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Posted: 4/28/2009 6:42:22 PM EDT
By survival I mean living in the wilds for 2+ weeks....not just 'surviving' an overnighter or 2 day trek in the wilderness while starving...

The shelter and fire bit is easy (esp. with the magnesium block) but how about hunting, trapping, fishing with nothing but a knife and your mind?

The reason I ask the peanut gallery is.... as much as we detail our ever larger BOBs and 'stuff' I keep thinking.... homo sapiens survived as a species for untold thousands of years with no modern tools, with no METAL tools even.... so could I?

Being able to survive with NOTHING but your wits would be a fantastic 'base' upon which to build on with all the other whiz bang stuff we get, gather, and prep with.

So who, apart from SERE school or Boy Scout Wilderness Survival merit badge campouts have tried to do the gammut - shelter, fire, and food with just a knife?

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 6:59:14 PM EDT
I suspect that survival, as in long term survival, of the kind you mention would be somewhat harder today.

While we lack the skills, the environment has changed too.  No longer do flocks of passenger pigeons darken the sky.  Bison no longer roam Ohio.  Elk are gone from the Adirondacks.  The habitat, whats left of it, no longer supports the diversity and abundance of wildlife that once existed.  Few salmon spawn in the rivers near me, thanks to dams and development.  I suspect this stacks the cards against us....

In addition I really question the validity of the concept of the lone survivor.  I suspect -but cannot prove - that survival was often a community affair.  Your community may have only been a half dozen people in a hunter gatherer group, but it was still a group.  Life expectancy 1000 years ago was brutally short as well.  I suspect that survival rates were as much a matter of chance as skill........

TO answer the question:  Could I survive two weeks?  Depends on the season.  Two weeks in the Adirondacks in February at -35 with three feet of snow, no shelter saw what could be assembled with a knife, and no means of harvesting a meaningful supply of firewood (we are talking CORDS here).  No chance in hell...  Two weeks in August,with far more moderate temps?  Sure.  I'd come out of it stinking, dirty and 30 lbs lighter.  That season would require few small fires for occasional warmth, a decent debris hut for shelter, and two weeks worth of patience.......

A Bug Out Bag does not permit long term, indefinite survival.  It permits survival either 1) during relocation or 2) until rescue.

This is the reason why buggin in (followed by homesteading) is the only real practical long term option for me.  I don't have to worry about shelter - I have one.  I don't have to immediately worry about wood -  its cut stacked and dry.  I can begin producing or obtaining food......

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 7:25:44 PM EDT
Who was the guy that had the 1000 cord of wood that fenced in both sides of his driveway for like a mile?



I wish I had that level of preps built up, but right now Im not gonna go hungry when an icestorm knocks out power for a week or two.



And since I have moved, I no longer have to worry about buggin out. There isn't anything more boonie than where I'm at now.



BOBs are just what they are, a bag to get you somewhere else. Which everyone should have in their car regardless to how SHTF-like their mindset is.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 7:32:13 PM EDT
I have not done a 2 week primitive trip as work doesn't really allow for these kinds of things.

I believe it's doable depending on where you are. Here it would be farely easy in the summer and very diffficult in the winter. I could do shelter, fire, food gathering with just the knife and make more formidable weapons and traps for gathering game. It would be tedious until you were all set up.

Honestly, I wouldn't want to do it alone for safety reasons. Maybe one day I'll do one like this, I have always wanted to try it, but with my pack as an emergency backup.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 8:10:54 AM EDT
Just watch Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild.
This is what they do, survive with just the most basic of kits, usually just a knife, fire steel, and what they might have in their pockets,  and they have a tough time doing it.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:25:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By brazenatl:
Just watch Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild.
This is what they do, survive with just the most basic of kits, usually just a knife, fire steel, and what they might have in their pockets,  and they have a tough time doing it.


Survivor Man +1

I like Bear Grylls, but his is an informational/ entertainment show imo.  He doesn't do it alone and doesn't have to pack all the cameras and crap around either.  Entertaining show, but Survivor Man is much better for a "survival" type show.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 11:56:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Nicodareus:
Originally Posted By brazenatl:
Just watch Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild.
This is what they do, survive with just the most basic of kits, usually just a knife, fire steel, and what they might have in their pockets,  and they have a tough time doing it.


Survivor Man +1

I like Bear Grylls, but his is an informational/ entertainment show imo.  He doesn't do it alone and doesn't have to pack all the cameras and crap around either.  Entertaining show, but Survivor Man is much better for a "survival" type show.


QFT. +1. Les Stroud is the man.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 12:45:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/29/2009 12:47:13 PM EDT by DanishM1Garand]
Originally Posted By Darkninja:
Originally Posted By Nicodareus:
Originally Posted By brazenatl:
Just watch Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild.
This is what they do, survive with just the most basic of kits, usually just a knife, fire steel, and what they might have in their pockets,  and they have a tough time doing it.


Survivor Man +1

I like Bear Grylls, but his is an informational/ entertainment show imo.  He doesn't do it alone and doesn't have to pack all the cameras and crap around either.  Entertaining show, but Survivor Man is much better for a "survival" type show.


QFT. +1. Les Stroud is the man.


Les is the man, but so is Eustace Conway. He is the MACK DADDY of this sort of thing but is not a show boat about it. Kid asked Eustace if he would survive if dropped naked in the woods. Eustace grinned and said "Well it'd be a bit easier if I had my knife."Youtube
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 1:59:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DanishM1Garand:

Les is the man, but so is Eustace Conway. He is the MACK DADDY of this sort of thing but is not a show boat about it. Kid asked Eustace if he would survive if dropped naked in the woods. Eustace grinned and said "Well it'd be a bit easier if I had my knife."Youtube


Damn...that guy is the man.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 5:38:05 PM EDT
The reason I ask is that, if you could survive - endure for 2 weeks, you could probably go a month. If a month, maybe a season....

If you could endure a season, you could make it a year. Every other tool and convenience then would be 'extra' factors for survival and thriving.. the baseline would have been established: I can survive with nothing but a knife. Now, with MORE than a knife, it all gets much, much better....

(so, a machete improves things immensely....a fishing rod beats the wooden spears/traps hands down... a tarp beats thatch or leaves... rope beats grass or animal hide cords.... an iron pot and pan.... immensely better than just grilling or charcoaling food...

Right now, I'm one of those "I could eke out 3, maybe 4 days, hungry" survival guys. My BOB has 1 MRE and snacks, tea and coco in it. I'd be hungry but I'd get by for 3-4 days. 2 weeks....right now, probably not. But I'd love to learn woodcraft to that degree.

Imagine being locked away in some remote BOL with 5+ months of food stockpiled, the 8+ cords of wood laid back, the fuel, solar panels, etc. all there good to go....but then the disaster or persecution or what have you makes it look like honestly, you won't be going back into town for at least 8 to 12 months... far beyond what rationing will get you. Well, if you can survive indefinitely with nothing but a knife, then you'll be able to stretch modern, civilized rations and all the whiz bang tools of a modern kit into the duration.

In other words, I'd like to be able to supplement and not be totally depending on any pre-disaster stockpile.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 5:58:32 PM EDT
After high school, a good friend and myself would go on 10 day long campouts. Lived in Alaska at taht point and it was wonderful. We would backpack to a spot off the beaten path and hang out. Gear was our school bags crammed with stuff and hunting clothes. We brougt our semi-auto .22's for food gathering and i had a 44 mag and he had a 10mm for the bears.

Two weeks was easy. Small game and whatnot mixed with the rice and beans we brought. Fresh salmon or trout from the rivers. It was paradise. But that is Alaska.

I would not want to try that here in Georgia, but I could do it.

Now you limit me to a knife and flint.... well again I COULD do it most likely, but it'd be miserable and I would be hungry.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 6:34:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Nicodareus:
Originally Posted By brazenatl:
Just watch Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild.
This is what they do, survive with just the most basic of kits, usually just a knife, fire steel, and what they might have in their pockets,  and they have a tough time doing it.


Survivor Man +1

I like Bear Grylls, but his is an informational/ entertainment show imo.  He doesn't do it alone and doesn't have to pack all the cameras and crap around either.  Entertaining show, but Survivor Man is much better for a "survival" type show.


One thing those shows don't portray in a realistic light is that the guy walking around in the woods knows it will be over in a week and come hell or high water someone will come looking for them if they turn up missing. In a survival situation, all you know is that you are in a pickle, and you have a lot of shit to do before dark. People say "Well, I'll just make me shelter, whittle me some spears, catch me some fish, and roast me some dinner before I turn in. The reality is more likely that you have one half-dull multi tool, one way to make fire, everything on the ground is wet, it's only 40 degrees and will be below freezing at night and you are basically screwed. It will take most of your day just making a shelter and gathering firewood to make it thru your first night, and you will be starting off on your second night dehydrated and with low blood sugar before you can even think about hunting or fishing. Survival under those conditions would be really tough even if someone dropped off a large pizza every day. The biggest problem would be that you just don't know long it might last. If I knew I was only going to be in a jam for three days, I would rather spend time making a warm shelter and keeping a fire going instead of wasting precious daylight gathering food.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 7:10:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 7:55:33 PM EDT
Unless you have water no gun or tool will do you any good. Think water first then food then shelter.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:05:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Spun:
After high school, a good friend and myself would go on 10 day long campouts. Lived in Alaska at taht point and it was wonderful. We would backpack to a spot off the beaten path and hang out. Gear was our school bags crammed with stuff and hunting clothes. We brougt our semi-auto .22's for food gathering and i had a 44 mag and he had a 10mm for the bears.

Two weeks was easy. Small game and whatnot mixed with the rice and beans we brought. Fresh salmon or trout from the rivers. It was paradise. But that is Alaska.

Man that just sounds like an amazing time. I would love to do something like that...

Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:17:43 PM EDT
Trying to make 2500 calories a day on edible plants and various vermin is pretty difficult.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:22:56 PM EDT
Two weeks?  I'd be one hungry mo-fo and probably 40 pounds lighter.  I would not be a happy camper.  I was in the boy scouts, and we did a little of that sort of thing, but if there's one thing I took away from the boy scouts, it was "be prepared."  I have half a dozen multi-tools and a dozen bic lighters and a half dozen handguns and ten flashlights and three pairs of boots and two axes and three hatchets and a spare gas can and and and........  all so I don't have to try and survive with a flint and steel and a knife.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:31:27 PM EDT
One thing those shows don't portray in a realistic light is that the guy walking around in the woods knows it will be over in a week and come hell or high water someone will come looking for them if they turn up missing. In a survival situation, all you know is that you are in a pickle, and you have a lot of shit to do before dark. People say "Well, I'll just make me shelter, whittle me some spears, catch me some fish, and roast me some dinner before I turn in. The reality is more likely that you have one half-dull multi tool, one way to make fire, everything on the ground is wet, it's only 40 degrees and will be below freezing at night and you are basically screwed. It will take most of your day just making a shelter and gathering firewood to make it thru your first night, and you will be starting off on your second night dehydrated and with low blood sugar before you can even think about hunting or fishing. Survival under those conditions would be really tough even if someone dropped off a large pizza every day. The biggest problem would be that you just don't know long it might last. If I knew I was only going to be in a jam for three days, I would rather spend time making a warm shelter and keeping a fire going instead of wasting precious daylight gathering food.


+1 I got turned around in some big timber on my way back to my truck while hunting last year, I didn't realise that we (wife and I) were lost until right at dark.  I left my pack in the truck because we were only going to be out for a couple of hours (famous last words)  and the batteries in my gps died right after I realised that I had no clue where we were.  I had just a little more than I normally carry in my pockets and we were not dressed for the night time weather (just had hooded sweatshirts and jeans on) thank god it didnt rain, but it got below freezing.  

Once the sun came up I knew where we were and we were in the car eating an MRE like it was the best food on earth about 35 min. after the sun came up.  It could have gone alot worse, but I learned all kinds of lessons that night.  I had all kinds of horrible thoughts about how nobody knew where we were and I didn't even tell anyone that we were going out that night, its kind of a scary feeling not knowing if anybody would find you if it came to that.

Link Posted: 4/30/2009 3:59:13 AM EDT
Most of us are gear whores and enjoy the modern devices that make outdoors adventures a little easier or comfortable.  We have been doing a lot more backpacking as a family and I've been able to continue dropping the weight in my pack.  The biggest weight reduction is your primitive skill sets.  Even with premade snares, how many have really practiced it?  It's not something you can effectively read from a set of instructions...if you can't read game trails or feeding areas, your percentage of success will continue to drop.  One of my lacking skills is readily knowing the edible plants in my current area...identification is easy in the spring, but how are you in the fall and winter?  I've really wanted to practice more on making cordage.  I'm okay with making fire from natural materials, but I have had my days of frustration trying to get a fire going at times.  Now is really the time to practice...even if it's a couple tasks for a day or two; maybe even taking a primitive survival class or taking a local class on plant identification.  I know I haven't had the time lately but I was reading a post where a guy was sitting outside the emergency room waiting on a friend and whittled a figure-4 trap out of some small branches.  

Having determination regardless of your skill-level is probably the most important followed by your health, but the life-expectancy was pretty low and the mortality rate was pretty high during the "primitive" years.  

Ron Hood has done a lot of this and it's amazing.  I do agree though that the more you know the less you need...

ROCK6
Link Posted: 4/30/2009 3:28:40 PM EDT
"all so I don't have to try and survive with a flint and steel and a knife."

That's an awesome assessment of the situation. And I agree. Nothing  but a flint, steel and knife is about as tough as it gets. And you're right TJ about fishing out or hunting out all the local woods' critters. We forget how small the local animal populations are because we tend to see ranging animals that prowl about wide and far looking for their own food...

Nevertheless, trying and failing at this is the best way to appreciate modern conveniences - and the best reality check to how danged tough survival is.

I had the chance to see an expert give a demo on making flint tools recently which got me thinking along these lines... he was amazing how quick he turned a block of flint into a usable and sharp tool. But he had worked on the craft for years so had the technique down.

TJ, maybe you could give us some pointers.... I'm thinking to forage a man would easily need a woods no smaller than 300 acres and a pond no smaller than 300-400' across and 30 feet deep with a stream on both ends. In other words, in the lower 48 there are few areas a man really could just disappear indefinitely.
Link Posted: 4/30/2009 11:04:21 PM EDT
one of the survival schools i went to, instructors runs the- Midwest Native Skills Institute in ohio.he's prob one of the best out there.
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