Survival Quick Tips

I was thinking what we need was a section for all those little things, quick tips that on their own do not warrant a thread unto themselves... kind of like a field guide something for quick reference...
this collection comes from 50 years of reading and studying bushcraft as well as being an avid hunter and fisher... some of these you'll have seen before... others probably not... well lets get started...

Fish Detectors

When you're fishing a strange body of water and don't have a clue where to start, locate some fish-eating birds. Herons and loons know exactly where to go to find baitfish - and where there is forage, there will be hungry game fish as well.

The One-Match Fire

Always try to light a fire with a single match -- even when an entire box of matches is at hand. This skill could some day mean the difference between a warm, comfortable camp and a chilly, miserable one. Place a softball size piece of tinder on a dry bark or on the ground. Good tinder ingredients include lint, cotton threads, dry wood powder, bird or mouse nests, dry shredded bark or pine needles. Around the tinder, pile a handful of dry twigs. Over this nucleus, lean a few slightly larger, seasoned branches in tepee-fashion. Over the branches, lay some bigger pieces of deadwood. With the pile sheltered form the wind and rain, ignite the tinder so the flames eat into the heart of the pile. Once the fire gets going, shape it however you want.

Catch a Frog

A Jawed spear is great for catching fish, frogs and other aquatic creatures. Split one end of a green sapling 6 to 8 inches. Carve sharp, rear angling teeth into each flat side in the split. Use cordage to bind the split's upper end so it won't split further. Open the "jaws," and separate them with a twig strong enough to keep them apart. When the spear is thrust at a fish or critter, the twig is knocked out and the jaws snap shut, holding the quarry.

Cane Pole

When fishing with cane poles, some anglers make the mistake of tying line only to the end of the cane. If the tip breaks, the fish is gone. Instead, run line along the whole length, starting just above where you'll hold the pole. Tie the line here, then wrap a piece of electrical tape around the tie to secure it. Tape the line at several evenly spaced points along the pole, concluding with a piece of tape that secures the line at the tip of the pole. Leave a length of line beyond the tip that's equal to the length of the pole. Once the line is rigged with terminal tackle, you can adjust the length as necessary by wrapping or unwrapping it at the tip. Tie it off with an overhand knot.

Tree Well Shelter

Snow is not necessarily an enemy to a person stranded or lost in a blizzard. In fact, it is a great insulator, and if you know how to build a propper snow shelter, it'll keep you safe and warm for a short period. One quick, and effective snow shelter can be made in a tree well (the depression around a tree's trunk that is protected from snow by the canopy of branches above it). First, construct a framework of branches and bows around the lowest branches. Then, dig a side cave in the well by tunneling away form the tree. Evergreen boughs laid on the floor of this cave make a comfortable sleeping place that can be as much as 40 degrees warmer than the temperature outside.

Clay Oven

You can make a camp oven in a clay stream bank. Hammer a sharp pole, about as thick as your forearm, straight down into the bank about three feet back from the edge. Then, a foot or so down the side of the bank, scoop out the size oven you want. The entrance should be narrower than the inside. Dig as far back as the pole, then pull the pole out to form a chimney. Give the interior a hard coating by smoothing and resmoothing it with wet hands. Kindle a small fire within to harden this lining.

Reflector Oven

Reflector ovens are great for baking biscuits, casseroles, pies and more. You can buy one in a store, but it can be bulky to carry to a campsite. A makeshift reflector oven can be made by cutting two forked sticks and driving them in the ground near your campfire about 2 to 3 feet apart. Lay another stick between the two forks. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the top stick three or four times to secure it, then stretch it from the stick to the ground at an angle, securing it at the bottom with a heavy stick laid across it side to side. Now cover the sides with additional pieces of foil and you're ready to bake.

Whistle Stop

When you jump a cottontail from its cover, stop it in its tracks with a loud, shrill whistle. Some rabbits totally ignore the sound, but many will freeze where they are the moment they hear the whistle, allowing extra seconds for you to shoot before the rabbit disappears.

Build a Solar Still

A solar still is one of the best methods for obtaining water in apparently dry areas. In a low, unshaded area, dig a hole 1.5 feet deep and 3 feet in diameter. Place a can or jar in the center of the hole and cover the hole with a large sheet of plastic, sealing the edges with dirt and rocks. Put a rock in the center of the plastic directly above the container. Moisture is drawn from the earth beneath the sheet. The water then runs down and drips into your container. Greenery, such as chunks of cactus, lining the hole will increase production. Depending on conditions, you might produce one pint to one quart of water daily.

Make A Tip-Up

A very simple but ingenious contrivance enables a single ice fisherman to tend fishing lines dropped in several icefishing holes. Fasten a small signal flag at the end of a light rod 1 to 2 feet long; a piece of any brightly colored material will do. The rod is bound with twine at a right angle to a second stick, with the majority of the rod, including the end to which the flag is tied, to one side, and merely a few inches of the rod to the other. To this short end, the line and baited hook are fastened. The contraption is then place across the ice hole, with the ends of the larger stick lying some inches upon the ice at either side, and the line is dropped into the hole. When a fish is hooked, it struggles raise the flag, signaling the angler.

Moo-Ving in for the Kill

A quiet day and you're trying to approach ducks by crawling through thick reeds, the noise you make will invariably spook birds before you're in range. If cattle are around, try this: say "Moo" loudly as you sneak, being as cowlike as possible. Don't laugh - it works like a charm. Ducks will tolerate cows, but not you.

Trap Fish

Fish Weirs are very useful for catching both freshwater and saltwater fish. Drive stakes into the bottom in shallow water to create a rectangular fence with three sides, the open end facing downstream. Next, create an angled wall that points to the middle of the trap, allowing fish to enter, but not exit.

Stop Scratching

The wide-ranging jewelweed plant, also known as impatients and touch-me-not, has long been used to stop the itching caused by poison ivy. Gently rub the affected area with the juice from the jewelweed's leaves or stems and let dry. Some practitioners boil cut-up leaves, stems and flowers and then swab the blisters with the resulting orange decoction, a treatment as effective as cortisone creams for itch relief.

Hunting for the Birds

Incoming foxes and coyotes and mountain lions are often accompanied by magpies or other birds. Stay alert if you see a squawking bird approaching you. Chances are good an unseen predator is nearby and closing in.

Look For Blood

When tracking a wounded animal, don't stay focused only on the ground. Look for blood higher up on the sides of trees, on grass heads, and on stems of brush. Sometimes we're so intent at looking for traces on the forest floor, that we completely miss clues off the ground.

Camp Vise

Should the need for a vise arise in camp, you can make one by cutting a sapling 5 or 6 inches in diameter about 2 feet above the ground, and splitting the stump downward through the center. Pry open the jaws of the split with an ax or wedge to insert the article you wish to work on. Then remove the wedge and the object should be secure. If there's not enough pressure to hold the object, put a rope around the stump just below the object, rig a tourniquet with a stick and twist the stick to tighten.

Spit Roasting

Here's how to properly turn a hunk of spitted meat over flames. It is one of our oldest and simplest cooking methods, ideal for preparing anything from a haunch of venison to a bluegill. For the spit, choose wood like green oak or hickory that won't impart a bad taste to the food. Ideally, it'll have a fork at one end so you can use it for turning. Shave the spit to flatten it along two opposite sides (this prevents the stick from rotating inside the food). Turn the food as it broils, basting with drippings caught in a pad or curved slab of bark placed beneath it.

Well I guess that's enough for now... I'll let our members continue this with there own special little tips and tricks and maybe we can get quite the collection going