Saturday, July 16, 2011

Backyard Bushcraft - Bushcraft 101

Nature can teach you some very valuable lessons when it comes to survival. Many people quite often ask how to get started learning bushcraft without realizing they don’t have to go any further than their own backyard. You can spend years learning about nature by simply observing the things that happen on a daily basis in your own backyard.

Most people spend a large amount of time in their own backyard without knowing what is happening on an everyday basis. Most creatures pay more attention to your activities than the average person does to theirs and will notice you before you are even aware of their presence. There’s a lot of stuff happening in your own backyard.

On any given day there are probably a dozen or more types of birds in my own backyard. Most of these birds have a preference for certain types of nests and have their own little rituals of daily activity that are often performed on a regular basis. They will also lay claim to your backyard when establishing their territory and they will defend it aggressively if they feel threatened by your presence. If you have never been “dive-bombed” by a mockingbird protecting its young in the nest, you are missing out on a truly unique experience.

Another example of backyard bushcraft is learning about the hazards in nature. From thorny plants to insects, there is a wide variety of creatures and things living in your own backyard that can help learn to better understand nature.  There’s not a dangerous type of snake that hasn’t been found in my own backyard at some time or another. Everything from copperheads to coral snakes has decided to move into my own backyard without seeking my permission. It seems they don’t recognize fences and property lines like my two-legged neighbors. There are also numerous varieties of other snakes that are usually quite harmless and that are of a beneficial nature hanging around in my own backyard.

How many times have you walked into a spider’s web in your backyard without even being aware of its presence? Perhaps you just got a rude awakening from that ant pile you failed to notice when you put your foot in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may have even realized that walking around barefoot at night isn’t such a great idea after being stung by a scorpion that was on the prowl for a late night snack. If you aren’t careful, nature sometimes has a very harsh way of getting your attention.

Start by practicing a little “backyard bushcraft” which will help to teach you to be more observant about your surroundings and make you a little more aware of all the things that are happening. Nature and its creatures perform an enormous amount of activities in your own backyard on a daily basis. Taking the time to learn more about your own immediate environment is a great way to start learning bushcraft. If you find yourself in a totally different area, you can then use that experience and knowledge to your benefit.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

The backyard is also the best place to start sleeping outside out and learning primitive skills, like building fires without matches. cooking over a fire requires some practice, and having home next door gives you the time to practice.

Not to mention it gives you the ability to use 15 minute blocks of time you can spare

Ken said...

...yep,just lookin'out in my yard,i've patterned four families of squirrels a couple of which are probably fourth/fifth generation...birds too in abundance,just to name the obvious...snakes bad this year,killed half a dozen so far...dammit,drifting,sorry...You are absolutely right about it starting in ones yard...

chinasyndrome said...

RW, man that is great info! I live in a large apt complex which has a lake,a creek,and a small wooded area.I have taught my Grandkids and my friend's kid a lot just going slow and observing.Creek is very shallow and at first glance devoid of life,until you notice those lumps of mud are crawdads, the big lump is a med size snapper,bluegills washed out of lake hang under the little bridge.I thought one of the girls was gonna pee her pants when we ran up on a little red fox,she wasn't scared AWWh hes so cute.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 2:08

The best place to start is your own backyard. Once you've become familiar with what's happening right outside your back door, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to observe a variety of things no matter where you find yourself.

Thanks anon.


riverwalker said...

To: Ken

If you can't see what's in your own backyard, it's difficult to see how you are going to make it in a true wilderness situation.

In most cases, you will find similar things in your own backyard that can help you to learn more about your environment before you find yourself in a strange place and without a clue as to what is happening.

Thanks Ken.


riverwalker said...

To: chinasyndrome

Even urban dwellers who live close to a park would be amazed at the wide variety of creatures and plants can be found there.

Even a small backyard will provide an opportunity to learn and observe all sorts of natural activity.

Thanks CS.


Anonymous said...

China III makes a great point about the 'wilderness' only being feet away. When I was going to college in San Antonio, I lived in an apartment complex next to some woods that had quite a bit of animal activity. Coyotes, deer and even wild hog inhabited the area.

Someone had a stand for what I am sure was bowhunting - I'm sure he / she collected venison without having to resort to paying deer lease prices and hassles.

This was all in the middle of a city with a million plus population. Nature doesn't need to be out in the boonies - its everywhere!

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 6:44

Excellent point! Many urban areas have an abundance of wildlife just outside your back door. You will also find that many times weather conditions will bring them closer as well.

During a drought, numerous forms of wildlife will seek out sources of water and this will bring you into more frequent contact with wildlife as well.

Your point about "Nature is everywhere!" is well said.

Thanks anon.


joecoles said...

Unique Outdoor Survival Skills

Don't you find it ironic that even with all this scandalously expensive education, people today know so little?

If they can't even fix their car, how are they supposed to handle a - let's say - long term food shortage?

You can't possibly hope they'd know how to garden and produce their own food, save seeds for next year, and use leaves plowed under to fertilize the soil.

Not to mention trapping, catching, skinning and cooking a rabbit...

These may seem advanced outdoor survival skills now, but back in the days, they were merely called "Living".

Watch this short video now and discover a set of unique and fantastic survival skills used and perfected by our ancestors.

Don't wait for the next crisis to hit and live to regret you had the chance to learn these skills but didn't.

Click here to watch video!

Thanks again.


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