I noted some “TV survival shows” and commented that performing some of what they prescribed was foolish. I am happy that these shows are creating individuals a lot of aware that their own safety and security is ultimately up to them. But what they show is Hollywood fiction.
So in an effort to steer people far from the “Action packed, drama filled, scripted” TV survival shows, I believed I would list some common “Survival myths”. These myths aren’t true. But for whatever reason they continue to be passed on as fact. These are in no particular order.
I’ll hunt for my food during a long term, grid down event
No matter how much of a extremely skilled hunter you might be, those skills are useless if there’s nothing to left hunt. In a true SHTF future event, the animals available to hunt are exhausted relatively quickly.
Using the deer population in the United States for instance, deer numbered around thirty two million or so in 2014. With over three hundred million folks in the USA alone, and the highest rate of gun possession in the world, you’ll connect the dots and see the potential ramifications when you have that several hungry individuals with 267 million or so guns.
A large number of individuals don’t know how to hunt let alone field dress an animal. However that may not stop them from trying. Hunger may be a powerful motivator.
Yes, suddenly the number of hunters in the United States would explode, and also the rules and laws in place to assist make sure that the animal population remains intact would be right out the window.
Unfortunately, it won’t be just the deer. The entire animal population would be sent into free fall. Small game, birds, fish, etc are wiped out because the shrinking human population become a lot of desperate for dwindling resources.
And once wild animals are gone, Whiskers, Mittens, and Fido are up next. If it moves, chances are somebody will be hunting it. And with it the sustainability of animals as food would possibly cease to be.
Moss always grows on the north side of trees
This is not true. Moss grows wherever there’s shade and wet. While the northern side of tree may receive a lot of shade, moss isn’t exclusive to the north side of trees. So it’d be foolish to trust only on this as a way of finding north.
There are way more effective ways of determining your direction if you become lost, like using an analog wrist watch or using sticks. You’ll use even sticks at nighttime to find north!
You can get water from a cactus
The majority of cactus in the United States actually have toxins in them that could do you a lot of harm than good. And you’ll exert plenty of energy and wetness from your body attempting to get to it. In some cases, the cactuses will cause you to get sick and have diarrhea. Not something you want when you try to hydrate yourself.
I see lots of websites claiming that the fishhook barrel cactus has drinkable water. However the wetness in this cactus contains oxalic acid, which can causes cramps and vomiting. This of course can dehydrate you further.
If you’re in the desert and want water, here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Don’t look during the day. Attempt to stay in the shade and conserve what you can. Look at night or early in the morning before the heat of the day
- Look for north facing canyons. Canyons facing north, in the northern hemisphere, are less possible to be exposed to the sun. So the possibilities of finding water there are bigger.
- Look for wildlife. Animals, bugs, and vegetation need water and tend to congregate in areas where there’s water close. As for plants, things like cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, hackberry and cattails are possible to be close to groundwater.
- Dry riverbeds and streams may typically have water below the surface. Attempt digging some to see if there’s wetness underneath.
Boiling water makes it pure to drink
Boiling water for one minute can kill almost all pathogens. But boiling water doesn’t remove contaminants like lead. Nor does it take away muck like dirt or sand. Instead, you need a filter for that. Here is a great link showing you how you can build your own improvised filter. After filtering, then boil your water. Also keep in mind that boiling won’t remove salt. And hopefully you already understand that you should never drink salt water. I keep one of these in my get home bag, and it absolutely works nice!
It’s vital to find food sources in a survival setting
I’m not saying you don’t need food, however you can go weeks without food. In survival situation, almost no one dies from starvation. They instead die from a lack of water, exposure to the elements, or from their injuries.
How long a person will survive without food depends upon many factors, like age, weight, genetics, health problems, and how well you stay hydrated. Mahatma Gandhi, at the age of seventy four, went twenty one days without any food.
When you find yourself in a survival scenario, there are plenty of different priorities that has to take precedence over finding food. Like getting out of the possible danger zone, keeping your core body temperature at ninety eight degrees, and finding clean drinking water.
You can drink your urine in a survival setting
Urine is about 90-95 percent water, but the remaining 5-10 percent isn’t very good for you — that’s why your body is getting rid of it. It carries excess electrolytes, like sodium and potassium.
Urine also carries tiny traces of excess toxins in the type of acids from your kidney, however you’d need to drink lots for that to do damage.
Some electrolytes are good as they allow some of our cells to conduct electricity. But too much sodium draws water out of your cells, dehydrating you. And too much potassium ends up in a heart attack.So with urine, you’re putting sodium back into your system. This can only dehydrate you further. Basically, it’s comparable to drinking ocean water. According to the NOAA web site, human kidneys will only make urine that’s less salty than salt water.
Therefore, to get eliminate all the excess salt taken in by drinking seawater, you have to urinate more water than you drank. Eventually, you die of dehydration even as you become thirstier. Drinking urine for survival is even a lot of harmful, since dehydration makes urine less diluted, and all those electrolytes and acids seem in bigger concentration. So while Bear Grylls may drink his urine for a television show, in a true survival situation, you’re solely compounding your problem.
Sure, if you’re well hydrated, drinking your urine once won’t do any real harm. The matter is that by the time you desperate enough to begin considering drinking your urine, you’re most likely well dehydrated. So drinking urine is only going to compound your issues like I mentioned above. Instead you’d be better off peeing onto your shirt or a bandana and using that to assist keep you cool.
Eat snow for hydration
Snow is usually air, without plenty of water in it; almost ten components air to one part water. This suggests you’d need to eat about ten quarts of snow to yield one quart of water, and that a lot of snow is going to drop your core body temperature. This is in fact, this is not good, as it could lead to hypothermia. Also keep in mind that snow doesn’t kill microorganism or pathogens which may be in it. Instead, boil the snow. This melts the snow and kills the microorganism and pathogens. And who doesn’t like to drink something heat when you are very cold?
In a pinch, alcohol will warm you up
Not true. In a survival setting, alcohol is the absolute final thing you want to own, and for multiple reasons. First, alcohol clearly will impair your judgment. Clearly you want a sound mind when in the inside of an emergency.
Next, alcohol will dehydrate you. this is part of the explanation you get a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic. This can be why you have to go piss all the time when you are out drinking beer with your friends. And when you pee lots, you’re losing water. So clearly this is a problem if remaining hydrated may be a concern.
And finally, alcohol can really decreases your internal body temperature. Normally, in cold weather you blood vessels should constrict to slow the flow of blood to the skin and different extremities. This is designed to keep your internal organs warm, and the reason your hands, feet, and ears are typically the first to get cold.
Instead, alcohol is a vasodilative. This suggests that it causes your blood vessels to move near the skin. This make you “feel warm”. But actually, the blood near the skin will drop in temperature. So alcohol does the exact opposite of what your body does it when gets cold. Hence you should skip the Heinekens if you need to be warm and hydrated.
Survival is about the gear you have and the skills you know
Survival is actually regarding not putting yourself into survival situations to start with. Sure, sometimes things happen that are out of your management. However more times than not, people find themselves in survival situations because they created a bad decision, and then combined the problem with a lot of bad choices. Which typically starts with pride! It was because of pride that you didn’t want to admit you were turned around and unsure of where you were at. Or it was pride that made you choose you did not want to ask for directions? Now you’re lost!
Was it a lack of judgement from the alcohol that made you think that the overcast sky wasn’t that bad? And now you discover yourself in a severe thunderstorm away from home?
In reality, when it comes to survival, the most effective way to survive most disaster scenarios is to not be there to start with! Having the ability to avoid dangerous situations is the BEST survival skill!