Archive for the ‘General Outdoors’ Category

Establish Communication when Lost

Communication is all too easy in this day and age. Telephones, cell phones, email all allow people to instantly communicate with one another almost anywhere in the world. What would happen if you were lost some where either in a strange city or in the woods? How would you call for help?

communicating when you're lost

Establishing communication is part of the Outdoor Survival Basics and is essential to getting help, whether it be directions to the hotel, from a tow truck, or park rangers to get you off a mountain in one piece.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

The Compass

using a compass when outdoors

A magnetic compass has a needle to point North or South, a capsule dial with degrees printed around it, a sight mark, and index line.

The magnetic compass has been used for hundreds of years as a navigation tool both by hikers and sailors. It is almost completely infallible and doesn’t rely on batteries or satellites to function. Using a compass to find your direction of travel through the woods or over water is very easy once you learn the basics. When it comes to outdoor skills most people think of building a camp fire or pitching a tent, but one of the most important skills everyone should learn from an early age is how to use a compass.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

When You’re Lost in the Woods

when you're lost in the woods

Learning to use a compass and keeping track of unique landmarks such as weather equipment on a hilltop will help you identify your location if you get lost in the woods.

There are few things scarier than getting lost in the woods. Getting lost can happen to anyone at anytime even in places that are on familiar ground. Every year police and rescue agencies perform thousands of searches for missing people in the woods across North America. Most people are found safe and sound, but for others the outcome is not as happy. Getting found once you are lost in the woods is easier than it may seem at the time and there are several things you can do to help yourself be found.

Firstly, before venturing into the woods for a hike, hunt, or to play, make sure you tell someone trustworthy where you are going and what time you will be back. By letting a family member, trusted friend or neighbour aware of your plans you greatly increase the chance of being found before you even leave.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

The Common Loon

There is one sound that is associated with the outdoors like no other. That sound is the call of the Common Loon. If you have ever spent time near a lake then you know what that call is. The Loon’s call is both haunting and mysterious as it breaks the silence of a summer’s night and is a sound that will be remembered for the rest of your life.

seeing the common loon in the wild

The Common Loon is also known as the Great Northern Loon and inhabits lakes from Canada to Great Britain.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

Repelling Mosquitoes in the Outdoors

Mosquitoes have been ruining nice evenings outdoors for as long as anyone can remember. Fishing trips end and campfires are over when the swatting becomes too much for even the toughest outdoors person to handle. Many products have been invented that claim to repel mosquitoes but how many of them actually work? For that matter how do they work and do these products actually do anything to end the constant slap, swat, and buzz of mosquitoes?

mosquitoes in the outdoors

Mosquitoes can bite anytime of the day, but are most active at night. Only female mosquitoes suck blood.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

Constellations

Staring up at the stars on a clear night is something humans have done since the dawn of time. History has many stories and legends based on the stars and what our ancestors saw in the skies at night. If you are new to star gazing there are more than stars in the sky than can be counted. Billions of stars, each one a sun, just like ours. As you stare up at the stars you will notice that the stars in a particular area start to form little pictures, each picture is called a constellation.

outdoor constellations

Polaris the North Star like magic somehow always appears over the Earth’s Northern pole. Once you find Polaris, navigation at night is fairly easy. During a long camera exposure all the stars seem to circle around the North Star.

People in the Northern hemisphere see different constellations than those of the Southern hemisphere and there are hundreds of constellations for you to get to know. Some constellations can be seen from your very own backyard in the city, while others require you to be in an area with no ambient light such as street lights, traffic, buildings, etc. Let’s take look at the most common constellations you can see without telescopes or binoculars in the Northern hemisphere.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

Cooking Bannock

Bannock is an ancient form of bread that can be cooked over an open fire by just about anyone. Aboriginal people of North America from the Navaho to the Inuit all cook a form of bannock based on the ingredients available at the time. Scottish settlers also brought their variation of the recipe over to North America with them, yet no one place on Earth claims to be the originator of the bannock recipe.

how to make campfire bannock

Bannock can be cooked over a fire wrapped around the end of a cooking stick for a tasty woodland treat.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

The Art of Animal Tracking

Tracking animals is an ages old technique, so old it is possibly one of the oldest family traditions. Fathers would pass down the skill of following the tracks of animals they were hunting to their sons as a means to survive. Animal tracking is a skill every outdoors person should learn and teach to their children. For some it is a way of finding their trophy, for others it is to find out what stole a picnic basket from the campsite.

understanding animal tracks

An example of turkey and cat tracks together

Every creature leaves its own distinct foot print, and recognizing them is the first “step” in learning how to track animals. Spend as much time as you can studying the tracks left by different kinds of animals. Dogs, wolves, coyotes and fox all leave one type while a cat’s prints look different. Cats don’t usually walk with claws extended, while canines do.

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Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson

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