Picking The Perfect Firearm For Your Child

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Spend time researching the right firearm for your child.

I will always remember my first firearm. I was 12 years old, and the firearm was a Marlin model 98 .22 long rifle. The rifle-fed from a tubular magazine in the butt stock. It had been my Uncle’s, as had the .12 Gauge break action that was handed down to me. Both guns were old, had little sentimental value since my Uncle was alive and were notoriously unreliable (had not been properly taken care of).

My Dad, not wanting his son to have inferior firearms, went to the local gun shop and picked me up a Remington 870 Express .12 gauge. I opened the package the 870 came in that Christmas. I pulled back the wrapping paper to reveal those beautiful green letters that spelled “Remington,” and I knew it was going to be a good Christmas! I was taller than most boys my age and I could easily handle the .12 gauge. In fact, I lugged that shotgun all through my beginning hunting years as I pursued turkey and deer in upstate New York. To this day it still accompanies me in the field every year for turkey. I’ll never get rid of that shotgun.

The Right Firearm

As a hunter, shooter and firearms instructor I have folks ask me all the time, “What gun should I purchase for my child?” As a father of three, with my oldest just now closing in on the age where they will get their own firearm, I can say there are 50 different answers to this question. My wife and I both hunt and shoot and our children have shown strong interest in both sports.

After teaching young folks how to shoot for years and taking youngsters into the woods on their first hunt on many occasions, I have some very strong opinions. Here are my top picks for a youngster’s first firearm.

Wholesome Entertainment And Christian Heroes For Christian Kids!

The .22

1. Davey Crickett .22 long rifle built by Keystone Arms. This is a great rifle for a little one to start shooting at around the age of six. It is smooth, easy to operate and has a solid cross bolt safety. I like the single shot .22 for first-timers because the process of loading a single shot is a great way to instill firearms safety in your child. And your child is going to have to learn to make every shot count. Single shot rifles also are a great way to conserve ammunition in an ever-changing world. One nice little gimmick about these rifles is they come in several different color options, so a boy can go for black or laminate, and a gal can go for pink.

Price Tag: Around $100-$120

2. Remington 572. The iconic Remington pump .22 has been in production for 60 years. Built like a tank and with a silky-smooth action, this is a perfect .22 for the older child/teenager. It costs a pretty penny as .22s go, but this is a rifle your child will have their entire life and will probably be passed down for a few generations to come! This is not the rifle for a first-time shooter, but for an older child or your teen, there is no better choice out there.

Price Tag: Around $550

The Shotgun

In my opinion, a child needs to be around 10 or 12 before being taught to shoot a shotgun. Sure, there are some children who start younger, but with the much stouter recoil it can be hard on young ones. Both of my choices are pump shotguns, as they allow for follow-up shots and their heavier weight reduces recoil for small shooters.

3. Mossberg 510 Youth 20 gauge. This is a great little shotgun. It has a 3-plus-1 capacity, adjustable shoulder stock that grows with your child and an assortment of chokes. You also can purchase an adult stock to install when junior gets bigger. I have found these shotguns to be very quick pointers and very handy in the woods. My wife has one with an adult butt stock and I have even borrowed it before for squirrel.  

Price Tag: Around $320

Teach children gun safety

Make teaching your children firearm safety a priority.

4. Remington 870 Express or Wingmaster in either .12 or .20 gauge. This shotgun has much more heft, is quite a bit larger and should only be considered for your growing teenager. For young ladies and smaller-statured teenage boys, a .20 gauge is a fine choice. For those strapping farm boys in your family, get the .12 gauge – they will thank you for it later on. The Express my father gave me has been with me for more than 20 years. The firearm is indestructible and has never failed me. If you want a prettier gun with superior fit and finish, get the Wingmaster model. Either option, this is a gun that will stay in the family.

Price Tag: Around $320

The Game Rifle

5. Rossi Single Shot Youth .223 Rifle. This is my first choice for a young child’s deer rifle. Yes, a .223 can kill up to a deer-sized critter. With this rifle there is no recoil, which is a very attractive thing for a youngster. No, it is not suitable for elk, moose, bear or anything larger than a whitetail. But if you want a first deer rifle, this can work well. It also is great for kids wanting to get into the shooting sports.

Price Tag: Around $250

6. Ruger American Rifle. This is a terrific, cheap and accurate rifle. The trigger is great and the accuracy and relatively-smooth action are also very good. Fitted with a decent optic, you will be very surprised with the rifle’s accuracy. For the older kid or teenager, this is a terrific choice for a first “real game rifle.” For a younger child, I would suggest a chambering in .7mm-08, which is one of the most effective and light kicking cartridges around. For a teenager, I would choose a .270 or .308 for a little heavier punch.

Price Tag: Around $350

What would you add to this list? Take away from the list? Share your opinion in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here..

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5 Clever Ways To Fish Without A Pole

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An adequate fishing kit can be compacted and put in a survival kit, but if you’re out in the wilderness without that kit, don’t despair.

Fish are an excellent source of protein, and with the right knowledge and some practice, catching fish on your own without a fishing kit is more than possible.

1. Hand fishing

The best locations to go hand fishing are in warm, shallow waters along banks and logs, and underneath rocks. The easiest kinds of fish to catch using this method are catfish, but then again, “easy” may not be the most appropriate word. Hand fishing also requires a great deal of patience. Keep your hands in the water for an extended period of time to bring them to roughly the same temperature as the water, and if a fish does come to within your grasp, grab it by the mouth and/or gills. You may also want to hold an improvised hook under the water to increase your chances of holding the fish.

 2. Improvised hooks and lines

An entire article could be written about the different materials that can be turned into fish hooks. Examples include safety pins, nails, needles, paper clips, bones, wood and best of all, a soda can tab. As for fishing line, you can use any materials you have on you such as strands of clothing, wire, sinew and vines. Lures can be improvised out of jewelry, and bait can be insects and frogs or even a colorful piece of cloth.

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3. Improvised nets

If you don’t have a fishing net, that’s fine. You can make your own improvised fishing nets with clothes, towels or blankets stretched between two sticks. Look for shallow water where schools of small fish are abundant, and push the fish toward a bank or a dead end. Once you reach the fish, lift the net quickly and see what you caught. Net fishing is best used to catch as many small fish at once as possible, in contrast to catching larger fish.

4. Spear fishing

While there are professional-grade fishing spears sold at nearly any sporting goods store, you can easily make one in the wilderness. The best material is a piece of green willow wood. You can tie a knife to the end, or sharpen the end of the wood to the point, or cut jagged edges roughly an inch apart from one another.

The limitation to spear fishing is that it can only be done on larger fish, requires a lot of skill, and is best done at night with a torch or light. You also need a lot of patience, and you have to be quick. It’s easy to become frustrated, so be patient and practice.

5. Trap fishing

Also known as Weir fishing, this is a more traditional fishing method where you put three stakes in the water downstream to construct a V-shape. Then, close two sides with cloth, rocks, more stakes, or any other material you can use, while keeping the end facing upstream open. Sit and wait for fish to swim into the V, and then close off the end to keep the fish trapped.  You can either catch the fish by hand or spear it, but the result is the same: dinner.

What are your survival fishing methods? Share your tips in the section below:

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Learning Survival Archery – Is It Necessary for Preppers?

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Using the bow and arrow has been at the heart of human existence. From simple designs used for hunting to more advanced bows, empires have even been constructed around them. In the modern world, it’s easy to think that there is no place for such primitive tools, but regardless of the day and age, humans […]

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3 Simple Trapping Skills That Every Survivalist Should Know

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3 Simple Trapping Skills That Every Survivalist Should Know

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If you ever find yourself in a survival situation, what would be your first priority? One recurring theme when reading stories of survival is the constant search for food.

Folks like the Lykovs or Alexander Selkirk all relayed a similar message that food was a constant necessity that proved unending in its demands. Not only was food harder to obtain, but their caloric expenditures would have increased dramatically as they transitioned into survival mode.

While hunting with a gun can be effective, trapping is another strategy to secure meat in the wild. In fact, trapping was a part of the Lykovs’ story. These days, trapping has earned a bad rap, with a few bad incidents making people leery of the practice altogether.

But trapping is a longstanding tradition in many parts of the country and also a great tool for animal management. Not only that, but trapping is a low-energy way of obtaining meat for the table. It targets many small game animals that tend to have large populations. I personally have eaten meat from my trapline and find it pretty tasty. Another benefit: Trapping targets animals that tend to have beautiful and useful fur.

If you’ve never trapped before, and think it might be a good skill to add to your repertoire, here are three basic traps that would be effective in any survival situation.

1. Footholds

The basic trap you’ll see people using these days is a foothold trap. As the name indicates, a foothold trap is designed to hold the foot of the trapped animal. Most folks wrongly believe traps are designed to cause severe damage to animals. They’re not. These traps aim to secure the animal above the foot, and simply hold it securely until the trapper can show up to dispatch it. I have only been trapping for a few years, but have yet to see an animal with any of the extreme injuries anti-trappers peddle as common. Watch the video below to understand this concept better.

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Footholds are useful for catching literally any animal out there, from muskrat to bear. One thing you need to consider is the size of the animal you want — and then select the proper trap. A good all-around trap is a #2 coil spring. (The number refers to the size of the trap. Smaller numbers like #1 are smaller traps, while a #4 would be big enough to hold more powerful animals.) A #2 coil spring is a nice middle-of-the-road trap that can secure most species you’d want to trap. With it you could catch raccoon, opossum and even powerful critters like beaver. In a situation where you can’t haul around a pickup full of traps, the #2 foothold can probably get the job done.

2. Conibears

A conibear refers to a square trap designed to kill the animal within seconds of triggering as an animal walks through it. One positive of a conibear trap is it diminishes the amount of ammunition you’ll need to carry and shoot on the trapline. In a situation where you need to conserve as much ammunition as possible, this added benefit can be vital. When using conibears it is important to pair the animal with the correct trap.

Learn The Secrets Of A Veteran Hunter As He Demonstrates How To Quickly Field-Dress Game

For trapping raccoon, trappers generally use 160s or 220s. One popular set to ensure proper firing of your conibear is to build a bucket set. These sets require the animal to walk through a small opening in a five-gallon bucket to obtain bait in the back. When they walk through the opening, the trap fires. Using the bucket set greatly increases the odds you will get an ideal catch right behind the ears, resulting in a quick and clean kill.

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One bit of advice before purchasing and using your conibear traps is to check your local game regulations. Since conibears are designed to kill instantly, many states have imposed laws to avoid catching dogs and cats. In my home state, for example, conibears must be placed at least six feet off of the ground, or completely submerged beneath the water. Some localities have banned this trap altogether.

3. Snares

Snares of today are simply made with a length of cable and a one-way slide. Like the conibear, they are designed to pass over the animal’s head and kill the animal in the trap. More modern snares are not designed to choke the animal, but rather to cut off blood flow to the brain, killing the animal much faster. To set a snare, first determine an animal’s routine path of travel. Once you’ve located the path, find a good location from which to hang your snare. Care must be taken to build your loop to accommodate the animal you want to catch, as well as placing the loop off the ground for the same purpose.

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Snares are beneficial for a variety of reasons, including not needing much ammunition. Secondly, snares are much lighter than either of the two steel traps previously mentioned. If you are in a situation where you have to carry your traps, snares may be the best option. Their weight also can allow you to set more traps at a time. If you start trapping, you’ll soon learn it can be a numbers game, and the ability to set more traps gives you a better opportunity to find food.

Similar to conibears, snares also generally have a good deal of legislation regulating their use. Consult your local laws to check their legality.

Final Thoughts

If you can get your hands on a few traps, it may be worth your time to learn a bit about this ancient art. Not only will you learn about the natural world around you, but you may learn a skill to help you during a survival situation.

Have you ever used traps? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Hunting For Survival in the City When the SHTF

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Wildlife in the city, well yes, and Merriam-Webster defines wildlife as living things and especially mammals, birds, and fishes that are neither human nor domesticated. That definition covers a lot of ground.

How many of you have spotted or been harassed by geese in a city park, have had to yield to geese and ducks in roadways around city water features, have seen squirrels begging for food near park benches, and who has not been tempted to feed the pigeons some of their sandwich whiling lunching in a city square. Wildlife indeed abounds.

Dr. Merritt, the Mayor of Oakland, declared Lake Merritt a National Wildlife Refuge in 1869, the first in North America. There are wildlife sanctuaries close to or actually inside some city limits. Places where people go to feed the ducks, and to view wildlife in its natural habitat. In 1925, the first bird island was constructed and four additional islands were erected in 1956. These are the largest of the artificial islands that house hundreds of egrets, herons, Canada goose, and many other species of birds (City of Oakland, n.d.).

Lakes of course in city parks or near a city’s borders may very well be home to fish and other marine life that can be a food source, and water attracts mammals that are a food source as well. Some less appetizing, and yet a food source would be rats and mice.

All mammals in North America are edible, but keep in mind for example, that the Polar Bear and Bearded Seal while both are edible as far as the meat goes, the livers can be toxic to humans, because of their diet the livers may contain toxic amounts of Vitamin A.

Yes, Polar Bears and Seals do invade urban areas, but Polar Bears are dangerous to humans so use extreme caution and always have a firearm up to the job of bringing one down if it comes to that.

If you live in an urban environment you can hunt, not in the traditional sense maybe, but hunt you can for food.

A quality air rifle, a longbow or crossbow, as well as a hunting slingshot,  would be ideal weapons inside the city limits if ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and mice are your food sources. Keep fishing in mind, as well, when packing your survival kit for urban hunting, a survival fishing kit needs to go in the kit. 

You have to consider the safety of other humans as you hunt and the stealth factor as well. In most cases, you will not want others to know you are out hunting for food, so noise discipline is important. Avoid firearms if possible, but this is a judgment call that will have to be made at the time.

Rats and mice can be trapped in the traditional way using traps designed for rodents or you can use your slingshot, stones or throwing sticks. The same would apply to ducks and geese, rabbits and squirrels.

Certain birds can be netted, but keep in mind ducks and geese and even squirrels that are used to being fed by humans may present themselves as a meal without much effort on your part.

You should not consume any animal that you did not kill by your own hand. Finding a dead animal or a washed up fish may seem like an easy meal, but you don’t know if the animal or fish died of a disease.

Nocturnal animals like raccoons, typically come out to forage at night, so if they are found wandering during the day there may be a problem. Rabies can be transmitted to humans if you are exposed to the saliva or brain tissue. Of course, getting bit by a rabid animal can transmit the virus to you.

Handling a dead animal that has rabies may mean you become exposed if you have an abrasion or broken skin. Rabies does not transmit through unbroken skin, however, and the virus does not survive long in the saliva, once exposed to air, but can remain in the brain tissue after an animal has died. Reptiles and marine life do not carry the rabies virus.

Rabies travels from the brain to the salivary glands during the final stage of the disease—this is when an animal can spread the disease, most commonly through a bite (The Humane Society of the United States, n.d.)

Less than 3 people a year die from rabies, but be careful regardless, so you do not become number 4. Only 28 people have died in the last ten years in the United States from rabies (The Humane Society of the United States, n.d.).

Keep in mind that cats and dogs are edible, but just the thought of this is enough for most people to lose their appetites, but remember dogs and cats are raised in some countries as a food source. During a survival situation, all options should be on the table, and then you can eliminate some as the situation unfolds. To avoid moral dilemmas such as this, you should be as prepared as possible.

What Do You Need As Far As Tools and Gear?

Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, in some cases doubling in number every 20 minutes (PennState Extension, 2016).

During a crisis, refrigeration may be a quickly fading memory so it is important that you understand that your way of thinking and the way you do things must change just as quickly.

If you kill any animal for food and you do not have refrigeration the animal must be processed literally on the spot. Eviscerate the animal as soon possible, and in most cases discard the organs and do so in such a way as to keep larger predators away, and to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce odor. Burying is the best method.

Field dressing your kill immediate allows for rapid cooling because the body cavity is opened up. This also discourages the growth of surface bacteria, and of course, improves the overall quality of the meat.

What You Need

  • Several Sharp Knives ( Skinning Knives Are Ideal) For Skinning,  One For Small Game And One For Larger Game
  • Whetstone, Honing Steel or Some Other Device or Method For Sharpening Your Knives
  • Hatchet For Larger Game
  • Cheesecloth, String or Rope
  • Cooler Or Some Other Storage Container
  • Disposable Medical Gloves For Handling Raw Meat
  • Alcohol Swabs and/or Clean Cloth and Alcohol To Clean Your Blade After Field Dressing To Prevent Carrying Surface Bacteria Into The Meat As You Process It
  • Water, soap, and/or Alcohol Swabs For Your Hands

If you are lucky, enough to have snow on the ground, then you pack the meat in snow, or fill up jugs of cold water from a lake or pond to help absorb the heat from the fresh kill. Remember heat always conducts to cold.

Wrap the meat in cheesecloth and pack around the cold jugs in a cooler or even a box if that is all you have available to pack the meat home. You can, of course, process, cook, and eat the meat on the spot if it is safe to do so.

Minutes count when handling fresh meat, therefore, it is recommended that you kill and eat, unless there is snow or ice available from frozen lakes or ponds to chill the meat below 40 ° F.

You simply cannot kill game today and expect to be able to consume it in a few days unless it has been chilled and stored at or below 40 degrees. You can get sick or worse.

If the game is more than you can consume in one meal then smoke the remaining meat to preserve. This is not a foolproof method and the smoking process will take hours to ensure the meat is cooked and smoked sufficiently enough to slow or to prevent the growth of bacteria.

The things you have to consider when hunting in an urban area include your safety and the safety of others. You may spot game but is it safe to kill it, process it, and then cook it on the spot or do you need to transport the game to a safe location. You have to make decisions based on what is happening in real time.

We cannot sit here and tell you what you should do because we don’t know if the people in the area would be a threat. Most likely, anyone in the area that sees you cooking a meal would want in on the feast, and if you are unwilling to share, you may have to wait for a more opportune time.

Carry a firearm whether you plan to kill game with it or not. It is for your personal protection more so than for killing game in most cases. You do not want to advertise you are out hunting a meal.

PennState Extension. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://extension.psu.edu/food/safety/educators/fact-sheets-brochures-books/game-meats/proper-field-dressing-and-handling-of-wild-game-and-fish

City of Oakland . (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/opr/s/Parks/OAK032395

The Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/facts/rabies.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

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Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

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Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

Reasons to Consider a Survival Bow and Arrow

Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

As a modern-day prepper with so many high-tech hunting tools around you, you may discard the idea of bow hunting because of its antediluvian nature. But even though when we are living in the age of technology, there is no harm in learning bow hunting for survival.

Using a bow and arrow is actually an art form of the highest kind. It may someday become the only way out when you are left with the choice to use what nature provides abundantly as a defense mechanism. Knowing bow hunting may save your life one day when all the other tools fail.

When you are stuck in a wilderness survival scenario, nothing can beat a bow and arrow set up. There are other reasons too that will make you a fan of bow hunting for survival, especially if you have any interest in primitive survival skills. Below are the five main reasons for why you should spend in purchasing a high-quality bow-and-arrow.

 

Reasons to Consider a Survival Bow and Arrow:

 

Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

Via pinterest.com

High Portability

 An ordinary take-down bow only weighs a couple of pounds making it extremely light for carrying. Moreover, all you need to take down a bow is to twist some lug screws, and you are done. A bow consists of three pieces: two limbs along with a middle grip section. This further adds to the portability of the bow and arrow arrangement. You can easily pack it in your bug out bag along with some five or six arrows.

Enhanced Versatility

 With the advancement of almost everything across the world, arrows have also come a long way. Modern carbon-fiber arrows are impressively lightweight and come with a versatile tip that can accommodate various kinds of hunting tips. A good and sensible collection of different tips, for example, standard practice tips, small game stunner tips, and others allows you to use same arrows for a number of hunting games.

Cost-Effectiveness

 A simple take-down bow is easily available within a reasonable price of few hundred bucks. Most importantly, a high-quality and well-made bow will definitely last a lifetime making your investment more worthwhile. Apart from the bow, arrows are also very cost-effective. Once you polish your shooting skills, you will be able to retrieve and reuse the same arrows again and again. Crafting your own arrows with wooden dowels or natural wood is another great affordable option.

 

No Cumbersome Paperwork

 

 Legal laws and regulations are more lenient in terms of using bow and arrow. There is no cumbersome ordeal of extensive paperwork and permits as needed with guns and pellets.

Noiseless Operation

 Not only bow-and-arrows are deadly, but they are equally noiseless as well. You may come across various occasions when the silent weapon becomes seems the best.

 

Should You Choose Recurve or Compound Bow?

The most debatable topic pertaining to prepping is that which of the compound or recurve bow is more competent for a deadly scenario. There are many preppers who believe a compound bow to be inept in critical conditions because of all the complex moving parts it has. While other preppers say that a recurve bow lacks the necessary power and is thus unsuitable for a defensive tool. They think that more practice and skills are required when it comes to using a recurve bow but even then it does not have the high-end range.

Below are the main concerns relevant to both the bows.

Drawbacks of Compound Bows

The main reason many of the preppers consider the compound bow inept for their hunting purposes is its need for high maintenance. There is a finely tuned machine or a pulley system incorporated in these bows that are responsible for bearing all the pressure constantly. They withstand the force which is caused by the high draw weight of the bow. But preppers must not rely on supports. And the maintenance of this compound bow and its articulate machinery make you dependent of the archery technician. The lack of maintenance may cause you to suffer a lot when you are met with a disaster scenario.

 

 

Drawbacks of Recurve Bows

Why Should You Learn Bow Hunting For Survival?

Drawbacks of Recurve Bows

Via pinterest.com

 

Recurve bows require high-end practice before you can use them accurately. They also lack sighting system as seen in compound bows and thus as a prepper you will have to depend on your instinctual shooting. Only a lot of habitual practice has the potential to make you proficient with recurve bows. These bows are inexpensive, very easy to maintain and can be fabricated on your own with right tools and skills. The most important concern about recurve bows is its lighter draw weight, which makes it difficult to hunt from a tree stand. But recurve bows are a great way to learn game stalking skills, and they are highly capable of taking down big-game animals too.

Overall, recurve bows are great for small-game hunting and compound bows for large game hunting.

Use Bow as Your Defensive Tool

Whether you choose a compound bow or a recurve bow, you will need to give the most of you as a prepper using bow-and-arrow. A huge amount of skills and patience is required for bow hunting. Practicing on the range and also in the field with perseverance is a lot to ask for. But bow hunting has its own share of payoffs as well. The utter joy, immense thrill and the love of a challenge are some of the most important reasons that draw the preppers to bow and arrow. Although bow hunting needs a lot of preparations like tracking, setting up and the final flawless shot, it is worth doing all of this. It makes you a more skilled prepper who can now survive in almost any kind of wilderness.

Guns and rifles may fail in case of utmost urgency, but your skills and craftsmanship will pay you well. Bow hunting for survival also boosts your self-confidence so that you can come out safe from any kind of deadly scenario. Your hunting gears remain present around you all the time in the form of reeds and woods. You can pick them and use them as your self-made bow and arrow to escape the deadliest of animals while hunting.

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!

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10 essential survival skills you need to know

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What skills do you need to survive a disaster or emergency situation? Well, some of that depends on the nature of the situation. Here are 10 essential long term survival skills.

by Leon Pantenburg

Probably the most-asked question about wilderness survival and preparedness is: “Where do I start?” and/or “What are the most important skills I need to learn?”

I taught a wilderness survival class last week to a group of high school students at Cascades Academy in Bend, Oregon. Each student came up with a list of 10 things they would need in a survival situation, and what skills they might need.  The lists ranged from very practical to semi-silly.

Talk to any survival-type and they’ll probably have a list of essential skills. Here’s mine – take these ideas, and refine them to make your own list.

Psychological preparation: Without this, you don’t need the rest.

Dr. John leach in his groundbreaking book “Survival Psychology” wrote that in any survival situation only 10 to 15 percent of any group involved will react appropriately. Another 10 to 15 percent will behave totally inappropriately and the remaining 70 to 80 percent will need to be told what to do. The most common reaction at the onset of an emergency is disbelief and denial.

Do some reading and study about actual survivors of emergency situations. Then get trained in first aid, firemaking, shelter building or the other skills you might be lacking. Don’t be among the 80 percent who don’t have a clue about what to do.

Now, in no particular order of importance, are nine more.

Firemaking: Wilderness survival guru Mors Kocheski ranks fire as the most important skill for surviving in the wilderness. I agree. The ability to make a fire can save your life. The inability can cost it. (I’ve been preaching this for years!) If firemaking isn’t one of your strong suits, move it up the ladder.

This plastic bag captures water that transpires through tree leaves. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

This plastic bag captures water that transpires through tree leaves. (Peter Kummerfeldt photo)

Water gathering and purification: Dehydration can kill you in about three days. In the desert heat, you may be in trouble much sooner. Learn where to look for water, and carry the tools or know the techniques to purify it before drinking.

Knife work: A knife is the most important survival tool, IMO, and knowing how to use it is a really, really important skill. This includes safe handling and use, wood carving, field dressing game and cleaning fish etc. Get a good knife and learn how to maintain and sharpen it. Then practice.

Shelter building: If you follow any of the survival shows, it would seem that making a shelter out of natural materials is quick and easy. In reality, it is neither.

Survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt writes:

It is impossible for the typical survivor to build a waterproof, wind proof shelter from natural materials,” he claims.

The best way to prove or disprove this is to take the tools you usually carry into a wooded area, and build a natural materials shelter.

The timber hitch is a friction knot that is easy to tie and untie (Pantenburg photo)

The timber hitch is a friction knot that is easy to tie and untie (Pantenburg photo)

Knots: Knots are survival tools. And there are hundreds of different kinds, all designed to do something different. Here are three that you need to set up a hasty tarp shelter.

First aid: Take a first aid class from the Red Cross, or someplace. You never know when you’ll be the one who has to deal with some medical crisis. And you don’t want to try on-the-job training.

Since taking the Wilderness First Aid class required by the Boy Scouts three years ago, I’ve used my training twice. In one instance, that training saved a life. Mine.

These three long guns are good, reliable choices for the beginner with no experience.

The Ruger 10/22 (top), Remington 870 pump action shotgun and Remington 700 bolt action rifle are good choices for the beginner. (Leon Pantenburg photo)

Firearms: You may need a firearm for hunting or self defense. Even if you’re opposed to firearms in general, take a hunter safety class to learn basic gun handling and safety. Make sure your kids are trained so they don’t get injured or injure someone else.

Suppose you’re new to the preparedness game, and are considering getting your first firearm. What should you start with? Here are three best guns for beginners.

Gardening: Growing your own food may be the only way to stay fed over the long term. If you don’t know how to garden, take a class at your local community college, or learn from an experienced gardener. Get seeds appropriate to your area, and learn what plants will grow in your area.

Food preservation: Assume no electricity, and no way to freeze or refrigerate food. You may have a bumper crop from the garden, or meat from a large animal to preserve. Learning how to can food is not rocket science, and chances are your local county extension agent can direct you to classes that teach the basics. Otherwise, find someone in your community who cans, and get them to teach you.

 Soap making: Staying clean is essential for long term health, and your cleaning supplies may soon run out. Making soap is not hard, and is a skill anyone can learn. Here’s how to make a simple hand soap with four ingredients.

A major benefit of deer and elk hunting is the superb meat. (Pantenburg photo)

A major benefit of deer and elk hunting is the superb meat. (Pantenburg photo)

Hunting and fishing: This is at the bottom of my list, even though I’m an avid hunter and fisherman. Fact is, even an expert outdoorsperson who hunts and fish frequently gets skunked. It’s all part of the experience, but if you’re going to depend on hunting to feed the family, you might go hungry.

Also, after a disaster, the game populations will be rapidly depleted by scumbag poachers, or people who would dynamite schools of fish. And where can you go where there will be lots of game animals?

Hunting and fishing skills could be critical, but don’t base your survival plans on them.

That’s my list, and it may not work for you. And my list continues to evolve as I learn more.

Take these thoughts, and make your own list, based on your unique situation and what you might expect during an emergency.  The important idea here, is to start thinking about it, and come up with a plan..

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Bolt Action Or Semi-Auto: Which Is Best For Hunting?

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Bolt Action Or Semi-Auto: Which Is Best For Hunting?

Image source: wideopenspaces.com

Today, there are primarily two major types of rifles that comprise the majority of what hunters use for game: the traditional bolt action and the more modern semi-automatic.

But is one better than the other?

Both bolt action and semi-automatic rifles share one major thing in common: They began their careers as infantry weapons for militaries. After they had been perfected for battlefield use, they were then adapted for sporting and hunting use by civilians back home.

Between the two, the bolt-action design is older and the more traditional option. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the semi-automatic has become more and more popular for hunting purposes over the years, especially as soldiers coming back home from overseas have begun to use ARs and other “military-style” rifles for hunting big game.

Ultimately, it mostly comes down to the shooter’s personal preference, but if you’re caught at a crossroads between trying to decide between the bolt action and a semi, it’s important that you know about the pros and cons of each.

We’ll start with the bolt action. It’s debatable, but most bolt-action rifles will have a larger variety of furnishings and configurations to add on. It was only a matter of years ago that almost all bolt-action rifles had wood stocks. That changed when a range of new composite stock designs became more popular, cheaper, and were found to better resist the elements.

Learn The Secrets Of A Veteran Hunter As He Demonstrates How To Quickly Field-Dress Game

Bolt actions are also very reliable. The bolt is simply turned, pulled back to eject the cartridge, and then a new cartridge is placed into the chamber as the bolt is pushed forward as well. The con to this is a slow rate of fire; if a deer or an elk springs out of the brush and you need to get shots off fast, the bolt action puts you at a natural disadvantage. At the same time, it’s very rare that the bolt action will ever fail you. Even if dirt or grime gets into the action or if there’s a dent in the case of the cartridge, most bolt actions will continue to run fine. In contrast to this, semi-automatics will tend to require more attention in such a scenario.

The triggers of most bolt actions also tend to be more crisp and smooth than those of a semi-automatic. This aids in accuracy and precision in a rifle design that is already extremely accurate and designed to place bullets where you want at a long distance. There’s a reason why most long-range competition shooters still prefer bolt actions over semi-automatics to this day.

signs to watch for when hunting big gameA final strong advantage to the bolt action is that they are offered in far more rifle calibers than semi-automatics are. Your typical choices (most of the time) for a semi-automatic will be .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, 7.62x54r, 7.62x39mm, or 5.56x45mm NATO.

While some semi-automatic rifles such as the Browning BAR are also offered in .270 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Winchester Magnum as well, the overwhelming majority of military-style semi-automatics (such as ARs or M1As, for example) simply are not.  In contrast to this, there’s a bolt-action rifle made for almost every rifle cartridge out there.

In short, bolt-action rifles are very accurate, dependable, have smoother triggers, and come with more options in terms of caliber and stocks than most semi-automatic rifles. In defense of semi-auto rifles, there are models that have these exact same qualities as well. Nonetheless, there are still a number of advantages to the semi-automatic rifle that don’t exist with bolt-actions simply due to the separation in design.

We’ve already talked about one such advantage of a semi-auto: They shoot faster, which translates to faster follow-up shots. Obviously, one reason why semi-autos shoot faster is because all you have to do is pull the trigger instead of chambering a new round. But a second reason why semi-autos are faster shooting is because they tend to have less recoil than bolt-actions, which can really punch you hard in the shoulder hard if it’s a heavier caliber and/or a light rifle.

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The reason for this is because of the design of the gun. A lot of semi-automatic rifles are gas operated, meaning that the recoil of heavier calibers such as .30-06 Springfield is better absorbed and delivers less of a muzzle flip. This, in turn, means that not only that you can squeeze off more shots at a galloping deer or elk, but you’ll be able to keep them on sight because your muzzle won’t flip as high. In contrast to this, if you miss your first shot with a bolt action you’ll have to chamber a new round in addition to likely having to re-finding your game in your sights or scope.

Not all semi-automatics are “military style” like ARs, either. Granted, ARs are commonly used for hunting and are more than up for the task. But for hunters who are turned away by the tactical look of an AR (or an M1A, G3-style, FAL, Mini-14, AK, etc.) style of weapon, there are more traditional semi-automatic options as well. The Browning BAR, which is a very elegant and accurate weapon, is a prime example of a semi-automatic rifle that doesn’t look tactical. Like we’ve mentioned, the BAR is also offered in some bigger calibers that “military style” semi-automatics typically aren’t.

Last but not least, the majority of semi-automatic rifles on the market carry more rounds in the magazine than bolt-actions do, so you won’t have to carry as much spare ammunition on your person if that makes a difference to you.

Semi-automatics have the capacity, lighter recoil, decreased muzzle flip, and faster firing abilities that bolt actions don’t have. When it comes down to it, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of each to decide what works best for you, but just know that both designs will continue to be around for decades if not centuries and will continue to be improved.

Which one do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the section below:   

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Here’s What To Do With All Of Those Extra Deer Parts

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

When you hunt and use every part of a deer, you respect and honor not only just nature but age-old hunting traditions that we seem to have forgotten in our busy digital life.

Hunting as a means to feed and provide for your family is a natural act, but knowledge about it is beginning to fade from our society. So, below we will discuss how to hunt a deer and use every single part of the animal for a benefit to yourself and the land.

There are two general types of hunting — bow and rifle – and we will discuss both interchangeably.

How to Find the Best Spots

First, you’ll have to find public or private land to hunt on in your area. Public lands generally will require hiking in, because they will have vehicle restrictions. Private lands may allow vehicles, which will make getting to your spot easier and hauling out a whole lot easier, once you’ve bagged your game.

Learn The Secrets Of A Veteran Hunter As He Demonstrates How To Quickly Field-Dress Game

Either way, make sure you park at least a mile out, because even if you’re going to overnight so the noise won’t be an issue, the smell of the vehicles could scare aware deer.

There are several types of terrain that you need to use to give you an edge. Get a TOPO (topography) map of your area. This will allow you to see the following terrain shapes so you can use them in your successful hunt.

Learn the Terrain

Cover Funnels. This is where the cover that they are using to hide necks down to a narrow spot. If you took two beer bottles and laid them in the ground with both of their opening perfectly facing each other and touching, you would have an hourglass shape.

This is the perfect shape of a cover funnel. There are open areas all around, but the cover area necks down and gets narrow at some point. This is going to be a prime spot to hunt or put up a tree stand. The deer will basically be funneled into that narrow area.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Saddles. Here you have two hills with a valley in between. This is called a saddle. The deer will come through here because they don’t like to walk the ridge line. Plus, like most creatures, they, too, take the path of least resistance.

If two large habitats are on either side of your saddle or cover funnel above, then you have a great bottle neck they have to come through.

Points. If you have a great big long point that covers a large area, then the deer will follow the hill and make their turn at the base of that point. Just like you, they have no interest in going over the top of it. So, as they go around it, they turn at the base of it. So, that base point is a good spot to hunt.

Ridge Lines. Deer for the most part won’t travel ridge lines. They are not under cover if they do, and more dangerous. If you have a long ridge line they will generally be 3/4 of the way down it or more.

I’m not saying that this is a good place to hunt — just saying that ridge lines are typically not.

Food And Droppings

There is a great deer hunter saying that is so obvious that it’s painful. The saying is: Hunt where the deer live.

So, use the TOPO features but also start looking for their favorite foods. As an example: If you find an acorn pile under some oak trees, look for droppings and hoof prints as sign.

Deer love acorns, and they can put on weight with them faster than other foods.

If you see an area of natural browse where there is a lot of twigs, seeds, berries and leaves that make up the bulk of their diet, look for signs nearby. If it’s pre-rut season, then look for tree rubbings along with your other sign markings. They will be rubbing the velvet from their antlers. You may see dried velvet at the base of the tree with rub marks.

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

These are all really good signs that you’re hunting at a good location.

How to Use Every Part of the Deer

To follow the tradition of the old hunting ways, learn how to use every part of the deer. We won’t cover the meat, because we will presume you’re going to eat it. So, we’ll just cover the rest.

Antlers. They make wonderful silverware and knife handles. Cut them into ¼-inch thick slices or less to make great buttons. Drill holes through the centers, run wiring and make lamps, sconces, and chandeliers when putting several together. They also make great handles for cupboards, doors, drawers and more.

Cut a good piece off and drill a hole through it. Run the pull cord of your lawn mower through it and you have a cool pull cord handle. Get creative and you will find hundreds of uses. You even can make handles for your fireplace poker, brush and shovel.

Bones. Cut them into lengths, freeze them and pull one a week out for your dog(s). You’ll save on food bills and Fido will be in heaven. Grind the bones and mix a teaspoon into your dog’s food each day for the natural bone calcium. Grind them up and till them into your garden area. By spring when you go to plant, the soil will be rich with nutrients and minerals, so you can grow nutritious foods.

Entrails And Scraps. Cut them into pieces and freeze. Many people enjoy eating organs. Or, you can thaw them all year long and feed your dog(s) and cat(s). Or, put the pieces beneath the seeds you’re planting in the spring for your garden. As they decompose it provides great nutrients for your vegetables and fruits.

Hide. Tan the hide as shown in our article: The Easiest Way To Preserve And Tan Hide. You can make anything — clothing, blankets, tools, shoes and even wall decorations.

We sincerely hope that this information helps you in your deer hunting and game usage. And we wish you a successful hunt.

What advice would you add? Share your own tips in the section below:

How To Make A Deadly Critter-Killin’ Blowgun For Less Than $10

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How To Make A Deadly Critter-Killin’ Blowgun For Less Than $10

Image source: USNews.com

Crafting my own packable survival tools has got to be one of my absolute personal favorite hobbies, especially since they can usually be made in the garage workshop on the super-cheap. I’ve made quite a few slingshots, fishing kits and PVC bows in recent years, but if I had to pick the easiest project of them all, it would have to be the DIY survival blowgun.

It is true that there are quite a few online retailers that will sell a manufactured blowgun for a whopping $50,but believe it or not, you could make a comparably effective one on your own and shell out a fifth of that cost for the materials.

What Can This Baby Actually Do?

First off, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here, because this little DIY-dart-driver isn’t meant to replace your 45-70 for next year’s bear hunt. And no, this is certainly not going to be an effective “home defense weapon” (you’d probably do more damage with a frying pan). But if you’re interested in a survival implement that’s incredibly lightweight and will take little furball critter for brunch … then this should do the trick.

Learn The Secrets Of A Veteran Hunter As He Demonstrates How To Quickly Field-Dress Game

It has three primary benefits:

  • Takes down rabbit-sized and smaller animals — In terms of what you can hunt with this DIY blowgun, you’re mostly looking at chipmunks, squirrels, frogs, and no bigger than a jackrabbit/hare.
  • Is portable and easy to run — The beauty of this blowgun is that it’s extremely lightweight, and when broken down, it can be strapped to the side of your pack for storing away while trekking and scouting.
  • Provides lots of ammo options — Interestingly enough, these blowguns will actually run the same .50 cal dart ammo that’s sold in retail stores. However, you can also make the ammo yourself, too; and in my opinion, the DIY ammo has greater energy transfer and target penetration.

Essentially, you’re looking at a reasonably effective range of around 10 to 15 yards, but I wouldn’t expect much more out of it. At shorter distances, shot placement isn’t nearly as crucial, since the sheer energy of impact will deliver the most shock value to the target, but as distances get longer shot placement becomes crucial, and that requires skill. To give you an idea, here’s a video on what a DIY PVC blowgun is capable of:

Story continues below video

But if you’re going to eventually get good with your DIY blowgun, then we’ve got to get her up and running. So, here’s what you’ll need …

Parts list

The parts list is rather simple, and can basically be found at any hardware store:

  • ½-inch schedule-40 PVC pipe
  • Threaded PVC couplers (male and female)
  • PVC glue
  • Spray paint (camouflaging)
  • Wire connectors
  • Wire coat hanger(s)
  • Wooden grilling skewers

Blowgun Assembly

To begin, you’ll need to determine the ideal length of your blowgun. Bear in mind that the longer it ends up being, the more energy can build up behind the dart, resulting in greater velocities. However, the longer the blowgun, the more gravity works against it.  The PVC tends to bow in the middle after about six feet.

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You can basically use anything that will cut PVC here, because precision isn’t really an issue for this project …

  1. My suggestion is to cut your ½-inch sched-40 PVC piping down to about 4.5 to 5.5 feet, depending on your level of comfort and the length of your arms. The wide coupler end of the pipe can be used as your mouthpiece.
  2. Then make another cut, creating two equal halves that are approximately 2.25 to 2.75 feet in length.
  3. Next, take your ½-inch male and female threaded couplers, and use your PVC glue to fasten them to each half. This will allow you to break down the blowgun when storing, also adding rigidity to the blowgun itself to keep it straight.
  4. Once that’s done, simply hit the surface with a coat or two of camouflage paint, and she’s all done!

Now, let’s get your ammo ready for target practice. As for the blowgun itself … well … that baby is ready to rock.

Ammo Assembly & Options

This is where your ½-inch diameter wire connectors come in. For some reason, the right size for making your darts usually comes in yellow, but have no fear, because even if you end up wasting money on a pack with the wrong size, you’re still only going to be about $3 invested in your ammo (yet another reason why I love this blowgun).

Next you can either use…

  1. Straight part of coat hanger. Simply cut it into pieces, pre-drill a hole into the top each plastic wire connector, and fit the coat hanger wire piece into the pilot hole with some gorilla glue. Either sharpen the tip for added penetration or hammer the very top to create a “broadhead effect.”
  2. Wooden grilling skewers. No cutting necessary; however, you’ll still have to pre-drill a hole into the top of the wire connector and fit in the skewer with glue. These will also work extremely well, and are quite heavy in comparison to manufactured blowgun darts.
  3. Wire connector without a tip, offering a “stun” option on smaller critters. These are great for target practice, because there’s no prep work, and they’ll send an empty Pepsi can into orbit … along with your sense of self-satisfaction from becoming a blowgun ninja deadeye.

One way to keep track of your ammo is to use that black ½-inch-thick pipe insulation tubing by cutting it into a 4-inch piece. Then, simply fit that piece onto the PVC pipe and glue it down to hold it in place. This ammo-holder works especially well for keeping your coat hanger-wire darts at the ready for lightning fast deployment.

Considerations

Just because every state and community is different, I wouldn’t actually hunt with this DIY blowgun (or really any blowgun for that matter) until you’ve checked your state laws. You might run into some issues with the local game warden if you’re caught, holding a dead rabbit with a dart sticking out of it. So be sure to do your homework on this one.

Well, other than that, feel free to sharpen your instinctive shooting skills via target practice, but don’t be surprised if you get oddly addicted. I know this addiction from experience: The struggle is real.

What advice would you add on making a DIY blowgun? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.