5 Outdoor Skills to Learn Instead of Watching the News

When the news is nightmarish, turn your attention to more productive outlets like learning outdoor skills.

by posted on February 15, 2021
Outdoor Skills Lede

If you need a break from breaking headlines, try picking up a new wilderness skill. Stop scowling while scrolling and prepare for your next adventure, while enjoying the calming effects of accomplishing a new skill. Instead of pacing and moaning, you could be practicing and learning! Plus, if your goal is to escape politics, go off grid and live off the land, you’ll have some know-how up your sleeve.

Knot Tying
If the news has your stomach in knots, try getting out your frustration on a piece of rope. The methodical, logical process of learning new knots is sure to calm you down. You’ll also have some new survival skills in your back pocket for your next adventure. Check out these 6 Knots That Are Silly Not to Know to get you started.

Homemade Bug Spray
While the DEET variety certainly works, the harmful chemicals can make you stop and wonder what you’re spraying on your body. It feels good to give up things that are bad for you, like doom-scrolling the news and chemical-ridden bug repellants. Making your own is cheap, sustainable and safe. Also, adding essential oils to your homemade bug spray smells much nicer and feels better on your skin. There are plenty of recipes on the internet for DIY bug spray for adults, kids and animals. My preferred recipe is:

¼ c. vodka
¼ c. witch hazel
1 tbsp. Fractionated coconut oil or other carrier oil
20 drops of citronella essential oil
20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops of peppermint essential oil

Dry Practice
If you’ve never tried dry firing your firearms at home, you’re missing out on a great practice opportunity. There are so many skills you can work on, no ammunition required. Instead of letting the news get you down, try turning your attention to a productive dry practice session. Here are some drills to try if you’re working on accurate aim, perfecting your draw or a flawless magazine change.

DIY Fire Starter
Any camper knows that getting the fire started in the evening is priority No. 1, because you can’t eat until you have some glowing coals over which to cook. Sure, you can buy lighter fluid or any number of other fire starters to speed up the process. But instead of lugging a full bottle of lighter fluid or a heavy starter log to your campsite, it might be easier to pack these lightweight, recycled fire starters instead, made out of things you probably already have at home! All you have to do is turn off the TV and collect an empty egg carton (the paper kind, not plastic or styrofoam), dryer lint and wax. Stuff the dryer lint into the egg compartments then fill with melted wax. Once they’ve dried, you can cut them up into 12 ready-to-burn bundles.

Plan a Food Plot
To make a food plot, you plant things for the wildlife to eat. While I’m sure animals very much appreciate the boost during scarce winter months, there are ulterior motives that make this a win-win for hunters too. Fatten up your future quarry and create a spot the animals are used to stopping (say … close to your blind or stand, perhaps?) at the same time. If you’re interested in helping some creatures get through the winter, while also preparing for hunting season, check out this How-To on our sister publication, NRA Family, instead of checking those incessant news updates.

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