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How Far Would You Go to Survive an Animal Attack?

Hello all, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and I’m back with more incredible tales of survival for you. Co-existing with wildlife is a part of survivalism and homesteading, and anytime you are in undeveloped country you run the risk of coming in contact with a potentially deadly predator. It’s important to have a firearm and ammo on you whenever you are out in the wild, because if you aren’t able to defend yourself you won’t be able to protect yourself against a predator attack. These men found themselves without the necessary defenses, but luckily for them they had nerves and fists of steel so they lived to tell the tale!

Carl Akeley

Conservationist and biologist Carl Akeley was also a taxidermist, and a leopard exacted its revenge by attacking him when he was on an African expedition. The deadly predator lunged at Akeley, who discovered too late he had run out of ammo. In a split-second decision that would ultimately save his life, Akeley forced his fist down the beast’s throat, slowly suffocating him to death. His arm could not have been in great shape after that, but it was better off than the leopard’s throat, and that’s the important thing.

Gene Moe

When Alaskan hunter Gene Moe was attacked by a grizzly bear that weighed 750 pounds, he couldn’t reach his rifle, which left him with one weapon left to defend himself: a Model 110 Buck knife. This weapon was no match for the bear, which bit off a piece of Moe’s arm, his ear, and a chunk of his leg. As the bear charged Moe one final time, Moe threw a punch that was so solid that when it landed under the bear’s eye, the bear dropped dead. Moe’s arm was also paralyzed in the process, but it’s better than being a bear’s lunch.


What would you do if a wild animal attacked you and you didn’t have a loaded gun handy? Let me know in the comments! This is Rob Raskin, hoping you’ll visit the CATS2010 blog again soon.

Best Uses for Mylar Sheets

Hello everyone, Robert Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I’d like to talk about some uses for Mylar sheets, which I mentioned in a recent blog. These “space blankets” are so versatile that I thought they deserved their own post! There are so many benefits to Mylar, because this material won’t crack if you store it in a small space, so you can fit several of them into your survival bag. These blankets are waterproof, they don’t biodegrade, and they are ideal for helping you to stay warm because they can hold in your body heat. If you get under one with another person or even your dog, even better!


Sleeping and Shelter

You can protect yourself from damp ground by sleeping on a Mylar sheet, and you can put one over you to keep in the heat. You can also use them to create makeshift shelters if you don’t have any other materials available. You can also use them to create a layer of insulation over any shelter you’ve created. Just make sure you’ve packed duct tape!


Cooking and Fire

You can use a Mylar sheet to start a fire, thanks to the reflective materials, and you can also wrap food in one to heat it up like an oven. These blankets can be used to reflect heat from an oven or a fire, and you can even use them as a fishing lure or to protect the vegetables in your garden from predators and the elements. Is there anything you can’t do with a Mylar sheet? It sure doesn’t seem like it!


Check back with me, Robert Raskin, next time, because you never know when disaster may strike, so it’s best to be prepared!

Desert Survival Tips

Many of the world’s harshest environments are located in the desert, where water is scarce and the heat and cold can reach temperatures that would make many people steer clear. If you are thinking of camping or going off-grid in a desert area, you’ll want to read these tips first, because trust me, Rob Raskin, when I tell you it is not the place you want to be caught unprepared! I do live in Las Vegas, after all. These are just a starting point for your research, of course, and if you’re planning on braving the desert, the more research the better.


Travel by Night

If you are planning to cross the desert, it is highly advisable to stay in a shelter during the day, because it’s easy to overheat. Staying in even a minimalist shelter created from a Mylar sheet is better than nothing, as long as you build it at night so you don’t trap the heat inside. If you are lucky, you may find a cave or other rock structure you can take shelter in as well, just make sure you’re alone in there first and there aren’t any rattlesnakes or other dangerous animals already taking up residence. By only traveling at night, you will lower your risk of heat exhaustion and save your body three quarts of water per day, and you will be able to travel faster as well.


Don’t Forget Your Survival Kit

If your survival kit is well-planned, you will be able to fit everything you need for basic desert survival into a pack that is small enough for you to carry. Some basics you will want to make sure you have are a knife, plenty of water, a compass, and a Mylar sheet. Of course it is optimal to bring more than just this in a larger pack, but this is the kit you want to have on your person at all times, even if you are planning to travel a short distance and you are leaving larger items like tents in the car for the time being.  FYI – it is recommended that each person in your group carry at least one liter of water per day per person at minimum. The smartest thing to do is to take as much as you can carry.


To learn more basic survival tips, check my blog again soon, because I’m always posting something new. This is Rob Raskin, and I hope to see you next time.

Survival Stories – Antarctic

Hello all, Robert Raskin here again, and today I am happy to report that I am in Las Vegas and not in the Antarctic. This is some of the least user-friendly terrain in the world, but still many brave men and women have explored the region, and around the turn-of-the-century many of these groups represented the first humans to ever set foot on the land in certain areas. Read the following harrowing tales or survival and ask yourself whether or not you’d risk everything to venture into uncharted territory.


Ernest Shackleton

In 1914 explorer Ernest Shackleton and a group of 28 men decided to brave the harsh climate of the South Pole so they could cross the 1,800-mile continent, but they never made it to land. Shackleton had visited the area previously, but this time his group suffered the misfortune of having their ship trapped in the ice, eventually causing the ship to break apart. For fourteen days the group floated in their lifeboats until they reached an island, pausing occasionally to eat some of their own dogs. Despite the fact that they ended up 1,000 miles from their starting point, none of the men perished.


Douglas Mawson

In 1914 Australian scientist Douglas Mawson, who was still in his twenties at the time, planned to lead an expedition in which he would lead a team across the Antarctic coast, which was primarily formed of high ice cliffs and had an average wind speed of 80 mph. The group was comprised of several young men and a team of dogs, and they encountered several disasters along the way. One man and six dogs fell hundreds of feet to their deaths when a crevasse was camouflaged by snow. Like Shackleton’s team, this one also relied on eating their own dogs to stave-off imminent death, but it was not enough and some members of the team experienced weeks of starvation, pain, exposure to the elements, and eventually, delirium. Another man died before Mawson and the survivors eventually were able to return.


The moral of these stories is that dogs are man’s best friend, and it’s best not to visit the Antarctic without them! But in all seriousness, it is really amazing what man can survive when he really puts his mind to it, isn’t it? This is Robert Raskin, hoping you’ll check back soon.

Survival Stories – US Edition

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and this time around I thought it would be fun to talk about a some of the survival stories I’ve been reading about lately. Have you ever done an online search for stories of people who have survived on their own in the wild or other dangerous circumstances and lived to tell about it? It really makes you wonder how far you would go to survive if you had to. Today I want to focus on people who have survived life-threatening ordeals here in the United States. Read these stories and let me know what you think of what these brave people did in the comments. These people are so inspirational, I might just make this an ongoing series!


Aron Ralston

When 27-year-old mountaineer Aron Ralston decided to spend a day hiking and biking is southeast Utah’s Blue John Canyon, he never imagined he’d return five days later and without his arm. Despite the fact the experienced outdoorsman was an avid climber, he broke one of the cardinal rules of going out into the wild—he did not tell anyone where he was going. When he slipped into a narrow canyon his right arm became pinned under an 800-pound boulder. Ralston’s wife was pregnant at the time, and he said he was visited by the specter of a child who he believed to be his unborn son, and that gave him the strength to amputate his own arm with a blunt pocket knife. Today Ralston is a father, thanks to his bravery and nerves of steel, and after much rehabilitation he has returned to his active outdoor lifestyle.


Donna Cooper

Then 62-year-old retiree Donna Cooper decided to visit remote Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley, she ended up lost in the desert with her two teen daughters, who were dependent on her for survival. The trio ended up driving a distance of over 300 miles when they ran out of gas. Cooper and her daughters were forced to rely on cacti for sustenance, and they were lucky to find an abandoned trailer with a hose that still had some hot—yet drinkable—water in it. The women attempted to sleep on the porch, but they were forced to douse themselves with water every 15 minutes due to the scorching desert heat. They hooked a CB radio up to a car battery, but there was only static. It would be three days before they were found by rescuers, alive and only suffering from mild injuries.


What would you do if you were in a life or death situation like the ones faced by these incredible individuals? This is Rob Raskin, hoping you’ll visit the site again soon. Until next time!

Survivalist Blogs You Should Read Right Now

Hello everyone, Rob Raskin here again, and today I’d like to share a couple of my favorite survivalist blogs with you. There are many incredible resources online that are filled with valuable information, and in a SHTF situation, the more we all band together to share tips and strategies for survival, the better! If you have been looking for more information so you can further your knowledge on survival and homesteading topics, check out the following blogs today.


A True Survivor

Selco has done much more than prepare for survival, because he is a Bosnian man who survived the collapse of Bosnia in 1992, so he actually survived a TEOTWAWKI situation and lived to pass on his advice. This web page contains questions and answers with Selco about what fighting for your survival is really like, and it is fascinating and loaded with things you may have not considered before. It is well worth the read:



The Survival Cache is so much more than a simple survival gear review website. This group of hardcore preppers, former Navy SEALs, Marines, and scientists have experience that goes far beyond what many of us have ever had to face—so far. They write prepper and survival articles that are must-reads for anyone who is interested in deepening their knowledge of these topics, because these men know their stuff:


This is Rob Raskin, signing off until next time, but look forward to more blog posts and reviews in the near future. I still have many other blogs to share with you, and of course check the blog here at CATS2010 for my own perspective on prepper topics. See you again soon!

Could You Survive a Bear Attack?

Many people who go off-grid love the idea of not having any neighbors, but one thing they learn quickly is they do still have neighbors—they just aren’t of the human variety. Co-existing with wildlife is simply a part of living off the grid. While everything in nature has its place and all creatures deserve to be treated with respect, wild animals can be dangerous and unpredictable, and they are best avoided. (For a glimpse of exactly what can happen when people get too close to the wild animals that share their neighborhood, check out the Animal Planet channel’s series Fatal Attractions.) If you were to encounter a bear or a mountain lion unexpectedly, would you know what to do?


When Wild Animals Attack

There are many different animals you may encounter when living off the grid, and these include bears, mountain lions, coyotes, deer, boar, moose, wolves, raccoons, and venomous snakes. Any of these animals has the capacity to be very destructive, and some can also cause serious maiming and even lethal injuries. Certain species are more likely to attack, and you’ll want to research this ahead of time. Some reasons a wild animal may feel threatened include feeling like their territory is being invaded, protecting offspring, protecting food, fear, surprise, and confusion. In certain cases, if an animal has become a problem and has repeatedly been aggressive toward humans or has attacked pets or livestock, you may be able to contact local forestry organizations to have the animals removed.


How to Protect Yourself

If you encounter a bear or other dangerous predator, your survival will depend on how prepared you are and how quickly you are able to assess the situation and react. The first thing you’ll need to determine is whether or not the animal is behaving aggressively toward you or if you are in the way of food that it is trying to access. Familiarize yourself with the signs of aggression in any of the wild animals that are native to your region. Some animals can be driven away by yelling, but it can escalate the situation with others. There is no one way to react to a wild animal, and each incident will need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis that will vary depending on the species and the situation.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

It’s obvious to most people that feeding bears or other animals because you think they are cute is a potentially deadly mistake, but what many people don’t realize is they are risking unintentionally training bears to think of their cabin, camp, or tiny house as an all-you-can-eat buffet that is open every night of the week if they do not dispose of their garbage correctly. In this case an ounce of prevention is potentially worth 600 lbs. of cure, because that is the average size of an adult black bear. It pays to invest in bear-proof garbage cans, or to build a shelter so you can keep your cans in a closed-off and protected area. Another solution many people choose is to invest in a high-quality fence to keep predators away from their dwelling.


Safer Trash Habits for Off-Grid Living

One man’s trash is another bear’s treasure, or a racoon’s, or even a large family of raccoons’, so if you’re living off-grid you can protect yourself from unwanted visitors by taking steps to reduce your garbage output. You can drastically cut down on the amount of trash you put out in the first place by purchasing items with glass or biodegradable packaging whenever possible. By avoiding buying goods that have plastic packaging you can significantly reduce your waste, which will reduce your risk of attracting animals as well as reducing your impact on the environment. Reduce your environmental footprint and protect yourself and your family at the same time by researching any wildlife that is native to your area and making sure you are doing everything you can to be safe today.

How to Disappear in the US

Have you ever fantasized about dropping out of your current life and starting all over again with a new identity in a new location? Hundreds of thousands of people go missing in the US each year, and of these a small number are people who have vanished deliberately. There are many reasons an adult would choose to leave everything and everyone they’ve ever known behind, including trying to leave a spouse behind for good, trying to run away from obligations that have become overwhelming, and simply wanting a fresh start. The idea of a tabula rasa appeals to many, but if you are serious about making it happen, you’ll need to do quite a bit of planning and preparation if you want to stay gone for good.


The First Steps

If you disappear, people will try to find you, and if you don’t want them to succeed you’ll need to start preparing for your eventual vanishing act well in advance, and the best place to start is with social media. Begin decreasing your online networking now so that no one will be alarmed when you cease using it completely. Most disappearances of adults are not investigated by law enforcement, but if your case is then your internet history will be the first place they will look. You will also need to ditch your car, destroy photos of yourself that could be used to identify you, slowly taper off interactions with family and friends, and begin planning your long-term budget.


Paper or Plastic?

In today’s society we are so attached to our debit and credit cards that for many the idea of getting along without them is inconceivable, but if you want to disappear without a trace plastic currency is one of the first things you’ll need to give up. Now is a great time to begin getting used to keeping cash and using it to take care of your day-to-day expenses. The key is to slowly taper off the paper trail that will connect your whereabouts to your spending habits. Just be sure when you dispose of your cards that they are completely destroyed. Either burn them or cut them into tiny pieces.


Make Sure You are Legally in the Clear

You already know that it may be illegal to take a minor with you and that it is extremely inadvisable, but you should take disappearing because you owe debts or for insurance fraud reasons just as seriously. Do not try to vanish off the face of the earth if being found will result in legal trouble. Take steps to clear up any potential problems before you leave to reduce the chance of an organization searching for you, because chances are their resources are better than yours are. If you are disappearing because someone is doing something illegal to you, such as blackmail or stalking, just know that there may be legal solutions to these problems that are less extreme.

Don’t Blow Your Cover

You are certain to be discovered if you do one or both of two things: tell someone else, or take someone with you, especially if you take a child. Taking a child not only endangers you, it also potentially leaves you open to having charges pressed against you, so it is a very bad idea. You should also take steps to make it clear that you left voluntarily, which will make law enforcement far less likely to agree to become involved. If you are running from a specific person or agency, take into account how far they would be willing to go to find you and what resources they’d have at their disposal if they were to begin searching and plan accordingly. Vanishing without a trace has become increasingly difficult in today’s tech savvy society, yet still it can be done. But only if you are smart about it.

Should You Buy Gold to Avoid the Banks?

An article in the Atlantic made the claim, “. . . when an economy goes full-on Mad Max and we’re all reduced to bartering, the survivors are going to be more interested in useful goods than in a soft metal useful mostly for ornamental purposes,” but how can we know this will be true? Along with food, water, shelter, and ammunition, precious metals like gold and silver should be a part of your survival kit. No one has any idea what the world would look like in the event that disaster were to strike, but if there are opportunities to buy valuable supplies in the event that you needed them, wouldn’t you be glad that you had gold to barter with?


An International Currency

One thing every social collapse in history has had in common is the use of gold as a commodity. One argument for investing in gold is it can be traded across international borders. While it is true that the borders as we know them now may change or cease to exist entirely if there were a major upheaval, new borders will inevitably be created. It makes sense that you’d want some form of currency that you could use anywhere, and in any situation, regardless of who you happen to end up bartering with. There is also always the possibility that you will be able to trade your gold for another nation’s currency if need be.


Will it Lose Value?

Because no one can say what would happen to world economies or gold values or whether there would be total financial collapse, your gold would still be as valuable as anyone else’s. If your gold is worth considerably less somewhere down the line, everyone else’s will be as well, and you will still have something that is of worth even if that worth has changed. If it ended up without any trade value at all, then that may be something you’ll need to decide if you are willing to risk, but if you are in a financial position to invest something into gold just in case, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?


Gold or Silver: Which is Best?

Silver or gold? That is a question you’ll need to carefully weigh before you make any big investments. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both, silver has a better chance of being included in trade, and it can be easier to deal with because it can be used in smaller increments that can be traded for smaller items of value that you may not want to part with an entire gold ingot over. A well-rounded survival plan will include both, just to make sure you are covered in any situation, and following the market will give you an idea of when the best time to buy is so you can maximize your investment.


What the Experts Say

Experts recommend not investing more than 3% of your portfolio in precious metals, and for most investors that is a fair trade to make for a little peace of mind. There are some who claim that voluntary trade will be just as valuable as gold in a post-apocalyptic society. If you aren’t in a position to invest in gold and silver, it should not be a major concern as you can focus on other areas of preparation such as your stockpile of canned goods, water, first aid supplies, and weapons, which may very well end up being of far more use to you in the long run.

So You’re Planning to Leave the Country

It’s almost election time again, and we all know what that means: Many of us will once again vow to leave the country if the results don’t go the way we’d hoped. As elections continue to become more polarized and party differences grow more extreme, more Americans are electing to leave the US. While the number of Americans who renounce their citizenship is still quite small, the figure is steadily climbing, and in 2015 over 3,000 people gave up their US citizenship and left the country ostensibly for good. In the past the majority of people who left did so for financial reasons, but today more people than ever before cite political reasons.


Expat or Immigrant: What’s the Difference?

Many people are confused about the difference between being an immigrant and an expat is. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of an expatriate is “to leave one’s native country to live elsewhere or  to renounce allegiance to one’s native country,” while the definition of an immigrant is “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” In other words, when you leave your country of origin, you will be an expat from that country and an immigrant in your new country at the same time. The difference is in intent: while the intention of immigrants is likely to be to remain in their new country, expats are motivated by a desire to leave a country, so they may not end up settling in their new country permanently.


Which Countries are Best for Americans?

If you are seeking a high standard of living in a country that welcomes US expats and that has easy immigration policies, you will definitely want to look toward Latin America, but there are many other places around the globe that are also desirable for Americans. The latest lists of the most ex-pat friendly destinations include Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The United Arab Emirates, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Norway , and Svalbard, which is a collection of self-governed islands off the coast of Norway. So as you can see, there are countries on many different continents that would make excellent choices.


What if I Change My Mind?

While there are many struggles associated with repatriation, in most cases the people who choose to leave the US will be free to return to the country if they so choose. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, there were an all-time high number of reunifications. You do not have to renounce your US citizenship in order to live abroad, however, and in fact many Americans choose to retain their citizenship, their passports, and their voting rights here in this country even if they choose to reside elsewhere.  Whether or not you are able to do so will depend on many factors, including which country you end up calling home and for how long.


The Bottom Line

It is said that the trend of threatening to leave the country was originally started during the 2000 election, when the late director Robert Altman (Short Cuts, Cookie’s Fortune) threatened to leave the United States if George W. Bush won the election, but like most of these threats his was an idle one, and he was very much still a US citizen and resident at the time of his death six years into Bush’s presidency. The truth is the vast majority of people who say they will leave will never actually do so, but if you are one who actually does, this blog post should give you an idea of some of the countries you may want to look into first if you want to live a high-quality lifestyle abroad.