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
Being someone who has dabbled in survival TV and had a lot of experience in dealing with Hollywood producers, I feel more than enlightened to the ways of the Reality TV world. And since I’m not under
contract, like so many people on TV, I can actually tell you how it is behind the scenes. No confidentiality contracts here! So many people watch TV and see these so called survival shows and think they are learning realistic skills. When in reality almost everything on reality TV is faked and the people producers pick for the show are based on character content and not for their actual survival skills. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but not many! Producers couldn’t give two shits if you have real survival skills and experience. Their vetting process is ridiculous! For instance, a recent show that I was picked for had a recognized survival expert call me and ask me about 10 questions over the phone to determine if I could survive. None of those questions related to any technical skills, just really broad questions that wouldn’t really determine anything about what I could do at all. And then from those questions I would be touted as a top tier survival expert that you should listen too. Well, maybe they are right that I’m the best of the best, but they sure as hell don’t know that from proper vetting. They see me on camera and say “this guy will make good TV, lets pick him and pair him with his total opposite so that there is controversy.” That is how it works folks! Really, the only thing they care about is how you’re going to interact with other members and if are you going to do something crazy from time to time. Because if you do that, they are going to get the ratings no matter what your skills are. So that is why I tell people that there are only a few real deal guys on TV and they are few and far between. I am personal friends with a lot of the TV personalities that you have seen out there, and even many of them will admit openly that they don’t know a ton about survival. Just the broad strokes, their claim to fame is TV personality and not a survival expert.
Probably the most popular show among survival enthusiasts is Survivorman. While I consider Les Stroud to be one bad-ass mofo, I don’t think that even he would say he is a bushcraft expert. He has trouble with even the most basic of skills such as primitive bow drill fire. I have beginner students that are more proficient than he is at bow drill. But do you know what? Les Stroud has an amazing mental survival game and sometimes that is all you need. That guy can just about endure anything and many times that is all it takes, especially if you combine it with some very basic skills. But you won’t learn much in the way of bushcraft from his program, so I recommend that everyone take everything they learn on TV with a grain of salt. It might be good stuff, but it also might get you killed! So Caveat Emptor or buyer beware!
Man vs Wild
Man vs Wild is a great example of a show that is entertaining but will probably get you killed if you take it seriously. Just look at the name of the show and you will know that this isn’t about true survival. Hell, I’m not even sure that Bear would call it a survival training show if he wasn’t under confidentiality agreements. The show is about doing stunts related to survival skills to get awesome ratings and showcase Bear’s amazing physical skills that he demonstrates over and over. That is more the basis of the show; doing exciting stunts and not real world survival. That is why Discovery Channel is always looking for the next Bear Grylls, because his show lasted the longest and smashed the ratings. It is stunt based TV that gets viewers excited and keeps them entertained, while showing very little real world skills for survival. And its all done under the guise of being a documentary, when its really not. That’s a perfect blend in most Hollywood yuppy producer’s minds. Honestly, Bear is a bad-ass and one of the strongest guys on TV but even he will admit that he isn’t a bushcraft expert. He is a great TV personality with a skill for presenting things in a fashion that everyone wants to watch him. Remember the talent controls no aspects of how the show looks or really what is done. As a TV personality you are a subcontractor of your production company and are required to perform the tasks asked of you.
Naked and Afraid
I’d say the only real deal survival show out there right now is Naked and Afraid. It’s about the most hardcore show that has ever been on TV and there was no faking anything with the exception of some serious medical emergencies. You know you got a real survival show when the producer almost dies from a snake bite, another guy almost dies of dengue fever, one got extremely sick from food poisoning, and another almost most bites the bullet from infection. But even Naked and Afraid has its limitations on skill demonstration and many of the people on the show aren’t true experts. Or maybe they thought they were experts and found out differently under stressful survival conditions. Then again, some people on the show are amazing and you wouldn’t even know it because of editing. Many of the shows like this one actually down-play the success of the survivalists to make it look like they struggled a lot more than they did. Because suffering and problems is more interesting than winning and kicking ass in the bush. They pick and choose the winners based on how presentable they are on TV. You have to remember that every show has a story line and that the producers need to tell you a story filled with drama and then show a couple of skills on the side. That is the winning business model for survival TV. Drama, stunts, entertainment, and then education in that order of priority. Also, remember that even the best survivalist can get a bad edit. Many times when doing these shows I am asked what is my biggest fear. Every time I tell the producer my biggest fear for survival TV is getting a bad edit. I could literally go out there and live like a king and they can edit you to make you look like a total jackass! So when watching these shows you need to remember that some of the people that looked bad on the show actually did good, and some of the people that look fantastic actually sucked at the skills.
I have found a few exceptions to the rule about TV personalities, because I know some instructors on TV that are the best of the best. And guess what; I hired them! Laura Zerra and Eugene Runkis are the real deal and have the legitimate experience to tout their resume and what they have done. Not only on TV but their entire lives has been a journey of self reliance and testing yourself against the wild. That is the way real survivalists are forged! Laura completed 21 days naked in Panama under some of the worst conditions ever with the worst bug bites I have ever seen, and they didn’t even show the worst of it. Not only did she have amazing mental fortitude, she had the bushcraft skills to eat well while there on the island. They don’t show it, but the team actually ate really well and Laura only lost 12 lbs because she was eating crab/lobster, coconuts, and various other wild foods most of the time she was surviving! That is how you separate the winners from the losers on the show. I always tell my students what separates the men from the boys is the ability to eat well while in the bush and Laura lost the least weight of anyone of the show under some of the worst conditions. That is how you know she kicked ass!
Now, I’ve been on more than one survival TV try-out and I was the only real survival expert there on the final cut. You get all types, but rarely do you get the true sage bushmen on a TV show. Most beginners don’t know how to tell the difference because you will only see it in the minor details of the skills demonstration because editing really is a magical art. I’m just telling you this from the perspective of a full time survival instructor; take what you see and hear on TV with a grain of salt because most of it is faked. The number one rule to remember when watching these shows is that they are for entertainment only! The only way to get real survival training is to get some instruction and then get out in the woods and get some dirt time. Dirt time is the only thing that will lead to a truly well rounded survivalist that can live off the land indefinitely. And that is our ultimate goal as instructors, to pass on the old school tribal knowledge that will enable you to live like a king in the bush. So if you want to learn survival, don’t do it on TV. Get training, get dirt time, and get in the woods!
So let me start this blog off by telling you a little bit about my daughter Shyloh. She is the spunkiest, most independent, hard-headed, little redhead that you have ever met. But she is as sharp as a tack and she knows it. She is about to turn 4 and I feel like it is time to start her training into the world of wilderness self-reliance. By the time she is 10 I will have her smoking most of the survival instructors in the country. Guaranteed. This little girl loves animals and she loves the jungle. She calls the woods, The Jungle, compliments of Dora the explorer. She tells everyone that her daddy lives in the jungle and eats snakes, LOL!
Anyway, I am going to start making a video and blog journal of my training endeavors with her and hopefully this will make you want to get your children involved in the outdoors. The only reason we have the beautiful wild resources that we have today is because we have motivated people like yourself that are willing to instruct the kids to love the land as much as you do!
So where do we start in training a kid in how to survive? Well I think you have to start at the most very basic level. Our first line of defense against mother nature is our clothing and we have to have the right clothes for our kids in the woods.
A good pair or rubber boots, some camo cargo pants, t-shirt, and a light jacket is a great start. But don’t forget some wet weather gear like a poncho. Wouldn’t spend much on them, you know how these kids grow like weeds. Just get something that will last awhile. Once you get these items lined out for your little one, then you have to teach them how to wear it and why we wear the clothes we do. Teach them to tuck their pants into their boots, and their shirt into their pants and that will really help keep the bugs off them. But to really make sure they don’t get ate up by bugs, you should treat their outdoors clothes with Sawyer brand Permethrine from Wal-Mart. You can pick the treatment up for about $10 a bottle. Read our preventing bug bites article for more info.
Once we teach them about how to wear their clothing then we got to show our little ones what else we can do with our clothing to keep us safe from the elements. Let’s throw out a hypothetical and say the child is lost and cold front is coming in and they only have that lightweight jacket. Well anything we can use to create dead air space can provide us with warmth. So all we do is find some kind of debris like dry leaves or any kind of debris that will keep us warm. You stuff your clothes up with the debris and I promise it will keep you warm even if it’s wet. All you have done is created dead air space in your clothing and increased it insulation.
You also have to teach them that it is very important to not get wet if you in a survival situation. So they should always have a poncho in their little survival kit with them. Without a doubt you have to get them a little survival kit to practice with. I have a little survival backpack that I put together for my daughter for only a few bucks.
My 4 year old daughter’s survival kit:
-small camo backpack
-stainless steel canteen
-flint and steel rod
-brightly colored poncho
These few little items don’t cost much at all and will give small kids a since of pride in doing what their parent does and having their own gear. The makeup of the kit should really be determined by age and skill level in the woods. But every kid needs their own tools and they must be taught how to use them safely. Knifes are the most dangerous thing you can give them and they will require a lot of instruction on using it. I am starting Shyloh with a butter knife and will work my way up over the next few years to letting her have her own Mora knife.
Once you have their gear lined out and you have given them some training on how to use it, then it is time to move on to the priorities of survival. And your first priority in any survival situation is to get shelter. More people die of exposure to the elements than anything else. So if you teach your kids nothing but how to dress and how to get shelter then you will have significantly improved your kid’s chances of surviving in the woods alone. If they can stay warm and dry then that is 90% of the survival battle.
Shelter is far more important than people might think! Exposure to the elements in the number one reason people die in the wilderness. Not snakes and scary looking bugs! But it’s probably best to teach them to first look for natural shelters and where to look for them in your area. Bluffs, overhangs, caves, and natural shelters like this will serve them best for short term survival. But if they can’t find natural shelter then they have to know how to build a good survival shelter. The best shelter to show them is the common lean to, but don’t teach them to build a lean to for your size. Make it kids size only! Small shelters are warmer, dryer, and simpler to build. Watch the video below to see how we make a great kids shelter with very little tools.
Once your kids have mastered the skills of staying warm and dry then you have given them the ability to survive most situations until they can be rescued. I can’t say it enough that your personal clothing and shelter from the weather are the two biggest priorities when training our young ones. If they get those two simple concepts, then they can surely stay alive until someone finds them. But we don’t just stop at teaching them the most basic concepts; we want to prepare our kids to the maximum so they are prepared to live in this harsh world.
The next most important step after training them in shelter, then they must learn to safely procure water in the woods. There is literally a million techniques for doing this but my favorite has to be the sip well. It is not 100% full proof by any means. But the two greatest dangers we need to worry about in North America are giardia and cryptosporidium. By digging a sip well we can almost completely eliminate our chances of getting those two bugs. The water will still have bacteria, but it very unlikely that it will be in high enough concentrations to bother our immune system.
The number one thing we need to remember about water procurement is that it is all about reducing your overall risk. When we drink water out of the tap we are getting e-coli and many other well known bacteria in our water. And they don’t hurt us because they are in small concentrations. So our goal is to reduce concentrations of bacteria in any way possible. Now don’t get me wrong, if I have the time and means to boil the water then I will definitely do so. So keep in mind that this is a technique to use when you can’t boil water for whatever reason. Because boiling is the only fool proof technique for purifying water in the woods. Please watch the video below to see how to do it.
Fire is such an important skill that it can sometimes be the biggest priority even though its third on the list. This is probably one of the most difficult skills to master in the woods and can really frustrate some people. And friction fire is really difficult. So I always like to start kids out on the flint and steel. They a low tech, inexpensive, relatively easy to find, and will always work. Once you understand a few things about tinder then you will understand how to make fire every time. Your fine tinder must be light and airy, thoroughly dry (if not dry it before hand, after processed), and you must fluff the tinder before ignition. When I say that you have to fluff it, you have to physically lift the tinder and create lots of air pockets in yours birds nest. Just doing this will certainly get you fire every time! Watch this video below to see how Shyloh and I got fire with our flint steel and cotton in wet conditions.
MAKE SURE TO STAY TUNED FOR MORE ARTICLES AND VIDEOS ON THIS SUBJECT! IT IS AN ONGOING SERIES DOCUMENTING MY DAUGHTER’S SURVIVAL TRAINING.
FYI: All of our wilderness survival courses are open to children if you want to have the SIGMA 3 team train your family! Contact us to see what courses would be best for your family!
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https://survivalschool.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/inner_header_logo.png00Sigma 3 Survivalhttps://survivalschool.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/inner_header_logo.pngSigma 3 Survival2012-10-17 15:08:102019-05-02 15:27:13Survival Training for Kids
Many of our readers have expressed an interest in learning how to keep bugs from biting them and what methods I use to prevent bites. This has always been a subject of great concern to me because I can legitimately say that the area I live in has the worst bug problem of any place that I have ever visited. I’ve seen people come to camp and get a 100 tick bites in only half a day and they didn’t even walk through the woods. Our ticks are literally like invading army ants and the chiggers are extremely bad too! These little ticks actually set ambushes and will wait on objects that you frequent and then attack at the first opportunity. We even have airborne paratrooper ticks that literally wait for you to pass under them and then they launch themselves from trees to get at you. Dealing with this and some of the other problems has made me a bit of an expert in living in the woods with the bugs. So in this article I am going to discuss the methods that have worked best for me and have prevented me from being eaten alive by the hoards of ticks that frequent our survival training grounds!
I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH! In order to prevent bug bites in the woods you must dress properly. Having the correct outfit for your area is liking dawning a suit of armor that makes you invincible to those devil bugs! Here are the rules to follow when dressing for the woods!
Always tuck your pants into your boots! And if you’re not wearing boots then you should pull your socks over the top of your pants. This prevents the bugs from being able to even get in your clothing.
Tuck your shirt into your pants! If you have tucked your pants and your shirt in, then you have pretty much won the battle already. Why? Because the only place they can get in is on your arms and if you wear long sleeves then they can only get in on your hands and neck area.
Wear a long sleeve shirt. Some areas are so hot that this isn’t feasible, but if you can manage it then it is always best to wear a long sleeve shirt. This means the only place the bugs can get in is on your hands and neck area.
Treat your clothing with permethrin. Permethrin is by far the best bug juice that you can get and much better for you than deet. It’s a great feeling to walk into a seed tick nest and have them all over your clothing and within seconds the ticks starting walking in circles and falling off as if they were drunk!
Don’t wear bright colors or use any type of perfumes or things that smell different than the natural environment!
When I did my wilderness medic training I had the honor to train under Dr. Frank Hubble, who is one of the top wilderness doctors in the world. He has experience in dealing with killer jungle diseases and travels to areas that are full of killer diseases contracted from bugs. So needless to say, I trust his experience when it comes to dealing with bugs.
First he taught me about the effects of permethrin vs deet and after learning the negative effects of deet, I will never go back. When deet is applied to your skin it immediately starts soaking into your skin and quickly finds itself in your bloodstream and then moves to your spinal column. Permethrin is less of a health risk, can’t be applied to the skin, and is far more effective with none of the risks of deet. Deet is only effective for a few hours before having to re-apply which makes it a no go in my book.
My choice is permethrin for dozens of reasons. The first reason being is that it lasts on your clothing for an extremely long time, as many as 40 washes if applied correctly. The second reason being is that it kills the bugs instead of just repelling them. The bugs will crawl up your clothing a foot or so and then fall off dead. Whereas with deet it will only repel the ticks and I’ve seen from experience that if a tick is determined enough the deet won’t stop them whereas the permethrin will. I could write a whole article just on the advantages of permethrin over deet but we have to move on. You can pick up bottles of permethrin in walmart for about 10 bucks a bottle in the sporting goods department.
There are tons of different products out there on the market that will help protect us from bug bites but they come with pros and cons just like everything else. What’s great about natural products is they are better for the environment and we eliminate the chance of having harmful carcinogens soak into our bloodstream like deet does. But how effective are they? In my experience, they are far less effective than using a product like permethrine. But they do work, especially if used in conjunction with proper clothing. Downside is that they are just like deet and wear off in a few hours so you have to keep re-applying.
I’ve had the opportunity to test many of these methods because we have an area I train at that is so overrun with mosquitoes that I have literally had my whole face swell up like an allergic reaction from all the bites. This type of training environment helps you figure out real quick what works and what doesn’t! You can make your own effective natural repellant by lightly simmering noxious herbs like yarrow or American beauty berry in a light olive oil and then adding the oil to a little spray bottle. The oil will allow the herbs to last much longer on the skin and clothing. Apply liberally as needed for your environment.
While I do on occasion use plants for a repellant by rubbing them on my skin, they don’t work for very long. If you wipe a plant like yarrow all over your exposed areas, it will help cut down on the number of bug bites but it won’t prevent all of them. But this method only lasts a short amount of time. This is why we have to mix these plants with oils to spray on our skin and clothing. For survival situations, you can rub mud all over your exposed areas but this method is only marginally effective also.
Lastly, how do we deal with bugs in our survival shelters and our camping area. The single best way to drive back the hordes is to make a smudge fire that will help ward them off. It’s the same thing as throwing a citronella candle out in your backyard. You can build a smudge fire with any kind of moist woods that will put out a lot of smoke. This can also be done with termite damaged wood as well as toxic tree smokes like pine or cedar. Just add the smudge woods on top of a fire that already has a good bed of coals and let it smolder and the bugs will run away.
Chiggers- Let’s talk first about the chigger, because they are my least favorite to deal with! But I bet some of you northerners are wonderin what the hell a chigger is! Well let me tell you that they are the worst of the bunch when it comes to makin yah itch like crazy. The problem with chiggers is that you can’t see them and once they bite you they leave an itch that usually lasts a couple of weeks. Contrary to popular belief they do not bury themselves in your skin. You can actually wash them off with your hands and a little water. Chiggers are usually around moist areas and I get them the most by walking through grassy areas.
Once the chigger has bitten you, then you the only thing you can do is treat the symptoms. The itch comes from an allergic reaction caused by the chigger ingecting his saliva into your skin. Most bites occur in areas that have thin skin because the chiggers mouth and feeding structure are very delicate. So you usually get bitten behind the knee, waist, ankles, and feet. And putting finger nail polish and other crazy remedies won’t help much other than temporarily relieving the itch. I find that using analgesic remedies that actually numb the skin by far and away work the best. Chigger X is a great product that works great on other types of bites also. But my favorite way to treat these bites is to make a salve from the yarrow plant because it numbs the skin and deals with any infection issue that might occur from the break in your skin. Check out our youtube video on making the perfect wilderness salve for my favorite treatment. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO!
Ticks- By far we have more ticks in our area then any other type of biting bug and they usually come in droves. So I have a ton of experience in dealing with these little critters. I can’t express enough to you how important it is to prevent tick bites. Ticks carry so many types of debilitating diseases it’s ridiculous. Lyme disease is probably the most well known of the different diseases ticks can cause, because lyme can cause major health problems if not dealt with correctly. I’ve known many friends that have contracted it in our area and have also rid themselves of it. My good friend Michael Patrick (Owner of Maine Primitive Skills School) has healed himself of lyme disease twice using medicinal plants. I won’t get into all the treatments possible for ticks but if you do get lyme disease or some other nasty disease they can be treated using medicinal plants as well as modern medical methods. Just watch out and try not to get bitten.
Mosquitoes- These little flying blood suckers cause the least amount of itching and discomfort but they also cause the greatest disease born threat. Contrary to popular myth, the mosquito is the most deadly bug on the planet and kills millions of people every year! Malaria is the most well known disease but mosquitoes have probably a 100 well known diseases worldwide that can cause massive health problems as well as death! The thing about malaria is that it never ever goes away, you have it for life. So if you travel then I highly recommend treating your clothing and being prepared for the areas you travel to. You don’t want to come home from vacation with a life threatening disease.
Without a doubt in my mind the single best way to deal with bugs in the wilderness if to first dress properly and to treat those clothes with permethrine. If you dress properly, it is the equivalent of dawning bug armor with the highest level of protection. There are dozens of other methods out there to deal with the bugs but they all only last a short amount of time and only maintain a marginal degree of effectiveness against hungry bugs. So my choice is always to where the right kind of clothing treated with a good dose of permethrin. Try these methods on your next outdoor adventure and post your comments back here. We want to hear your feedback!
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This fall 2012 we are starting an all new series of videos and we will attempt to create a completely new sport. Survival Sport! This game will challenge you to get out into the wilderness and test your skills against the wild. With each new episode we will have a new set of challenges for our team as well as our watchers. Each person who decides to take the challenge must also video their adventure and then post your video as a response. The best participant will win a free 5 day survival course!
Here’s the rules:
-All tactics and techniques must be legal within your area. If not then you must modify the requirements to fit your area.
-You must video tape all the accomplishments you make on your survival trip.
-To win you must post your video as a response and SIGMA 3’s staff will decide the winner!
-You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the contest.
-You must closely follow the gear requirements.
-The honor system is always in effect and we expect you to not fake your skills or accomplishments. If your suspected of cheating, your entry will be disqualified. No camera tricks!
PRIZES: Prizes will include free SIGMA 3 Survival School classes and possibly gear that is contributed by our sponsors!
RESPONSE MUST BE SUBMITTED BY DECEMBER 16, 2012. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED BEFORE CHRISTMAS!
YOUR MISSION:Survival Fishing Trip
-Survive for 3 days / 2 nights in your local wilderness
-Items Needed: Fishing kit w/ monofilament, trot line, hooks, and 2 yo yo’s (optional); stainless steel canteen; knife w/ flint and steel; small saw or axe; small backpack
-Collect as many wild edible plants as you can safely identify and procure for eating
-Complete all the survival priorities with an emphasis on food. Anyone can get shelter, water, and fire but food is what separates the men from the boys. That is where skill comes in, so once you have completed the other 3, then focus on your food procurement.
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Have you ever wondered why it is that most so called survival schools don’t really post any kind of a real resume about their instructors?
They all seem to be so cookie cutter, saying all the same things or they don’t say anything at all! Here is the most common description, “I grew up in the woods as a boy and learned to love the outdoors from an early age”, blah blah etc. Now, I am not going to knock that experience in life because that is what rooted me in this industry to begin with, but that doesn’t make you an expert survival instructor. So how do you know if someone knows their stuff or is a total fraud? Whether they are an arm chair survivalist expert or the real freaking deal! Because there isn’t any regulating body or set of skill standards that instructors have to pass in order to be able to call themselves legit! You just have to take their word for it. I would say as many as 80% of survival school founders are students that attended The Tracker School owned by Tom Brown, Jr. But does taking a few of his thousand dollar survival courses that are half power point and half watching someone else demonstrate skills make you an expert. I think not!
True skill can only come from true grit and passion for what they do. If they don’t truly love every aspect of survival then they will never truly be great at it. Greatness can only be accomplished with great determination and passion for what you do. And I think you will quickly find that the best instructors in the industry are the ones that give their knowledge away for free through blogs, youtube videos, and other forms of social media. According to Cody Lundin in a recent article, youtube videos don’t give a person any credibility whatsoever. But I would disagree and say that it is one of the only true ways to be able to really demonstrate what you are capable of doing to your customers to provide credibility for what you say your capable of. My advice is simply this, “Don’t take their word for it, and make sure in your mind that they are proving their skills through demonstration”. Survival instructors should have something that proves they can do what they do well and know their stuff, since we have no regulating body for this sort of thing. There is no government body or private institution saying, “hey this guy’s a badass, he can survive anywhere”. So here is some stuff you need to think about when picking a survival school for your personal preference because there is a ton of different styles of thought in this industry. Bush hippie and military mindsets pretty much dominate the industry so you will most likely have to pick between one of the two perspectives. (Or you can find one that blends the two, like SIGMA 3. We take the best from both worlds; shameless self promotion, lol) Okay so here it is:
Do your homework:
LOOK OUT FOR SHORT NON DESCRIPTIVE RESUMES THAT DON’T LIST THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS! If they only say a few words about their past, then I wouldn’t trust them with your future survival.
Look for people who do it full time and don’t have a second job. It should be there specialty!
Do they own their own property or are they doing their courses in the national forest or somewhere else? If they don’t own property for their school, then they’re probably a fly by night company and might even get you in trouble with the forestry department practicing these skills on public lands. There are rules in the national forest about cutting trees, harvesting wild plants, etc. So Caveat Emptor! Buyer Beware!
Check their resumes! If they only list a short paragraph of un-verifiable accomplishments then I would be leary. But honestly, you will find that most schools are exactly this way. I can’t say it enough, compare resumes and look for legitimate survival experience.
Do they have lower prices but expect you to bring tons of different survival equipment? It’s a common hook in the industry to require students to purchase expensive gear for their courses. Because most students don’t show up prepared for these courses (and they know it), they are happy to provide you with the required equipment for the course and make exorbitant amounts of money off equipment you may not need. (SIGMA 3 requires almost no equipment and has some of the lowest prices in the industry)
Do they have any unique survival stories that they actually had to employ their skills to save their life? Have they ever actually been in a survival situation?
Is the school local or would you have extensive travel costs in attending their courses?
How long has the school been around and do they employ top instructors in their specialties? Because no one has mastered every skill in the survival community. Instructors are usually great at a certain set of skills and lacking in others. So look to see if the school employs a diversity of instructors with varying backgrounds. If they don’t then move on!
Do they only teach primitive survival or do they teach a mix of things that will appeal to the average person? It can take a lifetime to master primitive survival skills. So unless you want to spend forever learning this stuff, you should pick a school that teaches a wide range of modern and primitive skill sets.
Do they offer certifications for their courses?
Do they have any medical training in case someone gets hurt?
Are they a bush hippie or military style school? Or both?
What to look out for:
Ex military doesn’t mean they know survival! The military doesn’t emphasis high level survival training in almost any mainstream program they offer. Primarily only high level SOF and recon units get any kind of real survival training. And there is a huge difference between combat or tactical survival and true wilderness survival. Everything with tactical survival is always short term in nature and they don’t train longer term aspects of survival.
SERE Instructors/ most SERE guys usually don’t have any more skills than a basic survival student. So look for other training outside of that!
Look Out for Ridiculous prices! Don’t think you’re getting more because you’re paying more. This is a common misconception and many schools monopolize on it. Many guys in the construction industry use to say to me, “Bid all your jobs high, so that if you only get 1 in 10 jobs you make so much more off the one job, than you would off doing all ten jobs at marginal profits”. They were literally betting on the fact that a sucker is born every day! Don’t be a sucker. You shouldn’t be paying more than $100-200/day for normal survival instruction, even if they are the best in the world. Compare our resumes to the competition and see if you’re getting more experience for the money!
Do they incorporate religious beliefs into their teachings? Surprisingly some of the biggest schools in the country do this heavily without the student knowing it upfront. Whether it is Christian or more pagan centered beliefs, all kinds of schools exist and they do try to preach their beliefs. The Tracker School is probably the best example of this style of school and they have a heavy emphasis on spiritual things in their teachings. The more advanced the course the greater the amount of spiritual teachings. So if getting a lesson in the spiritual aspects of life isn’t your bag, then make sure you do research on the core principles behind the school’s teachings.
Look for legitimate reviews and see what people say about the reputation of the school and its individual instructors.
This article is not to promote what we do, but just to make buyers aware of the mindset and what to look out for when choosing a school for your preferences. Every school is different and has a different philosophy, so it’s pivotal that you decide what skill sets primarily interest you. I wrote this article not to promote our own business, but to bring up some important points about what you should look for in a legitimate survival school. Because many people struggle with finding a school that fits their personal needs. Thanks for your support and if you have any questions about us, other schools, or things relating to this article I would be happy to help. I’m not going to say bad things about my competitors but it is my business to know what they teach, how their courses run, and what they specialize in. And you may or may not be able to attend our school because of travel issue or philosophy differences but either way I can point you in the direction of a good school. So if you want my two cents then, Just Contact Us!
IF YOU SUPPORT THE SCHOOL PLEASE SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON OTHER FORUMS AND SOCIAL MEDIA!
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So most of us have seen all the survival shows on TV that show would be survival experts eating all kinds of crazy things for the attention of it’s audience. Well I am here to tell you that these guys are idiots and I wouldn’t recommend following their instructions on things pertaining to what to eat and how to prepare it. Plain and simple, they do it for the ratings and not the educational value of the techniques prescribed. Now you can eat bugs raw and will probably get away without any harm from it, but there are always risks when doing it. Many bugs carry nasty parasites and diseases and by ingesting them we have rolled the dice that our immune system will be able to take care of them. Most of the time your immune system will handle it but when in a survival situation your immune system is already on the edge from all the increased stress put on it. Stress decreases immune system functions and I can assure that most all survival situations are high stress ones! So don’t take the risk of eating something because it’s convenient and then paying greatly for your laziness later. Remember that some insects may contain toxins or venom and these bugs are usually brightly colored. If you have a question about the edibility of a certain bug, observe whether or not wild animals eat the insect or check a field guide to back you up. But honestly there are very few grasshoppers or similar species that will cause you any harm, they are definitely in the minority of the available bugs to eat out there!
But don’t let my harsh tone persuade you from trying these protein rich sources of calories, because bugs truly are the easiest and most nutrient dense resource available to gather in most areas. Most of the world consumes bugs in their diet and it is a much needed source of healthy stuff for our body when other more desirable sources aren’t available. Grasshoppers for instance, contain more protein than beef and chicken. But large spiders contain 3 times the protein that grasshoppers do, so these small treats add up to big calories real quick! Check out these two articles on the nutrition and how to cook up different types of bugs, you’ll be shocked! Eating Fried Tarantula’sor Bug Nutrition Table
There are many ways to gather these types of foods but all the methods require you to get out and go explore. Whether your walking through a field catching hoppers, lifting rocks to find tasty treats, or raiding an ant hill for its larvae it doesn’t matter. Some ants are quite excellent and have a surprisingly sour taste that keeps you coming back for more. All these methods will produce calories for you time and time again should you have to resort to these more dire methods. Americans consider these emergency methods but many cultures consider them delicacies, so alter your perception and try something different for once. So look up some recipes for these items and do something crazy like adding a few bugs to your next stir fry. Hope this helps and if you like this information then please share these videos and blog. Thanks for your continued support!
For so long we have all watched the media’s demonization of American citizen’s that enjoy a lifestyle of preparedness and self reliance. What is so radical about prepping? Why does the media choose to spin this in the light that they do? It makes no sense to demonize people that want to be responsible for not only themselves but their family and community.
Lets just take a minute to exam what prepping is and where the mindset came from. Many people wrongly label preppers as Doomsday preppers, but the real fact of the matter is that they just want to be self reliant. It has nothing to do with preparing for the end of the world, but the constant barrage of disparaging news has only fueled many normal everyday people to return to the ways of our ancestors and regain that sense of security by providing for their family. Most preppers don’t have years worth of food stockpiled but they do have the skills necessary to preserve the food they have access to for long periods should they need them. They are gardeners, canners, trappers, hunters, fisherman, and much more.
Prepping is just a modern adjective for what was common place in almost every household in America less than half a century ago. It was the way of life for most and not something sensationalized by our perverse media. It is common knowledge that the media has mainly consisted of city dwellers that live on the east or west coast and they have no real common connection with backwoods people who still carry on these self reliant traditions today. This is one of the many reason prepping is now considered something radical, when in the past it was just good ol self reliant living. People fear what they don’t understand and since our media is largely run by un-prepared idiots with no understanding of a self reliant lifestyle, they choose to demonize what they don’t understand by labeling it fear mongering. Let me ask you this, “Are you the ant or the grasshopper”. Will you be the one mocking people for others attitudes of preparing and then ask them to come in their home when the metaphorical winter arrives? Or will you be the ant and make preparations for your households future?
Plain and simple, you are a fool to not have some kind of preparations and some type of training in survival should you ever need these skills. It should be the foundation of all other training types, and a person should have the training to be able to survive before anything else because it takes precedent to all other skill sets in my humble opinion. Many people have the mindset that they will learn these skills when the need arises, but what they don’t realize is when that day comes it will be too late. Your neighbors and the ones you thought you might depend on if the stuff ever did hit the proverbial fan will take care of themselves and say the hell with you. Regardless of whether you ever have a true need for these skills they are essential to have because they help us to understand where our resources come from and the hard work involved in leading the American lifestyle we live. Connection with the foundations of our society is essential to its unity and prosperity, if we ever have hopes as succeeding as a fruitful nation.
Even if you feel no need whatsoever to be prepared for hard times, you should realize that this type of mindset isn’t about being prepared for the doomsday. It’s about cultivating a mindset of independence and self reliance that will foster feelings of joy that can’t truly be matched by other endeavors. There is no greater feeling than to know you can grow, cultivate, harvest, hunt and gather all the things you need. It’s a sense of accomplishment that will inspire feelings of great joy to know that you are independent and have no needs from anyone or anything. Regardless of whether the world crashes down or not, it’s just good to know that you have created something great with nothing more than the work of your hands and the use of God’s great bounty that he has left here on earth for us to be good stewards over!
This debate has been raging since the two ideologies started to become more mainstream more than a decade ago. With increased strife and turmoil in the news, it’s becoming increasingly more important to be well prepared for anything that might happen. It doesn’t matter what you’re prepping for but it does matter how you prep and the way you train. I’ve always said that training trumps gear and I continue to preach that philosophy. The problem with prepping is that you have essentially traded once source of dependence (the grid) for your own source of dependence (your own stockpiles). While I do agree that it is absolutely essential for people to have some basic preps, I also think many people neglected contemplating the fact that what happens if your preps are compromised. The more preps you have the more you have to defend and the less mobile you are. Which makes you an automatic non moving target, i.e. a sitting duck! What if the area you live in must be evacuated because of some disaster or other man made problem. Then what? What does a prepper do when he has to leave his stockpile of preps? And if you don’t have to leave the area, then how do you plan to protect your stockpiles from people who didn’t prepare?
Security is the number one issue in a disaster and by having stockpiles you have now become a target for all the friends and family members that know you’re a prepper. They will be showing up on your doorstep and I promise when they haven’t eaten for a week, you saying “no you can’t eat my food”, will not be an acceptable answer to them. And since most people’s idea of prepping is to buy guns and ammo, you had better believe that people will be taking what they want and not asking for it! And that’s just the first wave of people, next will be the criminals and gangs that have been running surveillance on you. What are your plans then? And remember, your own guns will only protect you so long because people will figure out how to beat your static defenses should they become hungry enough. Guaranteed!
That is why here a SIGMA 3 Survival School we emphasize that a person, first get themselves some very basic food preps such as 3 months of rice and beans and then begin training their mind instead of hoarding stockpiles of food and ammo. Regardless of what many preppers might believe there is no situation that I can imagine other than the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), that you wouldn’t be able to survive from the land having some basic training. Yes much of the larger game and many small game species may be wiped out as a viable food source very quickly if thousands of people had to live off the land out of necessity. But there will never be a lack of the less desirable food sources available in the wilderness such as bugs, rats, wild edibles, fish, etc. Regardless of what happens there will be no lack of these calorie sources. Which makes this the most full proof plan for a food source should you be required to live from them. I honestly don’t think the other more desirable food sources would be wiped out simply because most people are ignorant as to how to get them without all their modern implements and the simple fact that animals get wise extremely quickly to humans hunting them. But even if there are a lack of larger game, then survivalism still wins out over prepping as far as being the most full proof plan for an extended to survival scenario in my humble opinion.
For example, one of our primitive survival instructors actually lived off the land for over two years with no modern tools and he did this implementing basket fish traps and foraging techniques. His diet mainly comprised of fish, wild edibles, bugs, and the occasional red meat source. If someone can live off of these techniques for over two years with no modern tools, then surely someone with a full bug out kit as demonstrated in our Diary of Survivalist series can surely live off the land well with a little bit of training. Another bonus to survivalism over prepping is the fact that our survival training brings us closer to the land and helps provide a great sense of appreciation for what we have here on the earth. Through this training it gives you a sense of security that can’t be provided through any other types of training. When you are a well rounded survivalist, you know that no matter what happens that you will always be able to provide for your basic needs of shelter, water, fire, and food. And that personal sense of absolute self reliance with only my greatest tool at my side (my mind), I know that I will be taken care of no matter the circumstances. Prepping just gives me something else to worry about and another way to dump my money down an endless hole of never ending spending. Survivalism costs nearly nothing, whereas most prepping costs a fortune.
This is why I incessantly preach that the mind should always take priority to the tangible items that we buy and even if you do have preps then you should first know how to defend them and next know how to replace them should they become compromised. When prepping fails you have to have survivalism as a backup! So buy your rice, beans, and ammo but don’t neglect the most important factor and that is your training! Training is the end all and be all of preparedness and if you train all aspects of staying alive then it doesn’t matter what situation you are thrown into because you know you will be able to survive. But you will only be able to survive with the right mindset and the best training you can get. All things can be accomplished with the right training, so come join SIGMA 3 Survival School and get prepared!
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
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
https://survivalschool.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/inner_header_logo.png00Sigma 3 Survivalhttps://survivalschool.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/inner_header_logo.pngSigma 3 Survival2011-12-01 14:12:012019-05-02 15:27:14Diary of a Survivalist- Bugging Out