ahead, you would have packed an emergency shelter into your rucksack – a Mylar survival tent like the Level One Emergency Tent shown here, is a must for survival and this one is very light and very compact, sleeps two people and is an essential bit of ‘emergency’ equipment to carry in your rucksack.

 

 

As well as a survival tent you should also carry basic survival equipment and materials such as:

  • 550 Paracord
  • a good quality Survival Knife
  • woodland survival axe
  • Survival Pocket Chain Saw.

Otherwise, you can use materials found in your environment and you can take advantage of natural features.

 

Building a survival shelter is the most important thing to do if you are lost or stranded in the wilderness – if you were forced out into the wild because of some unforeseen natural disasters, then knowing this skill is even more essential. Your shelter can make the difference between life and death and will help you overcome extremely harsh conditions.

If you get yourself protected from the elements, no matter how primitive that protection is, you will give yourself a huge increase of surviving.

What are the Top Five Basic Skills for Survival

Basic Survival Skills Everyone Should Know

You must learn Basic Survival Skills before going out in the wilderness.

Surviving without life’s normal luxuries will test most people – even a week without power would grind many people to a complete halt. If that were to happen to you how would you survive?basic survival skills

 

Would you know what to do to keep yourself and your family alive?

Natural disasters can be even worse and had the survival skills, knowledge and ability to live through these disasters needs to be learned and those skills need to be practiced way before anything actually happens.

 In any disaster situation, you can always apply the Top 5 Basic Survival Skills and know you are giving yourself a far better chance of staying alive and surviving.disaster survival tips

Without knowing these skills your survival chances are greatly reduced – you should never leave your survival to mere trial and error – especially after the event.

What are the Top 5 Basic Survival Skills

To completely understand basic survival skills, it is very important to know what are considered the greatest threats. These are the threats to your life and to your survival in the very first place.

 Importance Of Survival Skills

Understanding and knowing about these threats are one of your biggest weapons to help you maintain a clear head in any survival situation and then being able to overcome them. The top threats to your life – those that will halt you in your tracks, especially if you’re not prepared for them are –

  • Exposure
  • Dehydration
  • Starvation

And, in order that you are able to combat these 3 main threats, you must know the 4 immediate responses to them that will ensure your survival – these are:

  • Shelter
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Food

Remember these chilling facts –

  1. Extreme weather can kill you in a matter of just 3 minutes –
  2. A lack of water can kill you in 3 days –
  3. No food will kill you in only 3 weeks –blizzard

It really is that easy to be caught out. So now it all makes sense, just how important it is to know these top 5 basic survival skills.

These are the top 5 basic survival skills you must know

1. Know how to build a shelter and set up a camp

2. Know how to start a fire using foraged materials

3. Know how to find & filter water

4. Know how to Set Snares & Traps / Fishing / Hunting skills

5. Know how to butcher and prepare an animal / prepare fish

 

Most people who like to venture out into the wood and the wilderness will already have a basic knowledge of these skills. In fact, you really don’t have to venture to the great outdoors to learn how to do these skills – you could just go online – but without any practice, you will never really know if it works or not.

Absolutely nothing beats getting your gear together and actually experiencing the wilderness – going out and practicing these top 5 basic survival skills, is the only way to really learn what it’s like.

Basic survival skill #1 – Building a survival sheltersurvival shelter

* A Survival Shelter is any structure that will protect you from the elements – an overhanging cliff face, a cave, a fallen tree. It doesn’t have to be a palace, it need only be something quite simple as a few logs and twigs propped up against the branch of a tree, a few more branches and then some leaves thrown on top. Throw a few more leaves on the ground and you’re good to go. This will be enough shelter for you to keep the rain or wind or snow from settling on you.

Basic survival skill #2 – Start a fire

* Learn how to Start a fire – do this as soon as possible after you have built your shelter. A fire is like the Feng Shui of survival – you can get some very good Fire Starter or ferro rod that make it very easy to start a fire. Quite a few survival knives also come with a built-in fire starter that’s ideal for helping you to get a fire started. Find as much dry wood as you can and store under your new shelter – stock your fire up and you can sterilize water for drinking, dry clothes and cook your food now.fire starting

 

 

Basic survival skill #3 – Collect water

* Set out to collect some water – if you’re prepared for disaster, you would already have a decent water filter like the LIFESAVER Water Bottle at your disposal. At the very least a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, that way you can always get a drink straight from any water source. If not prepared, then you must learn how to distill water using the sun and the other various survival methods.water purifying straw

 

Basic survival skill #4 – Hunting & Trapping for food

*You must know the basic principles of setting snares and traps and how to begin a campaign of hunting for your own food – ideally, carry a few automatic fishing reels to save time when out looking for food. Learn about tracking and how to set humane kill traps – ensure you have the knowledge to ensure you can catch your own food. Learn how to use a ‘low tech’ weapon designed more for silent killing – a good hunting slingshot will always work, but you must have used one and practiced your skills beforehand.slingshot

 

 

Basic survival skill #5 – Butchering & Preparing Food

* being able to just got out, with confidence, and get yourself some nice fresh food is only half the survival story – You must learn how to prepare and butcher your potential dinner. Learning the techniques required for successful skinning and gutting as well as the necessary bushcraft skills to enable you to preserve your own food, must be learned and practiced. Especially in a long term survival situation – Surviving in the wilderness can be as easy or as difficult as you decide to make it. Of course, it always comes down to being prepared – it is essential to learn these basic survival skills. Become a good survivor by learning the basic survival skills needed to survive the wilderness, and then go out and practice those skills – you can even practice some these in your garden!knife uses