Mastering 11 Survival Skills That Your Ancestors Had

Ancestors in Easter Island

By mastering 11 survival skills that your Grandparents had that we don't, you can reduce your dependence upon modern society and help to ensure that you and your family can survive in a disaster situation.

Most people don't realize just how reliant they are on the infrastructure that modern society is built upon. Then when disaster strikes, and that infrastructure is torn down, they have no idea what to do.

World Bank data on world electric power consumption per capita

How do you keep warm when the heater has no power? How do you get water when indoor plumbing quits working? How do you find food when the grocery stores go away and the drive-thru is a thing of the past? How do you treat infections and other illnesses without the help of your doctor?

These are all serious questions that hopefully you will never have to find the answers to. But if you do then it would be in your best interest to master some of the skills that kept our ancestors alive. For the majority of the time that humanity has walked the Earth survival was accomplished using more primitive means.

You may think that you need electricity and running water, but people got along just fine without these things for thousands of years. By mastering 11 survival skills that your Grandparents had that we don't, you can prepare yourself if some disaster puts an end to civilization as we know it.

Skills to Survive

1. Making Primitive Fire

When the sun goes down, you turn on the lights. When you need to cook dinner, you turn on the stove. When it gets cold out, you turn up the thermostat. But that's not how your Grandparents did things, and that's not how you will do things either if civilization comes to a screeching halt.

Your Grandparents and other ancestors needed to have light, and warmth, and the ability to cook food just like you do. So how did they do all of that without modern technology? They did it with fire. While you may be able to use matches or a lighter for a while, eventually you will have to turn to other means. One of the best options at your disposal is a flint striker. With a flint striker and a knife, you can start thousands of fires.

While this is a great tool, it's just a tool, so mastering primitive fire making should also be a priority for you. Primitive fire using a bow, hand drill, fire saw, or other frictions methods is a skill that takes a lot of time master. But if you do then you will be able to light a fire whenever you need one, which can be a lifesaving skill. 

2. Building Primitive Shelters

Today we live in homes that have electricity, running water, and a host of other modern conveniences. But in the past, our ancestors had no such luxuries. They didn't go to a real estate company and buy a home; they built one.

While learning to build a home from the ground up is probably not a skill you will ever need, learning to build a primitive shelter is. If you ever find yourself out with your family in the wilderness with no means of getting out quickly, you are going to need shelter.

This means that you are going to have to be able to look around at your environment, and then use the resources you have on hand to build a shelter (Read more at: How To Choose The Best Survival Shelter)​. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking a fire is all they need, and they are wrong. You need a shelter that has walls to protect you from wind, a roof to protect you from rain, and a floor to insulate you from the cold ground.

3. Hunting For Food

When we get hungry today, a quick trip to the store or through a drive-thru solves that problem. But what happens during a disaster or other similar situation when you get hungry? Well, then you need to be able to go out and hunt for food.

The good news is that if you have a modern rifle hunting is much easier than it would have been before the advent of gunpowder. It's easier, but it's still hard. You need to learn how to look for signs of animals, and how to approach them without being seen, heard, or smelled.

On top of that, you need to practice until you are proficient enough with your rifle that you won't miss when it counts. If you want to take things a step further and make yourself even more capable of long-term survival, then you will also learn to hunt with primitive weapons like a bow and arrow.

4. Cleaning An Animal And Preparing It For Consumption

So you pretty good with your rifle or bow and arrow and have managed to kill an animal that should provide you and your family with some much-needed protein. But how do you turn that dead animal into the meat you can eat?

You have to clean it, and either skin it or remove its feathers depending upon the type of animal it is. The thing is that most people today have no idea of how to do that. When you clean an animal, you have to remove its intestines fairly quickly so that they don't contaminate and ruin the meat.

This isn't a pretty job, it's messy and will probably be quite disgusting for you until you are used to it. But it's a skill you are going to need to master if you want to be able to survive.

5. Preserving Meat By Drying It

Having a supply of meat is great, but without refrigeration, it's going to spoil pretty quickly. When our ancestors needed to preserve meat they didn't stick it in the freezer because they didn't have one.

Sure, in really cold climates you can keep meat from spoiling for quite a while, but what if you don't live in a cold area? Then you need to learn how to dry your meat to keep it from spoiling.

Using salt, a smoker, or even a solar dehydrator is the best way to dry out your meat so you can store it and use it long term. Once the meat has been dried, it can be consumed for many months without the risk of spoiling.

6. Farming

In the past, many people grew their fruits and vegetables and depending upon these foods for survival. Should some future disaster strike then learn how to farm can save your life and the lives of your family? Farming, even on a small scale such as in your yard is hard work.

You need to learn what kinds of plants grow in your area, and you need to plant, fertilize, water, and care for your crops. It's a lot of work. But if a scenario ever comes to pass where you have to provide your food for your family, learning to grow crops can be a lifesaver.

In fact, it's a good idea to start planning now so that you can master the process, and also so you will have a head start in case of a disaster.

7. Trapping Animals

While hunting for animals might seem like the best choice for putting food on the table, the truth is that trapping is much more efficient. Our ancestors would set traps, then go on about their day and check them later for any animals they may have caught.

==> Free Video: Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did

There are a lot of different traps you can set, and if you have access to steel spring traps, then these are highly effective at capturing animals. However, you should also learn how to set deadfalls and snares. Why would you do this if you have access to more modern traps?

You do it because your modern traps can be broken, or stolen. If this happens knowing how to set a snare trap can help to keep you and your family fed.

8. Using Plants To Treat Injuries, Illness, And Infection

Today if you get sick you go to the doctor. If you get sick or suffer a major injury or infection, you go to the hospital. But in the days of our ancestors, you had to take care of yourself.

Fortunately, there are a lot of plants that have medicinal value that you can use if you don't have access to modern medical care.

By taking the time to research and study the plants in the region you live in, you can find out how you can provide much needed medical treatment for you and your family.

9. Finding And Processing Water

If you get thirsty today all you have to do is turn on the faucet, fill your cup, and have a drink. Actually, with the obsession with bottled water that we have, there's a better chance that you will open a bottle of water instead. But what did people do before there was indoor plumbing?

They found other means to get the water that they needed for survival. Depending on the region of the world you live in finding water can either be very challenging, or quite easy. If you live in a desert environment, then it's essential that you find a water source, and in a long-term survival situation that you set up your shelter near it. It's also quite important that you learn how to purify water.

Some sources of water, such as natural springs, are filtered by rock and sand and can safely drink from. However, most sources of groundwater are contaminated and must be purified by boiling. As a general rule of thumb, you should always boil any water you are going to drink if you have any level of uncertainty of whether or not it is contaminated.

10. Fishing

Fish are one of the more plentiful food sources in many parts of the world. Unfortunately capturing fish is a skill that takes quite a bit of work to master.

But if you live in a region where there are either freshwater sources with fish, or you are on the coast near the ocean, learning how to exploit this resource can help to keep you family fed.

What you should do is learn how to make your fishing gear using natural resources. While modern fishing gear makes things much easier, you should always remember that anything you have can be lost, stolen, or broken. So taking the time to learn how to make fishing lines or traps can be a real lifesaver.

11. Relying On Themselves For Protection

Today if you encounter a criminal you may have to defend yourself, but at least you know that if there is a fight or assault in public someone is going to call the police. Well, your ancestors didn't have this luxury, and if something happens to disrupt society, you won't have that luxury either.

There's A Reason Why Our Ancestors Got Things Done The Way They Did...

This is why our ancestors were usually armed. From cave dwellers with a club to the Middle Ages with a sword to the old west with a revolver, carrying a weapon was a way of life in the past. So you should learn to do the same just in case you need it. A gun or a knife can save your life in an emergency, but only if you know how to use them.

You should also make learning self-defense and hand to hand combat techniques as well so that you won't have to depend upon a weapon. If you have a weapon on hand, it's also a good idea to learn how to make your own. With nothing more than a long branch, a knife, and fire you can make an effective primitive spear that you can use to fight with or hunt with.

Our Ancestors Made It Without Modern Technology And You Can As Well

While the thought of having to survive and lead a primitive life following a disaster, war, or other major event is frightening, it's also something that you can learn to do.

For thousands of years, humans survived in a dangerous environment with little more than their wits and ingenuity to get them by. By taking the time to learn the skills that our ancestors had you can help to ensure that you and your family can survive should civilization ever come to an end?

Up Next: The Way Of The Paleo Survival - Part I

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