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This week I would like to discuss some of the primitive skills that our forefathers possessed.
I speak at a lot of different types of events where people attend to hear about survival skills that would be needed in the case of total collapse of our economy or society. I often tell them that they need to remember that not so long ago the things that we can’t live without in today’s world didn’t even exist. I am sitting here writing this article on a tablet instead of my old time lap top (I guess I should be one to talk), but I still practice what I preach. And besides that fact, this keyboard is way too small.
As for me, I can do without the modern conveniences of life even I may not be happy about some. The main reason would be trying to get along with my wife without them.
The first thing that I can say is no matter why you find yourself in that situation (99% chance you went on hike and got lost, unless you’re hiding from a jealous husband) you may want to signal for help. You must not lose your head, or you would be in big trouble. Of course you want to put yourself in a position to be spotted by rescuers (unless the jealous husband is involved).
Then you must think about shelter. Even in summer the nights get very cold, and chances are you will be lightly dressed; the other three seasons you could be looking at life threatening conditions. A fire would be a consideration (the one time smokers may have a distinct advantage without some forethought on you part) as well as some type wind/water resistant shelter. This can be as simple as limbs leaned up against a log with twigs and leaves piled on the upwind side with fire in front. This provides a quick comfortable shelter.
After shelter the next area of concern should be clean water. If you have plastic it can be used to catch dew, make a solar still, over even wrap around a green limb (air tight) to get fresh water from a tree. Be very careful about drinking out of streams, and under no circumstances drink out of pond without treating or boiling the water before use (that includes the stream). If you have no way to boil or treat your water a spring is next best, but just because it is a spring is no guarantee of clean water.
Almost every body’s first concern is food. Everywhere I speak the first thing I hear is how they are going starve to death, but if that is your first priority I can promise you, that will not be how you are going to die. In extreme conditions you have three hours for shelter, three days for water and about three weeks for food. If you waste your time early on for securing food, you will either be rescued or dead long before you starve.
Always remember that there are a lot of edible plants depending on the season of the year, the location you are lost, and your knowledge of plants. It may range from nuts in the fall and winter, to berries in the summer, but with a little preparation and study on your part you will find out that there are a lot more edible plants than that at any time of year (a word of caution, if you can’t positively identify it as safe, consider it poison).
You will need protein, and animal or fish are always a good consideration. FORGET the deer, why on earth would you want a deer? Unless you brought the entire neighborhood with you 90% of the meat will spoil. There are ways to preserve the meat but that would be more of a long term survival consideration. For this article we are assuming you are going home in days or a week or two at most, and a squirrel, rabbit, bass, or even a rat would do well ( the rat is hard to mentally digest I know, but would do just fine as long as you don’t think it should taste like chicken).
This article was for fun, but we never know when we could find ourselves in trouble. A couple years ago a family was in the mountains joy riding in the snow when the loss of control left the whole family in a survival situation with an overturned 4 by 4. The father knew he couldn’t start a fire right at the vehicle as there would be spilled fuel that would burn the family to death. Yet they had to have shelter, and the overturned vehicle served well. He burned the spare tire and heated rocks a safe distance from the 4 by 4, took them back to their shelter for heat. They had water or other drinks and snacks with them and were rescued with no ill effects thanks to a prepared father who didn’t lose his head.
A few years earlier a young man decided he would spend the winter in Alaska in and old school bus. He had supplies and rifle, but little preparation or plan. He killed large game for food but without knowledge of how to preserve beyond the meal he was eating found himself in serious trouble. You must have a balanced diet (not just protein), and you must know how to preserve the protein you do have. He was found in spring starved to death only because he went unprepared for a planned trip.
There are some very good survival books out there. “Wild edibles of Missouri” is a free online book from MDC, and “Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival” is another excellent book. I would recommend that anyone who enjoys the outdoors or may ever find themselves in a disaster situation to get these books and study them to the point that they could use the enclosed information without the book in front of them.
If you have any questions, feel free to come by the store; Kosh Trading Post, 206 Bingham St., Koshkonong, Mo., or call 417-280-6304. See our web page at koshtradingpost.angelfire.com or check us out on Facebook. We do intend to have some free one-day seminars at Kosh Trading Post on topics like edible plants, herbal medicine, primitive hunting tools and traps, etc. that will be conducted by me and/or guest speakers at a later date. If you would be interested in attending some of these or if there is a topic you would enjoy let us know.
Also monitor our Facebook page for times of future events both at the store and others events we will be attending.