What is Survival?- Part 3, by MuddyKid

I’ve asked the question, what is survival and am addressing my progress in discovery of solutions from short-term to long-term ones. In the last part, we left off talking about hunting as a survival technique and that not all hunting is the same. Many seem to have the opinion that the “Golden Horde” will strip the land of all flora and fauna and there will be no natural resources. It’s my opinion that this is sci-fi. I explained that not all hunting in the same. Let’s consider some more of my reasons for thinking that hunting will be viable as one means for survival, in certain cases.

Urban Human and Animal Interaction

Another point to consider is the proximity of a hunter to an urban center, or rather how often humans and animals interact. This will have an impact on the animal’s behavior. A suburban deer is going to be much more domesticated than a rural deer. This means a suburban deer could be completely comfortable with allowing a person to casually walk within fifty yards of it. A country deer, on the other hand, will require real skill to stalk within fifty yards of it.

Stalking a Deer

For those of you who can stalk a deer in such a fashion, you can do so because of skill and your understanding of the environment. You are aware of your scent, wind direction, you have no sense of time, and you understand the weather and climatic conditions. (Good luck stalking a deer in the woods during a dry fall season.) You already have an understanding of deer behavior in your hunting area. Most hunters do not have these skills. Some do; most don’t.

Types of Hunters Not a Threat to Subsistence

As an example, I can recall driving past public hunting grounds in which I saw four cars parked in the designated parking spot. (This was a 100-acre hunting spot, for those of you who don’t know. This is pure saturation of an area and hunting will not be good.) A little further past that parking area, I saw three people in their late teens to early twenties walking toward the parking area on the open road with only one gun between the three. It was a Thompson .45 rifle. You could further tell by their clothes, walking style, and the fact that it was 9am that they had no idea what they were doing. (But at least they were trying.) These types of hunters are not a threat to anyone other than themselves, when it comes to subsistence hunting.

Modern Deer Population

Another interesting point is, are you familiar with how many deer are considered a healthy herd in a given square mile? Population size applies to living things beyond deer. So, if you’re interested in elk, as an example, wildlife agencies should have that data. I have done deer surveys with a wildlife department in my region. A healthy herd is considered to be 14 deer or less within a square mile. More than 14, the health of the herd begins to suffer. (In parks in this region, they want the population size closer to 30 for the “oohs and ahhs” of tourist.) During this survey, it was discussed that in suburban areas near larger wooded areas, the deer population can grow to over 200 deer per square mile. As a result of the suburban sprawl, the deer population has no natural predators, an abundance of resources, and they will breed to the point that their health deteriorates and they become sick. Just like I mentioned during the wild edibles section, the local environment absent of the commodity supply line will dictate not just the human diet but also the animals’ diets.

Average Deer Population in 1940s

During this deer survey, I began asking questions about how far back the data went on deer herds per square mile. It was mentioned that data went back to the 1940s for this particular agency and region. The average deer population per square mile during the 1940s was four. The deer population was four because the average person from that region hunted to support their diets. (They knew what they were doing.)

Hunting Has Become a Sport and On the Decline

Today, the numbers are clear. Hunting has become a sport for the vast majority of people, and participation is on the decline. This means that the majority of people do not have a clue how to hunt. The populations of herds are much larger than in the past, because subsistence hunting was substituted for modern agriculture and the grocery store. This is just another example of outsourcing our diet and ability to obtain resources through business. So, the idea that people who do not know how to hunt will be become hunting experts in a grid down situation is like saying someone who owns a gun but never trains will also become a tier-one operator in a grid down situation. Uh…no.

The Average Deer Hunter

But, let us get back to the average deer hunter. The average deer hunter hunts in the following fashion:

  1. They have access to private land,
  2. They set up feeders that require store-bought feed with cameras monitoring the feed plot,
  3. They set up a tree stand or some sort of blind.

All of the preceding is done weeks or months in advance to deer season. (Make note that the words in italics require money for consumer products that allows the hunt to be easier. Furthermore, I left out the price of the gun, ammo, optic, clothes, et cetera.)


The cameras provide the hunter with information, such as what times of day or evening the deer are coming in to eat from the feeder and how many deer there are. (The cameras only capture a very small view of this process.) This is another technique that again outsources your time and familiarization of the environment through the purchasing of products. And, all this information is only useful during the time of year that the state allows the hunter to hunt.

Once this information is gathered, the average hunter needs to mask their scent (usually with store-bought products). Then, they sneak into the roost on opening day and wait for the deer to come in for breakfast.

The Distance of the Shot

The distance of the shot could be up for debate, but if you’re in a tree-stand, deer have no natural predators in the air, so it’s uncommon for them to look up. This behavior suggests the distance of the shot could be twenty-five yards or less. In my region, the average deer shot with a rifle is one hundred yards or less. These are short distances, even for the novice shooter. I want to be clear here; I have never met a deer hunter that routinely shoots past 200 yards. (If you shoot past 200 yards regularly, high five. Let’s be friends. You’re not an average deer hunter.) However, the point is, hunting in this fashion is fairly easy because of the over dependence upon technology that allows the hunter to have an advantage during the hunt.

Bow Hunting or the Hunter Who Didn’t Have Resources

Bow hunting is even harder! How would the average deer hunter stack up if they didn’t have the resources of land, time for preparation, gadgets, bait, et cetera? They probably wouldn’t stack up very well with their hunt. Also, keep in mind that I am talking about the average hunter who enjoys and has experience with hunting.

Those Relying Solely on Luck

Someone with little-to-no hunting skill is relying solely on luck. The further away the lucky get from urban centers, the more their luck is going to need to increase, because the animals are certainly smarter. Frumping down the road with one .45acp rifle between three people is hysterical. I am not worried about these types of people.

The Average Hunter

But, let us say the average hunter did take a deer. Now what? The average hunter in my region usually cleans the deer, tosses the meat in the freezer, and then drops off the frozen meat at the processor for some summer sausage.

As a reminder, let us be clear on what we consider an average hunter. This is someone who takes a deer every season and has done so for many years. This type of behavior details that absent of a professional butcher, the average deer hunter can have a meal for only a day or two because they have little-to-no understanding on how to preserve meat, absent of modern conveniences.

Without Food Preservation, Stripping Countryside of Resources

As a deer provides a decent amount of meat, if that meat is not preserved properly (again, reference my earlier point of how to render fat), a good percentage of the meat will spoil before it can be consumed. For the people that lack knowledge of food preservation, they are now part of “the golden horde”. I say this because if a person does not efficiently use resources in a survival situation, they are being careless and stripping the countryside of its resources.

Other SurvivalBlog Contributors

For some, hunting, when thought of as a sport, looks to have such a large investment that they do not feel hunting is even worthwhile Other SurvivalBlog contributors say that deer populations will be dramatically reduced

In response, I question, how do we know this is the case? Just as I have done here in my example, similar to other articles that talk about hunting in a survival situation, have you noticed that we all reference animals that are common to hunt? What about fishing? Frogs? What about snakes?

Snakes and Threats That are Legible

When I search SurvivalBlog for snakes as food, I see search results that primarily deal with snakes as a threat. Rattlesnake taste pretty good. This is another example of how we view food and threats in ways that are legible.

How We Harvest Animals and Wild Edibles

Also, how we harvest animals and even wild edibles is important. If you come across a fruit tree in the wild during the time of year that the fruit is ripe, do you take all of the fruit? Or, do you take just what you need at that moment and return later? If you find hopniss and harvest all of it, the plant will not grow back. My point so far is, how we view the world can be shaped by patterns and processes that reproduce how we value, define and obtain our resources.

More Options

There are more options of food available once we think outside of the box and become more critical. But, to again ask, how do we know what a long-term situation will look like? Check back tomorrow in part 4. And for those of you who do not plan to hunt in a survival situation, thank you. That leaves more for me.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
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Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
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Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. For subsistence I would snare deer. It is done on deer runs for the set up. Obviously this is illegal in anything but Subsistance grid down situations. It’s quiet, and doesn’t take the time that hunting does. You can probably go online and find the specific techniques if it interests you.

  2. I live in a very rural area up by Canada were every one pretty much hunts in a shtf senerio the wildlife would be decimated within weeks you had better have other options like canned meats,freeze dried,dehydrated etc.

  3. I hunt each year on my sister’s 40 acre farm, where we have a powerline, and a seven acre alfalfa field, both covered by tree stands. The brother-in-law and I typically take two deer each during the week of gun season. My deer are typically taken in the late afternoon, and almost always from the tree stand. While I often hunt on foot, and usually see deer while doing so, the deer’s senses are superior to mine, so they typically are in full retreat when I see them.

    My brother-in-law often takes a deer from a plastic chair leaned up against a power pole in the powerline. He also mows the alfalfa field a couple times a year, and the power company keeps the powerline clear. So a significant bit of maintenance is required.

  4. Deer hunting with a .45acp rifle? Where did the credibility go? And this section like the last one is mostly a series of question. Pretty much a waste of blog space. I’m guessing you live in the Northeast and know a couple of hunters, maybe neighbors you talked to at a barbecue.
    In the South, Midwest, and West, longer ranges for hunting are quite common. Ever hear of beanfield rifles?

    1. It is unfortunate that your reply seems angry and you clearly did not read and comprehend what I wrote. This is the internet, so this is to be expected. My article was also not written from the perspective that I am an expert and you need to listen to just what I say. Rather, my approach is to get people thinking.

      But, here is what I know, cops in my region on average train pistols at 25 yards and in. AR’s are 100 yards and in. The sharp shooters train 200 yards and in. The sharp shooters club centers on a single FBI instructor with 1 or 2 sharp shooters per local agency, and again, 200 yards and in. When we understand what legibility is, this certainly relates to mainlining LEO training and the approaching federalization of tactics. So, if you are really a retired cop, depending what your job was, I am going to guess that you shooting past 200 was entirely on your time.

      I have been hunting for over 35 years. I am certainly not an expert, but I am fairly comfortable in my understanding. I guess in some strange way, I feel bad that you didn’t like my article?

      1. Muddykid,
        (I see what you did there…?…ha!) One of the criteria of the Survival Blog writing contest is the clearly stated rule that all submissions must be based on proven or personal experience. When you venture into the world of speculation, which is almost impossible not to do when theorizing about any future SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario, you are going to invite responses from those who have vastly different beliefs and/or experiences. Given the availability of hunting rifles and other platforms capable of taking down a deer and owners who can reliability hit targets much farther than 200 yards, assuming deer will be plentiful based on one sighting of amateur hunters is, at best, misguided.
        It is impossible to know what the population of game animals will be after such an event. If 90% of the human population is destroyed in a bio attack or pandemic, deer may be as plentiful as the common housecat. In a grid down scenario, where there is no immediate die-off but millions of starving people, for a time, game animals may be so decimated or so spooked that even in rural locations a sighting is rare. Even in the wide-open spaces of the Midwest, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s many game animals were hunted to the point of extinction. It took decades and government policies for those populations to recover. In a WROL situation, we simply do not know how it is going to go. Avoid the speculation; tell me what you have done, and know. There is a whole internet full of fantastical claims powered by self-affirming theories.

        1. @DD, your reply is great. I am not sure that I am venturing in to a world of speculation. Let me be clear, as I said, from experience, there is no data in my region of deer population prior to 1940. So, this does not mean other regions did not have data, but it does mean mine didn’t. So, how any one could say in my region that deer population was almost wiped out prior to records, is suspect. How that data is collected is by driving a specific route to spot light deer, record the number of eyes, then plug that number in to a population equation to estimate projected average population. Does this capture a true picture of the population? That is debatable. And, this number changes throughout time and state value. How, if at all, did people collect data on deer during the 1930s or 1800s?

          Yesterday there was a comment about deer populations almost being driven to extinction during the 1800s. I know this can not be known in my region, because there is no data. What I also look to, when again referencing legibility, there is a higher probability that fur trapping companies along with governments told such stories to influence people away from living off the land while forcing people to pay for permits. This was clearly done with Native Americans, and there were a lot of factors during early American history that influenced such stories. So, while I am not saying those stories are wrong, I am saying based of my personal experience, I suspect those stories have become more simple over time than they actually were during that time.

          As far as rifles, this is going to be different in every region. But in mine, also supported by google searches along with NRA publications, it is safe to say that an average deer hunting rifle has long been a 30/30 with a 3×9 scope. This is not my opinion, and your mileage may vary. That cartridge has a heck of a time getting out to 300 accurately.

          1. Not sure if I agree with your logic in all cases, (“absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”), but I appreciate your research.

            Perhaps mistakenly, I’m assuming that we’re talking about a future catastrophic event whose scale and ferocity has never been seen before. I wouldn’t expect a 9.3 earthquake in San Francisco to affect the deer hunting in your area, but if the grid goes down nationwide for more than 30 days, no amount of past statistics, regardless of their credibility or source, will be reliable indicators. In that situation, I imagine the problems of those 500 miles away could rapidly become your problem,. But who knows, right?

            Looking forward to your future installments.

          2. My grandparents grew up during the depression in the area of hills on the Missouri river south of St Joe Mo. There were no deer left to hunt only small game. In the Early 50’s a deer ran into the town of St Joe Mo. it made the front page. Small game thrived ounce the predators were killed down. My Farther and his brothers talked about getting 80 rabbits in one day, along the railroad tracks.

      2. Muddykid, my response to you was based partly on disbelief and partly because you seem to think every situation is composed only of factors you are familiar with. For instance, the three people you saw with the “45acp rifle”. There are carbines in 45 acp however, they are uncommon and not often used for big game (deer) hunting. I own one, it’s useful range is about one hundred yards. Workable but not ideal. How did you conclude they had a 45acp rifle? Btw, the acp stands for automatic colt pistol.
        It’s statements like that and the declaration that no one hunts deer at extended ranges that made me doubt you. The immediate personal attack strengthened my opinion that you may be living in your parents basement. Please present your conclusions and thoughts with some semblance of logic and knowledge.
        The other writers have made my other points better than I could.
        This is a place for reason, and educated guesses on survival issues. Nothing personal.

        1. Again, you’re missing the point. My article is not a water cooler discussion on who knows more about firearms. And, as my original reply stated, the bulk of your training as a cop, is 200 yards and in. So, I mean just what I said when the average hunter does not regularly shoot past 200. You do not either, as your name gives reference to the majority of your training, which means how often you regularly trained. Further, beanfield rifle? Yea, I got May 2018’s American Rifleman magazine, too.

          Everyone’s reply has been honest, but also certainly polite. Consider that in the future?

  5. You have provided some interesting thoughts for consideration. However, consider the following info from a region that I follow from time to time.
    Check out the decimation of whitetail deer by subsistence hunting:
    “The History of White-tailed Deer in the Pineywoods Exploitation: Early Settlement – 1940 When the first anglo settlers arrived in the Pineywoods during the early 1800’s, they found an abundance of wildlife. White-tailed deer, bear, mountain lions and wild turkeys were common. As human populations increased, however, these species began to disappear. By the turn of the century, deer and turkey numbers were significantly diminished and only a few bears and mountain lions remained. The bears and mountain lions soon disappeared and, by 1940, wild turkey populations were decimated. Only a few deer populations remained in the dense woods of the Big Thicket in deep southeast Texas. Unregulated subsistence hunting and habitat destruction were responsible for the demise of the species. ”
    “Restoration 1940-1990 The next 50 years was marked by an increased public awareness regarding the need to conserve wildlife. Deer habitat conditions were also improving as abandoned farmland grew up in brush and young forest. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s deer restoration effort began in 1938 and continued into the 1990’s. Deer were trapped in central and south Texas and transported to the Pineywoods for release. A total of 12,149 deer was released in the Pineywoods during the period (Table 1). By 1980, only a few isolated areas remained to be stocked. Many herds in restocked areas grew rapidly and expanded their range. After 50 years of restoration efforts by sportsmen, landowners, game wardens, and biologists, the Pineywoods now supports a large, well established deer herd.”

    My opinion: During times of grid down events of even short duration such as a month, poachers attack the deer herd and harvest hundreds of deer from affected areas, because they know conservation officers are patrolling cities and main highways. We know what will happen in a shtf scenario. Plus the poachers may be hunting you to get your gun and ammo.

  6. Deer per square mile is only part of the equation, the other part is how many people do you have per square mile. Let’s say you are over deered and have 200 per square mile at the start, how long will that last?

    Moreover, even if you have a bunch of poor hunters who individually have a poor chance of getting a deer collectively their chances are pretty good (especially over time).

    Unless you are truly in a remote location, hunting will probably not be a very good long term strategy. Get some chickens and rabbits

  7. Minor speculation from a non-deer hunter, what’s to say during a Climatic, NBC or EMP SHTF scenario the deer and animals to plants populations will not also be effected?

    I remember seeing whales and other marine creatures beaching themselves from probably sonar waves. There are still stories of birds falling from the skies.

    (Recently came across the following site that raises the reality of Weather Warfare,
    https://climateviewer.com/ )

  8. ps.
    By the NBC factor, I’m always amazed how many disease carrying vector ticks there are behind a deer’s ears. Plus, the tick populations are on the increase now.

  9. In a grid down subsistence hunting scenario, I would think anyone willing to take your harvested dear from you would be a threat. Which could be anyone. It happens from time to time nowadays, just think if meat was scarce. When I see anyone who doesn’t appear to be a traditional hunter, I am wary of getting shot by accident. God help us we ever had to compete with each other for food after a grid down event.

  10. Muddy kid – here in PA we have a large hunting population and good size deer due to plentiful alfalfa and corn. Shots can be as little as 25 yards in the woods but can be MUCH further across open fields. Heck I was driving across state and was going through the center of the state where there are “mountains” well at least what we call them here and I saw a bunch of Hunter on one hill top shooting across a major Highway to the top of another hill. I was impressed by the optics! Everyplace is different but here in PA where I’m from given a WROL and no game warden and no open stores the white tail deer will quickly be extinct. Now if I was outside Filthfadelphia ( Philadelphia ) I would say that the population of snowflakes would probably die sucking their thumbs for substance rather that shoot “Bambi”.

    Something else I wonder about is migration – would deer and other animals leave areas where there is a lot of pressure to find areas that don’t have as much Hunter’s? We have seen animals (even bear) come into our city of 100K looking for food water during Extreme droughts.

    I think the point is every place will be different and everyone should have the skills and abilities to take game in anyway in a WORL.

    Looking forward to the next two parts.

    1. @3ADscout, you bring up an excellent point about migration. I do not have an answer. But my first thought is, it seems closer to the end of deer season, the deer are certainly harder to locate. This leads me to believe that given the hunting pressure in a SHTF scenario, they will certainly begin to move and be more cautious.

      With your comments, DD’s and along with several other people, it seems people are starting to think out side of the box, and that is what I hoped would happen. Every place WILL be different, and that is a point I touch upon in upcoming installments. Maybe I am wrong about deer ( I personally do not think I am) but, how many people are now going to be looking at population numbers to better inventory their environment? That, for me, is what is important.

  11. My aunt lives in

    My aunt lives in Wisconsin and your hunting experience sounds like what she shared with me. Here in NW Montana it’s quite different. You hunt trails in the mountains parking wherever you can pull off the road and usually there’s quite a hike involved. It’s quite primitive and knowing the lay of the land really helps with a successful hunt. I would recommend that if you hunt you learn to process your own game. Otherwise a lot of meat will probably go to waste.

  12. Muddy Kid,
    Looks like you did get people thinking; that is good. I have hunted for over fifty years, I didn’t notice anything significant to dispute except maybe the idea that incompetent modern hunters can’t come close to wiping out game populations. Here is some anecdotal info that might interest you. My father grew up on a subsistence farm during the Depression (1930’s). He hunted every day which enabled his family to survive. He harvested dove, ducks, Quail, Squirrel, Rabbits, Raccoons, Possums, Turtles, Tortuous, Alligators, Snakes — essentially everything that swam, flew, walked, or crawled, but not Deer. There were no deer as they had been eliminated from the area by hunting and Screw Worms. Once while he was away from home visiting some friends the group came across a Deer track. The father told them “go get your guns boys, dinner is at the other end of that track”. They did, the father was not joking! During all the years he and I hunted together (1965 to 2000) he always said there was much more game, especially Deer, than there had been in the 1930’s,1940’s and 1950’s. Back then hunting was not just sport, it was very serious. Doing it in the “Sporting” way and following hunting regulations was rarely done. In most places Deer were hunted at night which is not legal or sporting — but it is much more productive! I know that hunting is a skill that takes time to learn, but anyone can learn, and even a newbie can get lucky. When everyone is hungry and always out there using any possible method there will be much less game; Deer could be eliminated from many areas within a few years. In some places — might not see many stray dogs or cats either!

  13. Muddykid I think Retired Cop, had an issue with when you called it a 45acp rifle, Thompson Center makes a 45 Cal muzzle loader whereas the the 45acp is a pistol cartridge. David Lassen talked of deer in Missourah, which I recall very well, as I grew up in the woods and fields of North Central Missourah and can remember when it was very exciting just to see a deer track even in the late 1950’s and there was just a small huntable herd only in the Southern part of Missourah, and as for wild turkey they were also nonexistent in the North part of the state. What is amazing, is how species very often won’t expand their territory but when reintroduced to their former range if the habitat is good they will flourish, Missourah now has a sizable population of both deer and turkey. As far as animals being able to survive in a SHTF situation, that will depend on what part of the country your in, most anywhere East of the Mississippi River, South of Oklahoma or West of the Rocky Mountains, wildlife will have a very hard time being able to sustain any kind of numbers just due to the population in these areas. The Rocky Mountains are very rugged and many of the big game species can survive when the pressure is on because they can go to areas that only a very few hard core hunters will travel to and then only if they have horses or mules. Even though big game animals will be pushed out of the mountains in winter when the snow is deep most non-resident travelers will not be welcome in the mountains either. I know that here in Wyoming as in other Mountain States if you get three miles off of the roads hunters are few and far between, and that will still be the case even after the Schumer Hits The Fan. Good articles Muddykid. Trekker Out

  14. At the end f deer season deer do seem to become scarce. Mostly, I believe, they go nocturnal. Here in central Michigan it is not uncommon to see deer during daylight hours, but during firearm deer season they come out at night.

    We also drive the deer. Several people will spread out through the woods or swampy area and just walk, driving the deer towards a couple guys who were prepositioned on the other side.

    Here is an idea to enhance your odds of bagging some much needed protien during a bad time, get a salt block at the local tractor/supply store. Put it out and the animals will come to you. Take what you need to feed yourself and family and then store the salt block until the next time you need meat. “Hunting” this way is generally not legal, but in a bad time all bets are off.

  15. In the section entitled “Snakes and Threats That are LEGIBLE,” you cite an example of how we view food and threats in ways that are LEGIBLE. What does LEGIBLE mean? That it can be “read?”

  16. Hunting is certainly a skill which will be necessary however it will only be a stop gap IMO.

    There is plenty of written and anecdotal evidence that the Depression resulted in drastically reduced game population in the US that was only reversed with strictly managed hunting. And that was with mostly functioning industrial agriculture and many rural people and many not so rural people planting gardens and raising animals relatively unmolested by “Golden Hordes”.

    My discussions with Depression Era people I know indicated that food quantity was not that bad as agriculture was still quite functional. Luxuries like sugar or ketchup or meat were rationed within families but bread and oatmeal were relatively plentiful. In a SHTF or EOTWAWKI or WROL situation with “Golden Hordes”, agriculture will not likely be functioning nearly as well as in the Depression and basic food stocks would be quite depleted. IMO the countryside will be depleted quite rapidly unless what ever the cause of the collapse kills a large portion of the population quickly enough that they have no time to roam and hunt.

    In my reading of history, the USA has never experienced a breakdown of the magnitude we discuss frequently in this forum. The Depression was not even close. The Civil War was somewhat closer but even then some crops were harvested and some “normal” economic activity continued. You need to go to perhaps Asia or some old world situations to view what happens during a full on collapse. China had several over their history and the results were simple. Full on starvation, often accompanied by cannibalism of children that did not stop until upwards of half the population died and the next authoritarian warlords got control of the situation and crops could be planted and harvested again. In all the cases I have read, living off the land was not a viable option for hardly any time. The survivors lived off existing food stocks primarily with a little help from the land until enough order was restored to restore agriculture. Or they died often trying to fill their bellies with grass to stave off hunger pains.

    Even most of the native New World populations before Europeans had functioning large scale agriculture and the rule of law was pretty intact. Depending on where you were at, raiding parties had to be dealt with but were manageable. Even then the hunter gatherers (predominantly in North America) were fighting off starvation every winter as was evidenced by their low population before the horse and rifle. Those in South America lived well fed although largely enslaved in authoritarian agricultural societies until they collapsed from something. And then they effectively disappeared from the earth. Surely some survived, but in such small numbers and in such a state that we don’t really know who is who or who migrated where or how they survived.

    I guess what I am saying is I question whether resorting to hunter/gatherer activities is going to keep anyone alive for long. Humans have not lived that way for thousands of years in any quantities and I question the odds for someone raised in our society (regardless of training) or perhaps a small group to survive and reproduce and continue indefinitely. The lights have to come back on and crops replanted and commerce resumed or we are probably not talking about a 90% death rate but a 99.99% death rate or better.

  17. I read onetime that more deer are killed in PA by motor vehicles (400,000 a year) than by hunters. Where I live (in the Oregon mountains/high desert) I see fresh road kill everyday that I drive the main roads. I also walk in the forest everyday and the amount of deer and elk sign is enormous. Oregon recently changed their laws to allow people to harvest road kill. Not really as strange as it might sound. Hunting success depends on where you are and how many others are also “where you are”.

  18. I normally don’t comment on articles, but I respectfully disagree on some of your points on substance hunting. While your state records do not go past 1940’s, mine do. In 1925 the MDC stated that there were 400 deer in Mo.


    This was mainly due to rural living, many small family farms, habitat was grazed or farmed and over harvesting. Few of your hunting assumptions are true in my rural area. It was not until after WWII, past the depression (where all rural folks were killing every wild critter they could eat), that wildlife numbers improved and conservation efforts saved these wild animals. The average now is about 14-16 per square mile, depending on the year. Are there more deer in some urban areas, per square mile, sure; but do you think all hunters live in the rural areas? Those deer maybe the first to die; as those urban hunters stock up.


    So, if you look back in time, where a hungry, rural population was killing animals to eat, they almost wiped out whitetail deer and turkey population from Missouri. These folks were not using technology, cameras and feeders. Most folks down here are skilled woodsmen. Poachers still exist. 30 years ago I rented a farmhouse on a 1,000 acre farm; at the edge of the farm was another rental. He was a poacher, and killed a deer about every other week, the entire time he lived there. I told the conservation agent about him, and the owner of the farm, but nothing changed, for about a year, until he was kicked out. Many of his deer were killed with a .22 and a light, at night, as I witnessed. He was an effective deer killer, and was hurting the population. Can someone survive; poaching deer, absolutely, for a little while, but once all of us are poaching deer, than that resource will dry up incredibly fast. Will a hunter be an asset, like you state, when the SHTF? Absolutely; for about a month, until the population is disseminated. Of course, there are some rural areas that even the locals will not be able to kill all edible animals.

    Not everyone is clueless on how to butcher deer, or preserve meat. Country folk know how to dress a deer, process the deer, whether it be canning, smoking or cooking. I disagree that all current hunters, are not woodsmen and there will be wildlife to eat. Most folks around here have neither feeders, nor cameras. I agree with others you should have chickens and rabbits, and beef ready, and not plan on eating venison. Will I be out there hunting, after the SHTF, you bet. But as others mentioned, you better be just as wary about the others out there, as you are about stalking the game. Be safe and be prepared.

    1. @MRH, Thanks for your reply, you bring up good points.

      Similar to your links, along with Big Mike’s about Texas, there is a single paragraph that simplifies the story of deer population before state management practices began. That is absolutely what legibility is. As an example when we look at typical development doctrine (that is, the way the state wants to develop an area) a common theme is, “while its authors hoped that ‘social emulation, cooperation, and the expansion of community development services’ would transform attitudes, they warned darkly that, ‘where incentives, emulation and propaganda are ineffective, enforcement or coercive measures of an appropriate sort will be considers'”

      So, when we look to emulation, many people in this comment section are saying “almost wiped out.” That is curious, that means their stories are emulating one another. Deer weren’t wiped out, but it is safe to say that their population numbers certainly declined. But, people during those times are not like people today. People lived close to the land and off the land then. That is not most people today. Also, how could the state of MO know that there were only 400 deer? Reasonably, they can not. Further, I also mention that there are other resources besides deer, and that people always get caught up in the story of the typical game animals. The larger point is, and because this is Sblog, I am not talking to the typical hunter, the story that all the wildlife being gone in a month is just too simple. When we break it down, there will be resources available.

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