A close friend who was reported missing for several days made it back and recounted his ordeals in the Amazon. Surely, he would not have returned alive if he hadn’t some survival skills. Not many people hope to be lost in the wild. People may lose their way for many reasons such as hunting or hiking in unfamiliar locations, after some mishap of shipwreck or air crash, or even a war situation. Sometimes, one could even decide to get lost in the wild just to test his ability to survive!
You owe your survival in the wild to two major factors: Luck and your survival skills. If you do not want to gamble with your life, then you should acquire some basic skills in preparation for any sticky situation. Below are ten survival skills that should get you going:
Skill #1: Constructing a Shelter
Constructing a shelter helps you in several ways. It shields you from the harshness associated with the wilderness. Life is easily taken out by hypothermia than starvation or dehydration. You can build your shelter by leaning logs of woods against the main structure and then pile debris from the ground and leaves on top of it. You generally need some tools when building a shed. Ensure that the ground of the shelter is dry (probably spread with dry leaves). Your shelter should be designed in such a manner that it protects you from the cold ground, open-air and wind.
Skill #2: How to Find a Source of Water
Once you are in the wild, the first thing you should do is to find water. Bodies of water are always located in earth depressions or valley between mountains. The reason is that water flows downhill. Let your compass be your guide as you wander away from your base where you have always constructed a temporary shelter.
Where water is not located, you then have to dig up the earth in the valley a foot deep or more and place lined leaves or a piece of clothing inside it to filter the water as it gradually fills the small pit.
Skill # 3: How to Search for Food
In terms of surviving while lost in the wild, one has to source for food to replenish the out-burning calories in the body. Although human beings can stay for weeks without food, there is still the need to eat to get refreshed with needed energy.
Think of food that you could easily find in the wild. However, if you had found a large body of water, using your fishing hook to get fresh fishes for protein readily comes to mind. Besides this, you can make some animal traps in the forest. Other tips to finding food include tracing of trees that have edible inner bark. The wild is filled with such trees. Your knowledge of some local nut trees makes it easier for you to find them in the wild.
Skill #4: Igniting a Fire
Your ability to make fires while in the wild is essential. Fire would give you warmth. When you are wet or in a chilling cold night, five to ten minutes of warmth from the fire can save you from possible death caused by hypothermia. Striking one stone against the other over dried and rusty leaves severally in quick succession will spark off the fire. It is more advisable to acquire the easier method of making fire, which is through the bow drill skill. As soon as a fire is made, keep it burning throughout the night and the days that follow. Fire will help you make food, keep you warm, and scare away predators.
Skill #5: Sending Smoke Signals
Remember the stories of ancient Red Indians, who were skilled in sending messages across miles with sending clouds of smoke into the atmosphere? You do not have to be like the Red Indians anyway. All you need to do is to choke your fire with dried leaves to send up cloudy smoke into the atmosphere during the day. This will enable possible rescuers to spot your location in the wilderness easily.
Allow the upward flow of smoke to rise consistently into the air when you are trying to attract attention and help. This smoking skill is normally done in broad daylight upon mountaintops.
Skill #6: Water Discipline
There might be a scarcity of water, especially if you find yourself in desert prone areas. All you need to do is to maintain a high degree of water discipline, which means drinking one or two mouthfuls of water and carrying it for a very long time before taking another gulp of water.
Surviving in the wild requires taking drastic measures as well. Perhaps, you may have no option than to drink your urine in places where there is an absolute lack of water.
Skill #7: Self-Disguising
An enemy might be lurking around the forest. You need to disguise yourself by hanging on some green leave around your body. As you move around the greenish bush on green leaves, you will be hardly noticed. You may need to rub your face and hands with either mud or charcoal.
Skill #8: Herbal Knowledge
Good knowledge and use of medicinal herbs is yet another skill you need to acquire. Knowing where to source for these herbs in the wild will help you boost your immune system against fever and infections.
Skill #9: Follow Water
Life largely depends on water. So if you ever find where there a stream or river, follow its flow. Chances are that you are likely going to meet a settlement of people who depend on the river for their survival.
Skill #10: Maps and Compass Reading
Reading of maps with a compass will be very helpful while navigating your way in the wild. This tool never disappoints, as it continues to work under any sort of weather condition. Even where you do not know how to read a map or use the compass, you just have to follow the tip pointing to the North Pole to get to your destination. Sometimes, you may climb a high ground to see where you are heading.
The Eleventh Skill – The Survival Tools/Weapons: You will require a tool or more to complete each of the above mentioned tasks. Most importantly, you need some sort of weapon to defend yourself when the need arises. Since you cannot carry a big box of tools and weapons around, I’d recommend you always carry a portable survival knife with you. Knifing skills should be the first anyone should acquire in preparation for survival in any environment. Quality is a very important factor to consider when choosing a multipurpose knife. Only the best survival knife can be used to cut sticks and thick tree barks, catch fishes, dig holes, tear meat, fight off predators and help you through any sticky situation. I have a personal resolve to always carry a good pocket knife along with me.
In summary, you’re better off not getting lost at all. But should you miss your way in the wild at any time, with these basic skills, you stand a chance of returning alive with an interesting survival story.