As a boy scout camping in the wilderness, survival is of paramount importance. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are: survival tactics are essential when you go to the wild. Sometimes, you may run out of water and food yet you still have to survive. At other times, you could encounter unexpected dangers and you have to make it out of the situation alive. Here are a few boy scouts wilderness survival tips that will come in handy as you camp in the wild.
When you are in the wilderness, your highest priority should be protecting yourself. This means making shelter and even steering clear of wild dogs and other animals. You ought to know how to build a shelter long before you embark on your voyage. It is not enough that you know how to build a standard tent; can you also build a suitable shelter within a short period of time if circumstances dictate so?
Your shelter of choice should be able to protect you from the elements as well as to conserve warmth. If you are camping in a rainy or windy location, you would be well advised to seal the gaps in your tent with a garbage bag filled with grass or leaves to block out the wind and rain.
As a rule, always start finding a place to spend the night as early as noon. This is because often, daylight may mislead you into thinking that you still have plenty of time left to build shelter and prepare food, while this is often not true. Putting up a tent and cooking at night is not fun, and can even prove to be quite risky sometimes!
You also need to learn how to protect yourself from wild animals, especially wild dogs, cougars, and coyotes, which are rather abundant in the wild. If you run into any such animal, the best thing to do is to slowly and quietly back away from the animal. Playing dead or running away is not advisable in the least. If you cannot retreat quietly, the next best thing to do is to try and scare the animal away.
This you can do by enlarging yourself by spreading out your arms and making loud noises. If push comes to shove, throw anything you can at the animal or even stab it in the eyes using your hands. While it is trying to recover from your blow, run to the nearest tree and find shelter.
Find Water and Food
When you are in the wilderness, it is important to remember that you need water more than you need food. You can survive for days without food, but only a few hours without water. If you have run out of drinking water, there are a few guidelines that can lead you to the nearest water source. First, it helps to know that grazing animals often head to water sources in the morning and at dusk to get a drink, so following them will lead you to a source of water. Secondly, mosquitoes and flies are often to be found within 400 meters of water.
If you are in the desert, you will often find water under a creek bed. The rule of thumb regarding such water is that you must boil it before you drink it. Even if it appears unbelievably clean, don’t run the risk: microbes and bacteria aren’t visible. If you can’t boil it, then run it over a layer of bark, sand, stone, and charcoal to purify it.
In regards to food, unless you can hunt, you are left with berries and plants as dietary options. Generally, food that grazing animals eat is edible, although this is not always true. The universal edibility test can come in handy when it comes to testing the edibility of wild foods. First, place the food in question on your lips, then on your tongue and finally in the whole mouth. You will still have to wait for eight hours in order to be certain that the food is totally safe to eat.
Learn Basic First Aid and Observe Basic Hygiene
When you are out in the wild, there are three kinds of injuries that you are likely to encounter. These are:
- Fracture and bone displacement
It is therefore essential that you learn how to administer basic first aid in the event that you suffer from any of them. For burns, the rule of thumb is to remove any clothing on the burnt area and then run lukewarm water over it. For cuts, you should aim at keeping the wound clean and stopping bleeding in the case of deep cuts.
Never ignore small wounds as they are likely to fester into serious wounds that can have terrible effects. If you have a displaced bone, then try to force it back in place by hitting it or rolling in the grass. If it is a fractured bone, then you need to use a splinter in order to keep it in place.
It is extremely important that you observe good dental hygiene while in the wild to prevent the build-up of plaque. Also, keep moist parts of your body, such as under the armpits, your groin area and the area between toes reasonably clean and dry at all times.
Learn How to Start a Fire
While in the wild, you will invariably need to use fire at some point or another. This is why you ought to know how to start a fire without matches. Learn the skill of bringing a fire to life using a pair of eyeglasses or a bottle of water to focus the sun’s rays on a pile of grass and leaves. Better yet, hone the somewhat difficult task of lighting a fire by rubbing a dry stick on a rock. It will certainly come in handy in the wilderness.
Find Your Way
Getting lost can be very scary, which is why you need to learn to practice the Boy Scout mantra, STOP (Stop, Think, Observe and Plan). You will first need to determine where the north is. Since you know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, observing the sun’s movements can help guide you in the right direction.
You can also use your watch to help you know where the north is. If you need to be rescued, use a mirror or flashlight to catch the attention of the people on aircrafts above you. If rescuers are nearby, call out to them in a deep voice. A sharp and high pitched voice can easily be mistaken to be that of an animal or bird, so keep this in mind too.
When in the wilderness, survival is vital. If you are armed with knowledge and various skills, you should be able to survive fairly well in just about any conditions. Follow the tips shared above in order to keep safe at all times. They might come in real handy during your wilderness adventures.