Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Psychology of Survival

It takes much more than the knowledge and skills to build shelters, get food, make fires, and travel without the aid of standard navigational devices to live successfully through a survival situation. Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is the mental attitude of the individual(s) involved. Having survival skills is important; having the will to survive is essential.
                                                                                                                             *(image thanks to:

 "There is a psychology to survival."

The person in a survival environment faces many stresses that ultimately impact on his mind. These stresses can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, seemingly well-trained individual into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive. Thus, every individual must be aware of and be able to recognize those stresses commonly associated with survival. Additionally, it is imperative that outdoor adventurers be aware of their reactions to the wide variety of stresses associated with survival. The below points of interest will identify and explain the nature of stress, the stresses of survival, and those internal reactions men and women will naturally experience when faced with the stresses of a real-world survival situation. The knowledge you, the explorer, gain from this chapter and other chapters in this manual, will prepare you to come through the toughest times alive.


Before we can understand our psychological reactions in a survival setting, it is helpful to first know a little bit about stress.
Stress is not a disease that you cure and eliminate. Instead, it is a condition we all experience. Stress can be described as our reaction to pressure. It is the name given to the experience we have as we physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually respond to life's tensions.

The Need for Stress
We need stress because it has many positive benefits. Stress provides us with challenges; it gives us chances to learn about our values and strengths. Stress can show our ability to handle pressure without breaking; it tests our adaptability and flexibility; it can stimulate us to do our best. Because we usually do not consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event--in other words, it highlights what is important to us.

We need to have some stress in our lives, but too much of anything can be bad. The goal is to have stress, but not an excess of it. Too much stress can take its toll on people and organizations. Too much stress leads to distress. Distress causes an uncomfortable tension that we try to escape and, preferably, avoid. Listed below are a few of the common signs of distress you may find in your fellow soldiers or yourself when faced with too much stress:                                                                         
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Angry outbursts.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Low energy level.
  • Constant worrying.
  • Propensity for mistakes.
  • Thoughts about death or suicide.
  • Trouble getting along with others.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Hiding from responsibilities.
  • Carelessness.

As you can see, stress can be constructive or destructive. It can encourage or discourage, move us along or stop us dead in our tracks, and make life meaningful or seemingly meaningless. Stress can inspire you to operate successfully and perform at your maximum efficiency in a survival situation. It can also cause you to panic and forget all your training. Key to your survival is your ability to manage the inevitable stresses you will encounter. The survivor is the soldier who works with his stresses instead of letting his stresses work on him.

Survival Stressors
Any event can lead to stress and, as everyone has experienced, events don't always come one at a time. Often, stressful events occur simultaneously. These events are not stress, but they produce it and are called "stressors." Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stressor, it then begins to act to protect itself.

In response to a stressor, the body prepares either to "fight or flee." This preparation involves an internal SOS sent throughout the body. As the body responds to this SOS, several actions take place. The body releases stored fuels (sugar and fats) to provide quick energy; breathing rate increases to supply more oxygen to the blood; muscle tension increases to prepare for action; blood clotting mechanisms are activated to reduce bleeding from cuts; senses become more acute (hearing becomes more sensitive, eyes become big, smell becomes sharper) so that you are more aware of your surrounding and heart rate and blood pressure rise to provide more blood to the muscles. This protective posture lets a person cope with potential dangers; however, a person cannot maintain such a level of alertness indefinitely.
Stressors are not courteous; one stressor does not leave because another one arrives. Stressors add up. The cumulative effect of minor stressors can be a major distress if they all happen too close together. As the body's resistance to stress wears down and the sources of stress continue (or increase), eventually a state of exhaustion arrives. At this point, the ability to resist stress or use it in a positive way gives out and signs of distress appear. Anticipating stressors and developing strategies to cope with them are two ingredients in the effective management of stress. It is therefore essential that the soldier in a survival setting be aware of the types of stressors he will encounter. Let's take a look at a few of these.
Injury, Illness, or Death
Injury, illness, and death are real possibilities a survivor has to face. Perhaps nothing is more stressful than being alone in an unfamiliar environment where you could die from hostile action, an accident, or from eating something lethal. Illness and injury can also add to stress by limiting your ability to maneuver, get food and drink, find shelter, and defend yourself. Even if illness and injury don't lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate. It is only by con-trolling the stress associated with the vulnerability to injury, illness, and death that a soldier can have the courage to take the risks associated with survival tasks.
Uncertainly and Lack of Control
Some people have trouble operating in settings where everything is not clear-cut. The only guarantee in a survival situation is that nothing is guaranteed. It can be extremely stressful operating on limited information in a setting where you have limited control of your surroundings. This uncertainty and lack of control also add to the stress of being ill, injured, or killed.
Even under the most ideal circumstances, nature is quite formidable. In survival, a person will have to contend with the stressors of weather, terrain, and the variety of creatures inhabiting an area. Heat, cold, rain, winds, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles, and other animals are just a few of the challenges awaiting the soldier working to survive. Depending on how an individual handles the stress of his environment, his surroundings can be either a source of food and protection or can be a cause of extreme discomfort leading to injury, illness, or death.
Hunger and Thirst
Without food and water a person will weaken and eventually die. Thus, getting and preserving food and water takes on increasing importance as the length of time in a survival setting increases. For a soldier used to having his provisions issued, foraging can be a big source of stress.
Forcing yourself to continue surviving is not easy as you grow more tired. It is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful in itself.

There are some advantages to facing adversity with others. As explorers we learn individual skills, but we train to function as part of a team. Although we complain about base camp, we become used to the information and guidance it provides, especially during times of confusion. Being in contact with others also provides a greater sense of security and a feeling someone is available to help if problems occur. A significant stressor in survival situations is that often a person or team has to rely solely on its own resources.

The survival stressors mentioned in this section are by no means the only ones you may face. Remember, what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Your experiences, training, personal outlook on life, physical and mental conditioning, and level of self-confidence contribute to what you will find stressful in a survival environment. The object is not to avoid stress, but rather to manage the stressors of survival and make them work for you.
You should now have a general knowledge of stress and the stressors common to survival; the next step is to examine our reactions to the stressors we may face.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Desert Survival- Know the dangers of your surroundings Part 2 - 2 & *

( Cont. - From page 1 ) *includes insects brief at bttm

To survive and evade in arid or desert areas, you must understand and prepare for the environment you will face. You must determine your equipment needs, the tactics you will use, and how the environment will affect you and your tactics. Your survival will depend upon your knowledge of the terrain, basic climatic elements, your ability to cope with these elements, and your will to survive.


In a desert survival and evasion situation, it is unlikely that you will have a medic or medical supplies with you to treat heat injuries. Therefore, take extra care to avoid heat injuries. Rest during the day. Work during the cool evenings and nights. Use a buddy system to watch for heat injury, and observe the following guidelines:
  • Make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Watch for signs of heat injury. If someone complains of tiredness or wanders away from the group, he may be a heat casualty.
  • Drink water at least once an hour.
  • Get in the shade when resting; do not lie directly on the ground.
  • Do not take off your shirt and work during the day.
  • Check the color of your urine. A light color means you are drinking enough water, a dark color means you need to drink more. 


There are several hazards unique to desert survival. These include insects, snakes, thorned plants and cacti, contaminated water, sunburn, eye irritation, and climatic stress.
Insects of almost every type abound in the desert. Man, as a source of water and food, attracts lice, mites, wasps, and flies. They are extremely unpleasant and may carry diseases. Old buildings, ruins, and caves are favorite habitats of spiders, scorpions, centipedes, lice, and mites. These areas provide protection from the elements and also attract other wild-life. Therefore, take extra care when staying in these areas. Wear gloves at all times in the desert. Do not place your hands anywhere without first looking to see what is there. Visually inspect an area before sitting or lying down. When you get up, shake out and inspect your boots and clothing. All desert areas have snakes. They inhabit ruins, native villages, garbage dumps, caves, and natural rock outcropping that offer shade. Never go barefoot or walk through these areas without carefully inspecting them for snakes. Pay attention to where you place your feet and hands. Most snakebites result from stepping on or handling snakes. Avoid them. Once you see a snake, give it a wide berth.
 *(see snakes of the desert - previous post - 11-09)* 

"Insects and Arachnids of the Desert"
Insects are often overlooked as a danger to the survivor. More people in the United States die each year from bee stings, and resulting anaphylactic shock, than from snake bites. A few other insects are venomous enough to kill, but often the greatest danger is the transmission of disease.

ScorpionScorpionidae order
Description: Dull brown, yellow, or black. Have 7.5- to 20-centimeter long lobsterlike pincers andjointed tail usually held over the back. There are 800 species of scorpions.
Habitat: Decaying matter, under debris, logs, and rocks. Feeds at night. Sometimes hides in boots.
Distribution: Worldwide in temperate, arid, and tropical regions.
Scorpions sting with their tails, causing local pain, swelling, possible incapacitation, and death.And when it comes to scorpion stings SMALLER ones are bad ju ju ! Venom potency - Big is better - Smaller ones seem to be more venomous not the other way around.

"Brown house spider or brown" recluse spider
Laxosceles reclusa
Description: Brown to black with obvious "fiddle" on back of head and thorax. Chunky body with long, slim legs 2.5 to 4 centimeters long.
Habitat: Under debris, rocks, and logs. In caves and dark places. 
Distribution: North America.

Funnelweb spider
Atrax species (A. robustus, A. formidablis)
Description: Large, brown, bulky spiders. Aggressive when disturbed.
Habitat: Woods, jungles, and brushy areas. Web has a funnellike opening.
Distribution: Australia. (Other nonvenemous species worldwide.)

Theraphosidae and Lycosa species
Description: Very large, brown, black, reddish, hairy spiders. Large fangs inflict painful bite.
Habitat: Desert areas, tropics.
Typically, in the southwestern United States, tarantulas live in solitude in desert basins, mountain foothills and forested slopes. They occupy various kinds of nests, with many species taking up residence in burrows or crevices, which may be sequestered in the ground, along cliff faces, among rocks, under tree bark, or between tree roots. Some line the burrow with silk. Some surround the entrance with a silken "welcoming mat," which vibrates like guitar strings, sending signals to the spider, cloistered in its burrow, if potential prey should touch the strands. "A tarantula will attack literally anything that it can subdue: beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, other spider, small lizards and mice,"Distribution: Western Americas, Southern Europe.

Widow spider
Latrodectus species
Description: Dark spiders with light red or orange markings on female's abdomen.
Habitat: Under logs, rocks, and debris. In shaded places.
he female black widow is easily recognized by her shiny black body and red hourglass marking underneath her round abdomen. Although black widows can be found in nearly every state they are most common in the southern areas of the United States. The black widow makes her home in wood piles, under eaves, and other undisturbed places. The bite of a black widow can be serious and require medical attention. Symptoms include pain radiating from the site of the bite, nausea, overall aching of the body, profuse sweating, and labored breathing.Distribution: Varied species worldwide. Black widow in United States, red widow in Middle East, and brown widow in Australia.
Note: Females are the poisonous gender. Red Widow in the Middle East is the only spider known to be deadly to man.

Description: Multijoined body to 30 centimeters long. Dull orange to brown, with black point eyes at the base of the antenna. There are 2,800 species worldwide.
Habitat: Under bark and stones by day. Active at night.
Distribution: Worldwide.


Description: Insect with brown or black, hairy bodies. Generally found in colonies. Many buil wax combs.
Habitat: Hollow trees, caves, dwellings. Near water in desert areas.
Distribution: Worldwide.
Note: Bees have barbed stingers and die after stinging because their venom sac and internal organs are pulled out during the attack.

Wasps and Hornets

Description: Generally smooth bodied, slender stinging insects. Many nest individually in mud nests or in paper nest colonies. Smooth stinger permits multiple attacks. There are several hundred species worldwide.
Habitat: May be found anywhere in various species.
Distribution: Worldwide.

: An exception to general appearance is the velvet ant of the southern United States. It is a flightless wasp with red and black alternating velvety bands.


Desert Survival - Know the elements of your surroundings Part 1- 2

To survive and evade in arid or desert areas, you must understand and prepare for the environment you will face. You must determine your equipment needs, the tactics you will use, and how the environment will affect you and your tactics. Your survival will depend upon your knowledge of the terrain, basic climatic elements, your ability to cope with these elements, and your will to survive. 


Most arid areas have several types of terrain. The five basic desert terrain types are--
  • Mountainous (High Altitude).
  • Rocky plateau.
  • Sand dunes.
  • Salt marshes.
  • Broken, dissected terrain ("gebel" or "wadi").
Desert terrain makes movement difficult and demanding. Land navigation will be extremely difficult as there may be very few landmarks. Cover and concealment may be very limited; therefore, the threat of exposure to the enemy remains constant.

Mountain Deserts

Scattered ranges or areas of barren hills or mountains separated by dry, flat basins characterize mountain deserts. High ground may rise gradually or abruptly from flat areas to several thousand meters above sea level. Most of the infrequent rainfall occurs on high ground and runs off rapidly in the form of flash floods. These floodwaters erode deep gullies and ravines and deposit sand and gravel around the edges of the basins. Water rapidly evaporates, leaving the land as barren as before, although there may be short-lived vegetation. If enough water enters the basin to compensate for the rate of evaporation, shallow lakes may develop, such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah, or the Dead Sea. Most of these lakes have a high salt content.

Rocky Plateau Deserts

Rocky plateau deserts have relatively slight relief interspersed with extensive flat areas with quantities of solid or broken rock at or near the surface. There may be steep-walled, eroded valleys, known as wadis in the Middle East and arroyos or canyons in the United States and Mexico. Although their flat bottoms may be superficially attractive as assembly areas, the narrower valleys can be extremely dangerous to men and material due to flash flooding after rains. The Golan Heights is an example of a rocky plateau desert.

Sandy or Dune Deserts

Sandy or dune deserts are extensive flat areas covered with sand or gravel. "Flat" is a relative term, as some areas may contain sand dunes that are over 300 meters high and 16 to 24 kilometers long. Trafficability in such terrain will depend on the windward or leeward slope of the dunes and the texture of the sand. Other areas, however, may be flat for 3,000 meters and more.
Plant life may vary from none to scrub over 2 meters high. Examples of this type of desert include the edges of the Sahara, the empty quarter of the Arabian Desert, areas of California and New Mexico, and the Kalahari in South Africa.

Salt Marshes

Salt marshes are flat, desolate areas, sometimes studded with clumps of grass but devoid of other vegetation. They occur in arid areas where rainwater has collected, evaporated, and left large deposits of alkali salts and water with a high salt concentration.
The water is so salty it is undrinkable. A crust that may be 2.5 to 30 centimeters thick forms over the saltwater.
In arid areas there are salt marshes hundreds of kilometers square. These areas usually support many insects, most of which bite. Avoid salt marshes. This type of terrain is highly corrosive to boots, clothing, and skin. A good example is the Shat-el-Arab waterway along the Iran-Iraq border.

Broken Terrain

All arid areas contain broken or highly dissected terrain. Rainstorms that erode soft sand and carve out canyons form this terrain. A wadi may range from 3 meters wide and 2 meters deep to several hundred meters wide and deep. The direction it takes varies as much as its width and depth. It twists and turns and forms a maze like pattern. A wadi will give you good cover and concealment, but do not try to move through it because it is very difficult terrain to negotiate.


Surviving and evading the enemy in an arid area depends on what you know and how prepared you are for the environmental conditions you will face. Determine what equipment you will need, the tactics you will use, and the environment's impact on them and you.
In a desert area there are seven environmental factors that you must consider--
  • Low rainfall.
  • Intense sunlight and heat.
  • Wide temperature range.
  • Sparse vegetation.
  • High mineral content near ground surface.
  • Sandstorms.
  • Mirages.

Low Rainfall

Low rainfall is the most obvious environmental factor in an arid area. Some desert areas receive less than 10 centimeters of rain annually, and this rain comes in brief torrents that quickly run off the ground surface. You cannot survive long without water in high desert temperatures. In a desert survival situation, you must first consider "How much water do I have?" and "Where are other water sources?"

Intense Sunlight and Heat

Intense sunlight and heat are present in all arid areas. Air temperature can rise as high as 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) during the day. Heat gain results from direct sunlight, hot blowing winds, reflective heat (the sun's rays bouncing off the sand), and conductive heat from direct contact with the desert sand and rock (see picture below).

The temperature of desert sand and rock averages 16 to 22 degrees C (30 to 40 degrees F) more than that of the air. For instance, when the air temperature is 43 degrees C (110 degrees F), the sand temperature may be 60 degrees C (140 degrees F).
Intense sunlight and heat increase the body's need for water. To conserve your body fluids and energy, you will need a shelter to reduce your exposure to the heat of the day. Travel at night to lessen your use of water.
Radios and sensitive items of equipment exposed to direct intense sunlight will malfunction.

Wide Temperature Range

Temperatures in arid areas may get as high as 55 degrees C during the day and as low as 10 degrees C during the night. The drop in temperature at night occurs rapidly and will chill a person who lacks warm clothing and is unable to move about. The cool evenings and nights are the best times to work or travel. If your plan is to rest at night, you will find a wool sweater, long underwear, and a wool stocking cap extremely helpful.

Sparse Vegetation

Vegetation is sparse in arid areas. You will therefore have trouble finding shelter and camouflaging your movements. During daylight hours large areas of terrain are visible and easily controlled by a small opposing force.
If traveling in hostile territory, follow the principles of desert camouflage--
  • Hide or seek shelter in dry washes (wadis) with thicker growths of vegetation and cover from oblique observation.
  • Use the shadows cast from brush, rocks, or outcropping. The temperature in shaded areas will be 11 to 17 degrees C cooler than the air temperature.
  • Cover objects that will reflect the light from the sun.
Before moving, survey the area for sites that provide cover and concealment. You will have trouble estimating distance. The emptiness of desert terrain causes most people to underestimate distance by a factor of three: What appears to be 1 kilometer away is really 3 kilometers away.

High Mineral Content

All arid regions have areas where the surface soil has a high mineral content (borax, salt, alkali, and lime). Material in contact with this soil wears out quickly, and water in these areas is extremely hard and undrinkable. Wetting your uniform in such water to cool off may cause a skin rash. The Great Salt Lake area in Utah is an example of this type of mineral-laden water and soil. There is little or no plant life; there-fore, shelter is hard to find. Avoid these areas if possible.


Sandstorms (sand-laden winds) occur frequently in most deserts. The "Seistan" desert wind in Iran and Afghanistan blows constantly for up to 120 days. Within Saudi Arabia, winds average 3.2 to 4.8 kilometers per hour (kph) and can reach 112 to 128 kph in early afternoon. Expect major sandstorms and dust storms at least once a week.
The greatest danger is getting lost in a swirling wall of sand. Wear goggles and cover your mouth and nose with cloth. If natural shelter is unavailable, mark your direction of travel, lie down, and sit out the storm.
Dust and wind-blown sand interfere with radio transmissions. Therefore, be ready to use other means for signaling, such as pyrotechnics, signal mirrors, or marker panels, if available.


Mirages are optical phenomena caused by the refraction of light through heated air rising from a sandy or stony surface. They occur in the interior of the desert about 10 kilometers from the coast. They make objects that are 1.5 kilometers or more away appear to move.
This mirage effect makes it difficult for you to identify an object from a distance. It also blurs distant range contours so much that you feel surrounded by a sheet of water from which elevations stand out as "islands."
The mirage effect makes it hard for a person to identify targets, estimate range, and see objects clearly. However, if you can get to high ground (3 meters or more above the desert floor), you can get above the superheated air close to the ground and overcome the mirage effect. Mirages make land navigation difficult because they obscure natural features. You can survey the area at dawn, dusk, or by moonlight when there is little likelihood of mirage.
Light levels in desert areas are more intense than in other geographic areas. Moonlit nights are usually crystal clear, winds die down, haze and glare disappear, and visibility is excellent. You can see lights, red flash-lights, and blackout lights at great distances. Sound carries very far.
Conversely, during nights with little moonlight, visibility is extremely poor. Traveling is extremely hazardous. You must avoid getting lost, falling into ravines, or stumbling into enemy positions. Movement during such a night is practical only if you have a compass and have spent the day in a shelter, resting, observing and memorizing the terrain, and selecting your route.


The subject of man and water in the desert has generated considerable interest and confusion since the early days of World War II when the U. S. Army was preparing to fight in North Africa. At one time the U. S. Army thought it could condition men to do with less water by progressively reducing their water supplies during training. They called it water discipline. It caused hundreds of heat casualties.
A key factor in desert survival is understanding the relationship between physical activity, air temperature, and water consumption. The body requires a certain amount of water for a certain level of activity at a certain temperature. For example, a person performing hard work in the sun at 43 degrees C requires 19 liters of water daily. Lack of the required amount of water causes a rapid decline in an individual's ability to make decisions and to perform tasks efficiently.
Your body's normal temperature is 36.9 degrees C (98.6 degrees F). Your body gets rid of excess heat (cools off) by sweating. The warmer your body becomes--whether caused by work, exercise, or air temperature--the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more moisture you lose. Sweating is the principal cause of water loss. If a person stops sweating during periods of high air temperature and heavy work or exercise, he will quickly develop heat stroke. This is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Figure 13-2 shows daily water requirements for various levels of work. Understanding how the air temperature and your physical activity affect your water requirements allows you to take measures to get the most from your water supply. These measures are--
  • Find shade! Get out of the sun!
  • Place something between you and the hot ground.
  • Limit your movements!
  • Conserve your sweat. Wear your complete uniform to include T-shirt. Roll the sleeves down, cover your head, and protect your neck with a scarf or similar item. These steps will protect your body from hot-blowing winds and the direct rays of the sun. Your clothing will absorb your sweat, keeping it against your skin so that you gain its full cooling effect. By staying in the shade quietly, fully clothed, not talking, keeping your mouth closed, and breathing through your nose, your water requirement for survival drops dramatically.
  • If water is scarce, do not eat. Food requires water for digestion; therefore, eating food will use water that you need for cooling.

Thirst is not a reliable guide for your need for water. A person who uses thirst as a guide will drink only two-thirds of his daily water requirement. To prevent this "voluntary" dehydration, use the following guide:
  • At temperatures below 38 degrees C, drink 0.5 liter of water every hour.
  • At temperatures above 38 degrees C, drink 1 liter of water every hour.
Drinking water at regular intervals helps your body remain cool and decreases sweating. Even when your water supply is low, sipping water constantly will keep your body cooler and reduce water loss through sweating. Conserve your fluids by reducing activity during the heat of day. Do not ration your water! If you try to ration water, you stand a good chance of becoming a heat casualty.


Your chances of becoming a heat casualty as a survivor are great, due to injury, stress, and lack of critical items of equipment. Following are the major types of heat casualties and their treatment when little water and no medical help are available.

Heat Cramps

The loss of salt due to excessive sweating causes heat cramps. Symptoms are moderate to severe muscle cramps in legs, arms, or abdomen. These symptoms may start as a mild muscular discomfort. You should now stop all activity, get in the shade, and drink water. If you fail to recognize the early symptoms and continue your physical activity, you will have severe muscle cramps and pain. Treat as for heat exhaustion, below.

Heat Exhaustion

A large loss of body water and salt causes heat exhaustion. Symptoms are headache, mental confusion, irritability, excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, cramps, and pale, moist, cold (clammy) skin. Immediately get the patient under shade. Make him lie on a stretcher or similar item about 45 centimeters off the ground. Loosen his clothing. Sprinkle him with water and fan him. Have him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes. Ensure he stays quiet and rests.

Heat Stroke

A severe heat injury caused by extreme loss of water and salt and the body's inability to cool itself. The patient may die if not cooled immediately. Symptoms are the lack of sweat, hot and dry skin, headache, dizziness, fast pulse, nausea and vomiting, and mental confusion leading to unconsciousness. Immediately get the person to shade. Lay him on a stretcher or similar item about 45 centimeters off the ground. Loosen his clothing. Pour water on him (it does not matter if the water is polluted or brackish) and fan him. Massage his arms, legs, and body. If he regains consciousness, let him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes.

(SEE page 2 of 2 for Cont. and "Dangerous Desert Insects and Arachnids*)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Extreme Cold - Skiing - Frostbite and First Aid in an Emergency

Often times when adventuring in the extreme cold climates; Be it skiing or hiking,  the cold can unexpectedly be a killer. Lets share some of the various main stream, 1.2.3.'s on self preservation methods for surviving extreme cold weather exposure & suffering. Many of the links here are to assist you in being prepared. When possible links are added to give credit and assist you in learning all you can to be better informed to save yourself a life threatening situation when on your own in the wild.

*"ALWAYS TRY TO BE PREPARED" for as many potential disasters as is possible "BEFORE" they occur. The best prevention is education, the proper gear / supplies and your knowledge of the elements and geographical location you intend to explore. STAY ALERT!!! Mother nature is not forgiving. In the wild, YOU, are your first best line of defense.!!!*

It is more difficult for you to satisfy your basic water, food, and shelter needs in a cold environment than in a warm environment. Even if you have the basic requirements, you must also have adequate protective clothing and the will to survive. The will to survive is as important as the basic needs. There have been incidents when trained and well-equipped individuals have not survived cold weather situations because they lacked the will to live. Conversely, this will has sustained individuals less well-trained and equipped.

There are many different items of cold weather equipment and clothing available on the market.
Specialized cold weather, lightweight gear such as polypropylene underwear,
GORE-TEX outerwear and boots, and other special equipment will provide the best protection and pack the easiest while wearing the most comfortable.  Remember, that your older gear will keep you warm as long as you apply a few cold weather principles. If the newer types of clothing are available, use them. If not, then your clothing should be of a high wool content or blend, with the exception of a windbreaker or outer layers which should be water proofed and weather resistent.

You must not only have enough clothing to protect you from the cold, you must also know how to maximize the warmth you get from it. For example, always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. Because there is much blood circulation in the head, most of which is on the surface, you can lose heat quickly if you do not cover your head.

There are four basic principles to follow to keep warm. An easy way to remember these basic principles is to use the word COLD--
C -  Keep clothing clean.
O -  Avoid overheating.
L -  Wear clothes loose and in layers.
D -  Keep clothing dry.
C -
Keep clothing clean. This principle is always important for sanitation and comfort. In winter, it is also important from the standpoint of warmth. Clothes matted with dirt and grease lose much of their insulation value. Heat can escape more easily from the body through the clothing's crushed or filled up air pockets.
O -
Avoid overheating. When you get too hot, you sweat and your clothing absorbs the moisture. This affects your warmth in two ways: dampness decreases the insulation quality of clothing, and as sweat evaporates, your body cools. Adjust your clothing so that you do not sweat. Do this by partially opening your parka or jacket, by removing an inner layer of clothing, by removing heavy outer mittens, or by throwing back your parka hood or changing to lighter headgear. The head and hands act as efficient heat dissipaters when overheated.
L -
Wear your clothing loose and in layers. Wearing tight clothing and foot gear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injury. It also decreases the volume of air trapped between the layers, reducing its insulating value. Several layers of lightweight clothing are better than one equally thick layer of clothing, because the layers have dead-air space between them. The dead-air space provides extra insulation. Also, layers of clothing allow you to take off or add clothing layers to prevent excessive sweating or to increase warmth.
D -
Keep clothing dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and frost melted by body heat. Wear water repellent outer clothing, if available. It will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. Before entering a heated shelter, brush off the snow and frost. Despite the precautions you take, there will be times when you cannot keep from getting wet. At such times, drying your clothing may become a major problem. On the march, hang your damp mittens and socks on your rucksack. Sometimes in freezing temperatures, the wind and sun will dry this clothing. You can also place damp socks or mittens, unfolded, near your body so that your body heat can dry them. In a campsite, hang damp clothing inside the shelter near the top, using drying lines or improvised racks. You may even be able to dry each item by holding it before an open fire. Dry leather items slowly. If no other means are available for drying your boots, put them between your sleeping bag shell and liner. Your body heat will help to dry the leather.

A heavy, down-lined sleeping bag is a valuable piece of survival gear in cold weather. Ensure the down remains dry. If wet, it loses a lot of its insulation value. If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can make one out of parachute cloth or similar material and natural dry material, such as leaves, pine needles, or moss. Place the dry material between two layers of the material.

Other important survival items are a knife; waterproof matches in a waterproof container, preferably one with a flint attached; a durable compass; map; watch; waterproof ground cloth and cover; flashlight; binoculars; dark glasses; fatty emergency foods; food gathering gear; and signaling items.

Remember, a cold weather environment can be very harsh. Give a good deal of thought to selecting the right equipment for survival in the cold. If unsure of an item you have never used, test it in an "overnight backyard" environment before venturing further. Once you have selected items that are essential for your survival, do not lose them after you enter a cold weather environment.

Hypothermia ranges from mild chills and shivering to coma and death. Hypothermia is defined as a core body temperature of less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include:

  • shivering
  • exhaustion
  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • memory loss
  • fatigue
  • loss of motor control (fumbling hands)
Some cold exposures are worse than others. Wet victims lose body heat much faster than dry victims. Windy conditions cause victims to lose heat very quickly as well.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Less than a minute to recognize, up to several hours to treat.
Here's How:
  1. Stay Safe! If it is cold enough to cause hypothermia for the victim, it's cold enough to cause hypothermia in the rescuers. Follow universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if you have it.
  2. Make sure the victim has an airway and is breathing. Follow the ABC's of first aid.

    CAUTION: Victims may get worse as they get warmer. As the cold blood in the extremities begins to flow back toward the heart, the victim's body temperature may go lower. Be prepared for a change in the victim's condition.
  3. Stop the exposure. Move the victim to warm, dry shelter.
  4. Call 911 for victims that show signs of severe hypothermia:

    • confusion
    • coma
    • fumbling hands
    • slurred speech

  5. Remove wet clothing - leave dry clothing on victim.
  6. Wrap the victim with blankets. Warming blankets (like electric blankets) work the best.
  7. Chemical heat packs can be used on the victim's groin, neck, and armpits.
  8. Victims that are able to follow commands and sit upright may drink warm, non-alcoholic beverages.
  1. As hypothermia progresses, shivering stops in order for the body to conserve energy. A victim of hypothermia that has stopped shivering may be getting worse rather than better.
  2. Unconscious hypothermia victims may have additional medical problems. There are several causes of coma.
  3. Victims of cold exposure may also be suffering from frostbite.
  4. Alcohol may feel like it warms the body, but that's because it flushes the skin with warm blood. Once the blood is at the surface of the skin, it is easily cooled. Alcohol speeds hypothermia. It can also cause dehydration.
As severely hypothermic victims begin to recover, cold blood from the extremities is pulled back to the core of the body. This can lead to a decrease in core body temperature and worsens the hypothermia. Watch hypothermia victims closely. They may suffer sudden cardiac arrest and require CPR. If that happens, follow the ABC's of first aid.
"ABC's OF FIRST AID " Airway, Breathing and Circulation.

A = Opening the airway with a head tilt-chin lift manoeuvre

B = Looking, listening and feeling for breathing

C = Preparing to perform CPR to support circulation

*CPR is NOT something to be attempted from your watching a movie or because you THINK you know it. Please visit to your local Board Certified CPR Instructors and get proper training. 

The American Heart Association adopted new CPR science guidelines in November 2005. These guidelines are the basis for teaching CPR. For more information, see the following link:

For information about taking a class near you, call the American Heart Association at (877) 242-4277.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wilderness Survival Myths

Survival in an emergency situation in the wilderness often depends on being able to sort out myth from reality.People who find themselves in precarious scenarios may be forced to deal with such things as how to stop bleeding, how to help a snake bite victim and how to treat a badly sprained ankle. Knowing what works and what is an old wives' tale can be of great aid and possibly even save a life.


Many people have heard that the best way to stop bleeding is by using a tourniquet. Nothing could be further from the truth. The tourniquet should be the last resort and is only a viable choice if someone has lost a limb or a limb has been partially rendered from the body by a horrible accident. The pressure that a tourniquet applies will severely damage blood vessels and can often result in tissue death, making it possible that a limb will need to be amputated. Heavy bleeding should be handled by applying pressure directly to the wound or to the area right above or below the wound. Once bleeding has been controlled the wound can be cleaned, packed and a pressure bandage applied. Less serious wounds should be allowed to bleed until they stop as this process will usually keep any organisms capable of causing infection from entering the wound.

(Correct Use of Tourniquet)
When should you apply a tourniquet? The simple answer: almost never. Tourniquets severely restrict or occlude blood flow to the arm or leg to which they are applied. Using a tourniquet to stop bleeding has the potential to damage the entire arm or leg. Patients have been known to lose limbs from the use of tourniquets.
Often, if a tourniquet doesn't cause a loss of function on the extremity which has it, then it probably wasn't applied correctly. Applying a tourniquet is a desperate move - only for the most dire emergencies where the choice between life and limb must be made.
For a step-by-step guide, see How to Use a Tourniquet.
Using a tourniquet requires wrapping a cravat (non stretchy material like terry cloth or linen) around an extremity and tightening it with the use of a windlass stuck through the bandage (see photo).
The tourniquet should be tightened until the wound stops bleeding. If there is any bleeding at the wound after placing a tourniquet, then the tourniquet must be tightened.
When a tourniquet is applied, it is important to note the time of application and write that time down somewhere handy. The best bet is to write the time on the patient's forehead with a water-proof marker

Snake Bites
Many misconceptions and myths surround snake bites and how these dilemmas should be treated. A rattlesnake does not always warn someone of an impending attack as is widely thought, and even though this species has potent venom a person rarely receives a full dose of it when bitten. Many times, no venom at all is injected into the person. When a person is bitten by a suspected poisonous snake, a tourniquet should never be applied for the reasons previously mentioned, and the area should not be cooled or iced. The myth that cutting an "X" shaped incision over the wound and then sucking the venom out, perpetuated by countless examples on film and television, has never been proven to provide any relief. This procedure in truth would only be responsible for tiny volumes of the venom being removed from the bloodstream but would make the person vulnerable to extremely dangerous infections. The proper way to treat snakebite is to clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water and to keep the bitten area below heart level. If possible, carry the person to a vehicle and get her prompt medical attention; if she must walk then have her move slowly.

(For Correct Survival Treatment - See previous posted blog here dated Nov.9.09 "Surviving a snake bite")

Sprained Ankle

How to treat a badly sprained ankle, which for a hiker or backpacker can be a serious situation when out in the wilderness, has always been subject to myth, with a large portion of the population thinking that warmth should immediately be applied. However, the opposite is true since heat will make the swelling and pain increase and slow down the healing process. If you spend time on trails and out camping, REMEMBER "RICE". This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The ankle should be quickly rested and iced if possible or soaked in cold water from a stream. Even snow can be used as a substitute for ice. Ice the ankle for 20 minutes to half an hour and then put a compression bandage such as an elastic wrap on it to give it support. Elevate the affected foot. Repeat this procedure up to four or five times a day until the swelling goes down.

As a wilderness survival enthusiast I have come upon many questionable survival tips and half truths presented as fact. Unfortunately there is a great deal of survival related advice that does not actually work, or works poorly, when attempted in actual field conditions. Either the information is downright incorrect or there are vital pieces missing that put a successful outcome doubtful at best, and very dangerous at worst.
Many who relate their survival skills to others are more of the arm chair variety than real life doers. From the safety of ones home survival misinformation may seem harmless and few are the wiser. All too often these bad survival skills are merely passed on from one armchair enthusiast to another and over the years take on a mythical standing, so much so that most people consider them as facts.

Cactus Water Myth

One survival myth in particular that nearly everyone has heard is what I call the "cactus water myth". As the story goes, if you are thirsty in a desert all you need to do is lop the top off a cactus to find plenty of sweet water to drink. The common association with this myth is that a cactus must be something like a spiny watermelon with plenty of cool refreshing water just waiting to be tapped into. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Surviving on water from a cactus is generally a very bad idea. First of all, the amount of water you are likely to obtain from a cactus is minimal - its inside is tough and fibrous. Indeed, it is possible to obtain some moisture from the inside of a cactus but it is not pure water. Often cactus water is slimy and highly acidic. The survival fact is that drinking cactus juice like this may only lead to further dehydration.
But it gets worse. Should you be unlucky enough to obtain and drink plenty of cactus juice you are likely to be further dehydrated by intense vomiting and diarrhea. Cactus juice may burn your mouth, throat, and the lining all the way into your intestines. So much for a cool refreshing drink.

The few times I have had the pleasure of choking down barrel cactus fluid (notice I didn't say "water") made my stomach churn like a cement-mixer and required a Buddhist's monks meditative effort, that's humor for ya,  at keeping from vomiting. 

Save the romantic notions for the Hollywood westerns and rely on this method only if there is no other alternative. By the way, the only barrel cactus that isn't toxic is the fishhook barrel (Ferocactus

asdm041(So, Can you get Potable water from a Cactus?) 
Lets explain why the answer is a resounding NO!

NO, because the moisture within the pulp of a cactus is very acidic and many cacti contain toxic alkaloids. You can, however, eat the fruit.( but that is another post)
The moisture is acidic because of the way many succulents, including cacti, carry on photosynthesis, the process by which carbon dioxide and water are turned into carbohydrates.
Most plants have their pores (stomates) open during the day to take in carbon dioxide, and use sunlight as a catalyst for the reaction: Carbon dioxide + water sugar + oxygen. But in the desert, plants with pores open during the hot days, lose much water through evapotranspiration.
So, succulents use a modified version of photosynthesis called CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism). CAM plants open their stomates only at night when it is cooler so there is less evapotranspiration. Because there is no sunlight to act as a catalyst, carbon dioxide is stored as an organic acid, principally Malic Acid (C4H6O5). Carbon dioxide is gradually released from the acid during the next day. CAM plants use about one-tenth the water to produce each unit of carbohydrate compared to standard photosynthesis. The price: a much slower growth rate.
Many plants contain malic acid, but usually in lesser quantities than found in cacti. Also cooking generally destroys the acid.
Besides malic acid, succulents produce Oxalic Acid (C2H2O4), which is toxic, as another product of photosynthesis. “Its chief function seems to be sequestering metals, principally calcium. Calcium oxalates often occur as crystalline minerals within the cactus pulp. Their function seems to be aiding structural integrity and enzymatic processes. In fact two crystalline calcium oxalate minerals have been identified in all cacti tested: CaC2O4.2H2O (weddellite) and CaC2O4.H2O (whewellite).” [Source: Plant Physiology, February 2002, Vol. 128, pp. 707-713.] Oxalates are also formed with heavy metals such as copper, perhaps to reduce toxicity to the plant.

**Oxalic acid is toxic to humans because it combines with calcium in our bodies to produce calcium oxalates which clog up our kidneys**

So, what about the barrel cactus. Can’t we get water from those? Did you bring along a machete and solar still?
The Seri Indians sometimes used the Fishhook barrel (Ferocactus wislizeni) for emergency water. However, drinking the juice on an empty stomach often caused diarrhea, and some Seri report pain in their bones if they walk a long distance after drinking the juice. The Seri called the Coville barrel (Ferocactus emoryi), “barrel that kills” because eating the flesh of the cactus causes nausea, diarrhea, and temporary paralysis. Think you can tell the two apart? (See: Edible Desert Plants – Barrel Cactus Fruit).
What about Prickly Pear pads we sometimes see in grocery stories or on the menu of Mexican restaurants? What you see are generally young spring pads which naturally contain less oxalic acid. Cooking leaches out the acid. In an emergency you can eat the young pads raw. And there are some spineless cultivars that naturally contain little oxalic acid which can also be eaten raw. These were developed mainly as cattle feed.

The bottom line is this: Your in a crap shoot against survival and in my opinion and the facts are stated. You should NOT attempt to get a drink from a cactus in spite of what you may have seen in old cowboy movies or survival tapes and discovery channel shows, without accepting that your dehydrated body stands the likely hood of your damaging it's natural water filters; ie: your kidneys and digestive tract, exposing your weakened body to even more so with toxicity. Just m,y humble opinion shared.

Snake bites in the wilderness - 101- Tips to Survive a Rattlesnake Bite

Responding to a snake bite appropriately is critical. If medical care is easily accessible, call 911 immediately. Remember if calling from a cell phone, dialing for help will be different by geographic location. Be prepared. Know what your area's emergency help number is for cell phone use. If in a remote area, getting the victim to medical care will be your ultimate objective.

"How to immediately treat a Snake wound"

Step 1

Call 911 immediately. If using a cell phone from a remote location, stay calm and do your best to give your exact location.

Step 2

If available, wash the area with warm water and soap.

Step 3

The area around the site may swell. Clothing or jewelry that would restrict this from happening should be removed.

Step 4

Some snake bite kits have venom suction cups. Placing the cup over the wound can extract roughly 30 percent of the venom. Do not cut or attempt to suck the venom from the wound. This will open the possibility of infection.

Step 5

Keep the limb at or below heart level. Do not elevate the bitten limb.

Step 6

If medical help is more than 30 minutes away, a bandage or strip of fabric (clothing) can be wrapped 2 to 4 inches above the wound. You are not creating a tourniquet, but wrapping the site loose enough to slide a finger underneath the bandage. The purpose is to not cut off the blood flow through veins or arteries, but to slow the venom.

Rattlesnakes are members of the viper family of snakes. Each year there are an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 snake bites with venom injection in the United States. These numbers include rattlesnake bites as well as bites from water moccasins, copperheads and coral snakes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that about five people die every year from the effects of snake venom; learning how to deal with a rattlesnake bite increases your chances of surviving.

Rattlesnakes are capable of delivering large amounts of potent venom. If encountered it should be left alone. A large percentage of envenomations occur when a snake is handled or abused. 

Arizona Black Rattlesnake:

Are almost exclusively found in the mountains and upland areas of Arizona, with only a small part of their population range extending into far west-central New Mexico. Near Tucson, Arizona, these snakes can be found in the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, generally from the middle to high elevations.

"Tips to aid in the aid of a Rattlesnake Bite"

If you can summon help but cannot reach a hospital:

Step 1

Understand the risk of a rattlesnake encounter. Hiking or camping around boulders, tall grass, leaf piles or logs and spending time in deserts, prairies, forests, mountains and even on beaches make it possible you will come across one or more rattlesnakes. 
There is no working rattlesnake repellent on the market, and the animal may strike  and deliver a bite during the day as well as the night.

Step 2

Remain calm and orient yourself. Have a map of the area on your person at all times and pinpoint your location. Staying calm may slow the spread of snake venom in your body.

Step 3

Call for help. Contact emergency medical personnel by cell or satellite phone right away. Give the operator your map coordinates and mention significant nature markers you can see from your location. This makes it easier for rescuers to find you. Do not move away from your location once first responders confirm that they are en route to you.

Step 4

Clean the wound and wait for help to arrive. Wash the bite area gently with soap and water, cover it with a sterile dressing from a first-aid kit and remain seated until help arrives. Lower the bitten limb so that it is not at or above heart level.

"Hopi Timber Rattlesnake"
The coloration of this species of rattlesnake has evolved to match the light pink sandstone of the Colorado Plateau of northeastern Arizona. The camouflage is so effective that this one almost went unnoticed, even though it was coiled on the patio of a State Park visitor center! Moments after I took this photo with a telephoto lens, the ranger arrived to relocate this particular park resident to a not-so-central location

 Things You'll Need:
  • Area map Cell or satellite phone Water Soap First-aid kit Wrap
  • Area map
  • Cell or satellite phone
  • Water
  • Soap
  • First-aid kit
  • Wrap

    "If You Cannot Summon Help"

Step 1

Remove jewelry from the affected limb. If you are bitten on the hand or arm, make sure to take off rings, watches and wristbands. Because the bite area may swell, you might not be able to remove these items later on and they could cut into your flesh.

Step 2      *Pay special attention to the cautions of sucking venom from the wound*

Suck out as much of the venom as possible with your mouth, but only if you know that it may take you hours to reach help. Make sure your mouth is free of sores. Spit blood and venom onto the ground. Continue this process for about 45 minutes. Walter Howard, professor emeritus of wildlife biology and vertebrate ecology at the University of California at Davis, suggests that you take this course of action only if help is too far away.

Step 3

Apply a loose wrap to the bitten limb. Do not tighten it to constrict blood flow completely, but only to gently compress the area to slow the spread of the venom. Make sure you place it about three inches away from the bite site, between the wound and the heart. If the wrap leads to swelling, loosen it more.

Step 4

Return to your vehicle and try to reach a medical facility. Use your map to chart the fastest course to your car and calmly hike there. Do not wait for the swelling or skin discoloration to set in or worsen. While it is true that rattlesnakes actually inject venom in only an estimated 20 percent of reported attacks, you do not want to wait until you are sure that you are suffering from the venom's effects. Even if you do not believe that a lot of venom was injected, the poison that did make it into your body may cause tissue damage.
The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake:

Is one of three species of rattlesnake in North Carolina. Diamondbacks are the largest snakes in the United States, and can grow to be 8 feet long.

  "Rattlesnake FACTS to keep in mind"

These reptiles are primarily nocturnal and crepuscular during the hot summer months and diurnal in spring and on mild or overcast summer days. It hibernates alone or in a group den during the cold months of late fall and winter. Like the other "pit-vipers" (members of the subfamily Crotalinae) this snake uses heat sensing pits (one on each side of the face between the eye and nostril) to detect warm-blooded predators and prey.Rattlesnake feeds on mice, other small mammals, birds, and lizards. It uses venom injected through long, hollow, retractable fangs to kill and begin digesting its prey. Mating takes place in July and August. Young are born in summer.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Native American Tourism Adventures in New Mexico -Big Game to Skiing

Ski Apache History 
Ski Apache opened under the name "Sierra Blanca Ski Resort" during Christmas of 1961. Amazingly, twenty-six hundred people an hour were fast carried up the ski run crest via three T-bar lifts. In 1962, the very first mono-cable four-passenger gondola in North America was built to accommodate a greater number of skiers. And it seems just in time as twenty-five thousand skiers showed up for the second season.

Since 1963, the resort has been owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Only two years after its official opening in 1961, Robert O. Anderson, the wealthy oil man who built and opened the slopes, sold the resort to the able hands of the Mescalero Apaches. It wasn't until the 1984-85 season that the slopes were appropriately named "Ski Apache".
The wood-spired Main Lodge was designed by Victor Lundy ... proclaimed as America's Outstanding Architect in 1958. Since the opening season of 1961, this lodge has stood statuesque, an unfailing sentry below the crest. With wood spires reflective of the surrounding pines, the Lodge mirrors the natural beauty of the Sacramento Mountains. Lundy succeeded in introducing Modernism architecture with a practical eye towards the skier's needs.

The Mescalero Apache Tribe owns and operates both Ski Apache Ski Resort and the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino as well other Reservation-based enterprises. This Mescalero Apache Cultural brochure is presented here to familiarize Reservation visitors and our guests with Mescaleo Apache history, traditions and the current vision of our Tribe.                  email -

The Mescalero Apache Tribe was established by Executive Order of President Ulysses S. Grant on May 27, 1873. There are three sub bands that comprise the Tribe: the Mescalero Apache, the Chiricahua Apache, and the Lipan Apache. Prior to the reservation period, the Mescalero people were nomadic hunters and gathers and roamed the Southwest. They were experts in guerilla warfare and highly skilled horsemen. The women were known for their ability to find and prepare food from many different plant sources. The people were given the name "Mescalero" because they gathered and ate the mescal plant. It was the staple of their diets and could sustain them in good times and bad.  Please take the time to review the brochure below to provide you with a basic understanding of Mescalero Apache Tribe and some expectations from our visitors.

The Mescalero Apache reservation is located along Highway 70 on the western slopes of the Lincoln National Forest and home to the Mescalero Indian tribe. The reservation offers a museum and cultural center, Casino Apache and Travel center, Ski Apache and a scenic golf course at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Selected tribal ceremonies are available for public viewing.

Located 7000 ft. in the cool pines of the Lincoln National Forrest. Ruidoso sports a horseracing track that houses Billy the Kid Casino, and features live horse racing from late May through Labor Day, the fabulous Hubbard Museum of the American West, and numerous golf courses, along with great dining and shopping. Just outside the town lies Ski Apache, run by the Mescalero tribe of Apache’s. 
Ski Apache boasts great skiing from November through March on the North face of the 12,003 ft. peak of Sierra Blanca. The surrounding forest is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting and fishing. The nearby town of Lincoln was one of Billy the Kid’s favorite haunts and the site of the infamous Lincoln County Wars.

Now lets talk Big game Hunting - A particular favorite of mine as you all know.
New Mexico is home to some of the best big game in the country and the guides here are above standard - they are exceptional. Native American Big Game Adventures with the Apache Reservation will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. I recommend :

Mescalero Apache Big Game Hunting
Deep in the heart of New Mexico's ancient peaks of the Southern Rocky Mountains breath a timeless land filled with the richness of nature's most beautiful creations. This is a land where days end and adventures begin.

This is the Mescalero Apache Reservation, home of Mescalero Big Game Hunts. Within the confines of this sub-alpine and valley terrain, hunters experience the pride of hunting some of the finest bull elk, cow elk, bear and wild birds in North America.

Hunts Offered:
Bulk Elk Package Hunts$14,500.00
Cow Elk Hunts$550.00
Bear Hunt$500.00
Turkey Hunt$250.00
Please read all of the offical terms and conditions here.

Contact Information

Download an application

For more information for hunting on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, please contact:

Big Game Hunts
Phone: (575) 464-9770 / (575) 464-7448
Fax: (575) 464-0309

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino
C/O Big Game Hunts
PO Box 269 / Rt. 4 Carrizo Canyon Road
Mescalero , NM 88340

Wherever you go and whatever you do The beauty that is New Mexico is stunning. The ranges and changing seasons are as good as any you will find anywhere in the United States and the peoples are amazing. Friendly and open they welcome strangers with open arms and a smile. It is a breathtaking place to adventure and one I am certain will prove to be one of the top 10 in my lifetime. From Rodeo to Ski Slopes, pristine wilderness is here simply by opening your eyesand stepping off your front porch. If ever you get the chance to visit. Take it... in New Mexico you are certain to make a mark on your heart and mind that is priceless & affordable.