Although food storage is an essential part of your disaster preparation strategy, it is important that you supplement your food by hunting and gardening. Learning to hunt will serve you well in your quest for survival.

There are several methods of hunting and each has their own advantages and drawbacks. Some hunting methods require more skill than others. It is not necessary to master all of the skills, but it is a good idea to be familiar with the options, including tools you can use if you find yourself without a weapon. Here’s a list of 10 essential hunting skills you can practice for survival whether you are an experienced hunter or not.

1 – Firearm Proficiency Guns are commonly used by hunters. Although guns provide the most effective method of hunting, it is imperative that you are trained on how to safely use the weapon and that you practice your skills regularly.

2 – Archery A bow and arrow is also an effective tool for hunting. Learning how to shoot a bow and arrow takes a lot of practice, but it may be worth it. If you do not have a bow and arrow set on hand, you can fashion the bow with hardwood saplings and paracord.

3 – Setting Traps and Snares Snares are excellent tools for hunting. There are many styles of snares that require various degrees of skill to set up. They can be used to hunt a variety of animals. Once they are set up, you simply need to check them regularly to see if they have captured any prey.

4 – Alternate Techniques with Spear and Rocks A spear is one of the most primal weapons. They can be used for stabbing an animal or thrown at the target prey. A spear can be fashioned from a sharpened stick, or you can attach a spearhead made of bone, stone, wood or steel to the stick. Although they’re not the most effective hunting tool, rocks can be useful if you don’t have any other tools available. The effectiveness of this tool will depend on your strength and accuracy. You’ll have to get pretty close to the animal and throw the rock with enough force to stop the animal in its tracks.

5- Tracking Learn the game animals that are common in your area and the basics of their behavior. You might not find a proper track for a particular animal, but you might find where it has left fur or scratched a tree. Find where the herbivores go, because the carnivores will follow.

6- Covering Scents If you don’t have anything like or baking soda, which some people say works, or woodsy scent chips, pay close attention to the wind while you are tracking, and adjust your positioning if necessary. The slightest whiff of human will put some animals like deer on edge.

7- Field Dressing a Kill Nothing really replaces experience in this regard, but if you don’t have experience in breaking down an animal in the field, find a video to watch and get a general idea. You aren’t going to get far if you’re trying to carry around a whole elk or bear along with your day pack. And furthermore, make sure you have a good knife with you at all times.

8- Judging Distance Eyeballing distances, particularly after dark, does not come naturally to most humans. But if you’re trying to shoot and keep your use of ammunition or arrows to a minimum, this skill could be what saves you. There are things you can to do practice this skill, such as placing markers at 20, 30 and 40 yards and shining a light on them (at night) to see how much you can identify in each area. During the daytime, take note of rocks, trees or shrubs in the area that are at 10-yard increments.

9- Read a Topographic Map Learning how to read the contour lines of a map of your area is an important skill if you want or need to be able to bug out into the woods or mountains somewhere. The lines can tell you whether you’ll be hiking uphill, in a valley or across flat land. Combine that with knowledge of where your water systems are in your area, and you’ll have a very good idea of the environment. With this knowledge you’ll have a better chance of staying hidden — or of being found.

10- Navigate with a Map and Compass In the age of GPS, many people no longer know how to navigate with a basic paper map and magnetic north. If you know hot to do this, you’ll never be lost again. Think about it…a paper map won’t break or run out of batteries. A compass is breakable, but it works even with cloud cover.

Traveling comes with a lot of challenges, especially when you may be worried ensuring your safety. Even though you can’t bring obvious self-defense weapons such as firearms or knives in your carry-on bag when traveling by plane, there are some effective tools you can pack for self-defense that are unlikely to arouse the suspicion of TSA agents. Here we present 5 self-defense tools you can carry on a plane.

1 – Pen

When used properly, a pen can make an effective self-defense weapon. You don’t even have to have a special tactical pen to cause some damage and fend off an attacker, although tactical pens offer reassurance and a writing utensil. Hold the pen in your fist with the sharp point extended out about an inch so you’ll be ready to stab the attacker as necessary.

2 – Monkey’s Fist Keychain

A paracord monkey’s fist is a great self-defense option that shouldn’t be an issue for plane travel. The monkey’s fist consists of a ball bearing that’s wrapped securely in paracord. To avoid the potential of confiscation, you should make sure the ball bearing is of a relatively small size so that it looks more like a key chain and less like it’s meant to be used as a weapon.

3 – Sock Full of Coins

So far, there are no regulations about the number of coins you can carry in your carry-on baggage. Some survivalists load a sock with coins as a self-defense tool when they’re traveling. It might not be the most menacing-looking tool, but you can use it to inflict some serious pain on your attacker.

4 – Rolled Up Newspaper or Magazine

With practice, a rolled-up magazine or newspaper can be an effective self-defense tool. Roll it up tightly toward the spine to contain the loose edges of paper. You can use rubber bands to keep it in its rolled-up position so it will be ready to use in case you need it.

5 – Flashlight

A flashlight can make a great self-defense weapon in a pinch. Although there don’t seem to be any rules against carrying a flashlight in your carry-on, it might not be worth packing an expensive tactical flashlight just in case the TSA agent decides it’s worth confiscating.

Although these tools can help you defend yourself, the best weapon against an attacker is training and preparation. Realistically, you cannot predict when you may find yourself a victim of an attack. If your TSA-approved “weapons” are still safely stored in your bag, you won’t have time to access them and fight off your attacker. In addition to carrying these helpful tools, it is a great idea to get training in martial arts. Many martial arts schools offer self-defense training to help you mentally and physically prepare for an attack.

Image of tactical pen courtesy of

For many of us, summer is a time for traveling. However, it’s important to remember that our safety doesn’t go on vacation. If you’re planning to travel this summer, be aware of the laws and regulations regarding firearms. Gun laws are complicated and vary by jurisdiction. As a responsible gun owner, it is up to you to know the laws and regulations wherever you go to make sure you are legally authorized to carry your firearm. The following tips will help you prepare for your upcoming vacation and ensure you’re protected.

Traveling by Car

When traveling throughout the United States, it is important to know the gun laws of each state you will pass through. Some states have restrictions on certain types of guns, so make sure you pack accordingly. Make sure you know which states offer concealed carry reciprocity for your permit. If you’re traveling to a state that does not recognize your concealed carry permit, you might have to leave your gun at home.

If you’re just passing through, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 will protect you from liability as long as you are only stopping briefly for essential services such as getting gas, using the bathroom or to buy food. When passing through states with strict gun laws, it’s best to keep your firearm unloaded and locked in a secure compartment that is not easily accessible.

Traveling by Plane

If you’re traveling by plane, you will have to check your guns, gun parts and ammo. They cannot be transported in a carry-on bag. The TSA requires guns to be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided case to prevent the firearm from being accessed. Only the passenger who is checking the firearm should have access to the key or combination of the lock. You must declare each firearm when you present them to be transported as checked baggage.

The TSA does change its policies from time to time, so before you travel, check the agency’s website for the latest regulations regarding firearms transport.

Traveling by Train

If you’re traveling by train, you’ll probably have to check your gun in your baggage. As always, make sure you understand the rules of the train company before you travel. Amtrak allows firearms to be carried on trains, but they must be transported in checked baggage and stored in a locked, hard-sided container. In addition, you must notify Amtrak at least 24 hours before your scheduled departure that you plan to check firearms and/or ammunition. Further, your firearms/ammunition must be checked at least half an hour before your train’s scheduled departure.

Traveling by Bus

Before traveling by bus, make sure you read up on the bus operator’s firearms policy. Some bus operators do not allow passengers to transport firearms. Other companies do allow booked transport of firearms. Again, these policies may change, so be sure you do your research before you buy tickets. If you’re committed to traveling with a firearm, you may want to consider alternative modes of transportation such as renting a car or using a taxi.

A wilderness survival knife is an essential tool to keep in your bug out bag. It will help you perform a number of important tasks such as preparing food and cutting branches and rope. And it can be used as a weapon to protect you in case you’re attacked by an animal or another human.

The following features are important to consider when you’re selecting a wilderness survival knife.

Fixed Blade

Fixed-blade knives can be used for a wide range of tasks, including cutting, chopping, skinning and carving. For a wilderness survival knife, make sure you purchase a high-quality knife that can withstand heavy use. A knife is one of the most important survival tools you can have in your bug out bag, so it’s worth doing your research and paying a bit more for quality.

Full Tang

The tang of a knife is the part of the blade that connects the blade with the handle. There are several different tang designs, but the strongest design is the full tang. A full tang knife is one solid piece and the handle is secured to the blade. If the handle breaks off of a full tang knife, it does not render the knife unusable. You can wrap the tang with cloth or a strap and continue to use the knife.


Select a knife with a solid handle, as this design is more durable than other options. The handle should not be smooth, as a smooth handle can become slippery when wet, making it difficult to grip securely. Choose a grooved handle that is contoured to fit securely in your hand. The knife should also have a finger guard that will prevent your hand from contacting the blade in case the knife slips when you’re using it.

Blade Material

Most survival knives are equipped with either carbon steel or stainless steel blades. There isn’t really a wrong answer to which type of blade material you should select as both types have advantages and disadvantages. Many survivalists prefer carbon steel knives because they can be sharpened easily and hold an edge longer than stainless steel knives. Additionally, they can be used to make fire-starting sparks when struck with flint, quartz or chert.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, corrodes much more slowly than carbon knives and don’t require as much cleaning. They also tend to be more expensive than carbon knives. Stainless steel may be a better choice for survivalists who plan to spend time boating in ocean waters or who live near the sea.

These days, we use our smartphones for everything. They’re always with us, even when we’re in the backcountry. Smartphones are helpful but they shouldn’t be your line of defense if you’re out in the wilderness. Technology is never a substitute for knowledge, experience and safe planning.

When you’re hiking in the backcountry, cell phone reception is often non-existent. Even on hiking trails that are located close to cities, reception can be spotty due to the terrain. You should not rely on your cellphone to call for help or to guide you to safety. Many unprepared hikers have gotten themselves into more trouble by going further off trail in search of a cellphone signal, making it more difficult for rescuers to locate them.

The battery life on smartphones leaves something to be desired, and batteries can be drained quickly if the phone is constantly searching for a signal. To preserve battery life, turn your phone off or at least turn it to airplane mode while you’re hiking. By doing so, you will increase the chances that your phone will be available to use in an emergency.

While it is a good idea to carry your cell phone with you while hiking, you should not rely on it as part of your survival plan. Prepare yourself for unexpected circumstances and pack a map, warm clothes, a compass (make sure you know how to use it), a flashlight, extra batteries, a knife, signaling devices, shelter, a first aid kit, rain gear and fire-starting tools.

You should also carry more food and water than you think you’ll need, just in case you become lost or injured. Basically, you should be prepared to spend a night out in the wilderness, even if that’s not part of your plan.

Always let friends and family know where you’re planning on hiking and when they should expect you to return. Leave a note on your car with information about your itinerary. If you get lost or injured, stay calm and don’t make any rash decisions. Evaluate your situation and make smart decisions. If you have cell phone reception and you’re in an emergency situation, call 911. They will be able to track your location based on your call.


Experts are saying that the Zika virus is a dangerous threat to civilization. This quickly-spreading virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been suspected in causing thousands of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect.

Adults affected by the Zika virus may experience fever, rashes, joint pain and other symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or other treatment for the Zika virus. The only way to protect yourself from this dangerous virus is to avoid getting mosquito bites.

As mosquito season approaches, the threat will only increase. The following tips will help protect you and your loved ones from the Zika virus.

1. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. It may be unappealing in the summer months, but to avoid Zika, you should wear closed-toes shoes and socks. Baggier clothes tend to offer more protection, as mosquitoes can bite through Spandex.

2. Stay indoors. If you leave your windows open, make sure you have secure window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.

3. Remove areas of standing water around your home. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so check your yard for any areas of poor drainage that may provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Standing water can accumulate in flower pots, buckets, bottles, plastic bags and tarps.

4. Add mosquito netting to your camping pack and/or survival kit in case you need to sleep outdoors. If you already live in an area that is at high risk for Zika, you may want to consider installing mosquito netting over your bed to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

5. Use EPA-registered insect repellants. Follow the label on the product and reapply as directed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends insect repellants that include any of the following active ingredients: DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, picaridin or IR 3535.

6. Treat your clothing and other gear with permethrin, a chemical that repels and kills insects, including mosquitoes. Tents, camp chairs, packs and other gear can be treated with permethrin. Read the label before applying the product and only use it as directed.

7. Avoid Zika-affected areas. Many popular tourist destinations are affected by the Zika virus. The areas currently known to have active Zika virus transmission include (but are not limited to) Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Venezuela and Brazil.

If you’re planning to travel this summer, check the CDC’s list of areas with active Zika virus transmission. Women who are pregnant or planning to conceive should reconsider any plans to visit Zika-affected areas.

Here’s a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website about Zika. This page lists the most current notices about travel to Zika-affected areas.

Stop for a minute to imagine the scary sight of a line of quickly moving fire approaching your home. Imagine the popping of trees falling over as they succumb to the heat and ash pouring down from the sky. The air will be thick with smoke and hard to breathe. Your eyes may sting. You may have to get out immediately. Are you ready to respond when safety officers knock on your door and tell you to leave?

1. Keep fuel in your tank.

This advice is essential for pretty much any emergency. If a wildfire is approaching your area, you need to be able to escape as soon as possible. The last thing you’ll want to do is wait in line for gas. A good rule of thumb is to fill up your car whenever the gauge shows it’s half empty.

2. Have a plan.

If your home is on fire or a wildfire is approaching, you are responsible for the safety of your family and pets. Fire can spread extremely quickly so you may not have much time to react. Make sure your family is aware of your escape plan and what to do in case of an emergency.

Know all of the possible exits from each room in your home. Always make sure your smoke alarms are working. Choose a meeting place for your family to congregate after they escape. Make sure your plan does not rely on cell phones or radios, as these may not be reliable during an emergency.

3. Know your escape routes.

Even if you’ve lived in your city for many years, you should always have a clear understanding of the best escape routes. Before you hit the road, check the weather patterns and wind conditions to make sure you don’t accidentally get yourself in another dangerous situation.

4. Stock your bug out bag.

Make sure you have a bug-out bag packed with food, water and tools that you need to survive in case you’re stranded away from home. This bag should be easy for you to grab quickly as you leave your home. It’s a good idea to keep a bug out bag in your vehicle as well, in case you’re away from home when disaster strikes.

5. Understand your insurance.

If you have homeowner’s insurance, make sure you understand the coverage for fire. Keep a copy of your insurance policy in a fireproof safe, and make sure you include copies of your policy in your bug out bag.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the country. They can also be deadly if you’re unprepared.

It only takes a few inches of fast-moving water to knock down a person or lift a vehicle. If flash flooding is expected in your area, don’t risk getting stranded away from home.

1. Know where you’re going and how to get there fast.

If the area is already flooded, don’t try to go through it. Get to higher ground immediately. A car can be swept away by just one foot of moving water.

2. Keep your essential items with you and easy to access.

It is a good idea to keep a survival kit packed with food and drinking water in your vehicle. This kit will definitely come in handy if you’re stranded away from home in your vehicle. It is much safer for you to stay with your vehicle than it is to risk drowning by attempting to drive on a flooded street.

3. Get your information from trusted sources.

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, pay attention to the National Weather Service reports to find out if floods are anticipated. Flooding may occur due to heavy rainstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes or other events that cause rivers to rise rapidly. Evacuations may be ordered if an extremely dangerous storm is imminent.

4. Get your home ready for any incoming floodwaters.

Prepare your home for flooding by moving important items and documents to the highest point in your home. Unplug your electrical appliances. If flooding is expected, don’t leave your pets at home alone. Flooding can cause roads to be inaccessible and leave you without a route home.

Storms that cause significant flooding often cause other problems. They may cause a widespread power outage or affect the local water supply. Stock your home with plenty of non-perishable food and drinking water. You should also have a flashlight, battery-powered radio and a first aid kit available in case of an emergency.

Don’t get caught unprepared for a disaster. Put together survival kits to keep in your home, office and vehicle. These kits will provide you with the basic tools and supplies that you may need to survive an emergency.

You’ve done all the right things. You have plenty of stored water and food, your bug-out-bag is stocked and ready to go, you have an emergency plan that you’ve discussed with your family, and you have weapons that you can use to defend yourself and your home. But what happens if you need to leave your home and travel long distances?

Vehicles can be expensive, but they may just be the key to your survival. Take a look at the videos below to find the best rides for bugging out.

1 – RV

An RV is a home on wheels and can be a great vehicle to have in case you need to evacuate your property. The drawbacks to RVs are obvious: they are huge and require a lot of fuel if you need to go long distances. If fuel is unavailable, the usefulness of your RV is limited. They take up a lot of space, and most commercial models are not designed to be driven off-road.

The EarthRoamer is equipped with solar panels, large battery banks and engine-driven alternators. Even better, it does not require the use of external water, sewer and power hookups, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about if you’re hitting the road out of necessity.


2 – ATVs

All-terrain vehicles are a terrific option to have in your survival plan. They have obvious limitations including their lack of protection from the elements, limited carrying capacity and limited range. However, these vehicles typically have powerful engines and are able to quickly and easily travel through rough terrain. They are also quite affordable.

If you’re looking for the ultimate all-terrain vehicle, look no further. This bad boy can take anything you throw at it. This Russian SHERP is the ultimate 4×4 amphibious mini truck. Its inflatable tires make it a beast, even when tackling an icy lake head on.

3 – SUV

A sport utility vehicle is also a good choice for a survival vehicle. If you use it as your everyday vehicle, you don’t need another expensive option in your survival kit. SUVs with four-wheel drive tend to have decent off-road capability, and many are big enough to provide a place to sleep. However, they are not very fuel efficient and most models are not well-equipped to handle extreme terrain.

If you want the best in off-road capability you can find it here. The Legendary Jeep Nukiser is Jeep’s most outrageous and fun concept truck. This thing is no nonsense, and takes the roughest terrain you’d encounter when SHTF.


4- Amphibious Hovercraft

You need to prepare for how you’ll escape to the water when you need to bug out in a hurry. Land may not be a safe place.

Take to the open water in your personal hovercraft. These personal hovercrafts from Renegade are easy to maneuver and speedy for quick waterway getaways.


One woman recently learned the hard way how important it is to always be prepared for the worst. Ann Rodgers, 72, and her dog Queenie were rescued after spending nine days in the Arizona wilderness.

On March 31, Rodgers was driving to visit her grandchildren in Phoenix when her car ran out of gas on a remote back country road. Unfortunately, she had no cell phone service.

“I waited until sun up the next morning, hoping a truck or car, anybody, anything, would go by, even a steer! I didn’t care, anything alive,” Rodgers told CBS News. When no one showed up, she realized she had to do something. However, she became lost after climbing several ridge lines in attempt to find cell phone service.

Rodgers and Queenie survived by eating desert plants and drinking water from a pond. To make it through the freezing desert nights, Rodgers created a shelter and built a fire. Eventually, she came across an old elk carcass and used the bones, which had been bleached white by the sun, and some rocks and sticks to spell out the word “HELP!” on a canyon floor.

Rescue teams noticed her distress signal near the area where Queenie had been found a few days earlier and sent a rescue helicopter to her aid. She was discovered near a signal fire as she waved her arms to get the attention of her rescuers.

Thankfully, Rodgers had enough wilderness experience to have the foresight to create a shelter, build a fire and create a visible distress signal. Without these tools, and her access to edible desert plants and water, the situation could have turned out differently.

Because you never know what type of situation may arise, it is smart to keep a survival kit with you. Rodgers wasn’t planning to go on a hike, but she knew she would be driving through remote parts of the desert on her way to Phoenix. She also apparently failed to tell anyone where she was going, so her family didn’t immediately realize that she was missing.

Your survival kit should include:

  • Plenty of water (at least one gallon per person per day)
  • Fire starting tools
  • Shelter
  • First aid kit
  • Signaling tools

If you’re headed on a long drive through remote areas, let someone know where you’re headed. If you find yourself lost in a remote area, stay with your vehicle. Cars are much easier to spot from the air than a person. Most importantly, don’t panic. Do your best to remain calm and make strategic choices to maximize your chance of rescue.