“Surviving” an Airedale– Lessons From a First-Time Owner – Part 2, by S.M.

Crate Training Your Puppy: 8 weeks to 10 months This was the most difficult stage with our Airedale. The crate was located in our family room, so he was integrated with us most of the time, except when sleeping. We purchased a large wire crate for the house and a separate 10’ x 10’ exercise pen for outdoors with a top cover from Tractor Supply purchased during a Labor Day sale. The top was included free. Most breeders begin crate training as pups. This is an effective training method for your dog and creates a secure den-like atmosphere where the pup can feel safe while sleeping. It prevents rowdy behavior, such as destroying property when left alone, especially with teething puppies. They love to chew, and there’s no better place than in his cage with a safe toy. (We use the XXL large Kong toy). Our Airedale has spent a fair amount of time in his pen/cage inside the house because of his tendency to mouth and chew everything, and I mean everything. We bought a green dog toy for both inside and outside for him to chew and play with. It is common for pups to chew on electrical … Continue reading

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“Surviving” an Airedale– Lessons From a First-Time Owner – Part 1, by S.M.

Our adventure in Airedale parenthood has been rewarding, educational, and reinvigorating. This breed is not for the faint of heart; they are active, tenacious, self-directed, and the strongest 65-pound animal I’ve ever experienced. With careful consideration, proper training, and responsible puppy parenting, you can enjoy the same incredible journey we’ve had. After the passing of our beloved Boxer, we longed to add another canine addition to our family. We knew we wanted a larger dog again and wanted a dog with spunk similar to that of our Boxer. Having still another elderly dog, as well as a small dog and a new grandbaby, we began researching for that perfect addition to our family. We came across a book by Mr. Rawles. After reading that he recommended Airedales as a favorable family dog and addition to your arsenal of preps, or weapons so to speak, I decided to do extensive research on the Airedale breed. After all, any dog owned by John Wayne, Teddy Roosevelt, and several other past presidents, would be a notable addition to our family. Fun facts: John Wayne got his nickname from his boyhood Airedale, “Duke“. President Theodore Roosevelt is remembered as saying, “An Airedale can do … Continue reading

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I Love Sharp Things, by Phil M.

In any survival situation a defective tool is pretty much worthless and will cost you dearly in frustration or even your life. I’m sure you can think of a lot of examples. Effective tools are a big part of my life and most all of them need to be sharp, and some of them very sharp, like chisels and planer blades. When I started thinking of all the tools that I keep sharp the list started running into the dozens, everything from a potato peeler to a chainsaw. A lot of you are like me in one way or another as far as needing something with a keen edge to get the job done. For instance, the little scissors for trimming those pesky nose hairs or loping shears for the trees and shrubs. All of us have knives in the kitchen drawer or knife block, but how many of them are sharp and I mean really sharp. From experience I can tell you that most are not very sharp at all. Many examples of this come to mind like taking fresh baked bread to a neighbors party and asking for a bread knife that turned out to be so dull … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Tracking Dogs

Dear Editor:I would like to relate my experiences with tracking dogs that are not even trained. We had a beagle who was born mostly blind. She was a pet. She had an incredible sense of smell that I have seen in other trained hounds, but not in a pet. We would bring her to our children’s high school, which had 2,000 students. I would put her in the front of the multi-building facility and command her to “Find the kids.” She would start off walking making big S-shaped turns as she headed to and between the buildings. All of a sudden the large sweeps would stop, the dog would change her demeanor and now she would head in a straight line with just her head moving side to side. She had the trail. At that point you could just follow her and she would locate my children very quickly. I would not believe that a dog could pick out my two kids trails from among 2,000 stinky students  at the front of the school but she would do it any time we brought her. Once upon the trail, nothing would distract her and to get her to stop would require … Continue reading

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Letter Re: The Fallacy of Hunting as a Survival Technique

Sir, I have been concerned about the mindset of hunting in national crisis for some time. The general assumption that one can hunt to feed one’s family long term is likely to prove empty. I had the privilege of living with my grandmother just after I was released from submarine duty. We spent many evenings talking about the old days and the days to come. She bore 12 children and was in her 30’s during the depression. My grandfather was a wood-walking, ax toting lumberman. He managed mills all over Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. My grandmother ran the mill store and home. Her words hit home with me back in the 80’s because I wanted to homestead, and she gave me the guidance I needed to move in the right direction. The secret to living during the depression was to grow it and keep close tabs on everything. She told me that two mules and a wagon was cheaper to keep than a truck. She said they were fed well because they kept a sizable garden and canned everything. Fruit from fruit trees provided the desserts. She kept chickens galore (over 120) and a cow in the yard to butcher … Continue reading

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The Fallacy of Hunting as a Survival Technique, by D.V.

Many people rely on wild game as a regular part of their diet. In Michigan, where I live, deer season is a holiday with schools and companies at minimal staff, as a healthy part of the population is out in the woods partaking in one of our oldest traditions. And like all great endeavors, some hunters are successful and some are not, depending upon skill, preparation, and just a little bit of luck. For those hunters who were able to kill a deer (if they are traditionalist), they are able to provide their families with meat. For some, this can be the majority of their meat throughout the year. During our lifetimes, whether you’re a hunter or not, it is easy to recognize that the overall deer population has been steadily growing. In the news, there are occasional stories about the deer wandering into human dwellings or the suburbs who must have a culling (with the routine senseless protests) due to overpopulation. This deer population has been growing steady since the early 1900’s, starting from a count of under five million (including mule deer and blacktail) and growing to around a peak of over 40 million. Today it is estimated … Continue reading

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Survival Trapping: The Efficient “Hunter”- Part 1, by J.C.

Trapping animals is a skill that is as old as time itself. From a simple stick-triggered rock deadfall to modern day legholds and automatic snares, these devices increase the efficiency of gathering that all-important meal. There are many myths surrounding trapping and most notably the modern leghold style traps. It’s best to dispel some of these myths in the beginning, so as to not bog down the discussion of their use in the field for both survival and non-survival situations. It is best to refer you to the National Trappers Association for more detailed information on the myths and misunderstandings of modern trapping equipment. Also, a quick YouTube search will pull up several videos of people showing examples of traps purposely set off on their own hands to show that these traps are not only humane but are very high quality pieces of equipment. (Search “Hand in the trap challenge” for multiple video results.) One of the most notable is of a 13-year-old girl setting off a variety of traps on her own hand with no problems at all. Now, onto the information of why trapping is important for the prepper. It all comes down to time. In any SHTF … Continue reading

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From Debt to Rural Independence, by R.T. in Georgia

You may read that the first thing you should do when prepping to prep is to get out of debt, but there is not much depth beyond that in the description of why you should get out of debt. My family has made a journey from debt to sustainability over the last seven years and absolutely the main thing that enabled that to happen was getting rid of our consumer debt. This is a quick description of one family’s fortune, what God allowed us to do and the opportunities that were made available to us when we took the challenge to pay off our debts. None of this could have happened with continuing consumer debt. Getting Out of Consumer Debt It took three years to pay off cars, credit cards and get to a place where my only expenses were food, utilities, insurance, car maintenance, gas and my house mortgage. That was a liberating feeling that I can still take comfort in years later. We started saving to get that minimum $1,000 in savings, then added to it. Just being out of debt opened many opportunities and the possibility of buying a second piece of real estate became a feasible … Continue reading

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Guest Article: Are Mountain Lions More Important Than the Safety of People, Children, and Pets? – Part 1, by William E. Simpson

In the late 1980s, it was determined by a relatively small group of financially- and politically-biased scientists and their lobbyists that the population of mountain lions (aka: cougar, puma) in California was dangerously low. So, they launched a massive media campaign to convince Californians that there was a genuine problem, giving rise to the 1990 California State legislation that provided a “protected” status for mountain lions. However, there was no overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting such a claim. If there had been such credible evidence supported by a collective of unbiased and objective wildlife biologists, forming a majority opinion, mountain lions would have surely reached the benchmark for obtaining “endangered species” status and would be listed as such today. That was not the case. “One” Specially-Protected Mammal Since the passage in 1990 of California S.B. 132, which designated mountain lions as a “specially protected mammal”, deer populations have sequentially fallen-off to a point where they are in very serious decline, possibly leading to moratorium on deer hunting! The Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are now 445,000 deer in California, down from two million in the 1960s and 850,000 in the 1990s. The reality is that mountain lions … Continue reading

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Letter Re: How To Obtain Protein From Alternative Sources Without A Firearm

Just a note about small animals: Don’t count on them for the bulk of your diet. Take for example crayfish: The calories for your effort may be very small. There are approximately 3.5 calories in a crayfish tail. (There’s more if you eat the head but not much more.) I’ve seen traps bring in around 50 crayfish on a good day. Therefore, for enough crayfish for a 350 calorie snack, you’ll need at least two traps, and that’s on a good day. Double that for average days. If you want 1/4th of your calories of a family of four to be crawfish on a 3,000 calorie diet (I consider 3,000 a minimum, given the extra calories being expended during TEOTWAWKI), you need to catch 857 crayfish per day, using about 34 traps! When you also consider that you’ll also expend calories trapping and shelling almost 900 crawfish, it gets exhausting quick. Also, pray your traps aren’t robbed. Crawfish make a good food that can balance out the routine of your food rations. They also have a nice quantity of vitamins and minerals. Don’t count on them so much for your daily bread, but they do play a good role in … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: How To Obtain Protein From Alternative Sources Without A Firearm

Dear HJL, Here’s a low-cost alternative to metal traps-– build a trapping pit. Trapping pits have been used since the Stone Age to put meat on the table. A deer trail or other evidence of animal activity is located, then a deep pit is dug and lined with stone or wood planks to prevent escape. Spikes or sharp sticks are mounted on the bottom of the pit to kill or injure the prey, and the hole is covered with a tarp or branches to disguise it. My family has stored up a dozen or so 4’ re-bars and a couple of camo tarps to build an animal pit in the woods adjoining our property, should the SHTF. o o o Hi, I had a comment on Rockvault’s excellent article on “How To Obtain Protein From Alternative Sources Without A Firearm”. In addition to the protein sources he listed, you should also consider insects, which are high in protein, easy to catch, and one of the most abundant food sources in the world. Field & Stream had a good article a while back on the subject. If you’re into developing a more sustainable lifestyle as a foundation for prepping, eating insects … Continue reading

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Letter Re: How To Obtain Protein From Alternative Sources Without A Firearm

JWR/Hugh, I loved this article about alternative means for obtaining food. Much of the information was repeat for me, as I do a lot if those things already. I would add as a point for anyone trying to get into trapping that unless you are in a very target rich environment, trapping has a low rate of return. Typically, traps will catch something 1 out of 5 or 1 out of 10 times. Either the animal misses it, or a non-target animal trips the trap. I would recommend having multiple traps (like 6 or 12) and some snare wire around to really take advantage of non-firearm protein gathering. Also, a 110-conibear trap is great for many small game species and can be baited or placed in runs. They’re also cheap and available used from old or retiring trappers. Don’t forget a cheap crayfish trap too. Bait it with fish guts and you’ll have dinner in no time! – JPR

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