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Quick Tip #11

Having trouble keeping moisture from affecting your ammo? Or maybe you would just like to keep your ammo dry for long-term storage. If you have access to a vacuum sealer you’re in luck. First you need to figure out how many shotgun shells or bullets you want to place in each sealed bag. Next seal one end of your bag. Now place what ever amount of ammo that you decided on, in the bag as well as a copy of the front of the box the ammo came out of so that you will know what is in each sealed bag. Now vacuum seal the open end of the bag. Lastly write the date of purchase or the date that you vacuum sealed the ammo on the bag. You can know rest assure that your ammo will stay “fresh” and you’ll have them separated out into useable amounts. This also helps keep spare ammo dry in the field.

 

*Be careful to keep the ammo away from any hot part of the vacuum sealer being used. Try this at your own risk.

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Quick Tip #10

Use hydration bags for kids to carry water and food. It will free up their hands for other things like picking berries and exploring. It will also get them use to carrying a bag on their back and slowly introduce them to backpacking over time. I found that with my own kids, they got tired of carrying a water container and the containers were too heavy to clip to their pants. I bought cheap hydration bags from Sam’s Club at the end of the season. I think I ended up only paying $15 per bag. I threw out the plastic bladder bag because it was a cheap plastic and I couldn’t remove the plastic taste and some of them leaked. I prefer to use Stainless bottles anyway. We just place the bottle in the area where the hydration bag would go and place snacks or any other items in the other pouches. There is also a nice little pouch inside of these bags where I place an emergency blanket for each child. That way if something happened where all or any of us got lost and had to spend the night in the wilderness unexpectedly, we would each have some shelter from wind, rain and cold. I like these bags better than other more expensive bags because there is more storage than a standard hydration backpack and they were a lot cheaper. They are a cross between a small hydration pack and a small backpack, perfect for our purposes. Someday I plan on doing a lightweight backpacking trip using one of these packs just to see how well it would work. I’ll let you know how it works out. Have a great time enjoying the wilderness with your kids.

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Start Them Young

I have four boys between the ages of 22months and 10. They all love the outdoors. I take the older two hunting with me during early hunting season when it’s a bit warmer. They love to hike and my 10 year old absolutely loves kayaking. They can’t get enough of hiking in the wilderness. This year I started a new tradition where I’m going to be taking each one of my older three boys on their own three day weekend adventure. I plan on doing this every year from now on. They can’t wait. This way we can get some one on one time (hopefully get them more comfortable talking to me and prepare them for their teen years) and I can also tailor each trip to each of my sons’ abilities and likes.

This month I will be taking my older son. We are going to kayak out to an island where we will camp for three days. We will do a lot of fishing. He is a natural when it comes to fishing. He had all kinds of trouble trying to fish with those cheap kids combos so one day I gave him one of my fishing poles and off he went. He could cast it farther than a lot of adults and he’s caught some nice size fish all on his own. The area where we are staying is surrounded by over 2500 acres of state forest which is full of trails and streams. So we will be spending a bit of our time hiking as well. I don’t know who’s more excited him or me.

All of my kids love being outside but my 22 month old can’t get enough. All winter he would just trudge through the snow and didn’t care how much effort it took or even how cold it was. Now that it is nice outside he doesn’t want to be anywhere but outside. He loves to help feed and water the chickens. It amazes me how much he can actually do all on his own! On Mother’s Day after we had dinner the kids and I were out walking around our property. We have a section of our property that has a steep hill in the woods that is mostly loose dirt and tree roots. He was climbing up and down the hill without any help and never fell once. None of our kids could do that so early! This kid has amazing balance. I wish I had a picture of this hill so that you could see it.

I say all this to encourage people to get their kids out hiking and enjoying outdoor activities as early as possible and to do it as a family. I had my older son sitting in my lap well kayaking before he could even walk (he had a life jacket on and I had a long daisy chain hooked from the top of my lifejacket to the bottom of his). He loved it. Children are much more capable than we think. You’ll never regret the time spent outside with your kids but you’ll always regret the time wasted on TV and video games. They will always cherish those memories as well. I still remember all the camping and fishing trips I took as a kid. Those are the memories I cherish most. Below are some pictures of us hiking on a well worn trail system on Memorial Day. What activities does your family like to do outside together? Do your kids like being outdoors? If your family is not use to hiking or being outdoors regularly, start small. A simple hike down a short trial will do wonders. Don’t try to start out with more than you or they can handle. Start small and enjoy working your way up to more difficult hikes, camping trips or backpacking trips. Enjoy the process together. You’ll also get to see some breathtaking views along the way.

Just an FYI, we have each of the older three kids carry their own hydration bag. This works out very well. They can easily carry their own water, snacks and lunch. We tried having them just carry containers with water in them but not too long down the trail they would get tired of carrying the containers so we found that this works our well for us. Also, with boys you will need snacks. Don’t venture out without some. If they are not eating they are thinking about eating! Our boys eat more than my wife and I do. Anyway, enjoy the time spent outdoors with your kids and don’t underestimate their abilities.

 

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bug repellant

Homemade Mosquito and Tick Repellant

I love the wilderness dearly, but like most I get tired of getting eaten alive. I get bit even when no one else is being bitten! I’m always looking for natural bug repellants because I don’t like spraying pesticides on my body or clothing and especially not on my kids. My wife and I have tried many natural remedies and well some sort of work, none have worked for me. I’m special that way. The other week I came across a recipe for a natural tick and mosquito repellant that seems to work very well. I can’t remember where I got the recipe from or I would give the site credit. Good thing I wrote the recipe down! So I thought that I would share my findings.

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Distilled Vinegar
1 Cup of Water
20 Drops of Essential Oil

 
*Spray on skin, clothing and hair every 4 hours or as needed.

 
By adding essential oils you won’t smell like vinegar all day. We used peppermint essential oil because it is a natural repellant for ticks and mosquitoes. You can choose whatever essential oil that you would like but any type of mint or citrus essential oils would work great since they are natural repellants for ticks and mosquitoes. Mix everything together and place in a spray bottle or multiple pump spray bottles. So far this mixture works well for me and does better than any store bought spray. It is much more comforting to know that what I am spraying on my children and on me is not going to harm them or me. Try this recipe out and let me know how it works for you. What natural bug repellants do you use? How well do they work for you? Thanks for reading and please let me know if this helps you fend off the bugs this year.

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Quick Tip #9

Electrical conduit also called EMT is great for so much more than just running electrical wiring. I use it for simple cheap fence posts. With a 3’x200’ roll of chicken wire and 14, 10’ lengths of EMT you can make a decent size fenced in area for chickens and it won’t cost very much at all. I cut the EMT in half so that I end up with 5’ poles. Using a sledge hammer I pound the poles about 2’ into the ground and I place a pole every 8’. They pound in pretty easily since they are hollow. I add a self tapping screw at the top and bottom of each post to keep the fence in place and then add two zip ties to each post. This makes for a cheap and easy make shift fence. It’s easy to tear down and move to another area and the EMT doesn’t leave big holes in the ground or rust. You can also make simple tracking poles out of EMT and you can store simple survival items inside the poles. I find myself using EMT for a lot of different purposes around my home. It is a very versatile product that can be used for so much more than its intended purpose. What products do you use for things other than their intended purpose?

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Survival Food: Wild Game

Right now in New York we are in the midst of spring Turkey hunting season and walleye fishing season. I absolutely love this time of year. New life is springing forth and the air seems so fresh. The weather is consistently getting nicer and the warmth of the sun feels so wonderful and energizing. I find myself wishing I could spend every waking moment, this time of year, in the wilderness instead of keeping a regular work schedule.

Anyway the reason I’m bringing up the fact that we are in the midst of hunting and fishing season (in New York) is that this is the perfect time to learn skills for gathering wild game or to teach your young children how to catch wild game. When it comes to survival, knowing how to provide food for yourself and anyone with you could mean the difference between life and death.

Since the weather is nicer and generally warmer at this time of year it is easier on younger children to be out hunting now instead of in late fall (not very warm in New York usually by then). Teaching them how to hunt and fish well they are young will give them the time to fine tune their skills and will give them an appreciation for nature. Teach them to hunt or fish with the bare minimum instead of outfitting them with every gadget known to man. This will make them rely on skill instead of technology. Use homemade lures to catch fish. Try fishing with just a stick, some fishing line, a hook and a worm or homemade lure. This can be fun and challenging all at the same time. Adults should be practicing these skills as well. In a real survival situation you will most likely not have any professional fishing or hunting equipment. Now is the time to learn and practice these skills. Not when your life depends on it.

Test your skills when hunting. If you’re a bow hunter, try hunting with a recurve or long bow instead of a compound bow. If you already bow hunt with a recurve or long bow try making your own bow and hunting with that. For gun hunters, try bow hunting or get rid of the scope and use sights. If you have an area where you are able to, you can learn how to trap. No matter how skilled we are at hunting and fishing or trapping, we can all challenge ourselves more and fine tune our skills. The older I get the more I want to hunt or fish with gear that is as basic as possible. Someday if I get the chance I am going to make my own recurve bow and hunt with it.

The point of all this is to say that you need to practice the skill of catching wild game and this is the perfect time of year to do that. If you have children you can get them involved and have fun learning together. They will never forget the time you spend in the wilderness together and these skills may someday save their life or your own. I know many people that live off and provide for their families with the wild game they catch each year. My family included. We only eat wild fish and venison. We raise our own chickens and vegetables. You can save a lot of money by living off the land instead of relying on the grocery store to provide for your family but you need to gain the necessary skills first.

Enjoy this time of year and if you have children let them enjoy it with you. Make sure you obey all hunting and fishing laws in your area and don’t be reckless. Incorporate fishing with your camping trips. This way you’ll have some great tasting free food and your kids will taste the fruit of their labors. There’s nothing more satisfying than providing your own food well out backpacking and camping. Enjoy each moment and continue to learn and teach along the way.

 

(The picture is of my brother and the turkey he shot last weekend).

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Quick Tip #8

If you are learning how to make snares or already know how, this tip is for you. Add a pack of guitar strings to your Emergency/Bug Out Bag. They are perfect for making snares. Guitar strings are very strong and vary in thickness so they can be used to make snares for a range of different animals. Guitar strings will also keep a nice round shape which is perfect for making snares.
If you don’t already know how to make a snare I highly recommend that you learn. This way if you find yourself in a survival situation you’ll have another food catching skill. So go out and get yourself a pack of guitar strings and practice making snares, and well your at it throw a pack of strings in your emergency bag. Remember to follow all local hunting laws and practice everything at your own risk. Do you know how to hunt with snares? Have you ever caught anything in a snare?