Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 3, 2013

On the modern frontier

(Continued)

How do you start a fire without the benefit of matches? Many methods have been advanced by experienced outdoorsmen, such as striking a flint spark into flammable tender, but if you’re in a flintless and tenderless area, the only choices may be waiting for lightning to strike or rubbing two sticks together.

Take my word for it. Rubbing sticks together will get you nothing but two scruffed sticks. After watching a TV show on the subject, I tried their method of using a small plank (in your knapsack) and a stick with a sharpened end. After boring a small pocket in the plank (boring bit in the knapsack), I placed the sharp end in the pocket and began spinning it rapidly by rubbing the stick between my hands. Two things happened. I got a few small blisters on my hands and the arthritis in my shoulder informed me that I would be eating my rabbit raw.

I finally got results after I cut the heads off two kitchen matches (I forgot they were in the knapsack), placed them in the pocket and rubbed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any tender handy and all my efforts produced was a miniature spout of flame that went out immediately. Later, a friend informed me that I must have a bow to rotate the stick rapidly enough to produce the friction necessary to create combustible heat. According to him, the early American Indians used this tool quite successfully. If I’m ever in a survival situation I’ll be sure to have an Apache warrior with me.

In the final analysis I have decided that setting the snare would be the best option after all. Might as well hang yourself and get it over with quickly.

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