5 Things to Consider When Building a Tree Stand to Hunt Game

tree stand

Considerations to help you maximize your food survival skills

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Once your survival gear has used all of the food content, you will have to find other methods of collecting and sustaining food.

Yes, you can gather nuts and berries, but if you are used to having meat in your diet you will need to maintain some form of protein or your body will suffer for it.

As wild game will not just walk into your camp in most situations, you will need to hunt and fish. One of the best ways in which to hunt is to set a tree stand.

Here are 5 things to consider when building your tree stand.

5) Is the stand along a game trail?

The first thing that you need to determine is the location.

Ideally, you want to have your tree stand in a location that has a few game trails (or at least one visible trail and possible others) in order to maximize your potential for having a successful hunt.

You need to determine the type of game which is using the trail as well as monitor the tracks and signs of the trail to predict how often it is used by wild game.

It would do you no good to set up a tree stand on a game trail which is primarily traveled by squirrels and possums or on a deer trail that has gone dry.

4) Look for a sturdy tree with branches

You will have to get in and out of your tree stand.

You need to have a tree with branches to do this.

Avoid brittle tree types, such as the pine, which are known for having branches which snap off at a moment’s notice. You want to find a tree that is close to the trail and has sturdy branches.

If you need to trim back some of the foliage to provide you with easier access then do so.

DO NOT use a dead tree or a tree whose branches cannot support your weight without bending.

3) How good is the view?

You may have the ideal tree and the perfect path for your hunt, but if the view of the trail is bad from the tree stand then you really have not accomplished much.

The best tree stands will not only provide a view of the game trail, but will allow you a nice panoramic view of the surrounding area.

I would venture to say that if you cannot see at least 180 degrees (being that you can look all the way to the left and right without any major blockage to the view) that you need to find a new location.

The reason for this is that you will want to maximize the area that you can hunt in.

You need to be able to see the game as it approaches and be able to prepare for the kill. If the only area which can be viewed is 30 degrees or less, then you have greatly minimized the area and the probability of a successful hunt.

2) Can you be seen easily?

Keep in mind that where you may be hunting, you may also be spotted by another survivalist if your location is close to open fields.

Granted, in an ideal situation you will not have other survivalists within a close proximity of you.

However, in a wilderness situation caused by a natural or manmade disaster you may not have the option of being completely away from others.

In this scenario, it is critical that you pick a location which is far enough away from your camp as not to give away the location.

When building your tree stand, try to camouflage the tree stand as much as possible so that it appears to be part of the tree and the surroundings.

What you do not want is to have a tree stand which is too open and spotted by a desperate person.

1) Harnesses and safety equipment

Regardless of how well you build your tree stand, you should use a harness and implement some safety mechanism into the design.

I have seen men who have hunted for 20 years slip in their stands and become paralyzed from the neck down all because they were too stubborn to tie themselves to the tree.

You do not have to make it so tight as to disable movement, but take into consideration that you will more than likely be up in the air on a platform made from wood and bound together by rope and clothing.

Unless you have specifically packed a tree stand, your design is very apt to have some flaws in the design.

Depending on the height in which you set your stand, this can be a life threatening risk.

It is recommended that you:

  • Do not climb the tree with a gun which does not have a safety or a gun whose safety is off
  • That you do not climb branches after a rain or freezing weather as they are very likely to cause you to slip and fall
  • That you consistently check the tree stand for any signs of rot and weathering
  • That you re-secure all knots and binding material before every use
  • That you asses the risk of the hunt prior to committing to it

The best solution

The best solution is to add a small tree stand to your tactical gear or to your survival pack.

You can easily find one that will fold down or one that needs minimal assembly. Of course, you can always stick to hunting from the ground and fishing as well.

The point is that your food survival is your personal responsibility as a survivalist. Your gear will not sustain you, a game trail is not definitive, only you can determine your food sustainability by utilizing the survival skills, common sense, and bushcrafts you have leared.

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Top 6 Medicinal Herbs for Your Bug Out Bag

Herbs that will help to keep you alive in a bug out situation

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Your bug out bag is a vital part to your survival. It is understood that in your survival gear you will have the essentials of food, water, heat, shelter, and clothing.

However, you need to go a bit beyond just the fundamentals of survival training and include some form of natural medicine in your gear.

Here are the top 6 medicinal herbs for your bug out bag.

1) Aloe

Perhaps one of the best natural ways to sooth a burn is Aloe, and you will get burned at one point of another if you are a survivalist.

When you pack the aloe, you will want to ensure that the herb is in an air tight container which will minimize the chances of the sap of the plant spilling out.

As the sap of the leaves is what soothes the burn, it is essential that keep as much in the leaves as possible.

It is recommended that you break the leaves off as close to the base of the plant as possible. Store with the open end of the leaf up (or if possible seal the leaf with wax).

When you use the aloe, simply break the leaf in the middle and squeeze the contents onto the wound.

Aloe acts a soothing agent for both fire burns (such as that which can be gained from improperly lighting a fire) to sunburns.

2) Mint

Mint is a diverse medicinal herb.

The herb can help with digestive problems, naturally work as a cleaner for your teeth, help with bad breath, and provide antioxidants to the blood and therefore help to reduce cardiovascular diseases.

What is greater still is that mint grows in most of the geographic locations of the United States in the wild.

Where it would behoove you to have a supply in your survival gear, you can also benefit from finding a natural cluster of mint close to your bug out site.

3) Lemon Grass

Lemon grass is a natural way in which you can treat digestive spasms, stomachaches, and vomiting.

You should keep some in your survival gear just in case you find some berries that are not quite ripe or eat some meat that just does not sit well in your stomach.

Lemon Grass is also used as a painkiller, to reduce fever, to fight common colds as well as to help with muscle exhaustion.

You can eat lemon grass plain/raw or you can digest it in the form of a beverage. As most lemon grass is used either as a seasoning agent or in teas as lemon, you may find that lemon grass will provide a medicinal tea if brewed.

Storing Lemon grass should be done in a bag with little moisture. Do not shred the grass but try to keep it at a natural length. Remember, once you cut an herb it starts to lose some of its natural minerals and functionality. If possible air seal your herbs.

4) Pepper

A great use for pepper is for cuts. Adding pepper to a cut will help to cause the wound to stop bleeding.

Where you do not want to put a ton of pepper into your wound as it may aggravate it, a small amount in a gash will help you to at least get a hold of the situation and stitch yourself up.

If your skin is starting to feel grimy and you feel as if it is getting to the point of being a health issue, pepper can be used as a natural scrubbing solution to open up your skin and get out dirt.

Avoid the eyes and around the nose area.

For everyday medicinal purposes, use pepper to regulate your blood pressure and to relieve the common cold.

5) Cloves

If you have been living in a survivalist situation, then you will greatly appreciate the many benefits of having cloves in your bug out bag.

Like mint, cloves help with the teeth. Particularly, the clove treat tooth ache pain and sooths the gums.

You can also use cloves to treat scrapes and bruises which you will get from living off the grid day to day.

When you add cloves to water you can make a tea which will cure a great deal of upper respiratory infections.

Do not be alarmed when you start to see an increase of phlegm. This is a natural reaction to the process and an indicator that things are going well.

6) Garlic

Garlic is like the Robitussin of herbs. It pretty much takes care of anything. You can take it in small doses and it will help your cardio.

If you have a sore throat it will help to alleviate the symptoms. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, garlic can be used to help with that.

Allergies, blood pressure, cholesterol, the cold, the flue, a repellant for mosquitos, hay fever, ear aches, and acne can all be treated and/or prevented with the use of garlic.

Pack cloves of garlic into your bug out bag. Keep in mind that the garlic clove has a very distinguishable scent.

If you do not want everything smelling like garlic you will need to put it into an air tight container. It is advised that you pace several cloves so that you can plant the herb when you get to your bug out spot.

These are just a few of the herbs that you will need to survive.

You should take the time to identify the herbs and plants in your region which grow in abundance (there is no need to pack things which are everywhere) and pack your bug out bag with the herbs which will be in demand.

Of course, if you are in California and have “medical herbs”, you won’t care about the end of the world being upon us.

However, for the rest of us we need to have a disaster plan and medical supplies in place to help us when we go off the grid.

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Is It Possible To Be a Vegetarian Survivalist?

How to be a survivalist and a vegetarian

You don’t have to eat meat to survive in the wild

Survivalist is not the same thing as being a meat eater.

It is rather an assumption of many that those which are in a wilderness situation will be hunters and fishers.

Granted, if you are used to eating meat then you will probably want to either detox yourself prior to wilderness survival or stick to having meat in your diet.

However, if you are a vegetarian you can still survive.

Here are a few ways in which you can be a survivalist and a vegetarian.

Get your proteins from mushrooms

If you have researched and know which mushrooms are ok to eat (because you do not want to be hallucinating or dead from eating the wrong kind) then these are great ways in which to gain your needed proteins. 

Vegetarians have long been using mushrooms as a meat substitute, and seeing as how your body is going to require some protein and that growing beans and such may take a while, mushrooms may be the best solution to finding your proteins.

To find suitable mushrooms, you will need to look for moist areas.

Typically, you can find mushrooms growing along the base of trees, close to fallen wood, or along riverbanks and streams.

The best time to find fresh mushrooms are after heavy rains.

You can probably find a great many if your geographical location gets a fair amount of dew/ moisture. Again,  know which ones are safe to eat.

Using a survival guide which lists common edible plants and herbs is recommended.

Have a selection of seeds in your survival gear

When you pack your survival gear, ensure that you pack a wide range of non-hybrid seeds.

The reason that you want to avoid hybrid plants are due to the fact that they do not produce any seeds that will yield another crop.

In other words, you may get some produce this season, but unless you find some seed you will not get anything else from it.

survival seeds

Ensure that the seeds you choose are for all seasons. You do not want to be dependent upon a spring crop or a fall crop.

Have seeds which can be planted year round and know when to plant them. When harvesting your food, keep a portion of the food set aside so that you have your next batch of seeds.

Gather natural plants and herbs only for the day.

If you are going to be a vegetarian and a survivalist then you will need to be able to identify which foods are edible and which foods can kill you.

Once you have done this you will need to only gather enough food for the day.

Why is this?

Natural food will wilt and ruin very quickly, especially if you are in an area that sees a great deal of heat.

Also, the moment that you pick a plant, the nutritional value of the plant starts to diminish quickly (this is why the canned produce that you get from a grocery store only gives you about 20% of the original nutrition where fresh produce gives you around 60 to 70%).

Areas which have a great deal of natural food supplies should be mentally noted and visited often.

Keep in mind that on bushes which yield berries that the more you pick the more will be produced in most cases.

This is the fundamental principal behind pruning and essentially you will be doing such when you collect from these bushes.

Pack nuts into your survival gear

Instead of packing dehydrated meats and contents which you are not going to eat, substitute such with dried no or very low salted nuts.

You may want to also consider packing some dehydrated fruits and vegetables into your pack.

Trail Mix is a great solution if you pick one from an organic site or make it yourself.

Do not get commercial brand trail mix as they are the equivalent of stuffing your bag full of potato chips and other junk food.

Pretzels with a ton of salt, salted peanuts, chocolate candies, and seasoning salts should be avoided.

The main point is to keep the sodium level down and the proteins up.

Eat seaweed and other water grasses

If you want to have a well saturated meal (meaning that you will have greens with a great deal of nutrients and moisture) consider eating the grasses from the riverbed and stream.

Avoid eating anything which has visible fungus/slime upon it. 

Of course, you will want to try to cook the grass to remove bacteria from the water and use your water filter for any water you take out of the stream to drink.

If you are located near the ocean or any other salt water sources, you will more than likely not be able to drink the water unless you have a special filter to purify it (which I have not come across on any survivalist site).

However, you can gather the seaweed that dominates these areas and make a large stash of food from it. As seaweed can be eaten both fresh as well as dried, it is ideal for the vegetarian survivalist.

Pack vitamins into your survival gear

As it may be a bit hard to find plants, herbs, berries, and nuts which will provide you with all the vitamins and minerals that your body will require to survive, it is highly recommended that you pack a few bottles of vitamins into your survival gear.

Ensure that you get one of the brands which offer you all the essentials that your body will need and not just a specialized mineral (unless you know that you are somewhat deficient in that area).

By adding in the vitamins you can somewhat supplement what is lacking as you gather your food.

This is not a food substitute, but rather a method in which to ensure that you do not become malnutritioned while seeking out a spot with sustainable natural food.

11 Things I Wish I Knew About Building A Survival Kit When I First Started

building a survival kit

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Most preppers assume that building a survival kit is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are a few common mistakes when selecting items to add to their first survival kit. Here are a few tips to make your survival kit more useful and efficient.

11) A Survival Kit Should Handle Many Potential Emergencies

A well-designed safety kit must contain tools and supplies to help you survive in a number of different emergency situations.

One common mistake made by people building their first survival kit is focusing on a narrow subset of emergencies.

They build a kit which might be fantastic for dealing with an invasion by China, but isn’t too useful when you fall off a cliff and break your leg!

The survival kit should contain items that:

  • Help you create shelter and protect yourself against the elements and extreme temperatures
  • Supply food and water
  • Satisfy basic health and emergency first aid requirements
  • Help you navigate the area
  • Allow you to communicate with other people and notify them of your presence

Looking at the items you have collected and thinking about the possible emergency scenarios which might occur will help you evaluate your survival kit.

10) Having Quality Gear Matters

A common mistake that people make when building their first survival kit is going for quantity instead of quality.

There is no point stuffing your survival kit full of items which are not well-made and are prone to breakage.

This is particularly true when talking about items like sleeping bags, signaling gear and communication gear. 

A poor quality sleeping bag could mean the difference between spending a night wide awake and shivering or resting comfortably. 

If your cheap LED torch fails it could mean the difference between rescued and dying alone!  

If you can’t afford quality items immediately, spend more time building your survival kit.

9) Signaling and Communication Items are Crucial

Many survivalists take pride in their self-sufficiency and survival skills. 

For this reason, they sometimes skimp on items which are important for signaling or communicating with other people. 

Don’t forget that a survival kit must cater for situations where your ability to be self-sufficient has been compromised by injury or illness.

Even if you are an expert in off-grid living, signaling, and communication items are essential for any survival kit. 

Useful signaling and communication tools include flares, distress radio beacons, laser pointers with lithium batteries, high-power LED lights with signaling capabilities, whistles, and signaling mirrors.

8) Retractable Gear is a Fantastic Space Saver

Space is always a chief concern when building a survival kit. 

There are some fantastic products which are designed to save space and add more value to your survival kit.

Sometimes they may cost a little more, but if they allow you to take an additional item, it is worth the expense.

7) Use Multiple Emergency First Aid Kits

Perhaps the most important aspect of a survival kit, the emergency first aid kit must include a wide array of items to deal with various medical emergencies. 

Unfortunately, they can become fairly bulky very quickly. 

One way around this issue is to use multiple emergency medical kits — one to carry with you while hiking or taking a short trip, and another more comprehensive kit which stays in your car or at your camp.

Smart preppers craft the contents of their kit to match the activity they will be performing and always take a medical kit with them.

6) Weatherproof Gear is Worth the Money

Experienced preppers understand that the weather is one of the toughest impediments to surviving in the wilderness. 

For this reason, everything that goes into the survival kit should be weather-resistant. 

The items should be able to survive submersion in water, dusty/sandy/icy environments and extreme temperatures.

Using gear which is not weatherproof can lead to disastrous results if you are forced to cross a waterway unexpectedly or the weather suddenly turns bad.

5) Knowledge and Skills Matter as Much as Gear

Many people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on their survival kit, ensuring they have the best gear available. 

However, if you lack the necessary knowledge to use the gear appropriately or deal with emergency situations, it could all be worth nothing.

Your knowledge base should include:

  • First aid knowledge — How to dress a wound, treat a burn, identify an infection
  • Navigational knowledge — Maps and navigational equipment
  • Survivalist and Environmental knowledge — The kinds of animals and plants which may be used to help you survive.  Survival tips including how to start a fire, build a shelter and so on.

Keep in mind that this information may not even be used by you! 

You might run into a situation where you have been injured and cannot gather food or light a fire by yourself. 

Another person might be required to perform these tasks and having this knowledge on hand could help them save your life.

Even if you are experienced with off-grid living, you might only have knowledge relating to a certain type of environment. 

What happens if you have an accident and are left stranded in a foreign location with completely different geographical conditions, wildlife, plants and weather conditions? 

Knowledge is essential to survival.

4) Redundancy Matters

When first building a survival kit, many preppers use a checklist to ensure that they have an item for each survival task. 

For example, a lighter for starting a fire or some chemical tablets for making water safe to drink. 

However, if they lack redundancy for particularly important survival tasks, they are asking for trouble. 

Bring two or even three ways to start a fire, have multiple options for purifying water including chemical tablets and a small filtration system. 

Preppers should also consider the varying weather conditions may affect the viability of some items. 

A traditional lighter might struggle to help you build a fire in an extremely wet environment, for example.  If you are interested in off-grid living, redundancy is particularly important.

3) Not all “Survival Foods” are Created Equal

Some foods that are sold as “survival foods” are actually packed with sugar and can do a great deal of damage in certain situations. 

If you are battling a fever or hypothermia, the last thing you want to eat is a sugary snack high in fructose corn syrup, because it will send your pancreas into overdrive. 

Pack natural foods that keep well under various weather conditions and provide you with a great deal of nutrition.

We recommend the Wise Food Kits if you’re going to be stocking up on survival foods. Click here to order.

2) Weight Matters

When choosing the items to go into your survival kit, the kit’s weight should always be monitored carefully. 

Look for items that offer great value without adding too much weight to your kit. 

For example, a Ferro-cerium rod might be a better option than a catalytic heater and gas bottle for lighting fires and cooking.

1) The Wrong Clothing

A common mistake for people building their first survival kit is not incorporating enough clothing or including inappropriate clothing. 

Take clothing that is one layer warmer than you think you will need.  That will ensure you can maintain your body temperature in the event of an accident or find yourself stranded at night.

Also, remember the ‘top and toes’ rule. 

Most of your body’s heat is lost through your head and feet. 

Even if the weather is quite warm, incorporate some comfortable socks and a beanie into your survival kit. 

You should also think about the kinds of materials used in the clothing in your survival kit. 

For example, cotton is fantastic at retaining warmth until it gets wet, then it can actually contribute to hypothermia! 

Materials like Polypropylene are hydrophobic (repels water), which makes them ideal for a base layer that keeps moisture off your skin. 

Wool is great for keeping you warm, nylon is tough and polyester is great at stopping wind penetration. 

Choose your clothes carefully!

9 Ways Living Off the Grid Makes You Happy

Living off the grid can be a challenging task, particularly if you are used to the conveniences of the modern world. 

However, it is also extremely rewarding and fulfilling to become self-sufficient.  Here are 9 ways living off the grid will make you happy.

9) You Are Set up For Survival
If you are living off the grid, a global financial meltdown, pandemic, food shortage or oil shortage is less likely disrupt your lifestyle. 

Off the grid living helps give you the life experience, items and skills necessary to survive on your own.

Many people who are living off the grid also gain bushcraft skills, so they can go back to nature in the event of a serious crisis.

living off the grid

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Because you don’t rely on the resources which may be affected by societal upheaval, your ability to survive is already far superior to other people. 

Having increased levels of safety and security removes stress from your life, and gives you peace of mind.

8) Off the Grid Living is Very Human
Living in a self-sufficient way is something that humans have done for many thousands of years. 

It was only recently that the human race began to live in cloistered and secure environments where they no longer needed to hunt or fend for themselves. 

As humans have become more reliant on technology and other people to provide for them, they have become lazy.

Living off the grid reminds you what it is to be human — to farm, to grow, to learn, to exist within nature instead of apart from it. 

It is the natural state of a human being to be self-sufficient and to be productive. 

The reason why so many people in modern societies are depressed is because they are so far removed from their natural state. 

Off the grid living can give you back what has been lost, an authentic, happy, productive and rewarding human life. 

7) Self-sufficiency is Very Rewarding

Living off the grid requires you to become self-sufficient in a number of ways. 

If you want to run electrical appliances, you have to generate electricity.  If you want to enjoy a particular food, you may have to grow it yourself.

As you become more self-sufficient you will gain a feeling of independence, which is extremely satisfying.  You will also be providing for your family, one of the most rewarding experiences possible.

Self-sufficiency also requires a person to learn a lot of new skills, which is a fantastic experience itself.  Many self-sufficient people have learned how to build a house, wire an electrical system, raise animals, preserve food and much more.  Every time you learn a new skill and become more self-sufficient, you will feel more accomplished and satisfied with your life.

6) Financial Freedom
When you are living on the grid, bills seem to constantly arrive. 

Electricity, gas, telephone, Internet and cable television bills can be very expensive, often causing people to struggle financially. 

When you go off-grid and live sustainably, the relentless pressure of utility bills ends. 

With less financial obligations and bills, it is possible to reduce the hours you work and focus on your family more. 

All of which results in increased happiness.

5) You Can Form a Close Relationship With Nature
The relationship between humans and nature has largely been obscured by modern society — most humans feel detached from the natural world. 

People who are living off the grid find themselves coming back to nature because they are often dependent on it for food, energy and shelter. 

Building a closer relationship with nature nearly always leads to greater levels of happiness.

By obtaining a greater understanding of nature and developing bushcraft skills, you can teach your children and friends how to enjoy nature safely — a very rewarding exercise.

4) Sustainable Living
Off the live grid living requires you to work with a limited number of resources to produce more than you consume. 

Instead of being a member of society which constantly consumes resources including food and energy, you will be producing resources to care for yourself and your family. 

Sustainability is a rewarding endeavor which comes part and parcel with off the grid living.  You will produce your own energy, grow your own food, reuse and recycle items and set a fantastic example for your children.

3) Avoid the Negative Aspects of Modern Society
While most people are happy living in a modern capitalist economy like the United States, it does have its fair share of negative aspects. 

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Celebrity culture, consumerism, violence and greed are all prominent in modern society. 

Going back to nature helps you avoid these kinds of negative aspects and raise children who are unaffected by them.

You will also feel happier knowing that you aren’t contributing to many of the problems that society faces. 

By being self-sufficient, you won’t be participating in the mindless consumption that plagues modern society.

2) You Will be Healthier
Most people who live off grid often grow their own food or buy food from nearby farmers. 

The food is usually locally grown and organic, which means it has not been exposed to large amounts of chemical pesticides and insecticides (unlike most food in modern society). 

The produce is more wholesome and nutritious than chemically ripened fruit and vegetables found in most supermarkets. 

Living off the grid also means you will be exposed to less pollution and contagious illnesses. 

In addition to better food, people who live off the grid tend to spend more time being active. 

Self-sufficient people tend to be mobile throughout the day — maintaining their property, growing vegetables and undertaking new projects.

1) More Time

Living off the grid can take you away from the distractions of modern life. 

By simplifying your lifestyle and focusing on being self-sufficient, you will free up a vast amount of time. 

Instead go browsing the Internet for hours or watching television, you will be building things, farming, reading books and spending time with the family. 

You will be living a meaningful and happy life that is not dominated by distractions.

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