If you are a part of the bushcraft community, you know the feelings of happiness you experience when going into the wild with nothing but a few simple supplies and your bushcraft skills.
Bushcraft allows you to feel everything you love about nature and getting the opportunity to fend for yourself in your own way. If you plan on putting your bushcraft skills to good use, check out these skills you can incorporate into your stay in nature.
The act of foraging means to find and gather flora and fauna for the purpose of nourishment and medicinal purposes.
Foraging for Food
From the beginning of time, humans have been hunter-gatherers. The forests used to be “grocery stores” for the human population before our world became industrialized.
Some examples of foods that you can forage in the wilderness are plants, berries, nuts, mushrooms, eggs, flowers, seeds, and even poop. If you are new to foraging, you should keep a pocket guide to help you identify the type of plants you are searching for.
In order to be a good forager, you need to understand your local geography and where certain types of plants grow, like berries, fruit trees, and vegetables.
In North America, it is common to forage for chickweed, which is a wild edible green. Chickweed is found in cool and damp conditions, usually around agricultural land in the late winter months through late spring into early summer.
In dry desert-like conditions, you can forage a desert chia, for example. Desert chia is normally found along rocky hillsides or roadways in the desert. Be sure you are identifying these plants correctly because it is crucial to identify the plant correctly in case you have an allergy to it or it is poisonous.
Foraging for poop is even an option for survival, but usually the last resort. A lot of the time, animal pop can contain traces of bacteria that live in our guts, making it edible for a short-term period.
Foraging for Medicinal Plants
Many plants have medicinal properties in addition to being healthy food. To take advantage of the medicinal property of the plant, you need to know which parts of the plant to use. Some common medicinal plants include fennel, dandelions, plantains, comfrey, yarrow, and willow bark.
Fennel can help calm your stomach if it is upset and dandelions can help relieve muscle pain. Plantains can act as an anti-inflammatory medication and comfrey can help heal your wounds or fractures. Yarrow flowers and leaves can help with blood clotting and help a fever go down and slow down your cough. Willow bark is great to be used in tea and will help ease any aches, pains, fever, or any swelling you might have.
2. Building Shelter
It is important to shelter yourself from extreme weather conditions, like snow or wind, so you can stay safe. Cordage is a common component of a bushcraft shelter. If you do not have a rope on hand, you can use natural courage to put together frames or lash poles to shelter you.
You also could build a lean-to shelter. A lean-to shelter is easy to build and all you need are basic materials, like branches for the frame, a tree for it to lean on, and a tarp to cover your frame.
Making a fire is important to ensure you are provided with protection, heat, and light. You also can use the fire to cook food, purify your water, and keep any predators away. The hand drill method is one of the most common ways to start a fire without a lighter.
You need to roll the spindle between your hands very quickly, rolling between your palms and moving your hands down the length of it quickly enough to produce embers. Transfer the embers to a pile of tinder and you will have a fire.
Another good way to manually start a fire is by using the bow drill. This time, you will use a flexible stick and a piece of cordage to create a bow. The bow turns the spindle and makes friction for you.
4. Hunting, Trapping, Fishing
Hunting, trapping, and fishing for food is our right as a human. It is natural to us to go down the food chain and eat what we can find to survive. These are important wilderness skills to have. Trapping will save you time and energy, compared to hunting where you will have to chase after each animal.
Traps can be set up in many places to increase your chances of catching an animal to use as a meal. Set your traps where you see paw prints, droppings, or eaten vegetation. You can use a deadfall trap or spring snare trap to best catch your prey.
Fish are even able to be trapped using a woven fish trap or prawn trap. A woven fish trap takes lots of skill but will be worth all the effort. A prawn trap is easier to assemble but still requires some skill. You can always go for catching a fish manually in a pond or lake as well if you feel it is an appropriate time to catch fish, like in the afternoon to early evening.
5. Water Collection and Purification
To purify your water, it is essential to have a fire started. You will need to have water gathered from the nearest access point, like a river or lake, and collect it in a bucket or bin. Once you collect your water, keep it over the fire until it reaches its boiling point. Once you have finished boiling your water, it is safe to drink.
6. Wood Carving
Wood carving is a great skill to learn if you need to make any wooden tools or weapons, like wooden spoons and forks, traps, wooden spears, bows and arrows, and a bow drill set to start a fire. All you need is a pocket knife. Be sure to cut away from you to prevent injury. Try to sit down and lean your elbows on your knees. This way, if you accidentally slip, the knife will likely slice your leg instead of anywhere more fragile. It is a good idea to wear something designed for heavy-duty weather and wilderness conditions. Wear your best bushcraft pants to avoid getting injured.
7. Knot Tying
Knot tying is important for survival because it can be used as a helpful tactic for survival, like fishing, making shelter, or setting a trap. Here are some common knots that are great to know how to tie.
- Bends Knots
- Binding Knots
- Special Purpose Knots
- Loop Knots
- Tenkara Knots
Having these important bushcraft skills will surely set you up for survival in the wilderness. These skills can help save your and your family’s life if in a situation where you need to rely on your bushcraft knowledge. There is no doubt that with these skills, you can survive an infinite amount of time in the wild.