Tag Archives: hunting

Tiger Stripes Camouflage

Camouflage: Why Things are Seen

Camouflage
Camouflage (Photo credit: Anita363)

It only takes a quick glance around the natural world to see that camouflage is one of the most effective defense mechanisms ever developed. It is for this reason that we see it utilized by a large number of organisms that are preyed upon, and in many cases it is an amazingly successful strategy.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the reasons why things are seen, and how you can use that knowledge to keep yourself from being detected. This information should help you when considering your own survival efforts.

Detection of Changes

It should be noted first and foremost that the human visual system (and the visual system of most other animals) is geared toward detecting changes in the environment. This is in and of itself a survival mechanism, as a non-changing environment poses potentially less of a threat than a changing one. For example, you can imagine that you would feel more at rest in a peaceful clearing with no one around than you would in that same clearing if you constantly saw movement in the trees and heard unidentified noises all around you.

The idea that people and animals notice change more than stasis is the foundation for all forms of camouflage. If you can make yourself resemble your environment more, it will allow you to blend in with your surroundings. Because you blend in, others will be less likely to notice you as there will be less disturbance of their normal visual scene.

What Types of Changes Register

The visual system is tuned to recognize any changes, but because we know that certain things indicate movement by a potential predator we are especially tuned into them. For example, changes in the surface of something, including the color or pattern, are sure indications that there is another presence in the environment. Also, moving shadows or alterations in the spacing between two objects are sure signs that someone or something else may be near. These types of changes are what we are particularly tuned into, and it is these changes that you must minimize in order to go unnoticed.

Natural Examples of Camouflage

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You can see many animals take advantage of how the visual system picks up primarily on change. The typical example is the chameleon, which changes its coloring depe

 

nding on the background it rests upon. Countless other examples abound throughout nature, however, including leopards, foxes, insects, etc. All of these creatures are trying to reduce the amount of change they introduce into their environment in order to go unnoticed and thus stay alive longer.

How to Use This Information

It is great to know why things are seen, but what we are concerned about here is using that information to your advantage when it comes to survival. Knowing that things are seen based on the concept of change indicates that one of the first steps toward creating good camouflage is minimizing that change. In order to do that, you must know your environment.

Blending in
Blending in (Photo credit: Duncan~)

Thus, the first step to camouflage is to know the area you are trying to blend in with. If you are trying to blend into an urban environment, your camouflage strategy will differ drastically from if you are trying to blend into a woodland environment. Either way, you should don clothing and bodypaint that matches your surroundings.

In addition to body paint and clothing, you should consider rubbing some natural debris on your body to allow you to blend in further. Natural debris in a city environment might be garbage, while in the woods it could be dirt, leaves, and branches.

Your disguises shouldn’t begin and end with camouflage, however. You should also pay attention to creating the proper environment to hide in. It is essential to find a good location where it is likely you will be able to blend in. Once you’ve done this, prepare your location just as you do your body, for maximizing stasis over change.

Blending in with your surroundings is an essential part of survival. In order to make it in an unsafe world, you must master this technique. To do so, keep in mind the way the visual system works and work to minimize the changes you cause in the environment around you.

 

Related Articles

Tracking

An Introduction To Tracking

Tracking is a crucial survival tool because it helps you to gather food. Water, carbs and proteins can be located by tracking and understanding the animals and their hidden paths called game trails.

What Is a Tracker

A tracker is a reader of signs. A sign is a clue that talks about who left the clue.
A tracker requires just few light bits of information from the surroundings and, by deduction and comparison with previous experience, recognizes paths.

In remote areas, a tracker has the ability to discover the game trails and is able to follow them from their sleeping areas to their feeding locations, where trapping is simpler.
When tracking game near to civilization, man-made boundaries like fences and irrigation ditches, pushes game through bottlenecks, making them easier to follow.

In order to be a tracker you should have specific attributes:

  • intense observation skills
  • excellent knowledge of nature
  • memory
  • patience
  • determination

Tips: How to Look

  • Search the ground out to 4 meters until a trail is found.
  • Move head and eyes from side to side, back and forth.
  • Look through the vegetation and the undergrowth, not at it.
  • Observe as close to ground level as possible.
  • Try to keep the sign between you and and the light source.

Don’t See, Observe!

For tracking, a general ability to see isn’t sufficient. You have to synthesize information and be able to put details together, just like Sherlock Holmes, and make a story about what has happened. If you are patient, determined and continuously questions your personal hypotheses, you’ll stay ahead of your quarry.

Your First Tracking Exercise

The very first skill of tracking is the most essential one: sign awareness. There isn’t any magic formula to develop this skill. Each day search for and pay attention to any kind of signs such as tracks, fingerprints, footprints, tracks, and so forth. As you walk along a sidewalk, look for coins and other dropped items. With persistency you will learn to spot the fine features of sign everywhere. When that occurs, you are ready to become a tracker.


Thompson Ridge, California

Transforming Into An Animal – The Art of Camouflage and Stalking

Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast wishing to closely observe and touch animals or a hunter eager for a close kill, you’ll know how hard it is to approach an animal without being detected. Animals have very sharp senses and quick fleeing instincts, and these are primarily to protect them from predators. No matter how skilled you are in target-shooting or stalking animals, rest assured that you’ll still experience frustrations in your efforts to get closer to your subject.

The 2 Things You’ll Ever Need To Know

What, then, should you really prepare for in order to have a successful hunt or animal observation? Are your camo clothes enough? Will your shooting classes adequately train you? Will smudging mud on your face work to hide you?

Preparing for a day out in the wild without being seen is surprisingly simple. In order for you to be successful, you must embody the physical appearance and the smooth, fluid movements of animals. As a wildlife enthusiast or a hunter, you need to master two things: (1) body camouflage and (2) stalking movements.

Body Camouflage – Is A Camo Outfit Enough?

In order to go undetected in an animal habitat, it’s not enough to try looking like a shrub–you need to BE the animal habitat. It may come as a surprise to you that birds and tree creatures are already trained to move away from a human figure by seeing the pink parts of our body. Your face, neck, hands, and feet are either pink or white, and animals know this. Once they see patches of pink move around and about, expect them to run the other direction.

What should you do to cover yourself up and blend in? Here are some ways you can try out:

1. Do you want to observe animals from a considerable distance, without really wanting to touch them? A camouflage outfit will do the job for this purpose. Make sure to dress up to cover your entire body, including your hands and feet.

2. Want to go all the way in order to touch your target subject? Then commit to it and do the following:

a. Take a bath and de-scent yourself. Use odiferous plants that comprise the vegetation of the area where you plan to hide. You must smell like the plants and shrubs that live in the area where you intend to hide.

b. Rub your entire body with ash from previously burnt wood. This process, called “blending,” involves fully applying the ash all over your body to cover every inch–including the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. However, make sure that you’re not rubbing wet ash as this will burn your skin. Include your face and hair in this process. Use light-colored ash if you’re fair-skinned and darker ash if you’re dark-skinned.

c. Now, it’s time to transform your skin to mimic that of an animal by forming prints and patterns. This process is called “dappling,” and it involves “drawing” lines and curves on the ash covering your skin. Dab your fingers in water or mud and run them on your skin to break the monotonous ash pattern. A combination of spots and stripes is ideal in dappling.

d. Go to a dirt patch similar to the one where you intend to hide and roll all over it. Cover your entire body with dirt in order to ruff up the outline of your body. This is called “fuzzing.”

After doing these four steps, you are now ready to go to your preferred hiding area. Pretend that you are a rock or shrub and fully commit to acting like you really are part of that environment. Keep still but breathe normally without restriction, and await the first animal you want to touch. Make sure there are no obstructions in front of you should you try to reach out and touch an animal.

Stalking Secret – Move Like An Animal

Moving like an animal doesn’t just mean moving slowly. Human beings are not trained to move in slow, fluid motions. Our abrupt shift in actions, plus the sounds we make while walking past dried leaves and twigs, are what usually gives us away.

Remember these tips as you go off to stalking wildlife creatures:

1. Don’t wear bright colors. No matter how slowly you move, a neon orange sock will still scare a squirrel away.

2. Imagine that you’re walking on the surface of the moon. Remember how those astronauts seem like they’re floating? That’s how you should move, too. That means being extra careful in resting your weight on possible twigs and dried leaves that snap and crunch beneath your shoes. You can also try to imagine a wolf’s movement as it goes in for the kill–no abrupt movements, very calculated and slow steps forward, and lightweight paws.

3. Don’t talk to your companion, if you have one. Foreign noises such as human talking or slamming shut of a car door serve as warnings to your potential subjects to flee the area.

To summarize, you need to look, smell, and move like an animal in order to have a successful time out in the wild. As you continue to practice, you’ll eventually master the art of outdoor camouflage and movement.

Take note of the tips listed above and repeatedly do them every time you go outdoors and in no time at all, you’ll easily blend in with the rest of nature and finally touch–or shoot–your target animals.

 

 

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spring snare - survival skills

Everything You Ought To Know About Spring Snares

Spring snare components

Manmade and natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, pandemics, and terrorist attacks, can occur at any time, so learning the vital survival skills necessary to protect you and your family is very important. Food, unlike water and shelter, is not a critical concern for the first few days of survival, but if you find yourself in a survival situation for an extended period of time, knowing how to find your own food is essential. However, without significant experience, hunting game can often expend more energy than it gives back, so most survival experts suggest using traps and snares instead.

What is a Spring snare?

Spring snares are among the most basic of snares setups, and because of this they are also one of the most effective. Once you have set up your camp and collected enough water, you can begin setting up your snares. The more you set, the more likely you are to catch something. You can use the time waiting for a catch to do other important tasks like foraging for edible plants or strengthening your shelter.

What Animals Should You Target?

The best animals to target depend both on your level of experience and the resources you have available. Small game, such as rabbits, squirrel, quails, and geese, are a more realistic target for relative newcomers. You can also set up many small traps instead of one large one with the same resources.

Where To Place Your Snare

The placement of a trap has a significant influence on its success. To maximize your chance of catching an animal, place your spring snares across game trails and the entrance to burrows. These can be spotted by looking for footprints, droppings, scratches, and nearby water sources.

Materials Needed For Spring Snares

The materials you are most likely to need when creating spring snares, are a knife and some wire. Fortunately, these tools are staple components in most survival kits because they have such a wide range of uses in addition to snaring. Here are the materials you will need for the various components of the snare:

  • Noose – Strong but flexible string, cord, or preferably wire, it should be about 50-60cm long
  • Hook and base – Carved from two separate pieces of hardwood to form the trigger mechanism
  • Engine – Bent over sapling
  • Leader line – Any sort of cord, the length will depend on the engine

If you find yourself needing to make the snare without these materials, there are a lot of natural and manmade alternatives available. Consider using shoe laces, fishing wire, headphone wire, or natural cordage for your noose and leader line. A weighted rock strung over a tripod setup can replace a sapling.

Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Your Spring Snares

To create the noose:

  1. Tie a small loop, about the diameter of a pencil, at one end of your wire.
  2. Thread the other end of the wire through the loop to finish the noose.

To create the trigger:

  1. Cut a notch out of one hardwood stick near the top to create the ‘base’
  2. Carve a notch near the bottom of the second stick to create the ‘hook’. This should slot into the notch in the ‘base’ when the two are held end to end.

To assembly the spring snare:

  1. Drive the bottom of the ‘base’ into the ground
  2. Tie the ‘leader line’ to the top of the ‘Hook’ and tie the ‘noose’ to the bottom.
  3. Bend the sapling over so that its end is directly above the ‘base’
  4. Tie the free end of ‘leader line’ to the top of the bent over sapling
  5. Slot the ‘hook’ and ‘base’ together
  6. Position the ‘noose’ in the game trail

After setting your traps it is wise to check them regularly. Not only does this reduce the suffering of the animal, but it will also reduce the chance that your catch is eaten by another predator.

There are many variations on this snare, so if you need to, experiment and think outside the box to suit your surroundings.

 

Suggested spring snare variations. On the left: use a natural base. On the right: create a hook using a pin or a fishing hook.

Some expertise and skill are needed to create a spring snare so it is a good idea to practice making them before you get into a situation where your life may depend on them (check that this is legal in your area before you begin). Pre making some triggers and packing them into your survival kit is also a time saver.

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hunting with a rabbit stick

Survival Skill: Hunting With a Rabbit Stick

It’s a fact that meat gives a greater return of calories and energy than plants. One of the most effective hunting weapon is the throwing stick, also known as the rabbit stick. The stone and the throwing stick are the simplest of all the meat harvesting tools to obtain but the rabbit stick is larger than a rock and more likely to hit the target with a little of practice.

Build Your Rabbit Stick

Essentially, you can grab any sturdy stick, from 2.5 to 5 centimeters in diameter, that you can throw with ease and which is long from 30 to 60 centimetres. It will definitely be all you need. This length is a just a guideline. Keep in mind that the smaller the stick, the faster you are able to throw it but with lesser accuracy. A larger stick can be thrown with higher accuracy although not as fast. To find what is best suited for you, play with different size and weight.

Many modifications can be made to improve the performance of the rabbit stick but you can refine the stick to a more effective tool choosing between two different design:

  • the evenly weighted aerodynamic stick
  • the hammer stick

The Evenly Weighted Rabbit Stick

The best thing about this aerodynamic rabbit stick is that you can throw with more power thanks to the leverage created by its angle, and that means you transfer more energy to the target.

Use any green sampling or branch naturally bent at about a 45° angle. You can use a heavy hardwood such as oak or a stick of softwood like cedar. Remove all the bark and cut any branches.

A stick with an elliptical cross-section or flat like a boomerang fly faster and more silently giving less warning to your prey. Shave off two opposite sides.

Also, you can sharpen the two points of the stick to increase the damage by cutting or piercing.

All these tweaks take very little time by using a knife or by abrading the stick on an abrasive rock.

The Hammer Rabbit Stick

Choose a branch that features one end heavier than the other. Remove any side branches and bark it.

This hunting weapon is perfect for short distances because it can penetrate through low-growing plants, saplings, and shrubs to hit your prey.

Final Touches: Hardening and Camouflage

After you have reshaped your wooden weapon, you can fire harden it to increase its life span: Fire hardening is the process of driving out moisture from wood using the heat of a fire. The best way to do it is by burying your stick into the sand close to, but not in, the fire. If the stick is too close, it will burn; if it is too far from the fire, nothing will happen. Without sand, you can keep the stick above the fire or simply near to it, however you must keep an eye on it and rotate it almost continually or you may burn and damage the weapon.

You should camouflage the carve scratches making it more difficult for the animal to notice the stick’s motion as it comes near. You can either darken it with smoke or rub it lightly with charcoal to conceal any bright marks.

How To Throw The Rabbit Stick

You can throw a rabbit stick overhand, from a sidearm position, and anywhere in between. A sidearm throw is effective in open fields or any other place where there is plenty space between trees to allow for unobstructed flight. Overhand throws are useful in areas in which there is modest space between trees.

To throw the rabbit stick, extend the non-throwing hand toward the target, then propel the stick either side-armed or overhand. Train both the techniques for accuracy, precision and speed. Try to generate power with your whole body.

The challenging part is getting ready to launch your weapon. You simply can’t stalk your target and then, when you are in range, move the throwing arm back and prepare to whip your rabbit stick – you will alert your prey. Instead, you should slowly and gradually rotate your body and the throwing arm into the launch posture while you move toward your quarry.

Remember: the evenly weighted type should rotate like a frisbee while the Hammer type should go straight like a comet.

The Sidearm Throw

Move your rabbit stick behind your neck and rotate to the right until your fully extended left arm is aiming at your target. Then, in a fast and smooth movement, move your body forward, and release the weapon as your hand comes to point at the target. Pay attention to adjacent trees with low branches.

The Overhand Throw

First of all, aim at the target by extending the left arm. Move your rabbit stick back over your shoulder. Shoot the right arm until it’s just a little above and parallel to the left arm. This will be your release point. Train slowly and regularly.

It’s easy to learn how to use the rabbit stick. Just practice, practice and practice. Throw your stick frequently at targets until you become effective in acquiring food.