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Let's Meat

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:14 pm
by Ryan
Let's Meat!
Part I
To speak for myself... I LOVE meat! There is nothing like a nicely charred piece of flesh to get the old salivary glands pumping! And, the more natural its preparation the better the taste.

That's about as graphic as I intend this topic to get. What I want to present is information regarding tracking and trapping animals. I'll cover a bit about things to take into consideration when preparing an animal to be eaten but I intend to steer clear of getting into skinning, gutting, and butchering. Mainly because of the type of environment these topics are being presented... If there is a popular demand for it I can always start a separate topic covering just those aspects of hunting and eating animals for survival... or simple living.

Logics would have it to start this off with some basics on tracking animals... because if you can't find them... you aren't going to catch or eat them. Tracking animals is one of those things a person can be talented in... or not. That doesn't mean that "not everyone can track" but just that the logics of tracking comes more naturally to some than others. Anyone can learn to track technically and be fairly successful at it.

The biggest part of tracking is knowing the behaviorism of the animal you are tracking. If you haven't spent any, or only very little, time watching the animals you would be trapping you aren't going to be able to spot the areas in which to start looking for them. I am going to give you tips as to what to look for but I cannot teach you how they move... like most squirrels, for example, will spend as little time on the ground as possible and while you may luck out and find some squirrel tracks near the bottom of a tree... you will probably never be able to trap, or snare, a squirrel on the ground. Therefore, knowing that squirrels generally feed on assorted nuts and fruit of an area it is better to look for piles of nutshells. These piles of nutshells aren't necessarily going to be found near the base of a tree... it could be midway between two trees. However, when you find such a spot, then not only do you have a good idea of what to bait your snare with but you also can figure out where to place your snare and what type of snare will work for that environment. So, observing your prey... knowing that even if a squirrel gathers nuts from the forest floor it will carry the nut back up the tree and generally eat it from a certain spot where they feel comfortable. I am not saying you have to stalk each animal you intend to catch... I am just saying a general knowledge of the species is needed to successfully track and trap it. And, you will realize that certain traits of squirrels will be found in other rodents, like rabbits for instance. And therefore, if you are ever in a situation where you must consider trapping or snaring an animal for food and the animal in that particular area is a rodent with which you aren't very familiar. You can assume some traits based upon your knowledge of other rodents and fill in the other blanks logically based upon the other known physical aspects of the animal. So... spend some time in the forest and watch the animals, they will tell you a lot about themselves... what areas spook them, what time of day they feed or drink... where they live...

Some Basics
Generally, only the larger animals move around during the day. Most smaller animals feed at night... along with those that prey on them. Trails between watering, feeding, and nesting areas are most visible on damp and snow covered ground. To know if a trail you have found is still in use examine it in the early morning hours. Get down on all fours and look down the path... if the dew and spider webs have been disturbed it is safe to assume it is being used by something. Another thing to look for would be where the trail passes through bushes and other vegetation. Pay attention to freshly broken twigs, trampled grass or light vegetation and dislodged green leaves on the ground. If you happen upon some tracks you can determine the age by how well it is defined. The clearer the footprint the more recent it is.

Why does it matter how fresh the print is? Well, if the animal follows one path in the early evening and another on the return and you build your snare, or trap, on the path it uses in the early evening. In the morning when you come to check your trap, instead of finding an animal you might find the remains of it because another animal has discovered it during the night and ate it for you.

Be on the look out for chewed up bark or "left-overs" (uneaten pieces of food... be it plant or animal), these things let you know an animal frequents there and it let's you know what you might use as bait for your trap or snare.
Dung, droppings, sh*t piles are good indicators of an animal's presence. =0o
From the excrement you can determine the type and size of an animal which will help dictate the type of trap or snare to use. You can see what they have been feeding upon to help bait your trap or snare efficiently. In areas where you find an abundance of bird droppings may indicate a nesting ground. Carnivorous animals' droppings generally contain indigestible remains such as hair and bones from their prey.

Some animals, such as pigs, churn the soil in search of insects, worms, or simply minerals in the soil itself.

Next is pretty much just reference material. It is a collection of animals, an image of their footprint, the type of trap/snare that can be used, the bait that might be used, and detail specific data regarding the tracks themselves. When there are two prints displayed in the footprint images number 1 is right front and the number 2 is the right rear.

Stoats, minks, martens, and polecats are all secretive and have sharp dangerous teeth.
Traps: Spring snares with bait bars and deadfalls. Bait with offal or birds' eggs.
Tracks & Signs: Indistinct except in soft ground. Five well-spaced claws and toes, hair on main pad often smudges the impression. The fore paw prints often overlap the rear paw prints.

Wild Dogs
Certain species, such as foxes, are found from deserts to the arctic. Wolves are confined to northern wilderness areas. Wild canines can be very dangerous and their exceptional senses make it pointless to stalk them. When preparing a canine for eating make sure to remove the anal glands before cooking. It is best prepared through boiling thoroughly.
Traps:Stepped-bait or toggle, bait-release, baited-hole-noose and make sure to minimize the amount of human scent on the bait, trap and area around the trap.
Tracks & Signs: Walks on toes, the print will show four pads and claw tips. The outer pad is shorter then the inner. The dropping are elongated and tapered and can contain remains of fur, bones and insects.

Wild Cats
Wild cats can be found on all continents except in Australia and Antarctica but is not necessarily commonly found. Large cats are very dangerous and extreme caution should be exercised when targeted as a food source. Smaller cats are generally more secretive and nocturnal. They are best prepared through thorough stewing and taste a bit like rabbit.
Traps: Bait powerful spring snares with offal, blood or meat. Cats can react very quicklyand can jump clear of deadfall traps.
Tracks & Signs: Walks on toes, claws retracted when walking (except cheetahs). Their droppings are elongated and often hidden. Their urine is usually strong -smelling.

Monkeys & Apes
They are found in tropical areas, intelligent and very difficult to stalk. They usually live in trees and in extended family groups. Even small monkey can inflict a serious and painful bite.
Traps: Perch or baited spring-spear trap, spring snare or hole noose. Bait the trap with fruit or colorful objects.
Signs: They are usually fairly noisy and do not try to hide.

Seals are at their most vulnerable during March to June when they are on the ice with their pups.
Traps: There is no trapping method for seals... it's a "hands on" kind of experience.
Tracks & Signs: Their track shows where their bellies drag between their front flippers and the arrow shows the direction of travel.

Bats are found everywhere except in cold climates. They are purely nocturnal, hibernating meat eaters. Fruit bats are especially good eating.
Traps: There is no trapping method for bats, simply knock them down from their roosts when they are sleeping during the day.
Signs: Roosting colonies are generally easy to spot and can often be found in caves.

Are found primarily in North America, Africa and South Asia and live in herds. Older bulls are particularly dangerous.
Traps: Powerful snares, spring traps and deadfalls.
Tracks & Signs: Heavy, two distinct hoof marks, narrow at the top and bulbous at the rear. Droppings are like cow pats... which, if dried, make excellent fuel for a fire.

Wild Sheep & Goats
Sheep tend to live in small flocks in inaccessible places. Goats are even more sure footed and almost impossible to approach.
Traps: Snares or spring snares on trails and in naturally rocky areas deadfalls are ideal.
Tracks & Signs: Cloven hooves, two slender pointed marks not jointed in which the tips are splayed in sheep and only sometimes in goats.

Deer & Antelopes
Deer are found in well-wooded country on every continent except Australia and vary in size and shape from the moose to the tiny forest deer of the tropics. Antelopes and gazelles are as equally varied and widespread. All are shy, elusive, most active at dusk and dawn, hear and smell extremely well, and, except for those in arid regions, are never too far from water. The meat smokes very nicely and the antlers and hides are extremely useful.
Traps: Snare or deadfall the smaller of the species and use leg spring snares and deadfalls for the larger. Use offal as bait.
Tracks & Signs: Notice the dew claw impression on the lower track (reindeer), in the image to the right, when walking the front and rear tracks overlap; and when running they are spaced apart. Droppings are usually oblong to round and generally found in clumps. Look for trees where the bark has been rubbed off or slightly chewed up or simply scratched up from a deer's antlers.

Wild Pigs
Some pigs have fairly thick hair, others have almost none, but all have a similar shape. Pigs are very intelligent and difficult to stalk. They are extremely dangerous because of their size and because most have tusks which can inflict a lot of damage.
Traps: Strong spring snares,deadfall, pig spear traps.
Tracks & Signs: Cloven deer-like hoof prints. Droppings are often shapeless and never long, firm, or tapering. Look for stirred up soil from rooting or wallowing.

Rabbits & Hares
I would like to start this one off a little different and mention "rabbit starvation". Rabbits are not really an adequate food source as they lack vitamins and minerals the body needs to survive. You would actually starve to death if you attempted a strict rabbit diet.
If hunting rabbit still interests you... they are widespread and fairly easy to catch. Most live in burrows and in large numbers and leave well worn trails on which you could set traps. Hares on the other hand do not live in burrows and generally do not leave trails.
Traps: Simple snares, a spring snare will lessen the chance that another animal beats you to your catch.
Tracks & Signs: Since they have furry soles they leave very little detail in their tracks, even on soft ground. Hares have five toes on their front feet, but the inner toe is so short that it seldom leaves a print and the rear foot is slender and long. A rabbit's are similar but smaller. Their droppings are small, hard, round pellets. They leave markings on trees from the incisors where they have nibbled bark from the bottom of trees. Rabbits sometimes "thump" a warning sound.

Small Rodents
Rats, mice, cavies, guinea pigs, etc. may be lured into cage traps but for the most part are too small to snare. Rodents tend to carry diseases, especially rats, so when gutting it is important not to rupture the innards and cook thoroughly.
Traps: Cage traps.
Tracks & Signs: Generally not very distinguishable or clear.

Squirrels & Prairie Dogs
They can be found almost everywhere except for Australasia and the Poles. They are alert and nimble, are readily active by day and night and tend to hibernate in cold areas.
Traps: Small spring snares connected to bait bars.
Tracks & Signs: Chewed bark, gnawed nuts and cones, or an untidy nest of twigs in tree tops.

They, along with wallabies, are pretty much isolated to Australia and are most active at night.
Traps: Deadfalls and spring snares.
Tracks & Signs: Two prints resembling very large rabbit tracks.

Small nocturnal, scavenging, marsupials of North and South America. There are some similar, but unrelated, animals in Australasia.
Traps: Bait with fruit, eggs, etc. they are very curious creatures.

They are found widely in North America, are cat-sized nocturnal animals with a banded, bushy tail.
Traps: Baited spring snares.

They are wild in desert regions.
Traps: very powerful spear or projectile weapon.


_______________________________________________________________________________ Crocodiles & Alligators
They are found in tropical, and subtropical, areas and their tails are every bit as dangerous as their teeth.
Traps: Use a trap or snare near the water's edge or use a line with a stick hidden in the bait that will lodge itself in its gullet. Kill it with a sharp blow between the eyes.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Lizards
Most lizards can be caught by hand. However, some are poisonous like the Gila Monster and Beaded Lizard. While others, like large Iguanas and Monitors, can inflict a bad bite and have powerful claws.
Traps: Can sometimes be trapped in a pit but baited cage traps can be affective for larger lizards as well.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Turtles & Tortoises
Turtles only emerge from the water to lay eggs and can be netted and dragged on land. For the most part both turtles and tortoises are slow moving (on land) and caught fairly easily. Their jaws are very powerful and should be avoided. Their innards, heads and necks should be removed prior to cooking. They are best boiled or you can roast them in the embers of a fire. They tend to be very rich and should be eaten only in small amounts.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Amphibians
All Frogs are edible but some may have poisonous skins which should be removed before cooking. They are generally found near water at night and can be distracted with a light at which time you can net, spear, or club them.
Toads have warty skin, can be found far from water, but most have highly toxic skin and should be avoided.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Snakes
Unless you are fairly certain of your abilities poisonous snakes should be avoided along with exceptionally large constrictors. Regardless of whether a snake is poisonous or not almost all can and will still bite you in which case infection is likely and not to be taken lightly. Tree snakes shold be knocked out of the tree prior to trying to catch them. You can use a forked stick to pin a snake's head down, at which time, I would suggest decapitation prior to handling comfortably and free of risk as some snakes "play dead" very well. Some will even discharge blood from their mouths to give an even more convincing performance.

All birds are edible although some taste better than others. All birds of prey must be boiled thoroughly.
Traps: Cage traps, deadfalls and spring snares can be used for birds that take bait. Nooses on branches may catch roosting birds. In wooded areas the best place to set traps is in clearings or near a river's edge. A crude dummy owl will attract small birds.
Tracks & Signs: In deserts or snow you may be able to locate birds hiding in close cover. Droppings may point out a night roosting spot.
Autumn Moult: Birds moult completely in autumn and are unable to fly more than a short distance during which time ducks, geese, and game birds are much easier to catch.
Nests: Eggs are readily available from ground nesting birds, but be prepared for attack because most guard their nests diligently.
Flightless Birds: Flightless birds are much easier to trap but the large species, such as ostriches, should be treated with caution as they can dish out powerful kicks.

Insects those creepy crawlies that make a lot of people cringe just thinking about them can be quite a delicacy and are very rich in fat, protein and carbohydrates. While most insects are edible raw they can be more palatable when cooked, if only to help fool yourself into imagining them as something else while chewing them up and swallowing.

In general preparation instructions would be to remove the legs and wings from larger insects as the tiny hairs and barbs can irritate the digestive tract. Remove hard armoring shells from beetles. Squeeze the innards from furry caterpillars. Boiling is generally the safest method for cooking any thing as it cleanses, dilutes toxins and cooks at the same time. However, they can be roasted on a bed of coals as well. Small insects can be crushed into a paste, cooked and dried into a powder to be added to other foods like soups or stews to thicken them.

Look in tiny cracks and crevices of trees and rocks, decaying stumps are generally full of life, BUT! Be careful! Since insects are a popular food source for all kinds of animals you may run across snakes, scorpions or other semi-dangerous creatures (black widows or other poisonous spiders). So make sure you can see what you are sticking your hand into... split open or knock pieces off of rotting logs or stumps rather than just probing inside with your hand... and don't stick your face down in the hole to get a better look... not a wise move... you can't really stick a constriction band around your face to slow the bodies absorption of a snakes venom if it bites you in the face.

Some things to be wary of... avoid collecting and eating any insect that looks sickly, dead, has a bad smell, or causes a rash when handled. Do not gather any insects that are feeding on decaying animals, fish, garbage, or dung as they may carry infections. Avoid grubs found on the underside of leaves as they often secrete toxins (however, they make good fishing bait). Avoid brightly colored insects and caterpillars as they are generally poisonous.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Termites
They are found in warm climates and can be plentiful. Remove the wings from large termites before boiling, frying, or roasting. The eggs and larvae are very nutritious as well.

As for other uses of termites other than as a food source... if you take a piece of a termite mound and place it upon a fire it creates a smoke that is a natural mosquito repellent. You can also suspend a piece of their nest or mound over the water where you intend to fish and it works a kind of chumming in attracting fish to that particular spot.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Bees, Wasps, & Hornets
This is mainly going to be about bees because wasps and hornets are exceptionally more dangerous and is generally advised to find an alternative food source.

Bees, their honey, and even comb is edible. When you find a hive it is safe to harvest at night as bees are inactive during the night hours. You would use a torch, and maybe even some green limbs, to fill the hive with smoke. Once you have filled the hive with smoke seal the hole in the hive and wait a little while... you can repeat the process if you think it is needed. you can then harvest the bees, the honey and the comb. Remove the wings, legs, and stingers; boil or roast to improve upon the flavor and you have a nice meal in itself. You can then drain the honey from the comb for flavoring to food or to eat alone. However, note that there is a slight risk that honey can contain plant poisons. You can possibly smell a difference but you can always use the plant edibility test to make sure if the honey is safe to eat. As for the comb, it can be eaten, used to water proof clothing, or candles can be made from it.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Ants
Most ants have a sting bite and some eject formic acid as a defense or for attack. Ants should be cooked for at least 6 minutes to destroy any toxins they may contain prior to eating.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Locusts, Crickets, & Grasshoppers
You can collect them with a net, swat them with something, or catch them by hand as they are not dangerous. Remove wings, antennae, and legs prior to eating. They can be eaten raw or you can roast them to ensure any parasites they may contain have been killed.
_______________________________________________________________________________ Snails, Slugs, & Worms
Snails and worms should be eaten fresh after special preparation. Due to their diets they all may contain toxins and should be starved (one day for worms and a few days for snails) to ensure the toxins have been completely excreted. You can also provide them with safe greens or herbs to feed upon instead of starving them. All saltwater snails (and slugs) should be avoided unless you have positively identified them as being safe to eat. Also avoid any snail with a brightly colored shell.

In addition to the starving of snails (and slugs), you should soak them in a saltwater solution in order to additionally flush their innards. you can then boil for ten minutes and add herbs for flavoring.

Worms can be dried with the sun, on a hot stone, or over a fire and then ground to make a powder with which you can add to other foods or for a thickening agent for soups and stews.

Additional Warnings & Dangers
_______________________________________________________________________________Animal attacks are rare but large animals can be dangerous. If you do come face to face with a large animal... don't move... stay as calm as possible... look away if it helps you remain calmer... plus the animal shouldn't get the impression that you are challenging them. To my understanding with bears in particular it is better to not move at all, but with other animals it is advised to slowly back away. No sudden movements, so be careful where you step so you do not trip and fall... the last place you want to be after making a sudden movement is on your back. Remember, the animal is probably just as afraid as you are. If it appears to be charging you, it may only be that you are blocking its escape route so move out of the way.

If you suddenly find yourself running because you just reacted and didn't remain calm, move out of the way, or find that the animal is actually chasing you... zig-zag when you run. Some animals (rhinos for example) have bad eye sight and simply charge in a straight line.

Nocturnal animals have great night vision but their color vision is poor and they tend to not pay attention to stationary objects so if they haven't seen you remain as still as possible.

You can always try yelling and moving your arms around frantically as one of your last resorts... it might help deter an attack but don't depend upon it.

In the worst case scenario you might want to climb a tree... realize, before you do, that you may be up there for quite a while. Try not to choose a tree with thorns because that long wait could be that much more uncomfortable.

As said earlier, animal attacks are very rare, what is more common are diseases carried by mosquitoes or ticks, or illness and diseases due to tainted food or water. So be extremely careful and concentrated when you are choosing and preparing food and water for consumption. Don't cut corners and skip steps out of desperation or eagerness... and above all respect nature and be mindful of yourself in it.

Re: Let's Meat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:10 am
by Ryan
Let's Meat!
Part II
I am going to start this post of with the unpleasantries of trapping. Traps are not only dangerous to animals they are also dangerous to people. If the area you have set traps can be accessed by others make sure you visibly warn others with signs... as far as we know animals cannot read them so it shouldn't reduce the effectiveness of your traps.

You should check your traps regularly for a number of reasons. Because stale or rotting bait is not appealing to animals. If you have caught something it is better to retrieve it as soon as possible as animals have been known to chew off their own limbs to escape traps or they are eaten by other predators.

Here are the angles of trapping: Mangle, Strangle, Dangle, & Tangle. Deadfalls and spears mangle, snares strangle, spring snares lift the animal into the air where it dangles, and nets tangle.

Rules for Trapping
    1. Avoid Disturbing the Environment: Don't walk on the game trail, leave no signs that you have been there.

    2. Hide Scent: Handle traps as little as possible and wear gloves if you can. When Building your traps use wood that is found in the trees of that area where you will set the trap. Don't use Pine where only oaks are found... for example. You can mask your scents by exposing the pieces to smoke before constructing your trap at its location.

    3. Camouflage: Hide freshly cut ends of wood and vines with mud and cover ground nooses with leaves or dirt to blend in with its surroundings.

    4. Make them Strong: If your trap/snare has any weaknesses they will be found because the trapped animal will be fighting for its life, so double check your traps and make sure you have done it right the first time.

It is definitely easier to trap than to hunt small prey. Your choice of bait and the trap's placement are crucial. Trapping is an exercise in patience, give your traps time to work. Animals will be a bit wary until they get used to the new objects in their environment.

You will have to accept that there are going to be a number of failures, however, if you find that your bait is being taken and the trap is not being triggered you should consider that either your trigger is too tight or your bait is not secure enough... or both.

Place traps in natural bottlenecks where the trail passes under or through something. Do not place a trap near an animal's nest, den, lair, etc. as they are extremely cautious of anything unusual close to home.

Baited Spring Snare
Ideally for medium-sized prey. Place on a trail by a natural bottleneck. Cut a notch in the trigger bar (a) to fit in the notch of the upright stake (b). Drive the upright stake into the ground. Then attach the snare to the trigger bar and use some cord to attach the trigger bar to a sapling for tension. The sapling should be strong enough to lift your prey into the air. Hazel wood is ideal for the "spring" in spring snares. The stake holding the opposite end of the bait should be lightly driven into the ground because it must be pulled into the air along with the noose.
Platform Trap
Build in a small depression along a game trail. Place snares on platforms on both sides. When the platform is stepped on, the trigger bar is release and the animal is held by the leg. The platforms can be made from tree bark or sticks. This trap is ideal for larger game like deer, big cats, or even bears.

    Stepped Bait Release Snare
    Place these snares in clearing to catch small carnivores and pigs. Two forked sticks are driven into the ground to hold a cross bar in place. A notched upright is connected to the spring, the bait, and a noose on each side of the crossbar. The notch on the baited upright should be carved to fit the shape of the cross bar as it will be used as the trigger.
Deadfall & Deadfall Spear
Deadfall traps use crushing weight to kill prey. Such traps are generally for larger prey and therefore are difficult to build and set alone. When building a trap such as the one pictured to the right it is important that the trip line is long enough that the weight can reach the ground, plus tight enough to keep the retaining bar against the pegs. The third image is based upon the same concept except the rock adds additional weight and will use sharpened sticks to pierce the prey.
Toggle Trip-Release Deadfall
This is mainly here because of its sensitivity as a trap. This form of trigger mechanism can also be incorporated into a snare.


Re: Let's Meat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:53 am
by mirjana
OK, Let's Meat will not be my motto as I am vegetarian. But, I do respect your approach to this matter as to all other put into the context of survival in the nature. I am and stay deeply interested for Knowing Nature.
SO, in spite of that I am vegetarian I read this and it is memorized somewhere, even if not being one of my interests. Being memorized, I can imagine in the time of must use it will come out as a useful knowledge. And that is all that matters, to have a useful knowledge. The way and situations we are going to use it depend on circumstances and personal preferences. I love animals and cannot imagine killing them, but under the circumstances when I have to protect my family and myself and to choose between them and my family, the choice is clear. Therefore, for everything that could be helpful I am grateful.

Re: Let's Meat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:24 pm
by Ryan
<3 Thanks... and yes... I didn't think this topic would be very well received but I thought it is necessary if only to provide a more complete presentation of information.

Re: Let's Meat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:50 pm
by Ryan
Let's Meat!
Part III
This post is about some tools you can create in nature with which you can hunt animals.

The first tool we are going into detail upon would be the bow and arrow which is probably one of the most effective hunting tools you can create. A well seasoned wood is best used in making your bow... if you do not have the luxury of time to season the wood properly maybe cut lengths enough for two (or more) bows and let the additional piece(s) cure a bit while you use the younger bow.

Yew is the ideal wood for making a bow, but if you do not have access to any yew then you can use Hickory, Juniper, Oak, White Elm, Cedar, Ironwood, Birch, Willow or Hemlock instead.

    Select a nice, straight, and not very knotty rod of wood for your bow. To determine an adequate length hold one end at your hip with one hand. Then, angling the staff across your body and with the other hand slightly stretched outwards to the side, mark the length of your reach. The marked length of wood is a decent and proper size for your bow.

The bow should have an approximate diameter of 5 cm (2 in) in the center and taper to around 1.5 (5/8 in) cm on both ends. Make notches at about 1.25 cm (1/2 in) from the ends to hold the string from slipping up on the bow. You can remove the bark if you would like. Once the bow's shape has been carved out treat the bow with an oil or animal fat.


For the string you can use raw hide cut in a strip approximately 3 mm (1/8 in) in thickness, string, fibers from nettle stems, or sinews. The string should only be under slight tension as the main tension will come once the bow is drawn to full extension. Use two half hitches to secure the string to the bow. If the bow is unseasoned, in order to extend its usefulness, when the bow is not being used untie one end of the string to allow the bow to relax.

To make your arrows you need to use very straight shafts of wood. Birch is a good straight and somewhat light weight wood. Arrows should be about 60 cm (2 ft) long, 6 mm (1/4 in) diameter. The must be as straight and smooth as possible. You can take sand and put it in a cloth to use as sand paper in order to smooth the shaft of the arrow once it is prepared. At one end of the arrow you will need to cut a notch wide enough to straddle the bow string and approximately 6 mm (1/4 in) deep.


Fletching Arrows Is a very important step and probably the most difficult. The fletching on an arrow helps it fly straight by placing drag on the back end of the arrow and acting as a rudder in keeping it flying in the direction it was released. The best fletching material would be a feather... if need be you could use paper, cloth, or leaves. We are going to talk about using a feather for fletching. (a) First you would split the feather down the quill (Rachis). Start at the top of the feather as it splits easier. Then you would (b) trim back the barbs to leave an extension of the quill spine at an approximate length of 2 cm (3/4 in). (c) Last, but certainly not least, you'll space three fletchings out equally around the shaft of the arrow and wrap the extended quill spines with thread, fibers from nettle stems, or another thin cord of some sort. You can use sap from some plants (like the bulbs from bluebells) as a glue to assist in keeping the fletchings in place while wrapping. Also, if you want to do a real nice job with the fletching you can separate the barbs of the feather in spaced intervals and wrap, in a spiral, from the front of the fletching to the back in order to ensure they do not peel off of the shaft.

Image The arrowhead can be made a number of ways... you can simply sharpen the wood itself and harden it in a fire, or you can make a tip from tin, bone, or flint. In order to attach and arrowhead, rather than simply sharpening the wood, you would need to cut a notch in the shaft that would hold the arrow head. You could simply
wrap the base of the arrowhead and shaft, or what is even better and will prolong the life of your arrows, you can use dried clumps of pine sap and charcoal to make a resin glue-like substance.

To make the resin you would find some pine trees and look around the trunk of the tree and break off pieces of dried sap. You would then need to melt it either in a small pot, tin can, or even on a rock. While it is melting you can take some pieces of charcoal and grind them up into a fine powder. You mix the melted sap and powdered coal to make a sort of tar. Place a bit of the tar in the notch of the arrow and then insert the arrowhead while the tar is still soft. You would then wrap the arrow head and shaft and then cover the wrappings in the tar as well.

Some other hunting tools would be a sling shot or catapult...

To make a catapult you would need something strong and elastic-like (surgical tubing or a strip of inner tubing), a pouch (similar to that of a sling shot) and then both ends of the elastic band are fixed to the uprights of a forked piece of wood.
    Sling Shot
    A sling shot is a simple leather pouch in the middle of a leather (or some other material) chord. You can then place small rounded stones in the pouch. Then you would spin the sling above your head and at the right moment let loose one end of the sling to release the pebbles in the direction of your target.

You can also make spears which is basically an very large arrow without fletching. Depending on the type of spearhead you have created you could hunt large game, fish, or even frogs.

Some Hunting Dangers

Never camp on or near a game trail. Although animal attacks are few and far between it is better not to ask for trouble by putting your camp in the middle of their highway.

If you are in an area where there are bears, take extreme care. Don't leave food laying around and it is best to keep all edible object in (preferably air tight) containers and elevated in or near tree tops. Bears are scavengers and will walk right into your camp... exercise extreme caution when dealing with such visitors. Bears can easily kill a human... if needed you can try to drive them away using loud noises but do not get too close or try to catch them.

Crocodiles, alligators, and large horned animals can do some serious damage and should be given the right of way in any circumstance. Other hoofed animals can deal out fatal kicks including ostriches.

No matter what the size of animal bites should always be treated as serious. Not only is there an extreme risk of getting an infection due to bacteria in the mouths of what has bitten you but many animal bites can cause tetanus and possibly rabies... so seek medical attention as soon as possible.

It is not uncommon that a snake, scorpion or other creepy crawly finds the warmth of your body comforting and huddles up next to you on a cold night. If you wake to find you have adopted a bed buddy try to remain calm as possible and above all move gently and slowly to extract yourself from the situation without giving a rude awakening to your new found friend. I, myself have slipped my foot in my shoe that was being occupied by a scorpion and was able to notice the strange cold lump beneath my toes and extract my foot after a couple of steps without getting stung. Most of these creatures will probably be very thankful for the warmth you expressed and will do you no harm as long as you do not scare them by kicking, screaming, and shaking.

Re: Let's Meat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:44 pm
by Ryan
Let's Meat!
Part IV
As mentioned earlier, this portion is going to be quite lacking on expected content.

If you have trapped, snared, or speared an animal approach it with extreme caution. Make sure it is dead before handling it. Never kill more than you can eat and never waste any part of an animal. Respect the animal and that it has given its life for you and show this respect by making sure every piece of that creature is used and not just thrown away.

All animals have lymph glands in their cheeks. If these glands are enlarged and/or discolored the animal was ill.

All preparations of an animal should be done a considerable distance from your camp. The excess will only attract scavengers and if the animal is prepared on your tapping lines it could add to the effectiveness of your traps.

Deer have scent glands on the back of their knees (canines and felines have them on both sides of their anuses) these must be remove promptly and carefully or they could spoil the meat. All males should be promptly castrated. There are, of course, many more things to consider when preparing an animal and some things are animal specific... a little research and I am sure you can find out those things... but this is as in depth as it is going to get here.

The most important things to consider when preparing any animal is not to spill contents of the stomach and intestines onto the meat, and cook all meat extremely well to kill off any bacteria that could do you any kind of harm.