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Browsing: Bush Craft

Mind control can save lives One of the greatest killers in a survival situation is often not the situation itself, but what’s going on in your mind. Your psychological state can have a great impact on whether you survive or perish. Often the negative thoughts can be stronger than the rational ones, and these can lead you to do otherwise irrational things. Do not believe that only the strongest will survive. Simply not true. There is an interesting story of a US pilot in World War 2 who crashed his plane on a lake. The lake was surrounded by trees

Words & pictures Paul Donovan The very first article I wrote for SA4x4 was way back in a distant time, and it covered the subject of snake bites. In that article I detailed the technique universally endorsed as the first-aid treatment for snake bikes: the Pressure Immobilisation Technique. I’d like to bring that article up to date, as there have been advances regarding the first aid treatment of snake bites. It has to be done properly The problem with using the Pressure Immobilisation Technique is not only carrying enough compression bandages to apply to the bite but, more importantly, applying

If there is one subject which sparks more heated debate than any other in the survival world, it is, “Should I drink my own urine in a survival situation?” Before I give my views on that question, let’s look at what urine is. Many people believe that urine is simply the body’s way of dumping excess water. While this may be true to some degree, it should be remembered that while 95% of urine is water (which is good for you), the remaining 5% is made up of not so good urea, uric acid, ammonia, hormones, dead blood cells, proteins,

We use knots everyday for a multitude of purposes, and just about everyone knows the granny knot; it must be the most widely used knot throughout the world.

Food is one of the priorities in any survival situation, or when we practise true bush craft by living off the land. The problem, of course, is in knowing which plants you can eat, and which you cannot. Eat the wrong one, and you could be in serious trouble. (I did discuss, in the February 2018 edition of SA4x4, how to determine whether a plant is edible or not by using the edibility test.) In this issue, I thought I’d talk more about a cactus which is easily identifiable, which you can eat, and which is found just about everywhere.

One of the first articles I wrote for SA4x4 was how to treat snakebite. Because I spend so much of my time in the bush, I thought it might be worth sharing my knowledge of how to avoid (or at least lessen) the risk of getting bitten. The good news first, though. Of the 3000 known snake species, only about 250 species are considered to be of medical importance. Unless you are in Australia, which has a higher percentage of venomous snakes than non-venomous snakes, most snakes that you stumble across are likely to be harmless. Detecting humans Snakes pick

Many people believe that sleeping in a tent on the ground is more dangerous than sleeping in a rooftop tent. That, I think, is a bit of a misconception. Whether venturing into the bush in a 4×4 or on my motorbike, I always either ground-camp, or simply sleep beneath a tarp. Apart from being bothered by the odd bug or two, and mosquitoes, I never really feel vulnerable. But, if you do, here are my top tips for ground camping. Location Select a site away from animal activity. If there are footprints, droppings, recently flattened grass, or trees with huge

In part one, published in the March 2019 edition, we learnt some of the terminology used in tracking. In this installment, let us look at the nitty-gritty of interpreting tracks. Before we begin, bear in mind that when tracking an animal, only 50% is actually working with the tracks: the other 50% is working with supplementary signs − what we call “sign tracking”. This includes things such as disturbed foliage, and dew on grass which has been disturbed. The latter is a sign called “dulling” – as an animal passes by, it wipes away the dew and leaves a dull

One of the reasons I enjoy teaching bush craft/survival techniques, is that it encompasses so many different skills sets. There are innumerable ways of starting a fire, we can use animals to find water, we can use nature to navigate, we have a host of ways to improvise shelters, and the bush is a veritable supermarket if we know how to identify the edible plants. And, of course, another skill we use is tracking. There is always something new to learn when it comes to tracking, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. I’m still learning after all these

In a survival situation, there are many plants which can be used for medicinal purposes. The key is not only being able to correctly identify the plant, but knowing exactly how to extract those components which give it its medicinal properties. Fortunately, the methods which we use to prepare them can easily be carried out in the bush. Many modern drugs that we pick up from the pharmacist were originally derived from plants. In fact, hundreds of plants have been identified as having medicinal properties, and there could be thousands more; so, when it comes to medicinal properties, we are

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