I was recently talking with a farmer friend and said “You are surrounded by food!” He said “Sure wheat and corn fields.” I smiled. “No I mean wild foods. Oh you mean ducks and deer. It is a societal mind set. Farmers, like hunters, think in the only ways they have been taught. He wanted to get rid of a problem beaver that was taking out his shelter belts trees. Being new to North Dakota and seeing very few trees I thought there isn’t much food for a beaver. “Must be a little one that wandered up here.”
He takes me over. Walking the creek, sure enough, I see that this beaver had just helped himself to the few trees around. In fact in one spot the beaver completely killed off every single tree. There was a small 30 tree section, gone. The farmer said “You know I had not been down here for a few weeks and drove by and all my trees were gone. I drove down to my neighbor’s house and asked if they had seen anyone cutting down all my trees and hauling them out for firewood? I want put that SOB in jail!” The neighbors replied no one has hauled any firewood past me. He drove back and walk down to the creek edge and saw all the trees were laying on the ground with chew marks on them. He came down later just before dark and shot at one beaver that swam off. He wa hopeful that was the end of the beaver problem. I smiled and said “Nope.” He said “You’re right. He went farther up the creek and started on the next section of trees. Can you get rid of him for me?” I answered, “Sure, no problem.”
A week later the ice broke and one of the traps was missing. Floating under the surface was this large brown spot that looked like mud. The farmer asked “Is that the beaver?” “Could be”, I answered. Pulling on the trap wire, the first thing I saw was a monster beaver tail. Yep there was our problem beaver. How big? 60 pounds. I could not believe my eyes here I am in a place I thought I would not being trapping beaver hauling a monster out from the this tiny creek with few trees. I commented, “You know, these are good to eat.” So we headed to his place and cleaned, fleshed and tacked out the hide. Then we popped the back legs off. He parboiled them. He cooked just the meat–slow cooked with cream of chicken soup, all day. We had it the next night for dinner, over noodles. His comment: “I didn’t believe you but your right that is real close to beef.” His two sons joined us and enjoyed it. Surely they’d be telling all their friends at school they had a Mountain Man dinner.
We were talking after dinner and I told him: “Look at all the food around you. Look at the potholes ( they call ponds potholes here) with all the cattails. There was six muskrat dens you could trap 15 muskrats a year out of that pothole. Your shelter belts are loaded with squirrels and rabbits. He added: “Deer, too.” I added, “You have plenty of cattails for flour, potatoes substitute, fresh like cucumber-tasting stalks. You have raccoons running all over the place.” He said “I never thought about it, but you are right. All my farmers friends are really going to like you. Yep, I have feeling this fall I going to be very busy cleaning out problem critters.”
People get in a mindset and only see part of the picture. When your long term survival depends on bringing meat home you are going to want to do it silently. I passed a pothole today that was next to a dirt road, and 20 ducks flew off. If I would have snuck up with a shotgun I might have got two or three of them. But you know what? Ducks don’t like getting shot at. Chances are they would find a safer place to feed or rest for the night. But with six model 110 conibear killing traps, in a total collapse situation (note that it is presently illegal to trap ducks) you could easily add two to three ducks a day. But the good news is the traps would not spook the rest of them so they would keep coming back. That is just one example of using your head to make sure your family had meat on the table. Small game snares would have worked the same way. Set the trap where the ducks are feeding. Tie off a weight to the snare and once caught it would pull the duck down out of sight.
Any animal, bird, or fish can be caught more efficiently with traps, snares and gill nets than with the sportsman’s methods. Sportsman chances are nowhere near as good. Think about it: You put out a gill net and leave, the net is doing the fishing for you. You are not standing there casting for hours. You just come back in a few hours and collect your catch. What about a “bug out” situation? You can easily deploy a gill net, or snares or traps just before dark. Check and pull them in the morning. You have fresh caught breakfast hopefully extra for lunch and dinner. You move on. If you did it right no one has a clue that you harvested your food. No gunshot to broadcast that are in the area. No standing on the river or lake banks exposing yourself for hours.
If you are in a secure location you could easily snare a deer and then spend a day or two smoking the meat. I cover wilderness smokers in my Survivor Vol 3. DVD. Smoking is going to reduce the weight of deer and you could have 2-to-3 weeks of food to get you where your going. Being mobile and having the knowledge–not only how to obtain food but how to preserve it–is life saving. How many of you remember the 20-20 TV documentary with the young man in Alaska nicknamed Super Fly. He shot a moose but didn’t have the knowledge to properly smoke the meat. It was bad in a week’s time. He ended up eating some poison berries and dying alone in the wilderness. A sad tale. But with just a little bit of knowledge it could have been totally different. If he had survived he might now be writing books on how to survive in the wilderness.
Knowledge is power. Proper training can turn hard times into something you can survive. Think about it. I have trapped beaver in Arkansas, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, and North Dakota. Tons of food is waiting to be harvested.
Small pocket size gill nets or larger gill nets for your retreat can be found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Gill-Net.htm
Snare kits can found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Snare-Kits-Sales.htm
Size110 conibear traps can be found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Traps-Sales.htm\
As Duncan Long said it so well in his book Survival Guns: “A good garden and traps will provide more food then a wealth of hunting rifles.”
In order to survive you must be able to adapt, change your thinking, and take advantage of every food source you can. – Buckshot