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A lot of people look at Armadillo as some kind of taboo food for consumption unless it’s under extreme survival circumstances. Well I’m here to tell you that not only is it safe but it also tastes great. If you like pork then you’ll like Armadillo as well! They are basically just armored pigs that live in the ground and they are super easy to catch. For fun a lot of people try to sneak up on them and pick them up, which is very easy to do. These animals have such poor eye sight that you can usually sneak up on them with relative ease if the wind is in your favor. I’ve literally snuck up and pet them without them even knowing I was there. While they do have terrible eye sight remember that their great noses is what will give you away the quickest.

What is the best way to catch them?
Since they are typically nocturnal animals, you will most likely see them roaming around in the woods at night time. In fact, most small game animals are nocturnal and that is simply the best time to catch them. Don’t forget that hunting at night for most things is illegal and these techniques should only be used for survival purposes.

Just like you would go gigging frogs or spotlighting a deer, you can use a flashlight to distract your game while you walk up to them and dispatch them with a big stick or other weapon. Simply shine the light in the eyes of Armadilllo then walk over and pick him up to dispatch them. Sound is of the utmost importance when stalking them so you must not make a sound when approaching them. The light will blind them from seeing you but it won’t stop them from hearing you so walk softly. You can also stalk up to them in the daytime as well but your chances of success are much lower.

These animals are hard to trap without a live game box trap of some type because they just aren’t as likely to walk into a trap. You can also quickly construct a quickie bow to shoot them with if you can’t get close enough. It is much easier to catch them or hunt them actively during the best times though. The best time to get them are always during night or during low light. When looking for places to hunt them you need to look for places that have an abundance of food for them. They primarily root up bugs and eat underground tubers so you will want to look in areas that have an abundance of good soil. They will roam almost anywhere but your highest likelihood of catching them is near their feeding areas. They also tend to shelter underground by digging elaborate tunnels where they hole up as a group. These holes they dig can also be snared or trapped to catch them coming and going.

How to Clean & Butcher Armadillo
The Armadillo is just like every other animal except that it has a shell around it that makes it very convenient for cooking. The animal should first be gutted and all the entrails removed and set aside for other survival uses. Once the animal is gutted and well cleaned then we are going to stoke the fire up and use the flames to singe all the hair off it’s body. Once the flames have burnt the hair off then you need to scrape off some coals to one side to create a cooking fire. Then set the armadillo in the coals with the shell facing down into the coals. This shell will help us cook it without losing any of it’s fat to fire. It is really essential is survival that you don’t allow fat to drip into your fire being wasted. So by keeping the shell on this will preserve all the calories in the meat. You need to slowly turn the animal so that it cooks evenly all over the shell and make sure that the stomach area meat is well cooked. This is not an animal you can afford to eat medium rare because just like pigs they have parasites and diseases we must be mindful of. Make sure you cook it well done and that all the meat is cooked evenly over the whole carcass. If one section of the meat is not done then don’t eat it and re-cook that area for safety. You can also slice the excess fat off the animal and render the fat for later use. This will provide you with lard that can be saved for other cooking projects later. This fat can also be used to burn as a bush candle if light is needed at your camp.

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Dangers of Eating Armadillo
A lot of people absolutely won’t eat an Armadillo because they have heard that you can get Leprecy from handling them. While some of the animals do carry the disease it is a very small percentage of the population and most people aren’t susceptible to the bacteria. The bacteria is easily killed by cooking it well done and as long as you don’t have any open cuts on your hand then you should be fine. You must remember that you should not clean animals with open cuts and if you do then you need to wear gloves. Don’t forget to clean up and sanitize your hands the best you can after you’re done cleaning the animal. Armadillo is no different than eating pork because swine can carry all kinds of nasty diseases/parasites as well so don’t be overly worried about this meat source. If you love eating bacon then you shouldn’t sherk away from some slab of Armored Pork! It is always best to eat the cleanest eating animal you can get but the best meat to eat is usually the hardest to get. So this is a good first start for meat procurement when in survival mode. You always start with small less desirable game and work your way up to better tasting animals in your survival priorities.

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What is leprosy? A bacterial disease, also known as Hansen’s disease, which causes lesions, growths and dryness on human skin. Your chances of getting leprosy are really, really low. Ninety-five percent of the population isn’t even susceptible to the disease, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. A 2008 study put to rest the belief that you can get leprosy from eating armadillo. Of some 2500 armadillos caught and tested in Florida, none had leprosy. And for many years researchers were hard pressed to find someone in the United States with leprosy who had actually been in physical contact with armadillos in the United States.

Nutrition Facts Breakdown
All in all, Armadillo meat is extremely high in fat and looks very much like a pig meat when you slaughter it. In fact, it is one of the highest calorie small game animals that you can catch. A pound of meat will bring between 700-1200 total calories depending on the fat content and time of year the animal is harvested. So if you catch a 10-15 lb Armadillo then you can be assured to get a minimum of 5,000 calories from it.

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Range & Species of Armadillos
The range of these animals is wide spread all over the south of United States, ranging all the way down to South America. Considering how spread out they are over North America to South America, this is a very good pick for survival hunting. There are numerous species of Armadillo ranging in all sizes from super small to extremely large. The giant species can grow in excess of 60 inches long and over a 100lbs in weight. What a meal that would be! While the smaller species can be a little as 6 inches and only a few pounds.

Common South American Dish

Conclusion:

While Armadillo doesn’t seem to be the most appetizing of survival foods, it is in fact very tasty and extremely high in calories. Combine that with the fact that they are very stupid and easy to catch makes them the perfect food choice for the primitive survivalist. On top of that they aren’t regulated by most state laws and have no seasons or regulations for taking them. What is there to lose with some proper precautions? We totally recommend that you get out there and try this food and see if it is a potential calorie source for your survival needs!

 

 

If you have any questions about this subject please post them in our Facebook Group “The SIGMA 3 Survival University”.

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By Robert Allen

President

SIGMA 3 Survival School

 

 

 

 

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Elm Bark Quiver

Willow Basket Quiver

You’ve made yourself a workable bow. You fashioned some fine primitive arrows. You camouflaged yourself and you’re ready to go hunt some meat. You carefully stalk up on a deer. You knock an arrow and prepare to aim, but wait. You have a handful of arrows. What are you going to do with them? You can’t hold them while you shoot and if you drop them you will spook the game. You just discovered an age old problem experienced by ancient and modern hunters alike. Something to carry arrows in is essential to good hunting. A primitive arrow quiver is a must have if you going to be primitive bow hunting.

To solve this problem you are going to need primitive bow quiver. There are many different varieties of primitive bow quivers, the world over, but the quiver we are going to make today is a basket quiver. I prefer to use willow for this type of quiver, at least for the spokes, but you can use nearly any type of flexible twigs or vines. The reason I prefer willow is because you can bend it sharply without it breaking and it looks nice. Now you can make primitive arrow quivers out of a lot of primitive materials such as elm bark, birch bark, leather, vines, flexible twigs, or even roots. Almost anything flexible will work. Check out the Elm Quiver to the right!

The steps to making a primitive bow quiver are pretty simple. First you have to gather and process material. Now you choose your five thickest willows for your spokes. You make a cross alternating your willows from the thick to thin. Three spokes, north to south and two spokes east to west. You wrap the cross with your thinnest willows, over the north and south and under the east and west spokes several times, to hold it in shape. You remove one of the spokes to make an odd number of spokes. Then you wrap the spokes, over and under alternately, until you have a round base. Then you fold your spokes up and keep weaving until the basket is the height you want. You tuck your spokes in and make a rim. And finally you attach a carrying strap. Of course this is an overly simplified explanation but you can find the details in our attached video.

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Now when you take aim at your game and reach for your arrow it will be waiting patiently next to all of its brothers in its handy carrying case that you made with your own hands. And you will look amazing wearing it. Please share your successes and failures with us and feel free to ask us any questions.

Watch the video for exact details on how to build this nifty little bow quiver!

Good Luck and Good Hunting from us here at Sigma 3 Survival School
Joshua G. Hamlin

The best bushcraft knife for under $75 is by far and away the Mora Bushcraft knife. There are a lot of good blades on the market for the money and I have tried most of them. But I still keep coming back to this one knife. In fact, even though I have several high end custom survival knives, I still find myself carrying a Mora Bushcraft knife at many of our survival courses. It is always in my go bag as a backup knife to my main survival knife set as well. It’s just a handy setup to have around. Figuring out the best bushcraft knife can be a difficult task for the beginner and we are taking all the homework out of it for you. Trust us, we have beat the hell out of this knife in dozens of survival courses and we have yet to see one fail! They aren’t the toughest knife on the market, but they are the best wood cutter and best bushcraft knife for general uses.

For less than $75, you get the best bushcraft knife from Mora, a good firestarter, and a sharpening stone built right onto the blade. It’s an all in one survival kit on your side, because if you have a knife you can build anything else that you need with it in the wilderness. Survival and bushcraft is about improvising tools from the local landscape around you and the most important tool to do that is a good blade. Now many companies have tried to reinvent the wheel with all these fancy survival knives that have come out in recent years. But the simple truth about survival knives is that you don’t have to have a super steel, but you do need to have super good design. And the Bushcrafter fits the bill in all respects! The Mora is so good because of its comfortable handle design and a very well designed blade.

The Scandinavian style grind on the Mora is designed to fly through wood. It is a flat grind that is somewhat similar in its cutting efficiency to a chisel. It was simply designed to cut through wood easily and efficiently. This makes bushcrafting chores a breeze and time is money in the bush. Your knife should do the task quickly and should cut through the wood easily. That is the single most important thing a knife has to do when you have several bushcraft chores.

The best bushcraft knife is also a high carbon steel which is good for making fire with a flint and charred tinder. You always go with high carbon steel for survival and not stainless. Never get a stainless steel blade unless you plan to be in or around the water all the time. The high carbon blades just have to many advantages to not use them over the stainless versions. The knife also comes with a fixed belt loop and a swinging dangler belt loop for either type of carry. The belt loops detach quickly and a very secure in their construction. It comes with a great sheath, but there are also a lot of options to upgrade your sheath through custom kydex making companies such as Grizzly Kydex

The diamond sharpening steel does a great job on quickly putting an edge on the high carbon steel. And since it is conveniently located on the sheath, you will always be sure to have a sharpener when the task is needed. A dull blade is a dangerous blade, so always keep your tools sharp. And don’t forget knife safety when doing bushcrafting. The blade should never be cut towards any body part. Never carve on your legs or over the tops of your palms. You never know what could happen. I always say the best knife safety learning always comes from cutting yourself really bad one time, and you will never do it again. Don’t learn the hard way, practice safe methods. So be safe and get yourself a Mora knife for our survival classes today! As they are definitely the Best Bushcraft Blade for our courses. SEMPER PARATUS!

Here is an independent review on the Mora Bushcraft knife:

TheTruthAboutKnives.com

If your interested in purchasing one of these blades then make sure to check them out at our Survival Store

Buy Your Mora Bushcrafter Now!

 

 

A Survival Crossbow
By Joshua G. Hamlin

We, at Sigma 3, recently posted a video on how to make a survival crossbow. I would love to take credit for inventing this crossbow, but I cannot. I looked at some early crossbows for ideas, and converted them into one I could make primitively. For one, I tie the bow to the stalk instead of nailing it. To do this, a hole must be cut through the sides of the stalk so that the cordage doesn’t pass over the area where the arrow rests. I also add a trigger cap which guides the string and holds the arrow (or bolt) in place. The trigger system itself is very simple. It’s a “T” shaped piece of wood that leans forward when you pull back on the trigger, releasing the string, and firing the arrow.

Now let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of this type of crossbow. One of the things that is so great about this crossbow is that you can sight down the arrow to aim. You still have to figure in gravity and wind resistance, but with a little practice you should be hitting your target every time. Another advantage is that your bow is ready to fire, instantly. You don’t have to draw back if you see game; you can just point and shoot. But the biggest advantage is that the crossbow can be set, with a tripwire or bait. Of course this type of trap is very dangerous and very illegal. The trigger does not discern between animals and humans and will gladly take down either one. For this reason, this type of trap should only be used in an emergency and should be clearly marked so that people can see it.

There are some other problems with this type of survival crossbow as well. First, the trigger is very sensitive and can go off accidentally, causing serious injury or death. Even a slight bump can set it off. Be careful to never point this towards anybody or towards anything that may cause the arrow to ricochet. Another problem with this crossbow is that it’s awkward. It’s heavy and cumbersome. You can’t crawl through the bush without setting it off. Also, the arrow is only being held by the cap over the trigger so it will sometimes fall off if it’s leaned to the side. Finally, that string will get you. If your fingers or thumb are in the path of the string when the bow is fired it’s going to hurt. Be sure to hold the crossbow like shown in figure 2.

These survival crossbows are very useful and a lot of fun, so make one. Be sure to show us your results and feel free to ask for advice, anytime. Have fun and be safe

 

 

PICK THE NEXT SPECIALTY CLASS! Our POLLS determine what classes are offered next according to popular demand! It would be great for us to offer every survival class possible,  but time is limited for everyone and we need to focus on our students most critical needs. What is your top choice for the following classes being offered that you are interested in?

ANSWER the poll below to help define survival training needs & focus.

If you want to look at the companies websites to determine what you like best. Click here for more info! Click the pics to see company websites!

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Smoke Baths and All Natural Deodorant

The technique I use more than any other to keep from stinking is the woods has got to be taking a smoke bath. It is surprisingly effective and has long lasting effects. All you need do is to consistently expose your skin and clothes to smoke and it will not only keep you from stinking but you will smell like a well smoked roast! Yum. And this also helps to keep the bugs off

But how does a smoke bath work you ask? Well it works because smoke kills bacteria and bacteria is what causes body odor. So we kill the bacteria and we kill the smell. All the methods that we discuss below won’t be as full proof as taking a nice hot shower and scrubbing down with dial soap but it’s much more natural. One of the problems with modern hygiene is that it takes the scorched earth approach to everything. Let’s kill everything on our skin and wash away all our natural oils, and for being in the woods this a bad thing. Our natural oils help keep us warm, they help us deal with bacteria, they moisturize our skin to protect from the sun and much more. So when we clean ourselves in the wilderness, we need to do it by killing the bacteria and still maintaining the natural oils in our skin that protect us from the elements. So all the techniques discussed in this article will seek to promote just that!

Another little trick you can use for keeping your hot spots from stinking is to wipe charcoal on your exposed skin. Charcoal is a natural odor absorber and this will help tame the smells produced by bacteria.  This isn’t a technique I use very often because smoke baths usually do the job by themselves, but it does work if you need to tame the body odor. Watch the video below to see a demonstration!

Making Natural Body Wash

One of the easiest and field expedient methods for getting clean in the woods is to make a tannic acid body wash. All you need is some bark from a tree that contains tannins in it. Some of the trees that have tannic acid include: oaks, birch, hickory, aspen, poplar, and many more species. All you need to do is take the outer and inner bark off and lightly boil it in a pan until the water turns dark. The heat causes the tannins to leach out into the water and will make a great astringent cleaning solution for washing your body. If you dip a cloth in the solution and wipe your body down it will have the same effects as a good baby wipe. But much more natural! And the smell won’t scare off the animals like man made products. Not only does it make a fantastic body wash but it makes a great mouth wash also! Watch the video below to see how we make this great stuff.

Improvised Tooth Brush and Mouth Wash

Keeping your teeth clean in the woods can be difficult and you can get some funky breath built up real quick! So what do we do when we need a toothbrush and don’t have one? Well the first thing we are going to do is find a tree that has somewhat fibrous bark and also contains tannic acid in it. My favorite two natural toothbrushes are twigs from the dogwood and sassafras tree. The reason these two trees work best is because they have some good properties for cleaning such as the tannic acid I keep referring too. But these two trees are best for the toothbrush because when chewed they become very fibrous and work great to scrub your teeth. And as mentioned before the tannic acid solution is also one of the best mouthwashes you can get in the woods. Between the improvised toothbrush and a good mouthwash your dental hygiene issues will be well under control with these two techniques. Watch the video below to see how it’s done!

Improvised Methods for Hand Washing

Another one of my favorite methods for cleaning my hands in the bush is to simply find plants with saponins or anti-bacterial components and use them to clean my hands. Saponins are readily considered poisonous for internal ingestion and a lot of plants you find in your plant guides will say a plant is poisonous due to saponins. But really all saponins are is soap. So almost any plant that contains saponins can be used as an improvised soap, and these saponins are completely harmless on our skin. Yucca is just one of many thousands of plants that contain saponin and is by far my favorite plant for cleaning in the field. It contains high amounts of saponins and is also very fiberous which is good for scrubbing your hands with. Another plant I like to use that is very abundant is my favorite plant yarrow. This is one of my go to plants for quickly scrubbing my hands when in the field. Watch this video below and see how I make improvised cleansers from local plants.

 

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Diary of a Survivalist- Bugging Out

Let me first define what the Diary of a Survivalist series was intended to do. I’ve been hearing for years from preppers that it really isn’t possible to live off the land long term for survival in a SHTF situation. That has always been a preposterous idea and our goal was to prove just how wrong this idea is. Its not only possible to survive off the land but with some limited training and equipment you can make it easy and comfortable. Now it is difficult to survive completely primitive with no real modern tools, but if you are equipped with a proper bug out bag then life can be very easy. Here is a quick rundown of the minimum essential items that should be in every bag.

Shelter- I prefer to carry a lightweight tarp because of the diverse amount of uses they have. Tents will never match up to a good basha tarp, except for their ability to keep out bugs. But you can’t have a fire with a tent and a mosquito net for your head will negate all the advantages of a tent over a tarp. So get a good tarp.

Water- The one item everyone should have in their bag is a good water filter. My favorite filter is expensive but it will filter 13,000 gallons of water, which means it won’t ever go out on you. The best one on the market is Katadyn Pocket Filter and if you have the money should be something everyone buys. The next most import thing is to make sure you have a stainless steel bottle, because you can boil water in it as well as carry it. I also recommend a bladder of some type and the best one on the market is probably the dromedary bag. Iodine also comes in handy when you are feeling to lazy to filter or boil your water. But should be used in very limited quantities.

Fire-This can be a difficult task if you aren’t well trained in how to get tinder from the land. So I recommend everyone get

some training on primitive and modern fire craft. But a flint and steel and cotton balls will do the trick every time. I also love the fire piston and regard this as one of the best methods to make fire. The bic lighter should also never be forgotten because it is cheap and you can carry several of them.

Food-If you are going to carry food in you BOB, I like to carry some peanut butter and maybe some honey. This is an

Too Easy!

extremely high calorie and protein food that will give you much needed energy in a small container. It can also be used as bait for almost anything. But my main source of food is going to come from the land. That’s why I carry a trapping kit, fishing kit, and .22 rifle. With these items I can easily procure meat and you don’t need much training to be able to catch food with these items time and time again. Combine these things with wild plants knowledge and you will eat like a king. If you don’t have wild plants training then you better get some! It is the only food that won’t run away from you.

Tools- Your most important items are your tools because they enable you to live off the land easily and effectively. Anything can be done primitively but it takes substantially more time and effort. You absolutely must carry a couple of good knives. Either a large knife/small knife setup or a small knife/small axe setup. I also recommend carrying a lightweight pack saw such as the Bahco Laplander. These little saws make quick work of medium diameter limbs and small cutting chores. You have to carry cordage also. These are must have items if you want to thrive instead of survive.

Take a look at these videos and watch our progress to through this week long experiment and see what it takes to survive in the wild with a well designed bug out kit. We can teach you how to do this with only a few classes and you will be able to survive with minimal equipment for the long term in almost any environment. Please subscribe and comment.


Here is our Video Documentary of surviving off the land

(The video will lay out my complete bug out kit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOfUzNxr7fQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu0pc489L6I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47EkXCATOjo

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)

If you haven’t read part one or two then click below!

Alone in the Wilderness Part 1

Alone in the Wilderness Part 2

 

After this, I found a cure for the loneliness in the woods.  I came across a hiker.  I was excited, because he was a Native American, and so am I.  I walked up and greeted him, and he gave me a hesitant and perplexed “uh, hi”.  Looking back, I can see why he was so startled.  I had a big beard, because I hadn’t shaved in months, and to make matters worse, I was wearing a loin cloth.  His name was Rick, and he was a member of a Native American church.  Many Native American churches have brought old rituals into their practice of Christianity, and Rick performed sweat lodge ceremonies for Native American Christians.  I showed him my camp.  We bonded and became great friends, which was good, because he came to visit me, and he brought others.  Now, I had friends who valued my quest to find the old ways and who could embrace the spiritual aspect as well.

A group of soldiers came across me, too.  They played paintball to practice warfare.  They gave me a challenge to take a 5 minute head start.  They were to track me and shoot me.  I ran over the roughest terrain I could find and hid in a small cave certain that they wouldn’t find me.  I was wrong.  Within a few minutes I found myself being pelted with paintballs.  I don’t’ remember these guys names.  I just called them the “paintballers”.

One of the worst struggles in the wilderness is insects.  When you’re in the wilderness, don’t be afraid of the dark or of Bigfoot…be afraid of mosquitoes.  I tried every plant I knew to keep them off, and they worked…for a few minutes.  Then I would sweat, and here they would come again.  I got so desperate that I actually covered myself in a blanket during the heat of summer just to block the bugs.  I breathed through a small hole left for my mouth.  When I woke up, my lips were swollen like a clown’s.  Those things are relentless.  The only thing I ever did that was significantly effective was sleeping right on the river.  There was a wind on the river, and I think that kept their numbers down.  If you are planning on a time in the wilderness, just plan on enduring mobs of mosquitoes, because it’s a fact of life out there.

I had another encounter with the brutality of predation, and again, it had a profound impact on me.  At one time, there had been a homestead out there.  The structure was long gone and nature had reclaimed the land but evidence was still there….daffodils and yucca grew in a square  around my camp sight and a square hole of concrete went into the ground. The hole was about 2 feet wide 3 feet long and 4 feet deep. it was an eye sore and i wanted it gone so i decided to fill it up…i had thrown lots of sticks into the hole which rested in there like a ramp and i used the whole as a trash can for my fish bones. One evening in the fall around dusk i heard a loud cracking sound and i ran out of my shelter to see that an old coon had tried to climb down into that hole after the fishbones and the sticks had broken and he was trapped. MEAT!  I grabbed my rabbit stick and went after him. I like coons, and i didn’t want to kill him, but he was so fat and I knew I would regret it if i didn’t so i killed him.  He was a fierce warrior and tried hard to jump out and get me but he was just too fat. He didn’t try to jump out of the hole away from me.  He tried to get out of the hole on my side. He didn’t run he fought. I didn’t want to hurt him so when i hit him I did it lightly and said sorry after each blow. but because I wasn’t using enough force I only prolonged his suffering.  I had to hit him probably 60 times before he finally surrendered his spirit. His body shook with convulsions as he died, and I again felt like a murderer.  I pulled him out of the whole and his eyes were open and it felt like he was staring at me hatefully, so i cut off his head and took it away from camp and buried it.  I felt the predator well up inside me, and I howled like a wolf and cried my eyes out as I cleaned the animal.  After my trauma subsided I began to be really interest in the insides of the animal. Did you know that a raccoons penis is a hook shaped bone?  Well i didn’t before then, but I saved it and made a necklace out of it. I also saved his skin, and the amount of fat on his skin was astounding.  There was tons of  fat on the inside of his skin.  I saved the fat and made a lamp from it. The meat i roasted on the fire and ate all in one sitting. it was extremely tough but delicious.

Winter was a dull time.  The leaves had fallen, and most of the birds had left.  The animals that were still awake were less active.  It wasn’t fun.  It was cold.  I had very little clothing because I had gotten robbed.  I didn’t do much of anything but lay in bed in my shelter and feed sticks to the fire.  It never got so cold that the pond froze so my fish trap was still working, but it was slower in the winter and caught fewer fish.  The insects were all dead and i didn’t have much to eat.  I knew where some Solomon’s Seal was when it was alive, so I still gathered the roots of it long after it was gone.  I still had a small but constant supply of fish so between the fish and the Solomon’s Seal roots, I never starved but i did starve for variety.  I didn’t really need that much energy though because I only left my shelter to go get fish, roots and firewood. We had a one big snow while I was out there, and I got snowed into my shelter for about a week (I had no shoes), but it melted off and the winter slowly faded into spring again.  The cycle began again.  Spring beauties reminded me that my year was over.  I packed my stuff and the next time Rick came to visit i left the mountain with him.

I left my mountain and went back into the hustle and bustle totally to meet the hectic pace of it all.  The sounds of the city, the chaos, the buzzes and humming sounds everywhere. The traffic and the crime, the dirty looks from strangers, rape and murder on the news, miserable people drudging on in miserable jobs. There was also happiness and smiles from strangers and contentment from some people, but they were few and far between.  I had fit in here before, or at least I had pretended to, but now it was different.  Now it was unbearable. After two weeks off the mountain I turned around and went home, back to my mountain.  I would still be there now if it weren’t for my mission: to teach as many people that will listen about the wonders of nature and ultimately the wonder of the CREATOR. I ultimately never came home fully from that journey because I ended up staying in the bush over two years. And I still frequently live in the woods for long periods of time in between odd jobs I do occasionally for walking around money. My life is to teach the methods of our ancestors and walk in the path of the old ones that came before us! And it will be my goal to make all the students that cross my path completely self reliant in any wilderness in the world!

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)

If you haven’t read part one then click below!

Alone in the Wilderness Part 1

 

It rained for days, and I had built no shelter.  I took refuge under an old bridge for a while, but the flood water rose, and I found no escape after that.  I sat by the pond again…just sitting in the rain….and waited it out.  I desperately needed a shelter, so I made a lean-to first.  It was not much, but it worked until I could get something better.  I was ready for an upgrade pretty quick, so I made my way up the hill a little to where it leveled out into a flat.  I built a wickiup in only a few hours.  Whenever the weather was nice, I slept by the pond, but when it rained I moved to my wickiup.  The shelter was leaky and far from perfect, but it was better than sleeping in pouring rain, so I counted it a success.  With shelter, food, fire, and water taken care of, I began to enjoy my life in the wild.  Things got easier, I had plenty of fish in my trap consistently, and I had a shelter.  I began to be able to relax and enjoy watching the animals.  There were a few beaver in the pond, and I enjoyed the comedic company of goofy armadillos running around my camping area as well.

My fish trap caught a turtle about that time, and I came to grips with another struggle: the brutality of predation and feeding myself on animal meat.  For some reason rodents and fish didn’t trigger my sympathy, but when I saw that a turtle had drowned in my trap, I actually tried to resuscitate it with CPR.  I was overcome with grief, and actually broke down crying.  Your psychology in survival can really cause you to feel for life much more passionately than in our modern society. You can feel free to laugh a bit, because it’s a bit funny to me now looking back, but you should know that it was a real struggle at that time.  I’m not a cruel person, and this was a healthy struggle to do what I needed to do in nature to feed myself.  I cooked and ate the turtle with all the reverence and respect due our animal brethren. I then altered my fish trap so that it would have air space above the water, so that the turtles would not die in it, but truth be told the turtle meat was so tasty that I cooked and ate every turtle that got in my trap after that.

Not all went smoothly.  Once, when I had been out scouting the landscape, I returned to find my books stolen, along with some baskets I had woven .  I was furious, and I looked for tracks, but I’m not the most talented tracker, and I never found who did it, which was probably a good thing for them.  I decided that I needed a weapon, so I made an axe out of the flint that I had brought with me, and I made a bow out of a small butternut Hickory tree.  Making the bow was laborious, but it brought me a lot of entertainment when I finally completed it.

Having made and an axe, I decided to build a better shelter.  I decided to make a wigwam, and that shelter requires a lot of cordage.  50 feet of cordage doesn’t go very far, so I had to wind some more.  I found myself winding cordage every single night, and there was never enough.  The wigwam frame only took a few days, but the thatching had to be grass, and the grass was a long way off and up a hill.  I was in no hurry, so I didn’t work on it too much, which is why the thatching took several months!

With a fish trap that was consistently productive, plenty of edible plants that I was familiar with, plenty of grasshoppers and crickets, and a shelter, my needs were met, and life was decent.  But in these situations solace turns into isolation which turns into loneliness.  In my case this somewhat challenged my identity and self-image.  I had always considered myself a loner, able to thrive without other people around.  I may have an independent streak, and I may march to the beat of a different drummer, but I found out quickly that I need others.  I was missing them, and I began to talk to the animals…then to the trees…then to the dirt and the sky.

This brings me to a life-changing spiritual experience I had in the wilderness, and my story would be incomplete without relating it.  Over thousands of years, thousands of spiritual seekers have taken to the wilderness for deep spiritual seeking, and I chose that path myself.  It shouldn’t be news to you that spending more time in nature will reveal just how connected everything in the eco-system is.  I began to really commune with the balance of nature and looked on in wonder as I lived in my place in that balance.  What could be more spiritual than that?  Like many people who think this way, I had turned to pagan practices, which placed a high value on nature and our communion with the wild.

Think of this: I hear bird alarm calls.  They would go out, and other birds would alarm in circles spreading through the forest.  I could stalk to the quiet spots and find the tracks of predators such as foxes or cats.  The concentric circles of alarms going through the forest, the relationship of predator to prey,  the uses I had for what nature freely handed me…I began to perceive purpose and intention behind the continuity I saw in nature.  It was so fierce, but so beautiful.  I understood it to be a work of art from the hand of a deliberate creator, not the impersonal energy source I had always thought it to be.  That personal creator showed up out there in the wilderness, and confronted all my preconceived notions of who it was.  There was a real challenge and struggle as I came to grips with the reality of God, the God of Abraham, the God I was brought up to believe was my bitterest enemy and the enemy of the wilderness and my people.  I finally just cried out to God, speaking right into the air: “God”, I said, “are you real?” I didn’t expect an audible answer, but I got one: “Yes.  I am the God of Abraham.”  I was filled with fear, and I literally trembled violently like many figures in the bible when they met God.  I asked one more question:  “Are you Jesus?”.  The answer came “Yes, I am Jesus whom you have been attacking.”  He showed me visions of all the people He had sent me in His name.  “I have been calling to you, but you would not listen.”  The conviction grew so strong that I ended up on the ground begging God for His forgiveness.  The voice stopped talking, but God lifted me up and hugged me.  The voice has never spoken again, but I immediately left the mountain and headed to a church where I procured a bible.  I went back to my mountain to study the bible, and I have been an avid student of the bible ever since.  The voice has not spoken to me since, but I have felt the reassuring hand of God on my shoulder during hard times.

 

Alone in the Wilderness Part 3

(This is the story of our Newest Primitive Survival Instructor Josh Hamlin, he has an immense amount of real life survival experience and will be teaching at our wilderness survival classes to pass on his knowledge to SIGMA 3 Survival students)   

 

Hello,

 

My name is Josh Hamlin.  I lived 2 years in the wilderness living off the land.  I was no stranger to the outdoors or to primitive skills by the time I set about the task, but you can only gain so much from practicing the individual skills within the safety net and comfort of civilization.  The time had come, and I had a need to place these skills in their context, physically and spiritually.  It will not surprise you that my deep reverence for nature had led me to practices of pagan spirituality.  I set out with the intention of sharpening my skills as a survivalist and strengthening my spiritual connection to the wild.  Both of these things happened, but not in the way I thought they would.  Then again, if I had known all that before-hand, I would not have needed to undertake the journey, would I?

I had someone drop me off near a place I used to go to get away as a child.  It was a hill near Tulsa, Oklahoma on the Arkansas river. It was a small area about 3 miles long and about a mile wide, but resources were plentiful, so the location was appropriate.  I had a few items with me.  I brought two dried gourds with me for water bottles.  I brought 50 ft. of hand-twisted cordage.  I brought some clothing and a blanket, since I would not be allowed to kill and skin large game.  Lastly, I brought parts I and II of John and Gerry McPherson’s Naked Into the Wilderness.

As the car drove away, all my romantic notions abandoned me, and the reality of the struggle that lay ahead set in.  This was it, and the task seemed insurmountable.  For all my training, I began to feel like a fool for even doing this.  Still, I had committed myself with my boasts, and I was determined not to return a failure.  You can dream all you want about living wild and free, and anyone can call themselves a “survivalist”, but if you’re going to really get at it, there is no way around it.  You will have to come face to face with the fear that I felt as I realized how very alone I was.

I immediately sat down near a small pond and did the most discouraging thing for anyone in this situation.  I sat in despair and waited to die.  Here was the unexpected twist: this was part of the process.  I sat there for 3 days straight having already given up on life.  On that third day, thirst paid me a visit, and the pond did not look so inviting.   There was a creek nearby, and I drank from it until the thirst was quenched.  It was then that I realized how hungry I was, so I set about planning to get food.  Understand this, though: I was still in despair and still welcomed death.  I did not do this with determination to survive, but rather I was lead by primal desire for food and water.  It was very basic and very immediate need that took over my mind and directed my actions.

My need for food led me to make a fish trap.  I had to cut down some saplings to make the trap, and I had no knife.  Cutting saplings with flint is no easy task, and it took me a long time.  In fact, it took me 2 days of work to get enough saplings to make the trap.  I used some of my cordage to lash the trap together, and I threw the trap into the pond.  I checked it the next day and found my trap empty.  Truly, nature did not owe me food.

Still hungry, I wove more cordage through the holes on the trap, the better to stop the fish from escaping, and threw the trap back into the pond.  I left my spot by the pond and returned to the creek, this time for crawdads to eat.  It wasn’t long before I caught several crawdads, but I needed to cook them.  There was an old Sycamore that had been overturned with the roots exposed.  Sycamore is a good wood for a bow drill fire and it had roots that were pointed upward which will help them dry, so I put it to use and made myself a fire.  I put the crawdads on the coals, cooked them, and had a tasty meal of one of my favorites.

I returned to the spot on the pond and checked my fish trap.  Several times I had wound more cordage into the trap to prevent the fish escaping, and my labors bore fruit.  Inside my trap was a blue-gill fish.  I ate it, re-baited the trap with its guts, wound some more cordage into some of the holes in the trap, and threw it back into the pond.  I turned a real corner in my situation with the fish trap.  It wasn’t long before my trap was reliably catching fish, and food was no longer a problem.  That was one need taken care of.  That’s when it began to rain.

Alone in the Wilderness Part 2

 

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