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Browsing: Bush Craft

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

Some time back, I wrote an article on how to respond to an encounter with an animal while in the bush. Of course, not all encounters are on foot, and a good number of accidents are caused by hitting an animal while you are driving – particularly at night. That’s one of the reasons that we fit a bull bar, and fender-protectors over the wheel arches. Even at relatively slow speeds, an impact with an animal can prove costly, or even potentially life-threatening for the vehicle occupants. It is often thought that most accidents are caused either by running head-on

When an accident happens, you need to be prepared. And the first thing you jump for, after making sure that the area is safe, is a first-aid kit. Although these kits are available from outdoor shops, pharmacies and even some supermarkets, it may well be worth putting your own together. In my experience, most of these off-the-shelf kits are jam-packed with plasters, bandages, safety pins and not much else. (I bought one, and on getting it home and opening it up, found that it had six triangular bandages!). They should not be viewed as a cover-all-eventualities-kit, but as something of

Recently I looked at several alternative uses for tampons, and this month I felt it only right to let one those little packets of rubber shine. Yes, the humble condom. Something which causes a lot of young men to go bright red when they go to pay and there’s a young lady at the checkout − but this piece of latex has very many uses in a survival situation. There are some that you may be aware of, but at least one may surprise you. For almost all of the uses I am about to describe, unlubricated condoms work better.

It amazes me how disrespectful some people are. I use the bush for my work, and I can’t believe how many times I come across human waste lying on the surface. Much of this is obviously a result of the ignorant belief that ‘no one will ever come this way’. Yes, we do! Soggy lumps of used toilet paper strewn all over the place are one of the most disgusting sights you can find in the bush or at a wild campsite; I’ve even encountered these in campsites with toilets. They are a mecca for flies, which land on these

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