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Medical Aspects of Camping and Other Tips You Need to Know About

As the weather begins to warm up, it is time to think about outdoor activities we can pursue not only for pleasure but to hone and practice our outdoor survival skills.  Speaking for myself, camping is high on my list of summer activities, including a first-time adventure using a tent.

Most of us plan to hunker down and shelter in place in the event of a disruptive event. That said, if our homes are no longer safe, either due to location or to physical destruction, we must have a plan to evacuate.  In some cases, the answer will be short term camping.

Dr. Joe Alton is here to today to weigh in on what we need to know about the medical aspect of camping plus some other tips to make the overall experience both pleasurable and educational.

Medical Aspects of Camping | Backdoor Survival

Safe Camping Tips for Preppers

School will be out soon and a great way to teach your family survival basics is by taking them camping. The skills needed for successful camping are akin to those required for the activities of daily survival. Once learned, these lessons last a lifetime. There’s no greater gift that you can give young people than the ability to be self-reliant.

Camping trips create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.  A poorly planned campout, however, can become memorable in a way you don’t want, especially if someone gets injured. Luckily, a few preparations and an evaluation of your party’s limitations will help you enjoy a terrific outing with the people you care about, and maybe impart some skills that would serve them well in dark times.

Start Small

If you haven’t been camping much, don’t start by attempting to hike the Donner Trail. Begin by taking day trips to National Parks or a nearby lake.   Set up your tent and campfire, and see how it goes when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight.  Once you have that under your belt, start planning your overnight outings.

Whatever type of camping you do, always assess the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more likely the kids and oldsters won’t be able to handle it.  Disappointment and injuries are the end result.

Important Considerations

An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and terrain you’ll be encountering. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll want to know about:

· Temperature Ranges
· Rain or Snowfall
· Trails and Campsite Facilities
· Plant, Insect, or Animal Issues
· Availability of Clean Water
· How to Get Help in an Emergency

Medical Aspects of Camping

A very common error campers (and survivalists) make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment you’ll be camping in, you have made it your enemy, and believe me, it’s a formidable one.

Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, you could encounter storms in any season. Always take enough clothing to allow layering to deal with the unpredictability of the season.

Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could cause hypothermia. If the temperature is 50 degrees, but the windchill factor is 30 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if it were below freezing. Be aware that temperatures at night may be surprisingly cold.

In cold weather, you’ll want your family clothed in tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex. Add or remove layers as needed.

If you’re at the seashore or lakefront in summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated.  Dehydration causes more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any type of stressful circumstance. Allow a pint of fluids an hour for strenuous activities.

The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the outing, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit your pant legs into are most appropriate. If you go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.

Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection.  If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites that can transmit disease, such as Lyme disease caused by ticks.

Location, Location, Location

A real estate agent’s motto is “location, location, location” and it’s also true when it comes to camping.   Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard.  Sadly, you can’t depend on other campers to pick up after themselves.

Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives.    Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Despite this, things that birds and animals can eat aren’t always safe for humans.

Learn to identify the plants in your environment that should be avoided. This especially includes poison ivy, oak, and sumac.  Show your kids pictures of the plants so that they can steer clear of them. The old adage is “leaves of three, let it be”. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin from skin and clothes if you suspect exposure.

Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead.  Children are fascinated by fires, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use resealable plastic containers.

If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor parasites that cause diarrheal disease and dehydration.  Water sterilization is basic to any outdoor outing.  There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the “Lifestraw™” which are light and effective.  Although time-consuming, boiling local water is a good idea to avoid trouble.

Get Your Bearings

Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails.  A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass; make sure they have one on them at all times.

A great item to give each child (and adult) is a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated.  Three blasts are the universal signal for “help!” If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot.  Of course, if you have cell phone service where you are, consider that option as well.

Bug Bites

Even kids in protective clothing can still wind up with insect bites.  Important supplies to carry are antihistamines like Benadryl, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions.  Asking your doctor for a prescription “Epi-Pen” is a good idea, as they’re meant to be used by the average person. They’re effective for severe reactions to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy.

Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old.

Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash you might see in Lyme disease. I mean it when I say daily: If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract the disease.

Of course, you’ll need a medical kit as part of your supplies. Consider some of the items in our compact, lightweight personal IFAK kit, specifically meant to deal with mishaps on the trail. You might have your own favorite items to bring with you; if so, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

The Final Word

Now that I live adjacent to the forest, I want to get a tent.  The plan is to get something easy to set up because, after all, I am not a young as I used to be and want to save my energy for things like hiking and doing a bit of wood chopping.  Then, as Joe suggests, I plan to camp in my own one-acre backyard before venturing further.

One thing is certain, it is a lot more fun to practice survival skills when you couple the experience with a family adventure!

 

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Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?

In doing some research about influenza, I came across the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. This happened during World War I and affected everyone on both sides of the ocean as well as across the world. It affected soldiers as well as citizens. It is estimated that 50 million people died during this epidemic. That is compared to the 16 million people who died during World War I.

One of the things that was missing from this epidemic was antibiotics. They simply did not exist as a medicine during this time. Antibiotics in an usable form was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. However, antibiotics are rarely used for any influenza viruses. We do have some medications now that will treat influenza.

It is unlikely though that antibiotics would have been effective anyway during the epidemic of 1918. The influenza epidemic came in two phases. The first phase was less severe and most people recovered from it. It came in back a few months later and killed people within hours to a few days. Most people died from the fever and fluid filling their lungs which suffocated them. The disease affected people ages 20-40 the most.

Doctors and scientists were at a loss at how to treat this influenza. They could not control or stop the disease. Remember, there was no Center for Disease Control at the time. That was not established until 1946.

Don’t remember learning this in history class? I didn’t remember learning it either. However, what can we take away from this?

1. It was not treatable. They believe the strain during this epidemic was the H1N1. Influenza strains can be mild or develop a variant that can make them deadly. Since very little was known about influenza then, it was almost impossible to treat. Today’s influenza strains are proving harder to treat. Flu shots do not cover all strains of influenza. A strain or a variant in the strain of influenza could be strong enough to not be treatable or controllable.

2. It affected strong, healthy adults the most. The age group that was affected the most was 20-40 years old. This is a group of people who are at the peak of life in terms of health and vitality. The problem with that is this is also the group of people who would be the most social group especially in 1918. Even today, people in that age range rarely stay home. The disease would be able to spread very quickly because people are constantly going. They go to work, kids’ activities, social gatherings, and college.

3. It was not controllable. This influenza strain spread very, very quickly. People were given poor advice on how to not catch the disease and how to treat the disease. We now have the Center for Disease Control who would hopefully be on top of the disease. We also now know the best way to treat the symptoms of influenza. We also know that we need rest and to stay home to keep influenza from other people.

Do you think this could happen again? Many people do. Are you ready for the next influenza epidemic? An influenza epidemic of the proportions that occurred in 1918 would be considered a pandemic now.  We hear threats of pandemics now that could happen. How would you survive the next pandemic? What do you need to do to get ready?

1. Get a sick room ready. You should have a room, preferably a bedroom, ready to be a sick room. You should have some medical supplies ready in that room like a thermometer, ibuprofen, hot water bottle, instant cold packs, face tissues, disinfectant spray cleaner, trash bags, face masks, and disposable gloves. You may also want a pandemic flu kit in that room for the people treating the sick.

2. Have white towels, wash cloths, and white bedding ready to use. You want linens you can wash in very hot water or even put in boiling water to disinfect. You can also use bleach on white linens without issues. You want to have extra linens so you can change the sick beds quickly and wash the infected bodies without worry.

3. Have rolls of heavy plastic to cover surfaces like the bed, the floor, the windows,and the doorways. You have to think about disease control going in and out of the house. You are trying just as hard to keep the disease out as well as keeping it controlled in your home.

4. Keep some chem suits on hand. You may want to completely cover up to deal with a sick patient or having to go into infected areas. A chem suit with boots and gloves would be the ideal solution. You will also want a face mask and eye protection to keep safe.

5. Have one person who would be dedicated to taking care of the sick. The less people exposed to the sick person, the better the chances for everyone to stay healthy. Having one person designated to taking of the sick will keep everyone healthier. Having a designated respite person for the caretaker would be a good idea too.

6. Have a plan in place for death. In a pandemic, death is inevitable. What will you do if someone dies? As morbid as it seems, you may want to have a body bag on hand. You also want to have a plan for disposal of the body. Where will it be buried? Will you bury the body? Those are your decisions alone, but having a plan will make those decisions easier.

7. Do not go anywhere if you don’t have to. During a pandemic, being a homebody is your best bet for not catching the disease. Having a good food storage, water storage, and a disinfected home will be wise.

No one wants to think about getting sick much less think about a lot of people getting sick. We like to think with all the technological and medical advances we have now, another influenza pandemic will not happen again. However, new strains of diseases are being developed all the time in nature and in labs. We can not be sure this will not happen again. In fact, it is likely to happen again.

What will you do to protect yourself during a pandemic? Do you think we could have another influenza pandemic?

 

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Lawn Care After the Apocalypse

Author: Rich G SHTFandGO Staff. 05/09/2017

So….You have thousands of gallons of water stored in underground tanks. You and your family have 3 years worth of dehydrated this and canned that.  You have 20,000 rounds of each caliber of ammunition stored in ziploc bags, inside mylar bags, inside waterproof containers, sitting inside your custom built faraday cage, buried in the back 40.  You think you are ready to weather the storm no matter what disaster comes knocking at your doorstep.  But….many of you are not as prepared as you might think you are.  How are you going to maintain your St. Augustine/Bluegrass hybrid lawn and keep it in shape?  You’ve put so much work into this lawn, trimming the sidewalk edges with barber scissors you would never allow the kids to use to cut paper, in fear they might dull the edges.  We have solutions that will help you keep that lawn looking amazing long after the grid goes down and gas stations have dried up.

Water:

Water Storage for your Lawn
Water Storage for your Lawn

Without water you have no lawn.  You will need to take advantage of the good God almighty and his generous H2O from the heavens.  Rain barrels, Water bags, and large tote containers will be needed to redirect the roof run off.  Even though this rain may be acid rain, any water is better than no water.  You’ll have to stock up on PH testing strips and plenty of baking soda to adjust the acidity of the water to keep you from burning your beautiful green lawn.

Fertilizer:

Chicken Poop Fertilizer
Chicken Poop Fertilizer

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens.  Nitrogen means green grass and Chickens poop has high levels of nitrogen.  You should design you’re chicken run to  allow a long 2×4 board to lightly graze the top of the soil to one side of the coop so you can scoop up the poop ever so delicately without removing too much soil.  Mix you chicken poop into your composting pile and Voila….you have some of the best fertilizer you could have purchased from Home Depot, provided it was still in business.

Mowing:

Many of you are already thinking  goats, cows, or lamas, but you’re wrong.  Not only will they eat bare spots in your cherished St. Augustine, they will make your lawn lumpy.  Besides, who says you can’t take pride in the act of mowing your own lawn after the apocalypse.  Invest in solar powered, rechargeable, reel, mowing equipment.  Now a good reel mower will always cut you grass much better than a regular spinning blade mower, since it scissors the grass blades cleanly, instead of beating the grass leaving brown tips.  A good solar system sized for the size of your lawn is important.  You can use the formula (SqFt Lawn x 120 watts) for you solar collection and the formula (total watts of solar collector x 5 hours x Amp Hours of battery storage x number of times per week you mow) to calculate the battery size needed to keep your lawn short and luscious.

If you are on a budget and don’t have the $40,000 to drop on a high quality solar powered mowing system, but you might have 7 children of push mower pushing age, I might suggest a push mower.  Just realize with all that high quality chicken poop fertilizer you have been using, you will need each child to take a turn mowing the lawn each and every day.  After 3 days of growth the push mower will not be able to cut it ever again.

End of Civilization:

Zombie Lawn Care
Zombie Lawn Care

Just because the world we know it has ended, doesn’t mean we have to stop civilized.  You may want to invite the only other people in 3 states over for a re-hydrated meal one day, and you don’t want them to see you dilapidated yard.  I hope one day to drive my deuce and half through your part of the world and see and shining green lawn off in the distance and think I made a difference.

Humor…..

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Garden Hacks – Repurpose Everyday Items

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When it comes to preparedness – or life in general – there’s a ton to buy. When we can reuse something, it helps. One, there’s the direct cost application. Two, looking at something and seeing its ability to be something completely different has enormous benefits in opening the mind in general.

If we’re preparing for a crisis, gardening and the ability to provide fresh foods in the gulf of winter and spring take on a far greater importance than just a hobby or a passion. Happily, there are some things that can be salvaged for free or found at very low-cost that make a world’s worth of difference. Channel your inner Julie Andrews with me as we look at a few of my favorite things. There’s some non-gardening uses for each listed as well.

DVD Racks

Years ago I picked up a free DVD rack to be a bean trellis for a Rubbermaid tote garden. I have since been in love, and it’s one of the things I consistently watch for at yard sales, curbside pickup listings, and foreclosure cleanup sites.

I got lucky, and mine have a rounded top at the sides. If you find some that don’t, just glue on a milk jug cap for some of its applications.

They go way beyond trellising.

They work for the far ends and sometimes central support “poles” of low poly tunnels or low hoops for garden beds and rows. A little free bamboo or PVC to span distances, some binder clips (Dollar Tree) to clamp the plastic on, and you’re in business.

They can also be set up long-wise down the middle of a bed to form an A-frame style “camping tent” poly cover if desired, which works really well for peas, with roots and salads to the outer verges, and converts well to later tomato beds.

They also form plant racks for inside near windows, against pale walls, or outdoors to keep salads conveniently close or make use of vertical height.

Mine all hold square plastic coffee tubs (they need a length of string along the front unless it’s a really well-protected area), #2.5 cans (the large tomato or peaches can), and V8 bottles without any modification at all. They’ll hold 2L bottles on their sides for longer, shallow containers, or Lipton and Arizona tea jugs of both types and sizes either cut off vertically or horizontally.

I can do square juice jugs as well, but they overhang enough to make the dog tails an issue on their sides, and I’m more comfortable with some twine or wire looping them to the back bar.

I prefer the open-dowel construction type, just because it leaves me options. I can add thin saplings, bamboo or thin sheathing to convert them if needed, but the open frame allows more light and nestles the rounded-bottom containers well.

Outside Gardening the DVD racks have the ability to hold larger canned goods and bottles of water, be used to dry clothes as-is or be half of a frame of dowels or saplings to create a larger drying space, and the poor kid used to have a pair that were hung with a curtain, topped with a chunk of (free) plywood, and outfitted with $2 in hooks to hang her uniform shirts and pants, like a mini closet that was also the mirror and vanity.

Storm Doors & Windows

These guys don’t multipurpose to the same degree as the DVD racks. They’re really handy to run across, though. One, having a backup is never a bad thing. Two, they are ready-made cold frames and pest exclusion frames.

I like a 3’ width for garden beds, permanent or bounded, and they fit pretty perfectly as-is. I can tighten up and use straw bales to create a different kind of cold frame with them laid across the top. I can run them in series or as individual structures.

An A-frame can be pretty quickly mocked up and is one of the easiest builds for getting your feet wet. It’s also handy in that it sluices ice and snow build-up and is more resistant to winds. The doors and windows get hinged at the tops, any stick or tool props them so they don’t flip the frame or ka-bong off your noggin, and cats, dogs and goats are less likely to stand on them.

Just the mesh from storm doors and windows is useful. So is mesh that comes off when you repair those.

It’s going in the garden, so some stitching or a little duct tape on both sides to repair a rip isn’t an issue. All it’s doing is protecting seed-stock squash from cross-pollination or keeping creepy-crawlies from eating the brassicas, lettuce, and beans before you can.

The advantage to taking out the mesh is that it’s an even easier build yet. There’s no hinges (unless you hinge the whole frame) and there’s less weight. That means more materials become potentials for the frame itself. You can tie some loops to go around a brick or post, or add some eye hooks to keep it in place.

Do keep the builds small enough that you can lift or flip by yourself once plants are in there. Some posts to the inside of the bed or rows can create a pivot point for flipping.

Painter’s/Construction Drop Cloth

My first set of drop cloth came from a part-time job in high school. I have been in love ever since.

It’s not super expensive, and it’s a toss-up whether the construction poly or the garden poly is cheaper to buy new, but it’s usually the totally clear construction drop cloth in our area. The 5+ mil I use is fairly durable in Southern wind storms, sun rot, ice and freezing rain, and Mid-Atlantic snow.

Contact handyman type businesses and painting businesses – for these as well as the windows and storm doors, and the mesh from those. Usually they’ll only use them for so long and as with the mesh, a few duct tape patches and the paint stains won’t impede too much structurally or light-wise.

Should you see them pop up cheap or free somewhere, don’t neglect those fancy-people outdoor grill, furniture and sofa covers, or any clear, thick, translucent vehicle covers.

Like the totally clear and colorless painter’s plastic, they all make for great garden hoop houses. Some of them can also be outfitted with sturdier construction to form a more permanent greenhouse.

Outside Gardening drop “cloth” or storm doors and windows can also be assembled into wind and snow-blocking shields around exposed doors at the home, or can enclose part or all of a porch to turn into a mudroom in an emergency or during snowy weather. Doing so creates a buffer chamber so there will be less polar vortex entering the house with every human and pet.

Plastic can also be used to cover windows and doors inside or out to decrease drafts and increase insulation value.

The painter’s plastic has the same value for livestock in extreme environments, especially if a normally warm climate is experiencing sudden return-to-winter weather after flocks or rabbits have adjusted to 60s-70s-80s, or if it’s so rare to have severe weather, coops and hutches were never built for extreme cold.

Drop cloths and poly covers can also be used to line bedding for the young, ill and elderly, so that every sneeze and cough or “mommy, I feel- blech” does not lead to disinfecting a mattress as well as changing bedding.

Wire Shelving

Really, do you ever have enough shelving? I particularly like seeing the simple-frame, open-weave, metal-wire shelving for bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets pop up in junk piles, yard sales, and Craigslist, because it’s super handy, super versatile stuff.

Like the DVD racks, it’s indoor-outdoor tiered plant stands, either year-round or during seed-starting and transplant season(s).

It can also be wrapped in our reclaimed plastic sheets or form part or all of the structure for salvaged windows or poly covers to make a mini greenhouse on a porch, beside a house or garage, for growing later and earlier in the season.

Then it gets even more useful.

Even if the whole is a little rickety, the shelves themselves can be removed and then turned into trellises. They can be rearranged around their original legs-stand or affixed to bamboo or the legs from old tables or chairs to form short garden fences to discourage turtles and rabbits, and limit dogs running through beds.

As an added bonus, if you have a senior gardener or an injury, sinking some of those sturdy table legs or a bundle of 3-4 larger bamboo canes 18” deep and up to hip or rib level can be a major aid in keeping them gardening.

The sturdy supports can then be covered with netting or sections of storm door mesh to act as a further bird and pest exclusions.

Outside Gardening there are endless uses for shelving, from water collection to organizing anything at all. Wire shelves also offer a lot of airflow for drying clothes.

The shelf “planks” of wire units can be used to patch and shore up fences and coops, especially somewhere something dug. They can be used to cover vehicle and house windows to limit damage from thrown bricks or if a storm window is damaged during a crisis.

They can also be reconfigured into a cage or crate for rabbits or small birds, to expand flocks or because they happened to be stacked from Craigslist and Freecycle runs ahead of time and now there’s a puppy to crate train or weather has shifted and we’re worried about the next generation of layers.

The shelves can be used to sift the largest chunks out of compost or soil in some cases, help form a gabion to slow water and keep it from increasing erosion, or can be lined with mesh or cloth for drying foods or seeds.

The shelves can usually be easily reconfigured with larger or smaller gaps than originally intended to facilitate buckets, larger boxes, or drying seeds and grains.

They don’t pop up as much as they used to, but some can still be found on the freebie sites as curbside pickup, or for <$15-20. They also sometimes pop up at Salvation Army/Goodwill, and if you cultivate contacts, sometimes you get your hands on just the shelf parts because the rest of the racks have been lost during multiple transfers or all the pieces weren’t donated.

Garden Reuse-its – My Favorite Things

These are just a few of my favorite things to re-purpose for growing veggies. The world is full of things like laundry bags we can use to prevent caterpillars and squash bugs on our cabbage and beans and zucchini, and old carpeting we can layer deep in garden walkways to cut down on maintenance time.

Any time we can reuse something, it cuts down on waste, making for a better world – not just the world around us. If we’re saving time and money, and if we’re developing some creativity and a new way of looking at things, we increase our preparedness and better our own world directly.

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Colony Raising Rabbits: How To Get Started

Colony raising rabbits isn’t hard, but there are a few considerations that can make setting up a rabbit colony go more smoothly.  When I brought home our American Chinchilla breeding trio, I had researched raising meat rabbits extensively.  I knew I wanted to raise my rabbits in a colony.  I found good information on the Colony Raising Rabbits Yahoo group, and the Facebook groups Colony Raising Rabbits, and Rabbits in Colonies.  What I found most useful was examples of how other people set up their rabbit colonies.  I decided to share some pictures of what has been working for us, in hopes that it may help someone else.

Colony Raising Rabbits: The Basics

I’ll put the some of the most valuable bits I’ve learned into a list, because I like lists.  Then I’ll show some pictures of our set up, and talk a little bit more in depth about what’s been working for us.

  • Provide at least 10 square feet per adult.  More is better
  • Provide multiple levels for jumping
  • Protect your rabbits from weather and predators
  • Use baby saver wire on the bottom
  • Keep things clean with litter boxes and deep litter
  • Provide several locations for feeding to reduce competition
  • Provide lots of nesting places and materials for the does
  • Include bucks who are used to a colony for higher quality of life, but you may have unpredictable timing of litters
  • Have your grow out cage ready, because 12 weeks isn’t as long as you think it will be
  • Colony raising rabbits is fun!

Space and Safety

This is a house rabbit cage that our neighbors gave to us.  It is made up of Neat Idea Cubes and zip ties, with PVC tubes for stability.  I really like some aspects of the NIC cage, but it does have a few downfalls.  It has to be used for indoor bunnies.  The one inch squares mean rodents will walk right in, and raccoons will have no problem reaching in for a snack.  Our colony is in the garage and we thought they were safe and snug, until we realized there was a hole behind the furnace where rodents were getting in.

If you’re planning on raising backyard rabbits, please, please, please make sure they have weather appropriate housing.  The previous owner of this cage was trying to breed bunnies in the rain with only a tarp and a heat lamp for shelter.  Major fire hazard and NOT fun for the wet baby bunnies!

If you plan to do any rabbit breeding in a NIC cage make sure you add baby saver wire.  If you don’t, the baby rabbits will be able to walk right out of the cage.  Make sure it goes at least 6 inches up, or the babies will reach an stage where they are big enough to hop over and squeeze out.

How Much Space Do They Need?

Most sources on raising rabbits for meat say that 6 feet of space is adequate for a doe and her litter.  The NIC cage by itself is 18 square feet.  I was unable to find any size guidelines for colony raising rabbits when I first started researching, so I started with all three rabbits in it.  If it was too small I could move the buck out into a separate hutch.

I started to notice the rabbits fighting after we had our first litter.  The biggest indicator was tufts of fur about the cage.  I didn’t want to move the buck out though, because they were still engaging in social grooming, cuddling, and he would let the baby bunnies sit on his back.  It just felt wrong to isolate him.  Instead I added a metal baby yard with chicken wire and hardware cloth around the bottom.

I’ve since learned that the minimum amount of space for a rabbit colony would be more like 10 feet per rabbit, which is the amount of space we have currently.  It’s also very important to have multiple levels for the rabbits to jump off and down on.  Our current set up provides a lot of jumping opportunities, which is one thing it has going for it.

Since adding the attached yard we haven’t had any more indications of fighting.  After we process the first litter if I want to keep raising rabbits for food, I definitely want to expand the colony quite a bit.  A more humane rule of thumb would be 5 times the size of the rabbit.  My rabbits are 8 pound adults, so I’m looking at potentially 120 square feet as a minimum size for my current herd.

Keep it Clean

Of course an important part of rabbit care is cleaning up.  This current set up does take more effort than hanging hutches might.  My adult rabbits are all litter box trained.  In the summer I dump the box once a day and wipe down anything the babies have soiled.  Rabbits are generally cold tolerant, but when it is colder, I use do use deep litter.  Each day I add dry straw on top of any soiled spots in the cage and litter box and dump the litter box when it is full.  When it warms up, muck it out and give everything a good scrub.

The babies can be very messy, so I’ve found it works well to place a small litter box under the hay feeders.  Rabbits poop when they eat, so the bunnies get used to using the litter box, and it’s easier for me to keep up with the output.   They tend to use it as a nest box, but the falling hay keeps it dry enough for them.

You can use any waterproof container as a litter box.  For small rabbits you could even use the bottom of a five gallon bucket or other found items.  Cat litter boxes work quite well, as do plastic tubs.  If the walls are too high, you can cut a door into them with an exacto knife.  You can use any absorbent material that’s save for rabbits to eat such as wood chips, straw, hay, or paper pellets in their litter boxes or as deep litter.

Food And Water In The Rabbit Colony

Rabbits are very territorial so it’s important to have several food bowls, hay racks, and water bottles. When our second doe kindled she decided that the entire bottom was her territory.  She chased all the other rabbits up to the top!  I made sure to space out feeding stations so that everyone got their fair share until I move the first litter into the grow out pen.  The basic feeding and watering rabbits is the same regardless of their housing.

The delivery method isn’t important as long as it’s clean.  The kind of feeders that mount onto the sides tend to get spilled less, but you don’t have to start out with expensive equipment.  Our first food dishes I found on an abandoned lot (bleach is my friend).  Our first hay racks were made out of ice cream buckets.  My favorite water bottle spouts are the kind that fit onto reused 2 liter bottles.  It’s not hard to provide lots of feeding stations when you get creative.  Ikea bag holders also make nice hay racks, as long as you have plenty of more attractive things for them to chew.

Breeding and Kindling

When you’re colony raising rabbits with the buck included in the colony, the breeding takes care of itself.  I know this is not true for all rabbits, but my rabbits didn’t start breeding until they were their adult size, and have so far spaced out their litters further than the 4 weeks that is biologically possible.  Keeping the buck in the colony means that you’re never quite sure when babies are coming.  I’ve handled this by making sure there are always empty nest boxes available, and plenty of nesting materials like hay and straw.

My does build very nice nests even though they are first time mamas.  One benefit of using a deep litter method is even if they don’t build a nest, the babies will still be born on the straw.  If the kits do get cold, you may still be able to save them if you find it early enough.

Should You Separate The Weaned Rabbits?

Rabbits breeds and herds can vary as to when they reach their grow out size.   You may want to consider splitting your colony once they reach sexual maturity at 12 weeks.   I often keep mine for four to six months before sending them off to freezer camp. It’s a good idea to sex them and separate when they are around 8 weeks old.

If you keep your colony all together, it is liable to grow very quickly.  If you are growing for market, that could be a very good thing, but if you are like us and only eat a rabbit every week or so and want to select for certain traits it may be better to keep them separated.  We do not have room for several colonies, so we refurbished an old chicken coop into a grow out hutch.   If you must keep your rabbits in a hutch make sure they are rodent proof.  There should be no spaces larger than 1/4 inch, and use wood and screws to take down any wire.   You can still use a deep litter method, even over the top of a wire floor.  Just make sure there’s enough head space to accommodate the higher floor.

Go For It!

There is a lot of information available on how to raise rabbits for meat.  Not as many people are trying colony rabbit raising or sharing about it.  I hope this post answers some basic questions for those who are considering it for their own meat rabbits.

Original Article can be found here

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Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper

Survivopedia_toilet paper

A big part of being self-reliant is learning to make the most out of every resource. When the crisis strikes, you have absolutely no way of knowing when you will get another chance to stock up on supplies, whatever those might be.

Many people focus solely on food, water and medicine. While these are, indeed, the most important supplies, there are plenty of others to consider. What would you do if you ran out of toilet paper?

This is not something that many people give a lot of consideration to. But think about it. It is a product that everyone needs all the time. In that regard, it is placed in a pretty special category with other essentials which you simply cannot go without. This means that toilet paper is a pretty important resource, but it is also a finite one.

No matter how many supplies of toilet paper you buy, it is a single use item, one which literally gets flushed down the toilet after being used. This not only represents a waste of money, but also an actual waste which you might have to deal with if your plumbing is damaged when SHTF. Therefore, it would make sense to look at homemade alternatives for toilet paper.

Using Cloth Toilet Paper

The most common alternative to regular toilet paper is cloth toilet paper which is also referred to as family cloth. Due to the sensitive nature of the product in question, some people might be reticent to change their habits and find a substitute for toilet paper. However, something to remember is that people used a lot of different other items before toilet paper even existed.

Those who accept this concept will see that family cloth does have several advantages over regular toilet paper.

  • For starters, it is completely homemade. Family cloth is simply squares of fabric which can be made from anything around the house including old clothes which you do not wear anymore.
  • The product is recyclable, a big plus when talking about maximizing our resources.
  • These cloths are simply kept in a basket in the bedroom and thrown in a bin after being used. Afterwards they are thrown in the washing machine and then left to dry.
  • They are reusable. While this might be the notion that upsets most people, it is also the one which constitutes the biggest advantage of family cloth.

Disregarding the specific product in question, whenever we are talking about two solutions, one reusable and one finite, the reusable one is always the most efficient choice.

If you are looking for a way to maximize your resources, then using family cloth is the way to go. Many people who use family cloth regularly claim that it is more comfortable. After all, it would be made from the same material as underwear so the sensation will be very familiar.

These reasons have convinced many people to switch off toilet paper in their everyday life. For them, there is also a financial motivation to consider. Reusing the same family cloth over and over again means not having to spend any more money on toilet paper.

And lastly, you need to consider that you might not have a choice. If SHTF and you become isolated from the community and you run out of toilet paper, this becomes a viable substitute whether you want to or not.

Making Your Own Toilet Paper

For many people, the best substitute for toiler paper is simply… toilet paper. It is possible to make your own as you do not need complicated tools, as you will be recycling all of your old paper which you have no use for anymore. You can use newspaper, general paper and even magazines as long as they do not have a shiny gloss. You will also want to add ingredients such as baby oil, lotions or aloe in order to keep the paper from hardening.

1. The first step would be to remove as much ink as possible from the paper, by soaking it in a tub or a bucket. Afterwards take the paper and place it in a pot with leaves and grass which will help the fibers remain together. The pot should be filled with water so that it completely covers the paper and then left to simmer. It is important not to boil the water from the beginning so that the dry materials have a chance to absorb the water.

2. After an hour of simmering comes about half an hour of boiling at high temperatures. It’s ok to add more water if necessary. You will also need to remove the foam which begins to rise to the top, as this is mostly ink, glue and other materials you don’t want.

3. Eventually, the paper turns into a pulp. At this time you will have to remove the water but without disturbing the pulp. Try to remove as much as possible and then simply wait for it to cool before removing the rest of the water. The pulp also needs to be taken out in order to remove the water, but it should not be done so that the pulp becomes completely dry. Once this is done the pulp is put back in the pot and it is mixed with the softening oils. If you have it, you can also add Witch Hazel which will act as an anti-bacterial.

4. Once this step is complete, it is time to scoop out the pulp. Do it in chunks and place them on a towel or a cloth on a flat surface. Afterwards you will use a rolling pin in order to spread out the pulp in a thin layer. Try to make it as thin as possible. A mallet can be used to gently deal with any lumps that might appear.

5. Now another towel or cloth should be placed on top of the layer as to create a sandwich. On top of this place something flat and rigid and then something heavy. You can even walk on it if you want. The goal here is to remove all the excess water.

6. If this is done you can remove the items placed on top. Be careful with the second towel as you do not want it to stick to the pulp. In order to remove the towel on the bottom, you will have to flip it all upside down. Do not try to remove the pulp off the towel.

Then you are left with a big layer of thin paper which needs to dry in the sun. Afterwards all you have to do is cut it into pieces and you’ll have your DIY toilet paper.

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How to Track and Avoid Dangerous Animals

how to avoid dangerous animals
By Jonathan Kilburn-April 16, 2017

One thing that puts a lot of people off from hiking is the unknown. Sometimes, that unknown becomes very commonplace. Most people, across the Continental United States, have seen a skunk, deer, moose, bear, or other animals in the wild.

In the Northeastern United States, seeing a deer on the side of the road is almost as common as the white lines themselves. When humans venture off into an animal’s territory, these commonplace sightings can become much more dangerous.

When I was a child, I would visit my grandparents in Wisconsin nearlyhand next to a grizzly bear footprint every summer. My cousins and I would go into the woods, hike, find new plants, bird watch, or even shoot guns. My grandmother used to always tell us to, ‘stay in sight of the cabin. I never understood why I needed to stay close to the cabin until I was about 12 years old. There were two girls, down the road from my grandparent’s cabin, that were attacked by a bear. Luckily, both of them survived with minor injuries, thanks to a passing motorist.

While walking through the woods, or walking down the road in a rural area, is not inherently dangerous it can become dangerous if we do not know how to read the signs of nature. Animals are great at marking their territories. While humans have marked their own territories with fences, buildings, and cut grass humans have forgotten how to recognize the subtleties of animal markings and occasionally walk into situations that they do not know how to get themselves out of.

While this guide may be helpful to some readers, we wish to express that the tools may differ from one geographical location to another. It may also differ from state to state, even if these states do border each other. The United States has such a wide range of diverse ecosystems, and the animal markings in these ecosystems may vary from location to location.

However, the same rule applies, no matter what area you find yourself. We wish to share information closely associated with what can be considered dangerous animals, such as Moose, Bear, Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Etc.

Identifying the Animal:

Droppings:

Knowing what wildlife is local may help to determine what kind of animal would readily be present. Don’t expect to find a polar bear in Arizona or an armadillo in Maine. Knowing the local wildlife is the first step necessary to avoiding them.

deer pellets on the groundOne of the best ways to track animals is not to actually follow the animal itself, but follow what they leave behind. That’s right, dung. Dung, scat, or droppings, can tell us what kind of animal has recently been in that area.

Once a dropping is located, the size is going to tell you how large of an animal it came from. As an example, deer tend to leave very small, round droppings. While they are small, they leave a lot of them. A bear will leave a fairly large dropping, similar to a human. On the opposite end, a mouse may leave a dropping roughly the size of a grain of rice.

Once we have an idea of how large the animal is noticing what it may contain also helps a tracker to understand what kind of animal left the dropping. A large dropping, containing bits of fur, would be a good indicator of a predator. Perhaps a Mountain Lion or Coyote is nearby. Bear and coyote dropping also commonly contain nuts and berries.

If an animal eats something, evidence of their diet will be in their droppings.

After size, and contents, we want to look at moisture. If a dropping is moist, wet, and looks fresh it probably is fresh. Dry, white (with some exceptions), and brittle droppings are the sign of an older dropping.

Recent weather plays a large role in determining the age of a dropping. Wet weather can make a dropping appear to be fresh, when it may be old. Additionally, as the weather starts to warm, a dropping that is thawing may also appear fresher than it may be.

The last thing we want to notice is location. Fox will leave their droppings on prominent objects to mark their territories. Deer will leave their dropping wherever they are walking. Feline species will try to cover their droppings. Dangerous animals will either leave their droppings in a very obvious place or try to hide it. Anything in the middle is relatively safe. The only

The only exception is when it looks similar to human droppings or has no real shape at all. These are generally a sign of bear droppings or a sick animal. Bear droppings hold little shape near the end of the summer to early fall, when they feed heavily on berries.

Tracks:

pocket guide to animal tracks
*source – http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/dfw/wildlife/wildlife-facts-pubs/tracks-guide.pdf

Everyone has watched some kind of movie where there is an amazing tracker that looks down at the ground and says something like, “a cat came through here 13 minutes ago” and everyone around them gasps in awe of their skills. While Hollywood has made tracking an exaggeration, the fundamentals are the same. The more practice you have, the more likely you will be to spot tracks.

Dangerous animal tracks will be easier to spot than other animals. They are generally larger, deeper, and farther apart. Feline (cat) species do not show claw marks while ursine (bear), canine (dog), lupine (wolf), and vulpine (fox) track show a clear outline of their claws. Hoofed animals will have between 2 to 4 indentations in the soil, depending on the species. In general, hoofed animals are to be avoided but not considered as dangerous as other species.

Aging tracks is a bit more difficult than aging droppings. Tracks, depending on the soil, will exhibit different aging patterns. Tracks in the soft soil will be well defined, while in the hard soil they may be difficult to spot. All animals need water to drink, so it is very common to see many well-defined tracks near a stream or pond.

As the water starts to dry up, during the end of spring, the tracks will also dry and crack. When the entire outline of a track is brittle it is generally an older track. When the majority of the outline is well defined, the track can be assumed to be fresher. Lastly, as the wind blows, anything that falls into a track may stay there. The more debris inside a track, or footprint, the easier it is to assume the track is older.

Markings:

Every animal will mark territory in its own way. Beavers obviously

black bear marking territory on a tree
*source – https://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/black-bear-sign/56-marking-trees-and-poles.html

need to chew wood to build their homes and will make it obvious their home is nearby. Bear and animals with antlers will also rub against trees, especially near a water source. The markings on trees may look the same, for someone unfamiliar with the different patterns between beaver, bear, moose, and deer. It is always better to be safe and avoid a questionable area altogether. If avoiding a questionable area is not an option, try to imagine an animal rubbing against a tree. A beaver poses little threat to humans and will chew a tree. A bear uses a tree as a back scratcher and may rub the bark off of a tree in one, or more, areas.

Generally, bear marks on a tree are superficial unless the tree was starting to degrade. Deer and moose rub their antlers on trees, especially during molting/shedding season. They use this as a way to put their scent on the tree and rub their antlers off. While some antlered animals don’t shed their antlers they do molt. Elk, especially, have a thin layer over their antlers that peels off. Try to imagine an antlered animal rubbing against a tree. If an animal was rubbing antlers against a tree you will notice hoof marks near the base of the tree, if not an antler itself!

Deer have a natural way of marking where they have been through their resting periods. They lay down on leaves or grass, making the ground, and anything on top of it, flat. They also will urinate nearby, killing much of the surrounding grass. Moose, elk, etc are not much different. If it looks out of place, it probably is.

It’s best to avoid these animal bed, not just because of the animal but the parasites that may be close by. If you see dry, flat, dead grass it was probably a deer, elk, or moose.

Any time an animal walks it will naturally move the soil or vegetation surrounding them. Broken sticks, scattered leaves, holes in the ground, all of these are common indicators an animal has been nearby. While a deer bed will leave the area flat when deer and moose search for food they tend to turn the soil over to find bugs to eat.

Omnivores may also disrupt vegetation when they eat by remove berries, nuts, or leaves from the plant. Most animals are opportunistic eaters. The easier a food is to obtain the more likely a dangerous animal is nearby.

Avoidance:

Now that we know what we are looking for, to spot an animal, we now know how to avoid certain areas. Common sense is at play here. If someone sees any of these signs of a dangerous animal, though droppings, rubbings, overturned ground, and tracks they know to avoid those areas. Seeing each of those once is not necessarily bad. Animals move, they come and go.

The likelihood of being in an area with a dangerous animal is very slim. They will try to avoid human contact first. If a hiker sees similar droppings more than once they should change direction for a while. If they see

If they see three different signs of a dangerous animal (eg. Droppings, tracks, disrupted vegetation) they should quickly change direction. When someone is hiking and oblivious to these signs they are much more likely to encounter a dangerous animal.

Staying alert will always help someone avoid dangerous animals. Exhaustion, in survival situations, allows out mind to not see common signs of danger.

Practicing the skill of spotting indicators of animal activity will help hikers to train themselves to notice even the smallest changes. When a hiker can spot small indicators they are more likely to notice larger indicators, even when exhausted.

Keep your eyes moving. Watch the ground as you walk, but take some time to stop and scan your environment. Just because you haven’t seen any indicators of animal activity doesn’t mean they are not there.

It’s a good practice to stop every hundred steps, or so, just to look around. Not only does this allow you to see the beauty of nature, it will give you a chance to spot marked trees, animal presence, and indicators of animal activity farther away.

When you can stop and scan the area you may notice that you find indicators of animal activity may be parallel to you.

Conclusion:

While animal attacks may be rare they do happen. Thankfully, we have been given all the tools we need to avoid some of these most dangerous animals. Recognizing, and avoiding, animals may not be a natural skill but it is a necessary one for every hiker, hunter, and survivalist.

The only way to learn these skills is to practice them. So, get out there and enjoy nature!

Original Article Here

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Bowports for when the SHTF

By David James

SHTF Bowman

SHTF Bowman     I was curious recently as to what a ‘Prepper’ was. I’d no idea what SHTF meant. Now I do! A simple web search introduced me to a worldwide community of people who are have a strong sense of impending doom. Based upon recent man made and natural disasters such as the meltdown of the nuclear plant in Japan, hurricane Katrina in the U.S. and, the Indian Ocean Tsunami in southeast Asia combined with dire predictions from some of the world’s leading financial analysts, I’m beginning to believe that the community has a valid point! It seems to me though many preppers consider firearms to be their main means of procuring much needed protein in the event of national emergency. These same people might want to consider turning to the age old art of archery as a supplemental means for hunting game. I’m going to introduce you, briefly, to bows and bow sports.

The Different Type of Bows

You should first be aware that there are many different types of bows available to modern archers; the most common of which consist of the traditional American style Long Bow or Flat Bow, the Recurve Bow and, the Compound Bow. You should also be aware that there are numerous other less common types of bows such as the English Longbow, the Korean Traditional Recurve bow, the Asian Horse Bow, and the traditional Japanese Yumi but these are specialist, and a little out of scope here.

So, what is a longbow and what are its advantages and disadvantages? Well, first of all you

need to be aware that the American style Longbow differs from the English Longbow in that American style Longbow haves flat limbs whereas, the English Longbow has either round or D-shaped limbs. In addition, as the name implies, Longbows are generally much longer than recurve bows because they were originally designed for hunting. They are smoother to draw and shoot than a Recurve Bow of the same draw weight due to their greater mechanical advantage (more leverage). In addition, Longbows are generally more forgiving of minor mistakes in an archer’s form than Recurve Bows. They are often the best choice for beginning archers as well as hunters. Plus, they also pinch the archer’s fingers less than shorter recurve bows.

Recurve bows on the other hand were originally developed for use by mounted horseman as both hunting tools and weapons of war and modern Recurve Bows are generally much shorter than Longbows. However, by design, a Recurve bow imparts more energy to the arrow when fired due to the recurved design of the limbs. They curve away from the archer at the tips. This enables them to store more energy. But, at the same time, Recurve Bows are also less forgiving to shoot than Longbows and they require a higher degree of precision from the archer. Also, due to their shorter length.

Compound bows feature a radical departure from both Longbow and Recurve Bow technology in that they employ either cast or machined aluminum risers rather than wooden risers combined with limbs made entirely from fiberglass or a combination of fiberglass and carbon. They incorporate an eccentric “cam” on the end of each limb connected by a Dacron “cable” (they were originally made of metal cable) which causes them to act like pulleys. Due to their pulley-like action, a compound bow of a given draw weight is easier to draw and to hold at full draw than either a Longbow or a Recurve Bow of the same draw weight. Because the eccentric cams cause the draw weight to peak well before full draw is reached, they also have a certain degree of “let off” which commonly results in a 65 to 80 percent reduction in draw weight at full draw which, in turn, makes it far easier for the archer to hold the bow at full draw for extended periods of time. That’s ideal when hunting. But, they are also significantly heavier than either Longbows or Recurve Bows and, they are also produce far more recoil and noise.

Survival bows are a modern invention. The limbs are normally flat (like a flatbow or american longbow) and they don’t normally re-curve. A survival bow is designed to disassemble into a small package that fits inside a day-pack or bug-out bag. Designed to be quick to assemble, light, sturdy and the ideal choice for a prepper or survivalist. There are a few different models on the market today, if you think one of these bows would be ideal for your cache, then take a look at this article on the best survival bows which has a good set of data, mini reviews, comparisons and a buyer’s guide.

The Different Types of Archery

The three most common types of archery and, the ones most useful to a survival prepper, are Target Archery, Field Archery and, 3D Archery. Most archers start out practicing Target Archery because it’s very well suited for teaching new archers the basics of proper form and aiming technique. Target Archery is the most basic type of archery and it involves shooting at a flat, stationary, target at a known distance and a consistent elevation on an indoor or outdoor open range. The main advantage to this type of archery is the known distance to the target as well as the consistent elevation and ample ambient light. This enables you to learn where to hold the tip of your arrow when shooting instinctively and to concentrate on maintaining the position of your sight pin when shooting with sights.

Like Target Archery, Field Archery involves shooting at flat, stationary, targets but, is commonly practiced in the woods rather than open ranges where the targets are placed at unknown distances at varying elevations with intervening foliage and differing ambient light conditions. Although Field Archery is more difficult than Target Archery, it is also far better for simulating actual hunting conditions.

Last but not least is the sport of 3D archery. In this type of archery, the archer also shoots at targets placed at unknown distances and varying elevations along trails in the woods but, instead of shooting at flat targets, 3D archers instead shoot at life-sized, three dimensional, closed cell foam targets. These are molded and painted to appear very similar to the game animal they are meant to mimic. This type of archery is an even better choice for developing the skills needed by a bowhunter because 3D targets lack any sort of distinct aiming point and, they force the archer to know the animal’s anatomy and to choose a specific aiming point in order to hit the targets “vitals”.  3D archery is the final evolution for a bow hunter because it most closely mimics actual hunting conditions.

 

What Do I Need To Get Started?

Starting out is best accomplished with a good beginner recurve bow. You can shoot a recurve “bare bow” which means that the bow has neither an arrow rest nor sights and the arrow is shot “off of the shelf”.  Recurve Bows are often shot both with and without arrow rests and/or adjustable archery sights whereas, compound bows absolutely must be outfitted with an appropriate arrow rest. A good recurve is a bow you can use for all archery disciplines and a great choice to learn the sport and acquaint yourself with the basics.

In addition, you’d need a set of arrows which are available in one of three different types of materials: Wood, Aluminum, or Carbon. Each type has both advantages and disadvantages. Carbons are great for everything but the most expensive. You can get by with any sort of arrow, but good ones are an investment as you use them again and again. More carbon expensive arrows will be the most durable, last longer and fly further and faster. Aluminium may bend. Wood will break. Regardless of which type of arrows you choose, they will need to be the proper length for your draw. Too short and you risk shooting through your hand.

 

You will most likely want to use your fingers to draw and release the bow’s string with a recurve, so you will also need either an archer’s tab or an archer’s glove to protect and pad your fingers. A common cause of much pain for beginner archers is string slap, where the bowstring contacts your forearm on the way past. This is painful, another useful addition to a starter kit would be an arm guard.

You need to know what type of bow you prefer, what draw weight is appropriate for your intended purpose (hint lighter is better for a beginner). Your shooting handedness as some bows come in left or right handed variants. Your draw length to get the right arrows and the type of arrows and accessories you’d want. Some bows come as part of a handy beginner kit. This may seem a little daunting, but we’ve useful guides to finding out all the above information on our site and comparison tables of the best recurve bows and buyers guides.

Learning to shoot is simply a matter of learning proper shooting form and then training your body to perform the same actions over and over again consistently while also learning to properly gauge the distance to your target. This all comes with repeated practice.

I hope that you have enjoyed my introduction to bows and the different types of archery and you consider getting yourself a recurve to learn or maybe just a survival bow to add to your cache!

Check out David’s other articles at targetcrazy.com

 

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Chiappa X-Caliber Review

IMG_1767

When the X-Caliber arrived, I was excited about something so strange and potentially the perfect survival rifle, shotgun or what ever it actually is. the X-Caliber is in a class of it’s own so there aren’t really any comparisons to anything out there.  Any time I take the X-Caliber to the range, people wanted to shoot it. It is such a novelty that people love it and dislike it all at the same time.  It just looks odd.

IMG_1768

The X-Caliber is marketed as a survival rifle. The “gun” can shoot both .22LR and 12 gauge. With the addition of any of the eight barrel inserts that come with the gun, it can be made to shoot the following:

  • .380
  • 9 mm
  • 40 S&W
  • .45 ACP
  • .357 Magnum/.38 Special
  • .44 Magnum
  • .410/.45 LC
  • 20 Gauge

The idea is cool. It’s possible you could keep this gun in your BOB, grab some hard cast .44 Mag for the big critters, a box of .22 for the small critters, a handful of 2-3/4″ 12 gauge for the flying critters, and the barrel inserts to shoot anything else you find along the way.

The gun is not light.  It has some weight to it and isn’t the easiest to throw around, but that can be an attractive attribute when you do finally run out of ammunition, you can of course beat zombies to death. While the X-Caliber does in fact look futuristic it isn’t the easiest to hold, but for it’s versatility it seems to work, just not as well as a rifle or shot gun that only shoots one type of ammunition, but then again that’s the real benefit to the weapon.

IMG_1758

When you break open the breach the inserts don’t allow for quick extraction, simply because that would be nearly impossible.  You do need to extract the rounds manually.  I would recommend keeping your pocket knife or multitool handy to extract the rounds more easily.

Ok, the real question everyone wants to know, “How does it shoot?”  Well it shoots bullets and shot shells.  Just don’t expect the rifle to give you a 1/2″ group at a hundred yards.  It is a little rough on the shoulder when shooting 12 gauge, since there really isn’t much padding, but it does shoot adequately for what it’s designed for.  The shot shells have an effective range of 25-30 yards.  Much past that you may not get much lead on target.  As for the other calibers you won’t have much better accuracy.  the 22lr, once sighted in is much better, but then again at least you have a full length barrel.  It does take some getting used to and learning the idiosyncrasies.

Image result for chiappa x-caliber

I would recommend sighting in the 22lr barrel and the others should be fairly close, but when I say close, it’s a broad interpretation.  You’re not going to use this in a sniper situation. I could hit a target at 25 yards with any of the barrel inserts which would be fine for human-sized animals, but poor for small game.

 

For zombies or those pesky post apocalyptic human trash scum bags trying to take your seed storage, it could be useful. It would be useful if chiappa released a sight that could be adjusted, and locked for each caliber, but I doubt that’s in the production line. The best part about this rifle though, you can shoot whatever ammo is cheapest and most plentiful at that moment.

The rifle/shotgun has decent triggers.  Yes it has two.  The 22lr trigger is crisp and has about a 4 pound pull.  It breaks cleanly and feels really good.  the shotgun trigger has a little more pull at 5 pounds and doesn’t feel bad, but has a little more creep to the break point.

IMG_1760

The sights aren’t bad either.  The bright orange shows up well and easily allows you to find the target quickly.  I liked the sights a lot and adjustment are performed quickly.


Specifications: Chiappa Firearms X-Caliber 

  • Caliber(s): Many!
    • 12 gauge – 2¾” – 3”
    • 22LR
    • .380
    • 9 mm
    • 40 S&W
    • .45 ACP
    • .357 Magnum
    • .44 Magnum
    • .410/ 45 LC
    • 20 Gauge
  • Type: Over & Under combination shotgun/rimfire rifle
  • Action : Folding break open
  • Feeding : Single shot with extractors
  • Barrel : Steel
  • Trigger system : Double triggers
  • Front sight : Fixed fiber optic
  • Rear sight : M1 style adjustable elevation and windage
  • Safeties : Top tang manual
  • Finish : Matt black; steel and polypropylene foam stock
  • Price: $949 with adaptors

The design and look are utilitarian at best.  Here’s what we thought of the overall performance.  It works.  It definitely does everything a gun like this could possible do, but it just doesn’t do any of them extremely well. but then again, that’s not the purpose.  It is a gun that allows you to shoot multiple calibers,and it does.  It’s not a great shotgun, It’s not a great rifle, but it does allow you to shoot x-caliber of calibers, as the name implies.  If I was reviewing a dedicated shotgun or rifle I would give it a poor rating, but since it’s very unique, and does what it’s designed to do, I give it a good rating.  With the adaptors it’s about as accurate as a hand gun from the same distance, so I would say it’s performing as designed.  You’re not going to win a sharp shooting competition with it.

It has Picatinny rails on the top and sides which would allow you to mount all kinds of accessories, although if SHTF getting replacement batteries may become difficult.

 

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Retail Store Closings and the Impending Shopping Disaster

Many retail stores have closed due to competition from online stores. People are buying an ever larger percentage of their goods from the internet. So brick-and-mortar stores, from Mom and Pops to large chains, are shutting down. And this development is setting the stage for a shopping disaster.

We have become overly-dependent on the internet for many goods and services. What would happen if there is an internet collapse, and online shopping is no longer an option?

First of all, the number of retail stores has fallen to a level too low to support all our shopping needs. Physical stores would quickly be flooded with buyers. The shelves would be stripped bare in a matter of days (or hours, if people are panic-buying). And resupply from wholesalers and manufacturers would not be able to keep up with demand, not for a number of weeks or months.

Reopening closed stores and hiring new workers might not be practical, at least in the short term. And the small number of physical stores, despite vigorous resupply, would still be over-crowded and understaffed. There would be long lines at the checkout, or even long lines waiting to enter the store.

I recall a store I worked at, many years ago, in Worcester, Mass., called Spag’s. The store was so popular, that on some high-traffic days, they had to post guards at the entrances, to keep too many persons from entering the store. Once in a while, there were literally so many persons in each aisle that it was difficult to move. I’m sure they were violating fire regulations by the over-crowding. I’m not exaggerating. So the idea of too many customers to be serviced by a brick-and-mortar store is entirely possible.

Another problem, if internet collapses, is that payment approvals via internet might not be available. Today, when you swipe a credit or debit card in a card reader, it is verified over the internet. Gone are the days when the device dialed a phone number, waited to connect, and then obtained an approval number. No internet, means no credit or debit card payments. And most persons do not have enough cash in their homes for their shopping needs.

Runs on banks will deplete the cash supply. And using checks to pay for good might not be an option, because check approvals work via the internet as well. In addition, there is literally not enough cash in the country to meet the shopping needs of the nation. The vast majority of buying transactions are non-cash today. So the existing physical stores might not be able to accept payment.

Could this internet-slash-shopping disaster really happen? Absolutely.

One way, is if a foreign nation executes a cyber attack on the U.S. internet. But it doesn’t have to be a hostile nation. Terrorist groups and anonymous hacker groups, with varying motivations, might also be capable of such an attack.

And if you think that taking down the internet would be too difficult, think again. Recently, a large number of internet sites went down because the U.S. internet has become overly dependent on the cloud services of Amazon. And at Amazon, a low-level tech worker entered a command with a small typo, which accidentally shut down the servers running those services. You don’t realize how very small events can avalanche to cause a major shit-storm when computers and networks are at issue.

Another entirely different way that a shopping disaster could occur concerns shipping companies. The vast majority of online shopping products are delivered via a few major carriers: FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service. If some disruption in society shuts down or interferes with shipping, online shopping will be obstructed. This disruption could take the form of a strike, due to disputes over wages and benefit, or due to some stupid new government law or policy. Or it could be caused by general civil unrest, which disrupts all transportation.

Our excessive dependence on the internet for shopping is going to come back around and bite us in the ass, sooner or later. Mark my words.

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A Solar Energy System That Works At Night

by Ken Jorgustin

Solar energy is power from the sun. But what about power during the night?

Here’s how it’s done:


Batteries! Solar energy is radiant energy collected from the sun. Not only can it be harnessed and converted immediately to household electricity, but it can also be harnessed and stored in special batteries to be used later (when the sun goes down).

While the technicalities of a solar energy power system may be somewhat complicated and require a certain level of “know-how” in the field of electromechanical & electronics, these systems can be professionally installed or you might even consider a specially designed portable system.

The key to a 24-hour (around the clock) solar energy system is battery storage.

Even during the day you might encounter a period of sufficient cloudiness which will reduce the energy output from the solar panels. Energy output (the converted electrical power) will be reduced or greatly reduced, even to the extent that your connected devices might switch off. The batteries however will make up the difference when solar output is reduced.

The design of a battery storage system requires its own unique technical expertise while considering the specific battery type, size, charge/discharge parameters, load expectations, configuration and interconnection, and much more.

My own personal system at home currently consists of 24 AGM deep-cycle batteries which provide enough stored energy to run the house without issue overnight and beyond, until such time that the solar panels kick-in and start charging the batteries once again when the sun is shining.
Portable Solar Energy System
For those who may be interested in procuring a portable solar energy system with sufficient power to run your essential systems (or more), or to bring along camping, the cabin, or for emergency, etc.., there is a company who offers several portable solar energy systems which may be of interest.

Their portable solar generator kits include foldable solar panels, a “Humless power system” and the connecting cables.

The system is simple. Direct the solar panels towards the sun, the system will start charging and will continue until the batteries are full. The solar panels will also power your electronics while charging the batteries.

Speaking with the owner, their batteries are uniquely designed lithium to withstand the rigors of reliable charge/discharge with built-in safety mechanisms for protection against over-charging or excessive discharge.

Because of the lithium design the overall system weight is far less than others and therefore opens the door for other uses – which make it truly portable.

Currently they offer three systems:
.64 kWh solar kit
1.3 kWh solar kit
2.0 kWh solar kit
kWh?
You might be asking, “What’s a kWh”? A kWh is a kilowatt hour. Think of it as as powering something that consumes 1,000 watts for one hour.

For example: If using 800 lumen LED bulbs (equivalent to the old 60-watt incandescent bulbs), the energy consumption of a kWh would be equivalent to powering about 125 of these LED bulbs for one hour! Or, about 12 for ten hours!

Note: A 800 lumen LED bulb consumes just 8 watts compared to it’s 60-watt incandescent counterpart of old…

LED Light Bulb Cost Savings Over Incandescent

Another example: My most recent chest freezer consumes 450 watts in a 24 hour period. That’s just 19 watts per hour on average. So, this chest freezer consumes 0.19 kW in one hour, or 0.19 kWh.

When determining the capacity requirements of a solar energy system, one thing that you might do is add up the power requirements of the things that you might be connecting.
Alternative energy sources are a great way to further your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependency on other external systems. I plan to write more articles about this in the future ?

 

Original Article

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Semi-Automatic BullMaster Air Rifle

HatsanUSA Announces Semi-Automatic BullMaster Air Rifle

HatsanUSA is launching its first-ever semi-automatic air rifle.

The airgun, named the BullMaster, is a new semi-auto Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) air rifle with a bullpup design. It will be available in .177 and .22 calibers.

“Our customers have been asking us to release a semi-auto bullpup for quite some time and with the BullMaster, HatsanUSA is delivering in a big way,” said Blaine Manifold, President of HatsanUSA. “For us, the key feature is that the semi-auto action is gas operated, as opposed to electrical. This delivers greater reliability and longevity.”

The BullMaster features a detachable, rotary magazine (14-shot capacity for the .177, 12-shot capacity for .22) and each rifle ships with three magazines. Carrying slots have been built into the stock for storing spare magazines. A 500cc volume air bottle is mounted to the forearm of the rifle, and two air cylinders are included. The barrel is full shrouded, precision rifled and choked for optimal shot count.

The entire package ships with an MSRP of $1,399.99.

Features include:

• Genuine bullpup design, Semi-auto action pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle
• Available in .177 (4.5 mm), .22 (5.5 mm) caliber
• Max Muzzle Velocity for .22 caliber is 970 fps
• Max Muzzle Velocity for .177 caliber is 1050 fps
• Detachable 14-shot magazine in .177 (4.5mm) and 12-shot magazine in .22 (5.5mm)
• Fully shrouded, precision rifled and choked barrel for accuracy
• 500cc volume air bottle mounted in the forearm
• Includes 3 magazines
• Includes quick-fill nozzle
• Tactical style ambidextrous stock with thumbhole
• 2 spare magazine carrying slots in the stock
• Accessory Weaver-style rail beneath the forearm
• “EasyAdjust” Elevation Comb Stock
• Ventilated rubber butt pad
• Built-in pressure gauge to monitor the cylinder pressure
• Weaver-style rail for both 11 mm and 22 mm scope mounts
• Overall blued finish, black anodized receiver
• Patented anti-knock system prevents discharge when rifle is knocked or bounced
• Manual safety
• Black metal trigger
• Fitted sling swivels

For more information, go to HatsanUSA.com.

https://youtu.be/L7F9V0xDCOU?t=1m31s

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Preppers Forget, So Many Haven’t​ A Clue.

Here’s a article posted today in Lifehacker.  We that live a prepper’s life, or should I even say, Professional Preppers, sometimes forget  that most of our neighbors, family and friends haven’t a clue.  We read, understand the fragility of our modern world, doubt government’s true intentions, and lastly, try to be self reliant.  This has enabled we that prep to gather items and supplies to wary the storm, what ever that may be.  Most people live life with blinders, travelling from home, to McDonald’s, to work, to Starbucks, to Taco Bell, to Home never to think about the conviences they take for granted on a daily basis.  Never second guessing that the light switch turns on the light, or the stove just clicks and works, or when hungry just go through the drive-through.  Well, here’s an article of someone that seems to have had an “Awakening” of sorts.  It’s definitely not easy for someone in a large city apartment to be prepared, but she definitely starts thinking.  Give it a read and see what you think.

lifehacker Doomsday Prep for Non-Paranoid People.

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10 Best Survival Rifles, Protect Your Family, Hunt, SHTF

Everyone has their own favorite, best, or go-to rifle.  When deciding on a rifle for bugging out, buggin in, defensive, offensive, and just plain’old usefulness you need to consider many factors.

  • Ease of use
  • Supply of ammunition
  • Cost of ammunition
  • effectiveness for job intended
  • portability
  • serviceability

That being said, listing the 10 “best survival rifles” requires some compromise and some decisions to prioritize your most important features. There is no single perfect survival rifle.  It doesn’t exist because everyone’s concerns are different and there are too many unique survival scenarios to consider.

Also owning ten survival rifles won’t do you much good, unless you have a very large family or a caddy to carry all your guns and ammo, and that stuff isn’t too light, if you haven’t noticed. So I decided to fight conventional wisdom and focus primarily on the top five (or what I consider the best of each survival category) and then give you five runner-ups.

Questions you need to ask yourself.  What are the roles we expect out survival rifles to play?

  1. Hunting Small game
  2. Hunting Large game
  3. Perimeter-defense beyond 200 yards
  4. Self-defense inside 200 yards
  5. Self-defense in close quarters

So let’s take a look at each task and the best survival rifles to accomplish them.

Hunting Small Game

In an actual survival situation, you may need to live off the land, and that means we can’t overlook small game.

There are a lot more squirrel, rabbit, possum and other varmints around than there are deer. Shooting a buck might feed the family for weeks, but those won’t be as common as smaller, more plentiful game.

Squirrel is easily found, even in urban areas and can be harvesting easily and feed your family.

But in the small game arena, there are many excellent rifles, each firing a variety of respectable calibers.

Great calibers for small game.

.17 HMR cartridge is flat shooting, very high velocity round and realize it’s the be all and end all of the varmint rounds.

.22 Magnum is a powerful small round, higher velocity than .22 LR, fired by great extremely accurate rifles.  Enough power to take coyotes and mid sized animals, but more expense than .22 LR.

.22 LR is by far the most popular choice and the most versatile for various reasons.  Plentiful and inexpensive, Usually.

Reason 1 – The .22 LR is never in stock at your wally world, because people recognize this cartridge as the most versatile, desirable, and affordable survival round. People hoard them by the thousands when they do become available.

Reason 2 – It’s the only cartridge I know where you can walk around with a thousand rounds in your pocket—or a lifetime supply in your backpack. They don’t weight much.

So it’s a well-established fact that the .22 LR makes the grade for best survival small game caliber. So let’s choose our small game survival rifle to match the best survival ammo. And there’s only one choice:

10/22 Ruger Takedown
10/22 Ruger Takedown

1. The Scoped Ruger 10/22 Take-down

Ruger 10/22 platform has been around since 1964.  Since the 10/22 has been around for so long, it has been one of the most reliable, semi-automatic rifles, and you can easily modify your rifle with many aftermarket products available.

The Ruger and the Remington are competitors in the semi-automatic .22LR regime, however, over the years the public has voted with their pocketbooks and the Ruger comes out on top.

Plus, the newer take-down versions break down into component pieces. So you can easily store it in a backpack to be reassembled later as the situation requires. Perfect for those who’s survival plan includes bugging out.

Remmington 700 Survival RifleHunting Large Game

So your family is sick of squirrel and rabbit stew, and suddenly that ten point buck presents itself at 300 yards. Which rifle do you wish you had in your hands in that situation?

You will need a cartridge that can have power at 300 yards. You also need to kill that deer with one shot. You don’t want to wound him and then lose him.

If you do get off a bad shot but you still hit him, you want something that will slow him down so you can track. So we’re not talking about mid-sized cartridges, like a 125 grain 5.56 or 7.62 x 39mm traveling at 2100-2400 FPS.

You want something in the 170-220 grain region in .30 caliber soft-point or better traveling 2700-3000 FPS. We’re talking .30-06, .308 Winchester or .300 Win Mag.

So what is the best rifle for delivery of this type bullet? Well the US Army and US Marine Corps are pretty good references to begin with.

2. Remington 700

The Remington 700, in one form or another, has been the mainstay of the bolt-action snipers around the world for decades.

The Remington 700 in military trim is still a frontline bolt action sniper rifle. A high-quality scope is a must for this long range survival rifle.  So you can’t go cheap on optics if you want something that is going to last.

AR15 Rifle
AR15 Rifle


Perimeter Defense

Keeping the bad guys away from your people by killing them at long range is usually a safer bet than having them at your front door.

Your personal morality may have to come into question on how you potentially handle a SHTF situation and protecting your family. However, you decide to send a message to others to stay away, you will want precision and make an impactful statement.

That means you need accuracy and lethality.

So why not pick the Remington 700? Surely, if your survival rifle can take down a deer at 400 yards, it can take down a man at 400 yards. No doubt. However, the benefit of the bolt action on accuracy is also a liability when it comes to quick follow up shots or multiple moving targets.

The deer might stand there wondering what the kicked up dirt next to it means and wait there for a second follow up shot, but humans will realize immediately what’s happening.

So a semi-automatic option is your best choice when hunting the “most dangerous game”; Man.

3. AR-15

When we’re talking semi-auto, lethal and accurate at these ranges, we’re talking a scoped AR-15 in 5.56 NATO—or maybe a scoped AR-10 in .308 NATO. The AR-10 has the better knockdown power, however, the recoil of the 5.56 mm round fired from an AR-15 with a quality buffer is negligible, so your aim is less affected.

Your shots should come fast, with easy acquisition of your second, third and fourth targets. Quality AR-15s are cheaper than the AR-10 and so is the 5.56 mm round.

You can carry quite a few rounds on your person as opposed to the .308, .30-06 or the like, and they are readily available and affordable—at least before the excrement hits the fan. So stock up.

AK-47 rifle
AK-47 rifle


Self-defense Inside 200 Yards

In close quarters, you need a weapon that is both accurate and reliable.

There’s a reason weapons developed for military use, are perfect for 200 yards or less.  They were designed for that exact purpose. We’re talking guaranteed lethal hits on man-sized targets at less than 100 yards. There is one other significant problem at this distance—you can expect the bad guys to shoot back.

In close quarters, every round you fire must count, and the weapon cannot malfunction. A rifle malfunction at 400 yards takes just a moment to clear—a moment you might not have at 50 yards. So what would I recommend?

4. AK-47

There is only one logical choice—the favorite weapon of every bad guy, dictator, and communist in the world—the AK-47.

I’m not talking about a real full-auto AK-47. You can’t just pick up a full auto AK-47 on Gunbroker. I’m talking about semi-automatic AK-47 variants and there are many versions and brands, but the beautiful thing about them, is they all work the same.

A full auto is relatively useless, unless you are fighting in a small room or spraying and praying to provide covering fire for someone else. Accuracy goes out the window in full auto and you waste a valuable resource, bullets.

The AK design is tough and designed for the mechanical torture of full auto operation. In semi-auto operation, everything is simple, over-engineered and reliable.

I’ve owned a couple cheap AK variants over the years and have fired thousands of rounds through them. I don’t even clean it very often and I have never experienced a jam.

The 7.62×39 mm round is lethal and even cheaper than the 5.56 mm. Inside 200 yards the AK has decent accuracy. However, the one concession I would make is to add a red-dot sight to enhances the shooting experience and buy many magazines.  With the 30 round magazine as standard and keep them loaded and ready in your gun safe.

Mossberg 500 Chainsaw
Mossberg 500 Chainsaw
Self-Defense In Close Quarters

In an urban area, you can’t keep people from getting close to home.

At this point in a perfect world, you could choose to engage the bad guy with a handgun—but the word handgun does not appear in the title of this article. So let’s assume you are grabbing for something larger. So what would you prefer?

When you are in close quarters combat, you naturally begin to spray and pray. If you have the AR-15 or AK-47 variant, you can make a lot of noise and poke a lot of holes in your walls, possibly killing your family members in the next room, however, if you want to remove doubt at close quarters—use a shotgun.

5. Mossberg 500

A tactical, pump 12 gauge, such as the Mossberg 500, can take spraying and praying to a whole new level. You fire a couple shells down your hallway,  you are going to hit your target and probably more than once

Regular, long hunting shotguns are at a disadvantage in these conditions but if you have one, you would use it.  I would prefer to have a shorter, tactical version or even one with a pistol grip.  Kel-Tec also makes a bull pub shot gun that would be a perfect choice, especially since it can hold up to 15 rounds.  There is a reason why mossberg calls one of their shotguns “The Chainsaw”.  It will cut down just about anything in its way.

Buckshot increases your likelihood of a hit, but a slug delivers an exceptionally deadly blow at close quarters. Here are the two big differences.

A shot pattern does not guarantee incapacitation. Now if the intruder gets hit with shot that may not neccessarily take him down immediately, but you hit him with 00-buckshot I guarantee he’s going down.

You’d prefer him to be unable to make any retaliation.

Any head or torso shot with a slug or buckshot is going to blow a significant hole in him, and all the desire to reach you or your family will leave immediately.

 

My personal shotgun of choice is the Kel-tec KSG, but the Mossberg 500 in its many variants in 12 gauge, which also happens to be the shotgun of choice for the US Army.

So what is the best all around Survival Rifle?

So if I could only take one, what do I consider the best all-around survival rifle?  I would not choose a 10/22 although it is a great rifle. I do think there may be a better choice—or at least a marginally better choice.

I personally would have to choose AR-15 for my all around rifle.  Not the best, by far in many categories, but good enough to use in just about any situation.

Runner Up Best Survival Rifles

So how about some runner’s up? Here are some other best survival rifles to consider:

  • 7 – Remington 597
  • 8 – Winchester Model 70 (in .30-06, .308 Win, .300)
  • 9 – Kel-Tec SU16 in many of its variants.
  • 10 – Kel-Tec KSG (in 12 Gauge)
  • 11 – Sam Yang .50 Cal Air Rifle and just for all around use in major World ending SHTF situations.  It can be used as a shotgun, rifle, and shoot arrows.  You don’t need powder, and can easily cast your own bullet.

Written by Rich G, SHTFandGO LLC.  excerpts taken from other articles

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Traditional Rifles vs. AR

If you’re new to the sports of shooting and hunting, you’ve probably found yourself staring dumbfounded at the vast array of guns lining the walls of your local gun shop—wood-stocked long guns, carbon-fiber ARs and lever-action rifles that look straight out of a Western movie. Theoptions are endless.

So, what’s the difference between these guns? It’s quite simple and, depending on your intended use, you may find one option better suited to your uses than the other. Here are the most important differences between the two most popular rifle styles: AR and bolt action.

All About the AR
An AR rifle, or “modern sporting rifle,” is not just for the military or law enforcement. In fact, over the past decade, ARs have become a very popular firearm choice for hunting and target shooting. A lot of false information has created confusion on just what an AR rifle actually is and does, so it’s important to understand the platform.

Traditional Rifles vs. ARs

Over the past decade, it has become common to see AR platform rifles in hunting camps. The Savage MSR 15 Recon is chambered in .223 Wylde and features a barrel with 5R rifling—a killer combo for match grade accuracy.

“AR” does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” In fact, the “AR”, as in AR-15, stands for “ArmaLite rifle,” with the name being adopted from the company that first developed this style of rifle in the 1950s. In reality, “assault rifles” are fully automatic (imagine a machine gun), and automatic firearms have been heavily restricted to civilians since 1934.

ARs use what is called a “semiauto action,” meaning that every time the trigger is pulled, a bullet is launched from the barrel, the case is automatically ejected, and another cartridge is immediately fed from the magazine into the firing chamber. Before another bullet can be fired, however, the trigger must be pulled again, and so the process is repeated.

The AR is versatile and exceptionally accurate. ARs consist of two main components commonly referred to as “upper” and “lower” receivers. The upper receiver of an AR is comprised of the barrel, chamber and handguard. This can easily be swapped for other uppers to chamber your rifle to different calibers by simply popping two pins. Chamberings for the AR platform include .22, .223 (5.56x45mm), 6.8 SPC, .308, .450 Bushmaster, and more.

Traditional Rifles vs. ARs

The modularity of AR platform rifles enables shooter to quickly change uppers for different calibers depending on the species being hunted.

The upper receiver is where the operating system of the gun is located. ARs can consist of two different operating systems: gas impingement and gas piston. With a gas impingement system, gas is diverted from the barrel through a tube and back into the upper receiver to operate the action. With a gas-piston operating system, gas is funneled from the barrel to drive a piston that works like the action.

The lower receiver consists of the buttstock and grip. These also can be changed to fit your needs. Not happy with your short stock? Looking for a grip with more traction? No problem. Swap them for a Blackhawk Knoxx Replacement Adjustable Carbine Rifle Buttstock, a Blackhawk AR-15 Ergonomic Grip, or a host of other accessories.

Along with those easy changes you can make, the AR can easily be tailored to individual shooters. Almost all of the components of an AR can be swapped out. Replace the stock trigger, buy a different gas block, add a Blackhawk offset flashlight rail mount or a Picatinny rail to mount a Blackhawk SPR Optics Mount for a scope, or simply change the handguard to fit your liking. The options are endless.

Traditional Rifles vs. ARs

Collapsible buttstocks make it easier to maneuver through thick brush, and can quickly be extended to make that perfect shot.

Bolt Gun Basics
Unlike the AR, which uses gases and a lot of moving parts to operate, a bolt gun has a much simpler design.

The traditional bolt gun uses a bolt-action system to fire. Unlike semiauto actions, where the cartridge automatically ejects when fired and then a new round is fed into the chamber, bolt guns require you to manually open the bolt, which ejects the cartridge. You then push the bolt forward, which drives the new round from the magazine into the firing chamber. This process must be repeated each time before firing a new round. Because bolt guns have fewer moving mechanical parts and don’t require the use of gases to make the gun work, bolt guns are commonly believed to be more reliable than ARs.

Traditional Rifles vs. ARs

The classic beauty of a traditional bolt gun can be hard to beat. If a shooter is trying to decide between an AR or a traditional bolt gun – it all comes down to personal preference.

Unlike ARs, not as many components of a bolt gun can be swapped or added to the rifle. Commonly made with wood, laminate, and composite stocks, bolt-action rifles do allow some customization, including replaceable stocks, triggers, and scope mounts.

Additionally, bolt-action rifles can be chambered in dozens of different calibers. The 16/116 Savage Lightweight Hunter bolt-action rifle, for example, is available in .223 Rem., .243 Win., .270 Win., .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor, and 7mm-08 Rem. Numerous other calibers are available for bolt-action rifles for use on big game that range in size from deer to elk including .30-06, .300 Win. Mag., and .338 Win. Mag., all the way down to small game such as squirrels or coyotes with rounds including .22 or .17 Hornet.

Which One is For You?
Between the modularity of the AR, which allows you to customize it to your preferences, and the reliability of a bolt-action rifle, you really can’t go wrong with either. I’ve hunted bears in the backcountry while carrying the Lightweight Hunter chambered in .270 and walked away with a beautiful black bear shot at 230 yards. My friend and fellow bear hunter, David Faubion, carried an AR on the same hunt, and he walked away with an old sow. Both guns performed as promised, and I came to one conclusion: You can’t go wrong by buying one of each.

Shared from gunsandammo.com

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Hydrogen Peroxide Uses In Garden

How & Why Hydrogen Peroxide is So Useful

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has an extra oxygen atom than Water (H2O), this extra oxygen atom breaks down and the molecule of water releases from this separately. It is this extra oxygen atom that makes the hydrogen peroxide so useful. The Hydrogen peroxide is used in cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, as a disinfectant etc. but it can also be used in horticulture. In simple words, Hydrogen Peroxide acts as an oxygen supplement for plants (beneficial if used in low strength). It works by releasing oxygen and also aerates the soil.

1. Hydrogen Peroxide Uses Against Root Rot

Overwatering causes the shortage of Oxygen at the root zone. If you overwater the plant, the water fills the air spaces in soil and the plant’s roots suffocate due to the lack of air and they begin to die after 24 hours. To save such a plant from this problem, water it thoroughly with 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed in 1 quart of water. The extra oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide provides the roots their much-needed oxygen to survive. After this, don’t water the plant until top 1 or 2 inches of soil dries out well.

2. Using Hydrogen for Faster Seed Germination

You can use hydrogen peroxide to help seeds germinate more quickly. Hydrogen peroxide softens the coat of seeds and kills any pathogen present on seed coat thus increase the germination rate and help the seed germinate faster. Soak your seeds in a 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Rinse the seeds several times with water before planting and plant them as usual.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide for Mold and Mildew

Hydrogen peroxide has an oxidizing property that is fatal for mold and mildew. Mix a liter of water with 10 tablespoons of 3 to 6% hydrogen peroxide depending on the level of infection. Spray this solution on plants daily until the fungus disappears.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide as a Fertilizer

Use hydrogen peroxide to help strengthen the root system of your plants. Hydrogen peroxide has one extra oxygen molecule (than water) that helps plant’s roots to absorb nutrients from soil more effectively, you can use this formula occasionally to boost the growth– Mix about 1 teaspoon of 3% Hydrogen peroxide with 1 gallon of water.

5. To Keep Pests Away

The hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pesticide. Spraying the plant thoroughly with 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed in the equal amount of water kills the pests and their eggs. The hydrogen peroxide also kills the bacteria that develop on fruits and vegetables.

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Tips For Floods

TYPES OF FLOODING

 

A flood is defined as an overflow of water that submerges land which is normally dry. In the United States, there are various causes for flooding, including:
Flash Floods: Flash floods usually develop shortly after a nearby heavy rain. I say nearby because it doesn’t have to be raining at your location for rising water to endanger you. These floods create a rapid rise of water, especially in low-lying areas like floodplains. Causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, ice jams, and levee or dam failures. This is especially common in the western United States where normally dry areas next to steep terrain might fill with rushing water.

River Flooding: River flooding can be caused by heavy rainfall, dam failures, rapid snowmelt and ice jams. Normally flow can become turbulent rapidly as in a flash flood. In other cases, water levels may rise slowly but steadily. Either way, the result threatens structures and populations along its course.

Storm Surges: Tropical (or even non-tropical) storm systems can bring heavy winds, but most damage occurs as a result of flooding due to the storm surge. Storm surge is the rise in water generated by the storm above normal tide levels. When the storm approaches the coast, high winds cause large waves that can inundate structures, damage foundations, and cause significant loss of life.

Burn Scars: The Western U.S. has had significant wildfire activity, most recently in California. After a fire, the bare ground can become so hardened that water can’t be absorbed into the ground. This is known as a “burn scar”. Burn scars are less able to absorb moisture, leading heavy rains to accumulate water wherever gravity takes it.

Ice Jams: Northern areas of the continental U.S. and Alaska may have flooding as a result of ice jams. When moving ice and debris are blocked by an obstruction, water is held back. This causes flooding upstream. When the obstruction is finally breached, flash flooding occurs downstream. Many ice jams occur at bends in a river.

Snowmelt: Snowmelt flooding is common in mountainous Northern U.S. states. Snow is, until temperatures rise above freezing, just stored water. When it gets warmer, the snowmelt acts as if it were rain and flooding can occur.

Barrier Failures: When a dam or levee breaks, it can be due to excessive rainfall, erosion, landslides, earthquakes, and many other natural causes. Some dams fail as a result of man-made issues, such as negligence, improper maintenance, and even sabotage. As a result, water level can overflow the barrier or water can seep through the ground.

 

FLOOD PREPAREDNESS
Most people have heard of hurricane or tornado watches and warnings, but the U.S. weather services also tries to warn the populace of flooding. A “flash flood watch” means that flash flooding is possible in the near future; a “flash flood warning” means that flooding is imminent in the area.
If you live in a low-lying area, especially near a dam or river, then you should heed warnings when they are given and be prepared to evacuate quickly. Rising flood waters could easily trap you in your home and you don’t want to have to perch on your roof waiting for help.

FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

To make it safely through a flood, consider the following recommendations:
Hit The Road Early
Make the decision to leave for higher ground before flooding occurs and roads are blocked. Having a NOAA weather radio will keep you up to date on the latest advisories. When the authorities tell you to leave, don’t hesitate to get out of Dodge.
Be Careful Walking Through Flood Waters
Drowning is the most common cause of death during a flood, especially a flash flood. Rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet even if less than a foot deep. Even calm flood waters are often murky and hide debris that can cause injuries if you walk through them.
Don’t Drive Through a Flooded Area
In a flood, many people drown in their cars as they stall out in moving water. Most vehicles can be carried away by water just two foot deep.Road and bridges could easily be washed out if you waited too long to leave the area. Plan before a flood occurs to see if there is a “high road” to safety.

Beware Of Downed Power Lines
Watch for downed power lines; electrical current is easily conducted through water. You don’t have to touch the downed line to be electrocuted, only step in the water nearby. There are numerous instances of electrocutions occurring as a result of rescuers jumping into the water to try to save victims of a shock.
Don’t Drink The Water
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: Flood water is not clean water. It is contaminated by debris and water treatment plants may even have been compromised by the disaster. Have a reliable way to purify water and a good supply of clean water stored away. 12-16 drops of household bleach will sterilize a gallon of water (a teaspoon for 5 gallons), but a filter might also be needed to eliminate debris. Wait 30 minutes after sterilization to drink.

Have Supplies Handy
Flood waters may not recede quickly. Besides water as mentioned above, have non-perishable food, bottled water, heat and light sources, batteries, tools, extra clothing, a medical kit, a cell phone, and a NOAA weather radio among your supplies.
Turn Off The Power

If you have reason to believe that water will get into your home, turn off the electricity. If you don’t and the water reaches the level of the electric outlets, you could easily get electrocuted. Some warning signs might be sparks or strange sounds like crackling, popping, or buzzing.

Beware of Intruders
Critters that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Snakes, raccoons, insects, and other refugees may decide your residence is now their territory. Human intruders may also be interested to see what valuables you left behind.
Watch Your Step
After a flood, watch where you step when you enter your home; there will, likely, be debris everywhere. The floors may also be covered in mud, causing a slip-and-fall hazard.
Check for Gas Leaks
Don’t use candles, lanterns, stoves, or lighters unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area is well-ventilated.
Avoid Exhaust Fumes
Only use generators, camping stoves, or charcoal grills outside. Their fumes can be deadly.
Clean Out Saturated Items Completely

If cans of food got wet in the flood, their surfaces may be covered with mud or otherwise contaminated. Thoroughly wash food containers, utensils, and personal items before using.

Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have completely dried. You might have to take some apart to clean debris out of them.

Use Waterproof Containers for Important Stuff

Waterproof containers can protect food, personal items, documents, and more.  If your area is at risk for flooding, have the important stuff protected by storing them correctly.
Floods are just one of the many natural disasters that can endanger your family and turn your home into a ruin. With planning and some supplies, however, you’ll be able to keep your loved ones safe and healthy.