Category Archives: survival

Hunter Fends Off Grizzly by Shoving Arm Down Its Throat


Sticking an arm down the throat of a bear is regarded by some as an effective last-ditch tactic for fending off an attack.

There are few animals in North America as frightening as an adult grizzly, and if one of these massive animals get it in their heads to attack you, your day just suddenly got a whole lot worse. Twenty-six-year-old Chase Dellwo was expecting to bag some elk in the Montana back country near Choteau last Saturday, but a chance encounter with a bear ended with him sticking his arm into its roaring mouth instead.

That decision may have saved his life.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, Dellwo was bowhunting near a creek bed with his brother Shane. Strong wind and intermittent snow and rain kept visibility to a minimum, but the brothers heard elk bugles in the area and Dellwo was eager to make his first elk harvest of the year. The hunter had been steadily driving the animals toward his brother, but the weather also hid a sleeping grizzly, which Dellwo practically tripped over. At less than three feet, there was little that Dellwo could do before the animal charged him.

“I had an arrow knocked, and I put my bow up in front of me and took two or three steps back,” he told the Tribune. “There wasn’t any time to draw my bow back.”

The grizzly knocked Dellwo off his feet and bit him in several places across his head. It then reared back and gave what the hunter later described as the loudest roar he had ever heard, before attacking him again and biting his right leg. It was at this point that Dellwo recalled that an old survival tip about how bears have sensitive gag reflexes—so the hunter plunged his arm down the animal’s throat.  The bear promptly left.

Dellwo is not the first person to have stuck their arm down a bear’s throat and lived to tell the tale. The trick is commonly regarded as a last-ditch defense against bear attacks. As recently as last November, a hunter in British Columbia used to same trick to disable and ultimately kill a large grizzly sow near Fernie. According to CTV News, Wilf Lloyd was seriously mauled by the bear before he was able to stop its biting by jamming his hand down its mouth. While the bear was still on top of the man, Llyod’s son-in-law arrived and shot it dead with a rifle.

Lloyd also received a bullet in the leg during the chaotic struggle, but he did not blame his hunting companion in the least.

“The man saved my life,” Lloyd later said. “What Skeet did and because of his fast reaction, the shots, I had maybe fifty stitches in my hand and that’s it. So I was very fortunate that way.”

Dellwo echoed Llyod’s sentiment after his own bear encounter. Shortly after the attack, he was able to reunite with his brother and was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for various cuts and punctures on his head and right leg. Dellwo expects to be back in the woods later this year for rifle season.

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks are currently investigating the case and believe that the bear involved was a 400-pound male. Experts added that the brothers seemed to have done everything correctly and that the bear will likely not be tracked down since the attack was not predatory in nature.   By: Daniel Xu




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The Wrong Turn


 On Aug. 31, Bill Lawrence, 40, got separated from his hunting partners and remained lost for five days. As told to Colin Kearns.

Wednesday. I’d just killed my first squirrel when I glanced over for my friends Russell and Cris. They were gone.

Russell was the only one who’d hunted these woods, Meeman-Shelby Forest north of Memphis. We’d been hunting for 20 minutes and were deep into the forest. Russell and Cris stuck together, while I drifted to their left. I tried to stay within eyesight of them, but I was also watching for snakes. The last time I saw them, it looked like they were continuing in a straight line. Then I stopped to shoot the squirrel.

I thought I had an idea where they were, but an hour later I wasn’t any closer. I shouted, but the thick woods only swallowed my cries. So I turned to hike back to the truck, but an hour later I was even more lost. I kept walking, though, figuring I’d find a way out.

I walked, stopping to rest now and then, until it started to get dark. I’d fired a couple of shots but got no response. It never got cold, which was good because I had nothing to build a fire with. I doused myself with bug dope, then lay down. With my vest, I was able to cover my face and roll up the bottom end to use as a pillow. That dead squirrel in the pocket added a decent cushion.

I heard helicopters but they couldn’t see me through the trees, and I wasn’t going to run through the woods in the dark. I just prayed they’d find me tomorrow.

Thursday. I finished the last of the two water bottles I’d brought with me that morning. The days were hot, and I was walking and sweating a lot. I needed to stay hydrated. Fortunately, it rained that morning, and I managed to catch a half bottle’s worth of water.

I mostly squirrel hunt, but I have enough experience hunting deer and rabbits that I can identify tracks—and I know that if you follow those tracks, they’ll often lead to a water source, which in my case was a puddle in gumbo mud. I dipped my empty bottle and watched it fill with gray, grimy water. I didn’t want to drink it. I worried it’d make me sick. But what choice did I have? I was already getting dehydrated.

The taste was nasty—dirty and sandy—but the dip of mint Skoal I had in my mouth made it at least drinkable. I figured I should eat something, too, even though I wasn’t starving. I turned a dead stump over and found some nightcrawlers. They tasted about as bad as the gumbo water. I don’t know how many I ate—only that I’d never eat another one.

The rest of Thursday was a lot like Wednesday: Walk, then break for a nap. Walk, then nap. That second day, as I was walking—with no real end in sight—is when I started talking to God. Why is this happening? If I don’t make it out, will you take care of my wife and kids?

imagesTJNT6CHZThat night I awoke to a WHOOSHWHOOSHWHOOSH. Dazed, it took me a moment to realize that it was another chopper—and that it was right above me. I stumbled to find the flashlight in my vest. But by the time I turned it on, it was too late. After the chopper left, my flashlight burned out.

Friday. I kept moving and praying—all day. Walking gave me a purpose. Praying gave me strength. I truly believe my faith is what kept me from ever panicking. That afternoon I stumbled upon some persimmons. They were the most delicious things I’d eaten in a long time, and they were just sitting there on the ground, perfectly ripe, waiting to be found.
Saturday. I heard a low-flying chopper that morning. I took the T-shirt I had on under my camo shirt, tied it to the barrel of my Mossberg, and rushed to the nearest open area where I waved it around. But it never got close enough.

I was weak and tired. My body ached. For the first time I started to think I might not get out. I had started with 15 shells, and by then I only had four or five left. I’d been firing them and leaving the shells at spots where I rested. But on Saturday I decided to fire the rest I had at once. I didn’t know how much more of this misery I’d have to suffer, and I didn’t want the option of taking my own life.

Later that afternoon, as I was resting, I heard two sounds: a Harley-Davidson and a chain saw. I decided to stay put for the remainder of the day and save my energy. Tomorrow, I’d travel toward those sounds. I just knew that if I didn’t get out on Sunday, I never would.

Sunday. I came to a hill that I wasn’t sure I had the strength to climb. I sat down on a nearby log and prayed for strength. When I finally got up and walked to the hill, I glanced to the left where I saw a trail. And I took it.

Two miles later I hit a blacktop road. I fell to the ground crying. I flagged down a couple of motorcyclists who came down the road and told them who I was. “Son,” one of them said, “there’s a lot of people looking for you.”

They drove me to the camp the search team had set up nearby. Just as they got me on the stretcher and were about to drive me to the hospital, I was given a satellite phone. Kim, my wife, was on the other line. My eyes welled. “Hey,” I said. “I’m alive.”

Survival Analysis
Bill Lawrence had no method of striking fire, carried nothing to signal with but his shotgun, and possessed no tool to navigate to safety but his brain. When he became lost, he had nothing to eat but nightcrawlers and no means to disinfect water. He was unfamiliar with the country and carried no map. To sum up: He struck into the woods about as unprepared as a man can be. But before you criticize him too harshly, take a look at yourself. Have you ever been similarly unprepared for an emergency, using the excuse that you only plan to be gone a few hours and won’t stray more than a few hundred yards from the road? I know I have.

Lawrence’s ordeal should be a cautionary tale for all of us, emphasizing the importance of carrying basic survival gear every time we go afield, no matter how small that field we intend to hunt. A compass, a whistle, a sparking wheel, Tinder Tabs, and chlorine tablets weigh about as much as a tin of Altoids, and easily fit inside one. S - - t happens. Have a hat for it.

Lawrence’s reaction to being lost was to walk and then walk some more. By doing so, he disobeyed the four steps that almost ensure survival: Stop. Shelter. Signal. Stay. Had he stopped walking, tied his undershirt to a treetop or placed it in an opening where it could be seen or, better yet, spelled SOS in a clearing with branches or stones, then hunkered out of the wind to wait, he probably would have been found quickly after being reported missing. Ninety percent of search-and-rescue operations are resolved during the initial hasty search, usually within 10 hours.

One thing that Lawrence did do right needs to be emphasized: He never panicked and was determined to survive. The right attitude is one positive that can make up for a lot of negatives in any survival situation.



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Mauled by a Bear

This outdoorsman encountered the worst nightmare the wild can conjure. But thanks to smarts, willpower, and a little luck, he survived, and the lesson learned that could save your life. With survival analysis by Keith McCafferty


THE MAULING (An older story but worthy of another publish)

On Sept. 26, Brent Prokulevich, 49, was bowhunting by himself for moose in Western Ontario when he was charged by a 300-pound black bear. As told to Colin Kearns.

I flew into the outpost camp on Saturday. My buddy Paul Patiuk and his son Kyle had been there for a few days already and would be guiding moose hunters for the next few days. The plan was for me to hunt on my own on Sunday and Monday in a spot Paul had scouted for me. Then on Tuesday, when their clients had left, we’d hunt together. One of the first things I asked Paul and Kyle when I reached camp was if there were bears in the area. They told me there weren’t any.

I saw no moose during my Sunday hunt, but I did get a cow to call back. I decided to leave my scent rag out overnight, hoping the scent would fill the area. The conditions when I returned in the boat Monday morning were perfect. A fog hung in the cool air, and the wind had died so my calls carried a long way.

In front of me was a dried-up beaver pond littered with dead poplars, leaving me with a clear shot if a moose wandered in. I got into position and readied my bow and arrows. I made my first cow call at 7 a.m. and followed up every 15 minutes until 8:30. That’s when I heard movement in the willows, 33 yards away. As soon as I saw the top of the animal’s back, I knew: S - - t. It’s a flipping bear.

He was big, about 300 pounds. He didn’t see me at first but when he did, our eyes connected immediately. “Get! Get! Get!” I yelled. But he never budged—until he came at me.

This isn’t happening. I grabbed my bow. This can’t be happening. I nocked the arrow. This is happening. I fired a prayer at 8 yards.

I raised my left arm and he locked onto it. We fell to the ground. He had me on my back, but when he let go of my arm I managed to get up to my knees. Then I heard this crunch on my neck. The bite to my arm I hadn’t really felt. This one to the neck, though, I felt. I kept yelling, and at one point I had a flash of my 17-year-old son, Brady. I’m a single dad and I’ve been raising him since day one. I wasn’t going to leave him to live by himself. Something in me snapped. I’m not dying like this!

I couldn’t reach my knife, so I grabbed the other arrow and began stabbing the bear in his head, over and over. He let go of my neck and clamped on the back of my shoulder. Then, somehow, I knocked him right on his ass.

There was blood everywhere. My first arrow had entered his chest and must’ve exited through the bottom of his belly because his guts were spilling out. The two of us just sat there for a moment, staring at each other. He swiped at my right arm, then he turned and walked 15 yards before he sat back down. I was going to put another shot in him, but my bow was busted. So I got the hell out of there.

I jumped in the boat and drove around looking for help. But after about 15 minutes with no luck, I turned back toward camp. That’s when I saw the plane landing at camp. When I reached the dock I told Kevin, the pilot, what had happened. He left a note for Paul and Kyle, then we took off. We arrived at the hospital 30 minutes later. I walked into the ER and said to a nurse, “I’ve been attacked by a bear.”

The shoulder bite was a half inch from puncturing a lung, and the neck bite almost hit my spinal cord. But no bones were broken, and the puncture wounds are healing well.
I’m looking forward to hunting again. I’ve taken a couple of walks in the bush recently, which has been nice, but I find I’m looking over my shoulder more often. Every time I hear a little snap.

Survival Analysis
In the matter of risking encounters with bears, bowhunters start with three strikes against them. First, they hunt in early fall, when bears undergo hyperphagia, a period of mad foraging before hibernation that increases the potential for crossed paths. Second, by donning camo, using cover scent, and sneaking quietly through brush and timber, archers spike the odds of chance encounters within the critical 50-yard range, at which bears are more likely to attack. And third, by using lure scents and calling like animals that bears regard as prey, hunters actually encourage unwanted attention.

Prokulevich did the right thing by fighting the black bear. Playing dead is only effective at discouraging grizzlies, and then only under certain circumstances. But he probably could have avoided the attack altogether if he’d had pepper spray on his belt. Under the best of circumstances, arrows offer meager defense—and bullets aren’t much better. In most documented bear attacks, only three seconds elapse between the start of the charge and contact with the person. Do you really think you can raise a rifle, flip the safety, aim, and fire in that window? But you can flick the safety tab and depress the trigger of pepper spray in an instant. Plus, it works. In a study conducted by bear researcher Thomas Smith of hundreds of bear attacks, pepper spray deterred a charge in 92 percent of cases. Bullets deterred a charge only 66 percent of the time, and it required an average of four bullets to stop the bear.  (Be sure to check with local authorities on the legal uses of pepper spray in areas you intend to hunt)

 Stay Safe and Hunt Safe on Your Next Outdoor Hunting Adventure!



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The 5 Medications You Need to Stay Alive in the Wilderness

final_FOREST_PHARMACY_V2aWhen we talk about survival, it’s the marquee dangers that carry the conversation: snakebite, gunshot, bear attack. Nobody mentions the microscopic bug in your intestines that causes such severe diarrhea that you die from dehydration, or the plaque that dislodges from an arterial wall to stop your heart. Not a word of the bee sting that induces anaphylactic shock, asphyxiating you as mercilessly as the coils of a python.

Such little things can kill you, but other little things can save your life. In a wilderness emergency, the five pharmaceuticals in the chart at right can be very big medicine. Use it as a guide, and consult with your doctor.

Customize It’s smart to modify your medical kit to your environment and medical history. For example, you don’t need to pack epinephrine if you have no history of allergies. Also, if you’ll hike above 8,000 feet, consult your doctor about getting a prescription for acute mountain sickness. Acetazolamide (Diamox) or dexamethasone (Deca­dron) tablets can save a life if the victim is promptly evacuated to a lower altitude.

There’s also a pill you might consider adding: a narcotic pain medication such as oxycodone (Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicodin). If you break a leg, for example, it could mean the difference between hobbling out under your own power or dying where you are. But narcotics must be used with caution. Because they relieve pain by suppressing the brain’s ability to perceive it, they can affect your thinking. If your companion is injured, a pain pill may calm him enough to help you get him to safety. Self-medication is riskier. Only consider using a specific narcotic if you have taken it before and know that it does not affect your decision-making abilities. Otherwise, substitute ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which will attack your pain at the site of the injury, leaving your mind clear to help get you out of trouble.

For – Chest pain, aches, and to reduce fever.
Dosage – Chew and swallow four 81mg chewable tablets at the onset of chest pain. For aches and fever, follow label directions.
Warning – If you’re allergic to aspirin, other over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce fever, but they don’t thin blood.

Anti-Diarrheal (Imodium A-D)
For – Relief from severe diarrhea that causes dehydration.
Dosage – Swallow two tablets initially, followed by one tablet after each loose bowel movement, not to exceed four tablets daily.
Warning – Consult a doctor before using other antidiarrheals containing bismuth salicylate (Pepto-Bismol).

AntiEmetic (zofran)
For – Severe nausea and vomiting, leading to dehydration.
Dosage – Place one to two 4mg oral dissolving tablets on the tongue every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
Warning – Phenergan suppositories are cheaper, but side effects include twitchy muscles and restlessness; relieve them with Benadryl.

AntiAllergy (Epinephrine supplemented by Benadryl)
For – Allergic reactions to stings or foods, resulting in anaphylactic shock.
Dosage – Inject medicine using an EpiPen. Supplement with Benadryl at the onset of allergy symptoms, 50mg every four to six hours.
Warning – The effects of epinephrine are temporary. Seek medical assistance as quickly as possible.

Antibiotic (Levaquin)
For – Pneumonia; bronchitis; and skin, soft-tissue, sinus, or urinary infections.
Dosage – Take 750mg once per day.
Warning – Levaquin is not recommended for children or teenagers. Check with your doctor for alternatives.



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How to Sharpen a Knife

Here is a great video on how CJ Buck, President and CEO of Buck Knives sharpens a knife.  Knowing how to properly sharpen a piece of equipment can not only save time but keep you from permanently damaging your knives as well.



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8 Ways to Harness Solar Energy

So much energy, so few solutions


The sun is the biggest source of renewable energy.

Solar power has become fairly pedestrian since the first photovoltaic cells came out of the lab in the 1950s. Today, utility-scale solar farms soak up the sun and photovoltaic panels dot rooftops across the world. The power generation is finding its way into transportation, too, alongside other clean-burning fuels like hydrogen. Just a few years ago, the Solar Impulse prototype plane flew nonstop without any fuel from San Francisco to New York. And companies like Toyota are looking to bring hydrogen cars mainstream.

Crazy Solar Power Plants

Crazy Solar Power Plants

“The U.S. was really the pioneer of the whole global solar photovoltaic industry,” said Juris Kalejs, an IEEE member and CTO of the Lowell, Massachusetts-based solar developer American Capital Energy. Having worked in photovoltaic technology development for more than 30 years, Kalejs has seen wild ideas come and go. The energy crisis of the 1970s spurred dozens of pie-in-the sky ideas, he said. But that hasn’t stopped people from innovating. Here’s his grounded take on highly unusual ways to harness solar power today.

Andre Broessel designed glass spherical lenses filled with water that act like solar concentrators.

The Los Angeles-based startup V3Solar made the news rounds last year with its literal spin on solar. Slick renderings showed a design for deep blue solar cells in a cone shape that could rotate. The company says they want to take photovoltaics from flat and static to 3-D and dynamic. A new video V3Solar put out this summer had more details about how its spinning mechanism could maximize energy generation.

Kalejs said he said he thought the setup could work but he was skeptical about the complexity. “It looks like something that’s a nice decorative piece you might find in a fountain,” he said. The company said it would show its prototypes to potential investors with a non-disclosure agreement.

Other designers are imagining different shapes for traditionally flat solar panels. Going rounder could mean capturing sunlight from every possible direction. Last year the Japanese optics company Kyosemi launched Sphelar Power to manufacture micro-spherical solar cell beads from discarded silicon and electrodes that are wired into a mesh. André Broessel, an architect at solar architecture company Rawlemon in Barcelona, designed glass spherical lenses filled with water that act like solar concentrators both large and small.

Kalejs called Broessel’s idea a neat one that would appeal to consumers but pointed to companies attempting a similar technology with 20-foot-diameter solar concentrators. “It’s a very tricky system to make and you need to make it on a large scale to make it cost effective,” he said.

Minuscule solar panels placed on microbes could create a chemical reaction akin to artificial photosynthesis

Minuscule solar panels placed on microbes could create a chemical reaction akin to artificial photosynthesis

Scores of scientists are working on artificial photosynthesis by developing systems that chemically convert sunlight, water and CO2 into oxygen and plant fuel. Unfortunately, photosynthesis has less than a percent efficiency versus 20 percent to 30 percent for regular solar cells, Kalejs pointed out. The risks with artificial plants and microbes are also quite high because a disease or fungus could wipe everything out.

British researchers from the University of East Anglia announced earlier this year that they’re working on artificial photosynthesis by placing minuscule solar panels on microbes in an effort to create hydrogen for fuel. Kalejs said he found their approach interesting and added that he’s attended National Science Foundation meetings where attendees discussed putting photosynthetic material on top of a solar cell. “Everybody’s been looking for a boost,” he said.

 Reusable peel-and-stick solar cells can be made easily and affixed to just about anything solid.

Reusable peel-and-stick solar cells can be made easily and affixed to just about anything solid.

Effective transparent and thin-film solar cells have been on the technology wish list for a long time. Several companies have already started manufacturing flexible solar panels but rigid ones remain more affordable and easier to produce, resulting in high quality. Earlier this year Stanford University and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory came up with reusable peel-and-stick solar cells that can be made easily and affixed to just about anything solid: toys, helmets, transistors and even business cards. The resulting power is still relatively small, though.

Kalejs cautioned that sunlight breaks down materials made with polymers, making the technology unstable. “It’s a short-life product right now,” he said. “The organic solar cells probably wouldn’t last more than a year or two, if that long.”

Bottle Charger is a way to recharge cell phones using a water bottle filled with boiling water and a mini-turbine

Bottle Charger is a way to recharge cell phones using a water bottle filled with boiling water and a mini-turbine

One person’s trash represents solar tech treasure for someone else. Last year blogger and tech writer Ryan Matsunaga posted step-by-step instructions on how to convert a water bottle into a solar lantern for $2. In February, Kenyan designers launched a Kickstarter campaign around the Bottle Charger, a way to recharge cell phones using a water bottle filled with boiling water and a mini-turbine. Although the initial prototype simply required a temperature differential, the designers hoped to integrate a small solar dish that could heat water with sunlight continuously during the day.

“I have no idea how cheap or stable it is,” Kalejs said of the Bottle Charger idea. “I guess you’d say, well if it works, use it.”

Solar-powered wearables will need to get more durable if they're going to be practical.

Solar-powered wearables will need to get more durable if they’re going to be practical.

Solar technology’s sleek lines and deep colors are tempting to designers who have incorporated solar cells into purses, necklaces, jackets and mini-dresses. That technology tends to be more high fashion than high function. Charging a phone in a jacket that has a solar power component can take hours. Solar-powered clothing companies have come and gone. Kalejs said that organic solar cell material wears out in a few years so even if the fashion looks timeless, the tech isn’t. He remembered seeing a company that turned spherical solar beads into jewelry and said he can still see how it would appeal to consumers.

Solar arrays could be installed in the open land than runs alongs roads. Oregon Department of Transportatio

Solar arrays could be installed in the open land than runs alongs roads.
Oregon Department of Transportatio

Roads and highways are a natural lure for solar technology innovators. Asphalt does a great job at absorbing and storing heat. Plus there’s so much of it around already — the infrastructure is there. Several years ago engineers and chemists at the University of Rhode Island created a project to develop ideas for harvesting solar heat from roads. Their suggestions included placing flexible photovoltaic cells on concrete highway dividers and installing water pipes in asphalt. At the same time, the company Solar Roadways wants to embed solar panels directly into roads.

Kalejs was highly skeptical of that, calling it a poor use of solar modules. However, solar modules could be put in conventional arrays beside the road, he said, as they’ve done in Oregon. There’s no shortage of land for that.



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Turn Shipping Containers Into Cabins

Every hunter, fisherman, and all outdoor-minded individuals dream of having their own cabin in the woods.

shipping container cabin
We each have an iconic image of what that subtle shelter looks like, yet here’s a twist that’s very obtainable. And it was achieved by, well, thinking outside the box.

Shipping containers are the “glass bottles” of old; eventually, they need to be replaced. Why not re-use one of these large cubicles as a cabin?

American Pride does just that. Check out this video demonstration.



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