By Steve Stillwell
Television programs such as Naked and Afraid, Man verses Wild, Dual Survivor, and Alone have been captivating audiences for approximately 10 years, and from what I’m seeing, these reality programs keep gaining momentum with millions of enthusiastic fans watching. Being labeled as a survivalist use to be insulting, but today, it’s actually a compliment. If you’re interested in learning, or possibly sharing survival skills, then this new column is devoted to you! I welcome your comments, suggestions, and interaction.
In this modern age, why are survival skills so important? The answer to this question is simple; the world can be a hostile place! Hunting, hiking, fishing, kayaking, trail riding, and camping are activities that often require the participants to venture into remote and unforgiving territories. Anyone with common sense should realize that when you’re far away from civilization, you’re essentially on your own. If you’re lacking certain skill sets, you’re taking a risk, especially if tragedy strikes. In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss survival techniques, strategies, and some of the historic philosophies that our ancestors often relied on.
Product reviews are always a hot topic, because it’s interesting to see what someone’s perspective is, especially when you’re shopping for the latest survival gadgets. Food preservation, recipes, campfire cooking, doomsday prepping, day-packs and bug-out- bags are also in the future of this column. Self defense, parameter security, and how to avoid confrontations will also keep you and your family out of harm’s way.
In my opinion, the Ouachita National Forest is one of the best places in the United States to practice and hone your outdoor skills. I read something a long time ago that the word OUACHITA is a Native American phrase and the translation means, GOOD HUNTING AND FISHING. Every deer season, and fishing vacation I take, this adage always resonates in my heart, because I always end up with a freezer full of meat.
In closing I’d like to share something very personal. When I was in the Navy, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and several other big cities on the East Coast. What caught my attention wasn’t the splendor of the magnificent skyscrapers, or the national monuments. My attention was focused on all of the homeless people I saw hunkering down under bridges with nowhere to comfortably sleep, and the destitute beggars standing on street corners panhandling for meager handouts. This was the catalyst that compelled me to become a survivalist. At a young age, I recognized that you’ll never be homeless if you have exceptional camping skills, and you’ll never go hungry, if you know how to hunt, trap, and fish. If the economy crashes, or the Apocalypse begins tomorrow morning, I’d rather take my chances providing for myself, and surviving in the woods. The best remedy to overcome fear and anxiety is to tackle it head-on.
Join Steve Stillwell on the Ouachita Bushcraft and Survival Facebook group to ask questions, take part in conversations and meet others with similar interest.
Photo courtesy of Steve Stillwell
If you have camping skills, you’ll never be homeless, and when you learn how to hunt and fish, you’ll always have groceries.