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(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

 

 

New Private or Small Group Packages! Since we have so many tactical courses on the board right now I wanted to make a special offer for those interested in wilderness survival! If you have an interest in wilderness survival training and the course you are interested in is not on the schedule then contact us to setup a custom class. You can pick any course from the wilderness survival course list including: the survival standard courses, shelter building, fire making, water procurement, food procurement (trapping fishing hunting), primitive cooking, knife only (more expensive), or any basic bushcraft course of your choosing. My recommendation for beginners is the standard courses. Contact Us for more details!

2 Day Custom Course: $295/person private lessons

4 Day Custom Course: $495/person private lessons

Notes: Groups will be given discount based upon size of the group, the larger the cheaper! These courses can be setup on almost any schedule as long as enough lead time is given for the founder to schedule. We will do the courses either at our primitive camp or some other location of your choosing elsewhere in the state. Extra charges for travel!

Bushcraft is an unusual word to so many people out there that I thought I would take the time to explain what bushcraft and the primitive arts is all about. In the beginning when you first start to begin your journey into survival training, everything will start with necessities. But as you grow it will change into an expression of yourself in your survival training. What do I mean by that? Once your skill level grows past a certain point you will begin to see a new light, just as fledgling seed sprout pokes its stem out of the soil. Your senses will open up to things you never even knew where there before. For instance, most people have no idea how much food is around them even in the most crowded cities! I cannot walk anywhere anymore without seeing food that can be harvested that other people would see as nothing. In fact, most of the weeds people kill in their yards are the most nutritious and useful plants on their property! Many wild edibles are so much more nutritious than what you can buy in the produce department at your local grocery store.

Once you understand the basics of survival then you will begin to put your own stamp on everything. From trap modifications of your own design to making primitive art. Primitive art is all about expressing yourself through the art of self reliance. Whether it be constructing your own primitive musical instruments or making a shelter like no other! There is so much to learn in this field that I guarantee that one person could not learn everything in 10 lifetimes. But it is the journey that forms our character. I go camping with people constantly and am always amazed at how little so many people know about the everyday happening in nature around them. Most people are so alien to their own planet! Modern man cannot even walk into the wilderness without a plethora of space age tools and hope to survive very long. It is almost as if we are astronauts having to carry life support equipment in our own environment! What would you do if your modern conveniences were stripped away from you and you were forced to live as 97% of the worlds past inhabitants lived on a daily basis. Most people will just roll over and die!

Bushcraft  is the ability to utilize resources around you to harvest whatever you need from the land. Just as a journeyman apprentice for a carpenter needs only basic tools to construct most any structure, a bushcrafter only needs a few tools to be comfortable in the bush! And a true master can construct his tools and all his survival needs from absolutely nothing! He uses his mind as the master tool to produce all his wants. Once you have achieved this higher level I can guarantee that it will give a sense of self confidence that cannot be reproduced by any other trade or martial art. Primitive survival will give you the confidence to know that no matter what happens that the sun will shine again for you!

Check out what one of our members made by mixing the modern and the primitive in order to create his own unique bushcraft piece! Its a fishing pole made from a yo yo trap and a piece of bamboo! Great Job Steve!

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