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Types of North American Bears

bear-areas-mapThis map was compiled by superimposing three maps prepared by Karl Musser, Simon Pierre Barrette, and Fabio B.

This map illustrates the geographic ranges of three types of bears that populate North America – black bears, polar bears, and grizzly bears. Keep in mind that bears of the same species might look alike, everything from their size, fur color, diet, and sleeping patterns, but everything depends on the bear’s location. The two most common bears in the United States are black bears, and grizzly bears (also known as brown bears). In this article, I will only be explaining how to identify black bears and grizzly bears.

 

black-bearWhat most black bears look like

Black Bears: The American black bear is the most common bear in North America and it has the largest geographic range.In addition to being the most common, they are also the most timid and least dangerous. They will avoid you as much as you should avoid them.  But, that doesn’t mean that they will invade your surrounding locations. Like any animal, if there is food around they will go after it. Black bears generally travel at night to avoid being detected.

  • Color varies from blond to black.
  • No distinctive shoulder hump.
  • Rump is higher than front shoulders.
  • Face profile is straight.
  • Ears are taller and less rounded than grizzly bear ears.
Pete the black bear at the Oregon Zoo © Oregon Zoo / photo by Carli Davidson
Pete the black bear at the Oregon Zoo © Oregon Zoo / photo by Carli Davidson
  • Front claws are 1-2 inches long and curved to help with climbing.

 

 

grizzly-702828_1280Distinct grizzly bear feature: Shoulder blade hump

Grizzly Bears (Brown Bears): Some distinct features that a grizzly has, are they have a concave face, a hump on their shoulders, and long claws about two to four inches long. The distinct hump and claws give it great digging ability. Grizzly bears are often dark brown color, but as stated early it all depends on the location, thus some grizzlies can vary from very light tan color to black. The long guard hairs on their backs and shoulders frequently have white tips and give the bears a “grizzled” appearance, hence the name “grizzly.”

  • Color varies from blond to black.
  • Distinctive shoulder hump.
  • Rump is lower than shoulder hump.
  • Face profile appears dished in.
  • Ears are short and rounded.

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  • Front claws are 2-4 inches long, depending on the amount of digging the bear does, and are slightly curved. Claw marks are usually visible in tracks.
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How to Skin and Gut an animal

Never forget that you have removed a living, breathing creature from its natural life cycle. Whether it’s a bug or a buck, it has the same spirit and not utilizing the whole animal would be a waste. Give thanks and appreciate that a living being gave up its life for you.

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1. On an incline, lay the carcass on its back.

2. Cut off genitals and udders.

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3. Just beneath the skin, slice the hide down the middle from the chin down to the tail. Be careful not to puncture any organs.

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4. Open the chest cavity by separating the sternum.

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5. Reach inside remove internal organs. Start from the front of the intestines and working your way to the back.

NOTE: Be especially cautious when cutting the bladder so that you do not puncture it, otherwise, urine will contaminate the meat. Tightly pinch the urethra and cut it above the pinching point, then remove the bladder.

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7. Cut a circle on the outside of the anus.

8. Pull out the anus from the inside of the body cavity.

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9. Lift the carcass to drain it of all the blood.

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10. Just above the hoof/paw cut along the inside of the legs to remove the hide.

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11. Peel the skin back while cutting the membrane between skin and meat until all of the skin is removed.

NOTE: Edible Guts!

Heart, kidneys, and liver are good eating and full of nutrients.

Stomach, small intestines, and large intestines are full of acid and waste. Unless those organs are properly prepared, DO NOT eat them.

If any part of the meat becomes contaminated, it will quickly turn rancid. Use your eyes and nose. If the meat looks bad or smells bad, cut that part out.

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The Predator Mindset

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The number one rule

The responsibility of survival and success solely lies on you.

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Learn from failure

Own up to your own mistakes to become more lethal. If the target escapes, then most likely you made a mistake and may need to reconsider your prey selections, position, timing, etc…

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Discipline

You must be disciplined enough to recognize the perfect time to strike or when it’s time back down.

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Awareness

Always be on full alert. A successful hunter is rarely caught by surprise. Your targets are the ones that are not aware, impatient, and full of mistakes. That’s the prey.

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Swiftness

Strike fast and accurately, the objective is to get in and get out. The less time you’re are vulnerable struggling in a fight, the less time the prey can go get help and the sooner you can go home safely.

Target the weakest link

Target the loner, the weakest and slowest of the herd. This is a crucial strategy that has been successfully implemented by the most dangerous of predators psych as lions and wolves.

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Spear Hunting History

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For centuries, mankind has used the spear as both a weapon of war and a hunting tool. Modern spear hunters favor the craft because it requires patience, accuracy, predator instincts, and proficient throwing ability.

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The type of spear you use is key. Lightweight handheld spears are the best for hunting small game. Lightweight spears are known for their speed and penetration power when throwing long distance at prey. This type of spear is perfect for smaller prey because it doesn’t need much force to take them down.

 

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Crafting a hunting spear is fairly simple. Using a sharp knife, whittle a long and durable stick into a smooth and straight projectile that can be used as the shaft. Thanks to the Alpha Outpost Predator Box, you have a pretty awesome spearhead to use.

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How to build a Teepee fire

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Find an area:

Remember to be aware of your surroundings. Find an area where nothing else can catch fire. A gust of wind can make a flame leap somewhere flammable. Similarly, keep your tent far enough that it will not damage it.

 

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Gather Firewood:

When gathering firewood, pick up wood from the ground that is dry already. If you are going to use fresh cut wood, keep in mind that it will be more difficult to burn and will be a smoky fire.

 

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Begin to build the fire:

Begin to build a teepee style structure with wood. To start the fire, add tinder in the center or add a fire starting tab.

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Now enjoy your primitive caveman pride and reminder that fire is important!

EDC backpack Knife

A Guide to choosing the right Knife; EDC Knife

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Karambit, Tanto, or a Spear point? Confused? Let Alpha Outpost show you an overview of everyday carry knives. In this guide, we will talk about strengths and weaknesses of each. Since, knife shapes are intended for specific purposes, it is good to familiarize yourself with the following knife types to better prepare yourself for outdoor adventures, everyday applications, and survival situations.

 

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Karambit Knife

The Karambit Knife is a curved multi-use knife designed for protection, preciseness, and efficiency. It has a curved blade, comfortable handle, and usually includes at least one safety ring.

Strengths: Precision, Control, Stability, Leverage

Weaknesses: Maneuverability, Reach

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Tanto Knife

A Tanto knife has a chisel point that is thick towards the point which makes it quite strong. This design is very similar to the points on most Japanese swords. (wakizashi and katana).

Strengths: Strong Point, Great for piercing, and stabbing.

Weaknesses: No cutting edge belly, (belly increases the knife’s ability to both slice and slash), Hard control point.

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Spear Point

A spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. They can be single or double edged, although most forms of the spear point knife come with a double-edged design.

Strengths: Strong symmetrical point, Sharp on both sides (if doubled edge), Precise, good control

Weaknesses: Small cutting, not well suited for slicing and slashing

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Drop Point

A drop point knife has a curved blade and an unsharpened back. The back of the knife tracks to the point in a slow curved style, slightly resembling a spear point knife. Mostly used by hunters because of large belly blade.

Strengths: Control, Strong tip,

Weaknesses: Not as sharp point, Not suited for piercing

 

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Clip Point

This blade is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The back of the knife runs straight from the handle and stops about halfway through the knife. Then, it continues down towards the point of the knife. This area can be straight or curved, and is referred to as the “clip”. Thus, the name Clip Point.

Strengths: Sharp and controllable point, Piercing strength, Plenty of cutting edge for slicing

Weaknesses: Weak and Narrow Point

 

Conclusion: Ultimately, you want a knife that’s convenient, strong and which will hold a sharp edge. Start there and add features or fancy specs as your budget allows or you desire.

 

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The Snare Trap

Nomenclature of a snare trap

Snares are a great tool for trapping small game. These traps are known to be used in early civilizations as a means of survival. Now we have a more modernized version of these traps that are used by hunters, fur trappers, survivalists, and native people. Snares are, light and easy to carry.

How to set up a snare

1. Anchor your snare

550 cord anchor

The easiest part is anchoring your snare. Use 550 cord, or multipurpose wire, or even a wire coat hanger, and loop it through the swivel. Afterwards, tie it securely around the base of a solid object or tree.

Note: Make sure you always check your surroundings before you set a snare. Are there any pets around that could get caught or even children?

2. Setting your snare

Animal run

The best areas to place snares are next to small well traveled trails. These trails are often called “runs.” These runs often lead to water sources, shelters, nests, and dens.

Positioning of snare

Once you anchor your snare, adjust the head height for your target animal. Make sure you put the loop in an area where it can support itself up.

Remember if the snare is too high up, the targeted animal will crawl right under it.

  • Raccoon – Loop size: 8″- 9″ Snare height: 3″ to 4″
  • Beaver – Loop size 9″ -10″   Snare height 2″ to 3″
  • Bobcat – Loop size 7″ – 8″    Snare height: 10″ to 12″
  • Coyote – Loop size 9″ – 10″  Snare height 9″ to 10″
  • Rabbit –  Loop size 3″ – 4.5″ Snare height 1.5″ to 2.5″

 3.  Monitor your trap

Wishes the magical unicorn baited by candy, don’t be a Wishes

Animals baited in these traps will most likely be expired when you find them caught. The one way lock allows the loop to close around the neck of the animal which quickly causes loss of circulation and a bloodless clean catch.
A quick video on how to set up a snare trap

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Small Game Body Trap and Set-Up

How does a Body Trap work

The Duke 110 body trap is constructed to compress around the animals neck with enough force and quickness to expire an animal while reducing the chance of suffering.

This body trap is composed of 2 metal squares designed to open and close like a jaw. The 110 is composed of one spring for fast trap activation and size of the target animal.

How to set up

1. Extend spring away from the rotating jaws of the trap. Then with one or two hands, compress the spring.

2. While keeping the spring compressed, bring the trap jaws together.

3. Place the dog into the notch of the trigger.

CAUTION: Trap is now fully set. Be careful setting down trap.

Overall, these body traps are easy to use and they’re one of the most popular traps available today. For the beginner trapper or someone who’s been doing it a lifetime, this body trap is a great choice!

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Advantages of Karambit Knife

The Karambit Knife is a curved multi-use knife designed for protection, preciseness, and efficiency. It has a curved blade, comfortable handle, and usually includes at least one safety ring.

Why you should use the Karambit Knife

 

Forward Grip

Strengths: Precision, Control, Stability, Leverage
Weaknesses: Maneuverability, Power, Reach

There are many advantages to handling the Karambit Knife. One of the best advantages is the handle; the handle offers a no-slip grip that makes it a trustworthy safety feature in even the most unfriendly conditions.

Reverse Grip

Strengths: Stability, Leverage, Maneuverability, Power, Control
Weaknesses: Precision, Reach

Further, the Karambit was originally developed as an agricultural and field tool. It can be used for gutting, cleaning, scaling, scoring, slicing ropes, survival situations, and many other functional purposes.

There are many knives out there in the market, but the wide-ranging functionality of the karambit offers countless features. This knife is good for hunters, fisherman, backpackers, rock climbers, spelunkers, field operatives, law enforcement, first responders, search and rescue units, military, preppers, and martial artists. Not only does the karambit fit into tight areas where others knives can’t, but it also provides balance and safety at weird angles, in cramped spaces, and in high-stress situations.

Knife Instructor using Reverse Grip

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