Wild Survival Weapons You can Make
© copyright 2004, by Gary Benton
For some people, the idea of being in the bush without a weapon is very scary. In fact, folks often ask me, "How do you defend yourself?" I always have a chuckle at this the question because I am to "defend myself against what? Wild attacking rabbits, squirrels, or ducks?" Unless a person is attempting to survive in a combat area, the actual need for a weapon for personal protection varies. In most cases no weapon is need at all, unless it is being used to assist the survivor in procuring food or in camp chores. In most of North America the need to have a weapon for protection against wild animals is not very great.
Most critters in the wild know man, and wisely they shy away from us. Nonetheless, we have all seen the television and movie scenes where large packs of wolves, wild dogs, or other animals, attack a campsite. It is pure nonsense. Now, if an animal is rabid though, anything is possible. Oh, I am not saying campsites are never attacked, but when it happens, it is usually by a solitary bear, cougar, or other type of large meat eater. And, they are generally after sources of food (keep a clean campsite), or your horses, not you. And, of course, at times humans can become part of the menu. When I lived in Alaska one danger to many campers, hunters and fishermen was not even a meat eater, but a moose. It is important for you to keep all of this in proper perspective and to have a basic understanding of survival or camping safety. If you don't, you will never have a good night's sleep in the wild.
So, you feel the need for a weapon? I agree it is a good idea to have one, but mainly to kill game caught in snares, traps, or caught cornered. If you feel the need for safety and security and desire to have a large weapon, you can make those as well. A lot of the weapons you make will depend on how and where you ended up in a survival situation. If you are a hunter and become lost, or in some manner are faced with survival, you may have weapons with you. Or, you may not. A lot of different situations can occur in the wilderness. Weapons can be lost or broken.
If you are the survivor of a plane crash, a sinking or overturned boat, (and the boat you were on washed up on shore, you will be in luck.) or a stranded vehicle, you may have more materials to work with. Keep in mind; in cold or hot weather never use the interior of any vehicle for shelter. It will be to hot or too cold. The wings of an aircraft will provide you with shade and protection from the sun. But, vehicles can provide you with many items to make tools, weapons, and other needed items. The weapons you can make from wreckage or a stranded vehicle will be limited only by your imagination. Without any wreckage the task of making weapons is harder, but not all that difficult.
Almost anything around you can become a weapon. Those of you who have attended self-defense classes know that a pencil, car key, bottle, book, comb, or even a thumb can become effective weapons. Regardless of the type of weapon you may want, you will be limited by the sources around you. In some areas you may not have many stones, rocks, or even wood (arctic conditions north of the tree line). In other survival situations you may not even be on land, you may be at sea. In all cases, look around and take inventory of all of your equipment. I have known survivors to use the sharp edges from a ration can to make a crude knife to gut fish with. I have known others who used a sharpened belt buckle to cut with, and still others who field dressed small game with their teeth. You have weapons all around you, so look for them. Keep your imagination active at all times.
One of the most handy survival weapons is a simple club. It is very useful in killing small game and for general camp use. It is simple to make and can be constructed of many different materials. Using a forked piece of green limb (hard wood works the best), a large rock or piece of bone, and some vine, wire, or rope, you can make a club in next to no time (I always carry about 25 feet of parachute 550 cord in my survival kit).
Make sure the limb has a Y section on it and fit the rock into this section (See the club illustration), then secure the stone or bone in place using wire, rope, cord, vine, or wet rawhide. Wet rawhide is the best because it will shrink as it dries and holds the stone securely in place.
A simple knife for stabbing with can be made from pieces of bone or from an antler. Just break off or locate a piece that is large enough to hold securely and has a sharp point. While you will not be able to cut with it, it can be used to stab with. Or, you can use a sharp tipped piece of wood (See the knife illustration).
If you need a knife to cut with, consider using sharp edged bones, hard stone, metal from a wreckage, wood, or even glass for the blade. In a survival situation you may have to use what you can find to make tools and weapons with. Almost any sharp edge from any hard material can be used. If you want to take the time to make an affective knife, use the illustrations with this article as a guide. Find a piece of green hard wood, split it slightly, insert your blade, and then wrap the handle tightly. Once again, wet rawhide makes the best wrap because it shrinks when it dries and will hold the blade firmly in place. (See the knife illustrations)
Another weapon that is easy to make is a spear. It is very useful in killing any game you don't want to touch or get too close to. An example might be a snake, porcupine, or any injury causing animals. In injury causing category remember horns, antlers, teeth, fangs, and hooves can all cause injuries. A spear can be made as simply as sharpening the end of long green piece of wood and hardening it in a fire. Or, you can attach a blade point using the same types of materials you used for your knife blade. And, the spear point can be attached exactly like your knife blade was, using wire, vine, string, cord, or wet rawhide (See the spear illustration). An easier way to attach a point to a spear shaft is to simply tie it one. Place a knife parallel to and tightly up against the shaft of the spear. Then lash it on securely.
Two more weapons that you can make, and use mainly against small game, are the slingshot and bola (See the illustrations).
For the slingshot you start by cutting a Y shaped piece of green wood, cutting two strips of rubber (from a tire or rubber tubing) about eight inches long, and a pouch that can be made from cloth or leather. Secure the two strips of rubber on both sides of the Y on the wood near the top, tie the pouch to the open ends of the rubber strips, and you now have a weapon. You can use small pebbles as ammo. I assure you with practice you can procure a bird or rabbit for dinner. A hint here, use two or three small pebbles when you shoot (makes it more likely to hit a target).
The bola is much more difficult to use but is simple to make. Tie all three ends of the pieces of string or cord (I use parachute 550 cord) together at one end. At the other ends, tie a stone on each piece of line. You now have three cords with a stone on each end that meets and is secured at the other end (See the bola illustration). To use the bola, grasp the tied end, twirl it over your head, release it toward your target. Once you release the bola, it opens up and covers a very wide path. While it is very effective against birds, it can also wrap around the legs of larger game and trip it. Then, using your newly made spear and knife, you can kill it and process the meat.
While the making and using of primitive weapons takes some time, it can be done. I suggest using your spear to stab with, not throwing. If you only have one spear and your throw it, what do you do if the animal turns on you? Do not throw the only weapon you have available, keep it in your hands. Plus, depending on the type of blade your spear has, you may break it. These same weapons were used by early man many years ago and they were deadly in the hands of a person who knew how to use them. The Native North Americans kept their families alive with such weapons by providing both food and protection. If others can do it, so can you.
There are unlimited sources around most survivors for use as weapons. Keep in mind that some of these sources may not be recognized as such by most survivors. Bone, glass, and rough metals, stones, antlers, horns, and other materials can be modified for use as weapons. Keep your survival mind active and evaluating all material at hand. I realize there may be many more different types of weapons made from natural materials, but as usual, my purpose for writing this article was to stimulate you thoughts. I want you to think about making weapons from materials you have on hand. Some of the weapons I have explained here can be done in many different, and perhaps better ways. I have only shown you the basic methods.
Good luck and I hope to see you on natures trail soon.