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Weekend Wilderness Skills Course

Please note: Young people are encouraged to attend our classes. However, due to liability concerns, anyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Our survival classes are a bit different than most of the others out there. We do not follow any military protocol. Training is neither timed nor stress induced. Upon completion of our course, you will not receive any certificates, or awards. If you want that type of training, we are not for you. If however you want to learn all of the basic skills you will need to thrive in any environment or situation, then you have come to the right place. You will leave our training with the skills necessary to continue your journey in the natural world.

Everything you need to not only survive, but to thrive, exists in the natural world. The plants that grow all around us are excellent sources of nutrition and medicine. Birds, animals, reptiles, and insects, are abundant sources of protein and energy. When you complete our training you will know a number of widespread plants that offer amazing sources of calories and medicine. You will also know how to determine which plants currently unknown to you may be edible, and just as important, which ones might make you sick, or worse.

There are only two things which cannot be taken away from you; your integrity, and your knowledge. I cannot help you with the former, but when it comes to preparedness, and the natural world, I can definitely help with the latter. With a little knowledge, anyone can live comfortably from what nature has provided.

I offer a weekend course designed to give you a basic understanding of making use of what nature has to offer. This course takes for granted that you have basic camping skills, and that you can safely use a knife and ax. This course will NOT make you an expert woodsman or survivalist. It is designed to give you basic information and understanding in the most important areas of survival. It will give you skills you can then practice and master on your own. This course is designed for all skill levels. In this course we discuss and practice the following:

  • Building/Finding Shelter

Shelter is the most important basic human need. in some environments, you cannot live for more than a few hours without shelter. The ability to find or create shelter is the number one more important survival skill. If you are caught out in the open, it can make for a miserable time. While shelter is readily available in a city, at first blush it may not seem as readily available in the forest. However with a little knowledge you will start to see shelter all over the place. We will talk about the things to look for when choosing a place for your shelter. From caves to blown down trees, we will discuss making use of what you find in nature. We will also discuss the ideas behind constructing basic debris shelters. The group will construct a debris hut or Wikiup. If time permits, we will also talk about other construction methods.

  • Fire Theory

Second only to building shelter, is the ability to control fire. It is fire which allows us to purify water and to cook our food. It warms us in cold weather, and provides protection from predators. These tangible benefits of fire are important, and widely understood. As someone who has spent countless nights alone in the wilderness, I can attest to the intangible psychological boost provided by fire.

In this class we will discuss the fundamentals of fire. From friction, to chemical, to solar, we will also discuss the multitude of ways to start a fire. I will show you where to obtain dry material to start your fire, even in the wettest conditions. Everyone will then be responsible for finding their own materials and ultimately making their own fire. Each participant must have their own ferrocerium rod, or magnesium fire starter.

  • Water Procurement

The importance of water cannot be over emphasized. A person can go weeks without food, but will die within a few days without water. If the grid goes down, water will no longer flow from your tap. We will discuss locating water in places you might not first think of. We will also discuss water purification methods.

  • Survival Trapping

We will discuss and build various types of deadfalls and snares. Plants can be very nutritious, but very few provide the protein and calories your body needs to keep going. I love survival trapping because it affords me the ability to passively secure protein while I busy myself with other survival concerns. We will discuss and build a couple of different types of snares and a deadfall. We will also discuss how these can be altered or tweaked to fit multiple situations.

  • Survival Fishing

If you are close to water, fish traps can be an excellent passive method of procuring protein. Time permitting, we will discuss trot lines, fish spears, spring pole fish traps, and fish baskets.

  • Common Edible Plants

Unknown to most people today, there are literally thousands of edible wild plants. Some taste wonderful while others, well maybe not so much. There is actually a plant that grows in each of the 50 states which has some part that can be eaten quite literally all year long. It was a staple of the diets of most native Americans, but it is so abundant that it was not necessary that they cultivate it. Unlike many plants, this is one which contains carbohydrates, and can actually be used to maintain or increase body weight.

We will discuss the uses of some easily identified local flora. The plants chosen will depend upon the season, and location of the classes. Just as happens in nature, not all plants grow everywhere, and some are only edible at certain times of year. Like the song says, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

  • Common Medicinal Plants

Many edible plants also have wonderful medicinal qualities; you can enjoy their medical benefits by simply adding them to your diet. Imagine eating a plant that tastes fantastic, and will keep iron levels of your blood right where they should be. There is a plant that grows virtually everywhere, that is an excellent Adaptogen, meaning that it supports continued good health. It also can be used to counter the venom of many snakes, and insects. Knowing this unassuming 'weed' can help save your tissue if you are bitten by a snake, scorpion, brown recluse or black widow spider. It will even remove the itch from a mosquito bite. This same plant is also a natural cell proliferant; meaning that it helps your body heal itself. If you have a cut or abrasion, this plant will speed healing. It also functions very well to help your body fight off internal infections. There are many such plants which probably grow right in your yard.

  • Plant Based First Aid

This section dovetails perfectly with the Medicinal Plants section of this page. We will show you how to use nature to administer basic first aid. Did you know there is a plant that grows in all 50 states that will almost immediately staunch the flow of blood from a wound? With a little knowledge, you can treat most illnesses, and injuries using the tools provided by nature.

  • Navigation

At first blush, this may seem like knowledge you do not need to possess; what happens if you are out in the forest looking forest, and become turned around. Believe it or not, this is much easier than you might think. We will not cover the use of  GPS units because in the event of a loss of the grid, GPS satellites may no longer be available. You will learn to navigate with a compass, as well as how to navigate without a compass. I will teach you how to make an impromptu compass using a stick and two stones. I will also show you how to use a standard watch as a compass. And finally we will learn how to use the vegetation that surrounds us to determine rough direction. We will not cover star navigation, as classes are conducted during daylight hours.

You may have noticed that the subjects laid out above were done so in the natural order they should be accomplished in the bush. While this order may sometimes vary slightly, it is for the most part set in stone. While in the past this has not always been possible, this class follows the logical progression of the steps necessary for you to survive in the wild. Depending upon the class dynamics, we may spend more time on some subjects than others.

The following video depicts the setting of our classes


Classes are conducted near Houghton Lake MI. I can also adapt a class to the specific needs of a group of participants.

My survival skills course starts Friday at 6:00 pm, and ends around 11-12 Sunday morning. This course is designed to introduce you to the basics of wilderness survival. We will not be living off the land, but we will be gathering wild edibles, and fishing. Everything we gather can be eaten, but participants are still encouraged to bring a well stocked kit as well as backup food and water.

Pre-Registration Cost $205.00

Day of Class Cost $230.00

Minimum kit for the basic wilderness skills class

  • A Tent or similar shelter

  • A sleeping bag and ground pad

  • A metal canteen or water bottle

  • A ferrocerium rod, or magnesium fire starter

  • Light colored clothing (Over the years I have found that dark colored clothing attracts mosquitoes)

  • Hiking boots

  • A wide brimmed hat

  • A full tang fix blade hunting/camp knife

  • Camp ax or hatchet

  • A folding saw

  • 50' - 100' of 550 paracord or bank-line

  • Camp chair

  • Rain Gear

  • Food and water

  • Mess kit (Including)

    • Pan for cooking

    • Plate

    • Cup

    • Utensils

Suggested Items

  • Hand soap

  • Insect repellant (Head net)

  • Toilet paper

  • A hand shovel

  • Rain Gear

  • Sunblock

  • Folding Chair

  • First Aid Kit

  • Ziplock or equivalent plastic bags (gallon size)

Optional comfort items

  • A portable privy bucket

  • A small fishing kit (Including)

    • Fishing pole or 25-50' monofilament line, (can also use bank-line)

    • Fishing hooks

    • Floats and split shot or inline sliding sinkers

    • Lures

    • Valid Michigan fishing license, for those over 17



Couples/families can share items, but it is best that all members have their own good quality fixed blade knife and hatchet.

The 2nd amendment to the US Constitution guarantees our right to keep and bear arms

so your firearm is welcome.

 Our Weekend Wilderness Skills Course

 runs 2 days & 2 nights


Proposed Survival Course Schedule for 2017.



May 19-21, 2017

 near Prudenville, MI

June 23-25, 2017

 near Prudenville, MI

July 14-16, 2017

 near Prudenville, MI

September 08-10, 2017

 near Prudenville, MI

(This schedule may be subject to change based upon interest)

To Pre-Register for the Weekend Wilderness Skills Course,

Enter the class date you want to attend in the Box below, and then click the Add to Cart button

Enter class date below

Refund Policy: Prepaid course fees, less Pay Pal fee will be happily refunded for cancellations

made at least 24 hours prior to the course date.

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Revised: 05/23/17 Living Afield