In 1999, survival expert Tim Smith founded the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School in Ashland, Maine. This is a college-accredited, full-immersion wilderness school where students live and learn in the North Woods of Maine from one week to an entire year. It’s the perfect place to hone your friction shooting skills, learn how to build survival shelters, and study the woods.
Smith has been involved in wilderness survival for most of his life, and his resume is impressive. Prior to founding the school, he participated in a 30-day primitive life experience in the Alaskan backcountry; learned wilderness skills from the native Crees of northern Quebec; studied extensively with survival legends like Mors Kochanski; and spent countless days on solo backcountry trips. Smith has also written seven books on survival, bushcraft and the outdoors and has been featured on the Discovery Channel.
In addition to being extremely knowledgeable in the woods, Smith has a master’s degree in education and is a Master Guide from Maine (one of the most difficult guide licenses to obtain in America). People from all over the world travel to learn from him and his fellow instructors. Simply put, Smith has dedicated his life to living and studying survival and bushcraft. That’s why we decided to ask him a few questions.
Q: Most people try to avoid survival situations, but you look for them. How come?
A: I’m drawn to the honesty of the off-grid lifestyle. In the woods, life is so much simpler. There are few problems that cannot be solved with an ax and a knife.
Q: What scares you the most in nature?
A: Immersion in cold water. He is silent, kills quickly, and is a constant danger in the North. When traveling on water, you must have a fire starter in your PFD. If you go for an unexpected swim, head to shore and light a fire to dry off and warm up.
Q: What’s the most unpleasant thing you’ve eaten to stay alive?
A: Does fast food count? On a trip to northern Quebec with some Cree friends, I ate beaver brains and a beaver eyeball one afternoon. Once you get over the disgust, they’re both very good.
Q: It’s disgusting. When beaver brains aren’t on the menu, what’s your favorite survival food?
A: When planning a trip, you should bring the highest calorie foods you can find. My personal preference is the homemade pemmican. There are many recipes, but mine is made with rendered fat, dried meat and salt.
Q: What is the first mistake a person can make when lost in the woods?
A: Keep getting lost. Once you don’t know how to get where you’re going and can’t find your way back to where you started, admit you’re lost. Then sit down, make a fire, make a hot drink, and reassess your situation.
Q: What do you look for in a good survival knife?
A: It’s all about the steel and the grind. The blade steel should be hard enough to hold an edge for a long time. The blade should be ground to a flat bevel that is easy to sharpen and maintain in the field.
Q: Here is a survival scenario: everything is soaked. How do you start a fire?
A: First, find a standing dead tree bigger than you can wrap your hands around. Knock it down and cut off a piece that was at least 10 feet above ground level. Divide this section into small pieces, shave the feathers off the small pieces with a knife, then light the feathers with a match or lighter. The challenge, of course, is finding the right tree.
Q: Which is more useful in a survival situation: duct tape or parachute cord?
A: The cord is more versatile. For example, you can use it to make pot hanging systems to boil water more easily.
Q: What do you keep in your survival kit that might surprise other outdoor enthusiasts?
A: Silk. It’s part of my complete lifestyle.
Q: What advice would you give to a lost outdoorsman to quickly lift their spirits?
A: Keep a photo of a loved one, even a photo of your dog, in your wallet or survival kit. Seeing that friendly face will get you out of your funk and you can start focusing on the quality of the eventual reunion.
#survive #Beaver #Brains