This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Colonel D from Nashville
I’m intrigued when I read in various books, blogs or hear others speak of how they plan to “live off the land”. My first thought is good luck with that one everyone else will have the same idea. The concept is sound at least as of this writing but watch for that to change quickly when the trucks stop running to neighborhood grocery stores. People who otherwise would be the true examples of being in control and model citizens will change in ways that will catch many by surprise.
The reason to plan viable food storage for a family will be very important in such times. Perhaps thousands or millions could perish for lack of food, medical supplies or basic sanitation. Try to envision thousands of people eventually leaving the cities and suburbs in search of food, perhaps yours, throughout the country.
Don’t think it could happen, think again, nothing motivates people more than a hurting belly or watching their families starve around them – just consider Africa. If adequate supplies can be set aside for at least one year you might beat the odds and transition through at least one growing season and possibly survive. Part of your plan should include acquiring meat by hunting, trapping and fishing.
Many books are available on the subject but remember most of us aren’t made of money which constrains what can be done. By laying aside long term highly nutritious food stores a family should be able to live quite some time post disaster. Don’t waste money on items that go bad quickly or need to be used early. We plan on being in our bug out site before the SHTF. Unless the big one drops or a massive natural disaster hits there may be time to bug out from danger zones.
Hopefully you have found or determined a good place where you might escape to. The place should provide adequate defensibility – you need to see them before they see you. A viable water source which can be protected, perhaps easily concealed by camouflage and readily accessible is very important at or near a bug-out site.
Supplies should be stored where they can be concealed and easily protected. Look for natural rock depressions or open layers on rock faces or around cliffs to cache supplies. In the east, limestone shelves similar to the one in the picture are quite common and many have small caves behind them like the one shown.
Chosen locations may not even be owned by you but many properties around the country including federal and state lands are owned by absentee landlords. Do you think someone stuck in Florida is going to be able to get to their summer retreat in Minnesota or Michigan without gas for their car?
No not right away or perhaps ever and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box others will eventually figure it out. Unlike the masses however you’re intelligent enough to read blogs such as this one with a wealth of information.
Skills such as how to hunt trap and fish will be important. I recommend books available from Paladin Press (an advertiser on this blog) to provide you a wealth of low cost viable options on how to catch, hunt and trap almost anything. Remember traps work silently 24 hours a day 365 days each year unlike firearms which could draw attention to your area. If traps are built or stored prior to SHTF scenarios your odds of survival will increase in proportion to how well you prepared and practiced.
A person may wish to consider purchasing traps, snares and trapping supplies in advance of any calamity. Basically everything you would ever need is readily available and obtainable now at reasonable prices. Plan on purchasing traps for various sizes of animals and don’t forget how and where you’re going to store them. Several companies make spring and conibear type traps which work well, however; depending on what part of the country you live in methods, sizing, baiting and setting will differ.
Traps aren’t free so plan on spending some money acquiring various types for your area of the country. How many you purchase and which types will depend on your research, recommendations from books, friends or even local trappers.
Snares on the other hand work very well, are easily concealed and if properly placed produce well. You should obtain snares either through purchase or by building them yourself. Snares are the most economical method I know of and are very easy to setup once you have some practice. Depending on the location I can setup an effective snare set in less than 5 minutes.
The snares I make cost less than $1 each to fabricate My favorite snare is made from 3/32” galvanized aircraft cable, with an L shaped sure-lock and a swivel to prevent an animal from getting loose by twisting the cable. Refer to the picture for a typical 3/32” diameter 7 foot snare I typically use. (The picture illustrates a shorter version as an example).
A 3/32” diameter snare is for larger game such as coyotes, foxes, bobcats, wolves and even deer. For smaller animals such as rabbits I recommend a 1/16” or 5/64” diameter aircraft cable snares. Similarly to the larger diameter, each snare can be fabricated for under $1 each.
I recommend you consider several live catch traps as well since you could keep animals alive until needed. They do cost substantially more than conventional traps or snares, however; live animals don’t require immediate processing eliminating the need for refrigeration. I scored 2 live traps recently from craigslist for $40 and got one each small and large live traps (not bad considering you could easily spend $35-$50 for one not including shipping costs). The following list of vendors isn’t all inclusive however; traps and various supplies can be obtained through the following websites.
- www.havahart.com – made in the USA
Preparation is important but without actual practice in setting up traps things may not go as envisioned. It can take years to learn how to setup successful trap and snare sets on your own but don’t let this discourage you. Not unlike other skills this one needs to be learned and practiced.
Most states have hunting trapping and fishing seasons – take advantage of them to develop and hone skills. It’s not possible for me or anyone to include 40 years of hunting, fishing and trapping experience in this blog, however; resources are available throughout this blog that do provide adequate information to get started. Consider that perhaps trappers, hunters and fisherman in your local area may be willing to provide some training if you offered to help them in some way or trade something.
I don’t know who originally uttered the following quote but it seems appropriate “if you fail to plan than you plan to fail”. If you gained nothing else from this post, remember this one item – begin your planning today.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.
- The Prepper's Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How
- The Prepared Prepper's Cookbook: Over 170 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!
- Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man's Solution
- 31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness