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  1. A very good article.. Thank you for sharing. I totally agree, wild game is always a great bonus. prepare and deal with the out come. In a long term, situation a well planned garden or some other crop will travel. Family first
    love you

  2. Modern man has had it easy way to long, if the Schumer Hits The Fan we will have to do what poor people the world over have had to do to for centuries to survive, I’m an outdoor person and live in a rather remote area so I think I could survive. That being said, just look around and see what poor people have had to do to get buy, slaves were not give the choice cuts of meat so they had to eat Chitlins, I saw on TV the other night where Josh was eating goats head, I have a neighbor who as a child lived in Cuba and she makes Ox Tail Soup as well as White Bone Soup, I’m sure all of these thing came out of necessity. So I expect we’ll be eating more than 50 pound out of that 150 pound doe. Trekker Out

    1. Now imagine that same group of hunters with starving families during TEOTWAWKI. Perhaps unknowingly, you have shone the light of reality upon one of the greatest of prepper fallacies: the belief that holing up on a small, isolated farm guarantees survival. Even the cheapest, modern hunting rifle outfitted with optics is capable of putting rounds on a human-sized target from 300 to 600 yards away with only a minimal amount of skill and training. There are multiple real-world accounts of supposedly secluded outposts being the worst of kill zones. Read “The Farmers War” that describes the horrors of 1970’s Rhodesia.
      Plan accordingly…

      1. a human-sized target from 300 to 600 yards away with only a minimal amount of skill and training.

        Not so much, under field conditions a 300 yard shot is difficult and at 600 yards where a 30-06 is dropping 11 to 14 feet from point of aim, is a very difficult shot

        1. The wallpaper on my cell phone is a photo of a target shot by my 13 year old daughter. It represents the first 5 shots at 400 yards from a Remington Model 700 in .243 using a 3×9-40 Leupold that she ever took. 4 out of 5 rounds struck between neck and pelvis on a man-sized target. This from a 13 year old child using one the most popular deer rifles in the world. The belief that isolation guarantees safety is a delusion born of survival fiction and is refuted by history in almost every example of conflict in the past 60 years. The horrendous ballistics of the .30-06 round is precisely why mine stays in the safe next to Granddaddy’s old Iver Johnson 12-gauge and why God made 6.5 Creedmoor.

  3. What a great and accurate article! Even on my own little mini farm, I’ve been skunked so far this year, with about another month left of firearm season. 3 weeks in, and I’ve probably devoted 35-40 hours to it already. I’ve been doing it for years, and like to think I know what I’m doing, and I’m still empty handed this year (so far). It’s not always easy, and in a grid down situation, with everything else that will need to be done, folks will be able to afford neither the time nor the calories required in the effort of even still-hunting. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. Hunting for survival is absolutely a losing proposition.

  4. People who don’t know anything about firearms think that being handed one makes you safe and protected, a talisman against the Evil and Unclean. It doesn’t work that way.

    Nor does having a rural location a guarantee that hunting is productive. Like wild game will always be there to feed the person who goes out and slays it.

    Game populations fluctuate, and I’m pretty sure that when / if society and the grid goes down, its going to get really hungry. And the hungry will go out and kill ANYTHING that is half way edible to bring home. Game populations will be quickly decimated, as will livestock that aren’t protected from predators, both two and four legged.

  5. Hunting will be made all the more difficult in a teotwawki situation by thousands of the walking dead traipsing through the woods looking for any morsel of food they can find. This will obviously spook any game in the area…

    If meat is needed, better to breed rats-they will reproduce in abundance and can provide much needed protein once you can get past the disgust of having to eat them…which you will, once you are hungry enough.

    1. Breeding rats in captivity seems hygienic enough, but woe to anyone who hopes to hunt them in the wild.

      The deserve their reputation as dirty, since they are carriers of the plague, Hanta virus, and other deadly diseases.

  6. Started hunting.fishing when I was nine all by my self. I regularly put squirrels and rabbits on the table plus a lot of fish. Walked or rode my bike with my trusty M1906 Winchester everywhere I hunted or fished. Still have that gun 51 years later! We were poor and the meat was a great addition to our family food supply. If we would have had to depend only on what I could kill, even though I was quite successful, we would have starved to death in short order. Hunting/fishing is only a supplement at best.

  7. This is why trapping is recommended for survival over hunting. Traps are quiet, more discreet, require less attention, and a force multiplier. Where hunting may be risky and impractical, trapping tends to be less so. You do need to understand what it takes to be effective.

    I would prefer nutria over rats. More bang for the buck.

  8. If one looks at hunting post TEOTWAWKI as flavor source as opposed to a calorie source, one might be happier with the results. If we store a multiple year supply of beans, rice and other grains for survival and then hunt to add variety and flavor to the stew, it would be less life and death and more fun.

  9. There is a documentary “The Big Lonely” about a guy who goes out to live in the woods. Short and fairly well done. But it takes place not far from me and I can vouch that there is a lot of game animals on the ground but this movie will illustrate the day to day problems getting enough food. Obviously it would be much worse if everyone was trying to hunt for their food. An interesting side note, he grinds up COB (a mix of corn, oats and barley sold in feed stores) to make a bread to supplement his meager supplies.

  10. I have felt that wild game would be hunted out in my area in less than one year, fishing would last longer. Canning will last only as long as you can get lids, have a supply.
    Salting, drying and smoking are the best fall back options. Buying 40-50# bags of water softener salt is important for preserving meat. Buying, bartering livestock from a feed lot, will give more meat for the buck. They may be happy to get rid of them in a grid down situation, as they will be unable to feed them. Salt is cheap, having several thousand pounds on hand, will keep you going for years, also good for trade. If you like bacon, save and can the grease, it will add flavor and calories to your food. By running bacon grease through a pressure canner, it will keep for years. You need fat in your diet to survive.

    1. I shot my first deer in Illinois where I grew up in 1980, I was 23 years old. I had been hunting these woods since I was 9 years old, it was the first deer I had ever seen on the hoof in all those years. Yes, it was a big deal to see ANY deer in Illinois even back in the 70’s and 80’s. It is the biggest deer I have shot yet to this day, 227 lbs field dressed and a large 8 point rack. The head mount is on the wall as a write.

  11. Things are a little different in the rural Redoubt. My county is big and has 7k people. It will be hard for the horde to reach us. In a normal year, with all the visiting hunters, the deer harvest is over 3k and elk over 1.5k. My guess is that rate can be sustained for a long time, especially when we kill off all the wolves. Eventually over hunting will reduce yields, but the human population will also decline.

    1. OK, a little math: 7k people, 1 deer for 2weeks per person, elk maybe 4 to be generous, so you will need like 25 deer and 12 elk per person per year. That is 175k deer and 84k elk. If you keep sustainable rates, it means that only 120!!! people can live from hunting in your county.

  12. a) Hunting:
    We expect game will be decimated (remove 10-percent) the first few days of a disaster.

    Then, we decimate the remaining 90-percent again the next few days.

    Humans will continue to decimate game until all the easy game is ate (or wasted), leaving the smart game to outfox us.

    Naturally, by that point, dumb and passive humans will be decimated, too. In a couple weeks, prevailing thrivers will be multi-decimated to the point of holding our noses at all the reeking corpses.

    Then, diseases get to vote. Weakened immune systems will throw out the welcome mat. And we get another few rounds of decimating… and more decimating.

    We anticipate the removal of human competition at a rate of 20-percent a week… but that’s in nice rural weather. Mix heat/freezing with urbanites, and the ‘learning curve’ will be steep.

    The rotting corpses issue means cities are non-sustainable by the second week of a disaster.

    Starving sick city-folk stumbling stupid into the rural regions? This might not be the problem some writers predict… until the urbanites die, leaving diseased corpses strewn hither and yon by the millions. OK, we could see that as a problem.

    b) The Whole Carcass:
    We make bone broth with our electric pressure cookers, a nutrient-dense base for delicious stews.

    For breakfast, simmer bone broth in a skillet, add leftovers from supper, then poach a couple-three eggs. Zowie!

    Grains? They stress the body during quiet times. Adding them during a disaster increases terrible stress in an over-worked immune system. Bad idea?

    c) Stepping Outside:
    ‘Whacked by a sniper’? Count on it.

  13. While my area is probably more remote than the author’s, it pretty much mirrors my experiences and thoughts.

    Excerpt of a book I’ve been working on came to mind while reading this, why even remote areas aren’t always great survival locales:

    “It was the height of absurdity to believe that Joe Sixpack, his wife, and 2.5 kids could leave the city, plop down a trailer in one of those remote parts of the country, and just start living off the land. People that pushed pencils all day for a living, made regular visits to a fast food drive-thru, and depended on all the conveniences that a modern consumerist culture could provide would be dead within a month during an average Eastern Montana or Wyoming winter.”

    1. You assume a lot Dude.

      Your quote speaks to the gross underestimation of those who choose to make a living with their fingers, and not their backs.

      Just like the foolhardy assumption that the left will rise up with dildo and vagina hats.

      The idea of the vacant secluded cabin retreat is also about as foolhardy. A place, where you know some neighbors, know which ones are busy bodies, which ones tend gardens, etc…

      Isolated and unknown is a fools errand.

  14. Good article…but for those of you who live in the Redoubt think it will be different are living in a dream world. Talk to anyone who was old enough in the depression to know what the hunting was like. West of the divide, seeing a deer track made headlines in the local newspaper. I visited (about 10 years ago) with a 101 year old wonderfully sharp lady who lived in eastern Montana. She had nine brothers, all died during the depression. The rest of her family lived on canned gophers (ground squirrels) for meat. There were no deer. Do not rely on hunting. Aside from the fact that you will not dare leave home. Even here in the Redoubt you can not and should not trust anyone around you.

    1. About like my Grandpa showing me how to build and trap sparrows. Dumb kid that I was asked, “Why are you showing me this?”
      Someday you might have to eat them.
      Oh Grandpa, why would you want to eat that little thing?
      When you get hungry enough…

      And they lived on a working farm at the time early 1900’s

  15. Living in CA about a year ago we had a lot of liberal friends. They knew of my hunting and fishing abilities and knew I was a prepare. On conversation went “well if things ever get bad we will just come to your house”. My comment back was that your not invited. If you can’t bring a skill, or food to the table your not invited. I spend a portion of my income on preparedness, we don’t go on lavish vacations, we go out once a month for a nice dinner, I invest in precious metals, and other skill activities. These people blow their money on two week long vacations to Europe/Asia, and buy expensive wine, and eat out 4 to 5 times a week. Yes, they are going to die long before I do in SHTF situation. God Bless them.

  16. My prepping brothers. I am all for preparing for the worst which is wise to do. The things that I read in Daniel and Revelation that are coming on all of mankind will take more than location, beans and bullets to survive. I hope that we are not collectively missing the obvious elephant in the proverbial room. We should probably take heed to the numerous admonishments in Revelation chapters 1, 2, and 3. We probably need to pay more attention to the spiritual aspect of preparations may I very humbly suggest, myself included. The current religious relativism we are engaged in is woefully inadequate for the coming crisis. What we are doing in the name of church looks nothing like what Paul and the boys did turning the inhabited world on its ear the first 100 years A.D.

  17. Two points: Deer are dumb and Rabbits are awesome.

    1. Historically, deep snow in the Rocky Mountains can decimate deer populations. Don’t count on deer.
    10 years ago: http://www.denverpost.com/2008/01/16/one-bold-effort-to-save-gunnison-deer/
    On top of that deer meet is nasty. It tastes just like nasty venison and no one needs that. Mule Deer mind you.

    2. Rabbits. No one has said anything about rabbits yet. I semi-abandoned my deer and elk hunting efforts here in Colorado to grow meat-rabbits.
    The number one reason that I did so was because my biggest challenge hunting elk was simply finding Elk.
    I’ve determined it’s much easier to find and chat up Colorado Department of Wildlife Officers who know where the elk are.

    I know exactly where my rabbits are: in my rabbit hutch(es). Not running over the next ridge 10 miles away.
    The parents are all named and are not food, but the offspring have a 100-day life-span and dress out at about 1.8 to 2 lbs each.
    The biggest challenge I have with rabbits is in the winter keeping their water wet. Stupid ice.

    The old phrase “breeding like rabbits” earned its reputation well, because frankly, they breed like rabbits. Driven hard, they can produce 5-8 litters a year from 5-12 kits per litter. And when driven hard don’t expect more than 2-3 year of life span from each great momma doe, out of an expected 10 year life span as an indoor pet.
    One can almost pick the hour they give birth, to make it convenient for your planning of course.
    With proper husbandry skills you might have a different doe give birth every week, and essentially you’ve secured your family meal 100 days into the future for a week.
    You decide how many weeks you want to eat by how many does you keep.

    I’m told statistically that rabbits can produce more than 3x three! times! more meat than a cow on the same acre of land.
    It’s not as yummy as beef but they come in meal-size packages. Just think of the convenience of pre-portioned fresh meet.
    It’s not a bad life when in an hour you can harvest 2 fresh rabbits for your family BBQ.

    It’s the United States only that treats rabbits like pets. Every other country in the world eats them; and for good reason. They are very tasty.
    Now before you go all-in for rabbits. Find a good recipe and buy a few processed rabbits from a local meat market. Pay them whatever they want for it. Try it out.

    You can choose to opt for breeds that are very low maintenance or high maintenance.
    You decide your level of interaction. Ask your selling breeder what’s best for your circumstance.
    Do yourself a favor a buy a bunch of water bottles now. (you’ll need twice as many water bottles in the winter as half of them are thawing)
    You can sprout all that wheat, corn, barley or wild grass seed you’re storing for rabbit food.
    You just weeded your garden so give those proceeds to the rabbit babies.
    They really don’t care for carrots. They do very much like whole dandelion plants.

    Bucks pee on everything… all the time. The only source of bad smells is from the urine.
    HEAT is BAD BAD. Anything over 85F and your bucks lose sperm, and over 94F everything is going to die.
    Cleaning cages sucks, but clean cages are much easier to clean and healthy for all the animals.
    There is no milk available from rabbits compared to that aforementioned acre of land hosting a cow
    Rabbit fur is not at all water proof, nothing like duck’s waterproof back. Wind and cold are enemies, but wet windy and cold is lethal.
    Get some husbandry skills now when you have the time to make mistakes and you need to know how to “harvest”. Whatever that looks like for you.

    Easy to feed from local grasses, but risk of fungus if you choose poorly
    The pellets are great for your garden and are not hot compared to some chicken breeds
    Cold weather is much better than alternative. I’ve had kits born in 0 degree F and lost none of them.
    If you have pelt skills, you get amazing soft leather and in great colors
    Lots of different ways to cook rabbit (think a dry version of chicken) Very lean.
    You can quickly grow a herd. My ceiling was 55 animals including 8 parents.

    Start with 3 does and 1 buck all from different blood lines and just play with it. Beautiful animals.

    Yes: New Zealand, California, REX, Satin, American Chinchilla, and Palominos. (Flemish/New Zealand & Flemish/California mix really ideal)
    Maybe: silver fox (too much loose hair for my tastes) Dutch
    NOT : lop eared, pure Flemish giants, mini-REX or toy REX, Champagne D Argent (too expensive but an old bloodline),

    Traits I pay extra for:
    Resistance to disease / heat
    People family kids handling temperament
    and good doe mother skills, nest building
    aggressive mating skills in the bucks. (usually this is just a larger buck than the doe.)

    Oh, and deer are dumb and bambi is nasty. Walk away.

    1. My thoughts exactly, Jeff. Rabbits and chickens for meat and eggs. I like eggs and the powdered stuff is just not the same. Also, you just don’t hear about someone being gored, trampled or kicked by a rabbit (outside of Monte Python movies). You should consider an article, or series of articles, on rabbit husbandry.

  18. Very interesting and well written article, and the comments are a bonus. This is an enjoyable read and thanks to all who contributed!

    I live in a medium size community in southwest Michigan. I don’t own a “retreat” property up north or anywhere else. If things go south my plan is to hunker down at home. I will defend my property as long as I can, and I am convinced my plan is the best I can do. Over the past few years I’ve purchased #10 cans of freeze-dried food whenever I have extra cash, and think this may be the best option for feeding my family in a bad situation. I love the concept of hunting and living off the land, but this article pretty much states the facts so all can understand, it won’t work!

    Thanks SurvivalBlog, good job!

  19. Great perspective! When the occaisional person gets through my OPSEC and accidentally sees some of my preps, they always say the same thing “When the SHTF, I’m coming here!” To which I reply “Please don’t, i like you too much and shooting you in the face will make me sad.”

    “Ha ha ha, that’s really funny.”

    “Ha ha ha, yes it was wasn’t it”

    “Ha ha ha, er…. you’re not serious about all that shooting in the face part, it was a joke right?”

    “Ha ha ha, yeah, just like you’re joking about really thinking that in a tough situation I’m going to let a useless freeloader like you show up after years of not planning, and mooch off of me, placing my survival at risk, and there will be no consequences.”

    “Ha ha.”

    “Ha ha”



    Then commences a staredown.

    I really need to start seriously thinking about how i am really going to deal with the freeloader after a grid down situation.

  20. I have to admit, I always get a big chuckle when ever I see one of these hunting wild animals is not an option after TEOTWAIKI.

    Qualifier, I fully understand that there are many areas of the continental US where animals aren’t overly abundant. Also, I’ve read many reports where wild animals were hunted to extinction in specific areas of the country.

    The qualifier out of the way, I strongly suspect that many of the authors of these comments have yet to spend any time in the deep south (no, I don’t mean the east coast). Animals, including deer and wild hogs are well beyond being termed “nuisance animals”. Man alone will not put a dent in their number. It will take an act of God to make any meaningful impact.

    Certainly I appreciate the story, but more often than not, anyone who speaks in absolutes is only making a fool of themselves.

    1. Who knows what SHTF will mean. Maybe when IT happens many of the animals die too. I would rather have the rabbits and chickens and hunt as plus, than rely on or think hunting will be all I need. The animal population in your area now may not be that way if SHTF.

  21. I’m looking at cavies (guinea pigs). They seem to require less maintenace than rabbits. They know where home is, can roam to feed themselves and return, a good feature when stores can’t sell rabbit food. And they multiply like rabbits.

    1. Having visited Peru a number of times where one can buy roasted guinea pig on the street, I can tell you that you will have to eat a least a dozen in one meal to get enough protein to make any difference.

  22. Everyone who doesn’t hunt thinks it is really easy!
    I would recommend Quail and Pigeons as an idea for something to raise and eat.of course Chickens are great.Growing food for them is something to consider.Mealworms are easy and chickens and their eggs are as good as what you feed them.They sure like veggies.

  23. I am still amazed at the number of people that believe they will be able to hunt and live off the land during a crisis.

    They are delusional.

    I live in an extremely game-rich county in Montana. In nearly 2,000 square miles there are only about 6,000 people.

    I see deer and antelope daily, elk, moose and bear occasionally.

    During the Great Depression, there were a few hundred residents in this county. When I spoke with old timers that were here during the depression, they all said the same thing – they rarely saw any game animals. Any deer or antelope were quickly shot for free meat.

    When you factor in disregard for seasons or bag limits along with market hunters, there will be very little big game left.

    Add in forest fires set by all these Jeremiah Johnson wanna-be’s and you have a complete disaster.

    Read the memoirs of depression-era farmers or others. It was not an adventure.

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