Human beings are born with numerous natural instincts; yet, none is as basic as the instinct of survival. Though many people may never need it, it is an invaluable knowledge given to us by God. Humans are born to live and consequently they are born with the ability to survive.
When we talk about ‘survival skills’ we consider ways in which we can fulfill our most urgent needs in any situation. Via many years of societal evolution, we have lost our ability to provide for ourselves if we don’t have access to a store, and have become ignorant on how to survive in the wilderness.
If you can find food and water, and you can make fire and shelter, then you can survive in the wilderness. And when it comes time to find your way out of your situation, you will need to know how to navigate without a phone, gps, compass, or map. However, should you find yourself lacking one of these five components; you will not survive, or ecape, unless the void is compensated. It is a simple fact that if you do not eat then you will not live. However, finding food is much more complicated than it seems. The methods for finding and getting hold of wild food in a particular kind of country usually require detailed local knowledge” (Bridge 270). Unfortunately, when in a survival situation detailed knowledge of an area and its edible plants is not always an asset. In addition, it is rare for you to have a fishing pole or any kind of hunting equipment. Thus, you might find yourself literally up the creek without a paddle. However, there are a few ways to find food, and a few well-known plants that are edible. First of all, you must take advantage of your location.
It can be difficult to catch animals on land thus you must find edible plants. Among the well-known edible plants are blackberries, black walnuts, cattail, daylily buds, hickory nuts, acorns, and morning glory leaves (Edible). However, it is often difficult to discern these edible plants from their poisonous peers. There is an edibility test you can use when faced with this situation. You must simply take a plant and rub it on a sensitive part of your body, the inside of the wrist for example, and wait fifteen minutes.
If there isn’t any adverse effect then you should chew a very small amount of the plant for five minutes and see if there is any adverse effect. If, after this, you still feel fine then swallow the plant and wait eight hours. If you are still feeling okay then eat a small handful and wait another eight hours. If nothing happens then it is okay for you to eat the plant sparingly. (Edibility Test) Some other tips for finding edible food include avoiding all plants with white sap, tiny hairs, umbrella shaped flowers and white or green berries.
In addition, you should stay away from mushrooms and fungi, plants with bulb roots and fruits from plants with shiny leaves. Aggregate berries such as raspberries are always edible, as are single fruits on a stem. With this information you can find food and pass step one of surviving. However, it is very important that if a water source is not available you should not eat because water is required for digestion (Equipped). The second step to surviving is finding, or creating shelter. Exposure to extreme heat or cold can result in death from only three hours of exposure.
Consequently, finding a shelter or constructing you out of the resources around you is vital. An example of this is when a married couple and their young child found themselves stranded in a snow bank. Before going out to seek help the man built his wife and child a cave in the snow. Without this cave, the man’s family would have almost certainly died (Survival). Regardless of the scenario, a shelter is needed and should be constructed in a safe environment. You should avoid camping in meadows because of the mosquitoes and you should be cautious of animal shelters.
Shelters can also be constructed out of tarps, tree branches, and snow. It is unfortunate that humans have destroyed so much nature because we have made it harder for ourselves to survive by ruining trees, creating paths and destroying natural shelters. “It is rare than an overhanging rock that serves as a good shelter is even capable of being found these days” (Bridge 174). Perhaps the most important asset for survival is water. It would be a miracle if you survived for more than three days without water and there is no substitute for it. It is imperative that when driven by thirst you do not drink seawater, blood, or urine.
These fluids will only hasten dehydration (Survival). In addition, you must know that thirst itself is not good indicator of hydration levels. You can be dehydrated and lack thirst. “Dark colored urine is the most reliable indication of significant dehydration” (Equipped). There are many ways to find water, but you should not push yourself too far. Rationing sweat is just as important as rationing water. You can find water by collecting dew or melting snow. You should avoid consuming un-melted snow because it lowers your body temperature. Follow animal tracks downhill; they might lead to a watering hole.
Also, if you find yourself in an arid area, you should dig to find water. Even in a desert you can find water. Simply dig a hole in the sand, covering and suspending a plastic bag into it and collecting water, which condenses at the bottom of the plastic container. If bad comes to worse, you should not avoid drinking water that might be contaminated. Only do so as a last resort. An intestinal problem is much friendlier when contrasted with death (Equipped). For nearly every situation, fire will be the essence of your survival. Fire is the Swiss-army-knife of wilderness survival. It can play multiple roles.
It provides warmth, and comfort, while cooking and preserving food. It also purifies water, signals for help, and provides protection from animals. ”It can be a psychological boost by providing peace of mind, and companionship”. (FireCraft) To make a fire, you need to understand the mechanics of fire, and how it works. ”Fuel ( in a nongaseous state)does not burn directly. ” When heat is applied to the fuel, it creates a gas which, when mixed with air, burns. There are many types of fire structures, which can all be equally successful. The tepee style is the simplest, both to explain and to build.
To make a tepee fire, you will arrange a tinder ball and stack small sticks around it in a cone shape. You will light it in the middle, causing the tinder ball to burn which catches the twigs on fire that then fall inward fueling the fire further. Once you are able and willing to escape the wilderness, you will need to figure out which way is north. An easy way of doing so is to create a make-shift compass rose on the ground. You can make this by sticking a leafless branch, which will cast a definite shadow, in the ground and marking the tip of the shadow, which gives you the west heading.
Wait for about fifteen minutes and mark the new point, giving you the east heading. Now stand with the west to your left and east to your right. You are now facing north. When on the move, be sure to leave yourself plenty of daylight to setup camp and to build a fire. With food, water, shelter and fire you can survive in the wilderness. Yet, in order to find these things you must try to maintain a positive mental attitude (Equipped). If you find yourself in a survival situation, you must prioritize: water then shelter then food. Never give up.
As easy as giving up might seem when faced with death and lacking hope, you must keep on trying and you must think. Do not waste energy by doing before thinking. You must not panic. Your courage, resolution, self – discipline and the endurance have kept you sane, but food, shelter, and the water will keep you breathing. When you are out of the wilderness, be sure to better prepare yourself by always packing equipment which will make your survival easier on you, and spread the word. Tell others; make sure that they don’t go through what you have just escaped from.