Category Archives: Wilderness Survival Information

Knots For Elk Hunting And Survival Situations

In all survival situations, knowledge is more important than the fanciest survival tool. You can have the best equipment that money can buy but without the knowledge of how to use the equipment it is useless.

Knot Tying









Knowledge of how to tie a few basic knots is very important. I started out learning to tie knots while in the Boy Scouts. I was fascinated with the prospect of things I could build with my new found skills.

I remember seeing a swinging bridge built with rope and wood from the forest at a local scout jamboree. That bridge inspired me to learn the knot tying skills that have served me over the years. There are so many things that you can build with rope, knowledge and imagination.

Every year my family would camp for a week on the river swamp in central Alabama. My job was to help set up camp and make it comfortable for our stay. I started off by digging a latrine and then I would lash a sapling with a back to sit on while doing our business.

 Next, I would lash together a kitchen table between two trees to hold our camp stove and to provide a work space. My next project was a gun rack that would hold all of our guns.

As you can see, learning to tie knots and to lash provided us with useful camp furniture and creature comforts. Later in life I learned specialized knots that I would use to secure packs on pack animals and build hunting camps while guiding for elk in the Rocky Mountains.

Knots are used for many camp chores, making of snares, security around your camp site, securing loads and tying animals four legged and two. Knots are also used to save lives in rescue situations.

 Because knot tying is so important, I have included instruction on a few of the most important basic knots that a person should learn.




The running end of a rope is the free or working end of a rope.

The standing end is the balance of the rope, excluding the running end.



The Square Knot

This knot is used to tie two ropes of equal diameter together.

To tie a square knot, hold each end of the rope in your hands with a tail on each one. Cross over the rope in your left hand with the rope in your right hand.

Now take the tail that you crossed over the left from the underside and cross it over the tail in your right side and through the loop created. When you pull it tight, it will appear that there are two loops with the ends of the rope coming out of the same side of the loops.


See illustration below:

square knot









I always said right over left, left over right to tie this knot. If you do right over right or left over left however, you have tied a granny knot that will come apart.


The Bowline Knot

This is one of the most secure knots when tied correctly. It is also called the rescue knot.

To tie the bowline, make a loop in the rope (1), then the running end of the rope passes around the object to be secured. Run the end of the rope through the loop (2), around the standing end of the rope(3), and back through the loop and draw it tight(4).

See illustration below:

bowline knot color









The old saying used to tie this knot is “the rabbit came out of the hole, ran around the stump and went back into the hole”.


The Clove Hitch

This is a very useful knot used to attach a rope to a pole. You can also use this knot when lashing poles together.

To tie the clove hitch at the end of a rope, the rope is passed around the pole in two turns so that the first turn crosses the standing part and the running end comes up under itself on the second turn.

See Illustration below:

clove hitch











The Half Hitch

This is useful for tying things to trees or posts.

The running end of the rope is passed around the tree or pole. The running end is brought around the standing part and back through the loop created.

Repeat the process for two half hitches.

See illustration below of two half hitches:












Shear Lashing

Lashing can be used to build shelters, furniture, bridges and many other useful things.

The shear lash can be used to make an “A” frame to support a ridge pole that can be used to support tarps or shelters.

You can use three poles to form a tripod for many uses.

Put up the desired number of poles. Usually two or three parallel to one another and the lash is started with a clove hitch on an outer pole.

The poles are wrapped with seven or eight turns loosely. The running end is then wrapped around the loops of rope between the poles and finished off with another clove hitch.

See illustration below:

shear lashing










Square Lashing

This type of lashing is used to attach a pole horizontally to trees or vertical poles.

Start the lash with a clove hitch placed under the horizontal pole. Wrap the rope over the horizontal pole, around the back of the vertical pole, back over the horizontal pole and around the vertical at the bottom.

Four wraps are enough. Now make three wraps around the ropes between the poles, draw tight and finish with a clove hitch on the top vertical pole.

See illustration below:

square lashing picture










Hopefully these knots will serve you and others well in any future elk hunting or survival situation. For more helpful and indepth tips on elk hunting visit


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Must Know Tips On Survival Fishing

In any wilderness survival situation, priorities are hydration, shelter/warmth and food. In this article, I want to concentrate on fish as a food source. All survival activities drain your body of strength and energy. Finding a source of water, building a warm dry shelter and fire making are a few of the things that burn lots of calories in the process.

survival fishing tips

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A person is limited in the amount of food that can be carried in a pack and often, people that are caught in a survival situation, had not planned on being caught out in the wilderness overnight. So many times folks think they are out for just a short day hike and they find themselves having to survive for days before rescue.

While hunting elk during Colorado’s archery season, I found myself in need of a warm meal. The weather in September was raining and 40 to 50 degrees and even though I had a tent, I shivered through the night. The next morning, I fashioned a fishing pole and managed to catch a few brook trout for breakfast. The warm meal gave me the energy and encouragement I needed and helped ward off hypothermia that can set in during these conditions.

I have always tried to be prepared for emergencies and as part of my preparations, I carry a small survival kit with me wherever I go. My wife has gotten used to that but sometimes others think I’m crazy. In my kit, I always have what I need to catch fresh fish.

fishing survivial kit


I normally carry two fly fishing tippets. Tippets are tapered monofilament leaders that are normally attached to a fly line. The tapering allows you to tie a fly or hook to the end and helps with a natural presentation to the fish.

I use a 7-1/2 ft, 2 lb test tippet. Next I have several black ant and mosquito imitation flies in my kit. Most fish will hit insects that fall on the top of water. Trout out west love these and bream and sunfish in the eastern parts of the U.S. will eat them as well. Have a few small hooks that you can use for live bait like worms, grubs, grasshoppers or crickets. It is also good to have on hand a few small lead weights that you can squeeze on your line for deeper fishing. You can make bobbers out of reeds, light pieces of wood, or bamboo.

Use willow, bamboo or a straight, flexible wooden pole for your fishing pole. In moving streams, try to fish from downstream. Fish feed facing upstream waiting for bugs and food to come by them. If you fish from downstream it is harder for them to see you and you can present your bait naturally from upstream.

Try to avoid letting your bait drag in the water because it looks unnatural to the fish. Always approach your fishing area low to avoid being seen by the fish. When fishing in still water like ponds, fish around structures that hold fish. The structure can be a fallen tree, rocks, or lily pads.


fish kabobs picture

Image source-

Now that you have caught your fish, you can use a boot lace, 550 cord or a cut stick with a fork to transport it back to camp. Your fish should be cooked to avoid any parasites it may be carrying.

Fish can be cooked on a forked green stick, a flat rock or split and hung over the fire on a spit. The fish is done when the meat is white and flaky. Fish is high in essential oils and protein making it a great survival meal.

This small fishing kit is great insurance for your survival and I never leave home without it. Don’t just survive, thrive!


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