One thing people often neglect when considering survival living is food storage and preservation. It all sounds so easy- dry it, smoke it, make containers for it…but each has its own challenges and learning curve. So much depends on the variables of your environment. Dried food doesn’t stay dry if it’s exposed to humidity or liquids, rawhide doesn’t store food well in the same conditions. Pottery is great, but is a whole skill set in itself. So it’s wise not to neglect experimenting with these important skills. Try drying some foods- fruits can be dried in the sun, but greens need the shade. Try smoking some meat on a primitive rack and see the challenges. Some of my biggest have been yellow jackets- especially with turkey jerky. Man, they were relentless. Experiment with temperatures- how well do things store in the cool of the ground? How do you store potatoes so they don’t rot? All fun experiments that can teach us a lot about making the food we’ve gathered at great cost, stay viable until we need it. And finally, there’s the little cooking tip. With no refrigeration, what do you do with leftovers? Well, the photo of my stew is a stew that was started about six weeks ago. It’s never been refrigerated, and I’ve never been sick. The trick? It needs to be brought to a boil every day or two. The cooler the weather, the longer I’ve tested that, but it is definitely fine to eat if boiled every day. Any bacteria that had started to grow are killed each day. If it’s a fatty stew, the fat can also seal out the bacteria from reaching the food. I just add meat every 5-7 days and vegetables every 2-3 days and the it’s fine. It’s also constantly changing so I don’t get bored with it and it tastes great and is very nutritious. So have some fun experimenting with food.
One of the book reviews implies that I think guns are bad and only primitive weapons are good. I didn’t explain the reasoning in depth in the story, but it is a good distinction for a survival situation so I thought I’d provide a comparison. First, I don’t believe guns are bad. They can be crucial in hunting and protection. When they become problematic is in a scenario such as in the book. First, guns require bullets and a time will come when you run out. With all primitive weapons- bows, crossbows, atlatls…you can make additional ammunition as they are broken, lost or ruined. As long as there is nature, you will not run out of ammunition. A good compromise is a commercial hand held crossbow. You have the convenience of a “hand gun” but you can replace the darts and string if you have the appropriate skills.
The other critical difference is that guns are loud. If you are in a stealth situation, the firing of a gun will give away your location- and that you have resources. This could put you in more danger- or prevent you from hunting when you need to because of concerns about giving up your location. I also love a story Tom Brown Jr. shared about indigenous people in South America who were provided rifles for hunting monkeys. The hunter shot a monkey and immediately returned the gun. The European didn’t understand why- saying, “it’s great, you got the monkey.” The indigenous man replied, “with bows we would have gotten many monkeys. The gun was so loud it scared all the others away.”
So I have no moral problems with guns. i just believe that in a wilderness survival situation as described in the book, guns would be an unnecessary liability for those with the skills to make and use primitive weapons. With no more practice than it takes to effectively use a gun, you can learn to hunt with a primitive weapon. With a bit more work you can learn to make your own so you are never left feeling unarmed.