SURVIVING AN UNPLANNED NIGHT IN THE WOODS

Survival was the furthermost thing from Ray's mind when he decided to take an afternoon rabbit hunt. Taking along his three beagles, he began venturing into the woods. He didn't give any thought to the possibility of getting lost. So he had no survival gear with him-not even a pack of matches.

For the next few hours, Ray became completely involved in the hunt and forgot, as hunters often do, about time and keeping his bearings. Then suddenly, the sun set and Ray realized he was lost. On an ordinary night in Kentucky, he would have spent a few uncomfortable hours alone in the woods. Then at first light he would find his way back home.

But an unusually severe cold front set in with a sudden downpour that turned to sleet, plunging temperatures into the single digits. Ray suddenly found himself in a serious survival situation, but he stayed calm and took the necessary steps to stay alive.

Because Ray had no matches with him, his most immediate problem was sustaining body heat throughout the night. He knew if he could do that, he would probably be around to tell his friends this adventure. Seeking shelter, he discovered a small cave where he and his dogs took refuge. Ray then gathered leaves and positioned the dogs around him to absorb their warmth. This simple idea probably saved his life.

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HOMESTEAD DEFENSE WITH A HANDGUN – ARE YOU REALLY READY?

At last you have realized your dream; you are living a rural lifestyle far from the problems of the big city. You are aware that in the remote part of the county where you live the nearest deputy sheriff may be 20 to 30 minutes away in case of a threatening situation, but you own a couple of pistols and you and your spouse have shot them several times so if someone tries to break into your house or attack your family you are prepared. But are you really?

Threats are Real

Up front, let me state that the purpose of this article is not to make it sound like living in rural America is dangerous and should only be done only by those who want to live in a fort. Far from it, I consider rural America to be far safer than living in cities and in a lifetime of living the rural lifestyle I have never had a threatening encounter. However many of us do live more isolated from immediate law enforcement assistance so if there is a imminent threat we may be called upon to defend our family. And this would increase if we should ever encounter civil disobedience on a large scale in nearby towns and cities. Predators would spill out into the countryside to pillage.

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE WOODSMEN GONE?

He is as rare and endangered as any critter in North America, perhaps more so. No, I’m not talking about a Black-footed ferret or the Florida panther. I am speaking of the “woodsman”.

I grew up in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when outdoor magazines were a colorful mix of adventure stories with really useful “how-to” information thrown in to help the reader learn a collection of outdoor skills that was called “woodsmanship”.

Writers such as Charlie Elliott, Fred Bear, John Jobson, Ted Trueblood, Russell Annabel, and Townsend Whelen took us to the most remote corners of North America. These men could use a canoe like an Indian, navigate by the stars, and cook scrumptious meals in a reflector oven. They could sharpen an ax, track game across a bed of rock, butcher a deer, and make a comfortable shelter using only a tarp.

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MULTI-DAY EMERGENCY FOOD KIT

Recently I was planning a 7-day camping trip into a remote area to fish for native trout. I wanted my meals to be quick, easy and fast to prepare. Also I wanted the food to be lightweight and easy for me to pack. What I discovered has as much an application for planning meals and keeping them on hand for emergency use as it does outdoor meals on the bank of a remote stream.

I knew from a lifetime being spent in the backcountry that I would be shopping for freeze-dried food for my fishing trip. This led me to Mountain House and the wide selection of meals they have that are lightweight, good tasting and nourishing. I have used them hundreds of times during my career. The one thing I dislike is having to plan and select breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, then select and order the menu. This time when I went to the Mountain House web site, www.mountainhouse.com, much to my surprise I learned that they now have new pre-packaged “Multi-Day Emergency Food Supply Kits” that do all the menu planning for 5-Day or a combo of 2-Day, 3-Day, and/or 4-Day food supply. This makes meal planning short and easy.

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