A hunter from another state bought a tag to hunt the reservation for elk. The hunter marveled at how his Native guide took him through a vast wilderness with no roads or trails. The Native guide just seemed to know where to find a good stream to drink from or a great place to setup camp. Never once did he seem unsure of where he was or what was around the next ridge nor did he seem to need his map or compass. The hunter felt like he was constantly puzzled on his whereabouts.

The hunter finally asked him “what was the secret to finding his way around?” The Native guide looked at him surprised and replied “Do you get lost in your own home?”

Survival is a term used to identify a situation that means life could be lost if critical needs are not met immediately. People are thrust into a survival situation usually because of an accident or because they are lost in an environment that is unknown to them. It doesn’t have to be a plane crash or some apocalyptic event that catches people off guard. The majority of survival situations are people who went for a hike and took an unfamiliar trail and get caught in the woods at night. Another routine scenario is hunters or campers who drive way out into the bush and get lost or run out of gas and find themselves unprepared. These unexpected events generally take place in a landscape they thought they knew. But come to find out they have a limited experience with their hometown forest.

A landscape that is foreign to you, even though you may have lived there all your life, can be a much more dangerous place especially coupled with bad decisions and a lack of knowledge. Don’t be a foreigner in your own land. Building a relationship with the land, plants and animals in your specific area is the most important activity that you can do to ensure your well being. This relationship is built over time by walking the land, knowing the waterways, observing wildlife, identifying plants, and recognizing weather patterns. The best way to build this relationship and knowledge is to be physically out in your environment. Just take safety precautions when you go to explore new parts of your homeland.

Eventually your landscape becomes more like a natural home instead of a frightening wilderness. Getting to know your place will build a relationship with the land and it’s cycles. This knowledge will help keep you out of a survival situation. But, always remember that the natural world is a powerful place and must be respected. Stay humble and be safe.

Here are some amazing resources that can help build your knowledge and give you some instruction on how to conduct yourself in the wilderness. There are numerous links to great information on hunting, fire making, shelter building and various traditional skills. Remember getting outside and practicing is the best way to learn skills.

Click Here To Hire Crit for Training

Getting Lost

What should you do if you get lost in the woods?
http://blog.allstate.com/what-should-you-do-if-you-get-lost-in-the-woods/

How to Signal for a Wilderness Rescue
http://survival.about.com/od/6/a/How-To-Signal-For-A-Wilderness-Rescue.htm

Survival Kits

Good tips on building a personal survival kit
http://www.natureskills.com/survival/wilderness-survival-kit/

Cody Lundin’s basic survival kit list
http://survivalpacksupplies.blogspot.com/2013/07/cody-lundin-basic-survival-kit.html

Emergency Shelters

Building an emergency shelter with whatever you have.
http://www.survivalnewsonline.com/index.php/2011/12/building-an-emergency-shelter-with-whatever-you-have/

Water Purification
How to find and purify drinking water in the wilderness.
http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/how-to-find-and-purify-drinking-water-in-the-wildernes-1580821351

Fire Making

Basics of building a fire
http://www.wilderness-survival-skills.com/how-to-make-a-fire.html

Bow Drill – Step by step on how to make and use a bow drill
http://www.bushcraft.ridgeonnet.com/bowdrill%20tutorial.htm

Hunting

Wild Game Meat Food Safety –
http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/meat_safety/

Big Game: From Hunt to Home – Great booklet on field dressing deer/elk and shows specific cuts of meat.
http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/13787/pnw517.pdf

Field Care of Big Game instructional video. It will show you a step-by-step method to field dress a moose, no matter how or where the animal has fallen.
http://vimeo.com/30516617

Field-to-Freezer Meat Care
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hunting.meatcare

Diseases You Can Get From Wildlife – Good tips on field dressing and specific insect/water/animal diseases
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/wldhealth/Docs/Safety_FieldGuide2011_web.pdf

Snares for small game
http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/03/29/how-to-build-a-small-game-survival-snare/

Survival Books

Here is my personal recommendations of the best books on survival techniques and theory. I personally know all of these authors and acknowledge their teachings are solid and wise.

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski – Written by the “Grandfather of Bushcraft” this book is a no nonsense guide to learning essential skills and practical wilderness knowledge especially suited for more Northern climates.

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen – A great book by one of the leading pioneers of wilderness survival this book is a masterpiece of traditional skills such as friction fire, shelter building, etc.

Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills by David Wescott – Awesome book with numerous articles on traditional skills by many different highly qualified instructors.

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin – This is my favorite book on explaining the fundamentals of survival based on maintaining core body temperature.