April 11th 8:00 am to 12th 11:45 am.  Temps low of 47 with a high of 70 party cloudy.  Just a few sprinkles here and there.  Mostly perfect weather.

17 in attendance.  5 leaders.  12 young men.   CLICK ON A PICTURE FOR A LARGER VIEW!


Over the weekend, myself and another commander from our church’s Royal Rangers program took five of our boys out for a weekend of learning and earning three merits; primitive shelters, primitive snares, and wilderness survival. We had a great weekend, even though it was short on good sleep!

Commander Craig and I left our church in Branson with the five boys who attended this merit weekend and met with another Royal Ranger outpost in Springfield. Commander Mark quickly went over some last minute preparations and made sure everyone had the proper gear (and that no one was at an advantage gear-wise over everyone else), then we hit the road towards our District Commander Jerry’s house out past Republic. Jerry has a beautiful piece of property with open fields, ponds, cedar glades, wooded areas, and lots of diverse plant life. It was a perfect setting for our wilderness survival weekend.

Not long after we arrived, we all spread out (but still stayed within eyesight of each other) and picked a spot to build our primitive shelters. We spent a few hours working on our shelters; most everyone built a lean-to type shelter. Most everyone got their frames built, and a few even started getting their shelters covered with leaves. Here are some pics of mine from later that evening…

After a few hours, we paused on our shelters and headed on over towards Jerry’s pond to filter some water for fire control and cooking with later. Jerry led the way and stopped several times to point out some useful and edible plants.
Next, we headed on over towards Jerry’s pavilion, and spent the next several hours going over different methods of starting a fire in the wild, and then working on building and setting some primitive snares. The boys worked on trying to light a fire with one waterproof match, or using a fire striker block and pocket knife. Mark then demonstrated a couple of other ways to light a fire in a survival situation, including wrapping a bare wire around 3 matches then hooking each end of the wire to a vehicle battery. He even started a fire by mixing some water purification powder with a little anti-freeze.

The boys then worked on constructing and setting several different types of snares, including a figure 4 deadfall snare, a squirrel pole, twitch-up snare, an Ojibwa Bird Pole, and others.

After building snares, we filtered some more water from the pond, then headed back to camp to finish our shelters and start cooking dinner. Each person received a raw potato and some baby carrots. Jerry surprised us all with some frozen corn on the cob, which was very welcomed! Most people either boiled their potato in some tin cans we all brought, or wrapped theirs in tin foil with some carrots and cooked over the coals. Food is always so much better over a campfire. After dinner, we all sat around the campfire and visited for a while, then Mark delivered the evening council fire devotion.

Soon, everyone was slowing heading off to bed. Just after dark, Rob showed up to hang out with us and spend the night around the campfire. He was going to give the morning council fire devotion. Everyone was allowed two survival blankets to keep warm overnight. No sleeping bags, regular blankets or pillows. Most of us had the cheap survival blankets you can get at Wal-Mart. They will keep you somewhat warm, but you get what you pay for. They are very thin and cheap, and tear easily. Mark and one other boy each had much better quality ones, and they “survived” the night better than the rest of us. Even Jerry built a primitive shelter and spent the night in it, even though his warm and comfy house/bed was just a few hundred yards away. Now that is dedication!

Most everyone was up around 5 am to huddle around the campfire and warm up. It wasn’t long before we started cooking breakfast; bacon, eggs and potatoes! Everyone got their fill and really enjoyed breakfast. Then it was time for Rob to deliver the morning council fire devotion.

After cleaning up camp very well and trying to make it look back to normal as possible, we all met under the pavilion for a few minutes while Mark went over some last minute info and reviewed what we had learned over the weekend. Then he officially declared that the boys had earned their three merits: Primitive Snares, Primitive Shelters, and Wilderness Survival!

We took a few group photos, then said our goodbyes and headed back to Branson. Everyone was tired and anxious to get home for a hot shower and a nap!

Report by Justin Fisher

Night time survival

Leaders hamming it up.

Bacon fying in the can.


Fried taters and bacon

I love fried potatoes


Sharing around the fire

Water Purification

survival fires methods

figure4 deadfall

Primative Snares class

Great group

1st filter using a bandana

council fire

Time for Jesus

Yum Fried Potatoes

Aah! These are wonderful

Great Help

In the woods


AR Debris Shelter

We survived a group shot

Marks leaf bed

Just right and a good shelter

Do you guys mind if I take a nap

Ernie's Shelter

You should have seen the fire!

Gathering leaves

2 of these make a great bed

Center of survial camp

Justins Hut

See the rock in the middle ask him about it!!!

Jones Debris hut

ER Camp

16 and older camp

Stayed up all night tending fire

AR Camp with leaves

Monkeys climbing around

Alex's reflector fire

Craig tending fire

Craigs place

3 am fire check

Theres people under those survival blankets

Father and son's having fun!

Man this is fun!

Nice hardwood for fires!

Roughing it! He was tuckered out!

Stump chopper!

Slicing up Left over Apples so everyone gets a slice

Rob on his Leaf bed..it's better than nothing for sure!

tin foil pans for cooking with.

Yes I love bacon

It's fun cooking around the fire.

Can we stay 2 nights?

Man we are eating good!

Jerry camped in his Debris hut too ask him about the 3 am call from a varment.

Teen Center

Doc tea Drinkers