5 Wilderness Survival Beliefs That Just Aren’t True

Mark Twain is quoted as having said “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  So true.

Now this might not matter in the least if we are talking about a song.  Just recently I heard someone singing an old song with the incorrect lyrics.  They had probably been singing that song along with the radio for 30 or more years and they were using the wrong words.  No biggie.  As long as you enjoy the music, and more power to you for singing, too.

But given a SHTF or survival scenario, we are talking a different order of magnitude when it comes to possible negative consequences.  Ask A Prepper shares several survival rules that are actually myths.

Myth 1: Living off the land is easy: basic necessities are everywhere

Survival shows have especially made this myth take off. The concept that whatever danger you find yourself in, there is a fairly straightforward way out (as long as you have the right knowledge) is a hot seller right now. However, living off the land in the wild is not as easy as it seems on T.V.

Shelter may be needed immediately, and if you don’t know how to find the right materials and get yourself set up in short order, you could be done for.

Myth 2: Food and water are everywhere, you just need to know how to find them

Related to the first myth, the idea that it is easy to find food and water in the wilderness is perpetuated by the ease in which television survival experts seem to find their meals. You may notice, however, that none of these experts are in the wilderness for significant periods of time in these shows.

On top of that, unless you are an expert in plant identification, there is a chance you will poison yourself with a look-alike. Likewise, it is unlikely that you will promptly find wild game and be able to hunt it and process it without the right skills and tools.

Water can be equally challenging to find, especially clean water. You may have a good drink and then end up losing all that hydration and more through diarrhea and vomiting if the water source is contaminated.

Better to go into the wild prepared with survival rations and a good water filter, as well as extensive knowledge of wild foods high in calories, including where to find them in a given ecosystem, and when they are available.

Myth 3: You must find food immediately when lost in the wild

You can survive up to 6 weeks without food, so this should not be your top priority when you are lost in the wilderness. Instead you should be looking for shelter and water, and the order of importance depends on the situation you are in.

Quite often, shelter may be first. If you are in a blizzard in the mountains, for example, or even in a mildly cool night area, the energy you lose trying to stay warm and comfortable can easily do you in, so shelter, and possibly fire, are your first priorities.

If you are in an exceedingly sunny and hot climate with no shade, shelter will be equally important to maintain hydration and health. If you are in a stable climate with optimal temperatures (including at night), no rain, and plenty of shaded space, water may be your first priority. Only when these two necessities are taken care of should you turn your attention to food.

Myth 4: Starting a fire is as easy as rubbing sticks or banging rocks together

Starting friction fires or fires from sparks created by banging rocks together is not easy and requires a lot of practice to get the hang of, and even then is not possible without the right conditions and materials. Starting a fire with any technique can be difficult in damp or windy conditions even for a seasoned expert with the right materials.

Myth 5: Play dead during a bear attack

If you do see a bear or other predator such as a mountain lion, do not play dead as a first line of defense. Instead, try to make yourself look bigger by opening up your jacket and extending it to your sides, stand tall and make lots of noise. Only if you are already being mauled and there is no hope of fighting back (ideally with a hard or sharp object to the eyes and nose) should you consider playing dead in hopes that the bear will no longer see you as a threat. Even then, your only hope is that the bear isn’t hungry and was simply trying to neutralize a threat.

Thanks for setting us straight:

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