How to Build a Bear-Proof Beehive Fence

Bear Proof Beehive Fence

So, you’ve got yourself a little apiary. And bears. Everyone knows that bears like honey, just ask any four year old. So how does the average bee keeper go about separating bears from the honey? Ask anyone with a bear that resides close by how destructive they can be, and that is just with garbage cans. Your bee hive is a very delicate structure, and bees can be quite temperamental. Better yet, how can you keep your bees safe and not spend an absolute fortune?

For those of you who are bee keepers, would be bee keepers, or folks just looking to be entertained, you need to check out this article. Sustainablehomesteading.com has built a nice little bee fortress. What I find interesting is this little fortress can be applied for lots of different purposes, not just keeping bears from your honey. Maybe keeping raccoons away from the chickens? Got a Coyote problem, not anymore! In short, this is a great tutorial on electric fences.

Read more at… How to Build a Bear-Proof Beehive Fence

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Sheltering in Place

Sheltering In Place the Basics

A good deal of the tasks that are done during the course of a normal day will still have to be accomplished during a power outage. For the sake of this article let us assume the crisis that caused the power outage is not an immediate threat to you and your family, and that you plan to shelter in place.

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How to Set Up Your First Beehive

Honey is a great survival food with many medical benefits. It’s one of the few foods that have an eternal shelf life. Although basically a sugar, honey has low moisture, is very acidic, and even contains a minute amount of hydrogen peroxide. These are the factors that allow, or shall we say, do not allow, microorganisms to grow in and spoil the tasty treat. The very nature of honey also lends itself to use as a natural bandages for cuts, scrapes, and burns.

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Fire Starting Basics

Fire Starting Basics

A previous article discussed the basics of wilderness survival, the basics meaning simple and straight forward. Information to get you started, and information that can actually save your life. No fancy tricks, and no years of training needed to learn the basics of surviving long enough to be rescued.

Once you know the basics however, you can then build upon them. You will need practice to gain confidence, so that you can actually change the environment around you allowing you to survive in it.

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Wilderness Survival: The Very Basics

Wilderness Survival

Your goal, if you find yourself lost or stranded is to survive until rescued or to sustain mobility so you can self-rescue.

Survival reality shows, for dramatization place the experts in extreme situations. If one were cynical, you might believe some of the situations were staged, because of the extreme nature in some cases, some but not all. Knowing this however, does not take away from the fact that you can actually learn something from the shows.

It is not likely you will awaken one morning to find yourself in the Alaskan wilds or in the middle of the Amazon with literally just the clothes on your back however. You started out on your outdoor adventure with the intentions of coming back in the same shape as when you left.

You likely started out with something, a bicycle, a backpack, possibly firearms, even an ATV in some cases and with items in your pockets as well. Items that can help you survive if you realize you have them.

A day hike, a mountain bike ride, a short hunting trip or you simply decided to grab your binoculars and do a little bird watching, but something went wrong. A wrong turn, a weather event, an injury or you simply wandered a few yards off the trail and became confused. Regardless of how, the fact is, you are now lost or stranded and you have to deal with it quickly, rationally and skillfully.

Survival Skills Are Not Necessarily the Same as Bush Craft Skills

Certain wilderness survival skills are needed for short-term emergencies where your sole focus is on rescue or doing everything you can to find your own way out of the predicament.

Bush craft skills are of course survival skills, and there is much overlap, but bush craft skills not only allow you to survive an emergency in the wild they also allow you to thrive long term in a wilderness environment. 

Lost Versus Stranded

Lost is just that, lost. You have no idea where you are, and of course, have no idea how to get back to camp, the hunting lodge or home.

If you become stranded, you may very well know where you are, but cannot get back because of an injury or mechanical failure with your bicycle, ATV, snow skies or even snowmobile.

Knowing You Cannot Make It Back and It Is Getting Late

There is always a debate on what should be a priority in a wilderness survival situation. Is it shelter first, fire, water or food.

The answer is it depends. If you do not have extensive wilderness survival training then shelter should be your first priority. You do not know what the darkness may bring, so your shelter should be constructed before dark, regardless of the weather conditions.

In cold weather not having an adequate shelter made within a few hours may mean the difference between surviving and not. You need shelter from the hot sun as well. People have died from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration while searching in the hot sun for water while lost.

The logical course is to seek shade/shelter until it becomes cooler. Conserve sweat, not your drinking water when it is hot. A shelter is as important in hot weather as it is in cold weather. Restrict your movement and stay in a shaded, sheltered area during the hottest part of the day. You want shelter from breezes to slow the evaporation of sweat to slow down the dehydration process.

If you are lost, staying in place is recommended and you should never attempt to hike through the woods in the dark. Nocturnal predators prowl the woods at night and this includes deadly reptiles such as snakes. You can also walk off the edge of a cliff, trip and break a leg or fall into a ravine, at the very least shelter in place until daylight.

A debris shelter can be put together within hour using what you find on the forest floor, with limited to no tools at all.  Poles propped on one side of a fallen log and covered with pine boughs, leaves and other vegetation would be considered a debris shelter.

Ideally, you would have a tarp or poncho in your backpack. A tarp or poncho together with some forest debris means you could have a suitable shelter made in no time. Once you have a shelter work on making a fire.

A shelter is not just for protection from the elements. Shelter and fire is needed for morale a psychological shot in the arm if you will, not to mention the very practical need for protection from predators and insects. Fire and shelter can protect you from predators and to more than just annoying insects.

Water is critical and once you have a shelter and fire then seek it out if it is an immediate concern, otherwise hunker down as darkness falls and wait until daylight.

If you panic, you may die and it is that simple, because people make mistakes when they panic, they fall off cliffs or into ravines while dashing from tree to bush, because they think they recognize the tree or bush.

Camp is just around the bend in their mind but it never is, soon the person is worn out, possibly injured, and they have sweated profusely and now need more water, of which they have little. They are still lost, exhausted, scared and it is now getting dark.

Get your mind straight and face the fact you are lost, and that you can think your way through it. You do have resources that you can use. You just do not know what they are until you evaluate your situation calmly and rationally and can see things for what they really are.

Anyone can get lost, even the experts can and do get lost, but the deciding factor when it comes to surviving is that the experts prepared to become lost. Whenever you set out for the woods, regardless of the reason or expected time in the woods, be prepared to stay in the woods overnight or even longer.

You need shelter, fire, water and eventually food. In most cases however, you would be rescued or would find your own way out before starvation became a problem. However, food/nourishment is needed for energy and for morale.

There is that word again morale. Self-confidence and the will to survive is important, the comfort from food is not to be discounted when in a survival situation. Food can calm your nerves, and most people would tell you that food would be their first concern if they did ever become lost.

If you have the skills to survive long enough to starve to death then you would never starve to death.

A Wilderness Survival Kit Is Not a Bug-Out-Bag

The biggest mistake people make is that they overload their bags. What happens when this is the case? The bag is left behind more often than not for those short forays into the wild. The kit is designed to be carried at all times, especially when you think you will only be gone for a few hours or even for just a few minutes.

Keep in mind a survival kit is not necessarily a replacement for the typical supplies you would carry if hunting, camping or even hiking. A wilderness survival kit should be an everyday carry (EDC) whenever in a wilderness environment.

Recommended Items Include:

  • A quality fixed bladed knife
  • A multi-tool
  • A lightweight and waterproof tarp
  • Poncho
  • Fire starting materials
  • Water
  • Water purification means such as purification tablets/ small metal container for boiling
  • Cordage, quality nylon rope or Paracord 50 feet at least
  • Protein bars, trail mix and/or several MRE’s
  • Signaling device or materials such as a whistle, mirror or brightly colored cloth or signal flags

The fixed bladed knife is worn on your belt along with a full canteen of water, with water in the pack as well. The poncho and tarp are tightly rolled or folded up and the rest of the items can easily fit in a small pack that can be shouldered or strapped to a bicycle for example. Not heavy or cumbersome so it can be easily carried no matter the situation.

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Why You Probably Will Never Ever Bug Out

Bugging Out

The key words being probably never, and do not confuse bugging out with evacuation. You would evacuate because of a wildfire, flood and tornado for example, with every intention of returning home in a matter of days or even hours.

You would evacuate and head inland for a few days to escape a hurricane, or move to higher ground to let flood waters recede, this is not the same as bugging out because society has collapsed or because you feel it might collapse in the city in which you live.

If you have to bug-out because of hostilities or extremely dangerous conditions on the ground then you are essentially a refugee, unless you have a specific place, other than a government-established camp, that you can go to that provides shelter, has infrastructure, water, food and other essentials.

If the conditions were so bad that you and others had to flee your area then it is not likely, any other area would be able to provide you with the much-needed necessities without some type of governmental intervention.

Let’s face it; life is not as it was hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Back then, if droughts wiped out the crops or the winters became too cold you could pick up and move to another valley further south.

Entire villages routinely migrated so they could collect ripening food sources and to follow animal migrations. Today we all are essentially trapped in one area, and cannot simply pick up, move, and settle in a more hospitable area because of a crisis. We are essentially victims of society’s as well as our own successes.

In the 1930’s the Midwest was under a severe drought, crops dried up and topsoil was blown away by strong winds creating what was called the Dust Bowl. People by the tens of thousands fled the devastated areas.

Farmers and their families migrated to populated areas, looking for work, food and shelter. Camps were set up outside of cities, shantytowns and hobo camps dotted the landscape for miles around each town or community.

People fled to where other people were. They bugged out, from one place, only to find the conditions were even worse in some cases in the places where they ended up. Unemployment was 25 percent at the time and this is a conservative figure. Some have estimated that over two million people became displaced completely; they became hobos in other words.

The Question is What Would You Do

Do you have a place to go to that is any better than the one you are leaving. You have gathered supplies, gear and materials that would have to be left behind. You may assume you can carry it all in a vehicle with a trailer. However, if you are able to drive from your current home to a so-called safe haven, then the conditions were not likely bad enough to where you had to leave in the first place.

It is a paradox, because if the conditions on the ground warrant you leaving then you probably cannot leave because of the conditions on the ground, unless it is on foot. Most people would not get far on foot.

If the crisis overwhelms the country then your area of the country is likely to be overwhelmed as well. You could set out on foot, but then what. In most cases, your supplies would be gone before you made it past the city limits. Some people at this point would probably turn around and try to get back home, but it may be too late.

Experts and others with an opinion recommend you find a remote area to settle in, in other words they tell you to bug-out to the woods. To the very woods that others will possibly be fleeing too as well. Moving a populated area essentially from one place to another is what might end up happening. Hobo camps, and shantytowns would spring up.

Sheltering in place is not as romantic as bugging out. Bugging-out brings to mind the wide-open spaces, freedom of movement, no angry desperate people and no cops, until it, all changes and people start to gather in remote areas, just as you did.

Food will be scarce and water quality questionable in any area in which you end up. For those that think they can hunt for game probably need to reconsider this idea. There are over 300 million people in the United States all needing food, and the population of deer for example, is not even 10 percent of the population of humans. Animals will migrate away from humans and the ones that do not, will be killed off quickly if society collapses. In all likelihood, you will not be able to provide enough food daily for you and your family, by hunting.

You would have to migrate to find game and where does that leave you, because everyone else has already figured this out as well. Game would be plentiful if the crisis reduced the human population by a significant amount. The only way you could survive by roaming around the country is if the competition for resources was considerably reduced.

If you shelter in place, you will of course have dangerous situations to deal with, but you may very well have friends and neighbors to help or at the very least, you will have the advantage of knowing the area.

The country may collapse but not all communities will collapse entirely, people will gather for protection, to share knowledge and to help one another.

There may be situations that require you to leave and leave quickly but what is most likely to happen is the question. Bugging-out should always be the very last option and never the first one, because you do not want to flee one crisis only to find yourself in the jaws of another even more deadly situation.

If you were to analyze the situation carefully, you would probably find it is safer to shelter in place rather than leaving a known situation, however devastating it may be, for one in which you have no idea how devastating it is.

If you were alone, had good health and had some supply caches that you could resupply yourself with, then you could essentially roam the area, but to what end is what you have to ask yourself. The area you bugged out from is not the only dangerous area.

In a grid down scenario wherever you end up could be as devastating as any other area. To get there you would use up supplies, energy and you may be put into a situation where you will have to scramble almost by the hour to provide for yourself.

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Generator Shed

How to Build a Generator Shed

Power outages are one of the most common events for which a prepper prepares. Common causes range from lightning, to ice, to even cars crashing into utility poles. Even if you have a generator, do you pull it immediately out at the first flicker of the lights? Having a generator is the first step in electrical preparedness, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition from utility to emergency power easier.

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Even More Everyday Items That Can be Used for Survival

Everyday-Items-Survival

The best-case scenario is to have a survival bag packed with all the essentials needed for survival in any situation. However, you may only have what items you can scavenge from your surroundings in which to use for survival.

You may have to go in search of items that can help you survive, so when you do come upon something, do you know what it can be used for to help you survive.

1. Small Pencil Sharpener

You probably have one lying around your home, in a desk drawer or even in the garage for those weekend do-it-yourself projects that require a pencil for marking measurements. They put a fine point on a pencil. Sharpening a pencil is their intended purpose and they work well, but what else can one do. For one thing, they can also create fine wood shavings for fire starting.

The sharpener can be used to create wood curls and what a fine job they do with little effort. Grab a twig and get busy making curls. If the twigs are wet or damp, keep working until you have removed the wet outer layers and are down to dry wood. Pine makes excellent wood curls.

2. Earthenware Dishes/Cups

Typically, you will find that most earthenware dishes have unfinished surfaces somewhere. On a coffee cup or plate, it may be the bottom ring where it rests on a surface. The rough portion can be used to sharpen knives, axes and even shears or use the rough surface to sharpen wire strands into needles or fishhooks. You can find broken pottery just about anywhere. Plates and cups can be broken up and knapped into cutting tools, spear points or into arrowheads.

3. Hand Held Wire Mixing Whip

You have seen theses before and you probably have one in a kitchen drawer somewhere. They make whipping up light sauces a snap but what survival uses does a wire whip have.

A number of wire stands are attached to the handle and each strand is looped back to the handle. If you were to cut each wire strand three inches from the handle you will get wire strands that can be used for shelter building, snares, fishhooks, and for equipment repair, but what else do you have.

Once the wires have been cut, you now have a handle with numerous heavy strands of wire poking out. You have a weapon, and you have a tool. The uses are endless if you just use a little imagination.

4. Barber Scissor Stainless Steel

If you own a home haircutting kit, you will find scissors inside and normally they would be stainless steel ones. The scissors can be separated by removing a screw in the middle and what you are left with are two very pointed daggers.

One can be secured to a stout sapling for fishing and hunting and as a self-defense weapon. Either piece can be used as an ice pick for breaking up ice on a stream to get to water, as a digging tool, cutting tool and self-defense weapon. The pointed end can also be used as a leather awl, and as a drill bit. Notice the end of the scissors it is somewhat squared off.

You can tap the end and turn to drill through small pieces of wood. This would come in handy if you needed to make a bow for fire starting. Use a light tap, with the other hand keep a slight downward pressure, and turn as you tap. The handle end is not ideal for striking but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it.

You have two pointed ends with finger grips. The uses are endless in a survival situation.

5. Rubberized Shelf Liner

Today’s shelf liner is usually rubberized so it stays in place without adhesives. The liner is used to keep items from moving around once placed on the liner. It is often used underneath silverware trays to keep the tray from shifting to the front as you open the drawer. The liner however has other practical uses that can come in handy in a survival situation.

Cut portions that can be wrapped around the bottom of your shoes or boots for a better grip on slippery surfaces. Attach the liner to your boots or shoes using heavy-duty zip ties or heavy twine/string.

Use small pieces wrapped around your hands for a better grip when climbing, or whenever you need a secure grip. Use them for hand protection when working with heavy brush. Use them as makeshift potholders for around camp.

Wrap gear or other items in the rubberized liner to protect them from damage while in your pack. With a little imagination, you can come up with dozens of uses for the liner.

Tip # 1

Use a rock, hammer or any heavy tool to flatten wire ends to create a broader point for spear fishing or for hunting small game. Once flattened you can use rough pieces of crockery to sharpen and shape the ends.

Attach three or four pieces of sharpened wire to the end of a stout stick for spearing fish and other game.

When flattened the wire can be manipulated easier but keep in mind this will also weaken the wire as well. Flatten to make it easier to form into fishhooks.

Tip # 2

Crumble a handful of potato chips or corn chips in a Ziploc bag and to the bag add several feet of cotton twine and mix it in with the chips. Keep the bag sealed and carry in your survival pack.

The twine will soak up the oils in the chips, which makes it easier to create a fire with nothing but sparks. When needed for fire starting simply empty the bag with chips and twine together and then use a Ferro rod or flint and steel to create a fire in damp conditions. The several feet of twine give you enough combustible material to start a fire under most conditions if you have the means to create a spark.

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Evasion Tactics in a Wilderness Environment

Evasion Tactics Wilderness Environment

The following is informational only, and is intended to be used, when you as a Prepper, have to abandon your home, and are forced to set off in to the wilderness. You may be forced away from your home by marauders, rouge law enforcement or rogue military units and even by other Prepper groups.

Your success or failure depends on the level of training of those tracking you, and your own level of training. Assume those tracking you are skilled and that they may use tracking dogs.

This information is not applicable to those that find themselves running from law enforcement because they have committed a crime. The fact they committed a crime shows their level of training and intelligence, so enough said on that.

Evasion is a survival skill that is instinctive in human and animals alike when danger is present. Animals use it all the time. They use their instincts/skills to prevent detection, so they do not end up as a meal for predators, human or otherwise. Animals cannot control their environment as humans can however.

Animals walk the same trails to water, and they do not have the ability to alter their trail to avoid detection. They seek water and then forage for food in the same areas, year after year, in other words, they cannot associate the consequence with their actions, but humans can.

One of the ways to counter an expert tracker is by knowing how to track. Learn how to track another human being if you expect to be able to avoid being tracked down by others. There is more to tracking than just following footprints. An expert tracker looks for patterns and they will make an educated guess as to probable entry/exit points and ultimately may ascertain your destination.

Practice with a friend. Have them set off as if they are being pursued and this means they will walk faster than normal and may even run in some cases to get ahead of those following. Follow their tracks and make note of where the trail gets harder to see and where it is easier to see. Note the soil, or snow composition and how the tracks look when someone is walking or running. Notice how the grass is trampled and how fast it recovers after someone has trampled it.

Note the conditions where you lost the trail. What type of soils or ground cover makes tracking harder? This is what you will learn when you practice tracking others. Study the tread pattern and length of stride of the person you are tracking and memorize it so as not to get confused when more than one track is present.

When You become the Hunted

Running at first is important to gain distance from those following or from those than might follow you. If you see an armed unit heading toward your house, and escape is the only alternative, then you want to move quickly. It is assumed you have a survival bag packed and ready to go.

It will take time for the aggressors to get organized, so use this to gain distance. Do not head for any obvious landmarks like rivers or lakes or any structures that might be in the area. The trackers in most cases can only guess about your skill level and what survival gear you may have.

To eliminate the obvious they may split the team so one or two can check any water sources and possible shelters in the area. They may put a water source close by under surveillance. They will immediately begin trying to determine a possible destination.

The weather and terrain are calculated into the mix. They know you will need water, so make sure your survival bag has enough water so it is not an immediate concern.

In all likelihood, you will not stop an experienced tracker from eventually finding you if they stay with it. Of course, if you have a destination that is a safe zone, or can find an area where you can successfully launch a counter attack then you can stop the tracker (s).

In most cases, you would need reinforcements to launch an attack to stop a well-armed unit however. Your objective is to confuse and slow the tracker with the hope they give up the hunt.

Use roadways, streams and railroad tracks to your advantage, but realize they will expect you to do this, and you will be exposed while doing this. Enter on blind curves where the view is obstructed from both directions and once on the roadway in the stream or on the tracks reverse direction.

This will slow the tracker, not stop them because they will eventually, if not immediately, realize you changed direction. They will find where you reentered the woods. Do not try to keep landmarks such as roadways, train tracks and waterways in sight by walking parallel to them.

You can change shoes if you have them, to leave a different tread mark. Change once you are on a highway, train tracks or in a river, and do this before reentering the woods. This will slow down and possibly confuse the tracker, but will not stop them.

Do not go near any structures you find, and once you have used a waterway, tracks or roadway  move away from them, and do not walk parallel to them. You do not want to be exposed in the middle of a river or roadway, so use caution when doing so, and make sure you are far enough ahead of your pursuers before exposing yourself.

Can You Evade Tracking Dogs

It is extremely difficult if not impossible once they have your scent. What you can do however, is to confuse the handler. Change direction abruptly, so if you come upon a big tree or rock, circle it and head off in a different direction for example, and then after 50 yards or so abruptly do the same thing. The handler may think the dogs have lost the sent if they keep twisting and turning back and forth, and the handler may then move them off in another direction. At the very least, you have slowed the pursuit.

You can walk in a stream but the dogs of course will track you to the water’s edge and then can find where you left the water. Walking up the middle of a stream leaves you exposed, so in some cases this method may not be worthwhile to try, unless you are convinced you have a substantial lead on your pursuers.

Do not hide in trees, because you are trapped if spotted and in most cases, you will be tracked right to the tree. Do not hide in water, the breathing through a reed trick, only works in the movies. You will be tracked to the body of water and experienced trackers will simply wait you out. You can develop hypothermia even if the water is 72° F, so you cannot hold out for long.

Do not smoke, chew gum or apply insect repellent that has an odor. Bury waste even urine under rocks and make sure you place the rock back so as not to leave any indication you where there. Hold your position so you can listen, you cannot just thrash through the brush, you have to stop periodically to look and listen. You of course want to spot them before they spot you, so use your senses to help you.

Camouflage

If you cannot stay ahead of them, then let them pass you, but to avoid detection you have to use camouflage.  Mud, wood ashes and foliage can all be used. You cannot make yourself look like trees or bushes so do not try, it will only make you stand out.

You want to break up the body and face’s outline by using shadows, leaves, mud and ash/charcoal. Blend in using the colors around you. You do not use green leaves and then crouch near a tan limestone outcropping. Use dust on your skin to reduce shine, along with mud and charcoal.

Grasses and leaves also can be stuck to the mud after it is applied to your skin and clothing. Resist movement because the eyes catch it. Go to ground and stay there until they pass. Of course, if they are using dogs you would not be able to do this.

Ideally as part of your prepping plans, you had planned for this and ultimately have more than one destination in mind. You cannot let your actions, in other words do not develop a pattern, which would allow the tracker to guess where you are headed.

If they realize you are steadily heading in one direction, they may have the capability of getting ahead of you, or they may determine your destination. Reversing course only slows the tracker and if you reverse course, and yet eventually head off in the same general direction you can be tracked right to that destination.

Therefore, you should have planned to have more than one destination, and as things unfold on the ground you can decide, which one is better suited.

Be patient and flexible. Flexibility is one of the most important keys to successful evasion. You are primarily focused on avoiding detection. Remember that people catch people. If you can avoid detection then you will ultimately succeed.

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wildfire

Preparing For and Escaping From a Wildfire

People are building homes now in very remote areas that in many cases are woodland settings. This is particularly true of those people that want to live off grid or homestead away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas.

However, while you are enjoying your solitude and living a self-reliant life a very real danger is lurking. That danger is a wildfire. Often time’s the fires go unnoticed at first, and thus are allowed to spread quickly. A wildfire is not something you prepare for as it is happening. You have to be prepared well in advance to protect yourself and home and to escape the inferno if necessary.

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