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Burnweed as Food


American Burnweed is an underrated and unappreciated wild edible. Although Burnweed has no history as a food source here in America, everywhere else in the world that it grows it is eaten. It’s a common food in all of Asia and most of Europe. It is a strong flavored plant, but the flavor is good in my opinion. It is somewhat comparable to mint and tarragon

The younger leaves are milder than the older ones and can be eaten raw. The leaves, young and old, can be cooked as a green and are really tasty. My method for cooking them is really simple. Heat some butter in a frying pan. Throw in a handful of leaves and fry for a few minutes. When all the leaves are wilted and covered in butter they are ready to eat.

The stems of the plant are traditionally pickled and are delicious. Making them is simple as well. Cut young stems into 6 inch sections and stick in a jar. Pour in pickling spices and cover the whole mess with apple cider vinegar and a little bit of water. Let that sit for a couple weeks and you have a real treat.

Burnweed as Medicine


Although this plant was not used as a food in native America, it was used as a medicine. One of the common names of this plant is Pilewort. That’s because it was used to get rid of piles, which, nowadays we call hemorrhoids. Oil was extracted from this plant and applied directly to affected area. Apparently it was very soothing.

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Algonquin peoples made a strong decoction from this plant to treat Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac. I haven’t tried this myself but I will in the future. A number of early North American sources indicate medicinal uses of the plant in treatment for hemorrhage, wounds, skin diseases, dysentery, and cholera, but note that it may cause nausea. In fact the oil was used to purposefully cause nausea as it’s listed as a purgative and emetic.

Have you used this plant as a food or medicine? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Also i would be glad to answer any questions. If you would like to learn more about this and other great plant foods and medicines, come spend a day training with us at our Plant Identification course. If you REALLY want to learn more spend a few days with us at our Wildcrafter course.

Here at Sigma 3 Survival we are about to launch a video series on home apothecaries. To start it off, we are sharing with you a brief description of our top 5 medicinal plants and what they are used for. Then, later in the series, we will go into much greater detail about these and other medicinal plants. Also we will talk about how to make specific medicines for many different illnesses. When choosing the top 5 medicinal plants for this list i of course chose the plants that were most effective for some of the most common general ailments. These plants were also chosen because of their availability. These plants can be found across the continental United States and most of the known world, so let’s jump right in with our top 5 medicinal plants in no specific order.

Willow (Salix sp.)

Willow is an analgesic. What this means in layman’s terms is pain reliever. Willows active ingredient is salicylic acid which is synthesized into acetylsalicylic acid better known as aspirin.  Salicylic acid peaks in the human body about two hours after ingestion but relief from pain can sometimes be noticeable in as fast as ten minutes. Willow is also effective at reducing inflammation and fevers but I mainly use if for headaches and joint pain.

 

Slippery Elm  (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery elm is a medicine for the digestive tract. It contains a mucilage in the inner bark that, when consumed, coats and lubricates the entire tract from mouth to spout. It also activates our own mucus glands to help out. Its helps relieve sore throats, upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, even heartburn.

A small piece of bark chewed is usually enough to provide instant relief, but the bark can be powdered and put into tablets for persistent problems like ulcers. A tea of Slippery Elm is also useful internally and externally. Externally it is an emollient which in layman’s terms simply means skin softener.

Yarrow  (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is an amazing medicine. Like its close cousin chamomile it is a great anti-anxiety medicine. It’s also analgesic and anti-inflammatory. These two properties along with its blood thinning properties make this a great tonic for women who suffer from mentation issues. This plant is sometimes called natures Midol. However that’s not why it made the top 5 medicinal plants list. It made this list because of its amazing ability to stop external bleeding. A small amount of powdered, or even fresh, Yarrow applied to a wound, will almost always stop the blood flow immediately. It was often carried into war, throughout human history, for this very reason. Not only does it stop bleeding but it also disinfects wounds and promotes healing.

 

Mullein  (Verbascum thapsus)

Mullein has a long history as an additive in native smoking mixtures. It was used to fluff up plant materials that would lay flat in a pipe and not burn well. Believe it or not it also is medicinal to the lungs and that’s why it’s on the list. Mullein is for lung health. Now I’m not recommending that people smoke mullein or any other plant medicines on a regular basis. All smoke contains tar and that is not good for the lungs. However mullein is an expectorant, which means it causes the lungs to expel phlegm. This helps clean the tar and mucus out of the lungs. The plant does not need to be smoked for this effect and in fact smoking destroys a large percentage of the medicine in the plant. The only time I would recommend smoking mullein is if you are suffering from an asthma attack. Mullein is a bronchial dilator, which means it opens constricting airways. If you are unable to breathe you probably don’t have time to wait for the medicinal action of this plant to pass through your digestive system. However, if you are suffering from a cold or a dry cough, a simple tea made from mullein leaves will help your cough become effective, removing the offending phlegm from your body.

 

Plantain  (Plantago major)

Plantain made the top 5 medicinal plants list because of its amazing ability to heal the skin. We use this plant constantly at Sigma 3 Survival School and I’m still constantly amazed at how quickly it heals minor wounds and rashes. It’s almost miraculous. I’ve seen Poison Ivy rashes healed seemingly overnight. I use this medicine on my children whenever they get scrapes or burns. Not only does Plantain cause incredible skin regeneration, but it also disinfects wounds. In combination with Yarrow it is the perfect medicine for most minor cuts, rashes and burns.

Plantain can also be taken internally for many of the same uses list for slippery elm. It is mucilaginous so it coats the digestive tract almost as well as slippery elm. It also is a great food source that’s rich in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K.

These top 5 medicinal plants cover most common ailments generally encountertedand soon we will detail for you exactly how to use these and other great medicinal plants. Follow us for our upcoming apothecary series and you will be able to help the general health of your family and friends as well as yourself. Thanks for joining us and we will talk again soon.

In Western Cultures we have created a stigma about eating insects; however over 80% of the world eats bugs as a part of their daily diet.  They in fact are super foods.  We have labeled them as disgusting, yuck, and gross, but in reality they can be quite delicious.  They are packed with nutrients, and when it comes to protein, many insects have more grams of protein than beef.

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Most people see insects as pest or even dangerous.  It is true that numerous bugs have parasites, bacteria, and in some cases they can carry disease, but if cooked properly there is almost 0% chance of those dangers transferring to humans. In this post I want to share some things to consider when eating bugs.

Bugs to Avoid: 

Bright Colored Bugs – “Red and Yellow kill a Fellow, Green and Brown eat em’ down.”
Known Venomous Insects
Insects that carry disease: Ticks, Mosquitoes, Leaches, etc.
Fuzzy/Hairy Bugs
Centipedes and Millipedes
Bugs that look sickly or ill. (Example: parasite coming out of side)
Abnormal bugs. When in doubt, don’t eat it.

Common Edible Bugs:

  • Flies / Butterflies / Moths

The main concern with flies is they tend to feed off of dead carcasses and can carry hundreds of pathogens. It is best to look for their larva, and thoroughly cook those once you have washed them.  Butterflies and Moths on the other hand are much cleaner and make a great roasted snack.  Butterfly and Moth larva are a delicacy in many countries.

  • Worms / Grubs

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Many worms and grubs can be eaten raw, but I rarely ever recommend you eat a bug raw.  I prefer to squeeze out any waste in their system, and then roast on a stick, fry, or even boil them.  Earthworms and mealworms have a real earthy dirt flavor, where as big grubs can actually have a delicious nutty flavor.  Don’t hesitate to eat these creepy crawlies.

  • Ants / Termites

Your average ants and termites are the one bug that I am not concerned about eating raw; however bullet ants, fire ants, and other stinging ants should be roasted or fried.  This keeps them from stinging you in your mouth or throat.  In rare cases anaphylaxis can cause swelling in the throat if stung, causing breathing issues.  For the most part I regularly let them climb on a stick, and then eat them off.  You can lick your finger which will cause them to stick to it, and eat them that way.  These little insencts are packed with tons of nutrients.

  • Grass Hoppers / Crickets

When I was a kid I loved catching grasshoppers.  Not so much fun when you haven’t eaten in a couple days, and are trying to get your hands on one.  The best way to procure jumping or flying insects is to create a swatter.  Usually I just get a stick with some branches on the end.  You have to find a good balance, because if there are too many branches it will slow down your swatter.

Once you catch them, the best thing to do is remove the head and pull out the entrails.  From there remove the any sharp wings or lower legs that might stab you or get stuck in your throat.  My favorite way to cook these delicious hoppers is to skewer them on a long thin stick (spice bush works great), and then roast over a camp fire.  This is a fun insect to get your kids started with.

  • Beetles / Water Bugs / Cockroaches

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I think out of all the bugs I have ever eaten, beetles and cockroaches have always been the hardest for me.  They taste pretty good, but they have strong skeletal structure making them crunchy, and just the thought of eating a roach is a little mind blowing.  They are one of the few creatures to survive and thrive after being exposed to nuclear matter.  Never the less cook thoroughly, and you are good to go.  Another fun fact: Cockroaches are the fastest insect on foot.  Because of this it is better to try and trap instead of catch.

Fun Bug Collection Items to Use with Your Kids:

Bug Net with 14″ Ring

Grasshopper / Cricket Cage, 6-Inch

Exploration Critter Case

Insects: An Edible Field Guide

Dark Chocolate Covered Crickets

There are numerous other edible bugs, over 1500 recorded species to be more exact, which include spiders, scorpions, slugs, bees, wasp, and dragonflies.  I personally choose to only eat bugs that aren’t as likely to cause me harm.  Remember to use safe food handling practices and wash your hands regularly while handling these injects.

*Caution: Never Eat any insects that you are not able to properly identify as edible.  Also, if you have any food allergies, do not any insect.

Show your support, share, and shop the provided links.  Looking for more interesting edible bugs read the article from Primal Survival – Guide to Eating Bugs.   If you are really interested in learning more, research entomophagy or entomology.

Thanks for Reading!

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Justin “Sage” Williams
Director / Lead Instructor
Sigma 3 Survival School

Manage Calories
Survival is a calories game. Your body converts food into fuel, which provides you with energy, but if you burn more calories trying to obtain food, you are not properly managing your calories. For every calorie you burn you need to find ways to replace it. Conserve your energy.

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The average active person will use approximately 3,000-5,000 calories per day.
Always ensure that the energy gained from the food is more than the energy you expended in procuring it, otherwise it’s a wasteful exercise.

In a short-term survival situation, food should NOT be your major priority.
In a long-term survival situation, your survival priorities will change and the need for food will become more important.

Food Sources
Plants – They are easy to collect, and require little energy to obtain. Make sure that you are absolutely positive that they are edible. Learn 5-10 common wild edible plants in your area.

5 Common Wild Edible Plants Every Person Should Know

  1. Dandelion
  2. Clover
  3. Plantain
  4. Violets
  5. Wood Sorrel

All of these plants are easy to identify, and are easy on the stomach and taste buds. NEVER eat a wild plant, unless you know what it is.

Fish and Crawfish – Requires little effort once the lines and traps have been set. Fish are high in protein, and can be cooked dozens of ways.  I simple soda bottle can be transformed into Minnow Trap, and there are several natural resources to build a Funnel Fish Trap.  Check out our Fish Trap Video Here.  Yoyo fish traps are also an excellent survival gear item to carry with you.  We have several Yoyo videos as well.

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Insects / Reptiles / Amphibians – Be careful that you don’t waste too much energy trying to catch them. Remember:

“Red, Orange, and Yellow KILL a fellow; Black, Green, or Brown EAT’em down”

5 Common Edible Insects

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    Ants
  2. Earthworms / Mealworms
  3. Grasshoppers / Crickets
  4. Grubs
  5. Termites

ALL insects should be cooked before consumption.  Remove the head and entrails, and skewer on a stick.  If not certain, if bug or animal is safe to eat, you can always use it as bait.

Birds / Mammals – They are wary of humans, and can be difficult to catch. Even if caught, the animal will need to be killed and processed.
A simple throwing stick is an easy way to procure some quality protein.  Large game even as big as deer, have been taken with such methods.
To become effective with the throwing stick remove any branches or obstructions that might impact flight. Take a wide stance, and throw side arm.

Most wild foods must be cooked. Roast over an open fire, or make a stew if container is available. I highly encourage you to make food procurement a priority in your survival skills tool belt.

Recommended Food Procurement Gear:

Chief AJ’s Slingbow

Emmrod Fishing Gear

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow 35lb

Nomad Survival Bow

Check out these amazing videos on Food Procurement / Managing Energy / Caloric Intake and Expenditure.

If you live in the Eastern United States, you may have a wonderful survival recourse growing near you. We’re referring to the amazing Pawpaw tree. The Pawpaw grows in wet woodlands all over the eastern part of this country. If you have ever eaten a Pawpaw then you know the pleasure of, in our opinion, the best tasting fruit in the country. It’s definitely the largest fruit native to North America and was harvested by natives here long before Columbus “discovered” this inhabited land. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Lewis and Clark were all admirers of the delicate banana mango like fruit. As delicious as the fruit is, it has benefits other than just flavor. Pawpaw fruits have more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and calories than apples, peaches and grapes. They are also higher in proteins and healthy fat. Only the banana has more healthy carbohydrates than the pawpaw.  The fruit is ripe most often in mid to late September.  As great as the food value is for pawpaw fruit, eating is not all the tree is good for.

The bark of the pawpaw tree is very fibrous. It was used by Native Americans and early settlers for making rope and cordage and is still very useful for that purpose. The bark strips easily and separates into long strong fibers. The fibers extend the whole length without interruption so fiber lengths of 20 ft or more are very possible. The fibers can be used as they are or twisted into two ply cordage for extra strength. The bark fibers also make a great birds nest for the bow drill fire.

Not only is the bark great as a tool, new evidence is showing it may be a great medicine a well. Pawpaw is related to the South American tree called the Soursop which many nutritionist’s and herbal medicine practitioners claim kills cancer cells. Both these trees contain natural neurotoxic insecticides known as acetogenins. Acetogenins have been proven to reduce tumor size in both humans and many other test animals but is not approved by the FDA.

The bright yellow wood of pawpaw is another useful part of this great tree. The wood is light and porous. It resembles balsa wood or yucca in its workability. Its very easy to carve and makes beautiful finished products due to its bright color. We use it to make flutes. The grain is straight and it is fast growing.

Because it’s so light it makes a great choice for bow drill kits. Coals are formed very easily with it without much pressure being needed. In fact, if you do use much pressure the dust formed may end up fibrous and slow in its uptake of oxygen, so take it easy. Less is more in this case.

Pawpaw’s reproduce mainly by communal cloning. They can reproduce by seed but the seeds must never dry out. Because of this it’s tough to get commercial pawpaw trees but it is becoming more prevalent these days. I saw some pawpaw saplings for sale just the other day at Baker Creek Seed Company for less than 20$ per tree. Once one tree is growing the roots will spread out and more clones of the original tree will pop up until there is a whole community of pawpaw growing. So generally if you find one pawpaw you find a bunch. So go on out and find some and get familiar with this wonderful local resource and as always, from us here at Sigma 3, Thrive on.

Sign up for one of our Spring Plant Courses to learn more about the Pawpaw.

Also, checkout this short video from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the Pawpaw tree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIjFebMEjoE

 

How to Build Your Own DIY Survival Fishing Kit

When living off the land, something we have to seriously think about is where are we going to get our food if we are to be in the wilderness for an extended period of time (more than 72 hours). One possible answer is fish and should be your top food priority if you have sufficient resources in your area. Survival fishing is the answer in many areas for all your food needs, and our instructor Josh Hamlin survived on fish almost exclusively for over 2 years while surviving in the wilderness. Fish can be quite abundant in many streams, rivers and lakes out in the backcountry depending on your location. It is important to have the right skills and equipment with you to be able to take advantage of this valuable resource and the better your equipment is the higher your chances of success. You can always go with less and bushcraft what you need but a kit like this will make things way to easy. You’ll have more fish than you know what to do with if you employ the equipment with the proper tactics. In this article I’m going to be showing you how to put together you own survival fishing kit for INCH bags and long term self-reliance. I’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Container
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First of all, let’s begin with the container. When selecting a container, I always like to ensure that it meets the following criteria:

  • Fully Waterproof
  • Sturdy
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Small enough to fit into a cargo pants pocket

I would use a large, empty Altoids tin or the waterproof Adventurer Survival Kit box by Best Glide ASE to contain all you fishing bits and pieces. An alternative to a simple metal container would be a waterproof, plastic container with dividers inside for separating all your bits and pieces like this one here. And if I were you, I would wrap a couple of rubber bands or maybe a reasonable amount of paracord around the container for extra security.

Plastic Bags
Just because of who I am, I like to organise things into small zip lock style plastic bags. This makes sense as you don’t want your fishing gear all mixed up and you also want it to be easy to gain access to.

Fishing Line
Yes this fishing kit isn’t designed to be a minimalistic pocket sized kit but I like the idea of carrying a spool of a reasonable amount of commercial fishing line (60 – 100 m) just in case you’re unable to grab your hand reels or pack rods (which I’ll talk about later) for whatever reason or you might just lose one of your reels etc. Commercial fishing line is much stronger than standard fishing line and is great for survival purposes. In a sense, this kit has the ability to be self-contained in a pinch.

Assorted fishing hooks (24)
Always remember that small fish hooks can catch both small and large fish. The more hooks the better as they can get lost or swallowed by fish.

Swivels (12)
These are an essential component of your fishing rig and I suggest that you carry at least a dozen of these. They prevent line twist with spinning reels and will give you the ability to mix and match line sizes. Leaders are also a good option to add for larger fish with teeth and you will need both leaders/swivels for large teethed fish.

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Circle hooks (12)
Due to the clever design of these hooks, they are proven to catch more fish and are rarely swallowed. It is becoming increasingly popular with anglers today. I’ve caught fish all over the world with these and they can even be used in the ocean with great effectiveness.

Artificial Baits (6)
Essentially, lures are artificial bait and come in very handy as they are good at enticing fish into thinking that they will make a tasty snack. Usually lures come in the shape of a small fish and… remember that large fish like eating small fish. So… keep a good quantity of these on hand.

Plastic Floats/Bobbers (3)
These little floating devices are great to have on hand. You CAN do without them (I have) but it just makes your job of finding your line visually, a lot easier. I suggest that you carry at least three of these because they can get lost pretty easily (especially in cases when you’re forced to cut the line).
If you’re the sort of person that like to improvise, wine corks, earplugs and foam all make good improvised bobbers too, by the way.

Split-shot Sinkers (12)

Carry at least a dozen lead split – shot sinkers in a small zip lock bag. These can get lost quite easily too.

bld_srvvl_img3Small hand fishing reels (4)

From experience I know that these are actually quite effective in catching a wide range of small to medium sized fish. Its a good idea to pack at least four of these inside your main fishing kit pouch and ensure that they have a significant amount of line on them. It does take a lot of skill using fishing reels, but with a little patience and practice you can master the skill of using it. There is a good fishing reel made by Yo-Yo which is basically automatic and saves you from manually reeling in the line (SIGMA 3 recommends that you get this particular brand).

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON EMMRODS!

 

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Pack rods (1)
These are foldable rods that are robust and aren’t susceptible to breakage as easily (like most telescopic rods). I recommend that you get the Emmrod Pack Rod from SIGMA 3. Its virtually indestructible, half the price and packs down a lot smaller than comparable pack rods. SIGMA 3 has caught all sizes of fish with these rods, they are absolutely amazing. Rob Allen, the founder, actually caught a 150 lb tarpon on one of these setups. Enough can’t be said about how packable, lightweight, and durable these little fishing setups are. You will take some loss in casting distance with a shorter rod, but for survival fishing it is excellent.

Gill Net (1)
Something else I’d add to this kit is a small gill (similar to seine) net (like the Adventurer Survival Gill Net made by Best Glide ASE). These are very effective and can be useful for catching a variety of crabs, shrimps and small fish in greater quantities than several lines would. Basically you stretch this across a river, stream or other waterway and any fish that get caught inside will be trapped by their gills. Obviously crabs and other similar sized seafood will be trapped merely by their size and their inability to get through the netting. This gill net is light, doesn’t take up much space and can be folded up and placed in a small ziplock plastic pouch for easy, compact storage.

Yo Yo Fishing Traps

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These are super handy and you can set them up in no time. This is a must have for every kit and will insure you’re catching fish while working on other things. They are essentially automatic fishing reels that set the hook, wear the fish out, and will have him waiting for you right below where you hung it. These are not the best for large fish but work great for fish 5 lbs and under. SIGMA 3 instructors have literally provided all their meat needs with just this simple little tool and have caught more fish than they can eat. We always carry these in our kits for survival fishing and consider it a must have for any place with fish. It’s recommended that you carry at least 4 per person in your group. We have several videos on our youtube channel explaining how to use them.

Click HERE for more info on Yo Yo Traps

Basic Knots Card
Knots can be hard to remember especially if you don’t go fishing regularly. I suggest that you get a waterproof knots card like the one here to keep inside your kit. It all comes down to personal preference, but if there’s one knot that you should remember, I personally recommend the clinch knot.

Natural Bait
I think artificial bait is a waste of valuable storage space in your survival fishing kit. I would recommend that you learn where to find natural bait and learn what fish like what. Finding and knowing the appropriate bait for a wide variety of fish is an invaluable skill to have.
Look around and under rocks for small critters such as grasshoppers and worms etc. Remember that big fish feed on small fish, so you’ll want to consider this as your bait when fishing for larger fish. If you have a specific bug out location (BOL) planned, I highly recommend that you thoroughly scout out the area and determine what fish live there. Knowing the type of fish that you’ll be catching will help you decide the right bait for them and also the places where they are most abundant. I think it’s a good idea to pack a large freezer bag inside your fishing kit to store bait in whilst collecting.

A good multitool
A multitool such as a Leatherman Wave (heavier option) or a Leatherman Sidekick (lightweight option) can come in handy for removing hooks, cutting line, processing fish and a multitude of other tasks.

Last but not least… a survival knife
This survival knife can be used for gutting, preparing fish and many other uses to do with fishing. I won’t go into depth about selecting the right survival knife for your needs but you can check out our custom SIGMA 3 Survival knife, as it is our most recommended choice in bushcraft blades.

The SIGMORA! FULL TANG SCANDI GRIND Click Here

Ok, so there you have it! A compact, yet comprehensive survival fishing kit that allows you to be self-reliant when bugging out for any extended period of time. You can tailor the size of your fishing kit to where you are going and how long you’ll be gone. This is very modular and can be scaled up or down based on your survival fishing needs. I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.

Testing Emmrod Survival Fishing Rods in Jungles of Nicaragua!

 

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

 

 

 

 

The first rule of eating wild mushrooms is: DO NOT EAT THEM unless you are 100% sure of the mushroom you are eating. This is not always easy because some mushrooms that are choice edibles look incredibly similar to other mushrooms which will end your life. Sometimes a microscope is required to know the differences. We will not be dealing with any mushrooms in this category. I always hunt mushrooms that I know don’t have any dangerous look-alikes or ,if they do, I know positively how to tell the look-alikes from the real thing. Its these easy to identify mushrooms I’ll be talking about in this article.

Corals 

One of my absolute favorite common mushrooms is the coral mushroom. These have no look-alikes and they are incredibly delicious. There is a great deal of variety with coral mushrooms but the basic shape resembles an ocean coral, hence the name. They come in colors from white to red to purple and orange. If you find any mushroom that resembles coral you can be sure without a doubt that it is edible and probably delicious. I have had a couple corals that were a little bitter. They were purple with short branches and looked like a cauliflower in shape. This is rare however and most are incredible. Not only do they have a wonderful taste, they also have a great texture.

Blewits

Blewits are another common mushroom we have been finding in abundance and they are delicious. They are a purple gilled mushroom that are pretty easy to identify but there are other purple gilled mushrooms to watch out for so be sure to do your research. I like to eat blewits with pasta and of course butter. Unfortunately they don’t retain their blue color when cooked.

Chanterelles

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Chantarelle Mushroom

Chanterelles are a wonderful tasting common mushroom and I’m always so glad when I walk up on some. They are trumpet shaped mushrooms with great texture and flavor. There are  many varieties but I find yellow trumpets more than any other. I also find orange ones called Cinnabars, quite often. There are a couple lookalikes to the yellow and orange chanterelles. One is the Jack-O-Lantern, which is poisonous, and the other is the false chanterelle, which is edible. You can tell them apart pretty easily. Chanterelles have false gills. Jack-O-Lanterns have true gills. And, False Chanterelles have hollow stems.

Puffballs

Puffballs are perhaps the easiest common mushroom to identify. They are generally round and white and their solid flesh is white all the way through if they are not too ripe to be eaten. I consider puffballs to be the cheap generic mushroom. They have mild flavor if they have any flavor at all and their texture is unpleasant at best. They can be cooked in a way to make them taste pretty good if you bread them and deep fry them, but they need a lot of seasoning. They are bland without it, and slimy. Perhaps I’m too critical of them but I have tasted heaven and had to come back to earth and eat puffballs. Once you’ve tasted chanterelles, morels, corals, and oysters, coming back to puffballs is kind of a letdown. However, don’t let that discourage you from giving them a try. Everyone has different preferences.

There are a few things to watch out for when picking puffballs. Some young very poisonous mushrooms in their button phase look like puffballs. Cutting the puffball in half will ensure you don’t have one of these buttons. Also as puffballs ripen they become inedible. Again, cutting them in half will let you know. If they are white and solid they are good to eat. If they are dark or not solid you can discard them.

Final Thoughts

This is just a small list of a common mushrooms and it’s definitely NOT a guide to identification. Be sure to do your research before eating mushrooms. There is NO room for error. If you make a mistake you may not live to tell about it. Some mushrooms are incredibly poisonous and have no antidote. If you think you have eaten a bad mushroom go to the emergency room immediately and take a sample of the mushroom with you if possible.

A good way to learn about wild mushrooms is at your local nature centers. They have helped me a lot. Also invest in good books and study them. There may be some type of mycological society in your city. Also, Facebook has several good groups with people who are experts or at least they think they are. Never trust any one source. Always get second and third opinions. When your life is on the line it is YOUR responsibility to be 100% sure. You won’t be able to sue anybody when you’re dead.

The Perfect Wilderness Salve

Last year I made an all natural product for medicinal uses that surpasses my expectations all the time and I just had to share it with everyone! If you don’t know what salve is then you are in for a real medicinal treat. Salve can be used for an amazing amount of external ailments. I have personally used it on boils, bites, blemishes (pimples), deep cuts, infections, and rashes! Its made of a medicinal concoction that relieves all types of symptoms. This salve is the single best thing I have ever used for treating poison ivy. Its really amazing at how well it works. The yarrow numbs the skins and eliminates the itch and the anti-inflammatory plants dry the wound up! Try it for yourself!

 

Salve is made as follows:

Items Needed: olive oil (or rendered fat for primitive applications), bees wax, medicinal herb concoction of your choice, boiling pot, mason jar, cook top or fire

Favorite Personal Herb Blend: When you combine all these plant medicinal properties together this recipe creates one of the most potent external creams that one could have. Better than anything I have tried store bought.

Yarrow- coagulant, pain reliever, astringent, disinfectant, anti-bacterial (extremely powerful herb)

Willow- anti-inflammatory, contains same properties as active ingredient in aspirin, chewing bark relieves headaches

Plantain- great for all kinds of external wounds, anti-bacterial, and many wonderful properties that have been used as a medicinal for thousands of years

Garlic- known for its abilities to kill hundreds of different micro-organisms, anti-viral, bug repellent, etc.

 

Fill a pan with small amount of water about an inch or two deep. Bring it to a slow rolling boil on low heat. Next fill your mason jar with your custom herb concoction and then cover the herbs with olive oil. The more herbs the more potent its medicinal properties. Set the jar in the water and let them simmer for 20-30 minutes. Make sure to not let mixture get to hot or it will hurt the medicinal potency of the herbs. After the mixture has had plenty of time to simmer then remove the mason jar and pour the contents through a piece of cheese cloth to filter all the particles out. Keep filtering until cleared of leftover herb particles. When you have properly strained everything, then set the mason jar with the olive oil back in the water on low heat. Then begin adding your bees wax. Amounts vary depending on how much you plan to make, but just add enough to give the mixture the consistency of Neosporin after it has cooled. Set it out in a cool dry spot to setup and come back a few hours later and it is ready to go. This salve will last for years and is guaranteed to produce awesome results. Try this recipe out sometime and make comments about your results in the forum.

This is a  priority breakdown of how one should set out to start a survival situation with almost no gear and their knife!

 

First Day- Build a shelter the first morning and get the shelter to a comfortable level of warmth for your climate. It must be dry, warm, and provide a place to store things. Custom debris hut is usually first choice in most climates in our area. I will make sure that my shelter is located reasonably close to a water supply. While I am gathering shelter materials I should also use the opportunity to gather firewood for the fire at night as well. Next, I will begin making a fire with primitive bow drill or a hand drill with thumbhole strings to reduce energy consumption and make getting a coal easier. If I have suitable cordage then I will always go with bow drill first but if cordage is in very short supply then I do the hand drill. At the end of day one I will shift my focus to making several no carve pauite deadfalls and split stick figure four deadfalls. Set them out next to pack rat dens and near other high traffic areas for small game. Before I return to camp I should try to gather natural cordage material to bring back and when night time arrives I can make several feet of cordage around the light of the campfire. Note: Always make time to forage for edibles to and from different spots and make a throwing stick while out in case possible game opportunity presents itself!

 

Day Two- Begin the morning by re-stoking the fire and go check my nearby traps to see if the overnight traps caught me breakfast. Return to camp and begin either processing trapped game or begin improving your shelter while it is still cool. Shelter building is one of the more labor intensive parts of survival and should be done when the least amount of calories will be used. Then begin making more simple traps as well as a few more complex trap triggers for larger game. If there is fish nearby then immediately begin making fish traps because they are the easiest prey to catch. Bugs, worms, and anything smelly works for land and water traps. While you are out always be foraging for convenient wild edibles and collect any potential harvest the forest provides you with! The second day should almost be completely consumed by shelter improvement and food gathering. But don’t forget to stay hydrated!

 

Day Three- By day three you should have several dozen traps set out and producing food. This is your main focus until you have created enough food generation sources to provide you with enough fresh meat to eat on hand and enough extra to begin storing extra dryed meats, edibles, etc. Begin putting these things back for your next move. Every time you are out always make sure you are gathering materials when they become available. Don’t wait and come back later only to waste more calories. If you plan to leave your shelter and be on the move, then make sure you have stockpiled plenty of dried food goods for your journey plus a little more than you think you need just in case!

 

Day Four- When day four rolls around you should be more accommodated to your situation and should be at least providing yourself with a minimal amount of calories to survive without losing to much weight, if any! You should continue to improve on your situation adding new food generation sources and utilizing your areas resources to be prepared for whatever your endeavor may be. You should also have begun making things like drying racks and tools to use to make your work easier!

 

-In my experience, this generally turns out to be the general timeline of how long it takes to begin being truly self sustained in a known wilderness area. Everyday, is a snow ball effect of how your resources collect and you should take every free minute to improve upon your situation. At night time you should be making cordage and use any free time in a redundant manner to make the most efficient use of your time! When your basic needs are taken care of, then you move on to the higher primitive arts, such as tool construction. Stick with these timeline goals in mind and you will do good in almost any situation!

 

Summary: Day one make shelter near water,  make fire, and then make traps to gather food overnight while you are sleeping; Day two should be shelter improvement, foraging, and making as many traps as you can, especially fish traps; Day 3 Continue making traps, improving shelter, making cordage and start putting food back if you have any excess; Day 4 You should be self sustaining in most climates by this time and should be producing enough food so that you are not losing any weight. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated!

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