Do you Plan to Live off of the Land When the SHTF? – So Will Everyone Else!

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.

  • – 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:

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I’m surprised that you don’t recommend at least 2 years worth of food since most all the animals will be hunted to death in most all the areas. They will most likely only come back through migration.

    In that regard, I plan to be able to do a small survival garden, just to extend supplies.

    • remember the Donner party 😉 waste not ,want not .

    • Michael C,

      You brought up a very good point concerning animals being hunted/shot to near extinction. During the Depression in the 1930-‘s many areas were hunted out by people trying to get by and the US population was 125 million. During the 1870’s the US population was less than 55 million and 75 million bufffalo were killed off with black powder firearms. There were once billions of passenger pigeons and they all disappeared in about two decades. Same for many other animals and all before modern powders, firearms, scopes and range finders. With a population of 310 million now and a breakdown of fish and game laws in a WTSHTF wild game will become very scarce, very fast.

      I live in NW FL and with the Choctawhatchee Natl Forest and the Eglin AFB Ranges (lots of areas open to hunting) near by there is a fair amount of wild game. This game only exists because of the majority of people obeying the game laws and with limited seasons. If TSHTF I doubt if fish and game will be enforcing much as it will be too dangerous. With the exception of the military land, I suspect all the game will be almost gone in a few months.

      I agree stock up on food and if in a small town or rural area stay put.

  2. Ron Howard says:

    I see your point and agree with most of what you say, but your seventh or eighth paragraph seemed to muddy your article just a bit, at least for me.
    I’d hate for someone to just focus in on the point that the absentee land ownes will not be on said property for a short period and assume that occupying is the way to go.

    Quoted: “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.”

    Yes there will be thousands of people gravitating to the hills and hollows all over this country from the cities and suburbs and a lot of those doing the gravitating will most likely be those that were at one time raised in those very hills and hollows who left to find jobs, providing for their families.
    Yes, there will be the very absentee land owners among those thousands who either purchased or inherited said property and thus going back to where they know they can survive. Probably bringing with them the rest of their gear (ie: to hunt, trap, fish and plant) and those of their family or friends who couldn’t otherwise make it there.
    It will prove to be an interesting situation when said Florida family or group is no longer ‘STUCK’ due to getting around the traffic jams because they did actually have fuel and show up to their RIGHTFULLY owned property to find someone else using their planned and prepped provisions! Hopefully no one else doesn’t have the same idea and occupy your go to property a week or two before you get there. I bet you would not be too pleased.
    One thing is for sure, we should think outside of the box and prep for an unwelcome unprepped occupant/squatter.


    • Colonel D says:

      Ron, the point I attempted to make in the article was to look at all options open to anyone. There are properties throughout the U.S. which may potentially be utilized. It was not my intention to recommend or condone “taking over” anyone’s property. The point is to consider all possibilities for survival. Depending on the crisis some of us may not even be able to travel anywhere for a multitude of reasons. Thanks for the post.

      • Colonel D,
        Sir I do aplolgize if I offended in any way. I’m not much of a poster as it is, I prefer to read and I was really concerned as to how my comment may have read.
        The thought of the property/land issue crossed my mind and I just typed. I love this site and every bit of information it offers, especially from folks like yourself. I live in Indiana (Indy to be exact) since 1997. I remember when people would laugh at me when I would show ther my survival bag in my trunk and even now when I make mention of this site or this information to others that I know, I still hear time and again comments like “you need to stop reading that stuff” to the point that I don’t stop reading as you can see, but I have stopped mentioning it to them. I’m really at a loss as to the vast amount of people not aware or choose not to be aware of the”SHTF” trouble soon to face us in this country.
        You Sir and others please keep up the good work. Your knowledge is needed!

  3. Encourager says:

    I would never assume someone who owns a summer home will not be coming to it WSHTF. To trespass on their property and use it for storage is stupid, plain stupid. If they came back and discovered your cache, what then? Who owns it? The landowner? You going to fight them for it? Seriously?

  4. Plant Lady says:

    I do plan to live off the land come TEOTWAWKI – my own land – bought and paid for, using my own tools, equipment, seed & nursery stock and livestock – bought and paid for, with the skills I have invested time and effort to learn and practice over years.
    I really hate to see folks advocate stealing someone else’s property and supplies:
    “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?”
    First, theft is wrong – and God is watching. And folks in the country are different – we watch out for each other, and this includes property and equipment. This is “our” area and we know who owns what, whether or not a person is “home” or away for the winter (or a funeral or just visiting) and who besides the owner is allowed to use the resources. We have understandings with our neighbors to keep an eye on our place while we are gone (even just grocery shopping) – and we take this responsibility very seriously. Firstly, because these folks are our family and friends – and second because we know they will be returning the favor at some point when we have to be away. With police response times in hours to days right now, we are already accustomed to preventing theft on our own – and have the will and means to do so. You, as an obvious outsider, will not stand a chance – everyone will recognize you as a stranger with no right to be hanging around the area. And, by the time you get here, the local friends and families will have cleared out anything useful those who are “away” have left behind…to either keep it safe for them or for their family’s use. And we will prevent you from hanging around the area, because someone we know already owns all that land/supplies/equipment you are looking to steal – there is nothing here for you since you didn’t bother to invest in your own future in the area. Unless, of course, you are willing to become a slave or sharecropper to someone with land and are willing to trade freedom (perhaps for generations or forever) for a wee bit of security. Read history if you think that is a viable solution! Wait, you say…what about all that federal and state land? Well, you need to be aware that a lot of that federal and state land is leased out for many purposes…so someone “owns” the right to use it. And the reason a lot of that fed and state land is not settled is because it isn’t suited for growing food – otherwise it would have been sold off for homesteads long ago. In our township, 65% of the land is state owned…and it is all swamp.
    In the country, we are going to have a hard enough time taking care of our own, without taking on the care of thieves. You won’t stand a chance unless you also make the sacrifices necessary to be able to make the investment that those of us in the country have already made – purchasing land, building a home, barn and outbuildings, preparing and planting ground, buying and growing livestock, buying equipment and supplies and learning the skills you need to be self-reliant. Stocking food and supplies is a good idea – but no matter how much you can store – it is a finite supply. It would be far wiser to buy suitable land, learn the skills and stock the equipment and supplies you will need to produce as much of what you need as possible, along with things to trade for those things you can’t produce. Then you will be set for the long term…without resorting to thievery and endangering your immortal soul. Remember…”Thou shalt not steal” is one of the big ten things God doesn’t consider optional, no matter what the circumstances!

    • Plant Lady says:

      The rest of the article was good…but I really hate to see folks told it is all right to steal…and even encouraged to base their survival plans on such a deadly notion. God is real serious on this point. Not only does he specifically prohibit it, he also prohibits even the thought…”Thou shalt not covet…”. Since God used up two of the 10 commandments (not suggestions) prohibiting stealing or even the thought of stealing…you know he is dead serious.
      OK, rant done..unless someone tries to justify theft – especially of MY land and MY supplies and equipment (hehe).

      • Plant Lady,
        I tend to agree with you in what I think about what “Live off of the Land” means. To me it’s livestock from bees to pigs to chickens, a large garden, and some perennials from fruit trees to berry bushes. Adding in hunting and trapping can also be useful, but depending on your location, and the skill of the hunting/trapping population in the area the game will most likely be either depleted or driven deep into the wild in short order.
        As for stealing or squatting and the commandments, I will not be judging, and will leave that negotiation between the perpetrators and God. All I and the neighbors will contribute is a shotgun and a shovel if absolutely required.

      • I’m becoming convinced that the looters in my area are more likely to have paracord bracelets and fire strikers, than body tattoos and gang graffiti on their clothing.

      • As far as the Fed and State land, that is owned by the US people. Miners, oil concerns and forestry companies get a “permit” to operate – they don’t own the land. They have no “right” to enforce any laws. They can only call the police if someone is sleeping near their work site. In the “down time” no one will be working and no one will care.

        I have no problem with people camping in areas devoted to the public.

        plant lady – your place IS private property, more power to you.

    • Congratulations. Those “strangers” you and your country neighbors, family, and friends, attacked on that county road this morning, walking into your area? The ones you assumed were there to steal?

      They included a MD, 2 RN’s, and a teacher and his wife, who just happened to be a great gardners. Great move.

      It is not going to be that simple people.

  5. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    You have to be able to eat everything. Work on mentally being ready to eat gopher, woodpeckers, cats, grubs whatever. Be ready to do it from the start. As the longhunter for the group it’s something we have discussed. I will be after deer, hog, etc but I will take anything and camp meat especially will be anything and everything. It’s also the reason I compliment my rifle with a small caliber 22 handgun, have numerous arrow types, traps of all kinds from rat to large leg holds and carry a bag to keep what I can forage with. Food will be different for sure!
    Another point is to make sure you can get it from field to table. Too many “Hunters”, a loosley used term these days, are lost without someplace to drop it off for processing. The days will be gone of walking 1/4 mile from your 4 wheeler/truck and climb into the baited feeder, heated stand out of the rain. Hunting will be real, practice now!

    • Plant Lady says:

      Matt: The thought of having to be able to eat anything during hard times is what made getting chickens my first prep! (hehe) I truly prefer to cycle the less palatable choices through livestock first. Our main priority is to become as self-sufficient as possible – especially as far as food goes, so I never (again) have to needlessly stare down a bug and try to force it into my mouth (thanks to the military). Geesh – there are so many far more tasty things available if you just know where to look during what season! Glad I grew up in a family of serious outdoors folks. Even when little kids, we knew how to feed ourselves while we were out and about in the woods – because if we came home for lunch, our moms would find chores for us. Our favorite spring foraged meal was always brookies/rainbows stuffed with morels, tied shut/seasoned with wild garlic…coated with clay and tossed on some hot coals. Along with some fiddleheads and wild asparagus steamed in grape leaves, wild strawberries for dessert and wintergreen tea sweetened with some birch cambium. All we needed was a knife, a metal cup and some matches…and some knowledge.
      And you truly make a good point – people all around the world eat all sorts of things we don’t consider “food” here. I realized this when I saw the Filipino equivalent of a hot dog cart…a coffee can brazier with palmetto bug sort of things roasting on sticks. Seemed to be a thriving business. The point was driven home when I discovered what I thought was an animal shelter turned out to be a meat ranch. And back when I was taking private lessons in Japanese, I had to give up the lessons as my teacher came to really like me and started serving me a snack of Japanese foods midway through the lesson. I was ruining too many clothes discreetly stashing God knows what in my pockets.
      Just made a whole lot more sense to arrange to grow what I want to eat right here, to seriously lessen the chance I would be forced to eat yucky things to survive! I plan to thrive, rather than just survive!

  6. I was to young to remember this for myself but have heard the story a number of times from my folks, they had moved to a fairly remote area of northern Alberta following the pipeline in regards to work for dad and when they went to the nearest “blink and you will miss it” local store to see if anything was for rent in the area, they were told they could rent old so and so’s cabin, he had moved out about five years ago to his daugthers but it had the basic’s, well, old garden space, wood stove etc, so they said, show it to us, and off they went into the bush, off gravel and onto a dirt road and they came into the yard to a bit of a surprise, a full garden, and a line full of drying cloths with a half cut wood pile and a new small barn going up, along with a dog and goat or two, and a very nice polite young man in his twenties or so came out, along with wife and two little ones, they had fled the US over the Vietnam draft, and had found a little far off homestead that they had claimed as their own.. done a right good job of looking after the place, they said they would move on if mom and dad wanted to rent it, but if they were only going to be there for a few months, that there was cabin up the way that was empty, (which is what my folks rented). Never did find out if they were asked to move on, asked to pay rent or what..

    PS, mean no disrespect about the war or those that came to Canada raither then serve etc, just that its part of the story.. I often wondered how they were never noticed by anyone or what happened..

    Just a few years ago this happened at my Big Brothers hunting camp, needless to say, words were spoken when the guys (all six of them arrived) to find that someone else had set up in their bush camp (that they have been working on for the past ten years), I don’t know who was more unhappy, the folks that thought “it was empty” or my brother and his buddies, I was surprised that they had to get the law to come to prove they did indeed own the land that the hunting camp was on, as the vistor’s didn’t take their word on it.. They had a friend in the area, use his cat to a haul logs across their road and now quad in and or pack their gear in on the horse.

    Just because you left it empty, does not mean that it will be when you get there..

    • Farmgal,
      What a couple of interesting stories. I really needed to add more information to my article. My family owned land in northern Minnesota years ago. We had relocated to the western U.S. in the late 70’s and needless to say none of us set foot on the northern property for years. The last time I walked the place was in 1982 with my dad I think. We lived 0ver 1200 miles from the land and had no intentions of every returning after that. We had a family member who lived about 50 miles from the place but they retired to Texas about 5 years ago and haven’t been back since. It wasn’t particularly great land being located near a swamp as I recall but 30 years can dim one’s memory. We have friends from Michigan who own property with a lake home in Ontario, Canada and needless to say when his dad died 15-20 years ago they quit going to the lake at some point. The last time I spoke with him he told me no one had been to the lake home for 8 or 10 years. No doubt the place is a mess at this point. He’s very sentimental and that’s why he hasn’t sold the place yet.

  7. Sorry i have not posted anything for a while but the mother-in -law has been in the hospital for a while and has had to have her kidney and left leg removed , The doctor said it is ALL smoking related, I am glad i quit 8 year’s ago, NO this is not an anti smoking campaign i just ask for prayer’s for her to recover.
    Now Colonel D FANTASTIC article on traping, I think to mant it is a lost art, Not to mention you gave a great reminder to people to know the animal’s in their region and that one size does not fit all.
    Also the emphasis that trap’s are silent hunter’s that work 24/7 365
    is a good peice of info lost on alot of people.
    Thank to Sir as it has motivated me to make sure mine are in working order, God Bless All

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Holy crap, Wayne, your MIL would make a good anti-smoking poster – sorry to say. I hope she recovers and is someday able to find some happiness. What a tragic story.

      Prayers said for her and for your wife and for you, Wayne. Good luck.

    • Wayne, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s medical problem. It is difficult to see a loved one suffer such serious medical related problems. As a nurse I sympathize with you and your family and hope you’re holding up well. On a side note I used to smoke but I quit 26 years ago and don’t miss it one bit.
      Col. D

  8. Another thing that is tricky and could turn into a sticky situation is being confronted by authorities setting up your cache . This is more of a problem when using State and especially Federal land to do it in . In the day and age of drug smugglers and growers using national parks to ply their trade , you may be discovered by one of the alphabet soup agencies . This can be even more of a problem considering some of the new anti “hoarding ” laws Uncle Stalin is passing in washington . Possible felony trespass on private property if you use somebody els’s house , and whatever other laws apply to your being on state or federal land and what you may have in your possession . be careful .

  9. Excellent article Col. Sorry that some people have not traveled enough in their lives to understand how many tanks of gas it will take to get from Florida to Minnasota or share our understanding of what TEOTWAWKI means. (Here is a clue… If there is gasoline available or people are not dying by the millions, then it is Not TEOTWAWKI)!

    Here is something I think we all might want also to consider.

    Why is it that mankinds earliest development occured in areas dominated by water and not in the mountains, forests, or plains?
    The Yellow, Nile, Tigres and Euphrates Rivers? The Mediterainian? Etc.

    • If you look at a map of the Roman Empire you will see that it concentrates around the coastal areas , and does not go what we would consider far inland all that much . This was more for reasons of wealth than anything else . You controle the coastlines , you controle all the trade .

      • Wealth? True but you have to establish and maintain yourself first

        • Well an Empire runs on wealth , legions expect to be paid . The Romans did start out on the Tiber river , then took over the rest of Italy from there . Also , transport by sea was faster ( and safer ) most of the time .

    • Agriculture, of course, man’s earliest cities were built around food and the water supply for food.

      Those cities can only exsist with lots of food in – waste out.

      • Think of the food thats available in the water. While the last deer in the mountains is breeding one fawn a year every fish in the rivers, lakes and ocean is spawning hundreds.
        And then there is Food Preservation. Smoking/drying several dozen fish is less effort and less fuel intensive then the equivlent venison.

        • Absolutely right !!!!! In Alaska , they are blessed with both and a sparse population compared to other states . If its a situation where fuel is no longer produced or available . Think of the population comeback of ocean life when commercial fishing fleets no longer operate to overfish areas .

          • And when 9/10ths of the US population dies off there will be plenty of fresh water fish and sea food available for the survivors except up in the mountains.
            This in turn will allow more time for agriculture.

            • Aye that ! overpopulation is the number 1 reason we prep . All the problems we prep for are a result of overpopulation .

  10. SrvivlSally says:

    Colonel D.,
    The idea of using another person’s land has passed my mind a time or two. I would not be afraid to do that but I would not let down my guard and assume that no one is around. Not even a good eye for spotting other human tracks is enough to tell me that I am actually without such a presence nearby with all of the deer, cougar, coyote, smaller wild boars, grizzlies, black bears and such roaming all over, messing things up. The black bears are not thick but they have their places and, with their foot prints marking up the place… That would not stop me but I would not be able to relax with that in the back of my mind. Not that anyone would go barefoot, but some people may be wearing old-fashioned, soft moccassins because they have to make their own when the time comes and, as they wear in and wear down, the details may very well become more prominent and noticeable. For obvious reasons, and so I will never make a mistake post-shtf, I never want to forget that leather can take on shape(s) as it gets wet, stretched, shrunk and well-used.

  11. LonghairCountryboy says:

    I think one other factor that must be considered when looking back to times like the Great Depression, is the people as a whole. In the early 1900’s people still had to be pretty damn tough to survive day to day, even in the big cities. Today people have a “everything done for me” mentality, and there will be a huge loss in population very quickly. People have grown soft, and many will lack even the basic skills or knowledge to survive a couple months, let alone a year or more. Throw on top of this the fact that vast numbers of people in the metropolisis do not have, nor have even ever driven a car. They live on public transportation. Yes their will be a mass outflux from the big population areas, but many of these will not last or make it very far. IMHO.

  12. robert in mid michigan says:

    i have to admit i have thought about trapping in my plans its one ofthose things you say i need to do that and it never gets done. so i really do need to figure out how to do this for my own.

    do i plan on using the wild to supplement my food reserves? you bet i do but like most people here we are using these resources now, and if tshtf well my self i will try and become invisable as much as possible. i will let those wondering around take the risk. after things havecalmed down i will at that point begin to look for food in the wild. although i do agree most game and fish will have been used up by the horde they will return over time. so i will have to look at those things they will not find for the most part. you would not believe how many people do not know you can eat acorns, around here everyone tells me chestnuts are poisinous, food will be available it just wont be where people are looking for it.

    as far as game have the rabbits, and if we have any warning i can get a couple of layers in short order (less than 30 min walk, 5 min by car) no i woould not need to steal them have friends who raise them thier not preppers per say just farmers who still can whatever stands still long enough to get put in a jar.

    so i will look to my own preps first and use what i can to supplement that. as far as using land that is not yours thats between you and god and possibly the guy with a gun. state land as a retreat idea to me sounds like making the worst of a bad situation thousands will be roaming the land looking to surviv e off that same land who will take what they need. to me it sounds like putting my family in a very bad situation with very little infrastructure to protect them. a tent and a campfire offer no protection. my suggestion if this is your plan would be to buy some land, and become that neighbor now country people as has been stated know those who belong and those that dont and they will protect thier own. better to be on the inside looking out rather than the other way around.

    just my 2cents
    god bless all
    my dream is to die the crazy old guy who believed the world was going to end.
    better to be crazy than rite.

  13. FRIENDS,

  14. FRIENDS,

  15. Reading this article and the comments has made me very aware that I am not mentally prepared for SHTF. The thought of eating anything that does not come from the grocery store wrapped in cellophane makes me almost nauseous. My husband hunts, and we eat deer, but I don’t have to “see” the live animal being slaughtered. We both fish, and eat the fish, but I don’t clean it. The thought of raising rabbits and goats for food really makes me nauseous. How am I going to survive? Yes, I prepare by storing rice, beans, canned meats, etc., but when that runs out what then? I hope that if SHTF I can overcome my utter reluctance to kill anything. I know people will say that “if I’m hungry enough”……

    • Can you say vegi-eater? Grow a garden – at least purchase the seeds. Add a few fruit bushes and trees.

      Does dandylion butter sound good to you?

      • We always have a great garden and eat veggies like crazy. I’ve stocked up on seeds, lots of them, so I feel comfortable there. I know I am going to have to change, but it’s going to be so stinken hard. I do KNOW that my dogs will NEVER be lunch for anyone.
        Now I could kill a chicken or shoot a dove, so maybe that will have to be my focus. Learn how to kill and skin one (chicken), and sharpen my shooting skills for doves. Problem solved. Yeah, sure. But now I’ve got a plan.

  16. I really like this article by Col D and I would like to add a couple of things.
    Yes, unfortunately there are many, many people that think that they will be able to hit the woods and find all of the meat (game animals) that they want and/or need. People with this thought process really need to think again. As mentioned in an earlier reply (or maybe another article), many game animals, especially deer, were nearly wiped out during the great depression. In fact, if I remember correctly, deer hunting here in Ohio was banned for decades because of over-hunting.
    Also, here in Ohio, the DNR is working hard to thin out the deer population from more than 1,000,000 just 5-6 years ago to less than 750,000. If you do the math, that’s less than one deer per family, not even per person.
    I agree with other replies that we all must be prepared to kill and eat things we normally wouldn’t. I have prepared myself mentally to eat cats, possums and raccoons. In fact, I have eaten raccoon and I liked it.
    As far as public lands go, I have a huge park not far from me where I have find three separate locations in which my family/group could bug out to if needed. There are two things that I am doing to be prepared to either bug out or forage there. First, the group that I am a part of is hiring an expert in wild edibles to teach our group the 10 most common, most nutritious plants in this area and the park. Our training will occur in the spring and summer.
    Secondly, I will be doing guerrilla gardening in those areas for the next several years. I am going to focus on common herbs and root crops, such as carrots, turnips, leeks and onions. Is this technically illegal? possibly. But, I am not going to cultivate or harvest, which is where the legalities come in, unless it’s a SHTF situation. I am going to let the crops grow and germinate, which will also help the wildlife in the area.
    The last thing is to check out Marjorie Wildcraft’s Backyard Food Production videos and her growing your own groceries webiste. She has a boatload of really great info at both resources. For those who think they can’t kill a cute bunny, she addresses that specifically in her videos.

    • You have given me the idea to plant edibles at our bug out location. Plants that will grow on their own year after year (herbs, wild edibles). **sigh** More research…… seems like that’s all I do now.

  17. Anyone have a book they would recommend for wild edibles/foraging in Texas?

    • I am still researching appropriate books for wild edibles myself and when I find some good ones I will post them here. I was pretty disappointed with the US Army survival guide when it came to edible plants so I would not recommend that one.

      There are some good videos via youtube called “eat the weeds.” I have learned a few things from their videos and I try to focus on ones that I know grow in my area.

  18. Col. S. Gray (Ret) says:

    Very interesting article Col. D.

    Im not sure what all the hub bub is about the suggestion to think outside the box with regards to alternative land sites (whether owned by you or not).

    As has already been recited many times, there are millions of acres owned in this country by absentee owners. OWNING and being in POSSESSION are two very different things. The underpenning of our laws requires that “owned” land actually be occupied and used lest it be subject to being possessed and claimed for ownership by someone else…****See your state law on Adverse Possession.

    This of course all can go by the wayside in a SHTF scenario. Who owns a piece of property would quickly become a serious debate when the “LAWS” are no longer in effect.

    Without intending to offend anyone, I must point out that if you rely upon someones moral character in a SHTF scenario, I suggest you will have a very rude awakening. There is a common saying around these parts when discussing what would happen if SHTF and that is “If I have a gun, and you have (insert anything: food, land, water, supplies…women even) but dont have a gun…..then I have a gun AND your (insert anything).

    Katrina has been pointed to on this blog several times, and rightfully so, as a case subject for how people may react. Im confident that the people involved in trying to survive were not concerned about the LAWS…whether they be mans or Gods…..some maybe, but actions speak louder than words.

    I guess this rambling post is basically in support of what Col. D. was trying to suggest as “possible” avenues of survival and like he said…”dont be afraid to think outside the box” Staying in the “box” as you know it now (with all governmental controls etc) may just get you killed. If you are willing to starve to lay down and be slaughtered because someone in Lithuania owns the 200 acre tract next to yours and you dont want to offend them, then be my guest…. I will take it, survive and welcome Col. D and others to join me.


  19. LonghairCountryboy says:

    Here is one other thing anyone prepping for Bug Out needs also, and this is also directed to Cathy, who posted earlier. Foraging for wild foods. This is a MUST know. Not only for FOOD plants, but for Medicinal purposes also. My first book suggestion is by author “Wildman” Steven Brill titled Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild) Places. Once TSHTF you will NOT have your local Walgreens to rely on, nor your Family Dentist, nor Family Doctor. It will be up to YOU!!! Scary as that may sound. Be ready to take on the task.

  20. Digital_Angel_316 says:

    For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. Hosea 8:7

    Some ideas on Prevention and Planning as Preparedness

    Close McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Red Lobster, and realize that the overwhelming majority of fish consumed in the US comes from foreign nations.

    Get others to cut their meat consumption a few days a week and their total meat intake by 20 to 50 percent (Americans now consume 4 times as much meat per capita as they did directly after WW2). Simply cutting serving sizes from that 16 oz steak to make it last for four servings of 4 oz is a good start.

    Shut down the bottled beverage and snack food industries (also helps in cutting the medical burden on the country).

    Become your local or community pest control agent official or unofficial – you will get more trapping experience than you might care for (albeit urban/suburban).

    Understand land management issues and techniques and the environmental issues related to fish and game habitat.

    Get involved in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and encourage your local grocers to only buy locally (and in season of course) and to mark the products with signs in their stores — raises a lot of awareness. see

    *America has a 40 percent illegitimacy rate
    *America is approach a 30 percent Cesearean section rate (another item on the worldwide hit list of those who renounce America/Americans) — cut it in half (stop the docs using birthing like removing tonsils)
    *America has performed 45 million abortions in one generation
    *America has a rampant immigration problem, legal and illegal
    *Civil Engineers, Zoning boards, Building permits encourage over-development many times for strip malls, corporate buildings that shut down in ten years and more parking lots



    By Miguel Llanos,

    Last year’s (2011) status as “extreme” in terms of weather was elevated further on Thursday, when government scientists announced that two more disasters topped the $1 billion mark and noted that, had it not been for La Nina’s cooling effect, 2011 would have been much warmer.

    Tropical Storm Lee in September and severe weather in the Rockies and Midwest in mid-July were added to a list that now has 14 DISASTERS WITH ECONOMIC LOSSES OF $1 BILLION OR MORE FOR A TOTAL OF $55 BILLION, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced.


    When one builds in a swamp or flood plain — there are floods
    When one builds in hurricane zones — there are hurricanes
    When one builds in tornado alley — there are tornadoes
    When one builds in earthquake zones – there are earthquakes

    Daddy FEMA can’t be allowed to be a hero, for picking up the dead and debris from disasters they contributed to, (and sometimes we let happen).

    Research and learn (as many here do and are doing) of these issues, and speak out on them, within the community, and discretely with the general public (no OpSec compromised). The lives you save, the damage and destruction you prevent — may be your own.

    • Exactly , Instead of rebuilding in a place that is perpetually at risk , offer to relocate and rebuild . Its cheaper to build a new house than clean up a disaster area and rebuild on top of that . Then over a period of time the money needed will be at a fraction because the population in those areas will be very low . I would tell New Orleans that they get one more relief , after that they are on their own until they move to higher ground .

      • riverrider says:

        tr, you are more charitable to N.O. than i. i say 300 years of fighting the water in n.o. is enough. get over it, move on, uphill. i’m tired of sending my tax money down there and other places like the outer banks so yuppies can have their good times on the water. fema moved a town near me due to river flooding every hundred years, but n.o. gets a pass on this law. why? the only good thing about tshtf will be that we won’t be contributing to that nonsense any more.

        • I hear ya , I was thinking that its the final notice before eviction . Government and insurance companies should stand firm on this . You dont move , we wont help or pay .

          • Besides , a hurricane is the only thing that can wash the smell of stale puke and pee off that scummy place . Been there ….. saw it …….. not impressed .

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