A friend once told me back in the late 1990s: “I am not a survivalist.” I replied, “Oh really? Why do you get up every morning and go to work? Because you love working here so much?” He answered: “No, I come to work to feed and shelter my family.” I then quipped; “Oh, so in order to survive you work, so you are a survivalist too.” He cracked a smile and said that I had a good point! By the same token you have house, life, car and health insurance, right? Why? Do you plan on having your car stolen, your house burning down, a tragic illness, or do you plan on dying today? Ah, no, you say, that is for just in case. That in essence is what a survivalist is: He or she thinks that a disaster might happen that stops the flow of food, gas, heating oil, etc. Can it happen? Sure, no one has to look any farther then down south [to the Gulf Coast] right now to see that America is not immune from disaster.
What can you do? Lots.
There was a movie that came out in 1996 called The Trigger Effect. Don’t waste your money renting it–it is a typical nonsense “The Government Saves the Day” movie. But one great scene in the movie was at the gun store. The lead character is trying to buy a shotgun and trades his Rolex watch worth thousands for a $200 pump shotgun. The guy complains that his watch is worth thousands of dollars and the gun shop owner replies: “You waited for a disaster to buy the shotgun, so you pay top price.” This was a movie, in real life what if the gun shop was robbed, closed forever, or the National Guard took all the store’s inventory. Then, the gun shop owner would reply: “You waited for the disaster, now it is too late!“
Being prepared for a disaster like a hurricane, snow storm, or power outage is a good “mini test” to see where you are. But what would you do if we started into deep recession, depression, or economic collapse? My Dad use to say that a recession is when your neighbor is out of work. A depression is when you are out of work.
I decided at a young age to learn to live off the land. I started trying wilderness survival following the survival books making homemade dead fall traps. As a friend pointed out, the Native Americans soon learned to trap more beaver with real iron traps and caught a lot more animals then they ever did with dead falls. Homemade wire snares and dead falls will take some animals but with real traps and professional grade self-locking snares you will be armed with top notch equipment that will greatly increase your chances of catching something to eat. Comparing wire snares and dead falls to real traps and snares is like comparing deer hunting with a high power pellet gun to hunting with a scoped 30-06. The guy with the pellet gun might get a deer, but the guy with the .30-06 can get almost any deer he sees within range. A recent e-mail comment I received was: “I hold you and your videos on high. I learned a lot from your videos and your snares are great and greatly priced. I use to mess around with the “homemade” kind from Boy Scouts and survival books, but the real ones blow these away.”
By the same token you don’t want to be too late putting in supply of snares. I have written previously to SurvivalBlog on the subject of how many traps and snares to put away, covering feral dog control and food gathering, but what about predator control? Here is a very interesting e-mail: “I helped out on my buddies farm where foxes, coyotes, coydogs, and weasels were eating his chickens, ducks, and pigeons. They even ran off with a few of his piglets. His terrier was no match, and after a bad fight, he asked me to help. I set up the snares like in the video (survival snaring ), and I placed them at every entrance spot they were coming into. Out of the dozen snares I had, medium, I set ten and got four foxes and five coyotes in two weeks. I just keep moving the snares to fresh paths, and they worked.”
Now if TEOTWAWKI happens you are not going to be able to go down and buy replacement chickens, pigs, or calves. You are going to have to protect them yourself. Setting the snares is easy once you learn how. Snaring is not rocket science. A few tricks to learn, and you are in business. I have several farmers/ranchers that re-order snares every year from us. How many? One rancher uses three dozen a year for coyotes to protect his sheep. Another buys one-to-two dozen each year. Another buys five dozen every other year. I have talked to several farmers and ranchers on the phone about protecting chickens from foxes, raccoons, coyotes and even skunks.If you are worried about wild dogs, then 10 dozen medium snares is cheap insurance. Like any disaster, it better to have too many on hand then it is to wait until it is too late and you can’t order more. – Buckshot
JWR Replies: I may be biased, but I think that Buckshot’s Camp is the best place to buy traps, snares and scents. His prices certainly are competitive. If you have the chance to buy bunch of used conibear traps for bargain prices at a farm auction, great! But most likely you won’t. Even if you do, be sure to get Buckshot’s instructional DVDs. They are an absolute “must.”