Survival Weapons (Part 4 of 4): Water

Water is one of your highest priorities in any survival situation. This is a given but did you know that you can use a good water source as a weapon as well?

When you are able to find water chances are pretty good that other animals will have found it as well. Not only that but animals in the are will be visiting it frequently. When animals are getting water they are focusing their attention on the surrounding land in the event that they are ambushed. They will be less concerned with what is under the water. This is your advantage. Water can be a great weapon if it is used properly just ask the crocodile. To utilize the destructive power of water consider the way the crocodiles use it. They will grab hold of their prey with their powerful jaws and pull it to the bottom of the river. They let the water do the killing for them by simply waiting for the prey to drown. You can do the same by building a blind of reeds and grasses. Conceal yourself inside so that you head is the only part of your body above the water line. You will be able to float silently up to drinking animals and water fowl and with a quick grab you can pull the animal under water and wait for it to perish.

Survival Weapons (Part 3 of 4): Blowgun

I originally came across the blow gun by watching documentaries about tribes in the rain forests of South America. The idea intrigued me because of the advantage of the dart over the arrow as afar as hunting tree dwelling animals like the bountiful song bird and chipmunk populations. So I thought that it would be advantageous to attempt a similar weapon. However, the materials that they were using to build a blow gun came from a lush tropical rain forest so the challenge would be to adapt the blow gun fabrication to materials found in the western US.

The simplest solution to the blowgun itself was to find a long, straight, pith centered plant. I have found that there are quite a few plants that are well suited to build a blowgun. Thistles, Mullen and Teasel are just a few that will work well. Thistle works great. The pithy center starts to cling to the outer walls as the plant matures. Which is great because you don’t have to do much to hollow it out, it does the work for you. Plus, it is found almost everywhere especially along road sides and the same holds true for Mullen. Unfortunately finding a length that is straight is hard. I had to look through quite a few to get a piece about three feet long. The Teasel is great as well. It is also pithy in the center and the older it gets the more hollow it becomes. The Teasel does have a segmented stem which means you have to break through each section to hollow it out. Not a big deal.

The toughest part of any blowgun is to get it hollowed out. Here is a little trick I figured out. First you will want to find a long straight stick that is a few inches longer than the blowgun and is the diameter you desire at its thickest part. This is your sanding stick. to make it a sanding stick you can either wrap the end with sandpaper or dip it into pine pitch followed by medium grain sand. Once you have the sanding stick made the rest is fairly easy. Push the non-sanded, thinner end of the sanding stick through the pith to open the center up. Then use the sanded end as you would a hand drill and “sand” out the pith to the desired diameter.

The dart was another story. This was even harder. I started with a Cattail stalk and cut into sections about 2 inches long that were about two thirds the diameter of the opening. I could then press in a few feathers into the pith of one end. This helps provide air resistance to push the dart out as well as giving it stability in flight. I would recommend you cut your feathers about and inch and a half long, not including the quill. Press in the quill end until it reaches the feather. Then cut another feather the same length but split the quill and insert them both. But insert these opposite each other and perpendicular to the first feather. You can then trim the length of the feathers to about three quarters of an inch. For the tip I used the thorns from the Russian Olive tree. They are about two to four inches long. I pressed them into the pith opposite the feathered end.

I was surprised at how easy the blowgun is to use and how accurate the darts are. The blowgun is easy to build and perfect for very small animals even at distances of ten yards.

Survival Weapons (Part 2 of 4): Spear

The survival spear is a great asset for any survival situation. They are easy to build, multi-use and can be adapted to almost any prey. However, the skill level is fairly advanced. So be prepared to invest time. Not necessarily into spear hunting itself but into the art of stalking. Stalking will be 90 percent of a successful spear hunt. But before you start the construction of the spear shaft observe the area that you will be hunting in. Determine whether or not the hunting spear is a weapon that will be effective on the prey in the area. If the hunting spear will be a good weapon then build the spear specific to the prey you will be harvesting with it.

Most hunting spears will start with what I call a ‘blank’(a tree or tree part that has the characteristics to make a good spear shaft) that is five to seven feet in length. This may vary depending on the prey you are after. But generally speaking you can start any spear by finding a blank that is as straight as possible. If the blank is cut from a green tree, strip the bark as soon as possible and let the blank cure for a week or so. Straighten the blank daily. This will probably be easy to start with but may become more and more difficult as the blank cures. For bends in the blank that are especially difficult to bend out try using a couple trees that are growing close together by placing the end up against the furthest tree from you and pressing the difficult bend against the tree that is closest to you. Let the trees do the work for you. It will save your knees. All the more reason to straighten it daily while it is pliable. If the blank is a dry wood then soak it a little to make it more pliable. Once the blank is dry and straight, sand off all the bumps and branches. Cut the blank to length and you should have a usable spear shaft.

The spearhead can be made from stone, bone, steel, plastic or glass. Anything you can get your hands on will work. You can just sharpen the end but that will depend on the prey. Lash the head onto the thick end of the shaft of a spear that will be thrown. For any other use, use your best judgment. To do this cut a slot into the end of the spear shaft just deep enough for the back of the spearhead to rest up against the depth of the cut. If the hunting spear is going to be a harpoon type then drill a hole into the end and insert the spearhead to the depth of the hole. Then lash the head on as tightly as possible with what ever cordage you have available. Sinew is the best but this is where packing your survival kit to match your skill level is really going to be important. What you have in your kit is what you will be using. Or if you have nothing then use native plants like Dogbane, Stinging Nettle or Milkweed to make your own plant based cordage. I will not be describing that process in this article but the ‘Survival Weapons: Rope‘ article covers this fairly well. You now have a hunting spear, it is that simple.

Hunting with a spear is incredibly educational thanks to the stalk. The stalk, if properly executed, will give you a lot of time to observe. While stalking into your hunting area learn as much as possible about the flora and fauna. As you stalk to your prey learn everything you can about its species. Take this time to give yourself knowledge, it is a great gift.

Survival Weapons (Part 1 of 4): Firearms

The firearm as a survival weapon is a touchy subject. On the one hand there are the survivalists that are the purists who believe a firearm of any kind is unnecessary and should never be considered as a survival weapon. The purists are even angered by the consideration of a firearm as a survival weapon. They reason that the firearm tips the scales of a natural balance between the hunter and the prey. Other survivalists believe a firearm is the first and only survival weapon that a person needs. bumper stickers with phrases like, ‘You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hand!’ are words to live by from this survivalist philosophy. And all that bush hippie crap is garbage. So let’s be brave and dissect the firearm as a survival weapon.

Looking at the firearm purely as a food acquisition tool, it is hard to discount how effective it is. The firearm is easy to use, accurate and effective at even at very long ranges. A firearm can be lightweight and easy to pack away even in a small survival kit. One drawback is that once the ammunition is gone the firearm has little value. But all in all the firearm can be a great survival weapon, looking at it purely as a food acquisition tool. But for some reason we can’t look at it as just a food acquisition tool. The firearm has a powerful psychological aspect that has to be considered.

Having a gun gives a sense of confidence. This is almost irrefutable. A firearm provides a sense of power. That power feels great. To the point that a person feels that since they have a gun they can take care of themselves in any survival situation. There seems to be no need to have a practical working knowledge of any other survival weapon when you have a firearm. It is that effective. That power is where the danger lies and the reason the purists get agitated. The discontent is directed at the firearm which is not where it should be placed. Meaning, the power is what is dangerous in a survival situation not the firearm itself. The power develops a false sense of security and a bravado. And that is what the purists, in reality, have a problem with.

So, to make a firearm a good survival weapon you have to break down that false sense of security. You need to be able to rely on your outdoor survival skills instead of the weapon whatever it may be. The path to solving that, I believe, lies in one of the uses of the firearm and that is as a defensive weapon. Why do you have to examine the defensive aspect of the firearm? The defensive aspect of the firearm goes straight to the heart of the issue: Fear of the wilderness.

Fear is the primary reason for taking a firearm into the wilderness other than a designated seasonal hunt. The media has a lot to do with this. They feed us stories of wilderness disasters and what I call the “What if’s”, so lets look at the what if’s and shed some light on the subject of fear of the wilderness, the light will set you free. What if I get hungry and can’t find food? You don’t need a gun to defend you from hunger. Trapping, scavenging, fishing and collecting wild edible plants are so much more effective than hunting even with a firearm. So educate yourself and practice what you learn until it is so familiar it becomes second nature. What if I get attacked by an animal? Contrary to what the media would have you believe, the chances of you being attacked by an animal other than a mosquito are extremely remote. Even for those of us in Alaska. Predatory animals are simply too afraid of humans to want to approach us. Let alone eat us. For those of us who visit Africa those odds go up because we are silly and want to pet the cute hippos. But for most of us this isn’t a problem because we will never get to visit Africa, statistically speaking. Therefore the need of a weapon for protection from animals is not as necessary as the media would have you believe. If you were visiting an are where animal attacks are a regular occurrence take a small can of pepper spray. It is way more effective than a firearm. So if not for defense from animals then perhaps you need a weapon to protect yourself from other humans. What if I get accosted by other people? Again, the chances of you running into another human in the wilderness who wants to intentionally harm you is probably even more remote than that of running into an animal that wants to harm you. Most people in the world understand that the odds of any of these things happening are remote at best. So what is the real reason one would want to take a firearm into the wilderness? The real reason and my point to this section is that what we are really looking for protection from is the Boogieman, Bigfoot and the things that go bump in the night! Let’s be honest with ourselves. That seems to be what we are really afraid of isn’t it. THE UNKNOWN.

A firearm is a great defense from scary and spooky things that are lurking in the dark waiting for us. It is like having a security blanket. There is no doubt that fear is a huge psychological challenge to overcome. When I teach survival, I tell my students that the first thing they will do when they find that they are lost in the wilderness is to panic and run to what they think is the right way back to safety. No matter how experienced they are or how many times they have been told to stay put when lost that is exactly what they are going to do and that’s OK. You are going to experience some level of fear. That will lead to some level of panic. Luckily the more education your brain can feed the fear the sooner you will stop running. And after you have gone a few yards and panic starts to yield to logic. You will stop, sit down and think about how much money people pay to see the kind of scenery you are seeing. You will then come to terms with the fact that you are lost to other people but what you see in front of you is now your home. You are home! So make yourself comfortable. The point is that fear is OK. It keeps us safe. I will never tell a person to not take a firearm with them into the wilderness especially if it helps you keep the fear at a minimum, but I would rather a person take the time to conquer their fear and get educated instead. You will get to know yourself better. You will get to know nature better.

Spring is here! Now, what can you eat?

For the survivalist it is time to get prepared for Spring. Spring is a great season to get out and have fun. Spring will be bringing out some great wild edible plants, so be boning up on what’s available in your area. But what is even better is that spring is the time to get ready for spear hunting. The Carp spawning season is fast approaching, at least in my area, and for me this is one of my favorite hunts to go on.

Carp Spear
Spring is the time when the males are starting to locate nesting areas. The males will swim into the shallows where the reeds and grasses are growing and locate a good nesting area that will appeal to a female. The males will then start to call females with a sucking sound in an attempt to attract her to the nest as summer approaches. At the same time the females will then be cruising the shallows looking for a male that has a good nest. So both sexes will be in the shallows looking to spawn. This makes for some of the best spear hunting around. They are fast and strong. They have great vision as well so you have to be able to execute a great stalk. And once you get to within striking distance you will then have to get through their armor. They have large tough scales to protect them.

So first, to get the spear ready. We need to make sure that the lines are new or are at least in good enough condition to handle a fight with a Carp. Carp are powerful swimmers! They can snap 50 lb. Spider Wire with no problem. And that is with a spear head stuck in the back of their head. The lines have to be 200 lb. cordage. It’s the only way to keep them. As well as keep the spear head. I have gone through 4 or 5 per year in years past. Not because I lose them but a typical carp will break my line and take off with the spear head stuck in it.

Second, we are going to work on the shafts. The shafts need to be oiled. This will help to keep the water from swelling around the spear head and pinching it. This can make it hard for the spear head to release.

So what to do with the Carp once they have been speared? Eat them of course! Now, I know what you are thinking, Carp are a “garbage fish”, “bottom feeders”, “mud suckers”. It took a lot of will-power to get the courage up to try eating a Carp the first time. But it was the cleanest, best tasting fish I had ever tried. It wasn’t fishy. It had the flavor of a plant-eating fish. You could almost taste the aquatic plants it feeds on. Which makes sense. If you were to observe them in there natural habitat you will see that they don’t eat mud but rather they like to graze on the vegetation that grows on the stalks of plants below the water line.

Now if you can’t muster up the courage to try eating the Carp then use it for bait. Carp makes a great bait for Catfish as well. I have also tried making cordage from the intestines and it seems to be just alright. It will tie basketry but I don’t think it will make a good bow string or snare parts. It doesn’t smell that great either. What ever you do with your catch please don’t let it go to waste. Live is life even if it is just a “Bottom Feeder”.

Natural Disaster Preparation 101

In light of the devastating recent events that have hit the people around the world, we thought it would be important to mention a little about natural disaster coping skills.

There is a lot of hype and Hollywood drama in association with the topic of wilderness survival.  Television characters travel the world in search of wild and entertaining adventures.  This can be distracting to the real and practical need for a basic knowledge-base in wilderness survival skills especially as it pertains to a natural disaster.

The real benefits to having a strong skill set in wilderness survival are simple.  It doesn’t matter where you live:  natural resources are all around you.  Most of us have the benefit of living near wilderness areas where natural resources are easily accessible and plentiful to the trained eye.  Tragically, even less is known about the huge amounts of food and water resources within city limits.  Just having the basic knowledge of shelter, water and wild edible plants and animals will give you all the advantage you need in any kind of natural disaster, virtually indefinitely.  At the very least you will be able to subsist until society has been able to make the necessary repairs to infrastructure and resume normal food distribution patterns.  The key is education and experience.

The practical and educational benefits of having even a simple knowledge of how to survive in the wilderness is immeasurable especially in the context of a natural disaster.  So be grateful that a natural disaster has not hit you yet and you have the time to educate yourself.  The peace of mind in knowing that even in the event of a natural disaster you can provide for yourself and your loved ones in a real way is priceless.  The real tragedy would be how many people will suffer ignorantly from a natural disaster.  All the while there are resources as close as the weed patch growing in our own yards.

In a future post, I’ll cover a few simple wild edible plants you can subsist on easily. Also, you can sign up for one of my wild edible plant courses.

Survival Hunting: Hunting Net

Being able to fabricate a net in the wilderness is invaluable.  It can serve for many different survival uses, namely: as a basket, as a hammock, as camouflage and even as a survival weapon.  The decision of whether or not to build a survival net for hunting should be based entirely on the prey in the area you are in.  Once you have studied the  behavior and movements of the animals in your area you will be able to determine whether or not a net will be effective at hunting them.  Fish, song birds, squirrels and insects  are all  great prey to consider for a survival net option as a weapon.

To tie a survival net you will need plenty of cordage.  You can make the cordage that you need from natural material or better yet, make sure you have some with you in your survival kit.  The cordage for a survival net could be anything, but 50 lb. to 100 lb. Spiderwire fishing line is perfect.  It is light and very strong.  Next you will need a flexible green sapling or branch.  Almost any thing will do but Willow, Red River Birch or Wild Rose work well.  To assemble a survival hunting net cut pieces of string about four feet long.  This will give you a net about two feet deep.  You will want to hang the sapling high enough off the ground that you can work on it comfortably preferably in a sitting position.  The net is formed by tying the 4 foot lengths on the sapling 1/2 inch apart.  Start by finding the center.  To do this fold the piece in half.  The loop will be the center.  Wrap the loop around the sapling and pull the ends of the 4 foot length through the loop.  Do this the entire length of the sapling starting six inches in from one end and ending six inches from the other.  Now take one of  the halves of the 4 foot length and one of the halves of the 4 foot length next to it and tie them together with a simple overhand knot.  Watch this guys video for a simple demonstration.  The difference between his net and a good survival net is that you will be using a sapling in place of the cord he uses for the top.  Tie each knot about every half inch or closer depending on the prey. Now take your sapling and bend it into a loop.  Tie the ends together to secure the loop.  Now feed a line through all of the ends of the net as well as where the sides of the net come together, draw them tight and tie off.   Next, use a flexible stick about 6 feet long and an inch and a half or so in diameter.  At the thin end, about a foot from the end, wrap a lashing around several times and secure tightly.  Now split the thin end right down the middle to an inch above your lashing.  Be very careful not to cut yourself!  Spread the split end open and insert the loop.  Secure the loop to the split end of the staff.  Now you have a great weapon for catching everything from small game and insects to fish fry.  You could probably even get some small birds with it if you’re quick.

Survival Spears and Spear Hunting

I have been receiving inquiries about survival spear hunting. On a general level I have been asked about its overall effectiveness, how to build one and what prey it is best suited for.  There are those who want to know, on a practical level, if it is worth investing the time into constructing, practicing and utilizing a survival spear.

First:  Any survival weapon’s effectiveness will be quantified  by both its construction and the specific prey it is intended for.  These ingredients to successful food gathering are intertwined and cannot be separated.   I find that the survival spear is a fantastic survival tool for many animals but each application has to be carefully considered based on the prey you are hunting.  Let me share an example:  I love to fish for catfish.  They are one of my favorite fish.  There is nothing like a batter-fried catfish fillet in a taco.  As I experimented with different baits, always keeping survival in mind of course, I found that catfish prefer trout and carp meat.  They especially love a certain organ from the carp, but that is my secret bait, perhaps I will share that another day, but in my area I rarely find catfish and trout in the same body of water naturally.  However, catfish and carp are almost always together.  So I will use the Fish and Small Game spearhead we developed to hunt carp.  I observed that when the carp start spawning it leads them into the reeds to lay their eggs.  As they are doing this it becomes more practical to stalk and to use the hunting spear to get them.  I rig the Little Devil with a line such that it will detach when it hits its target and I aim for a bony spot just behind the head.  I have found that they are too strong to be pierced in the body.  They will just rip the spearhead out.  With a line attached they can fight all they want and you won’t loose the fish.  A fixed-head hunting spear will show the stress of a fighting fish at its weakest point.  Usually where the spearhead attaches to the shaft.  I’ve even had the shaft itself break with a carp that wasn’t that big.  With the construction that I use, with the detachable spearhead, all the stress on the system is greatly reduced and I have no problem bringing the carp in.  Now you have the perfect bait for catfish fishing.  So you can see that the construction of the hunting spear is specific to the prey.  I can use the same spearhead with a different construction method for a different prey.  I can use the same Little Devil spearhead but this time fix the head on an even longer shaft, from 6 to 9 feet, and use it effectively for spear hunting little lizards.  I would assume that one could hunt snakes as well as curious squirrels, but I haven’t tried to hunt either in this manner yet.  Prey and construction are inseparable as far as survival spear hunting go.  I am not that great of an aim and I haven’t had to put much time into practicing, nothing like the bow and arrow, but I have been very effective at securing food.  In one afternoon I speared one carp and caught 9 catfish ranging from 24 to 36 inches with the carp I caught with the hunting spear.  That is not too bad of a return on investment.  Which brings me to the next part of the discussion.

Time.  It seems that a major influence in deciding what survival skills we would like to master is determined by this question, “How long will it take to get good at?”  I hope that as we start to think more and more as a survivalist we will let other factors determine what skills to master.  Factors like warmth, hunger or a good nights sleep.  But, when considering whether or not to master the survival spear, first consider the prey in your area.  The choice of hunting tools is determined by the area and its inhabitants.  I suggest that picking a survival practice area and visiting it often is paramount in any skill mastery.  This will be the place you go on a regular basis to practice survival techniques.  (This will allow you to start to create survival constants-a subject I will talk about in more detail in subsequent posts.)  Observe the fauna to see what prey species are viable as a food source.  Then determine whether or not using a spear would be beneficial in securing the desired prey.  If the survival spear will make you efficient in securing that particular prey, then it is definitely worth what ever the time needed to master.

Survival Hunting: Bare-hands

I imagine that hunting with bare-hands was the first form of hunting.  It is the most primal form of hunting.  Hunting with bare-hands  puts the hunter and the prey on the same level, strength against strength, right?  This is true… but not for us humans.  The strength of an animal predator lies in the attack and the strength of the prey lies is in the escape.  We as humans simply do not have the attacking ability as other predators in the animal kingdom.  So for us it is ourweakness against the prey’s strength.  A challenge to be sure but it is not impossible.

There are two obstacles to overcome.  First  you have to beat your preys abilities of detection.  You have to be able to get your body in close enough proximity to the prey to be able to strike with your hands.  That is pretty close.  Most animals ability to detect predators is really good.  So you have to use you stealth to beat that detection ability.  Keep in mind that you and your prey are in the predator/prey struggle and there is nothing more final than that relationship. There is a lot at stake for your prey.  You could lose a meal but your prey will lose its life.    It will employ every muscle in its body, all its mental capacity and every desire it has for life to allude you.  So camouflage and minimizing you scent is imperative.

Secondly, it pits your ability to kill with your preys ability to escape.  For most animals this ability is incredibly well developed.  Which is probably why we as humans went to the trouble to develop weapons in the first place.  We are not on even ground in the bare-hands hunting scenario.  The odds are greatly in the favor of the prey.  This summer I was on a survival exercise when I discovered an area where Carp were coming in to the reed beds to graze.  I noticed one not too far from the shore that seemed my best choice.  So I sat and watched it for a while as it perused the reeds for the tasty green moss that grows just below the water line.  Not too long after I started watching I noticed it moving around to where it was facing away from me.  I started my stalk.   I could feel the primordial sludge on the bottom of the lake squeeze between my toes as the weight of my body pressed into it.  I slowly moved forward getting closer and closer.  As I reached striking distance I lowered my upper body to withing inches of the water level.  Then, for what seemed to take forever, I gradually dropped my hands into the water on each side of the fish.  I remained perfectly calm not letting my emotions get me excited.  As the moment for the strike began to get closer and closer every muscle in my body tensed.  Then I struck!  The quick strike was too quick for the two foot fish and I had him… or so I thought.  In response to my attack every muscle in his body tensed.  Digging deep for all his desires of life and channeling all his strength for an escape he fought back.  He fought with such force as to shake my arms back and forth.  It was enough.  He was able to force himself free and swim away.  In that kind of situation all prey know that life is on the line and they can exhibit great ability to escape.  So when you are able to stalk into position and get to a point where you can strike, use so much force and so much strength that you virtually overwhelm your prey.  Whatever force you think you will need, double it!

If you are in a situation where the only thing you have to hunt with is your bare-hands, first of all I feel sorry for your situation, but don’t give up hope.  You still have the art of the stalk.  It is the only thing you have going for you when hunting with bare-hands.  So practice, practice, practice!

Backyard Survival: The best kind of emergency preparedness

Wilderness survival skills have many practical applications outside a wilderness theater.  One of these applications is with emergency preparedness or disaster preparedness.  The best way to prepare for a disaster or emergency is to train yourself in wilderness survival.  A person who is skilled and educated in wilderness survival is going to be less inclined to panic and more inclined to take care of himself and others if an emergency arises.  Because of the training and education that a survivalist has acquired, questions like, “How do I stay warm? or “Where can I find food? become less intimidating.  This reduces stress and the natural tendency to panic.  By studying basic needs and how to satisfy those needs out of  the natural products around you one is able to prioritize necessities.

Wilderness survival teaches preparedness principals in shelter construction, finding and purifying water, food gathering and hunting as well as food preparation and preservation.  Wilderness survival teaches one how to improvise and use whatever there is around you in a practical and useful way.  For example:  I have a plot of my yard that has not yet been landscaped yet.  My wife hates it.  For her it is nothing but a weed patch.  For me it is my favorite part of the yard for one simple reason.  80% of the “weeds” in this little 8′ by 8′ plot of ground are edible!  I have done nothing to promote any certain plants to grow there,  I have not weeded any plants out of it and I have not sewn any seed in it.  This area’s plant growth is completely natural.  Not only are the plants delicious but nutritious and prolific.

The plants are as follows:

Mallow:  A very common plant in most garden areas.  The leaves can be cooked and prepared as you would spinach.  The seeds can be eaten raw or dried and ground into a powder then added to a soup or stew.  The young and tender roots can be cooked as you would a carrot.

Mustard:  One of my favorites.  The roots are terrific cooked in butter and the leaves and seeds are great even raw.

Sour Dock:  Is a plant that I let grow in the shade and the leaves can reach 2′ long and 6″ wide.  Even the bigger leaves are very tender when cooked.  They make a great additive to dips and sauces.  The immature stalk is my favorite part.  Cook it up in butter and garlic.

Purslane:  Is delicious cooked or raw.

Shepherd’s Purse: These plants do not get very big for me but the flavor is peppery and great.  I like it better cooked.

Plantain:  Is one of my favorites.  I like them battered and fried.

Field Pennycress:  Is just OK, I like it’s flavor but the plant doesn’t grow very big.

There are a few more but I think you get my point.  We have more resources than we realize, even in our own yards.

By study and practice anyone can learn basic survival preparedness and life sustaining skills.  Start in your own back yard.  Shop for a plant identification book that will help you learn and properly identify plant species in those areas.  Explore empty lots and fields looking for edibles as well as objects that may be useful.  We offer a Wild Edible Plant Class that will teach you everything you will need to know, and even offer it in different seasons so you will learn what is available any time of year. What ever avenue you take to learn survival you will be learning skills that are fun and practical in any situation.