Learning Bushcraft To Survive Without Modern Conveniences
It may be the most important skill to learn today.
The world today is becoming uncertain. Weather especially has become unpredictable and violent. Superstorms like the one that shut down New York are becoming common.
When these things happen, electricity, food, and water become scarce and there is a real threat to life and limb.
That’s why many people are learning how to make do with little or no resources. Many are going back to the days of our frontier forefathers and learning the art of Bushcraft.
Today, we are going to look and this forgotten art and are now becoming more popular as things seem to be heading toward chaos in the second decade of the 21st.
Bushcraft is a set of skills based on one simple principle. “Survive under varying conditions, living with nature, and becoming self-reliant.” In order to do this, you will need to have the knowledge and actually practice skills you may not be familiar with. Then you need to use them and become proficient with them.
That’s what we are about to give you some guidance in. You need to learn how to live with nature and by learning how to build a shelter, grow food, fish and learn navigation you can go out in the woods, mountains, and even the desert and be confident that you can enjoy nature and still be ready to take action should things take a turn for the worse.
Conversely, you will also have a good idea of what to do if a natural disaster occurs that leaves you without the benefits of our modern society. This can all be done gradually and you don’t even have to hit the woods or the high country to get started. You can begin in your backyard.
You Don’t Have To Be Dropped Into The Amazonian Rain Forest To Begin Learning The Skills To Survive In The Wild.
Bear Grylls is probably one of the most recognized Bushcraft savvy people on the planet. You can watch his TV shows, Go to Walmart and see all the Bushcraft and survival gear with his name on it with its characteristic orange coloration.
Many people buy his products and want to jump into the wild and live off the land as he does. But, you never hear too much about the success stories or about people who misidentify a plant and get sick eating it.
If you really want to do it, right. You need to start small. Instead of going out and start eating the first bush, berry, and nut, you find. Go to your backyard, learn about plants, and grow a few yourself.
Mel Bartholomew has been showing people how to grow beneficial plants in a systematic way for decades. His low-tech approach to plant cultivation has grown food in places where there is no arable land.
His Square Foot Gardening method is being used all over the world to grow food for those where survival is a necessity.
In your backyard set up some square forms 4′ X 4′ and about 6 inches high. Throw in some dirt to fill each. Subdivide the dirt-filled form into 1-foot square plots. Break this into squares as well. Then plant one to 3 seeds into the center of each regularly spaced square.
Very boring and copies the Indian method of growing maize practiced by Indians at the time when the Pilgrims arrived in America.
You’ll learn to create your own food and that is key to living in the wild. You see Bear is moving through an area and isn’t planning on staying.
Unless you are planning on trekking hundreds of miles Mel’s method is a better approach to getting your feet wet in the basics of living without a local grocery store.
If You Want To Live Off The Land, You Have To Do Your Homework.
What you don’t see in the various “Man in the Wild shows” is the months of prep that goes into learning the land and its plants. If you want to do this for yourself grab yourself the Air Force survival manual.
It lists edible plants and how to build a shelter out of virtually anything. These are the skills that made the current crop of survivalists, Preppers, and extreme adventurers able to make their feats so easily.
These books will form the basis of your Bushcraft library. Next, you will want to learn more about living off the land. The best persons capable of doing this, are of course, the Native Americans, the Moros, and the Montagnard tribesman of the central highlands of Vietnam.
A good book about how to make a bow and survival in the wild by Ishi the last of the Yana Indians by Saxon T. Pope.
This classic is considered by some to be the bible on how to make and hunt with a bow.
However, in reality, you are more likely to get most of your food from vegetables over meat sources until you gain proficiency with a bow. In addition, trapping is another skill you will want to learn about and develop.
If you can find the old books by the mountain men and fur trappers, these are the best sources of information as they are done with primitive tools and techniques. This one is an especially good one and it will show you a little bit of how men survived in the mountains and the forests that covered much of North America.
Another source of good information is the “The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild“.
Going up to Gutenberg you can also find many of these old books as well the men who wrote them spent their lives learning their trade of Bushcraft and if you want to emulate them go to the sources.
Gear And Go Bags
Now that you have enough to keep you busy learning about the outdoors you will be trekking in, you next need to consider your kit.
This reviewer kept a webbed belt wit everything needed to last 3 days in the woods when part of a search and rescue unit. Preppers keep a Go Bag with all their essentials in case of the “Big One.”
If you go to Walmart, you’ll see an aisle full of Bear Grylls Stuff in bright orange bearing his name. This has made him a fortune but may not be what you really need to get out in the wild.
The basics are a poncho that can also double as a shelter. Some form of fire starter, a fire piston is one of the best.
A fire piston, fish hooks and line to go with it. However, the most important piece of gear is a good knife.
If you want you can go with the Gerber brand knives that Bear hawks or his custom creations. Tom Brown’s custom knife is popular as well along with his series of books on tracking and living with nature.
But, in reality, you need a good all-purpose knife made of carbon steel not stainless.
This reviewer has gotten by with the old Vietnam issue bush knife but an all-purpose knife made famous by the Gurkha regiments is the Kukri, which can do almost any job required in the field.
Choose the knife you like of course and then later you can add other essentials you need to help you in your excursions in the great unknown.
Bushcraft is not so much, having the gear, but it is in the mindset that says, “I will survive.” You can have all the equipment in the world but if you do not have, the will that backs it up you shouldn’t be out in the wild places in the world.
Bushcraft is an art as well as a science but it all starts with what is inside your heat and heart.