When distant sounds seem louder than normal, bad weather is approaching. The distant sounds are louder because they are occurring under a lowering cloud ceiling…
To make a waterproof emergency fire starter, roll 20 narrow strips of newspaper together and secure with a rubber band. Soak the roll in melted paraffin, then let drain and harden.
Lighting A Lantern
If you sometimes find it difficult to light a gasoline lantern, you’re probably not following the instructions completely. The first step is “Fill tank.” When you attempt to light the lantern on less than a full tank, it sputters and flames. Fill the tank every time you plan to light the lantern, and you will find the difficulties disappear.
Splitting a Large Log
To split a large log into firewood pieces, begin by paring pieces off the sides rather than attempting to split the log down the middle first. Work around the log, splitting off pieces from the sides until all that is left is a small center chunk that you can split down the middle with a single axe stroke.
Short on Camp Light?
If you’re short on light at camp, you can greatly increase the amount of illumination cast by a candle, lantern, or oil lamp by placing a mirror or a sheet of aluminum foil on the wall behind the light source. The reflection from a mirror or aluminum will provide substantially more light.
First-Aid for Ant Bites
Household ammonia immediately takes the sting out of fire ant bites. Carry a container of ammonia whenever you’re outdoors in fire ant country, and slap it on liberally if you get bitten. The bites will still blister the next day, but the pain will be relieved at once.
Home-made Tent Pegs
For tent pegs that can be driven into hard or frozen ground without bending or breaking, use discarded engine intake/exhaust valves. High-quality steel valves can be salvaged (usually for free) from automotive machine shops. Their broad, flat tops and 6-inch stems are perfectly shaped to peg a tent.
To make a waterproof emergency fire starter, roll 20 narrow strips of newspaper together and secure with a rubber band. Soak the roll in melted paraffin, then let drain and harden. Make up a supply of these fire starters to have ready for future camping trips.
Get Your Rocks On
When camping in bear country, take no food into your tent. Hang a pack containing all edibles at least 10 feet off the ground from a rope strung between two trees. Put pebbles in a couple of clean metal cooking utensils, and place them a stone’s throw from your tent. Place a pile of throwing-size rocks within reach of your sleeping bag. If a bear awakens you by rattling the utensils, go on the offensive. Shout and throw rocks at the bear. Most bears, finding nothing to eat, will leave if threatened.
Saved by a Mirror
Whether you are in a boat or hiking in remote country, a pocket-size mirror can be a lifesaver in many critical situations. Use it to flash sunlight toward distant sources of assistance when you need to signal distress and draw attention to your location. Any small mirror will be helpful, but the polished metal mirrors sold in camping-supply stores are more durable than glass mirrors.
If you use a personal computer, create a folder called “Check-lists” in which to store lists of items you don’t want to forget the next time you leave on an outdoor excursion. In the folder, keep permanent lists for Boating, Deer Camp, Bass Fishing, Upland Hunting, etc. If you don’t use a computer, type up the lists and keep them in a “Checklists” folder in your filing cabinet.
For perfect outdoor photos every time, use the Sunny 16 Rule. On a sunny day, set the shutter speed dial at the number closest to the ASA rating of your film. Adjust your camera’s aperture ring to f16, focus, and shoot. On cloudy days set the aperture ring at f8 or f5.6, depending on brightness.
You can help wildlife in winter by planting winter-hardy food resources whenever you go afield.
Plant the Seed
Think of the long-term effect if each time you go afield you plant a handful of acorns, crabapples, barberry seeds, or other plants that will someday produce mast or fruits that remain available to wildlife in winter when other resources run short. Check with your state’s wildlife department for advice on plant species for your area, planting locations, and techniques.
Bad Weather Warning
When distant sounds seem louder than normal, bad weather is approaching. The distant sounds are louder because they are occurring under a lowering cloud ceiling that forces them to dissipate outward rather than upward. Lowering clouds are a sure sign of imminent precipitation.
Dangerous When Dead
Sharks, snapping turtles, and venomous snakes can be dangerous long after they are actually dead. Nerves that control muscular reactions in these creatures do not require a beating heart to trigger a bite when the dead creature is handled. Venomous snakes can still release venom after they’re dead.
Be Sure Axe Head is Tight
When an axe is stored hanging above the ground, the shaft may dry and shrink, loosening the axe head, which is likely to fly off when the axe is swung. To make sure your axe head is tight, stand the axe in a pail of water to swell for a couple of hours before using it.
Your feet will be warmer and you will suffer fewer blisters if you wear polypropylene sock liners under a pair of wool-synthetic blend boot socks. The liners provide an air space between your feet and your socks, and wick away moisture, enhancing dryness and warmth. The snug liners do not slip, protecting your feet from rubbing that causes blisters.
Gotta Get GPS
One of the most important reasons to carry a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and a pocket-size CB radio when hunting is that you can relay your exact position to other members of your hunting party when you need help dragging out a big-game animal¿¿or for more serious problems.