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Survival (27)

The Survival Tab - 2018 Update


This Area is designed around individual and small group, short term, and Bushcraft skills. The skills that are absolutely necessary for Surviving a short term Crisis. High emphasis is placed upon ingenuity, flexibility, and application of the basic fundamentals.

The BASIC Survival Program

Designed to build strong foundations in Safe and Competent Survival skills. The Basic skills of Fire Making, Shelter Building, Water Collection, and Navigation will greatly increase the resilience of any individual and significantly improve their odds of survival in any crisis situation.
Those that meet the requirements of this program will earn a Basic Survival Tab.

Earning the Basic Survival Tab

A PREREQUISITE to earn the Survival Tab is you must have taken a CAG sanctioned class for the Austere Medicine tab. It isn't feasible to learn survival without basic first aid skills.

There are Three normal paths to earning the Basic Marksmanship Tab:

 1. Satisfactorily complete this CAG course:

  • CAG Survival Lanes Exercise


 2. Satisfactorily complete any Survival Course from a CAG Affiliate Trainer or Approved 3rd Party Trainer.

Once Issued a Certificate of Training or Completion, you may request credit for your Training Tab


 3. Distance Learning Program Submissions.

This method is for individuals that have the prerequisite skills for qualification, they merely need to provide proof of those skills. This method is also recommended for members that may lack the ability to access training or trainers.

MENTOR Program Assistance is available, Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will attempt to assist your learning!

All Distance Learning Submissions will be by email to the CAG Training Desk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To earn the Survival Tab you have to send video proof of Proper procedures and equipment (That's TWO separate 2 minute videos, PLUS photographs of THREE Separate Kits) Example videos and Standards for video submission are provided below.

Video RequirementsIMG 20160430 011220

  • First 2 minute video will be of your primitive camp with:
    •   Clearly State your Name and Member Number for the video
    •   A primitive shelter, nothing store bought may be used in the construction of the shelter.
    •   A cooking station (NOT just a fire), we will leave the definition of cook station up to you (Be creative).
    •   At least one hand made tool, that consists of a minimum of 2 parts and demonstrate its use (hatchet, hammer, trap, etc..).
  • Second 2 minute video will be of you starting a fire:
    •   Clearly State your Name and Member Number for the video
    •   You must start it WITHOUT matches OR a lighter and no accelerants (like lighter fluid or fire starters of any kind).
    •   There must be at least 30 seconds of sustained flame, with no addition of fuel.


Photo Documentation of 3 separate survival kits (this must include your membership number):

  1. Personal survival kit (NOT YOUR EDC) should contain:
    1. Fire starter
    2. Navigation aid
    3. Cutting device or blade
    4. Food gathering implement (Can be fish hooks)
    5. Cordage
    6. Signal device
    7. Water container
    8. Water treatment
  2. Vehicle Survival Kit (It must contain at a minimum):
    1. 1 day of food (For any number of people)
    2. 1 day of water (For any number of people)
    3. IFAK (Mandatory, no exceptions)
    4. 2x Signal devices
    5. Food gathering implement (Can be fishing tackle)
    6. Water purification system plus water container
    7. Shelter system
    8. Spare set of clothes
    9. 1 item that is specific to your geographical or seasonal area.
  3. Home Survival Kit (It must contain at a minimum):
    1. 3 days of food (For any number of people)
    2. 3 days of water (For any number of people)
    3. another, separate IFAK (Mandatory, no exceptions)
    4. 3x Signal devices
    5. 1x UHF/VHF radio of any kind
    6. Shelter system
    7. Food gathering implement: can be fishing tackle, seeds or a garden (just show us a separate pic of your implement/garden with your membership number)
    8. Water purification system plus water container
    9. 1x weapon system of any kind
    10. Spare set of clothes
    11. 1 item that is specific to your geographical or seasonal conditions


To Request Tab Credit you must:

First, ensure that you are logged into your personal profile on www.CAGMain.com and that your profile is complete

  • All Course/Project Videos and Presentations should be submitted by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • On the Home Page, select the MEMBERS ONLY tab
  • In the drop down menu, select the REQUEST TAB CREDIT tab
  • Fill out the blocks completely, incomplete submissions will not be accepted
  • Upload an electronic copy of your Certificates into the block provided
  • Don't forget to hit the SUBMIT button
  • The CAG Staff will process your request and contact you.

Physical Readiness and Martial Arts

It is the most puzzling experience to see people armed to the teeth, have the most complex bug out bag you’ve ever seen, have the ultimate food supply, and even have a great emergency plan; yet my initial impression of them is they are likely to die from some type of coronary disease before ever coming close to a time where they may to deploy all that fantastic gear. In my opinion the readiness community is among the most mentally strong group in existence. We see the world for what it is and despite all the gloom and doom we constantly adapt our methods while the rest of world waits to experience Darwin’s theory of natural selection first hand. However, the Achilles heel I would have to say is usually within the realm of physical readiness. How can you realistically expect to carry your B.O.B or get home when your heart is racing after going up a flight of stairs?

Join CAG today!

We all have been there. Working out is not always fun. Our minds are hardwired to avoid discomfort. Weights are heavy and it makes your muscles hurt afterwards and don’t even get me started on running. The problem herein lies that your level of fitness directly correlates to your ability to survive a stressful situation. It isn’t the amount of training that you have that will determine your actions when the time comes; it is the amount of training you have under stress that makes or breaks an outcome of a critical situation. No one EVER rises to the occasion. Under stress you WILL default to your level of training. This is where martial arts training fills the void.

Jedburgh Targets: Fight the drill don't game the shots!

While training martial arts you will put yourself in a direct aggressive confrontation(s) with people on a regular basis. In the beginning your actions will be furious, you will put forth your best efforts, and using all your muscle to gain a position of advantage but in the end you will spend the majority of your time fighting to survive. Most of the time you will not survive. However over time your actions will become more refined and your reflexes will adapt. Eventually your frantic survival will become a series of coordinated sets of defenses and attacks to secure victory as you enter the fray. Essentially developing the mind, body, and spirit to engage at a moments notice with confidence that you can win. We always have to approach our preparedness while maintaining a sense of reality of the paradigm that we currently live in. We still live in a country governed by the rule of law. At times these laws can prohibit from the carrying of our firearms. We are also human beings fully capable of mistakes and sometimes can even forget to carry our firearm at times. With a solid foundation in martial arts even as you walk among the sheep, the sheepdog never has to be without fangs. With regards to living in a situation without rule of law; keep in mind ammunition is finite and heavy. Anything can happen from losing your load-out to running out of ammunition. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong and it will always be at the most inconvenient of times. Training will not only give the strength to carry that load-out but the presence of mind to remain calm when things seem bleak. Whenever I would compete against someone I always kept in mind the principals of close quarters combat from the Ranger Handbook “Speed, surprise, and violence of action.” I was never a Special Operations Soldier but as a martial artist I can safely say the principals and mindset of combat are universal. The only thing that changes is the means. Having all the gear in the world means nothing if you haven’t taken the time to develop your mind and body. Humans are more important then hardware. It’s a dangerous and war torn world. Be so prepared for war that you always live in peace… “Where there’s discomfort, there’s fear, in these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable positions. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. That is what Jiu Jitsu gave me.” – Master Rickson Gracie ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Valentine is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under 8th Degree Coral Belt Pedro Sauer. John is a submission-grappling medalist who has competed and trained internationally. John spent 8 years as an active duty United States Army Paratrooper. John is certified in Modern Army Combatives and various physical fitness systems. John has also been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  


IFAK Chest seals (Video)

https://youtu.be/VI4nycwiqnY Its more important now than ever that we have the right people with the right gear. Getting ready for an emergency is everyone's personal responsibility with in the boundaries of their capabilities. We have tested multiple chest seals here at CAGmain and I have of course experience while on active duty. The reigning champ so far is the Hyfin vented twin pack. There are other good products but for the cost and durability we use the Hyfin. Available at SHOPCAG $14.99 More on the Hyfins: http://cagmain.com/shop-cag/#!/Hyfin-Vent-Chest-Seal-Twin-Pack/p/50869901/category=13227552 They can also be found in the CAG tier 1 IFAK: http://cagmain.com/shop-cag/#!/CAG-Tier-1-Med-Pack/p/50478734/category=13147503 Here's a link to the new compact version that we haven't tested yet: http://www.narescue.com/portal.aspx?CN=6A6CFEAD5E58 Product specs from the manufacturer: North American Rescue The new HyFin Vent Chest Seal Twin Pack from North American Rescue sets the standard for the treatment of penetrating injuries to the chest. Providing two vented chest seals in one unique package for treatment of both entry/exit or multiple penetrating injuries to the chest. The new HyFin Vent Chest Seal design provides 3-vented channels that prevent airflow into the chest cavity during inspiration while allowing air to escape through the vent channels during exhalation. The 3-vent channels allow blood to escape and also provide a backup fail-safe system, as even if two of the three channels become obstructed, the vent will remain fully operational. Advanced adhesive technology provides superior adhesion in the most adverse conditions, including sweaty or hairy casualties. Packaged in a rugged, easy-to-open foil pouch, the perforated packaging allows rescuers to open only one dressing at a time as needed. Each chest seal also includes a gauze pad to wipe the wound surface prior to application. Each HyFin Vent Chest Seal has a large, Red-Tip ™ pull tab for single-step peel-and-apply application and allows for the burping of the wound if necessary. The clear, transparent backing allows for easy placement over the wound area and conformability to the patient’s chest. Meets or exceeds the current EMS Standard of Care and TCCC & TECC Guidelines for treatment of penetrating injuries to the chest, the new HyFin Vent Chest Seal Twin Pack is the superior prehospital chest seal. Special Features: Patented, new design with 3-channel pressure relief vents Two Chest Seals for the treatment of both entry/exit or multiple penetrating injuries Advanced adhesive technology for a superior seal in the most adverse conditions, including sweaty or hairy casualties 3-vent channels that prevent airflow into the chest cavity during inspiration while allowing air to escape through the vent channels during exhalation Vent channels allow blood to escape and provides a backup fail-safe system as even if two of the three channels become obstructed, the vent will remain fully operational Easy-to-grip, large Red-Tip™ tab for single step, peel-and-apply application that allows for the burping of the wound if necessary Rugged, easy-to-open foil package featuring signature Red-Tip Technology™ tear notches with perforated packaging allowing rescuers to open only one dressing at a time as needed Weights and Dimensions: Packaged: Folded: H7.5 in. x W4.5 in. x D0.25 in. Unfolded: L7.5 in. x W9 in. x D 0.13 in. Chest Seal Size When Deployed: H 6 in. x W 6 in. Weight: 2.5 oz. US Patent 7,504,549 & Patent(s) Pending



Fire basics and tips (Video)

#Survival Jason explains a few tips on fire basics. Don't take it for granted, that you'll be able to start a fire in inclement weather! #BeReady Jason is a Junior instructor here at CAGmain and is a life long Boy Scout...

https://youtu.be/MTkAC8BxH4I #Survival Jason explains a few tips on fire basics. Don't take it for granted, that you'll be able to start a fire in inclement weather! #BeReady Jason is a Junior instructor here at CAGmain and is a life long Boy Scout...

Crisis Application Group READY-SURE-SECURE




The students that attended the CAG Navigator course conducted over 40 hours of classroom and hands on training. They worked in instructor led navigation groups, team navigation events and individual events. In total, each student traveled approximately 20 miles. Early movements were without a backpack, latter movements were with "bug out bags". The students had to push themselves to achieve their goals. They had to learn teamwork and how to travel based on overall capabilities of the team. The students that attended the CAG Navigator course conducted over 40 hours of classroom and hands on training. They worked in instructor led navigation groups, team navigation events and individual events. In total, each student traveled approximately 20 miles. Early movements were without a backpack, latter movements were with "bug out bags". The students had to push themselves to achieve their goals. They had to learn teamwork and how to travel based on overall capabilities of the team. Students learned how to:
  • Plot points on a map
  • Give a grid to their location
  • How to use major terrain features to pinpoint their location
  • How to set an azimuth on a map
  • Compensate for magnetic north and grid north
  • Use phone apps to navigate
  • Estimate distance
  • Keep a pace count and a plethora of other skills and topics.
All in all it was a great training exercise. I am pretty happy with the overall motivation and lack of whining. These guys and gals aren't keyboard warriors, they actually do stuff.



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BoB/EDC Bag example (Video)

https://youtu.be/NBqnSyTp9Rg Rather than tell you how to pack, I thought I would show you what im packing for everyday stuff around town. Remember to keep these geographically and seasonally appropriate. Snapshot packing list:
  • IFAK: CAG tier 1 IFAK: (MSRP $99.99) http://cagmain.com/shop-cag/#!/CAG-Tier-1-Med-Pack/p/50478734/category=13147503
  • Spare CAT7 TQ: (MSRP $28.99) http://cagmain.com/shop-cag/#!/Combat-Application-Tourniquet-C-A-T-Tactical-Black/p/50856842/category=13227550
  • Backpack: (MSRP$29.99) http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/tactical-performance-1250-cu-in-hydration-pack
  • Area Maps and tourist maps
  • Compass protractor, pencil and paper
  • Signal mirror
  • Baofeng UV5Ra (MSRP$30.00 [Amazon]) http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-136-174-400-480-Dual-Band-Transceiver/dp/B009MAKWC0
  • Headlamp http://www.lightinthebox.com/ls052-5000lm-3xcree-xm-l-t6-led-bike-headlight-headlamp-suit-2x18650_p2518149.html?currency=USD&litb_from=paid_adwords_shopping
  • Spare Flashlight plus batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Fix blade utility knife, Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter (MSRP$135) http://www.benchmade.com/fixedbladeknives/hidden-canyon-hunter-family.html
  • Water bladder 2L
  • Several 12hr chemlights
  • Sharpening stone
  • Hand saw
  • Iodine tabs in a pill bottle (Remove the Rx label)
  • Extra waterproof baggies
  • Walk about radios when hiking with someone extra
  • Cell phone extra cables
  • Flavored tuna packets x3
  • Spare emergency blanket

About Jay: http://cagmain.com/j-paisley-18z-ret-green-beret/

Follow us on IG@ Crisis_Application_Group_

Follow us on twitter @CAGmain



Review: MMI Raider Tent

As some of my followers already know, I am a fan of a lightweight tent for bugging out verses a simple, cheap tarp or trying to go all Joe Teti and make something from sticks. Sure, if I only have enough money for a tarp, that's what I'm getting and I will learn to do the best I can with it. However, I have been there and done that for years as a Green Beret. Truthfully, the Army poncho isn't much more than a tarp, albeit a little smaller and a little lighter. The Army shelter half, that's heavy and isn't much more than technology from the War of Northern Aggression. BTTL header [caption id="attachment_2629" align="alignright" width="300"]wpid-20151026_1743332.jpg.jpeg Tent loosely packed into it's carrying case, still slightly damp from the rain. The scale is calibrated.[/caption] First let me qualify myself a bit, 16 years as a Green Beret in the 5th Special Forces Group. For those that don't know, "The Legion" covers the Middle East. So whether it's desert, woodland US, rain, snow,  I've spent more nights sleeping in a bivvy sack, sleeping bag, on the hood of a HMMWV, under a HMMWV, on an M1 Abrams or on the rooftop of a building adjacent to some bad guys. When you are bugging out, or bugging home, (these terms will be used synonymously)  you should have a cache network. I'm getting older and I'm not the spry young Special Forces guy I once was. I also prefer some comfort when at all possible. Therefore, I have devised a network of caches, as you should, to help you met from point A to point B. That's either to or from work and on alternate routes. This allows me to start off with nothing and get what I need during my travels without becoming a looter (like most so called "preppers" will become....the zombies are coming!). In some cases this isn't possible. In those cases you carry what you need for that season and scenario. I have said before, the size of your bug out bag is inversely proportional to your skills. Low skill level equates to needing more stuff and vice versa. There are always exceptions and common sense reasons that this can change. Personally, I prefer to add a lightweight tent to my bob. It allows me to be 100% positive I will always have a quick, reliable, dry shelter. So, on to my review of the MMI Catoma Raider one man tent. Why a one man tent? Cross loading and autonomy. If you are bugging out as a couple or family, if one of you goes down, the others could be left without shelter. If each person carries their own tent, everyone will always have shelter. You wouldn't carry just one means of protection right? What if one of you needs to move to another location for some reason (service a cache) while the others stand guard? Larger tents can take quite a while to set up and take down. Also, you sometimes need more than one person to set them up.wpid-20151025_134357.jpgwpid-20151025_133023.jpg Out of the box, the MMI Raider Tent weighed in at 2.08lbs. Not too shabby for a full on all weather shelter. I commissioned my 14 year old son to set it up. As a control measure he did not know I was timing him. Unfortunately, the instructions were non visual, yet he still figured it out and had it set up for the first time in a little over 8 minutes. The take down was 4 minutes and 35 seconds. We both spent the night in the tent over two days. The temp only hit the mid 30's but with a green "Army Patrol Bag" ($19.99 surplus) it was comfortable. By the way, that sleeping bag weighs in at 2.4 lbs, compresses to a size slightly larger than the Raider tent. Seems like a winning combo to me for the weight and space. It rained in the early morning hours of the first night and there were no leaks. It rained most of the next day and though we were in and out of it, it stayed dry. The tent beaded up the rain like a champ, no need for silicone spray out of the box. I am 5'10" and felt I had plenty of room. I placed my boots near my head and still had room for a small bag. The design of the tent doesn't promote condensation collecting on the inside and dripping on you. As you can see in the photos, there is the inner part that can be used as a stand alone mosquito style tent, and the outer cover that protects against the elements. Or you could just carry the outer cover for half the weight and space. The outer cover can be adjusted all the way to ground level to prevent cold air from entering yet with just a little gap, allows for fresh air to circulate. If you are 6' 6" , it may be a little tight. If you are more than 40" all around, you may have some trouble. I timed my son setting up the tent a third time and it went from me tossing it to him, to ready in 6 minutes and 16 seconds. We also discovered that it was easier to roll both halves of the tent up together which had it packed up and ready to go in just over 3 minutes. We didn't test the set up time after we figured out the new technique. I really liked the Coyote tan color of the tent. As you can see (or maybe not) in one of the photos, a 5 minute hasty camouflage job made it virtually disappear into the Fall backdrop of Western Kentucky. I'm certain I could make it disappear in most any foliage (did I mention MMI makes thermal mitigating hidesites and net systems that actually work against thermal scopes?). [caption id="attachment_2623" align="aligncenter" width="660"]wpid-20151025_134038.jpg Hasty setup and camouflage of the Raider tent. about 10 minutes. Picture is from about 40 feet away.[/caption] A bug out shelter should be more than a shelter, it should also serve as a hide. If you are lost in a national forest, by all means shoot off your best Batman Signal but if you are bugging out because you are in a warzone or in a SHTF situation, a low profile may be in order. [caption id="attachment_2628" align="aligncenter" width="5312"]wpid-20151026_174829.jpg The Raider tent is stuffed into my Cryptek pattern baseball cap. The tent pegs to the left and the spreader to the right.[/caption] All in all, I'm glad I have this tent, though I think my son has commandeered it for himself. I'm willing to carry the 2lbs that fits within the space of a baseball cap (you could probably stuff it in a Nalgene bottle). I'd also add the 2.4lbs of a surplus army sleeping bag that takes up almost twice that space. Both for the peace of mind knowing I will never need to expend massive amounts of precious time and energy to build a Discovery Channel survival shelter, as long as I have my BOB.  It's also a tremendous benefit that I can set it up or take it down while I'm waiting for my Ramen to boil.  Additionally, I can't pack up my leanto style pine pole shelter, that I spent hours and 2000 calories building on my first night, and carry it with me during my bug out. Don't get me wrong, those basic shelter building skills are essential but if you are using them, either you weren't ready or things have gone terribly bad. That's worth $179 to me, despite the weak plastic clip on the guy line that pulls tension on the tent. I know we can't all afford that price and will opt for a tarp, a cheap Ozark trail tent, a poncho, a shelter half or what have ya, but its like anything else. You make due until you can get something better. As always, prioritize your readiness funds. I'll be getting two more of these tents in the future. That's this Green Beret's assessment. Take it, or leave it. De Oppresso Liber Firearms, Tactical & Defense Training

Buckets of Wheat: What are you going to do with them?

We have had quite a run on homesteading supplies at the Back to the Land Store since the beginning of the stock market’s giant swings. When folk begin to realize that life as they have known it might not be their future, they often start to purchase items that they never thought necessary before. It seems that the very first thing they want is a non-electric water pump, the second is a wood cook stove and the third is sealed buckets of wheat berries. As I see them leave the store with their new found treasures, I often wonder if they know what to do with that wheat. With the internet close at hand, recipes and techniques are readily available, but bread making is one of those skills that you really “knead to get your hands into”. Much of it is technique that only experience will teach, but it surely helps to work closely with someone who has already experienced the glorious triumph of a perfectly baked loaf and the disappointment of a failed one. One “knead” not reinvent that wheel. Let the CAG know when you are interested in attending a bread-making class so that we can schedule it. When I teach bread baking, I usually start with quick breads like biscuits, cornbread and popovers and then move on the yeast breads and sourdough. Each type has its own chemistry and techniques which are surely worthy to learn, but, times being as they are, I think learning to make sourdough bread is the most practical skill to learn.BTTL header To explain why I chose sourdough, I knead (there it is again) to point out that the characteristics that separate the types of breads are the types of grains and the types of leavening agents. While quick breads are simpler and easier to make, most depend on baking powder, a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar. Baking powder is inexpensive and easy to use. However, it has a relatively short shelf life. It should last 6 months after opening and longer if not opened, but it loses its potency over time. Packaged dry yeast will also lose its potency as it ages. Keeping it in the freezer helps, but it also has a finite life span. Sourdough cultures, on the other hand, can survive forever with very little care. Now, pay attention! I am not talking about what the Amish call sourdough or what was called Friendship Bread when it was all the rage in the 80’s. That bread, although “friendly” to the palate, will drive you crazy. It has to be fed well and often. Potato flakes are usually used to keep it going and unless you have a lot of friends and cousins with whom to share a cup of kindness, you find yourself having to discard a quantity of your stash every week - not to mention the stress of having to remember to feed the baby and bake every week whether you want to or not. I am talking about the kind of culture originally derived from the combination of flour, water and wild yeasts that are present in the air. In older times bakers kept their culture alive by adding some of the dough from an earlier batch to a new batch of bread and thus the culture stayed alive and active. Although they didn’t understand the chemistry behind it, the old timers knew that it worked. Today we can start with a dehydrated, dormant version of an ancient culture, turn it into an active culture and keep it long enough to pass it on in our wills. If the word “sustainable” did not generate such negative feelings in me, I would use it to describe sourdough bread. Establishing a culture and learning to make artisan bread from stored wheat can assure that you and your family will always be stocked with bread without having to visit the grocery store. Artisan Sourdough Bread20150922_160119 1 cup sourdough culture 6-8 cups all purpose flour, divided (depends on the flour) 4 ½ cups water, divided 1 ½ Tablespoon sea salt The process looks like this. The night before you intend to bake, remove your saved culture from the refrigerator.
  1. Take out 1 cup of your stash and combine it with 3 cups flour and 3 cups water. Mix and cover to “work” for about 12 hours. Add a cup each of flour and water to your stash and put it back in the refrigerator for the next baking.
  2. The next morning add 1 ½ cups each flour and water to the mix and allow to rest for an hour.
  3. Add more flour and salt until a soft dough is formed. I use a stand mixer. When the dough cleans the sides of the bowl, I have added enough flour. Knead for 10 minutes on medium speed or by hand, if you prefer. Sourdough will be slightly softer dough than those made with yeast, but it should hold its shape without slumping.
  4. Place the dough in a large, covered straight sided container which has been sprayed with cooking spray. I use a semi-transparent bucket with measurements so I can calculate how much the dough has risen.
  5. After it has doubled in size, gently punch it down and divide evenly. Round it. Rounding is a technique that forms the smooth “cloak” on the outside. Place the loaf on parchment paper that has been sprinkle with coarse cornmeal or grits. Believe me, this is the easiest way to handle it. I have tried all the other methods just so you won’t have to.
  6. Allow to rise about an hour depending on the temperature in the room. Sourdough may not double in size. About 40 minutes before baking, set your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, place it on the middle shelf and a jellyroll pan on the bottom shelf.
  7. With a razor blade, slash the tops in some artistic design, but be sure to make the slashes deep enough to allow the loaf to open up and all the way down to the bottom. Otherwise, it will bulge out in places that you did not plan. Paint the loaves with an egg-wash made by beating one egg with 1 tablespoon water.
  8. I use a peel (like the pizza man) to transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Not only does it keep me away from the oven and support the loaves, it makes me look like I know what I’m doing. As soon as the loaves are in, pour one cup of water into the pan on the bottom and quickly close the oven door. Steam is sourdough’s friend.
  9. Bake 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 200 degrees. Cool completely on a rack.
  10. Enjoy.
There is a lot more to making bread than mixing some four, yeast and water then tossing it in an oven. As Al over at CAGmain says, "We can provide you the 80% solution on the internet, the other 20% requires hands on experience, otherwise, it's all just theory."
I hope you enjoyed my first article in this collaboration between The Back to the Land Store and the Crisis Application Group. We look forward to developing this relationship as a training and education venue that one might call a "Readiness University".
Mrs. Pam

A Prepper's Introduction to Trapping

[caption id="attachment_26" align="alignright" width="168"]20150709_214136 This is MY set up.[/caption] Trapping animals has always been a viable means to procure wild game efficiently, easily and safely. Since the time of primitive trapping with methods such as the Paiute dead fall or Arapuca bird traps, newer designed reusable steel traps have become king. The effectiveness of modern traps surpasses the primitive designs with their ability to catch animals and by being able to set them quickly, effectively and have the ability to be used over and over again. There are a handful of different types of traps from killing traps to live traps. Live traps offer the benefit of an unharmed release of non targeted animals and also the ability to take the live animal back and wait to harvest at a later date. Trapping know-how is a very practical and sometimes overlooked skill for a prepper. For most people, meat is a staple in their diets and life would be unsustainable without it. Along with the harvesting the meat for food, the hides of the animals are very useful. Hides can be used to make clothing, tool sheaths, trade or barter, and sold to a furrier for cash. There are still to this day folks in places like Alaska for example that depend on the fur trade to support their minimalist yearly incomes, most of which generally goes toward paying property taxes, fuel, tools and other sundries on their self sufficient homesteads. In recent years with the development of massive scale animal farms providing to supermarkets, meat procurement has been as easy as stopping at a store on your way home from work and purchasing whatever meat you need for dinner. Meat is abundant and if by chance there isn’t exactly what you need at the market, there are plenty of substitutes. This progression of commerce within the free market along with different animal rights organizations such as P.E.T.A. have put a large damper on the amount of people trapping these days. Animal protection agencies have placed a lot of heat on trappers and have advocated that the traps harm the animals and cause cruel, inhumane and unnecessary pain to the animal. This has directly hit the fur trade industry and has driven down the value and prices of real fur and they have been replaced by cheaper synthetic furs. Because of the lower number of trappers and higher number of large game hunters currently in modern times, trapping can be a great way for a prepper to procure protein. We all can remember seeing the big toothy traps in cartoons and thinking how painful they looked. The truth is, they were. Those toothy jaws caused a lot of pain, broke skin, severed tendons, broke bones and the traps sometimes would remain unchecked for days and it would be unknown whether or not there was an animal suffering or killed on that trap. Because of these and other issues, with advice from animal rights organizations, there have been many developments in modern trapping that have made the process much more humane for the animals and minimizing suffering.

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A leg hold trap is a type of trap design that uses “jaws” that are operated by a trigger mechanism that when stepped on my an animal, it releases a spring that very quickly closes the jaws on the foot of the animal and holds it firmly in place. On a well placed set, the traps will usually catch a larger animal not on the leg bone but rather on their paw between their pads or the joint above the paw and the leg bone.Good Paw catch coyote leg hold trap Leg hold type traps have been redesigned and improved in many ways to both cause less injury to the animals and to achieve better catch rates. They no longer have teeth but are now using “laminated” jaws (wider jaw to have more contact area with the foot and less lbs PSI) which increases the jaws ability to hold the leg while causing less pain and damage to the animal. These traps can still cause pain and damage to the animal but the best way to avoid that is by ensuring that the proper trap is being used, the trap set is properly bedded with the correct chains, swivels, stakes, etc. and is checked for a catch within 24 hrs of being set. Waiting longer than 24 hrs, you run into the chance that the animal will chew off their own leg to escape the trap or they may even fall victim to a predator that they were unable to escape. In the event of their being a non-target animal caught in a leg hold, they can be released easily with nothing more than a numb foot that may be a bit sore for a day or two. traps2A Conibear trap is a killing type trap designed to cause an immediate dispatch of the animal rather than the long, uncomfortable period of time the animal spent caught in a leg hold trap. The downside of these traps is that they are non discretionary. Anything that triggers it will be victim and most likely be killed immediately. There are various sizes of these traps and it is important that the correct size and trap set is used for the specific animal that is targeted. It would not be wise to set a large #330 Conibear flat set out on dry land where there are coyotes when I am targeting a beaver in the river. Most likely if a coyote or even worse, a dog were to be caught in large conibear in a flat set there will be immense pain and suffering caused for that animal which I never wanted to trap in the first place. most likely the trap would be triggered by a foot and catch the animal by the chest causing 330 lbs psi to painfully break ribs and eventually suffocate the creature. These traps do work very well on land when they are set correctly and used to instantly break the neck of the animal. They are exceptional for catching water animals such as large beavers, muskrats, mink or even fish like bass, carp or catfish.. When implemented correctly, these are a great trap for preppers looking for any kind of meat for food or hide for survival purposes. Conibears have proven themselves to be one of the most effective and versatile traps for catching animals and is a key tool and necessity that is included in my preps.conibear den set Regulations have been put in place in regards to trapping methods, techniques and the types of traps being used. Most all of these regulations are based on common sense, morality and generally put the animals well being first. It is known by the trapping community as “Trapper Etiquette”.  For example, laws on the size of traps being used for targeted animals are put in place. It’s illegal to use a mountain lion trap to catch a bunny rabbit as that would surely kill the animal and cause extreme suffering in doing so. Most all trappers know that would be an immoral method to trap animals and hopefully would never do it. Like with any other hunting or killing of animals for food or resources, it is important to respect the animal, their environment and the other animals that inhabit the area. All sorts of regulations and rules have been put in place for the animals benefit but in all actuality, this is all simply good practice when trapping animals and will benefit the trapper and their yield as well. animal-track-guideTo be an efficient and effective trapper one needs to be able to read the animal’s sign, know how the animals think and recognize their patterns. This is as simple as finding a game trail in the grass and identifying what animals travel on this trail. A good thing to remember is that animals, like humans, prefer to take the path of least resistance. A lot of times there are many different animals that travel on these same trails and being able to pick which animal you want to trap is a lot easier than most people think. Firstly, learn to use sign from the animal. Footprints and scat are the easiest to find although sometimes it can be difficult to define a footprint in some conditions. Scat on the other hand is pretty straight forward; different animals have different poo. Don’t be afraid to examine it; study it and you will find that it can tell you a lot about the animal like  what its primary diet is by finding seeds, plant fibers or hair from the animals last kill or meal. Their diet determines a few things such as the overall health and ultimately what would be a good bait to place on the trap set to catch this animal.

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In an event such as economic collapse for example, high grocery store prices, martial law or civil unrest is prevalent, food shortages will be imminent. Most preppers should already have a good supply of food stored in case of such an event but nobody can really predict how long the epidemic or those storage's will last. If meat is among the food being stored, it most likely will be in a freezer and unless people have a means to keep the freezer running or can efficiently dry the meat, it could all spoil. Many of people will take to the woods and there is a possibility that the more desirable local game could be wiped out, especially large game such as deer.  Another issue to consider is that it may not be possible to take your rifle out to the woods to hunt. Hunting rifles are loud and can draw unwanted attention to yourself if you are trying to hold out or be unnoticed. If you are in a survival situation, it will be difficult and risky to leave your home or family and spend hours in the woods trying to track and procure game with a rifle, especially when there are other things that you could be doing back on your property. Traps on are a reliable solution to those issues. Less desirable nocturnal animals such as raccoon, opossum or even fox are edible. Eating those animals may not sound ideal but when the nutritional value of meat is hard to come by, those animals will be much more available. Traps can be set quickly, quietly and effectively. One can carry a few traps, bait, lure and necessary tools with them inconspicuously and set them in a matter of minutes. Once the trap lines is set, you can return home or go on about your business while the trap does the work for you. When making a trap set, the idea is to camouflage the trap from the animal and in addition to that, they are hidden from unsuspecting humans as well. With a good well executed trap set, only the actual trap setter or a very well trained eye would be able to spot the set which limits the chances of anything being stolen while it is placed.  The traps need only to be checked once every 24 hours which frees up valuable time during the day and night to dedicate to other things that need to be done. I hope any preppers who read this article can gain an understanding of the basics of trapping and the importance it may have in a survival role. It may help sustain your life one day in a time of need. [caption id="attachment_2435" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Back to the land![/caption]
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