Nature’s Abundant Resource

– Burns quickly and will make a good fire lay in damp conditions due to it’s resinous wood. The sap/resin is usually found seeping out of the outer bark where an injury has occurred. Pine resin can be used as an artificial skin for shallow cuts and has antiseptic properties. The sap itself is flammable so caution should be observed, however this makes an excellent fire extender. Pine pitch is an adhesive that can be made by slowly heating and adding equal parts binder, i.e. charcoal or cattail fluff. Needles of eastern pine trees have more vitamin C per weight than a freshly squeezed orange. A nutritious tea can be made from the needles as they are also high in vitamin A. A collection of dead needles make a good addition to a fire lay as they are highly resinous.

Willow– Since this tree requires a wet area to grow well, this is an excellent water indicator. Leaves and inner bark contain salicin, which is a chemical compound found in aspirin, a decoction makes a decent headache remedy and chewing leaves should help a toothache. The branches are long and new growth is fairly straight, which could make arrow shafts.
Tulip Poplar

Poplar– A tulip poplar is what Daniel Boone’s canoe was carved from. Although technically a magnolia, the tulip poplar is easy to carve so making a spoon or spatula is possible. Leaves and bark are very astringent so it will draw infection out and drive toxins away. Used as a fomentation it will relieve poison ivy, drawing the oils away from the skin. The inner bark provides bird nesting material as well as tinder bundles.

Oak– Very hard and a good choice to manufacture tools such as an ax handle. Oak is long burning and makes a good coal bed for cooking. Remember, fire is for heat and coals are for cooking.
Red Oak

Red Oak– Great for building as it handles stress very well.
White Oak

White Oak– This is much more medicinal in use. The inner bark can help relieve sinus congestion and headache. Antiseptic in nature makes a good mouthwash as a decoction. High in tannin, the bark and leaves are astringent.

Birch– Bark contains oil that is so flammable is will likely burn even when wet. The bark produces thick black smoke that will drive insects away in the summer. When using open flame birch requires little to no processing to create a quick warm fire. When found in colder climates and in high altitudes, birch is plagued by a parasitic fungus called chaga. When sliced thin, chaga makes a great tinder and when made into tea it has medicinal properties. Birch is also an excellent wood to carve.


Wild Edible/Medicinals


Poultice Gathering plant leaves and flowers raw and then macerating them.
Macerate– Soften by soaking in liquid and/or chewing.
Infusion– Steep for 10-15 minutes and consume after straining.
Decoction– Like an infusion but requires the material to be boiled instead of steeped. Bark and other roots work best for this. Consume after boiling half the liquid away and strain.
Wash– This is a type of infusion used to clean instead of consume.

It is a good idea to pick a few plants that are readily available in the area rather than trying to memorize all types of plants. This will aid in collection and identification.


Cattail– Nature’s supermarket and pharmacy. Young shoots are edible raw or boiled, root stock tuber can also be eaten. Pollen from seed heads can be used as a flour and young seed heads can be eaten like corn on the cob.

Wild Parsnip Black Creek
Field Parsnip– Root can be baked like a potato and is a great starch. Use caution, dermatitis can occur from contact with this plant.

Dandelion– Makes a great salad or you can munch on the go. Rich in Vitamin A and flowers can be eaten as well. Roots make a coffee substitute when dried and ground.

hickory nut
Hickory Nuts– Nut meat is a good protein.

black walnut
Black Walnuts– Another good source for protein, green leaves can be used as a wash for skin drying conditions like poison ivy.

Raspberries– common fruit in summer, good source of vitamins, eat raw or make infusion tea or accent another dish.

Common Elderberry– Very common from summer to fall. Eat raw or boil for a tasty drink.


-There is a gel in the base of the sheath when the shoot is removed that is anesthetic and antiseptic, think of it as aloe. Young shoots make a decent toothbrush.

Charcoal– Not a plant but is useful against plant or food poisoning. Grind and mix with water to induce vomiting. Also helps to absorb toxins left in the stomach.

Mullein– Has been used for centuries as a decongestant. Great for cough and cold remedies, use green leaves for wound dressing.

Jewel weed– Chemicals in the juices help to soothe contact dermatitis from poison ivy and other other plants. Use as soon as possible after contact.

Plantain– Helps to draw out foreign objects from wounds like thorns and splinters as well as poison from bites and stings. Use as a poultice by chewing and placing on wound.

Mint– Helps to soothe a headache when rubbed on the temples. Dried mint and dandelion infusion are useful against upset stomach and will help relieve diarrhea. Made into a decoction and gargled mint will help against a sore throat.

Yarrow– Used for centuries to help blood clot in deep wounds. Also has anti-inflammatory properties. Helps to break fevers by inducing a sweat when consumed as a tea. Insect repellent.

Boneset– An infusion will help break fevers. A poultice of green leaves will help deep bruises and even bone repair.

10 Tips For Bushcraft

1. Use your knife as little as possible. Seek alternate methods for anything but the most essential tasks.
2. Never pass up good, dry tinder. You don’t know when you will stumble upon some again.
3. Never let excess meat go to waste. Dry extra meat for later consumption.
4. Make use of an entire animal. Use innards for bait and bones can be made into tools.
5. Use dead fall for shelter and fire. Avoid burning excess calorie usage that comes with felling trees.
6. Water is precious. Collect any and all rainwater you can.
7. Run traps in a daisy pattern around your camp, not in a straight line. This will aid in calorie conservation.
8. If possible, set up camp near water.
9. Always think about your next fire. Save tinder or make char cloth with your current fire.
10. Travel during the most pleasant times of the day. In hot weather travel in the morning and late evening, rest when it is the hottest. In cold weather travel when the sun is