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#94754 - 05/16/07 01:05 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]
Ziggy Offline

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 2
Thank you for your concern. I should of also mentioned that we aren't actually going that fair into the wilderness. Only about a 1km or so. So if anything does happen it is easy to get to a get help.

Me and my friends grew up in the country so we have a bit of exprience in the outdoors, but we have never tried to "survive" in the wilderness before by eating wild plants and such.

I really wanted to do this. And probably will no matter how dangerous it seems.

Any more advice would be great thank you

EDIT. After reading some more of your replies. I realised that i may have been a bit drastic with my expirment. We decided on 1 night with matches, .22 rifle and an axe. But i would still like to know about what plants to eat. So I can show it on camera and maybe get a few extra marks!

Edited by Ziggy (05/16/07 01:10 AM)

#94756 - 05/16/07 01:30 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont

First off, unless you are in cougar or bear country, right now, you don't need a firearm. Even then, you usually don't need a firearm. Don't get stupid and bears will leave you alone. Cougars are usually cowards unless you've got one that has developed a taste for manflesh, in which case a .22 isn't going to do much.

Second off, do you know what you are doing with an axe? Take a saw- yes, that to can take your foot off, but you REALLY have to work with it. Given the lack of experince you've implied, that a serious safety issue.

Do you know how to build a fire? Have you built a camp fire before? Are you or your friends boy scouts? It would really help. Becuase in all honesty, I'm not feeling any experience here.

Fire, firearms and axes are all very valuable tools, but in the hands of someone without any knowledge, all three of them can kill and maim very quickly. I would feel much more confident about this little exercise if I knew what degree of woodscraft you had in your background.

As for eating plants, don't. Not unless you KNOW how to identify them, and that's something that we generally don't discuss here becuase it is too easy to screw it up and would should have been an interesting night out turns into a medical emergency. You're out one night, being hungry won't kill you that quickly.

Doing something you've seen on TV, without doing serious research and practicing it under reasonable conditions first, is a good way win a Darwin Award. And they stopped paying the finders fee/bounty, so please, practice shelter building in your backyards first. That will get you through most one nighters.

Edited by ironraven (05/16/07 01:32 AM)
Edit Reason: didn't want to make the kid feel completely stupid

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#94757 - 05/16/07 01:39 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2828
Loc: La-USA
1st - I agree with everyone else that if y'all insist on doing this project, you need to get a safety net under you first. That means that an experienced woodsman needs to be a part of your expedition.

2nd - You will find most of the answers to your questions at:

3rd - At least read and take a copy of the Boy Scout Manual with y'all.

4th - Leave a map of your location and a planned itenarary with a responsible person.

5th - Write up a detailed plan of how you are going to place your fire, your shelter, equipment needed to accomplish your goals, get your safe water supply, keep the critters out of your food-at night, what critters can be expected and how to deal with those who show up at your camp (lions, tigers, and bears-oh my), and what you will do to use your daylight hours wisely and productively.

Good Luck!! I wish I could go with you.
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#94760 - 05/16/07 02:23 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: ironraven]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
I had a .22 bolt action rifle and an axe when I was 12 yo, and I could easily start a fire with matches. I won't make any hypocritical judgments on those choices, just be careful.

As for edible plants, that is a difficult subject to teach over the internet. One of the better instructors on plantlife in Southern California is Christopher Nyerges. It takes a lot of time and education (time to hit the books) to know what you're looking at and what it's good for. Otherwise you only think you know and the next thing you're ill and not getting better. There's a DVD about a Solo Survival Skills where a very experienced survival instructor ate the wrong plant life (mushrooms IIRC) and ended up in his back-up teams tent sick as a dog not cool.

My point and I think ironraven will agree, don't plan on eating wild plant life until you KNOW what you're eating, how to prepare it and that it contributes positively to your situation. Otherwise you could seriously hurt yourselves.

#94761 - 05/16/07 03:25 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Russ]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
RAS, I'm making my judgment not on their age, but on the general vibe of these posts, it makes me think that they don't have basic camping experience. I hope I'm wrong, but I've never seen someone survive assuming that the best case scenario was going to play out.

And yeah, I think I know the DVD in question, it used to be a VHS tape? There is only one kind of fungus that is safe to eat in the woods, and I won't mention it around newbies.

Ziggy, let me clarify. There are things out there that look like the top of a common, domestic carrot that can kill you very easily if you aren't treated, although you'll be curled up in a ball with stomach cramps during the process. Or goats rue, which looks like a domestic pea pod but which causes some really impressive hallucinations and paranoia that make people running screaming into the night in a blind panic. Or certain edibles that if you don't boil, change the water, and boil again will teach you a whole new meaning for "going for distance" as it comes back up.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#94763 - 05/16/07 03:28 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Russ]
Be_Prepared Offline

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 530
Loc: Massachusetts
I think it's great that you're interested in finding out more about wilderness survival. Based on your notes, however, it does not sound like your band of friends is really ready for a self led expedition. I'm sure that there are organizations in Ontario that foster hiking, backpacking, camping, etc. Here in the Northeast US, I belong to a club called the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) that has several local chapters that organize guided trips with trained and experienced leaders. Trips like that allow you to get your feet wet with some experienced folks around to coach you.

In your neck of the woods, maybe check out information from the Ontario Trails Council. Their website has some interesting information. (Makes me want to go up there! The Voyageur Trail in NW Ontario sounds awesome.)


It's not that we don't want you to experience what you're asking about... we just want you to do it safely, when you're ready, without reading about you in a SAR after action report.

- Ron

#94767 - 05/16/07 04:09 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Hi, Ziggy!

You're probably not going to have a .22 and an axe in a survival situation. I think they would look kind of odd in your video.

A lot of people just go out hiking and get into a survival situation. You might want to carry some small backpacks with some basic survival things, so you don't look like brainless yoyos with just shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes (you know, the ones who are so stupid that they make the news when their bodies are found).

You could carry things like a couple of tarps, some nylon cord, some kind of small cook pot, something to hold water (even a couple of sturdy plastic bags), matches or a couple of lighters, maybe a wire saw, a signal mirror, first aid kit, etc.

Have a plan:

1) MAP & MESSAGE - Show how you were smart enough to leave a map and instructions on where you were going. It will make you look a lot brighter than most people who get lost and have no one knowing where to look for them.

2) SHELTER - What do you intend to do for shelter, the most important part of survival? Do you know how to set up a shelter with just a simple tarp and some cord? What if it rains?

3) WATER - What will be your source of water? Many/most places are contaminated with either farm pesticide/herbicide run-off, or things like bacteria and parasites that you can't see with the naked eye. What are the dangers of the water in your area? Once you know, you can take appropriate measures: a filter (for chemical contaminants), a pot for boiling (parasites and other 'bugs') or a chemical purifier (which you'll need to know how to use properly).

4) FIRE - Do any of you really know how to start a fire? You'd best practice a bit, or you might look kind of silly on film. Knowing how NOT to start a tree on fire is a good thing, too. DON'T take gasoline/petrol with you to start a fire. That immediately shows everyone that you don't know what you're doing, and it's dangerous, too. Take a magnifying glass and try to start a fire with it if the sun is shining... it's tricky. (I'll bet you can't do it!)

5) SIGNALING - If you were really in a survival situation, signaling would be important. You might want to learn how to use a simple signal mirror, just to show that you know what you're doing.

6) FIRST AID - A small first aid kit containing stuff you know how to use would be a good thing to have.

7) FOOD - Like others here have said, food isn't a big issue for just a few days. Eating the wrong wild foods can be deadly. I wouldn't do it without learning from a good wilderness instructor, myself. A guy in Oregon ate some Camas roots, which are fine if they are regular Camas, but he ate one Death Camas, and croaked before his friends could get him to a doctor. Toss some granola bars and beef jerky into your packs, and maybe some
bouillon cubes or those little packets from the Ramen type soups for a hot drink. If you're determined to eat wild food, use cattails -- they're easy to recognize, the roots can be cooked and eaten, the pollen can be scraped into hot water to make a kind of soup, and no part of it is poisonous.

Are you going to make your video kind of a How To Survive film?


#94775 - 05/16/07 04:44 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852

Ziggy..you should sit down with a few of the local indians
up your way,Cree i think..your teachers could help arrange
something like that..forest rangers,loggers and fishing
and hunting outfitters would be a good source of information
and their storys could be worked into you film..

#94781 - 05/16/07 06:36 AM Re: Survival Help [Re: Ziggy]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Frankly, three kids going out to spend a few nights in the woods with a .22, axe and matches is inviting trouble. Especially if you're most concerned about food (which you're not really going to need) but not even giving a thought to the real priorities such as water and shelter. Where are you going to find water? How are you supposed to boil it? In the rifle barrel? Preparing a good shelter looks easy on tv but nights get pretty cold outside. No sleeping bag plus a poorly constructed shelter and probably less than optimal fire equals catching a cold and a long miserable night under the stars.

The "fun" thing about real survival situations is that there is no guarantee you'll make it. Camping out close to home is good because you can reach safety quickly if anything goes wrong. But if someone gets a panic attack because it's his first night out on his own and starts seeing things in the dark the trip might take an ugly turn in no time. Throw in that axe and .22 and the potential for disaster rises exponentially.

#94802 - 05/16/07 02:18 PM Re: Survival Help [Re: Susan]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
You may want to do a trial run on some of the things discussed. IE, practice making the fire, gathering your dry tinder, getting that small pile started and then building it up to something you can use to boil the water necessary to make it safe.

One thing we discuss on this forum quite a bit is survival kits (do a search and you'll pull up lots of threads). These kits run from small pocket size Altoids tin kits to larger backpack size kits and are designed around the basic survival needs of fire, shelter, water and rescue/signaling. Before you start your survival trip you might want to make sure you each have a survival kit that addresses the Basic Needs of fire making (Bic lighter), shelter (large garbage bags) and something to carry, chemically treat or boil water. Short term survival doesn't need food, but the idea of a few energy/food bars (not candy) in a small kit is acceptible (my large kit has MREs). Other things that could be in a small kit are a fish hooks and line -- maybe you can catch a fish worthy of being dinner. Another thing to consider is that people in a survival situation want out. Rescue can be helped along with something like the signaling mirrors and whistles you also have in your kit. Many folks end up in a survival situation because they got lost; a compass to keep you walking in a straight line. Have you used a compass for woodland navigation?

Susan has a good point, few if any hikers who get lost are carrying an axe and .22 rifle, so while it may be fun and make chopping firewood easier, they aren't realistic. However, you should have a good folding knife on you or in your kit.

One thing you can build with that small knife and sticks you find is something like a figure 4 trap. Trapping your food is a skill that takes lots of practice: how to build the trap, where to set it up and what to do if you're fortunate to find something edible in the trap. Have you ever prepared a live rabbit for dinner?

In reading the earlier posts on this thread I get no feel for your knowledge and experience in any of the many survival skills. It's not something you just pick up by reading a few posts on the internet. Until you actually practice the skills by themselves you don't own them and until you own them, you aren't ready to make your survival video.

If this video is something that needs to be done soon, break it up into segments on the different needs a person in a survival situation may have. Start with a segment on the small kit you build to carry any time you are out hiking. Discuss what all the different components are for. Do a segment on building a shelter, then a segment on building a fire and a segment on using that fire to boil water from a stream because otherwise it's not safe to drink. These segments should build on previous segments and use the items in your kits. You might do a segment on using a map and compass for navigation (so you don't get lost in the first place). Have fun, but don't jump in with a three day camping trip that could be miserable.

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