There’s little argument that unless you are one of the elite 1%…we live in very trying times. We hear terms like trauma and PTSD thrown around by television doctors, physiologists, news people and talk show hosts, but do we really know what these terms mean? Do we have the slightest idea the toll it takes on a person and their family experiencing trauma? Hopefully not, because that means you or someone you love has experienced the roller coaster ride of a chaotic life and you were along for the ride.

The Hate effect that has swept the country in the last few years has caused these diseases to not only increase in number but manifest themselves in intensity. It may surprise you to know that victims of crime, soldiers exposed to battle and migrants trekking a 1000 miles in an attempt to provide for their family’s welfare and safety all experience these same identical symptoms. We will mainly explore trauma through the eyes of a victim of a violent crime, as we all have been victimized in some shape or form in our life and may be better able to relate to this example. Let’s begin with out sample case.

Any crime victim will experience the trauma of victimization as an aftermath of experiencing the crime. Although outwardly seemingly unhurt from the incident the victim will suffer a tremendous amount of physical and psychological trauma. The primary effects of the experience can be generally grouped into 3 main categories: physical injury, financial injury and emotional injury. There are also possibilities of experiencing secondary injuries.


Trauma Issues

  • The physical injury is usually apparent such as cuts, bruises, fractured limbs, although internal injuries may also be present depending on the incident. It’s not unusual for physical injuries to be accompanied by severe fatigue, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much and loss or gain of appetite.

  • Victims suffer financially when their belongings, money, jewelry etc are stolen or damaged. They also suffer financially when insurance does not cover incurred expenses like hospitalization, medicine or funeral costs.

  • Emotional injuries may be the worse result yet of a crime. Not only is the victim affected immediately, but there may be long term problems for the victim and their family.

Some medical books describes a victim’s reaction to a crime as the Crisis Reaction. Most victims will react differently to the crime depending on the level of personal violation they feel they incurred. For instance a victim of a non-violent crime may feel less violated than a victim held up at gunpoint. This is not always the case as a victim of having their home burglarized may feel violently violated as their sanctuary of safety, their home, has been taken away. Trauma doesn’t restrict itself.


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There are certain common responses to the underlying reaction that a victim will undergo. These reactions may not happen for some time and these are not all inclusive:

  • They incur shock

  • numbness to the event

  • denial that it could happen to them or a family member

  • disbelief at the criminal act

  • anger … sometimes extreme

  • And finally recovery, which may be a week or may take a lifetime.

Nothing heals the pain and trauma but passing of time and sometimes that only barely lessens the agony. Here are a few tips for helping yourself or someone else cope:

  • Find a person you can talk to about your feelings with no fear of being mocked, privacy violated or any other fear. They must be trusted.

  • Allow yourself to feel the pain whether physical or emotional. It will not last forever, not at the current level anyhow.

  • Spend times with others, but make quiet time for yourself.

  • Take care of yourself, mind and body. This may not be easy, but is necessary. Rest, sleep, eat regularly and not just junk food

  • Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible

  • Re-take control of decisions caring friends and family may have taken over

  • Regain your routine, but move more carefully and cautiously as you may not be 100% yet and you don’t need an accident to compound the issue.

  • Recall things that helped you cope in the past. Prayer, mediation, reading whatever helped.

Let’s examine the shock and/or numbness effect of trauma.

Shock and/or numbness are usually experienced at the initial stage of the crisis event. Whether you are a control freak or not, everyone has control over certain elements of their life, or at least feels they do. Suddenly and without warning the person is in a situation totally beyond their control and this total absence of control leaves them numb and disoriented.

It’s at this point the victim will incur the Fight or Flight syndrome which is a built in self preservation mechanism God gave us and we literally have no, or very little control over it. It’s known as an automatic physiological response. As noted this is a self preservation response but most victims don’t understand their response to the emotion or their lack of control.


A woman who took an intensive self-defense program in order to protect herself will be confused and embarrassed as to why when confronted she couldn’t initiate one defensive move she’d been taught. Or a man who turns and runs instead of standing and fighting will experience the shame of feeling like a coward, although that is not true. To rebut the person for their reactions results in secondary injuries which may never go away. “Once a coward always a coward type thing.”

You may ask how do soldiers, first respondents, police overcome this fight or flight syndrome control? Simply put … training. Ask nearly any person who became a hero for the moment and they’ll tell you their training took over.

Denial, Disbelief and Anger

During this segment of trauma the victim may or will most likely experience extreme mood fluctuations. Research shows victims nearly all react the same way. They will question fate:

Why did this happen to me?”

This couldn’t have happened to me!”

  • Many will experience dreams replaying the event, sometimes exactly as they remember it and other times distorted with crazy unrelated things interjected.

  • They may dream (nightmares if you will) about killing or causing great bodily harm to the offender. Torture becomes tantalizing.

  • Homicide victims may feel anger at the dead victim, reasoning if the person had done something different, not stayed late at work or took a different way home, they would not have been killed.

This will be a terrible time of trauma when the victim will contend with an abundance of emotional and stressful emotions such as:

  • Fear

  • Despair

  • Self-pity

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Anger

  • Hostility

Emotional help assuring them these feelings are normal and OK is important. Never make light of their pain.

ptsd injury

This is Real

Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome:

Historically this type of trauma was used to describe military veterans and was referred to as being shell shocked or having that 1000 yard stare. Researchers now apply this syndrome to crime victims and other victims of violent actions (like being tear gassed with your children). It must be noted not every victim of a crime or every soldier experiencing combat will develop PTSD. This is especially true if preemptive crisis intervention counseling is offered and taken.

Some recognizable symptoms of PTSD are:

  • Sleeping disorders/continued nightmares;

  • Constant flashbacks/intrusion of thoughts;

  • Extreme tension and anxiety;

  • Irritability/outbursts of anger;

  • Non-responsiveness or lack of involvement with the external world;

  • Prolonged feelings of detachment or estrangement of others; and

  • Memory trouble.

PTSD is a very complicated diagnosis and the presence of any of the above-mentioned symptoms does not mean that a person is suffering from PTSD. However, it’s my strong suggestion demonstration of these signs require follow up analyzation by a medical professional.

Secondary Injuries:

One must remember a trauma victim not only struggles with primary injuries, but also must battle secondary injuries. Most secondary injuries are provoked by the victim failing to receive proper support and understanding by trusted and/or loved ones. For instance:

  1. A soldier returning from combat will have trouble relating to their family at first. Either the family repeatedly questions the soldier about their experiences and the soldier doesn’t want to talk about them, or visa versa the family doesn’t want to hear about the horrors of war. This was a daily travesty for soldiers returning from combat during the VietNam war. They were met with jeers and hatred by fellow Americans.

  2. Victims of violent crime may be treated with the negative attitude by professionals that they were somehow responsible for the crime. They were dressed provocatively resulting in them being raped, or they had no business in that type of bad neighborhood. Sometimes people who ought to know better display the height of ignorance and indifference.

<> on April 1, 2014 in Nogales, Arizona.

Hate this one

This is not political, but as I write this piece I can’t help but think of the current immigration problems we are experiencing. I’m not arguing right or wrong, I’m arguing that we as God fearing people should look at what we may be doing to innocent people.


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A mother fearing for the safety of her children embarks on an unimaginable trek to the “Promised Land” (America) The distance she must travel is immense with daily dangers of being raped, killed, kidnapped and sold into slavery. The odds of the family making it all the way to America is slim to none.

Somehow they endure and are at the front gates of the prosperous, generous and tender heart Americans, Then their world collapses. They are denied legal entry to America, then are tear gassed and told they will never be allowed sanctuary. Stop and imagine that.

  1. A danger filled trek of thousands of miles on foot.

  2. Enduring unimaginable hardship along the way

  3. Then being tear gassed and told the family will never find safety

Trauma is a deadly emotional disease and we should take it more seriously than many of us do. Trauma doesn’t only occur in the movies … it’s real life. What are we doing to these children? Creating emotionally scarred and disabled people. Or creating a whole new generation of Bin Laden s intent on wrecking pain on Americans. Trauma is an uncontrollable disease with unknown results.


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Running Out of Water

My intent when I created this blog was to provide as much information as possible to help people live safer, and more enjoyable lives thru being prepared to handle crisis situations, man-made and Nature made. I feel its also my obligation to forewarn readers of potential dangers that may lurk ahead that don’t get much advertising, shall we say. The subject of running out of water is one such subject.

When we hear someone say they are running out of water, we immediately think their bottle of designer spring fed water supply is nearly exhausted or their canteen is running low, an inconvenience maybe, but rarely life threatening. That’s how spoiled we have become in industrialized, perhaps especially in the USA, countries. The issue of running out of water, something we will all die within 4 days max without, is treated as an inconvenience.

Hopefully changing our warning to “our global supply of water is in danger of running out,” will lend more weight to the issue. Unfortunately, we still have world leaders, specifically the moron who holds the US presidency, who don’t believe in climate change. So holding hope of taking this problem seriously will most likely be dashed. However, we must try.


Where’s the Water?

Let’s look at a few facts in order to set the stage.

A small child can look at an atlas and derive the fact the earth is mainly covered in water. So what’s the water shortage? For the non-believers and those who wish to just be argumentative, allow me to clarify. When I say we’re running out of water, I mean we are running out of drinkable fresh water. Of all the water on earth, freshwater makes up just 3% and less than 1% is actually freely available. The rest of the water is tied up in icebergs, glaciers, ice and snow-caps.

This means that all the water that makes up all the rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater that nearly 7 Billion people (and rising) count on for life is less than 1% of the total water on earth.

You can further break down the pending crisis another step. For some people in certain parts of the world, the issue isn’t so much lack of water, but lack of clean water. In Africa, especially, millions of people die each year from diseases that are totally preventable if they had access to clean water. Although there may be adequate water available from the nearby river, it is so contaminated with animal feces, human waste and industrial organisms from the city located 300 miles away, it’s literally a slow death sentence to drink it. What choice do they have?


Melting Iceberg

There are many factors that effect the reducing amount of potable water, but one reason stands above all others. The ever increasing global population boom. As populations grow so does the demand on water, not only for drinking but for agriculture and livestock. In industrializing countries industry requirements demand more water, for instance nuclear power plants demand huge amounts of water for operation. In other words water is essential for maintaining life, the basis of economies and the maintaining of society.

Historical records show the last massive war fought over water was in Mesopotamia 4500 years ago. Based on that information you may assume that a war over water is unlikely. Is that so?

2003 Darfur Sudan, a diminishing water supply provoked an armed conflict that resulted in 400,000 Africans being killed. Depends on who you’re talking to, but I’d call that a war.

Can’t happen to us. Why not? The Darfur conflict began as a local issue but quickly grew to encompass an entire region in war. I may or may not go to war with you if you have a vast deposit of gold in your country and I have none. But … the huge difference with water is it knows no geographic boundaries. The lake or river can be located or flow through several countries. Who owns it? As supplies of water diminish these water sources that caused no problems for centuries, all of a sudden results in severe animosity or hatred. Especially if one country perceives the other country is consuming more than their fair share.


Unlivable Terrain 

Can’t Happen Here.

If anything the last 2 years of political upheaval and trashing of American norms should teach us is we are not immune to terrible things happening to us just because we are Americans.

In October 2007, a 20 year old water dispute, nick named the Water War, broke out into near open hostilities between the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. A severe drought in the region created the possibility of Atlanta and its 4.5 million residents, could run out of water. The state’s National Guards were placed on alert, but fortunately only fiery rhetoric and not bullets were exchanged between the parties.


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In 2007 the town of Orme’s, Tennessee water supply dried up leaving its 145 residents without potable water for drinking or bathing. The nearby town of New Hope, Alabama not only allowed Orme to bring trucks to take water back to resupply their water system, but allowed them to run a 2 mile pipe line in order to tap into New Hope’s water system. What would have happened to Orme had New Hope refused to offer help? Would Orme simply collapse becoming a ghost town? Would armed conflict breakout between the 2 towns? Would each state take up arms to protect their citizens. Sometimes things can quickly spin out of control.

This is not an uncommon issue. The states of California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado have experienced economic pressures due to shared water that resulted in a formal water sharing agreement between the states. Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois are disputing water usage of the Great Lakes. I’m not insinuating a pending war or anything like that over water. I’m just trying to demonstrate this is a problem that effects all Americans.

Water is inequitably dispersed on a global level both by supply and the ability to retrieve the water. Developing nations scramble to provide their populations with water and usually end up paying more for it because they must pay for infrastructure to gain access and treat the water.


Quickly drying out

Developed countries can afford infrastructure that can deliver water cheaply and effectively to residents thus creating the illusion water is not that valuable. Digest this: it takes about 12 gallons per day to sustain a human (this takes into account all uses for water, like drinking, sanitation and food production), the average American uses about 158 gallons. Why? What do we waste that much water on?

Can Technology Save the Day?

Hopefully technology will play a huge part in addressing the Running Out of Water crisis. Agriculture uses 70% of the water consumed by people, but 42% of all that water is lost because of bad and inefficient irrigation techniques. Advances in computer and satellite technologies have helped farmers to increase production by not over watering certain areas of crops, plus water savings. Drip-irrigation is also becoming more popular and will increase as costs drop.

Desalinization plants have proved capable of removing salt from seawater making it potable and are currently in use world wide. However, the facilities are very expensive to currently operate, but with anticipated reductions of costs thru technology it could have a huge impact on water supply.

Running Out of Water has created essentially two views of the current water crisis: optimism and pessimism. As water supplies diminish, conflicts may emerge, illness and death may take place. But while some may fight, the struggle to maintain or create a viable water supply has also encouraged cooperation and innovation between governments. From water crisis also springs hope.

There is another option than the two views and unfortunately requires mentioning. That of being an idiot.

  1. You don’t solve the world over-population problem by wiping out a few billion people through a nuclear war or even a conventional war. Besides, you may be one of the billion they decide must die for the greater good. Change your mind?
  2. No, global warming and the melting of glaciers and ice shelves will not solve the running out of water issue. In ice form the water remains potable, but once it melts into the sea it becomes seawater and can’t be consumed.



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The Attack on Alaska

Have you heard about the attack on Alaska? Most likely few of you have, but there were several viscous battles fought on Alaska soil during WWII, and unless you fought there or loss someone there, the memories have pretty much drifted off into oblivion as far as history is concerned.

Through people I have connected with while writing this survival blog, I have learned even the most ardent survivalist can become uninspired maintaining the rigors of constantly preparing for the SHTF event, while praying it never happens. Once the initial enthusiasm of becoming a survivalist wanes, it’s difficult to maintain the energy to stay on top of everything without motivation. Maintaining and rotating supplies is grueling and expensive, while keeping track of the newest and greatest survival gear can be mind boggling as technology sprints past most of our comprehension. Besides there hasn’t been an invasion of North America United States since the war of 1812, and although technically a foreign army, our fight with the British was more like quarreling in-laws. Every other war on the continent was waged between Americans mad at one another or stealing land from Mexico and the American Indians.

That’s why I decided to do a little research and discovered an event that may dash your false sense of security that America could never be invaded by a hostile force. Let’s look at the attack on Alaska through the Aleutian Islands. The invasion and occupation of continental United States land.


In June of 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the defeat of American troops in the Philippines, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands, a sparsely inhabited string of volcanic islands extending 1200 miles west of the mainland Alaska Peninsula. By June 6th & 7th the Japanese had invaded and controlled the islands of Kiska and Attu, establishing military garrisons and began conducting air strikes on Dutch Harbor where two American military bases were located.

At first glance the Aleutian islands appeared to be of little military value. The islands were historically barren with mountainous terrain, terribly harsh weather with heavy snowfall and dense fog. A wintry version of hell. Historians believe the Japanese invasion was a feint to draw the American fleet away from Midway, the real Japanese invasion target. It was also feasible that the Japanese thought holding these two islands would cut off any avenue of invasion by the US to invade Japan’s homelands. In either event the Japanese had invaded the US and now held American soil while attacking American troops. The blow to American moral was substantial. The Japanese had nearly destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, kicked MacArthur’s butt out of the Philippines and now occupied American soil. Moral tanked.

American Outrage to Japanese Occupation

The attack on Alaska shocked and outraged the American public. Just the principle that Japanese troops had invaded and occupied American soil, no matter how remote or barren, was unacceptable. Although the media stoked concern of Japan’s attack being the first step towards an invasion of mainland Alaska or perhaps the invasion of the US Pacific Northwest, the war planners were more concerned about rebuilding their Pacific strength and preparing for war in Europe. The Japanese invasion was hardly acknowledged with the exception of an occasional bombing raid originating from the nearby Aleutian Islands.

While being ignored the Japanese became acclimated to the harsh weather, built defensive fortifications and were kept well stockpiled by the Japanese navy. By the end of 1942 the Japanese were well entrenched and well supplied on the two islands of Attu and Kiska. However, the US war planners were now becoming proficient at addressing several war fronts at one time and by January 1943 the Alaska Command had grown to 94,000 soldiers, and had landed on Amchitka Island, 50 miles from Kiska.

The Attack on Alaska – Naval Blockade of Attu and Kiska

American brass anticipated the Japanese had used their time well and would be prepared to repulse an attack when America launched it. Surmising this they had to do something to weaken the Japanese before attempting an invasion, and they decided that would require a naval blockade in order to cut off all supplies to the garrisons on both islands, starving them of required resupplies.

Battle of Attu Anniversary

By March 1943 the navy fleet, under the command of US Rear Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, had encircled the two islands with a blockade intended to restrict the flow of supplies to the occupiers. On March 26, 1943, a Japanese fleet of supply and war ships attempted to breach the blockade in order to deliver supplies and reinforcements to Attu. The Japanese were spotted by scout vessels before they could run the blockade and the two fleets sped towards one another engaging in what became known as the Battle of the Komandorski Islands. The Japanese fleet outnumbered the American fleet and were more experienced in naval warfare than the Americans. After a several hour fight-fire the Japanese had extracted a severe cost on the American fleet in terms of ship damage and loss of life. Despite their advantage, the Japanese who were now low on ammunition and fuel for the return trip to Japan, and fearing American bombers being launched from Dutch Harbor could appear at any time, they withdrew without completing their mission. This would not be the last time the Japanese would withdraw prematurely while not realizing how much devastation they had wreaked on the American forces.

The blockade and subsequent battle had achieved its goal and with the exception of an occasional submarine supply vessel, the two garrisons were completely isolated and cut off. They Americans would starve them into a weakened condition before landing troops on the ground for actual combat.

The Battle of Attu … Operation Land-grab

The harsh winter climate these battles were waged in were far different from the sweltering heat of the South Pacific, but the lessons learned from these battles set the precedent of the entire island hopping campaign America used to win the war. No different than the battles of the South Pacific, these lessons were learned by the spilling of American blood.

The battle began with American naval ships bombarding the island for several weeks in conjunction with unleashing relentless bombing attacks in order to soften the enemy prior to the land invasion. On May 11,1943 11,000 American troops landed on Attu. This was the first of many strings of events where the Navy, Army and Marine top brass would continually underestimate the length of time required to secure the target island. In this case, it was estimated the island would be totally secured within 2 to 3 days, but the battle raged for more than two weeks.

The Japanese, being heavily outnumbered, retreated to their predesignated high ground fortifications, allowing the Americans to land unchallenged. The tranquility was short lived. The US soldiers were equipped with ill-designed uniforms and equipment that would not bear up to the harsh weather and rugged, muddy terrain that kept their advance at a snail’s pace. They endured more causalities from frostbite, trench foot, gangrene and other illnesses than they incurred from enemy fire. Unbelievably, food shortages, although well supplied, added insult to misery as they chased the enemy crisscross the barren island outrunning their supply route.

When they did engage the Japanese the fights were usually small but fierce as the Japanese, which became common, refused to surrender. Americans were ambushed while scouring the rocky terrain by dug-in enemy positions, pestered by sniper fire and harassed by deadly booby traps. The end result of the battle was never in question as the Americans controlled the air and sea denying any reinforcements or supplies from arriving. The only question was how many Americans would die before the island was declared secure.

By late May, the remaining Japanese garrison, starving, sorely lacking ammunition and trapped in a corner of the island, exemplified the Japanese attitude Americans would become all too familiar with in the South Pacific, they committed to a banzai charge. Colonel Yasuyo Yamasaki, garrison commander ordered the charge slightly before daybreak on May 29th. His troops charged wildly into the American lines, sweeping through their combat out post, penetrating line positions and not stopping until they reached the shocked American support troops at the rear of the American camp.

This suicidal charge ultimately failed, but mainly due to being outnumbered and out gunned by the Americans. The Japanese set a precedent which would be followed throughout the south Pacific theater of the commander, Yamaski, and all troops, 2000, dying instead of surrendering. The Americans lost 1000 men in the battle, a ratio worse than any other South Pacific battle.


The battle of Attu had taught the Americans some bitter and costly lessons, mistakes the Americans did not intend to repeat when they invaded Kiska, code name Operation Cottage. They knew they would encounter a much larger and better prepared enemy force, than they fought on Attu and mistakes would be extremely expensive.

On the morning of August 15, 1943 the Americans landed on Kiska unopposed, which they knew didn’t signal anything except hell waited ahead. 35,000 soldiers landed and fanned our across the island searching for the enemy. After several nerve racking days of scouring the entire island they realized the Japanese had used the previous weeks fog banks to evacuate the entire garrison. On August 24, 1943 the Kiska Island was declared secure and the Battle of the Aleutian Islands ended.

The Attack on Alaska – Cat & Mouse

Following Japan’s defeat in the Aleutians, they were forced to commit forces and resources to guard against an American invasion from the Alaskan Peninsula. Ironically their feint to draw Americans away from Midway may have given the Americans the idea of an invasion on their part. To reinforce that fear, American planes launched from the Aleutians would conduct an occasional surprise bombing of the Japanese Islands Kuril, which lies between Japan and Alaska. Just to perk the fear and unknowing.

Next time you get bored or disgusted with preparing as a survivalist for the SHTF event, remember American soil was invaded and occupied by a foreign enemy less than 80 years ago. If it can happen once… it can happen again. Just reminisce the attack on Alaska.

Camouflage the Art of Non-Existing

For those who do not believe they will ever be confronted with a scenario of having to use camouflage to hunt an enemy, about 98% of us, use the techniques which we’ll explore for a more practical purpose. Turkey hunting! Man those birds can see everything! We’re not only talking turkey, any prey we hunt will immediately disappear if they see you before you see them. I will tilt the techniques towards the survival mode of protecting your family against a hostile force, but hunting to provide food is just as much a survival technique as any. Camouflage the art of non-existing is indeed an art-form.

Camouflage is historically one of the basic weapons of war. It can mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful mission, which means the difference between life and death for the sniper team. Camouflage measures are extremely important since the team cannot afford to be detected moving alone, or as part of another element. People believe a sniper only trains in marksmanship, which is far from the truth. Marksmanship training teaches the sniper to hit a target, but a knowledge of camouflage teaches him how to avoid becoming a target.

A good sniper must be proficient in camouflaging.

Memorizing Target Indicators

To become proficient in camouflage, the sniper team must first understand target indicators. Target indicators are anything a soldier does or fails to do that could result in detection. A sniper team must know and understand target indication not only to move undetected, but also to detect enemy movement. Target indicators are sound, movement, improper camouflage, disturbance of wildlife, and odors.


  • Most noticeable during hours of daylight.
  • The human eye is automatically attracted to movement.
  • Quick or jerky movement will be detected faster than slow movement.


  • Most noticeable during hours of darkness, because our hearing becomes more acute as our eyesight lessens.
  • Caused by movement, equipment rattling, or talking.
  • Small noises may be dismissed as natural, but talking will not. No animal on earth talks except a human.

Improper camouflage:

  • Anything that Shines, including your skin.
  • Outline. Standing alone against a blank background like a horizon.
  • Contrast with the background. Wearing green in a snowy background.
  • Bright flashlights or lights at all.

Disturbance of wildlife:

  • Birds suddenly flying away.
  • Sudden stop of animal noises.
  • Animals being frightened.


  • Cooking.
  • Smoking.
  • Soap and lotions.
  • Insect repellents.

These, or any combination of these items must raise an immediate red flag.

Basic Methods of Camouflage

The sniper team can utilize three basic methods of camouflage. It may use one of these methods or a combination of all three to accomplish its objective. The three basic methods a sniper team can use are hiding, blending, and deceiving.Hiding is used to conceal the body from observation by lying behind thick vegetation or other object large enough to completely conceal the team.
Blending is used to match personal camouflage with the surrounding area to a point where the sniper cannot be seen. For instance in tall grasses.

Deceiving is used to fool the enemy into false conclusions about the location of the sniper team. Such as setting up 4 feet inside the room and shooting through a window.

Types of Camouflage

The two types of camouflage that the sniper team can use are natural and artificial.

Natural camouflage is vegetation or materials that are native to the given area. The sniper augments his appearance by using natural camouflage. For example, you don’t use green foliage in a desert.

Artificial camouflage is any material or substance that is produced for the purpose of coloring or covering something in order to conceal it. Camouflage sticks or face paints are used to cover all exposed areas of skin such as face, hands, and the back of the neck. The parts of the face that form shadows should be lightened, and the parts that shine should be darkened. Your exposed skin will glow in the moonlight. The three types of camouflage patterns the sniper team uses are:

  • Striping is used when in heavily wooded areas and leafy vegetation is scarce.
  • Blotching is used when an area is thick with leafy vegetation.
  • Combination is used when you are moving through changing terrain and is considered the best all round camouflage.

Jack of all Trades

A sniper must alter his appearance to blend into whatever terrain and conditions he finds himself in. Examples of these changes are:

  1. Snow areas. Blending of colors is more effective than texture camouflage in snowy areas. In areas with heavy snow or in wooded areas with trees covered with snow, a full white camouflage suit should be worn. In areas with snow on the ground but not on the trees, white trousers with green and brown tops should be worn. One must keep in mind how they are camouflaged in order to not expose themselves.
  2. Desert areas. In sandy desert areas that have little vegetation, the blending of tan and brown colors is important. In these areas, the sniper team must make full use of the terrain and the vegetation that is available to remain unnoticed.
  3. Jungle areas. In jungle areas, textured camouflage, contrasting colors, and natural vegetation must be used.
  4. Urban areas. In urban areas, the sniper team’s camouflage should be a blended color (shades of gray usually work best). Textured camouflage is not as important in these environments.

The sniper must be camouflage conscious from the time he departs on a mission until he returns. He must constantly use the terrain, vegetation, and shadows to remain undetected as he moves. There is no more a dangerous time during the mission than when he returns to a friendly area. Fatigue and undue haste may override caution and planning. He must never lose sight that he was in enemy territory when hunting, therefore, the enemy may be in his territory.

Proper Cover and Concealment Techniques

The proper understanding and application of the principles of cover and concealment used with the proper application of camouflage can protect the sniper from enemy observation and attack.

Cover is defined as a natural or artificial protection from the fire of enemy weapons. Natural cover (ravines, hollows, reverse slopes) and artificial cover (fighting positions, trenches, walls) protect the sniper team from flat trajectory fires and partly protect it from high-angle fires. Even the smallest depression in the ground may provide some cover when the sniper needs it most. A 8-inch depression, properly used, may provide just enough cover to save the sniper from enemy fire. It must become second nature for a sniper to always look for and take advantage of all the cover that the terrain provides, and as he moves choose routes that place obstacles between him and the enemy.

Concealment is natural or artificial protection from enemy observation. The surroundings may provide natural concealment that needs no change before use (bushes, grass, and shadows). The sniper creates artificial concealment from materials such as burlap and camouflage nets, or it can move natural materials (bushes, leaves, and grass) from their original location. However, the sniper must always consider the effects of the change of terrain on the concealment provided by both natural and artificial materials. A single pile of leaves stands out like a beacon. The principles of concealment include the following:

  1. Avoid unnecessary movement. Remain still–movement attracts attention. The position of the sniper team is concealed when the team remains still, but the sniper’s position is easily detected when the team moves. Movement against a stationary background makes the team stand out clearly. When the team must change positions, it moves carefully over a concealed route to a new position, preferably during limited visibility. Snipers move inches at a time, slowly and cautiously, always scanning ahead for the next position.
  2. Use all available concealment. Available concealment includes the following:
    1. Background is important. The sniper must blend with it to prevent detection. The trees, bushes, grass, earth, and man-made structures that form the background vary in color and appearance. This makes it possible for the team to blend with them. The team selects trees or bushes to blend with the uniform and to absorb the figure outline. Snipers must always assume they are under observation.
    2. Shadows. The sniper in the open stands out clearly, but the sniper in the shadows is difficult to see. Shadows exist under most conditions, day and night. A sniper should never fire from the edge of a wood line; it should fire from a position inside the wood line (in the shade or shadows provided by the tree tops). Don’t give away your position.
  3. Stay low to observe. A low silhouette makes it difficult for the enemy to see a sniper, therefore, always observe from a crouch, a squat, or a prone position.
  4. Avoid shiny reflections. Reflection of light on a shiny surface instantly attracts attention and can be seen from great distances. The sniper uncovers his rifle scope only when indexing and aiming at a target. He uses optics cautiously in bright sunshine because of the reflections they cause. Some things in the movies actually do happen.
  5. Avoid sky-lining. Figures on the skyline can be seen from a great distance, even at night, because a dark outline stands out against the lighter sky. The silhouette formed by the body makes a good target. Never cross or stand on a hill with the sky at your back.
  6. Alter familiar outlines. Military equipment and the human body are familiar outlines to the enemy. The sniper team alters or disguises these revealing shapes by using the ghillie suit or outer smock that is covered with irregular patterns of garnish. The team must alter its outline from the head to the soles of the boots.
  7. Observe noise discipline. Noise, such as talking, can be picked up by enemy patrols or observation posts. The sniper team silences gear before a mission so that it makes no sound when the team walks or runs.

The Rules of Movement While Camouflaged

A sniper team’s mission and method of employment are unique and differ in many ways from those of the infantry squad. The most noticeable differences is the movement technique used by the sniper, as movement must not be detected or even suspected by the enemy. Because of this challenge, a sniper must master individual sniper movement techniques.

  • When moving, the sniper should always remember, his life will depend on it, the following rules:
  • Always assume the area is under enemy observation.
  • Move slowly. A sniper counts his movement progress by feet and inches.
  • Do not cause overhead movement of trees, bushes, or tall grasses by rubbing against them.
  • Plan every movement and move in segments of the route at a time.
  • Stop, look, and listen often.
  • Move during disturbances such as gunfire, explosions, aircraft noise, wind, or anything that will distract the enemy’s attention or conceal the team’s movement.

Individual Movement Techniques

The individual movement techniques used by the sniper team are designed to allow movement without being detected. These movement techniques are sniper low crawl, medium crawl, high crawl, hand-and-knees crawl, and walking.

  • Sniper Low Crawl. The sniper low crawl is used when concealment is extremely limited, when close to the enemy, or when occupying a firing position.
  • Medium Crawl. The medium crawl is used when concealment is limited and the team needs to move faster-than the sniper low crawl allows. The medium crawl is similar to the infantryman’s low crawl.
  • High Crawl. The high crawl is used when concealment is limited but high enough to allow the sniper to raise his body off the ground. The high crawl is similar to the infantry high crawl.
  • Hand-and-knees Crawl. The hand-and-knees crawl is used when some concealment is available and the sniper team needs to move faster than the medium crawl.
  • Walking. Walking is used when there is good concealment, it is not likely the enemy is close, and speed is required.

Route Selection

Before moving an inch the sniper must select his routes of travel, the sniper team must remember its strengths and weaknesses. The following guidelines should be used when selecting routes:

  • Avoid known enemy positions and obstacles.
  • Seek terrain that offers the best cover and concealment.
  • Take advantage of difficult terrain (swamps, dense woods, and so forth).
  •  Do not use trails, roads, or footpaths.
  • Avoid built-up or populated areas.
  • Avoid areas of heavy enemy guerrilla activity.

When the sniper team moves, it must always assume its area is under enemy observation. Because of this and the size of the team with the small amount of firepower it has, the team uses only one type of formation–the sniper movement formation. Characteristics of the formation are as follows:

  • The observer is the point man; the sniper follows.
  • The observer’s sector of security is 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock; the sniper’s sector of security is 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock (overlapping).
  • Visual contact must be maintained even when lying on the ground.
  • An interval of no more than 20 meters is maintained.
  • The sniper reacts to the point man’s actions.
  • The team leader designates the movement techniques and routes used.
  • The team leader designates rally points.

A sniper team must never become decisively engaged with the enemy. The team must rehearse immediate action drills to the extent that they become a natural and immediate reaction should it make unexpected contact with the enemy. Examples of such actions are as follows:

  • Visual contact. If the sniper team sees the enemy and the enemy does not see the team, it freezes. If the team has time, it will do the following:
  • Assume the best covered and concealed position.
  • Remain in position until the enemy has passed.

NOTE: The team will not initiate contact. If the sniper team is spotted the mission is a failure. The enemy will quickly overrun their position by sheer numbers.

  • Ambush. In an ambush, the sniper team’s objective is to break contact immediately. One example of this involves performing the following:
  • The observer delivers rapid fire on the enemy.
  • The sniper throws smoke grenades between the observer and the enemy.
  • The sniper delivers well-aimed shots at the most threatening targets until smoke covers the area.
  • The observer then throws fragmentation grenades and withdraws toward the sniper, ensuring he does not mask the sniper’s fire.
  • The team moves to a location where the enemy cannot observe or place direct fire on it.
  • If contact cannot be broken, the sniper calls for indirect fires or a security element (if attached).
  • If team members get separated, they should return to the next-to-last designated en route rally point.

The skills required to be a sniper and/or spotter are becoming clearer now and they are immense. No militia or self taught sniper is expected to accomplish what a trained team is capable of performing, but learning bits and pieces of what makes a sniper team so effective, can only lead to you learning how to increase your skills.

20 Excellent Deer Hunting Tips

When thinking about a survival situation we normally tend to think in terms of days or at most weeks, before you are rescued or things return to normal. However, what if it goes on for an undetermined amount of time? You can only pack so much food, fruits and berries aren’t gonna cut it, and trapping small critters like rabbits or squirrels can be a hit and miss proposition. You’ll eventually need to find and bring down a large animal in order to have a reliable source of food.

Deer is the perfect choice to fulfill your needs, as they live in nearly every state in the country from the frigid north to warm weather Texas. Unlike moose or elk, that are monstrous in size and weight, a field dressed deer is normally transportable by a normal strength individual.

Deer are creatures of habit, whose traits are dictated by their environment. Once you determine how the deer react in this environment, deer in Iowa act in different ways that deer in Mississippi, they tend to repeat their daily activities unless something changes.

The key to successfully hunting deer is to learn their traits, what attracts and what repels them, and what you can do to enhance your success. Deer can be hunted with a bow or a rifle, each method has its advantages/disadvantages, but many of the hunting techniques are the same. For our example we’ll assume we are using a rifle to hunt with. It doesn’t matter what caliber gun you use, a 22, shotgun and slug, 45/70, as long as your aim is true. Of course the larger the caliber bullet the more room for error, a 45/70 bullet’s impact will knock a deer down, although not killing it, where a 22 will not.

Critical Tips for Deer Hunting Success

Tip 1. You must learn the environment in which you’ll be hunting. This is not as simple a task as it seem. Initially you must decide how far you want to stray from camp. You can’t hunt too close to the noise and smells of a typical camp, however you don’t want to travel too far, a mile away, as you hopefully will be carrying a 100+ pound carcass back with you when you return. You don’t want to be forced to abandon your kill to the coyotes or bears because you were too exhausted to continue packing the weight back to camp.

Tip 2. Scouting is a mission of research not sight seeing. Many people don’t realize there is a difference between looking and seeing. You are reviewing the terrain as you walk, but also what does the terrain hold. Look for scrapes along trees, usually pine saplings, but a deer will use whatever size tree available to rub its antlers against. Scour the ground for deer dung. Stop periodically and scan the area, do you see a worn path? Trails can be animal highways which are traveled periodically throughout the day.

Tip 3. Locate a path, deer rubs in the area? Now it’s time to look for a hunting spot. Being up off the ground is preferred if possible. It will offer you a greater field of vision, keep you off damp or wet ground, a sure method to quickly become miserable, and is above the deer’s normal line of sight which helps conceal your form. A portable deer stand is of course ideal, but if you don’t have one, look for a mature tree with low hanging branches that can be climbed to reach a fork or similar resting place you can sit in. Caution: Most accidents occur when climbing in or out of a deer stand. Use extreme caution when climbing, have your rifle safety on and never have a bullet chambered.

Tip 4. If you can’t get high then get concealed. Look for a large tree to lean against. The trunk will shield your backside from wind and view. Thoroughly clean the area of leaf and other litter to prevent noise, but realize this exposes you to bare ground. Place a blanket or something similar on the ground to insulate you.

Tip 5. Ensure you have clear shooting lanes. It won’t do you any good to position yourself in a place where thick brush or other obstacle blocks your view and shooting lane. The tiniest twig can deflect an arrow. Clear any obvious blockage, but you must beware if you move or disturb the area too much the deer will notice the change and alter their path.

Tip 6. Deer have excellent senses and smelling is one of their best. Human odors of any type will spook them. Always wash clothes and yourself in scent-free soap. Another trick is to store your hunting clothes, outer layers like coveralls, in a plastic bag with leaves and dry dirt. The clothes will take on the natural scent of nature and help mask your smell.

Tip 7. Using store bought scents are not a total waste of money, but it can be a repellent as much as a draw. Spreading deer estrous may entice a rutting buck to investigate, however, if the scent is put down at the wrong time of the season, it’ll only confuse the buck and deer will always use caution over curiosity. The won’t come near it.

Tip 8. It’s imperative to make as little noise as possible when walking to your hunting position. In order to do that you need to walk as straight a line as possible, not meander through the woods kicking up leaves. That sounds simple, but nearly impossible if you don’t have a marked trail. Woods in the daylight are totally different than woods in the pitch blackness. That easy to follow trail you took yesterday afternoon during the daylight is no longer visible, even with a flashlight at 5 A.M.

Tip 9. Use a florescent spray paint to mark trees showing the path. Spray an easily distinguishable spot as high as you can reach, trying to elevate it above the deer’s normal line of sight. Don’t be skimpy. Spraying trees every 20 yards is useless … you’ll never be able to find them. Now you’re lost and are concentrating on finding paint spots instead of your hunting spot.


It’s late morning and you have had no luck, nothing moving. This could be caused by many factors, weather conditions, full moon, picked wrong spot, whatever. You’re not doing any good there so it’s time to change your luck. If they won’t come to you … go to them. Let’s examine additional hunting techniques.

Tip 10. Hunting by walking and stealth. When walking do it slowly. You’re not at the shopping mall, there’s no hurry. Walk for a certain distance, one area of cover to another, and stop still. This is where a watch comes in handy. When standing still and straining to hear or spot wild game 2 or 3 minutes may seem like an hour. By using a watch to gauge your time, say 5-10 minutes, you’ll force yourself to stay still and in place.

Tip 11. Come to an immediate stop and remain motionless if you hear a noise. More than likely it wasn’t the deer who made the noise, but you. A twig snapping may seem like no big deal to a hunter, but it’s an alarm siren for the deer. If you see the deer it may stand and stare in your direction for a long time. If it doesn’t see or smell you, there’s a chance the deer will resume whatever it was doing. Then again it may bolt. Let it bolt. You’ll have the opportunity to try and track it. There’s literally zero chance of quick drawing and getting a kill shot off at a deer that’s on alert. The second you move to raise your weapon the deer will disappear. A wild shot will only insure you’ll never see that deer again.

Tip 12. Another technique besides slow walking is Quick-Stepping. A deer instantly recognizes the cadence of a man’s walk through leaves, but if you take short, lightweight quick steps in a 10 to 20 yard sprint and stop dead, there’s a distinct possibly the deer will interpret this as another animal. If performed correctly, you’d be surprised at how much you sound like a squirrel dashing through the woods.

Tip 13. When using binoculars while hunting move slowly looking for anything that doesn’t fit. A brown patch located the the middle of green moss should require an intense look. Always double check from time to time what you’ve already inspected. A change in light or an animal may have moved into view may have occurred in the last 20 minutes.

You just took a shot and was sure you hit it, but the deer turned and bolted, or the deer fell then got back up and ran away.

Tip 14. Resist your natural instinct to panic and go chase the animal. Sit still, hum a song, bite your lip, whatever it takes to allow things to settle down. A wounded animal will continue to run if it feels itself being pursued, but will lie down if not feeling threatened.

Tip 15. You have verified you did in fact hit the deer, as there is blood on the ground. Move slowly and quietly as you track the blood trail. Be alert for the quarry as it may have bedded down a short distance away. As you trail, drop a piece of toilet paper or other material at each blood spot. That way if you lose the trail you can backup to the last known blood trace and resume the hunt in a different direction.

Tip 16. Don’t give up. Many times the blood trail will simply appear to disappear. That’s normally not a good sign, but it doesn’t signal the end. Be persistent. Remember that may be the only deer you’ll see that week.

Tip 17. When tracking a blood trail don’t limit your search to only the ground. Depending on where shot there could be blood on leaves or branches that are shoulder high.

Tip 18. If you’re hunting in an area that is brush filled and drop a deer in the distance, take time to make a mental note of where the deer fell. This is especially important if you must lose sight of the area while traveling to it. A small blood spot is sometimes difficult to locate when you know where to look. Expand that area by 20 to 30 feet and you’ve lost it.

Tip 19. Be wary if the animal instantly drops, as there is a chance the deer fell from shock and will regain its footing and attempt to run away. Maintain a bead on the animal and be prepared to shoot again. For the most part it’s better if the animal runs a short distance then drops.

Tip 20. Unlike televised hunting shows, do not walk up to an animal and prod it with your weapon or foot. The last thing you want is for the animal to suddenly jump up, running away, and you’re too close to raise your rifle and get a shot off, or worse yet, the deer attacks and injures you. Instead, toss a limb or stone at the animal to get a response. Note: If an animal’s eyes are closed it’s probably still alive. If you harbor any doubts shoot the animal in the throat directly under the chin, which is humane and won’t waste meat.

Bug Out Bag-How to Build One

A bug out bag (BOB) is a cute name for a very serious piece of survival equipment. Many people don’t put enough serious thought into deciding which brand, what type of material,what size, etc. their bag should be. Just like there are no two people who are identical, the makeup of BOB’s won’t be identical. Let’s examine some issues.

Let’s begin with an easy question. Do you select a bag which is large enough to carry all the supplies you feel you need, or a bag that fits your body style and strength, leaving some supplies out? The easy answer … it Depends.

Doesn’t matter if you are addressing a real life crisis situation, or a weekend overnight hike, your intent is to be on the move. Therefore, the first requirement is the bag must allow you to carry it, fully loaded, comfortably for long periods of time. That doesn’t mean requiring help to put the bag on and only being able to walk a mile before you have to stop because you’re exhausted or the straps have dug so deeply into your shoulders you can’t take the pain.

Sounds like an easy remedy, buy a smaller, comfortable bag and adjust your supplies to the space available. You’ll be surprised if packed correctly, how much you can get into a small area. This is an answer, but not the only one. Anyone with military experience is probably snickering right now. The military decided for you what was required and you just had to adapt to make it work. Too heavy to lift and put on? Sit and attach it. Too heavy to get up off the ground after securing it? Get help from another grunt. Straps hurt? Get used to it.


Many survivalists will agree with this strategy and they have some valid points. Supposedly, you have thoroughly researched your needs and decided such & such items are required for your survival. Based on that logic, if you start unloading vital supplies because of the weight factor, you are reducing your chances of survival with each eliminated item.

As usual, although sometimes hard to attain, a down the middle answer is the best. Attempt to buy a bag, that when fully loaded, is comfortable as far as straps, etc are not painful to endure, but the weight will tax your strength limit. You will become stronger as your body adjusts to the extra weight it is now carrying, although you’ll be sore the next day if you haven’t hiked in a while, plus as you use items the weight will reduce.

Deciding What to Pack

This research can drive you absolutely nuts. There are so many survivalist suggestions for the absolutely bare necessities you must include, from what I’ve found they are all excellent depending on the situation, but it’ll make your head spin and wallet shrink. If this is too much of a hassle to handle, or you just don’t know what you’ll need, you can buy prep-packaged bags ready to go. However, keep in mind no two bags are the same and they are constructed with a specific area and anticipated needs. In other words, a bag designed for usage in American Southwest (Arizona) would do little good in the Canadian Rockies. To have a bag that fulfills your every anticipated need, build it yourself.

Customizing Your Kit

Let’s begin with general categories of survival supplies:

Shelter/safety Protection …. tent, sleeping bag, etc

Water … sterilizing methods, metal cup, etc.

Fire … Methods to start a fire, matches, lighter, flint & steel, fire-stick, etc,

First Aid … small first aid kit is best

Hygiene … soap, tooth brush, etc.

Food …

Tools … fold-up spade, etc

The types of items you choose for each of these categories will depend directly on your personal knowledge. The more you know how to use various items, the more useful and efficient the items in your pack will be in an emergency situation and the less you will have to pack. It must be noted here, the bug out bag will be packed differently than a bag used for hiking, as it is designed to include items which will save your life in an emergency, not add to your enjoyment, like music playing devises. Although content will differ, packing strategy remains essentially the same as a properly packed bag will be easier to carry and will hold more.

General Packing order: Heavy items at the bottom of the bag … lighter at top.

Gear: Unless you’re going snorkeling, then it doesn’t matter, it’s important to keep your gear dry. There are professional grade plastic bags available, but I have found Ziploc bags work just as well. Lining you bag with a commercial grade trash bag will help keep moisture out and gives you an extra way of carrying things should the need arise.

Test Your Gear: Always test your equipment, and the best way to test your kit is to actually go and try it out. Spending time using your bag under non-disaster conditions will not only help you determine what is essential and what may be missing, but also allows you to test out your equipment and become more proficient with its use. Waiting until you’re lost before trying your handy GPS, which doesn’t work, is not wise. That’s all I’ll say on that subject.

Let’s Check Out More Tips:

Make your list of what you want your bag to hold. Double check it to make sure you haven’t overlooked something. Satisfied you have everything? Great. Now … start scratching items off the list. The bag is for essentials, not comfort, it can’t hold your entire life. Put it to the test. Think you need everything you have packed? Strap on the bag and walk around the neighborhood for an hour or so, then head out and take on some hills. Chances are you’ll be more than willing to discard items when you return home.

Once you have finished your trial and error procedure and have your bag packed, perform an inspection, at least semi-annually, to insure no food has spoiled or medicines or vitamins have expired. Rotate your stock. Such as a vitamin may be good for 3 years, but a particular food for 1 year and it’s already 6 months old. Replace.

Being new to the survival way of thinking there’s a tendency to buy everything available, just like a kid in the candy store. Gotta have it all. If money is no problem, then I’m not so sure you’re the type for a bug-out, but anyway, monetary expenses are not the only factor to consider. There’s a term known as opportunity cost, which simply means there’s only so much room in the bag, so much money to purchase things, so much weight that can be carried. If you are maxed out and an opportunity to acquire something more valuable or useful presents itself, you must either not obtain that item or obtain it and leave something behind in order to make room. That’s why it’s important to choose carefully what you pack.

Ever hear of Murphy’s law? If something can go wrong it will is essentially the meaning. Keep spares of items that are essential. Remember you are going to have to survive on what you brought with you. Two super compact yet powerful flashlights, like a Surefire E1L, pocket sized, is better than a super duper high intensity, it’ll light up a football field, that you have to discard because it’s too heavy to carry.

Plans and rules are made to be broken, but they serve a purpose. Have a plan in place and pack your bag in accordance to that plan. If you anticipate hiding near a lake, fishing gear is essential, hiding in a cave, flashlights and fire starting equipment is a must. You get the idea.

Learning skills will allow you to adapt, be more creative and require packing less equipment that you can substitute natural materials with, a limb line instead of a fishing pole, plus skills can be used as barter should the need arise. I strongly suggest packing a softback survival manual, nobody can know it all, but the book may contain it.

We will look at other factors in other posts, such as having multiple bug out bags, creating hidden caches and overlapping functions, but for now this is enough to digest.








Weather Forecasting – It Could Save Your Life

That bone dry gully you decided provided perfect protection from wild animals and helped reflect the heat of your fire, keeping you toasty warm for your long night’s slumber, has instantly transformed itself into a raging, debris filled tsunami.

Had this scenario actually played out … chances are you are dead. If only you had known a storm was approaching there’s no way you have camped in such a potentially dangerous place. You didn’t read all those survival blogs for nothing. But … it was unavoidable, as Weather forecasting in the wilderness is not possible. Or is it?

Your local meteorologists, with the aid of billions of dollars of technical equipment, stationed around the earth and orbiting in space, can not correctly predict the future weather with 100% accuracy. Therefore, obviously neither can you using the primitive warnings our ancestors depended upon, but what if you could predict with 75% accuracy… 50% accuracy. Would you have died in that dry gully? I would think not.

Using Nature to Predict Nature

There are certain constants in nature that occur with a high degree of regularity. It’s on these constants we will build our weather forecasting skills. Beginning with clouds.

What is a Cloud and How Do They Form?

Most of the time the sky is actually full of water, but you can’t see it because the drops of water are so small they have transformed into a gas, called water vapor. As the water vapor rises higher in the sky, the air gets cooler, which causes the water droplets to start to stick to things like bits of dust, ice or sea salt. As they cool they bump into other droplets and join together, and when the drops become too large to float, gravity takes over and the droplets fall in what we call rain, snow or sleet.

Clouds are not of different shapes, colors, heights, etc by chance. These variances are caused by different atmospheric conditions which create certain weather patterns. If we can read and decipher what type of cloud is in the sky and why that particular cloud is there, we have a very good chance of predicting near future weather. Notice I said “near future weather.” I’m talking about today .. tonight .. the next morning. But, that’s all we’re concerned about with surviving. We’ll gladly repeat the process the next day.


Cirrus clouds:

These cloud types are located very high in the sky and resemble thin streaks, swirls and/or curls, and are usually a sign of fair weather. However, be aware that these same clouds in cold climates, that begin to increase in number and are accompanied by a northerly directional wind, could indicate an approaching blizzard. I began with this cloud formation in order to demonstrate there may be other factors to consider other than just the looks of a cloud formation.


Cumulus clouds:

appear to be fluffy, heaped, piled up clouds. These clouds will settle much lower in the sky than cirrus clouds and are considered fair weather clouds. They will normally make their presence around midday in a sunny sky, but may become larger and move higher in the sky, resembling huge mountains of puffy clouds as the day progresses. Watch for any darkening of color, which could indicate they are transforming into storm clouds.


Stratus Clouds:

lay very low to the ground making the entire sky gray at times, and almost always indicates strong rain.


Cumulonimbus begins as a cluster of cumulus clouds which build up and form rain clouds, expect a thunderstorm.


Cirrostrastus and Cirrocumulus clouds indicate good weather.

Clouds Aren’t Our Only Indicators

The wind is also a good indicator of the weather. Wind is created when a high pressure area moves to a low pressure area, which means bad weather conditions. Weather moves West to East, therefore if you are facing a westerly wind, it indicates the bad weather is to your East and behind you, or if the wind is at your back, you’re heading into bad weather.

The air never stands still, but for all practical purposes can move slow it seems there is no movement of air. You may be able to tell the direction of the wind by throwing grass clippings into the air and watch how they fall, or wet your finger and hold it into the air, the cool side of the finger will indicate wind direction. You may have seen professional golfers doing this, as they realize there is a wind higher up where they will hit their golf ball, and the ball’s flight could be affected by the wind’s direction.

While sitting next to the campfire observe what the smoke is doing, as the direction it travels could indicate approaching weather conditions. When smoke spirals more or less straight up, you are in a high pressure area, indicating good weather. However, if the smoke continually spirals downwards back towards the flames you are experiencing a low pressure area and the possibility of experiencing bad weather is high.

Hear the old saying “Calm before the Storm”? It’s true. As a storm approaches, the low pressure area it’s riding will, or can, push the area’s normal wind patterns out of the area. This creates a temporary calming of everything, and can create an eerie stillness before the storm arrives.

Don’t Plan To Fail-Click Now

Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Smells become heavy as a storm approaches, you may smell a compost odor from the plants, or a swamp will emit a nauseous rotten egg smell from the decaying vegetation.

Notice the humidity in the air. Assuming you aren’t in a traditionally high humidity area, a rise in humidity could be a sure sign of approaching rain. Hair frizzing, leaves curling, pine cones closing (they stay open in dry air) are all signs of increased humidity, thus, possible rain approaching.

Let’s Turn Our Attention to Creatures of Nature

Some of these techniques will require patience and the powers of observation, but anybody can do it.

1. Make a mental note of ant hills as you travel or sit around. Ants will instinctively build their mounds higher with steep slopes before a storm. If you know the mounds are now higher, or you notice the ants building it higher … rain is on the way.

2, Birds can be a good indicator of approaching weather. As we discussed, when a storm approaches the air pressure will fall, which causes discomfort in a bird’s ears. Therefore, birds will fly lower to the ground, perch on power lines and lower tree limbs and concentrate on eating ground insects. If you’re by the ocean look for seagulls perched on the beach, indicating a storm approaching. Lastly, birds will become quiet before a storm, lack of singing or chirping could indicate bad weather.

Birds, sensing air pressure, will attempt to time their migration during good weather in order to be able to fly high without the discomfort in their ears created by low pressure. Flocks high in the sky is a good indicator of fair weather.

Of course birds must eat to survive, but they can also predict pressure patterns and duration. If the storm is going to be brief, usually birds will usually pause and wait it out. But if the storm will be there an extended amount of time, the birds will continue to seek food.

Cow, and only cows as far as traditional farm animals, can be good indicators of approaching weather. Cows will tend to lay down in the pasture before a rainstorm, because temperatures tend to drop before a storm and cows tend to like being close to the ground during cold weather.

Ever hear this old saying “ Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night … sailor delight” If you see a red sky in the evening that means there are clear skies in the West approaching you, meaning good weather.

Check out what the snakes are doing. Snakes, being cold blooded reptiles, historically come out of their nests only in order to warm themselves by the sun. If the day is not sunny or particularly warm and you see snakes in unexpected places or times, its a pretty good indicator rain is coming.

Turtles seem to do everything slow and that even means anticipating bad weather approaching. They have an uncanny sense of anticipating, therefore they will move to higher ground a day or two before a storm arrives. The old saying “It’s gonna rain because the turtle is crossing the road,” has a tad bit of truth to it. It’s not the crossing of the road per Se, although that’s when we see them, it’s they’re heading to higher ground and the road happens to be in their way.

I can not guarantee you that any one of these natural signs will definitely mean good or bad weather. But when several begin to align the possibility of bad weather approaching is nearly inevitable and we must remind ourselves of our original purpose. We’re not concerned about whether to carry an umbrella tonight. We’re concerned about not ending up swept away to our demise by a tsunami created by an unexpected thunderstorm.

Survival can be based on a whole lot of little skills that help us make logical and rational decisions. An educated guess of approaching bad weather can be the difference between life and death.

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Five Things That Will Save Your Life

Today I hit my wall. I have writers block. I’ve sat here looking at the blank screen, going to the kitchen for more coffee, going to the bathroom to get rid of coffee, and yet the screen was still white and blank when I sat back down. It’s not like I was embarking on a novel, a great piece of literature impersonating Hemingway, or a black horror mocking Stephen King. No … just a simple survival blog.

That’s when it struck me …. There’s nothing simple about surviving. We, and I mean Me, I, Myself, have become so reliant on modern conveniences I have severe doubts of my ability to survive without electricity much alone in the wilderness. I’m an avid deer hunter, in Missouri opening day is nearly a National holiday. I spend an entire week deep in the woods “roughing it” and hunting prey just like my ancestors. Then I really stopped and thought about it.

Yes, I’m in the woods, but in those woods sets a 34 foot camper with a slide out. Electricity is readily available operating the lights, microwave, radio, satellite TV, while the furnace runs on gas for heat, as does the stove and oven for cooking and baking. Water, hot and cold is supplied from a tank under the camper and is of seemingly endless supply.

Hear the old joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” I don’t unless I get the urge while out hunting. Which is very aggravating because I must secure my 45/70 weapon, careful not to bang the scope against the tree, they didn’t have that problem with muskets. Then I must peel off my $400 super insulated camouflage coveralls, I never take them off because my $250 boots are a problem to put back on with the insulated socks. If I have a disappointing day of hunting I jump on my Honda ATV and ride back to camp, and some of those logging roads are really rough and bumpy.

I’m ashamed to say, but that’s when I really realized my mountain man persona was fake. It was not done on purpose, no fraud intended, just honest role playing I guess. However, I was not alone. Like I said deer hunting in big in Missouri and the highways are lined with campers and motor-homes, $2000 to $150,000, rushing to the woods to rough it.

To these honest, hardworking people, male and female, my wife loves deer hunting, I dedicate this blog post. I’m going to strive to inform, people like myself, how to actually survive a catastrophe, man made or the wrath of mother nature.

The Beginning:

The first step to understanding basic survival skills is to recognize what is considered the greatest threats to your continued survival. Although dangers in the jungle differ from those in the desert, they all fall within categories of threats.

Exposure ….

Dehydration ….

Starvation ….

And in that specific order are your worse enemies, and pose the greatest threats to you and your family. Therefore, you must know these 4 responses in dealing with said dangers in order to survive.

Shelter ….

Fire ….

Water ….

Food ….

Drive these chilling facts deep into your memory if you think you’re playing Cowboy and Indians.

Extreme Weather, especially frigid wet conditions, can kill you in the short time span of 3 minutes.

A lack of water can kill you in 3 days through dehydration as the body shrivels like a prune.

No food will kill you in 3 weeks as the body consumes itself, eating fat, then muscle, then organs

It must be noted before continuing there are disagreements, difference of opinion would be better, within the survival community of which element of danger requires addressing first. Some say water, some say shelter while others maintain without fire you’re just wasting your time. Here is where you’ll have to utilize common sense. Caught in a snow storm … better find shelter. Desert environment … water is priority.

Let’s begin with shelter.

Short definition: “A structure that will protect you from the elements.” That protection can be in the form of an overhanging cliff, a fallen tree or a make-shift stick and leaves structure. Let’s look at 2 of the easiest shelters to build.

The lean-to is one of the simplest primitive shelters to construct, taking about an hour or so, depending on material availability, to build.


Step one: Locate a strong, somewhat straight pole and secure it between two trees. You can lash it, wedge it between low branches, whatever it takes to keep it from moving.

Step two: Lean sticks against the side until completely covered. These can be stripped of leaves or full of leaves as long as they are strong enough. Then heap leaves, grasses, palm leaves, whatever helps block the elements.

The shelter is not perfect. It doesn’t hold heat and if the rain or wind shifts direction it could pose a problem. However, it is quick and easy to build with little or no tools.

The Leaf Hut. This is essentially finishing the lean to structure, but requires more work and time, but offers better weather protection and insulation. Select a sturdy pole at least 9 to 12 feet long.


The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. To build one, select a long, sturdy pole 9 to12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the ridge pole. Place the ribs close together so that your hut covering won’t fall through. Next, heap vegetation over the framework (this can be anything that traps air, including grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs). Two to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides of the shelter is enough to keep you dry inside. Finally, fill the inside of the hut with a thick pile of vegetation for your bedding.


Not to debate evolution, but scientist that do subscribe to that theory maintain man broke away from animals due to the discovery of fire. Not just for warmth, protection, etc, but they maintain cooking the food, instead of consuming it raw, helped build brain cells and … well, the rest is history. Believe the theory or not there is no disputing fire is a vital element in a survival situation.


Don’t lose the ember

There are basic requirements for starting fire, no matter the method you use. You must have very dry flammable material which easily catches fire. Cotton balls, dry leaves, paper, wood shavings, dried moss, Brillo pad, paper money (won’t do you any good if you’re dead) cattails, the list is endless depending on location.

You must have elements (tools) in which to create an ember or spark. This can be two sticks, flint and steel, matches, lighter, magnifying glass, a battery, anything to create heat. Obviously some methods are extremely hard to perform successfully, while others are quite simple. I prefer simple. I highly recommend carrying some sort of fire-starter to insure success. Knives with built in fire-starters are available for instance.

Tip: Starting with an extremely flammable source of kindling is crucial and fabrication of a fire making tool (bow & string) can be trying. The actually physical effort required for starting a fire with primitive methods is exhausting and requires concentration. All this can lead to your forgetting to have an ample amount of small dry sticks to create a sustainable fire once you get your kindling going. Don’t forget fire building material.


Did you know if you make connections across the two poles of a battery with a Brillo pad, you will start a flame?

Water: Unless you are in weather conditions which can lead to imminent death, like minus 20 F, I believe finding water to be the number issue to resolve, and I say that because lack of water leads to the quickest death of all other dangers.

Just because you locate water doesn’t mean problem solved. Salt water will have to be desalinized, debris littered water will have to be strained, all water no matter how clean it appears should be boiled. I realize you can filter water with natural products, charcoal, sand, pebbles, and that may be the route you’re forced to take. But if possible … boil the water.

Even if the stream water is relatively clean and safe to drink, there are still parasites that although not deadly, can still give you a stomach ache or a little worse. You’re in a bad enough situation, why take an unnecessary risk because you decided to get lazy.

Food: Our bodies are used to eating and it’s a natural reflex to feel hungry as the body realizes it’s burning calories and not replacing them. However, unless you are in an expected long term situation, food is the last thing to worry about. But if you have a shelter built, a fire raging and a good supply of water … let’s go get some grub.

There are literally hundreds of types of snares, some easy to build, others not so much. I don’t have the time, energy or space to list a bunch of different types. However, I’ll tell you about one that I bet you’ve never thought of … a rat trap. It’s essentially nothing more than an over sized mouse trap, but can easily capture small game, squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, etc etc. This is a low-cost, low-tech, and easy to transport device and by incorporating simple food-based baits with these traps, you can be sure to have food and fur at camp each night.


Use your eyes to help your chances of eating. Scour the ground for droppings, rubs, foot prints, trails. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are in your area and are they a possible target. You may know moose are present, and you may even have a rifle, but a moose will range for miles and miles, an unlikely target.

Generally speaking, small game animals are active in the early morning and early evening. They are wary of being spotted by predators and cling to areas of dense vegetation and cover. They travel along the edges of open ground using fence-rows and waterways as a corridor. They are predictable and habitual; just like us. They tend to travel the same trails and will usually choose the path of least resistance. All of these traits can be exploited to put meat in your belly.


Lastly, Butchering & Preparing Food:

The only reason I mention this skill, because every animal is butchered differently, is because you can totally destroy the kill if you don’t take care. Number one, a sharp knife is the Most critical tool you need. Ever hear the saying “You won’t cut yourself with a sharp knife.”? A razor sharp knife allows you the control to carefully cut whatever it is you’re butchering, while a dull knife will require undue pressure and a sawing motion. Ingredients for an accident.

Pretend you are undressing a doll. Sounds dumb but it’s the best I could come up with. Slice through the fur and skin, not too deep as you don’t want to contaminate the meat with bile from the organs, around the legs, the head and down the belly. Begin at the head and begin peeling the fur and skin off. This is not an easy task and some animals are damn stubborn about giving up their coat even dead.

It will look better cooked

Remove all the internal organs, known as gutting, and discard, leaving only the meat to cook. Be sure to discard the guts far from your camp. You don’t want to eat it, but there are a lot of forest creatures, some you don’t want to meet, who will and they can smell it from miles away.

Survival is not just one thing. It’s a combination of education, experience, common sense, preparation and a host of other variables. Having all the fancy tools in the world won’t matter if you don’t know how to use them. Experiment, practice, read, observe. One day your life may depend on it.

The Pharmacy is Closed

It’s an unfortunate fact should you become involved in a crisis situation you will, if not immediately, eventually incur some sort of injury. Without treatment any wound, trivial or not, can become infected, but assuming you will be dirty and unable to properly sanitize yourself, the risk of serious infections skyrockets.

Suddenly feel like you should be leaning on your musket wearing a coon skin cap?

Best not to count on Walgreen or CVC being open for business as usual and hospitals, if available could either be inundated with injuries, or depending on the crisis … quarantined. You’re going to have to fend for yourself.

For a true survivalist the issue of possible injuries has been recognized and plans prepared, to the best of their ability anyway. But to a rookie or a recent convert to the situation … the fear experienced by realizing they don’t even have a bottle of aspirin, could be paralyzing.

Stop! Take a deep breath and think. Our ancestors dealt with the same problems. Ever visit a replica of a colonial town? The pharmacy had 5 or 6 bottles of powder on the shelf and a few mixing tools. In other words, for the most part pioneers handled their own medical treatment. You can do the same.

The same herbs, grasses, roots etc etc they used to treat minor ailments are most likely still growing right around you. You just have to know what you are looking for and what to do with it when you find it. Let’s begin.

Pain is nature’s way of notifying you something is wrong. Most of the time the degree of sustained pain equals the seriousness of the ailment, but not always. Now that we have acknowledged natures calling card … we’d sure like to do away with the pain, as no matter how small … it’s irritating.


Wild Lettuce

Wild Lettuce and Prickly Lettuce aka Opium lettuces are excellent painkillers, which people have used for centuries to relieve pain. Those people didn’t care, but for your personal info, the medicine is non-additive and a great alternative to opioids. Although not native to North America, brought over from Europe, India & Pakistan, the lettuce pretty well grows everywhere in the continental USA.

Wild Lettuce grows to 3 – 4 feet tall and produces small yellow buds and has a bitter milky sap inside the leaves. This milky substance is known as Lactucarium, which affects the Central Nervous System, thus reducing and/or eliminating the pain, again non habit forming and risk of poisoning is zero.

There are three common methods to extract the medicine:

A. Pick a handful of leaves from the plant, cut them into small pieces, place them in a pot and pour just enough water in to entirely cover the leaves. Heat the pot, but be careful NOT to let the water begin to boil, that will compromise the medicinal value. Strain the leaves from the water, let pot continue to heat until the remaining liquid becomes syrupy. Drink after cooling.

B. Pick a handful of leaves. Allow them to dry, then grind them into a powder, make a herbal tea and drink it.

C. Dry the leaves and smoke them like a cigarette.


Diarrhea Lily

(Nymphaea alba) AKA Diareha-water lily is an aquatic plant that has many medical benefits for gastrointestinal conditions.

You will be digesting safe, yet abnormal foods, and your body may rebel until it becomes more accustom to the menu change. To treat this rebellion use the water lily.

The water lily is a perennial plant which grows in wet environments. The leaves and pads appear to float by themselves, but are actually attached to a flexible stalk which derives from the root (rhizomes). The leaves are nearly round, 7 to 12 inches across and have a slit which makes the plant appear to be a Pac-man character. The large white flowers with yellow centers have their own stalks, 25 or more petals which emit a strong fragrance when open in the daylight hours.

The rhizome (root) portion of the plant is where the medicinal value comes from, as it is an astringent. To make the medicine, use a non-aluminum pot, this is very important because aluminum alters the chemical structure of the plant. Fill it with about a pint of water. Note: Do not crush the rhizome until ready to place into water. Place a handful of crushed root, slowly heat to a simmer, do not boil. Allow about a ¼ of the water to boil off, cool, strain the solid particles from the liquid and drink.

The medicine is very good at treating diarrhea and dysentery.


Surviving in the wild, no matter where you are, except maybe Antarctica, you will have to deal with insects, which can make life a living hell. They are natures way of laughing at our agony, but as with most things in nature, there is a solution. Today’s modern bug repellents consists of Deet, which is not available naturally.

However, the Beauty Berry Bush (Callicarpa Americana) a deciduous shrub or bush, which grows in the Southeastern United States, contains a natural insect repellent which rivals Deet in effectiveness. This is not an old legend, this is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture findings.

Crush leaves and wipe them over your entire body and clothing. This will take time and will have to be repeated every few hours, depending on how much you sweat, but the relief will be worth it.

If you are lucky enough to have a few supplies. Crush the leaves and place them in a jar, pour rubbing alcohol into the jar until full, then secure cap. Allow this to sit for a few hours totally extracting the contents of the leaves into the alcohol. Remove as much of the leaves as possible and use the liquid to rub on the body and clothes.


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Honey is not only a great food source, delightfully sweet and packed with energy, it is also a medicine. Use honey to treat a cough or raspy throat. It is also an antiseptic that can be smeared on cuts and burns. Be aware of getting honey in the wild, don’t tangle with African-i zed bees as they will ruin your day.

For general knowledge here are additional uses for honey.

Acne can be treated with honey. Thoroughly clean the face, apply raw honey to the area, allow to set for 30 minutes then wash off. The honey contains anti-bacterial properties and helps the skin stay moist.

Arthritis is basically the inflammation of the joint. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce pain and swelling.

Believe it or not locally produced honey can help reduce allergies. Allergies are the result of a negative reaction to pollen. Honey is produced by using this local pollen. Repeated eating of the honey will result in the body building an immunity to the negative effects of the pollen. This is not an overnight cure, but it will work.


Red Alder Tree

If you have never experienced the itchy agony of having poison ivy or poison oak, count your blessings. The red rash and bumps contact with the plants cause are miserable, especially if you have no treatment available to curb the spread and lessen the itching.

Luckily the Red Alder tree (Alnus rubra) is native to North America. The tree is hard to miss as it can grow to over a 100 feet tall. The bark is a mottled light gray and is relatively smooth to the touch. The leaves are ovate, 4-5 inches long with a serrated edge.

Pick a large handful of green leaves, Not dead leaves, crush them into a powder, place them into a container of water and bring to a simmer. Let the leaves to set in the water allowing its chemical properties to leech into the water. Once cooled use a rag or cloth, saturated with the broth and wipe all over the effected area. Continue this treatment until the rash is completely gone.


A sore throat, besides being painful and aggravating, is a sign of inflammation caused by an infection. Left untreated the infection could morph into a serious disease, such as strep throat. Native Americans would take pieces of the Hack-berry tree bark, crush it into a powder and make a tea of it. Repeat this treatment until the soreness is gone.


The Zanthoxylum clava-herculis tree is a two edged sword. It is an excellent pain reliever, but only grows in the Southeastern United States. It’s commonly known as The Toothache Tree because chewing on its leaves or bark causes the mouth, tongue, lips and teeth to go numb.

Identification is quite simple because the bark appears to have little pyramids growing out it. Not easily ignored.


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Poisonous Plants

I considered making this a post of its own, but we are talking about making brews to drink, rubbing leaves on ourselves and smoking leaves. So I thought it may be prudent to continue the lesson with the direct opposite of medicine … poison.

A person can become poisoned by ingestion (eating), contact (physically touching) or inhalation (breathing it in)

What are the effects of accidentally becoming poisoned? It can range from a mild skin irritation to death. Some people ask “How poisonous is such and such plant?” This question is nearly impossible to answer definitively because:

Some plants require you to come into contact with a large amount of its leaves or bark, while others will cause death with only minute contact.

Every plant, possibly growing in the same area, will contain various amounts of the toxins depending on soil content. A plant that comes into water runoff containing Miracle Grow will produce more toxins than a water starved plant.

Every person has a different level of resistance to toxic substances. Most people happily eat peanut butter, while that same substance is a deadly poison to others.

When dealing with a possible life or death situation, its imperative we dispel misconceptions, or “I heard” logic. For instance, Watch what animals eat, it won’t be poisonous. Most of the time this is true, but not always. A honey badger can withstand numerous strikes from a cobra, which is on their menu, not so a human.

If you boil the plant in water all the poison will be removed. Again, not true in all cases. Just like boiling water removes enough bacteria to make the water safe to drink, it does not destroy everything the water contains. The same with all red plants are poisonous. Not always true, Nature has a habit of making red and/or bright colors as a warning, but cherries are red and chocolate covered cherries are a delight.

The bottom line is…. there is no one set rule or guideline to identifying poisonous plants. Only education, learning the native poisonous plants will totally protect you. If in doubt … don’t eat it.

Beware plants are great impersonators, as many poisonous plants look exactly like another edible plant. At a causal glance Poison hemlock appears very similar to a wild carrot. Possibly worse yet, some plants are safe to eat in certain seasons or stages of growth, but not in others. A Poke weed is safe to eat when it first starts to grow, but becomes poisonous as it ages. A May-apple is edible, but ONLY the ripe fruit, the green parts are poisonous. Did you know potatoes and tomatoes are perfectly safe to eat (obviously) but their green parts are poisonous.

To repeat: Unless your are absolutely sure of what the plant is and the possible danger … do not eat it!

Mushrooms are extremely difficult to identify and unless precise … could be deadly. Mushrooms attack the gastrointestinal and central nervous system, some causing death very quickly, quicker than a poisonous snake bite, and some deadly mushrooms have no known anti-dote.


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In addition to eating harmful plants, poisoning by contact is the most common method of contamination. Common plants like poison ivy excretes an oil which gets on the skin during contact, which can cause persistent and irritating itching, and scratching the area can cause it to spread. This oil can also be spread person to person. A person has the oil on his hands, grabs the steering wheel of the tractor, and the next person grabbing the steering wheel contracts the poison.

You will rarely, if ever, see a rancher or farmer burning brush without a mask of some sort covering his mouth and nose. The smoke created when burning poisonous plants can be just as dangerous as the plant, if fact possibly much worse because you inhale the poison into your respiratory system.

Points to remember: If you do eat any plants, keep a log and a sample of it. If accidental poisoning occurs the medical personnel can quickly tell which plant caused the illness.

Signs of possible poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, depressed/slowed heartbeat and breathing, headaches, hallucinations, a dry mouth, falling unconscious. Coma and death can quickly follow these symptoms so don’t brush them off as no big deal.



Don’t Drink the Water


We’ve always been told not to drink saltwater, specifically referring to the ocean. It’s traditional wisdom we don’t question, but why not? We question everything else. Why can’t we drink saltwater? To answer that question we’ll have to turn to some medical expertise to see the effects of saltwater on our bodies.

So let’s begin with the question: What happens to our body when we drink saltwater?

It seems logical if we are drinking water, salty or not, we are replenishing much needed fluids our body requires to function properly, avoiding dehydration. However, in reality if we drink 3 ounces of saltwater, our body will expel 5 or more ounces of the fluid we’re trying to replenish. How can that be? It’s done through a process known as osmosis, and we’ll learn how that works before we’re finished.

Let’s begin with the kidneys. The kidney’s act as the body’s filtering system, removing harmful, unneeded or unwanted impurities from the blood, storing this waste in the form of urine, which we excrete when we urinate. This necessary and natural process keeps our body healthy, which is why people with kidney problems must go through dialysis, a medical manual filtering and cleaning of the blood.

It’s important to note the kidneys only filter liquid, solid waste is handled in a different part of the body by different organs. Here’s the rub, the kidneys can only make urine out of water with less than 2% salt content. Saltwater normally contains 3.5% salt, therefore it cannot be turned into urine. So how does the body get rid of it? The kidneys must rob other parts of the body of enough water to dilute the salt to 2% or less. What other parts? Our cells.


Body cells are isotonic, which means they must contain 2% or less of salt to remain healthy. The cell’s membrane is semipermeable, which by design, makes sodium entering into the cell extremely difficult, a safety precaution to keep excess salt out, however, water can move through the membrane easily. The body likes equalization and when the salt content in the blood becomes too high, water is extracted from the cell to reduce the salinity of the blood. This process is called osmosis and can have disastrous results, because as the cells excrete water they shrink in size and that ain’t good.

The kidneys are not the only organs negatively affected by too much salt. If you consume alcohol you are probably aware of the signs that you are over indulging and are starting to become intoxicated. Your body motions are not as fluid and coordinated, your thought process becomes muddled, you may begin to slur your words. Well, the early signs of salt poisoning are quite similar, as you’re becoming intoxicated on salt exactly the way you become intoxicated on alcohol.

When you become intoxicated the Central Nervous System (CNS) is negatively affected. The CNS is responsible for controlling every function of the body from breathing to thinking to controlling your bladder. When the CNS becomes intoxicated it senses the body is not reacting normally, therefore it reduces blood flow to what it deems less critical body functions. In other words, you may stumble or have trouble thinking logically, but you remain breathing and your heart continues to pump. If the CNS continues to become more intoxicated, more saltwater consumed, it will take more drastic actions to maintain life and this can become disastrous.

Salt poisoning can provoke anything from very mild symptoms such as jittery-ness, lethargic reactions and confusion… to more deadly reactions such as dehydration, which can then lead to a spike in blood pressure, seizure and a coma. Let’s exam how these happen.


The jitters by themselves may not seem like a terrible reaction to have, merely a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing. But keep in mind that along with jitters comes a possibility of a dangerous increase in respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. Continued exposure to both those symptoms can lead to much more severe responses such as a myo-cardial infarction, or a heart attack. Likewise, lethargy and confusion can impair judgment and inhibit good decision making, such as I’m in real stress and require medical help.

Seizures can not only be extremely scary, they can be life altering. Normally an intoxicated induced seizure does little to no harm, but repeated episodes can lead to brain damage, because all seizures create bleeding around the brain and any such abnormal activity around the brain is dangerous.

I’ve tried to satisfy the intellect of my readers, but now I’ll bring it down to my level. If you’re chugging seawater thinking your doing yourself any good, you are actually taking in sodium that is incurring a net loss of water, leading to depleted body fluids, muscle cramps, dry mouth, and yes, thirst.

The body tries to compensate for fluid loss by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels to maintain blood pressure and flow to vital organs. You’re also most likely to feel nausea, weakness and even delirium, and as you become more dehydrated, the coping mechanism continues to fail. If you don’t drink enough water to reverse the effects of excess sodium, the brain and other organs receive less blood, leading to coma, organ failure and eventually death.

I temporarily loss my mind and drank a lot of saltwater. Is there any way to reverse the effects of the saltwater poisoning? The best way to reverse any potential side-effects of salt poisoning is to consume large volumes of fresh water in order to dilute it. Depending on the degree of poisoning, the body may be able to purge the excess salt on its own. However, you still must increase your freshwater intake in order to replace missing fluids. However, while trying to replace the saltwater volume with fresh water, you must be careful to not do so too quickly. The body and brain adapt quickly to the higher concentration of salt, a rapid infusion of freshwater before it can effectively rid itself of saltwater can cause the brain cells to swell, which can lead to brain swelling, damage and ultimately death.

In a situation where freshwater isn’t easily available to you, but will be shortly, attempting to purge the saltwater is a good start. If you’ve had too much to purge effectively, and no freshwater is on hand, electrolyte rich alternatives such as coconut water is a good alternative. However if this method is used, you should see a physician quickly after to assure that an imbalance hasn’t occurred.

In the event that someone has already started to exhibit some of the more severe symptoms of salt poisoning, it’s imperative to get them to a physician, hospital or para-medical personnel as quickly as possible.

Bottom line: Don’t drink the water if it’s salty.